We just came back from The Dutch Joomla!Days held this past weekend in Zeist, Netherlands. If you missed our previous post, we were the main sponsor of the event and it was the first Joomla! conference that we attended in person (though we have already sponsored few others). In a nutshell – the conference was absolutely great and I wanted to share our experience with all of you!
The two-day conference was held in Woudschoten Hotel & Conferentiecentrum in Zeist. Zeist is a small town near Utrecht, but incredibly beautiful and peaceful. The hotel is actually located out of the town in the very tranquil and picturesque forest and you could occasionally see a rabbit running near your feet or a peacock stretching its impressive tail and walking around the hotel area covered with fresh green grass – we totally felt like Alice in Wonderland! The other good thing about the location was that all attendees, speakers and sponsors spent the weekend together which was very good for networking and socializing too! Hat tip to the organizers for picking up this location and for doing a brilliant job in organizing the event!
The people we met
We have always been aware that a great number of people out there use Joomla! However, what totally struck me is how many people actually change the whole course of their lives after getting acquainted with this application. A boat skipper, an insurance company employee with no previous web experience whatsoever, and a financial analyst were just some of the people we met that now earn their whole income or a part of it building Joomla websites for other people. It is truly amazing how a piece of software created by volunteers and shared freely can change so many lives.
It also felt good that most of the people we met have already heard about SiteGround. We got the chance to meet personally several customers. Quite a few people said they use a SiteGround Joomla template too, and one of the visitors even showed us her great recipe website that uses one of our free templates. Talking to people, who actually use our Joomla related services, was great. We tried to use each conversation to gain some understanding about their needs and we gained useful insights how we could improve our products and services even more.
And finally, apart from the numerous Joomla! fans we also had the chance to hear some of the thoughts about the future development of the project personally from some of the key players in the Joomla! community including the president of Open Source Matters (Paul Orwig) – the nonprofit organization standing behind the Joomla! project. This was a worthy experience too.
Our CEO delivered a presentation trying to answer the question “Is hosting Joomla! on shared hosting a really good idea?” and luckily, it generated quite a productive discussion. It seems that people were rather surprised with the test results of different hosting platforms Tenko revealed and as one of the attendees puts it “It really was an eye-opener to me, never thought shared hosting could ever be better than dedicated hosting at all.” If you’re curious to see the presentation itself, it’s available online here.
And a conference is never as good if it isn’t fun! And Joomla!Days Netherlands was definitely fun. One of the best parts was when we found a dart board in the bar and started playing a game that has been created by our software developers called Zombie Darts (we play it in the office quite a lot) and many people joined us in the game! They all enjoyed it so much that we’re now building a new website for the game and are getting ready to make it even more popular. It seems that Zombie Darts is going to be a thing! But you’ll have to wait for a while to learn all about the game till the website is ready for its big launch. To get some ideas what it is about you can read what one of the new Zombie fans writes about the game in his blog post about Joomla!days Netherlands. In short: “Zombi Darts involves hurting people, resurrection, turf wars, alliances, etc. It’s like darts, on steroids”.
So after all the talks, presentations, games, Dutch pancakes and beer, it was time to get back home. We’re glad we helped making this event happen and are looking forward to the next great event where we hope to meet even more great people and make friends! Which is the next event? I’ll let you know soon!
And now go check out some pictures from the event on our Facebook page!
The SG events ninja