Auckland WordCamp and “The Smell”

I went to my very first WordCamp yesterday at Auckland’s AUT and it was fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day: all the speakers were terrific, the people were incredibly friendly, and I learnt lots. It was a great turn-out with around 130 people all up.

I think my talk went reasonably well. The only downside was that not long after I began, a mysterious hydrogen sulfide smell permeated the entire room. It was so bad that I stopped my talk at one point and we all considered evacuating. Then a manager informed us that the air-conditioning system was malfunctioning. So I continued and as soon as I finished my talk, the smell vanished. Now everyone will associate my talk with the shitty smell. Oh well.

A couple of people tweeted pics:

Someone took a pic during my talk:

And I also got this pic with Kevin Trye, one of the organisers of the event:


I’m sure this will be the first of many more WordCamps for me.

17 responses to “Auckland WordCamp and “The Smell””

  1. Isn’t is winter in Auckland? Why do you need all that winter clothing and a scarf to protect yourself against the cold of the Airco? Can we read the blog tips from @billbennettnz somewhere?

    1. Bill Bennett’s tips were excellent and I think he’s going to put his slides on his web site – – but they’re not there yet. I can tell you what some of his tips were. These are quotes from his slides:

      * Write clearly, use understandable language, be unambiguous
      * Use simple words, grammar and sentences
      * Prefer Anglo-Saxon words to French or Latin ones
      * Go easy on adjectives and adverbs
      * Use lots of full stops
      * Keep sentences short, less than 20 words where you can. Less than 15 words is better
      * Paragraphs should be three to four sentences: 40 to 50 words

      He also quoted the mathematician Blaise Pascal:

      I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have time.

      It is winter in Auckland and when I say air-conditioning system, I presume it was blowing out warmish air rather than cold air. We were in a lecture theatre in the basement so it needs some kind of air-conditioning system.

  2. You look so relaxed and happy despite the smell.  That would have stressed me out big time.  

    Well done on the talk!


    1. Thank, Denise! It was lots of fun. I really enjoyed giving the talk, despite the smell.

  3. Now they have a trigger that will make them remember what you said, it’s not all bad. It could turn a gassy husband into an inspiration of sorts….just sayin’ LOL

    1. Yes, true. And on the plus side, I now get to say that mine was the shitty talk.

  4. Slides are coming. I just realised there’s no easy way to embed Apple Keynote slides in

    1. You can export the slides to a movie. Go to File > Export to > QuickTime. Then you can upload the file to Vimeo or YouTube or Cloudup, or something similar and then embed it in your blog. Let me know if you need help and I can do it. I have a copy of your slides 🙂

  5. Congratulations Rachel, sounds like it went well for you. The “shitty smell” just makes the event a more interesting and memorable story.

    1. Thanks, Susie. Yes, it’s always nice to be remembered even when it’s for the wrong reasons.

  6. … or the cessation of it 🙂

  7. […] for Automaticc (makers of WordPress and other products). She did really well considering the strong smell created by the faulty […]

  8. I, for one, was left with only a “happy” impression from your presentation, Rachel – thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Heather. That’s lovely to hear! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Glad to know it went well despite the smell. Congrats on your first WordCamp Rachel! (I made that rhyme on purpose 😉 )

    1. Thanks, Druesome. I hope your event goes well too!

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