We all agree the WordPress community is growing rapidly everywhere. Not only is it expanding in Europe and North America but also in other places, like South America. Last November, on the 19th, 2016 WordCamp SaoPaulo took place in UNICID – Universidade Cidade de São Paulo. Here, at onTheGoSystems, we did not want to miss the opportunity and asked around among our team members who would be willing to attend and possibly apply as a speaker. The surprise came when Otto, from Argentina, volunteered. Actually, it was partly a surprise, since he is known here for being a community enthusiast. He has done everything, from attending meetups to now talking at a WordCamp. It was his first time and it is worth mentioning, he did it in a foreign country. Nonetheless, he was pleased with his experience. I talked to him about it.
How was it that you applied and were selected as a speaker? You live in Argentina and the WordCamp was in Sao Paulo. There are thousands of kilometers in between and the language is different.
Andrés (our Mr. WordCamp) and I had been discussing how here in South America there are very few WordCamps. We were looking forward to having more. When WordCamp Sao Paulo was introduced, we thought we had to take up the opportunity. Here in Buenos Aires there wasn’t a WordCamp in 2016. None of our Brazilian mates could attend WordCamp Sao Paulo for various reasons, so I applied and was selected. The process was quite straightforward. I was inspired by 2 of my co-workers’ previous talks. The topic was support, which I like. I was not expecting to be selected, because the WordCamp would be entirely in Portuguese. I submitted my talk in English and they asked me to translate it into Spanish, which caught my attention 100 percent! The Brazilian community was thankful that I took part as a speaker. I was the only foreign speaker. The feedback was good. The audience said they managed to understand all of it. I spoke clearly and slowly, which helped, along with the fact that Brazilian Portuguese and Argentinian Spanish are very similar.
Did you travel alone? Were you able to meet someone from the team there?
I traveled by myself. The Brazilian team members live pretty far away from San Paulo and they could not travel on that weekend. I stayed at a relative’s there. My cousin lives in Sao Paulo, it was also a good excuse to visit her.
How did you feel before the talk? It was your first one and in a foreign country. You were also alone. You were very brave!
My talk was the last but one. This did not play in my favour and I felt a bit nervous before. During the day I was not able to talk to many people, I was a bit worried about my presentation. However, once I was in front of the audience, it all started to flow and the talk just happened naturally. I felt comfortable and the audience seemed to be enjoying it. I even managed to talk to some people afterwards and they said they found it interesting. The WordPress community is great, no matter in which country we are :)
You have been getting involved in the community more and more. Was it something planned?
As a matter of fact, I have always enjoyed taking part in the communities I am involved with. Before joining the company I was already in touch with the Argentinian community. What has changed is the role. I have gone from attending Meetups to speaking at this WordCamp. At present I am also helping to organize the next WordCamp Buenos Aires. To me, this is very important; it’s a way to give back. Something like “the Open Source Spirit.”