WordCamp hits Winnipeg this weekend, and it’s something to get excited about if you’re a person who works with websites. Statistically, 100% of people use websites, but statistically, only around 0.1% of people develop websites (according to 2006 Statistics Canada data). Of those, probaby half of them probably have used WordPress, or use it on a regular basis. (Recent data shows that WordPress has a 17% market share of websites in general.)
Is WordCamp in Winnipeg important? For one in a thousand people, yes. For everyone else, yes. It is a demonstration of how the ICT sector (Information and Communications Technology) does not discriminate geographically.
Unlike industries that are dependent on resources or trades for example, participation in the web development industry is worldwide, and the biggest competitive factors are cultural considerations and labour market costs.
Cultural considerations determine how likely certain customers are to buy services from certain demographics or geographic regions. Do people have comfort buying services from a Winnipeg based company, or are they suspicious? Do they have confidence in a Winnipeg based company? Do they find it easy to communicate ideas?
Labour market costs determine how well workers can compete, and how well service based companies can compete. How does Winnipeg’s labour market cost compare to Calgary? Toronto? San Francisco? Mumbai? Kiev?
The fact that WordCamp is here means that we have a healthy community that is participating in the global economy, and staying relevant and current. On the same day, there are WordCamps in Orange County, and in Transylvania. The following week there are other ones in Milwaukee and Seattle.
This doesn’t make Winnipeg unique, but it means we are definitely in the game, and we have moved beyond any imaginary barriers to worldwide relevance.