Meet our 2nd Keynote: Aaron Jorbin

On day 2 of WordCamp St. Louis, we’ve invited Aaron Jorbin to deliver a keynote talk on Why WordPress Works This Way. Aaron is a core committer to WordPress, and was perfect for the job.

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Aside from being a core committer, Aaron is from New York City, and is currently the CTO of Happytables. He has spoken at conferences around the world. He’s worked with Conde Nast, and worked on some well known websites like WIRED, The New Yorker, and Vogue.

An interesting fact for our beer fans, Aaron is an active user of Untappd, so you can follow along with him, or maybe catch a drink with him. If you’ve been wanting to meet him and talk with him, as an icebreaker, you might want to ask him what his favorite beer is.

Other interesting facts about Aaron:

  • He’s originally from Chicago
  • He’s Team Logan (Gilmore Girls reference)

Aaron’s describes his talk:

Ever wonder why WordPress approaches things the way it does? Or how something with so many contributors manages to hold together and grow, year after year?

Is there some quirk in the code, or the way we talk, that strikes you as, well, bizarre?

The single biggest strength WordPress can claim is not the user experience. It’s not the platform’s hundreds of contributors. It’s not even its phenomenally widespread adoption.

Nope. It’s the philosophies that underlie all that.

One benefit of those philosophies is a common trait of nearly all successful projects: A unified system for making decisions.

So let’s take a look inside the philosophies of WordPress core — and see how those principles guide the WordPress project.

From there, we’ll look at how defining philosophies in your own projects will make them better, too.

Don’t miss out on Aaron Jorbin’s talk, buy your WordCamp St. Louis ticket today!

 

New Feature of WordCamp St. Louis: Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything)

This year, at WordCamp St. Louis, we’ve added a session called the Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything), or the Open Discussion. We’ve kind of mulled around some ideas for names like “Ask Me Anything”, and Open Forum, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. 🙂

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The Casual AMA is where we start with a prompted topic, and then discuss it. After that topic is done, we have will allow the audience to ask questions. While most of our speakers and sponsors will be there, this is an opportunity to ask questions, answer questions, and anyone can do either. The goal is to not just get your questions answered, but also include everyone, and above all, add value to your WordCamp St. Louis experience.

This session was inspired by the open discussion session started with Russell Aaron, at the 2015 WordCamp Las Vegas conference. I spoke at WordCamp Las Vegas, and attended that session. I remember seeing how people felt that their questions were answered, and that even after the event, if they had more questions, they knew where they could go to get help.

The problem that I often see with WordCamps, and I’ve been to nearly 3 dozen over the last 6 years, is that there are people still walking away with questions they need answered. And as a side note, this isn’t just an issue at WordCamp, but an issue I’ve observed at other conferences outside the WordPress realm. We have new WordPress users trying to make heads or tails about how they can use WordPress, or make money with it. We’ve got experienced WordPress users wanting to know how to get over some plateau that their website has reached. We even have designers and developers wondering how to properly price their work, and even how to find work.

This is your opportunity to get your questions filled. It’s also your opportunity to answer what you know. The St. Louis WordPress community holds a wide variety of skills, and this session is here to showcase that.

In case you’re an introvert, and don’t want to ask your questions there, you can approach one of the organizers and hand us your questions, OR you can visit the Happiness Bar for some one-on-one help. You are even welcome to add your questions to the comments in this post.

Don’t miss out on sessions like the Casual AMA. It’s at 2PM on May 15th. Get your WordCamp St. Louis ticket today!

What To Bring to WordCamp St. Louis

When you attend WordCamp St. Louis, you may want to make sure to bring along a few things. It’s not much, but we get a a lot of questions about what to bring to the event. Below is a list of what to bring to WordCamp St. Louis.

 

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  • Pen and notepad – You will have a lot of notes to take. You may not catch them all, but you’ll certainly want to make some reminder notes so you can look for presenter’s slides. Also, it’s not a bad idea to use the notepad at the Happiness Bar (Help desk.) You may receive some really useful advice there.
  • Laptop (optional) – It’s not a requirement to bring your laptop, but if you prefer laptop to pen and notepad, then it will be ideal. Also, if you’re going to be needing help at the Happiness Bar, and need us to look at the backend of your WordPress website, you will need to have one. Please respect that our volunteer WordPress Happiness Bar experts are not obligated to log into your website, using their own equipment. This is mostly due to security reasons, especially if you’re bring a security issue to our attention.
  • VPN (optional) – If you’re concerned about using the WIFI at Washington University, and need something a little more secure, you may want to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network.) A VPN is not expensive, and allows you to surf a little more safely at events.
  • Cell Phone – You’ll want to keep it on silent, but you can certainly take pics of your friends, speakers, presentation slides for your own notes, or tweeting about the event.
  • Your Questions – Don’t be shy. Use that pen and notepad to write some of those WordPress questions that you’ve been wanting to know. It could be developing, blogging, marketing, SEO, or anything between. We’ve made sure to bring in people knowledgeable in many areas. Let us help you!

We may have extra pen and paper at the event, just in case you forget to bring the first item on this list. If you have any questions about items you want to bring, and wonder if they are permitted, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask.

In the mean time, don’t forget to buy your WordCamp St. Louis ticket!

Special Guest John A. Russo

WordCamp St. Louis is always trying to make the Camp as exciting and interesting as possible for everyone involved and this year we’ve gone above and beyond.  We’re super excited to announce that we have a very special guest joining one of our sessions. Director and screenwriter John A. Russo will join our own Danielle Tillis during her session for a live interview.

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Mr. Russo is most widely known for the 1968 horror classic film Night of the Living Dead. He has performed multiple roles as an actor, most notably the first ghoul who is stabbed in the head in Night of the Living Dead, as well as cameos in There’s Always Vanilla and House of Frankenstein 1997.  You can see his full list of accomplishments on his IMDB page.

He is definitely not a typical WordCamp guest, and we’re honored for John to join us in our adventures. We hope you can join us in what is probably the first celebrity interview live from a WordCamp. Mr. Russo will also have memorabilia available for purchase and be available to sign autographs before and after his interview.

Meet your Podcasting panelists!

Edward Domain.

Edward is the founder and CEO of Techli.com.

A writer, U.S. Army veteran, serial entrepreneur and chronic early adopter, he worked for startups in Silicon Valley and Chicago and then founded, grew and successfully exited his own previous startup.

Now, Edward loves telling the tales of innovators everywhere. Follow him on Twitter: @EdwardDomain

Danielle Tillis. 

Danielle Tillis is the host of Hollywood Breakthrough Show. With the flexibility and open platform of WordPress, Danielle ignited her website to launch the well-received podcast it is today.

Danielle has interviewed some of the most talented people in the business, including

  • Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage;
  • Misan Sagay,  screenwriter of the film “Belle”;
  • Steve James, documentary film director of “Life Itself – Roger Ebert,”
  •  Reggie Rock Bythewood, producer of the film “Beyond the Lights,”
  • Kat White, Tony Awards Show producer of “Kinky Boots” & “Rocky on Broadway”;
  • John Russo, screenwriter of “Night of the Living Dead”;

And many more.

In every episode, you’ll get the inside story from screenwriters, directors, producers and entertainment industry professionals, as they share their inside perspective on everything Hollywood:

  • writing and filmmaking,
  • breaking into Hollywood and
  • navigating SHOW BUSINESS,

And the inspiring stories of how they finally achieved success!

Check out Hollywood Breakthrough Show on Itunes, Stitcher and the Google Play Store.

Also, coming soon! Danielle’s new podcast, Tech Descendant.

Steve Stewart.

Steve Stewart has been using WordPress for almost a decade to build his coaching business.

In that time, he’s released a podcast that regularly ranks in iTunes’ Top 20 for investing, and in 2014 his blog won Best Debt-Focused Personal Finance Blog.

While he truly lives on the internet, he calls St. Louis home.

Find out more about Steve at SteveStewart.me.

Kevin Harvell.

Kevin Harvell is a professional podcaster who’s accumulated more than 300+ episodes of hosting, co-hosting and production experience in his company, STL Tech Media.

What’s more, Kevin either hosts, produces or does both on these shows: 

He also loves to teach, sharing his passion for podcasting far and wide. He regularly speaks on the topic at technology conferences (like this WordCamp!) – and he recently started writing for Mobile Nations.

Dev panel: Meet your panelists!

Where in St. Louis can you find a bunch of WordPress core committers in one room and ask them anything you want?

Usually, nowhere.

But Saturday, right after lunch, you’ll have exactly that experience in our Dev Panel.

Scheduled for the big auditorium for now, it’s a chance to find out almost anything you want to know about code, Core and why things work the way they do.

Really!

A few highlights of the panel include:

Michele Butcher

Michele is an active member of the WordPress community with a broad range of experience including web site security, user support, site maintenance, and hosting.

She’s also a natural instructor, having been a featured speaker at several WordCamps. Find her at her website, cantspeakgeek.com, or on Twitter.

Mike Schroder

Known as Shredder to many, Mike Schroder is a cross-cultural kid, coffee-drinking sailor, and lover of Open Source.

By day he’s a WordPress platform lead at DreamHost; by night, and sometimes by day, he’s a Core Committer. In fact, Mike was the release lead for WordPress 4.5, which just happens to be the latest version of the core platform.

You can find him blogging on geeky things at http://getsource.net

Pippin Williamson

A WordPress plugin developer from Hutchinson, KS, Pippin runs PippinsPlugins.com,  the founding/parent company of Restrict Content Pro, Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP and many more.

He’s is the lead developer on those products as well.

Outside WordPress, Pippin loves for sour beer, home brewing and cycling.

Reach him on Twitter: @pippinsplugins

Your moderator: Joe McGill

St. Louisan Joe McGill, a web developer at our own Washington University, will moderate the panel.

An active WordPress contributor, Joe helped lead the new respsonsive image feature in WordPress version 4.4, which came out this past winter.

Find him on Twitter: @joemcgill.

 

More panelists are still to be added, so check back and don’t forget to grab tickets.

After Party Announcement

We’re excited to announce that this year’s WordCamp St. Louis after party will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Fox Sports Midwest Live! at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis. According to Ballpark Village’s website:

FOX Sports Midwest Live! is the central gathering place and entertainment plaza of Ballpark Village with two levels and 20,000 square feet of entertainment market space. With a world-class audio and video presentation spanning over 1,200 sq ft of HDTV, including a 40 foot LED, St. Louis sports fans get one of the best sports-viewing experiences in the country. This is the place to be year round with a 100 foot long retractable glass roof, one of the largest of its kind in the country, fans can enjoy the nice weather during warmer months. The venue includes, a stage for live concerts and performances, LED ribbon boards circling the entire space, a 200 seat restaurant and VIP lounge area.

There will be drinks, networking and good times to be had by all. Check back for more information as it becomes available. We hope to see you there!

Meet our Keynote: Chris Lema

We’re really happy to announce that Chris Lema is one of our keynotes at WordCamp St. Louis 2016. For our 5th WordCamp for St. Louis, we wanted it to be extra special, and what better to do that then have Chris Lema be a keynote!

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Chris is from San Diego, California. He is a public speaker, and a product stategist. He’s also a daily blogger at ChrisLema.com. He’s also a dad, who have gotten his family to blog too! 🙂

Chris has become an inspiration to the WordPress community as a whole, especially in drawing them together. When he presents, he weaves a story that many can relate to.  His talks at WordCamps and other conferences, leave you thinking on how you can apply his concepts to your own business.

He’s also an inspiration to bloggers, proving that you can blog daily, still work, and still have time for the family.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed every talk he has done. One of my favorite quotes from a past talk by Chris, is “Hope is not a strategy.”

Chris will be speaking on The Future of WordPress & Where You Fit In. He describes his talk as:

There’s always a risk that the technology you invest in will disappear. WordPress as a product requires WordPress as a community to ensure a long future. Come hear Chris’ perspective on how what’s good for us is good for WordPress. Your future awaits.

He will also be a part of the Business panel on Day 2. Chris makes himself very available, so if you have some questions, you’re in luck!

We look forward to having Chris Lema at the event, and we think you will too.

If you haven’t gotten your WordCamp tickets, please don’t miss out on Chris Lema’s talk, as well as the awesome speakers on our schedule. Get your WordCamp St. Louis tickets today!

What is WordCamp?

We’ve received a few questions asking “What is WordCamp?”. For those that are curious, directly from the WordCamp Central site:

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress, the free and open source personal publishing software that powers over 75 million sites on the web.

WordCamps come in all different flavors, based on the local communities that produce them, but in general, WordCamps include sessions on how to use WordPress more effectively, beginning plugin and theme development, advanced techniques, security, etc. To get an idea of the types of sessions typically seen at WordCamps, check out the WordCamp channel at WordPress.tv.

WordCamps are attended by people ranging from blogging newbies to professional WordPress developers and consultants, and usually combine scheduled programming with unconference sessions and other activities. For more information on common WordCamp elements, read about what to expect at a WordCamp.

WordCamp St. Louis Speakers Announced: Round 2

WordCamp St. Louis is only weeks away, and we’re rolling out more speaker announcements.

Please check out our next set of speakers, and please do follow them on Twitter.

There’s a couple Twitter handles missing, but as soon as we find out, we’ll edit and post those.

We’ve also published our tentative schedule so you can see what will be covered.

If you haven’t already bought your tickets, you’ll want to buy now.