Changing Priorities

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One of the motos engrained in me growing up is that you finish what you started. Not meant for silly little things, but anything with consequence. So, writing out the decision I came to two weeks back doesn’t come easy to me. But it’s time.

Let me explain.

I’d been co-organizer of WordCamp Netherlands 2009 and been lead for the 2010 and 2012 version. I saw the same group of WordPress friends there as well as across different WordCamps across Europe. Köln, Sevilla, and Porthsmouth were few of those WordCamps I went to, to name but a few. It dawned on me that the communities in most of the European countries were scattered, unaware of eachother. Long story short, I found in Zé Fontainhas someone who thought the same and we wanted to fix that. We found additional friends, got permission at the inaugural WordPress Community Summit in Tybee Island, Georgia in October 2012.

And then we got to organizing. I am, of course talking about WordCamp Europe. We held the first edition in Leiden and it was life-changing. Not just for me, but if I’ve learned anything as a general feedback from that first event, it’s that it kick-started various communities across Europe into high-gear. Exactly our goal.

All the Editions*

From that first one, which I co-lead with Zé, we quickly realized this was wanted, needed. Necessary, even. So, we quickly planned the second edition in Sofia (which I lead). And after that, I’ve been part of the organizing team ever since. The only exception was the Porto edition in 2022. I’m also not counting the online versions as they, to me, *had very little to do with my original goal: uniting the European WordPress Community.

For the 2023 edition in Athens, I was part of the Community Team and responsible for the Contributor Day. It was during the conversations I had on this day with some of the other WordPress oldtimers, hat tip to you Dan Maby, that something dawned on me…

Me Time

It was time for “me time”. It’s time for me to be a bit more selfish. I realised I’ve been giving a lot of time and energy for a little over 15 years into growing the WordPress Community. By organizing WordCamp Netherlands and WordCamp Europe. As well as a lot of stuff around that.

I came to the full conclusion that it’s time for me time. It’s time for me to focus on growing my business, my YouTube channel, my newsletter, and some other business ventures I’ve started like ScanFully.

There’s only so much time I have available, so something had to give. And as much as I want to continue to finish what I started, I’m also quite aware of the fact that I don’t control the direction of the WordCamp Europe project anymore. That in itself is fine. That means others have seen the intent, the movement, and jumped onboard.

So… all this to say, WordCamp Europe 2023 in Athens was the last WordCamp Europe I actively contributed to the organization. I am still organizing the 2023 WordCamp Netherlands edition. Not sure what I’ll do after that one, but yeah…

I’ll still be active in the realm of WordPress, in the community. Happy to MC or speak at WordCamps even, but yeah, pausing the time contribution.

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28 responses to “Changing Priorities”

  1. Shawn Hooper Avatar

    You’ve made a huge contribution to the community – both in Europe and on this side of the Atlantic too.

    Good on you for stepping back and taking time for you.


    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thanks, Shawn! Appreciate you stopping by with this comment.

  2. Torsten Landsiedel Avatar

    Thank you for all your time and efforts, Remkus! I was an attendee in Leiden, a volunteer in Sofia and a speaker in Berlin – what a ride. And how important for so many people and local communities – it has impacted so many.

    I feel you about your decision. I have co-founded a yearly youth media convention, lead it one time and helped for a decade. It is not easy to let it go, but at some time the project has its own life and new people are needed to push it further.

    Congrats to you for making this hard decision. On to new adventures!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thanks, Torsten. On to new adventures indeed!

  3. Xavier Avatar

    Nothing to do with the difficulty of learning Italian, thankfully 🙂

    I wish you a good me time!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Haha, no. I’ll still attend, and I still want to learn Italian for that and future usage.

  4. Monique Pielage Avatar
    Monique Pielage

    Thank you for all the effort you put in to WordPress in all the ways you contributed!

    Time for someone else to take the torch!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you, Monique

  5. Bernhard Kau Avatar

    WordCamp Europe 2013 in Leiden was the first outside of Germany for me, and it introduced me to the international community. So, a big thanks to you and all the other organizers of that first edition. In 2015, I first really thought about having it in Berlin, which in 2019 finally happened. I’ve also stepped down from organizing last year. For slightly different reasons, but I can fully understand your step.

    I’m wishing you all the best with whatever lies ahead. And I’m looking forward to my first WordCamp in the Netherlands … if we don’t count WCEU 2013 🙂

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you, Bernhard!

  6. Gtarafdar Avatar

    Hats off to you. Thanks a lot for your tremendous support to the WordPress Community. And focusing on self-growth is no harm. It’s mandatory, IMO. Thanks again.

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thanks so much, Gtarafdar.

  7. Wendie Avatar

    For me (like so many others) WordCamp Europe Leiden kickstarted so many amazing things and I am super happy and proud to be part of this community as well.
    Thank you for being the founder of a space where I could meet and be with like minded in a way I had never experienced before. It has been truly transformational.

    I hope you get to thoroughly enjoy your well deserved me-time!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you, Wendie

  8. Remkus Avatar

    Thanks, Meagan!

  9. Val Vesa Avatar

    I don’t really remember when we two first met, could have been WordCamp Netherlands in Utrecht? Maybe earlier… ‍♂️, but what an amazing friend I found in you and such a great buddy to share so many memories and common passions with!

    I 100% understand your decision and I share the same thoughts that led you to take this step.

    It is very liberating to see other extraordinary individuals picking up from where you started and taking the work forward.

    I am looking forward to meeting you at other events!

    Until then I’ll slide into your DM‘s

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thanks, Val! You are one of the treasures I found along the way. So happy you’re part of my life, brother

  10. Jaime Martinez Avatar

    I remember at WCEU Leiden when going for a WP-CLI dinner with Cristi Burca and we got invited at that dinner we walked into. That was the first time I met you and I’m glad we bumped into each other that moment (and all the other times we did afterwards).

    You did a magnificant job and enjoy putting that energy into yourself.

    Dank je wel Remkus voor alles, lekkere knuffelbeer van me!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you, Jaime <3

  11. Jeroen Rotty Avatar

    Dank voor al je werk en contribution!
    Big hugs!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Dankjewel, Jeroen!

  12. Saskia Avatar

    Hej Remkus!
    Thank you for giving the most precious you have for so long: your time!
    So I feel you when you decide to do „me time“. Enjoy! I am eager to see what‘s coming! Your newsletter and this blog are at least two „me time projects“ that I love very much 🙂
    You do not only do this for you, but you allow me to have my 30-40 minutes of „me time“ when checking out all those mentionings and resources you keep sharing every week!
    So again: thank you mate!!

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you, Saskia! 🙂

  13. […] of WordPress… Remkus de Vries shared about changing priorities from being a WordCamp organizer and a community player to focusing now on own business growth […]

  14. Rick Heijster Avatar

    We haven’t spoken live before, but I’ve been admiring your unselfishness at WordCamp Europe 2019 and 2023 and WordCamp Netherlands 2022 from a distance. And I am grateful for your efforts.

    I’m glad we still have your newsletter. I read it as soon as it drops in my mailbox.

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thank you for your kind words!

  15. Bego Mario Garde Avatar

    The first WordCamp Europe in Leiden was a blast. My kid still wears the t-shirt that I brought home from this unforgettable event. Since then I’ve visited a bunch of WordCamps, many which were co-organized by you. Time to thank you for all the work you have put into those events. It helped me to understand WordPress better and meet (or at least see) all those awesome people in person, who I only knew from the interwebs.
    After you lifted so many heavy weights for WordPress it gets time to change priorities. All the best for you future paths and perhaps we’ll meet somewhere again.

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Thanks for the kind words! And yes, I’m sure we’ll meet again as I will be attending plenty of WordCamps!

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