The First WooCommerce Meetup in Cape Town

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On 25 Feb 2015, I attended the first (of many to come) WooCommerce Meetup in Cape Town. The event was organised through the meetup.com group with the main topic for the evening being eCommerce in South Africa. Though, the events began with a comical note due to Meetup.com having issues processing online payments for an event focused on online payments, the joys of tech.

The event was held in the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town at the The Bello Studio which was a lovely venue with great art adorning the walls – great for striking up conversation and breaking the ice. Turn-out was brilliant, with almost 50 attendees.

Matt Cohen, Head of Product at WooThemes, lead the group through the WooCommerce Roadmap. There are some really exciting thoughts and ideas that Matty hinted at like WooCommerce SaaS (which he can, of course, neither confirm nor deny), but what he really did emphasis amongst his detailed vagueness was WooThemes core focus on Relationships, Partnerships, and Humans Helping Humans Succeed. This is a really brilliant culture that they are demonstrating.

Straight after Matty’s presentation (with Technical Genius assistance from Jeffikus) there was a panel discussion on eCommerce in South Africa which was moderated by PayFast‘s Werner van Rooyen. The Panelists were: Warren Holmes (WooThemes, CMO), Maximillian Kaizen (Speaker / Researcher), Bruce Lunnis (Code like Clockwork, Director), and Simon Smith (Kri8it).

The panel discussion was quite varied covering topics such as: consumer trust, payment gateway integrations, WooCommerce Hosting, Instant Fulfilment with Customers, the lengths WooThemes go to to humanize their products, the idea of clients coming to agencies as experts (so they have to behave like experts), different ways to create and maintain trust online, and Queen.

The audience were extremely diverse, all ages and people from many professions: from Store Owners, Entrepreneurs, Web Developers, Project Managers, Agency Directors, to Marketing Agents.

Halfway through there were awesome pizzas with drinks throughout (sponsored by PayFast), a spontaneous panel interlude by Queen playing from above.

All-in-All the event was absolutely brilliant (especially so for the first one in Cape Town) and further highlights were meeting Mark Forrester, co-founder of WooThemes, who is an absolutely down-to-earth and great guy, as well as Jeffrey Pearce, Woo Developer, also a brilliant guy who gave me some awesome development environment and app creation tips. Its great putting mugshots to humans (faces to the names).

Really looking forward to other meetups they have in store 🙂

Have anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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