WordPress Geneva Meetup: 300+ members, 37 meetups

I’ve been watching the WordPress Geneva meetup group grow from strength to strength over the past 2.5+ years. The group recently reached the 300 members milestone and threw a party, with 50 people showing up to celebrate.

I created the group on meetup.com in May 2012. The first meetup was five people sitting on my terrace on a warm July evening, sipping wine and chatting about WordPress. The excitement was in the air.

wp_genevaThe group really took off in the fall of 2012, when Manuel Schmalstieg joined us. I was very fortunate to work with Manuel, who has been the main driver behind the group’s success. Not only has he been a frequent speaker, he connected us to HEAD (Haute Ecole d’Art et Design). Thanks to this connection, the group was finally able to host meetups at modern, fully-equipped (wifi, projector) locations close to the Cornavin train station.

A great location determined the group’s success. Being close to the train station meant that our meetups were attended by people coming from as far as 125 km away. Many members and even organizers travel to meetups from neighboring towns, such as Neuchâtel, Versoix, and Nyon, and as far as Lausanne and Thonon-les-Bains, France.

After moving from Geneva to Zurich in January 2014, I handed off the group leadership to Manuel, who now runs it with three other organizers, Patricia Brun Torre, Evren Kiefer, and Helen Yau. The team has not slowed down: frequent meetups continued, group members have been traveling together to regional events like WordCamp Europe and WordCamp Paris, and there are three events scheduled for March, expanding the group coverage to cities of Lausanne and Neuchâtel.

Congratulations, WordPress Geneva group, on reaching the 300 members milestones, and let’s see what year 2015 will bring!


Tess Warn: A dear woman who helped others until the very end


Tess Warn, a long-time WordPress.com forum volunteer, passed away. She will be missed.

Originally posted on jackie dana:

I just learned about the passing of an amazing woman who is no stranger to WordPress.com.

The lovely Tess Warn passed away a week ago.

I got to know Tess well during the two years I worked for WordPress.com, for Tess, known as 1Tess on the WordPress.com forums, was the one and only volunteer moderator on the English support forums where I also worked. She had earned that unique role for her consistently helpful and pleasant demeanor, and she was always constructive in her approach. As happens in most online forums, such traits are rare among the “regulars” and it was no different there. She was a compassionate and friendly voice that rose above the not infrequent sour notes. As a staff member, I couldn’t help but appreciate her contributions, and I occasionally reached out to her in private.

At one point Tess decided to take a chance and apply to Automattic as a Happiness Engineer. This would allow her to continue…

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Potatoes, radishes, beets

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

That’s me! After too many books on pregnancy, birth, and child development in the past four years, I picked up Jitterbug Perfume to re-read it after 10 years. It felt surprising — characters somewhat familiar, but I’ve forgotten the twists of the plot. And delightful — my English has certainly improved over the past decades so fewer puns are lost on me.

New Country Unlocked: Egypt

We arrived to our one-week holiday to be greeted by pouring rain. Apparently it was the first time it rained in more than a year. Sharm el Sheikh was clearly not prepared for this.

Tired after a mostly sleepless night of packing and a long flight, we piled our bags and kids into a creaky, dusty taxi. Kids in the laps, we were on our way.

The driver turned the windshield wipers on. The left one (on the driver’s side) stopped working before we were out of the airport parking lot. Okay… The right wiper was still on, and the driver could still see the not-so-busy road, sort of. It was going to be a short ride.

We pressed on. A minute later, the right wiper died, too. I guess those things just don’t get much use or testing in the Sinai desert.

We ended up completing the rest of our transfer with the driver sticking his head out of the left window while holding onto the driving wheel, going down the road slowly, indicator lights blinking. Those ten minutes lasted pretty long.