WP MeetUp in the spotlight #2: Freiburg

Lucas Prigge, August 29, 2016

We have already met many of you in the different events organized in the WordPress community. Surely you have already seen our contributions to these events.

Unfortunately we can’t be everywhere. However, there are still many smaller meetings that are regularly organized with just as much dedication. That’s why they deserve a place in the spotlight – so that you know how to participate in the WordPress community near you.

Last time you got to know the Meetup in Nuremberg better. This time we’ll discuss a MeetUp that hasn’t been in existence that long. It shows us how strongly the community is growing, because it’s not the only new Meetup

We’re talking about the Freiburg Meetup that is actively looking for many new visitors. Let yourself be convinced by organizer Wolfram Lührig of WolfsPress, who tells you everything in this interview.

Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

I turned 52 this year and have been living in the Black Forest with my wife and six children since last year. It was a very spontaneous decision to leave our home in Braunschweig and to start anew. I used this move to make my dream come true, I started my own business and turned my hobby into my profession: WordPress Coach & Consultant.
In the meantime I can look back on almost 30 years of IT experience, as admin, user, programmer, trainer and in support. My studies of physics in Braunschweig started without a PC. Only three years later did I buy an 80286 and work with DR. DOS. Clipper was added as a compiler for dBase database applications.

How did you get in touch with WordPress?

At the beginning of 2010, I was looking for a way to display my digital pictures for my hobby of photography. It was not a digital picture frame, but the recently announced new iPad. That was also my entry into the social networks. At first I was a moderator of an iPad forum and was especially interested in the topic “iPad and photography”. Soon I was invited by a tech blog to participate as an author. This blog ran with WordPress. At the end of 2010 this blog was discontinued and I decided to transfer my articles from the work in the forum and blog to my own WordPress blog.
I immediately took the self-hosted WordPress and rented a web space for 39 cents a month. Since I wanted to run more blogs and this provider had only provided a database, I ran my WordPress from the beginning as a multisite (blog network).

What do you do professionally with WordPress?

As a WordPress Coach & Consultant I help my clients to run their WordPress website on their own. In the form of online meetings I train individually according to need and question, whether it is about the basics, how to set up a theme or which plugins are necessary and how to set them up and use them correctly. In the meantime there is hardly a topic that is foreign to me and it is also about shops, payment systems, online courses, member areas and the interaction of the components. The customers come to me with their ideas for their online business and I show them which technical possibilities there are and which solution could be the right one.
I also take care of the unpleasant technical details like installation, relocation or the technical support and maintenance of the website.

How did you become part of the community?

There was no WordPress meeting in Braunschweig and the surrounding area in 2014. Hanover was the only place to go and then I couldn’t get to Hanover after work. While preparing a presentation for the 12th Web Monday in Braunschweig, a meetup of web enthusiasts so to speak, I had the idea to start a WordPress Meetup myself. Everything a bit unconventional and without direct contact to the community or from wordpress.org. I called it “WordPress Meetup Region 38” because it was often used in the surrounding area and refers to the first two digits of the postal code (Braunschweig, Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Helmstedt and Salzgitter).

That’s how I really got in touch with the community and Frank Staude (Twitter), then Meetup Hannover, came to Wolfsburg for a talk. Then my first WordCamp at the beginning of 2015 in Cologne, where I was also a speaker and experienced my first Contributor Day. Although I had already worked a lot in WordPress forums, this was a basic introduction.

As soon as I arrived here in the Black Forest, I founded the Meetup Freiburg im Breisgau, because there was none here either. The start was a bit bumpy, but from September it should really start. On September 14th at Coworking Space Grünhof in Freiburg is the first meeting after the summer break. We meet regularly on every second Wednesday of the month. In September the topic security is taken up again and I introduce the plugin “All in one WP Security & Firewall”.

What did you learn from other events where you were a visitor or organizer?

Organizing has always been in my blood. As soon as I was able to surf, I was a sportsman and organized regattas. Then I learned to sail and as a skipper training I went on sailing trips. Or in the Pen & Paper role-playing game I was the game leader in no time. That was a thread running through my professional life and especially when I couldn’t do that, I changed jobs. I just enjoy doing the organization – more than just being there. The most important thing is that you dare to make it easy and quickly build a good network – communication!

What is the focus of the MeetUps in Freiburg?

There is no specific focus and a lot comes from the daily work and experiences of the participants. In the first Meetups we dealt with security issues and because of that we even had visitors from Nuremberg. Now I want to attract more participants and find comrades-in-arms who also want to give lectures. I already know this from Braunschweig, that at the beginning there is a break-in, a dry spell, until it is established.

What highlights can you mention or expect?

The visit from Nuremberg to the second Meetup was the most enjoyable for me, I hadn’t expected that. Now I’m hoping for stable growth so that we can get into the exchange.

Do you have any tips for other Meetup Organizers?

Network and don’t give up at the beginning. A Meetup was without participants and I just sat down in the next coffee and enjoyed the evening off, so don’t get frustrated. Apart from that, the exchange also showed that regularity is important and that topics are prepared and announced, which attracts the visitors more than anything else.

Finally, when is the next WP MeetUp Freiburg?

On 14 September.

Wolfram, thank you very much for introducing this new MeetUp. We recommend everyone to come by next time. You can sign up at meetup.com.

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