Speaker Slides, Notes, and Flotsam

I hope you’ve had a chance to recover from WordCamp Portland (in a good way)!

We’ve asked our speakers to let us know if they have notes, links, slides, or other resources that accompany their talks. Here’s what they’ve shared:

  • The Art and Science of Premium – Shane Pearlman: Slides
  • Blogging as a Platform – Kiersi Burkhart: Handout / Slides
  • Don’t Put That In Functions.php! (Or, How to Write A Basic Plugin) – Kailey Lampert: Slides
  • How to Blog Every Day – Laura Kimball: Slides / Resources
  • How to Build a Professional WordPress Business – Grant Landram: Slides / Photos
  • How to use WP-Cron – Ben Lobaugh: Slides / Code / Tutorial
  • Questions You’re too Embarrassed to Ask – Eric Mann: Slides
  • Why We Click Publish: Advocating for User-Centricity through Interaction Design – Taylor Dewey: Slides

One more thing…

So…about that “To be announced” portion of the schedule. Ready for something cool? 🙂

Matt Mullenweg is coming to WordCamp!

On Saturday, right after lunch, we’ll have a 1-hour Town Hall Q&A with Matt. Come with questions, come to listen, come to have a great time.

For those fresh to WordPress, Matt is the co-founding developer of WordPress and the founder of Automattic, purveyors of fine web goods like WordPress.com.

Earlier this month he gave the State of the Word at WordCamp San Francisco. He talks there about how far WordPress has come and where it is going in the next year. Whether you are new to WordPress or a seasoned veteran you’ll enjoy that talk. You may even think of a couple of questions to ask him on Saturday.

We still have some tickets left for Saturday so grab one while you can! The $20 ticket gets you a full day of WordCamp awesomeness, a BBQ lunch, coffee, Whiffies, beer, and a WordCamp pint glass. It also gets you to the Dev Day on Sunday if you want to hack with other local WordPress developers. Yes, all that for $20! Register today.

See you on Saturday!

Meet Three More Speakers: Zack, Laura, and Robert

Let’s meet our remaining three prescheduled speakers.

Zack Tollman

Zack TollmanWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
Since joining 10up last September, WordPress and I are going steady. As a Senior Web Engineer with 10up LLC, my day job involves building everything from basic blog sites to complex WordPress implementations to mentoring developers. If that is not enough, I am usually spending time in evening and weekends working on plugins, core contributions, or writing about WordPress.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
I am a big fan of Scribu’s Posts2Posts plugin. As the name implies, the plugin gives developers the ability to easily relate one post to another post or posts. Post relationships is an extremely powerful concept that makes structuring data in custom WordPress implementation more flexible. This is a feature that is lacking in WordPress and Posts2Posts excellent fills this void.

Beyond the technical offerings of Posts2Posts, I think it is “neat” because it is a user contributed plugin (albeit from a highly involved Core Contributor) that adds a capability that WordPress does not have. It is a fundamentally important feature that can be provided via non-Core code because WordPress is open source. I only hope that some day this code, or code that serves a similar function, is someday integrated into WordPress Core.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Absolutely! One of the more recent mistakes I made was while developing a plugin that automatically Tweets posts in a specified category to specified Twitter account, I imported the Theme Unit test data and it attempted to Tweet every post to my test Twitter account. I set the Tweet to be published when a post is published, forgetting that when posts are imported, the “publish_post” hook is executed. Fortunately for me, I had set up a test account on Twitter for this work and the damage was minimal. This experience reminded me that it is SO important to be aware of the context in which hooks are executed. Hooks can sometimes run at times that you do not expect. As such, it is important to test for context in a hook’s callback function. Additionally, when using an unfamiliar hook, it is important to carefully examine how and when the hook is executed in WordPress Core in order to mitigate collateral damage from an errant function execution.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Community. Community. Community. WordCamps are all about being and engaging with the community. I find inspiration, motivation and friendship from every WordCamp that I attend. I have no doubt that WC PDX 2012 will deliver in that regard.

I am also looking forward to getting a killer pint glass 😉

Laura Kimball

Laura KimballWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
We have a casual, open relationship even though WordPress and my blog, lamiki.com, have been going steady for the past two and a half years.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
I’m a huge fan of WordPress.com Site Stats from Jetpack. As a blogger, how people find my site and what they’re looking at is super important to me. And the best part is I can access that information without leaving the dashboard of my site.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Once I gave in to WordPress’ request to update my site and it took the entire site down. I have no idea what I did, which was probably the problem, and the worst part was it was on a night that I was posting a new blog and a lot of people were looking. Luckily my husband knew more than I did and was able to fix whatever I did without too much damage.

I love all of the plug-ins and how you can customize WordPress. But when it comes to things like updating the database, I now lean on some friends who have more WordPress-tech-chops than I do.

Also don’t do any major changes to your site if you are doing something major like blogging every day for a month straight or launching a campaign.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I’m looking forward to meeting the Portland-area WordCampers and listening to the other presentations. Not to mention the beer. J

Robert Rowley

Robert RowleyWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
“It’s complicated” would be what I’d put up on my Facebook wall. I focus on helping educate the WordPress community on security matters, while my work has me supporting and helping secure tens of thousands of installs it is the WP community that I enjoy interacting with the most.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
On a site, there are far too many to really have a favorite. However with technology, the recently released wp-cli tool makes me very happy.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Yes, oh my yes. Never forget about or ignore your site(s)! You know why 🙂

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I only hope to have a good time with some good people, if I can help one more person secure their site then that would be superb.

Speakers Taylor, Eric, and Justin Answer Some Questions

Continuing our get-to-know-the-speakers-a-bit series (previous incarnations are found here and here), today we hear from Taylor Dewey, Eric Mann, and Justin Sainton:

Taylor Dewey

Taylor DeweyWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
It’s pretty chill. We’re profesional colleagues and even though we work together 40 hours a week, we’ll still get together on the weekends and talk shop over a good microbrew.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
I think that the community working on core does some of the coolest things with WordPress. While that seems like I side-stepped the question, the power of custom post types, the proliferation of featured images (along with other optional theme functions), and the mockups in trac for the upcoming media editor are what make it possible to keep doing neat things in WordPress.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
When I started making websites, I made them by myself, in a bubble. Only recently have I started getting frequent code and design review from my colleagues. The difference this makes is astounding. I’ve learned a ton and my code and design has dramatically improved.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Aside from making sure my first WordCamp presentation goes well, I convinced my sister — a profesional journalist — to attend, so I’m excited to see her there. One of WordPress’ strengths is its community; I’m proud to be introducing someone to it.

Eric Mann

Eric MannWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
I use WordPress for my own websites and develop projects for various clients in both the private and public sector. Since I don’t develop with PHP for a living, writing code (plugins and patches) for WordPress helps me keep my skills fresh and makes me a better developer with multiple languages.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
I’ve seen so much amazing work it’s really hard to settle on just one. But I’ve seen amazing, interactive single-page websites built on WordPress that don’t require any code knowledge to maintain. Building a stellar site and allowing the end users to just write rather than hack PHP/HTML is fantastic!

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Once upon a time, I was really concerned with proactively dealing with bugs for my users. To try to gather statistics, I built a small XML-RPC system into each of my plugins and had them phone home back to my server. This let me gather accurate statistics on plugin versions, WordPress versions, PHP versions, etc. It also let my plugins contact me immediately when something broke so I could fix it and email the site owner once things were back up. On the one hand, it was an awesome diagnostic tool for me. On the other hand, it was a huge security hole in all of my systems … and it was eventually exploited by someone who happened to browse my source.

I’ve long since ripped out all of the code, but I learned a huge lesson about data privacy, data security, and user trust in the process.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Networking. I used to come to WordCamps looking for incredible new code and great new ideas, but I’ve realized those things come out all through the year – not just at WordCamp. While I’m sure there will be a lot of groundbreaking work presented (or just going on during the dev/hack day), I’m coming more to meet the people doing the work and to make new friends.

Justin Sainton

Justin SaintonWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
I’ve been using WordPress as a CMS for clients since early in 2007. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much only worked with WordPress – there’s nothing else I’ve encountered quite like it. I made my first core contribution in the 3.3 cycle and I’ve been hooked ever since. The relationship could and should be aptly described as an impassioned love affair.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
Lots of interesting stuff out there these days! I always see something creative coming from Brad Williams and their crew, whether it is iPhone apps or Facebook apps or Zombies built with WordPress – GameFroot from Dan Milward and the Instinct guys down in New Zealand is off the charts. And I think the Group Deals plugin we put together is pretty spiffy. Also incredibly impressed with Scott Taylor’s work at eMusic. Not to mention some of the VIP work from the guys at 10up. Just so, so much out there that is super neat.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Probably on a daily basis 😉 I think I share in most developer’s angst when I look at code I’ve written that is even as recent as 6-12 months old. Very early on (Probably 2007 or 2008) – I’d build themes for clients by simply replacing the contents of the themes/default folder. Don’t do that. Bad idea. I won’t beat the child theming/upgrade path horse. But seriously, don’t do that. Also, use esc_url_raw() when using URIs with the WP HTTP API. Lots of mistakes, I’ll send an alphabetical list.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Honestly? I just want to see what my local scene is like. I’ve spoken at nine or ten WordCamps, all around the world, in the past couple years – but this is my first time in Portland. And I live an hour away. That’s totally unacceptable. Best I can tell from Twitter, we have probably the best local WordPress scene in the entire world (fighting words!), so I’m really, really stoked to get to meet some of the other brilliant people from my own backyard.

A First-Timer Talks About WordCamp Portland 2011

Last year was the first WordCamp for Sara Tetreault of GoGingham.com; we asked her to tell us about her experience as a newcomer to WordCamp who had never participated in unconference before. Not only did Sara enjoy the event, but she ended up leading a session as part of a panel, and is now on WordPress.tv!

Last year, at WordCamp 2011, I attended my first WordCamp conference. It was also my first “unconference” style conference. Being someone who thrives on organization and scheduling (hey, I’m a mom, what do you expect?), I wasn’t sure what an unconference conference might look like. I was also fairly new to blogging and to the WordPress community. I’m always happy to learn from others and this conference gave me the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals as well as share what had been my experience and what I had already learned.

With launching my lifestyle blog, Go Gingham, and seeing first-hand how linking and marketing work, I was able to share my knowledge with folks who were just launching their blogs and getting started. The conference also gave me an opportunity to meet and connect in person with other local bloggers. This  inspired me to start a monthly, local blogger meet-up, based around our common interest – WordPress.

The best part about conferences is getting to meet and connect with folks in person. Sharing, collaborating, and helping one another really embodies WordPress and what these conferences are all about – regardless of the conference style.

Thanks to Sara for sharing your experience. I wonder what other first-time WordCamp attendees will be saying on August 19? We hope you join us next Saturday to meet, learn, and connect about WordPress!

Robert, Kailey, and Grant: More Answers from More Speakers

A couple days ago we shared some WordPress insight from a few of our speakers. Today, we continue with three more:

Robert Wagner

Robert WagnerWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
I currently manage and/or write for about 26 WordPress sites, most of them self-hosted but a few at WordPress.com as well. I’m also in the middle of 5 different new WordPress-based projects for various clients. The last time I used anything else was 2008 and I did so very reluctantly.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
My favorite WordPress project was the site I built for pdx.fm, my Internet radio and podcasting network. I used WordPress MU (back when it was still WordPress MU) to create about 70 separate blogs so that each podcast host had their own unique presence within our organization. Watching each host do different things with their respective blogs was quite a fun and enlightening experience.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
I doubt that I’m unique when I say that I’ve more than once made the mistake of editing Twenty Ten without making a child theme first, only to have a WP update eliminate all my hard work. The runner up was when I installed a site with the admin password of “password” – it was hacked within about 3 minutes.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I’m hoping to find new and better ways to blog via mobile devices and tablets, something I’ve been unable to do effectively myself so far. Also, I could stand to sit in on some design sessions, I feel rather rusty lately.

Kailey Lampert

Kailey LampertWhat’s your current relationship with WordPress?
We get a long wonderfully. Big or small, WordPress is my go-to CMS for any site that I need to build, and with every site I come away with at least one awesome code snippet to add to my repository.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
Slightly biased, I’m pretty proud of alfredthe.me.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Don’t forget to turn off privacy mode.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Since I don’t like beer, I’m looking forward to learning new tricks. Anytime I can make my code better, I’m happy. And I guess meeting new people would be pretty cool too 😀

Grant Landram

What’s your current relationship with WordPress?
I own and operate FreshMuse, a small design and development shop that works exclusively with clients using WordPress as their CMS.

Grant LandramWhat’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
It’s hard to give an omniscient answer since so much of the web is built with WordPress, however the most recent tool that we use and love is http://wpremote.com, a FREE plugin/hosted service for monitoring and backing up all your WordPress installs.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
How about a million? After enough years of working with WordPress it’s safe to say we’ve probably seen it all. One of the more learnable mistakes has been the continued struggle of theme lockin, and how it relates to client sites as they change over time. I hope to touch on this topic in my talk, but our general take away is to be very thoughtful in the planning stages of any project about what features may carry forward into the next generation of a site/product, and not arrogantly assuming that our build/design will last forever.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I’m really looking forward to many of the other featured presentations, as well as sitting in on the un-conference portion of the event to see what sort of ideas the general audience is interested in. It’s also always fun to connect with other WordPressers that live elsewhere in the country that you chat with online regularly but seldom get to chat with face to face. See you all in PDX!

Unconferencing the Conference

Our unconference coordinator, Cami Kaos, explains:

This year’s WordCamp Portland has two unconference times in addition to the speakers we’ve chosen in advance.

What’s that? “Unconference, what?” you say? I suppose for some of you an unconference explanation may be in order, after all the first time I saw the term I was in bed browsing twitter on my laptop and thought, “An unconference? That could be anything. I’m unconferencing right now.”

But I was unconferencing by myself. It’s an entirely different experience when you’re surrounded by a couple hundred other conference-goers with interests that align with your own. So what exactly is an unconference?

It’s a meeting or conference driven by its participants. That means the conference organizers have to let go on the reins a bit so the attendees can decide what the sessions will be. For two of the time blocks (and in all of our available rooms) we’ll have unconference sessions instead of preordained speakers. What will the sessions be about? Anything. As long as it’s WordPress or blogging related. Development, design, content creation? It’s up to you because…

You give the talk. Or lead the discussion group. Or the workshop. Have something to say at WordCamp but didn’t get your talk submitted in time? It wasn’t selected? Just realized you have a burning WordPress idea you want to share with others? Well then you’re just the person to lead an unconference talk. Show up early with your talk or discussion in mind because…

An unconference isn’t unscheduled. By the time you arrive at WordCamp we’ll have an unconference board ready to go. First thing in the morning attendees will propose and select the sessions, with a little help from the unconference coordinator where needed. By the time the first talk of the day starts we’ll have everything arranged so attendees can keep all the sessions in mind while planning out their schedules for the day.

Between the carefully selected speakers, unconference sessions, and the camaraderie that always comes with WordCamp, I’m sure this year’s event will be one to remember. See you all soon!

Ben, Kiersi, and Shane: Three WordCamp Speakers Answer Our Questions

We posed some WordPress and WordCamp questions to our speakers. Here’s what Ben, Kiersi, and Shane had to say:

Ben Lobaugh

Q: What’s you current relationship with WordPress?
WordPress and I have been together since 2004. Back then it was just a blogging platform, but with 3.0 I started putting clients on it as a CMS. Today I work for one of the premier WordPress development shops in Seattle, FreshMuse. At FreshMuse I am Head of Development and get the privilege of overseeing great projects and interacting with one of the most fun open source communities out there. I also co-organize the Seattle WordPress Meetup and organize the Seattle WordPress Developer Meetup.

Ben LobaughWhat’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
There are so many things to chose from, but I think when I saw a project using WordPress as a central knowledge base for a niche industry I was most amazed. The site was editable by anyone whom the community deemed trustworthy enough to send a user invite to. All content creation was done on the front end and to top it all off an API was freely available to tap into the knowledge through JSON feeds.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Yes! So many! My favorite mistake was when I was the guru teaching a group of non-WordPress developers (some completely new to development actually) how to create their first plugin. It was a simple shortcode that added two numbers together. After painstakingly going through all the code from scratch, live on a projector, I popped over to the front end to show them how it worked. It did not work. I spent 10 minutes pouring over the code, unable to find any bugs. Finally one of the attendees asked if the plugin was enabled. Moral of the story is, enable your plugins!

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I know several members of the Portland community, however I have never been to a WordCamp or Meetup in Portland. I am excited to come down and join the Portland community for this event. More than anything else I am excited about making new and stronger connections there and seeing how the Portland and Seattle groups can help mutually benefit each other.

Kiersi Burkhart

What’s your current relationship with WordPress?
Kiersi BurkhartI am a WordPress blogger, but I also handle all of my own webmaster duties. I like helping other budding bloggers install WordPress and I’ve done a bunch of customization on my theme.

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?
Hmm. Can’t think of one off the top of my head–but I sure would like to see a WordPress plug-in that can port my “currently reading” list over from Goodreads. I’ve seen some authors do this manually and it’s a great idea.

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Tag clouds. I think it works for certain kinds of blogs–tech journalism, perhaps–but for someone in a creative industry, including a tag cloud in your sidebar is just unnecessary clutter. Especially if you use a lot of tags, which I tend to do in order to improve my relationship with search engines. Opt for a list of categories, instead, which is more concise.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
Inspiration. Tips for others doing what I’m trying to do–write good headlines, bring in new readers, and keep those readers.

Shane Pearlman

What’s your current relationship with WordPress?
We’re pretty much an exclusive couple these days. I stopped dating other CMS’ around 2008. If I had to make a guess, 70-80% of our revenue comes from projects or products that are somehow affiliated with WordPress.

Shane PearlmanI’m on the team of a digital agency that has come to specialize in unique implementations of WordPress at scale. We get to work with really awesome brands like Gigaom, MTV, Make Magazine, Zillow, MIT and more. We’ve been contributing back to core and the .org plugin repo for years and have begun to convert those contributions into new streams of income. This year, premium plugins will make a noticeable fraction of our profits, which is really exciting!

What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen done with WordPress?

  • My mom creating content online without my help?
  • Rally a community to gather 200k just to tell someone who annoyed you to fuck off
  • Cross Posting across a huge MU network done right (ok maybe I haven’t seen it yet but I know it is possible)
  • Milward’s game engine
  • A live conference streaming platform to run 12 parallel session for a 5 day conference

Have you ever made a WordPress mistake that we could all learn from?
Assuming we can do anything with WordPress. After all, we can. But that doesn’t mean we should. As my buddy Reid often says “Wow, that’s a really cool idea guys. Tell me again, who is going to use it and how it is going to make money?” I deeply believe in the community and contributing to the open source (we do a lot). When considering WordPress as a profession, be strategic with how you spend your time.

What are *you* hoping to get from WordCamp Portland 2012?
I’d love to connect with premium themers who might be interested in collaborating on event themes. We know the demand exists.

Announcing Our Speakers

After processing a lot of speaker applications, I’m excited to announce that we have a great lineup of speakers for WordCamp Portland. We’ll share a bit more about these folks’ background and the details of their sessions as we get closer to the event, but here’s our list of session titles and speakers:

  • _doing_it_wrong: Improving Your Development Skills Through Examining Bad Practices – Zack Tollman
  • The Art & Science of Premium – Shane Pearlman
  • Blogging as a Platform: Making a Name For Yourself in Your Targeted Community – Kiersi Burkhart
  • Don’t Put That In Functions.php! (Or, How to Write A Basic Plugin) – Kailey Lampert
  • Frankenblog: Group Blogging with WordPress for Fun, Frustration, & Financial Gain – Robert Wagner
  • How to Blog Once a Day – Laura Kimball
  • How to Build a Professional WordPress Business – Grant Landram
  • How to Use WP-Cron – Ben Lobaugh
  • Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask – Eric Mann
  • Why we Click “Publish”: Advocating for User-Centricity through Interaction Design – Taylor Dewey
  • WordPress + E-Commerce = $$$ – Justin Sainton
  • WordPress Security 101 (and beyond) – Robert Rowley

In addition to these pre-planned sessions, we’ll have timeslots during the day available for unconference-style sessions to be organized by attendees on the day of the event. More information about the unconference will be shared as we get closer to WordCamp Portland.

You have already purchased your ticket, right?

About Those Speaking Proposals…

The WordCamp Portland organizing team got together this past week and made some hard decisions about who will (and won’t) be part of our lineup of featured speakers for this year’s event. We’re confirming things with our speakers and will be announcing the first set of speakers early this coming week, but here are some interesting stats about our speaker submissions this year:

  • 35 people proposed a total of 51 sessions
  • Of those 51 proposed sessions, 12 will be offered as our feature presentations
  • This means we had to turn down over 75% of the proposed sessions
  • 13 of the sessions (25%) were proposed by women
  • Of the 35 folks who submitted topics, about half (18) were from outside the Portland metro area.
  • Of the people selected in our initial round of speaker choices, about half are from outside the Portland metro area.
  • We asked potential speakers to identify the audience for their talks, offering them four choices. Of the 51 sessions, here’s how many times each choice was tagged for the potential audience (more than one audience could be identified per talk):
    • WordPress Beginners: 27
    • Experienced Bloggers: 19
    • Designers: 14
    • Developers: 29
  • Our program will be approximately 2/3 prescheduled sessions and 1/3 unconference sessions.