HighEdWeb 2019: Milwaukee in the fall is cold but we didn’t have that far to walk

On a train is how I arrived to ‘Cream City’ from Chicago, my near future home as of when I am writing this. I was in the windy city acquiring an apartment for the upcoming year as I move some things around in my life and it seemed really silly to fly between the cities when you can drive in less than 2 hours. It turns out you can take a train for $25.00 each way and it has free wifi good enough to read news and check email. This was the first time I had returned to ‘Brew City’, home of The Bronze Fonz was way back before this blog was a thing for WordCamp Milwaukee 2016. I forgot all about it until I got here and no old post to remind me how good it was in so many ways. I was excited for a few reasons but the biggest was this was my last scheduled talk and workshop for the whole year, which I was giving at HighEd Web 2019

Food and Fun

Before I dig into the day by day play by play, I need to tell you about the Polka Button. Yes, you read that right, a Push To Play Polka button. It does exactly what it says too. You push it, an announcer says what band and song and it plays that good time feeling music for all ages to dance to for a few minutes.

Saturday

I arrived a day early and not much was going on for event stuff but there seemed to be a natural gathering of folks at Miller Time Pub and Grill. I made my way there and immediately saw a few people I knew and raised a glass with them. It was also good to meet a few new people as well. I returned to this place a few other times, but this will be it’s only linked inclusion for the post.

Sunday

A late start to the day meant the day started with lunch. And what a lunchroom it was. The speakers and workshop attendees gathered in the Crystal Ballroom at the official convention Hotel, the Hilton, for a buffet of salad, soup and potato.

As the day ended with the Orientation, which I will discuss later under Sessions, we walked over to the “Welcome Reception” at the Milwaukee Public Market. This is a grand space with many vendors. It feels like someone went to Pike’s Place market in Seattle and rebuilt just the good parts in Wisconsin. I had too many different awesome things to name them all, but will cite the vegan ice cream from On The Bus as outstanding.

Monday

Unlike any other conference I have been to in my travels, this one offered a formal “let’s all sit down together” kind of breakfast experience. I had coupons all week for a special dietary meal which fed me tofu scrambles and many other delectable things. Meanwhile, others ate a lot of bacon. This conference is known for this apparently. The quality of the coffee was pretty good, so much so that I never even bothered to look at the tea selection too closely.

While I was surprised at the breakfast it did set expectations high for lunch and I have to say they delivered on it very well. Same as the breakfast, I presented my ticket and they brought me a soyrizo stuffed pepper that was mighty tasty.

One more time we gathered at Miller Time for an end of day relaxation drink and social hour.

And then we went to the unofficial party at Up-Down MKE, an arcade bar stuffed with well maintained classics, modern awesomeness and some rarities I have never seen in person ever before. The one that sticks out the most is a rare box called ‘Ice Cold Beer’. Giant Jenga and some other non-video cabinet games were around as well. A very good night overall.

Tuesday

Breakfast was as good on the second day as it was the first with another tofu scramble thing. Coffee was on par too. Lunch was a repeat mostly but with a pastry replacing the pepper. I like the idea of all eating together in one room and then having the next part of the day be in the same large room, as they did here if you look at the schedule. It feels efficient and keeps the whole conference going as one unit.

The big after party for the event, which they call the BIG SOCIAL EVENT took place at the Milwaukee Art Museum, one of the finest collections of modern art and most striking buildings on the planet. We were given free access to the exhibits and we had some light snacks, beer and wine. There was even a fireworks show for the event!

At the BIG SOCIAL EVENT, they had live band karaoke! They hired a band called “Live Band Karaoke Milwaukee” to do it. Everyone had an amazing time but we were not done singing for the night.

Karaoke Plane

Now, I have heard of this before and was supposed to crash it last year in Sacramento, but got sick and couldn’t make it over there from SF. This year I was the first singer singed up as people just started arriving and it was amazing! I wish every event I went to had this kind of group singing tradition. We gathered at the really cool spot Tavern at Turner Hall, which was super comfy and cozy but very large and accommodating at the time time. A remarkable time that ended only when the venue finally forced everyone out with the flood lights that bars use to shoo patrons.

Wednesday

Breakfast and coffee were repeats, but boy howdy was it great. At the end of breakfast they announced the Red Stapler Award winners who would have to give their talk again this day. This is a mixed thing. It is great to be honored for an award, but having to repeat a session when you are exhausted is just a chore. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I did not get one of these awards. It was right before the keynote, after the session has been represented, that they gave the actual Red Staplers out. Lunch followed and that ended the day and the event for me.

Sessions

Orientation

There was a very friendly and welcoming orientation session where I learned about half the people attending were also first timers. I wish more events had these type of welcoming sessions. It really made me feel more connected and less like an outsider as this was my first HighEd Web as well.

Escaping the Data Doldrums: Transforming basic analytics into holistic data-driven decision-making
Sean Flynn

This was a very no-nonsense talk about collecting real data into reports for deciding on actions. Sean laid out very succinctly what tools he uses and why. Striving for automation is great, but striving for automation of meaningful reporting is the best. He also addressed SMART goals, like a few others did as well, which I love and think we should talk about even more. The second half of the talk, about how to wisely use the data is the real star of the talk though. Just having data means nothing if you can’t connect it with how people receive data and act on it. He ended on an XKCD joke, so this talk got my highest praise in my evaluation.

Raw Notes:
not about coding today
What covered
building foundation-ally sound analytics Building Data infused decisoin making culture
data can’t tell you what you strategy should be
without data we are working in the dark,
we should drive the process
Lot of unreacted data today
data sources
GA/Tag manager
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Social Media Sources
G/A Basic web analytics
event tracking via GTM
ecommerce tracking for a giving site
Twitter Analytics
export data button to get a CSV
FB has data export function as well, but exports excel, not CSV
Automated Instagram reporting
they ended up running the school’s LinkedIn account
turned out LinkedIn is most engaged audience
Salesforce marketing Cloud
emails – sends deliveries, etc
does require some manual, not 100%
URL builder
UTM tagging – without this working, not as useful data
dev team built a UTM building tool, made it way easier to track links once made easy
Reporting?
they started in hand typed Adobe inDesign docs
weekend to build it
no automation of daily entry, no auto comparisons
hard to read and no real insights exposed easily
Meet Google data studio
Rapid visualization and reporting
eam based permissions
easy rapid visualization
examples of output
tiny.cc/heweb19tea1
advancement.wm.edu/analytics
Social summary gives very clear view of which platform most engaged, LI
tracking texts vs calls
Data cleaning is the most important and most time consuming step manually
pt. 2
Building a Data Infused Culture
culture change is hard and frustrating
Basic analytics flow
communications->visitors->reported
In reality
stale comms strategy
frustrated audience
data
never ending meaningless reporting-> frustration
what is missing?
institutional support, stakeholder buy in
data infused decision making
this is the feedback that improves and closes that loop frustration turns to improvements
but how did they get there?
Slow uphill climb, no easy answers

  1. analytics subject matter expert (SME)
  2. build rapport with colleagues, TRUST builds everything
  3. aim for small victories early, then build on them – small stuff builds trust
  4. set SMART Goals
    becoming the SME
    immerse yourself in data
    admit when you don’t know things
    prize credibility above all – if you’re not sure say so. if you need more time to give good answer, say so
    saying you don’t know, when you don’t know, builds trust
    Build rapport
    seek first to understand, then to be understood
    You need to know both analytics and your colleagues missions and priorities
    Get people on your side informally reaching out to friendly colleagues
    sit in on meetings, the more you know the better
    Aim for small victories
    in early days especially: limit scopes of your projects
    clearly define scope and terms of success/failure
    A/B testing small web design changes (use Google Optimize)
    story of breaking button on mobile, hurt donations
    find easy visible wins that don’t break things
    build on small tings
    SMART goals
    email example
    email is primary communication tool
    they wrote a LOT more email than they thought they did
    only started tracking
    most people about 127 times
    179 most
    just from advancement.
    raised 4.7 million through online giving, email solicitation
    if increase overall click rate
    not an easy sell not achievable
    data suggested sending less emails
    can’t just cut emails in half
    seems right but not a SMART goal now
    efficiencies
    combine emails
    consider alternative channels
    aggressively segment emails based not just on affinities, but on previous response to emails and drop highly responsive and non-responsive alumni
    example homecoming emails
    Pitfalls to avoid:
    Discovering huge issues and being overwhelmed and taking on too much
    suppress the urge to shout your discoveries from the mountaintop, be methodical
    You’ll know your data better in a year than you will in those first few months, even better after 2 years
    Change takes a long time and dedicated effort
    XKCD tornado app example

From Colleagues to Collaborators: How Building Relationships Can Pave the Way for Sustainable Change
Marissa Gentling

At the heart of her talk, full of examples of her methodologies in action, she breaks down 4 types of stakeholder and client. I have not hear of these 4 groups before, but it makes a lot of sense. The groups are The Enthusiast, The Investigator, The Loyalists (aka The Confused), and The Challengers. Her slides are a better resource for this than my scant few notes but I would love to dive into this theory more.

Raw Notes:
400 hours of video uploaded to FB every minute
1/3 people use FB
Credibility of trust
trust turns colleagues into collaborators
MCCMS
Mayo School of Medicine
10,000 applicants – only 250+ students in program
120 programs in allied health science training programs
school fo continuous professional development
4,000+ in school
97 countries
all 50 states
new site
old one: little to no images
text is generic and not conversational
duplicate content
lacks visual appeal
new one:
we work with you
new documentary style hero images
text is conversational
CTA buttons
Consolidates pages to eliminate duplication
have you ever heard: ‘Just put this on the web’
it does not work with the site
She had a request who explained down to her how web worked
read between the lines
understand the needs of and goals of both internal and external customers
start with what is important
Who are customers
internal
colleagues goals
external
anyone using the site
target audience
why web governance
hands in different directions square vs circle
same directions easy
Franchise meets mom n pop
franchises are all about trust, same experience no matter who runs it
web services ‘mcdonaldized’ standardized services and templates
‘mom-n-popinized’ the delivery
so what now
some people don’t care or just lack understanding
some people work just different
basic principles of change management
make connections/build relationships
use evidence and data to support recommendations
people don;t buy what you do, they buy why you do it
start with why they should do or want something
trust brings change
bust how to build trust if time is limited or scarce resource?
and what about the skeptics?
Kendall Lee example
her customer
another one made first successful face transplant
types of customers
the enthusiast – dive into research to show how things improved
Investigator – questions validity
Loyalists (aka confused)
Challengers
How to know?
see her slides for example emails from each
which one are you?
learn how you: absorb info, make decisions, give feedback and receive it
Establish Credibility
provide evidence be authentic
be human
Share the what
Share the processes and policies establishes for the website
with Leadership
internal intranet site
lunch and learns (buy it and they will come)
one-on-one consults
want it right the first time, easier once they know
be open to new idea
nothing is permanent

Once Upon A Time, I Wrote My First Hello World
Elyssa Naval

As someone who does not read session descriptions too closely ever, I really thought this was going to be a talk about her life journey to being a web developer. It kinda was, but in all reality it was a talk about cognitive bias and how to deal with it. Many a good take away from the talk but the one that distracted me while she was talking was her talking about Userinyerface.com which you should open in a new tab, otherwise you might not remember to come read the rest of this.

Raw Notes:
last year at California State Railroad Museum
Found a wall full of index cards with questions
she wrote down she wanted to be a SME on web design
working towards that goal
Curse of Knowledge
cognitive bias assumes they know same background knowledge
learning to cook with her dad
knife skills
measurements
Dad just tried to say ‘just to taste’
not great way to learn
Can you guess the song? (exercise with drumsticks)
Tapper and Listener study
1990 study listeners on;y guessed on;y 2.5% of songs
3 out of 120
before the guesses, expected 50%
real was 1 in 40
hearing the music in your head
Jargon
words and phrases particular group
hard to learn because you don’t know the background info
sister wanted to “Buy a developer”
she was talking about beauty supply
project needs and requirements get messed up due to project vocabularies misaligned
importance of MVP and feedback project
swing analogy
donut analogy
analogies work because they use things we know
Empathy Gaps
Are we really designing for the users
client vs user view
Userinyerface.com
Option A Option B “click the red button”
aditus.io button contrast checker
Developer Tea podcast
Learning is the core activity of a developer
no perfect roadmap but there are a few good Web Developer Roadmap out there
be proud of your skills
think about what you have learned
hello world

Get. Stuff. Done.
Day Kibilds

This talk was all about optimizing how you do some of the basic things in office life, like keep notes in a sane fashion and how to actually, without as much pain as it sounds, schedule meetings with any number of people. This one also won a Re Stapler and was repeated and both times there was a packed house. I personally think the Super Mario Bros. 3 theme throughout her deck had something to do with that, because come on, that is like one of the best games of all time. Lots and lots of little nuggets in this one to implement right away no matter where you work or what you do.

Raw Notes:
jack of all trades
learned to do the mundane stuff
emails people will read, taking notes, around the cool work that we do
stuff that sends us to happy hour
Not a PM talk,
journey
pile of docs for admission example
instead of dealing with lists of things and bad search
using a wiki
search-able, tag-able, browsible, mobile
vertically and tagging across
click on tags to learn more
downloads docs and forms
screenshot
when you set up a wiki, set it up with growth in mind
version nightmares
naming hell
use the cloud, one location, versions saved, can access control
sharepoint file
Date format YYYYMMDD
no letters for months in file names
pick your battles
scheduling meetings
scheduling flowchart
(find it online)
never ask ‘what works best for you’
give two options and only 2
notes shared documents
team meetings and agenda and notes
Use shared docs to take important meeting notes
action items
names first, change color
if people are not reading what you write, it is 100% your fault
should this be a meeting or trainings?
use bold and white space
large, color, whitespace!
Stop being polite
be polite at top and bottom, rest of email is
Fact, Fact, Action, Action, Fact
write like you speak
if only 2 seconds, remember what you want them to see or do
Manage your projects

Herding a clowder of cats: how Mizzou cost-effectively migrated hundreds of websites
Paul Gilzow
Royall Spence
John Boyer

I have known Paul for a while and he was the one that encouraged me the most to submit technical intro talks to HighEd Web in the first place. I have seen him give presentations before and I knew he was good. Seeing this presentation about his overarching work at Mizzou though put it all in a new light for me. He and his team are literally fighting uphill and performing tranformative miracles over there. For shear inspiration that with perseverance you can do anything, there are few better examples I can point you to than this session. Also there were the best cat gifs of the whole event in the slides. This talk won the Red Stapler for its track, so it is not just me bing nice here, this was outstanding.

Raw Notes:
Decentralized
set up standards but could not enforce them
not authority to
herding cats
difficult to support
Conflicts between Central IT, devs and Admins
not in sync
waiting for funding a lot to fix specific issue
from 13 to 2 CMS
dozens of ways to set up sites, many types of users
needed standards for Authentication
Flexibility – different stacks outside LAMP possible
more efficiency needed
few false starts
cultural challenge vs tech challenges
exploration
need better DevOps practices
integration hurdles
SSO
CMS strategy
security
domains and Apache debt
traditional ops services
Multisite – found more than anticipated – based on costs?
internally ‘tiger bucks’ interdepartmental charges accounting
caching
Initial rollout
Drupal and WP upstreams
Upstream model
blueprint scaffolding for the deployment and automated tasks, like SSO
Shibboleth already set up
Dependency Management
just give up and use Composer
Initial Rollout – Alpha
dev education
Mental map changes
git adoption and workflow
Dependency management and composr work flow
no longer directly touch server code
Caching and HTTP request/response pattern
CLI overload
a lot of ways to do a lot of things
initial beta
local dev and HW challenges
standardized on Lando
think they ave moved 30% now of the total move
but
Workflow is stable
middleware built out as utilities
WP and D performance, way, way better 350% increase in WP performance
initial testing groundwork
standard local env
Future
More auto testing
automated updates
how Platform.sh helped them
Standards based but there is no workflow imposed
carrot not a stick
have to do it the team’s way to get the benefit
faster in all ways
Flexibility to do what is needed
more efficient
multiple environments make it super fast to collaborate
performance/uptime
backups are now consistent

Red Stapler Winner

Be the MVP of Managers
Joel Vertin

I missed this talk the first time around and was very glad this won a spot in the ‘Session Repeats by Red Stapler Winners’ which is a ‘best of show’ award where the session is performed one more time. Given that it is on the last day, after a few nights of revelry, and certainly after the most intense one, this is a mixed honor in my opinion. The talk was a mile a minute kind of great idea after great idea, butt it boils down to ‘be a good human and help others be good humans.’ This is one, that if the recording exists, should be sent to anyone with a manager or director title.

Raw Notes:
from UP of Michigan
right on the lake
Aiming this talk at team director and manager
wants to inspire to be better
Why be better?
HiPPO at every turn
Highly Paid Person Opinions
Giant piles of projects
short timelines
sleepless nights stress and anxiety
enrollment numbers craze
how do we survive?
We can change ourselves and how we manage our teams so we can survive
shine the light on the team it needs and deserves
Managerial skills
Leadership
Motivation
Emotional Intelligence
Structure
1 Leadership
what will you do for me as my manager – digital services staff member
Secret of success good leadership is about making the lives of your workers better
Get to know tour team as people
backgrounds and stories
motivations
personalities and preferences
Build compassion and care, empathy, respect, and trust.
Connect
be kind
love
Love is not a word you often hear uttered in office hallways or conference rooms. Yet hit has a strong influence on workplace outcomes
How do you show love?
Learn their stories
wine and dine them
hold regular 1:1s
make yourself available
tell them you love them
acknowledge their contributions
acknowledge who they love
be real with them
work your butt off for them
No right answer
different personalities
Open vs Private
Business v Personal
Shy vs outgoing
Isn’t this just being a human being?
yes. it is
Understanding motivation
different people have different motivations
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
physiological needs
comfortable working conditions, hours
Safety needs
Social needs – encourage cooperation, teamwork and social interactions
Esteem needs: offer praise, recognition
Self-actualize needs: empower, invite to participate in decision making
Achievement: Seek position advancement, feedback, sense of accomplishment
–missed it, 2 other points —
Cognitive model
equity and expectations
employees may adjust their inputs and outputs or become withdrawn if…
if they perceive unfairness
they do not believe their positive efforts will lead to valued rewards
they believe that inequities will go unpunished
Goal-setting
goals can be very motivating
They direct attention
SMART goals
Job characteristic theory
1 skills variety
2 task identity – visible outcome exists
3 task significance – how much task affects life of others
4 Autonomy – how much freedom
5 Feedback – knowledge of results
in a perfect work, naturally all points met by job
Measuring the motivating factors
get to know 1L1
motivating survey – slides example – others online
Motivation strategy
individual and global level
Emotional Intelligence – EI
EU Ability Model
perceiving
Understanding
Using
Managing
Empathy is the cornerstone of EI
putting yourself in their shoes
leads to stringer more meaningful relationships
success in the workplace
Personal styles
we all prefer to problem solve and communicate
Problem solving
Kolbe’s four Action Modes
1 fact finder – do the research before tackling the project
2 quick start – issues come to them, just want to do stuff
3 follow thru – previously established formula or example follower
4 Implementor – want to get hands dirty, innovate solutions by getting in there
Communication styles
1 in-person v electronic
2 Reactive v thoughtful
3 Space: Yours – Theirs – Neutral
our problem solving is part of our personality
that means there is no ‘right’ way
Practice makes better
improve if you can become self aware
trust and be kind
Structure
Create a system
monday.com as a PM software tool
groove for team messaging
Kanban cards – paper cards and physical card
stickers for finishing and nomination from peers
Structure with freedom
the more you can step away the better
look for cues from your team to help you understand where you are at
it’s about laying the groundwork for communication
with good structure, can really work well together
A few parting shots
Do team bonding,
they did a smelting tour
Share your strategy
Empower our teams
take the brunt of difficult clients
Value your people
Teach all this to your people
should make your team better
Graduate your employees, that is OK

KEYNOTE: ERIK QUALMAN

It is not everyday that you get to see someone who has been on every talk show on the planet and who is such a widely read author. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as Erik took the stage and he followed through with an amazingly well thought through presentation that inspired and challenged the room to go out and focus on doing what you do well even better. I have not read his books before, but I now have one on deck in my Audible. He had an interactive part that asked for us to email him and he emailed me back. That is a classy move and will stick with me for a while as a great way to engage, really engage, with an audience.

Raw Notes:
video intro
digital leader – 2nd most likable author i the world
story about James Taylor on a plane
leadership – being human
digital leadership
voting with our thumbs
‘socialnomics’
word of mouth is world of mouth
now everything has scale
Privacy is dead, lot of regulations
but no matter how you regulate it, genie out of the bottle
video showcases discomfort
Jeff Gordon in disguise pepsi ad
took them trying to 10 times to approval
a blogger called it fake
that is what happens when you pus yourself out there
Digital stamp – digital footprint + shadows
footprint is what we upload – some control on that
Shadow is what others post about us online
need to protect our digital stamp
how do I get more followers is the lead most people want to talk about
some things move slower than we anticipate
‘sprintz’ing books eyes don’t move you can read 500 – 1000 words a minute
https://www.spritz.com/
how do we use this
behave like the Jetsons and Flintstones
refriger-dating – based on images from inside your fridge
what does it mean to be a
STAMP
Simple
True
Act
Map
People
through coarse of conversation – figure out which one of these you are good at and go deep
Simplification, not about additive
it is not just another thing to do
Multitasking – no one is good at it
Simple
what do you want people to think when they think of you
start with one word
no one says billionaire or rich
always kind, just, considerate, etc
take word to sentence level
Act
afraid to fail is what holds some people back
failing better
grew up playing sports, practice makes perfect
that is false
guided proper practice leads to improvement
fail fast, fail forward, fail better
customers who have issues resolved well are 3x more likely to repeat business than someone without an issue
things happen for you, not to you
aways step into your story
Map
pioneers always get pushback
if no pushback, not a good thing, going to be disrupted
People
Post it forward
selfie mentality and use it outward
build the network before you need the network
NCAA headquarters story
what happens in vegan stays on Youtube
YOLO
outside in thinking vs inside out thinking
everything you do will lead to smile, at the end
don’t see it everyday

My Sessions

Pre-Conference Workshop: Let’s Learn Git: No More Excuses

I love teaching mostly because there is no other feeling in the world than seeing the lightbulb come on in someone’s eyes when they first truly grasp a new idea. This session was full of such little moments and I am delighted to the nth degree by it. I am so proud that some people came in the room without having downloading Git before and left the room having successfully done a pull request on a forked repository. Together we built this site, though you can 100% blame me for the CSS choices you don’t like. This felt like the best way to spend my Sunday I could have spent and made the whole trip worth it for me personally.

Bash Is Magic # No It’s Not

If even one person left the room thinking “I can do this command line stuff after all What was I afraid of?” then I did my job. I want to empower the world by helping people unlock the power at their fingertips. I learned so much giving this talk, which I am going to retire as a session or at least retool based on what I have learned giving it. So thankful to all the people that helped make giving this possible and who believed in me.

Now that I am winding down the conference tour circuit life I think I might take this content and make it more consumable by way of videos and community outreach efforts in my new home city. I want everyone to delight in the simplicity of using command line and version control, which give you superpowers!

Wrapping Up

It was an event of connecting with folks from a slightly different walk of life from me, which to be honest made me feel like a bit of an interloper from time to time. Luckily those thoughts were always chased out of my head by a friendly voice and an encouraging word. I, myself, am not in higher ed, I will always be in awe of the folks who give their lives for educating the future generations. The unsung heroes of the fight who made sure the website stayed up and that the content was accessible to all are the ones getting the job done for the kids and for our future world leaders. I count it among the highest honors to have been part of this event and hope that, perhaps if circumstances reveal themselves to be correct, I will get another chance to come and be part of this event again. Maybe even in Little Rock next year for HighEd Web 2020

WordCamp Sacramento 2019: Enjoying the culture of downtown Roseville and dealing with the terrible traffic to get there

Every year I drive to one and only one event from San Francisco and that is in the drive to River City. And every year I am reminded why I don’t drive in the Bay area. Leaving at 1:00pm I thought would let me beat traffic, but I didn’t account for the largest student strike for environmental rights ever put together messing with San Francisco traffic. Long painful story short, it was 4 hours of driving to go the 106 miles from my house to the venue. Fortunately that was the worst part of the weekend as I had a fantastic time once I got there for WordCamp Sacramento 2019.

Food and Fun

Friday

Friday night the speakers, organizers and volunteers gathered at Siino’s over in Lincoln, CA. Only the salad didn’t contain dairy unfortunately but the drinks were comped. More importantly, it was the chance to see old friends and meet some new ones.

At some point I brought up the idea of bowling as the dinner was ending and a small group of us ended up at AMF Rocklin Lanes. This is the classic family bowling alley you can take everyone to at random on a Saturday and get a lane, play some video games and try your luck with the claw machines. A pretty epic time where everyone got to participate!

Saturday

In addition to the coffee and tea you would expect, there was also iced tea and ‘spa water’ available to combat the dry heat of the Sacramento area. WordCamp Sacramento is well known for having an abundance of snacks at every table in sight. From Corn Nuts to Nerds and Laffy Taffy to Oreo Minis, there was no reason anyone would be in want of a snack the whole time. If there is a downside is that by the end of the say everyone has a sugar crash. If I am being completely forthcoming here though, I left the event with enough pilfered candy to last through the end of the year.

While I was a little let down by the lack of vegan options at the speaker dinner, the camp more than makes up for it at lunch but having food trucks that can cater to any and all dietary needs. There is even a whole post to prep attendees on what to expect so they can plan appropriately. This should be the model all camps adopt in my opinion. Well done.

Another thing that is fairly unique to this event, and that is the lack of a formal off site After Party. Instead, they have a networking reception immediately following the last session. I am always torn on this approach but I do really like the inclusiveness of it. There is no alcohol provided which is good for a number of reasons, but it makes some folks desire to go find a drink elsewhere sooner than later, but it alleviates the issue of encouraging drivers to have a drink at all. The appetizer and dessert spread was pretty alright, with 3 types of hummus.

WPVegan

Of course, dinner called us out of there sooner than later and I got a few other plant based food enthusiasts to go have a very colorful meal at the local vegan specialty shop Zest Vegan Kitchen. There were no boozy drinks, but awesome tea and kombucha. Later in the evening some of us found our way to the downtown Roseville area but no more will be said about that here.

Sunday

Sunday met us with more of the same beverage service. A later start to the day, where the first session was not until 11:00am, meant there was no lunch, but there was an official snack break. Of course the snacks flowed all day long on the tables as well. I am kinda glad that not all camps give so much candy to be honest. It makes WordCamp Sacramento kinda like Halloween where it is OK to have so many sweets.

Sessions

Opening Remarks

eCommerce: What Do You Start With? Audience, Products, Store?
Chris Lema

I have had the pleasure of hearing and reporting on Chris’s talks many times now and almost all of the talks he gives start out in the middle of a story for dramatic effect. This one had a much more traditional agenda laid out as this was a much more methodical ‘how to’ with some very thorough concept explanations. I learn something from every talk but this game me a new perspective on how online stores can be started that I had not considered before. When this one hits WordPress.tv I can imagine it being one of his most watched bits of content.

Raw Notes:
No right approach
most common is make product first
Historicaly Cost Plus model is what people use to
makes knowing price and costs easy to understand
THe challenge with being product-centric is that its hard to know when you are actually done
and mot people don’t start their marketig until the product is done
Mexico vs Brazil cell phone story from his dad
simple tech issue, but they sccrambled to remarket to Brazil
Other challenge with product-centric is the you can end up building what is possible to build
but that may not be what people want or need
If you have a team of folks who can build stuff, it may be a perfectly fine route to take
in recent years, there has been antoher strategy
Audience-first approach
when you have an audience already established, it’s easy to sell stuff to them
challenge is nothing is immediate
it takes to build an audience from scratch and there are not garauntees it wil work
Anh you have to have content marketing chops
you need to quickly evelop and it takes time
expensive and long game
if you already have a team who can create content this strategy may be the perfect way to move things forward with an audience-first approach
story of rainmaker platform
handful of affilate sales, Chris was one of those
the money was crazy good
There is a third approach
most people don’t talk about it
a Store
validation up front
Store-first
take pre-orders
collect cash up front and validate concept in one shot
challenge is if marketing copywriting isn’t perfect, can seem like a rip off
nobody likes that
story of buying a video series that got cancelled, felt ripped off
best thing about a store first approach is that is can be a middle of the road approach
strategy, Resources, Risk, Benefits, Watch-out for,
product first
Development, developer, build the wrong thing, pricing and marketing, featuritis
Audience First
strategy, creative and writers
loe ROI/Cancellation, On-Launch-cash infusion, giving away everything
Store Fitst
pre-orders, Marketing, Audice Blowback, need is validated quicky,spending too much

My Talk

Bash Is Magic # No It’s Not

As I am winding down the year and am about to remove this talk from the repository of talks I submit everywhere, I am becoming more grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn Bash as deeply as I have. Knowing that I can literally make anything happen on my computer with a little logic in a script makes me feel like I can take on the world sometimes, especially when I feel like so many other bits are out of control. Getting to share my love of this tooling has been the best experience I have had so far as a speaker and I am so glad to everyone that has come to see this talk.

Speed Networking: Meet Other WordCampers And Grow Your Network

Another amazing thing that happens at this camp is the formal ‘speed networking’ session where we break the room into circles of no more than 10 people, then each person gets 1 minute to explain the following points:

  1. Your Name.
  2. Business Name.
  3. Who You Serve.
  4. What You Do.
  5. What You Need.
    Want to get good at pitching your company? This is a great way to lean to do it quickly and succinctly. I highly recommend you try this at any event you throw in the future.

Getting Into Position Zero: How To Leverage Content To Rise Above The Competition
Lindsay Halsey

There are not enough lind words to say about Lindsay as a person. Also, I am having issue with compacting my praise of this talk into a few sentences. Hearing so much practical information delivered so quickly and with such conviction, earned from real world experience, is just delightful. It has made me reconsider how I deliver blogs and content overall moving ahead. I had not considered the approach of being the featured snippet as something I could even attempt, but the SEO implications are just one of the benefits to this methodology. I need to do some serious work but the road ahead is much clearer now. This talk alone was worth the trip to this camp.

Raw Notes:
She works in SEO
heping people rank high in google
but it is possible to get to position zero
above the first free listing
featured snippet
content google extracts from site to google.com
format of the list view
parapgraph format
table format
it takes up a lot of space
now marketers and business seeing value
angling ot get into it
0 is the new number 1
why? increased engagement
clickt hroug hrate is quite high
establish brand expertise
position zero results are often used in voice search
11% os search results have a nippet and it is the first thing a lot of people clieck
how do I acheive position zero results?
it deos not matter where you are now, foundational building blocks
follow the process
ID keyword opportunties
create in depth content
publish on site SEO
amplify the content and SEO
1 ID keyword opportunity
Keywords that have a featured snippet
keyword you already rank for
if already on page 1, already on googles radar
why
why, what, when, who, was, how can is should which where are vs without will
asks google the topic
answer the public
qualitative keyword research
matrix of questions based on those starts
where to download WP themes for example
very specific peice of content to create
longform content
and art and a science in depth vs high level
2 In Depth Content for the win
that raises higher in the search if ou are not focused on a single content
share expertise
other people echo that the content is expert content – authority
business has trust, address on page
Sharing your expertise
longform cotent targets at least 2K words
unpack the topic
context is essential
outline, title
break the topic down into sections
what why where questions
if structure the framework, then google can extract value out about each component
context is king
put in 2 word phrase and image search
filters by other topic suggestions
words google already uses, take note for your writing
snippet bait
depends on your goal
1 Paragraph (81% of featured snippets): 40-60 word blok of content

  1. list 11% of featured snippets
  2. table is lowest
    3 Publish with good on-site SEO
    content right below the question
    making life super easy on the user
    proximity
    don’t be a politician, yes or no in first sentence
    give the content right away
    elements on the web page helps search get content meaning
    titels tag anam meta
    who will win the click?
    ad tests
    sentence of content in link on search results
    that is meta
    Unique for all pages
    include a focus keyword
    title tags between 15 and 4o characters
    Meta descriptions in sentence formats
    think like a marketer, think about competition
    Structure via Headers
    H1 main title
    h2 what are wp themes
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    H2
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    recipe website
    SEO
    alt text – more context about images for search results
    be descriptive
    concise
    avoid keyword stuffing
    explude ‘imageo of;
    buttons and icons use alt text
    Internal links
    spread ranking power throughout your site and show the search engine with pages are the most important
    Don’t forget Off-site SEO
    we used to be isolationist SEO folks
    expertiese authority and trust
    2 biggest area
    link building and social media
    rey on relationships
    build authority and trust bu getting your professional relationships to give you a high five online in the form of a social media share or even better a link
    deep link example
    tossing a link in the middle of content that links to articles
    collectively get all the network to rise
    How to I help my clients with Position 0?
    It starts with education
    Unpack an example within their industry
    work together on the first post
    get them excited about the results
    Can I really do this? YES!
    identify position 0 opps
    create in depth content
    link graph, internal links

Drip, Drip, Drip to Convert Website Leads to Sales
Amy Hall

I am not in a state where I want to leverage the drip campaign yet, but I fully plan to in a future endeavor soon. Seeing her clean layout of how a proper campaign should engage the prospect or customer was very helpful in visualizing the process. It also gave me some ideas on how to think about onboarding from the client perspective instead of things I as the vendor would want you to know or do. Providing value is challenging but is well rewarded when done correctly.

Raw Notes:
65% of business say generating traffic and leads is the biggest challenge
Drip campaign
series of emails automatically sent over time
every subscriber starts the campaign at email #1 and progresses though the campaign
object is to keep your name in front of your readers
one of the touches needed to get some one to buy
welcome campaigns
educate customer about your product
confirm appts or reservations
onboard new clients
courses
she runs 4 to 10 email campaigns educate them
you have a captive audience in an onboarding process
96% of visitors who come to your website are not redy to buy yet
drip vs nurture campaign
sales campaign
a series of emails based on reads behaviour and automatically sent over time
each subscriber gers emails specifically created to walk them through the sales process
The object is to sell your products and services
triggers
answer their fears and apprehension
examples
abandoned shopping carts
membership renewals
reminders to use a software or a service
re-engage with customers what arn’t opening or clicking on emails
Tha ability to segment emails lists and individualize email campaign messaging are the most effective personalization tactics – ascend2, 2016
Give people what they want when they want it
use segmentation to make it useful
personalize the emails with first names or Products preferences for better conversions
Transactional emails receive 8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails
plan your campaign
how any emails will you send?
what will you sell?
in what order?
whats the time frame?
what are your triggers?
what will success look like?
Easy drip campaign sequence example
Mailchimp
groups and tags
group external organizationf ro your groups
pepole can pick waht groups to be in
only place subscriber can see what groups are is on subscription form
Tags
internal organizational method
you select these, subscribers never see these
activecampaign is #1 in deliverability
mailerlight is next
number 3 is constant contact
mailchimp is next in line
very small difference in deliverability
automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher…
slides

Checking Under The Hood: Auditing Your Website For A Smooth Ride
AmyJune Hineline
Sean Dietrich

This was a methodical talk that walked people through a thorough approach to understanding the issues of a website, from a code and a content perspective. I think a lot of folks in the room were excepting a little more ‘use this plugin’ and less ‘look at the code’ but this is how the pros do it and I am glad this talk had a mostly full room. Also, there is no magic plugin for Accessibility, which was another focus of the session. Making sure that everyone can use your site is the goal and it is a good reminder it is a moving target that we all must do our best to hit.

Raw Notes:
39% of people disengage if not attractive layout
39% will stop engaging if images missing or take too long to load
When they get a new site, they audit it
preliminary checks
versions of things, top logged wrrors
healthcheck page
review modified files using WP-CLI
check for patch documentation
Examine the theme
file structure, organized
functionality tied to theme
a page builder in use?
flatt CSS, SASS, etc?
JS best practices?
Check SEO
Using stiemap?
Yoast?
Search Console
what is Pagespeed rank
Assess code quality
run custom plugins though PHP codesniffer
check for code comments
Review code for possible improvements
Read the docs
is there any documentation?
How does it get set up locally
what tools/dependencies are needed
Test your eccessibility
Ensure all users, regardless of abilities, can interacti in a meanigful way
Push the performance
review hosting and are they are on the right plan?
A11y
why design for A11y?
26% of people in the US live with a disability
KEyboard only nav
spik features in app?
Does keyboard focus work
images contain alt-text
are tables used for more than tabular data?
does the screen reader read all the content as presented on screen?
Can test be resized without obscuring any content
Landmark regions properly defined between Aria and HTML5
FIrst rule of Aria is avoid using Aria and do it natively in semantic HTML
Visual Needs
Motor needs
Auditory Needs
Cognative needs
Content is an important as code
Global stage
English is a privledge
Aim for 9th grade reading level
20 words per sentence and 5 sentences per paragraph
break up content bullet points and lists
captions, subtitles and alt-text
HEadings
Hierarchial
H1-H6 in order
Audits are important
audit consists
understand why users are using the site

The Power Of Recurring Income
Nathan Ingram

Nathan used to be a preacher and it shows up when he is fired up about a particular subject. He has this desire, really a passion, that everyone should be tapping into recurring revenue vs going after new business as the only way to feed yourself. It is downright inspiring. The analogy of Blockbuster vs Netflix model of repeat sale vs subscription really drove the whole point home to me. He even provides a free worksheet to figure out how to get on the recurring revenue train sooner than later. A lot of value in this talk.

Raw Notes:
— in the room about 5 minutes late —
“Recurring revenue is the foundation of a successful freelance business”
Is every dollar worth the same?
The more predictable the money is the more valuable it becomes
recurring is value
blockbuster vs Netflix
repeat sales vs recurring revenue
Car dealerships. How do they survive?
service department
GM autocredit is most profitable
carwashes even moved to this model
ore consistent revenue stabilize your finances
more profitable relationships positions you into a valued partner
How to create service for recurring revenue
Starting place is WP care plans
no reason not do do this
Hosting Services, why you should!
You control the environment
more productive and there are no surprises
You are leaving money on the table
every site needs it and you built the client relationships
it is better for your client
one contact, no blame game (they are going to call you anyway)
Not seting up the server rack yourself in the basement
no
Partner with a trusted web host that provides phenominal support
VPS/Dedicated or Managed WP
Offering WP Update Services
THis is a valuable service
Regular proactive updates
Compatibility issues
Use a centralized management dashbaord to update multiple sites simultaniously
Backups!
automatically on a schedule
full site and easy restore
backups should be stored offiste in cloud storage
Offer security services
secure server
lets encrypt
WP Security plugins
creating other services
3 basic questions
what do my customers need?
What services cn I create to meet those needs
what resources do I need to perform those services
packet of worksheets
6 page booklet

Death Star Security: A Live Look At How Sites Are Hacked
Chris Teitzel

If there is a person with more experience or authority on certain aspects of security, I would love to meet them. Chris brings a lightheartedness to a very grave subject and makes it fun to learn terrifying truths. I will admit my notes are a little sparse on this one as I was busy trying out a few of the things he suggested we try out. This is one every singe person designing any kind of system should be made to watch a few times. There is no such thing as too much security know how.

Raw Notes:
How the rebels blow up your deathstar
http://deathstarsecurity.com/
3 things he built there
Storm Trooper
Customer Targeting
taking email and injecting in without sanitization
inherent trust in user input is DANGEROUS!
update uption email commander
you many forget where input comes from
using terms like blog_name and Remember Alderan
user add with admin priveldge
if you are not watching and these options get set
never assume users are limited to your inputs
DDOS DIstributed Denial of Service Attack
time intensive operations
Can exfitrate data on the screen or sessio cookies
CSRF
trick user into action on a target site they are logged nto
CORS, don’t allow origins to come in unless I set them
nonces CSRF blockers
wp_nonce_url (acionurl, action, name)
easy to check them back
sanitize inputs
handle options with care
use PHP codesniffer to find errors
Highlights syntax errors and helps you writte better code
Viusalize insecure code

What Trying To Farm Taught Me About Open Source
Vasken Hauri

I wanted to go to this talk mostly because I was curious how he could tie mushroom farming into open source. What I left with was pure inspiration to go and tinker more and make software do what I want it do for my own needs. I also wasn’t aware of the new breed of smaller family farms that ae emerging to provide open source food for us. Seriously. The Monsanto corporation has copyright and patent on much of our food to the point it is an act of punk rebellion to feed ourself without their approvals. I have neve been more inspired to support local farmers more in my life as an expression of my love of Open Source tech. Plus Vasken gives a great history of how software went from open to closed to open again.

Raw Notes:
Things he cant farm
tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, fruit trees, kale
things he can farm: Mushrooms!
2 restaurants as customers + farmers market
tech early days apple
Farming is doing something and not knowing if it worked or you messed up for months
Tech moves at a ridiculous speed
a lot of the same lessons
older industries like agriculture can tach us a lot about how things change
old school farming
plant seds
fence the plants, weed the weeds, chase off rabbits
harvet
save some of the seeds
graze the land
plant something new
repeat, over and over
lot of work
repetitive work, manual
no way to automate the whole process
we must innovate
scaling mechanically
tractor combine
more mecahnization
reduced labor
increased amount of land that can be farmed be one person
encouraged monocropping
chemical farming
reduced labor
enabled monocropping
replaced soil health with chemical inputs
old vs new way
larger farms
expensive inputs
perfect veggies with no gross bugs
kale 40 day growing cycle
20 types of pestiside on average kale
reality
still a lot of work
smaller margins due to higher inpot costs
chemical pst and weed resistancce
infertile soild require more inputs
higher costs mean loans, debts, foreclosure
A killing season Monsanto be herbicide
resistant weeds
dicambra resistant soybeans
a lot of farms lost crops
escalated a fight to murder
but I’m at a WordCamp
back to history of computers
earliest computers
large mechanical problems
altair 8800 a few K of RAM to program
MSBasic
a few grand up front and royalty model
without basic you had no OS
copyright law was very vague in early days
“you are all theives’ Bill Gates to computer users
Apple vs Franklin Computer
binary code is not copywritable until this case in 1983
franklin orignally won
appeals court overturned and now software was copywrightable
7-8 years of locense gold rush
a lot of people got shut out
took a lot of people
hobbyist
Copyleft
they can’t just take your code and hide it
this made Linux possible
because people could build on and contribute to code
without people yanking it away with license
since 2005, 15,600 devs have contributed to Linux
As of February 2015
80% of Linux kernal devs are paid
Microsoft 144K employees
45% are engineers
a lot fo them now do work on OSS
closed source software
built for mass market bu a company looking to invest and targeting the largest possible market
by contrast
copyleft
additive contrib is guaranteed not to be exploited
enables the hobbyist to become professional again
hog farmers run it through anaerobic digester to compress methane,run trucks and tractor
post modern farming
emphasis on high quality
smaller farms with less investments
more reliant on labor and expertiese
direct connection with consumer
more specialization
themarketgardener.com
WP if free like the original seeds
OSS jobs exist becuase eople need specialized
Jobs building core
just like farming, OSS puts the calue back in you, the creative engineer, designer, strategist, and not n the software
starting in farming or OSS
try somethings and maybe fail
succeed at something
focus on that
optionally add more things

Wrapping Up

As I prepare to leave California for the next set of adventures elsewhere in the US, I find it fitting that WordCamp Sacramento is one of the last events I am going to do for the year. It is the closest camp I have to my own home city of SF, but it is far enough away that it feels alien every time I visit. I have no idea what the future holds exactly but I am grateful to each and every person I got to hang out with and who has supported me emotionally along this trek. I know I am far from perfect and I do try to improve everyday. No idea if I will ever again make that drive from SF to the central valley, but if I do I will be looking forward to another WordCamp Sacramento at the end of that drive.

WordCamp Las Vegas 2019: Where 103 degrees does not feel as hot in the desert and having a WordCamp in a casino

As I landed in Sin City I tried really hard to recall the last time I was there. It had to be more than a decade ago and in some ways the “Marriage Capital of the World” had certainly changed, as I flew in I was kind of astonished how large the dessert town had expanded and how much construction was happening. In other ways though, it was exactly as I remembered it and I had deja vu more than a few times. In one way, it was specifically identical, insofar as my luck not being good while there. Let’s leave that last statement as the only comment about gambling I need to make in this post. After all, I was there not for a crazy weekend of debauchery, but was there for a weekend of community and learning at WordCamp Las Vegas 2019

Food and Fun

Friday

Friday night kicked off as soon as I landed, as I went straight to the speaker/sponsor dinner held at Famous Dave’s. While I am not a huge fan of their menu, which is 90%+ meat based at the moment, though they do have plans to add Beyond Meat to the menu this year, but not yet at this location. I still got my fill of corn, fries and various assorted veggies. It was great to hang out with so many folks I had not seen in a while and meet some net folks there as well.

Afterward, legendary good time planner Mike Demo introduced us to the largest tiki bar in the world by taking us to the Golden Tiki. It was a fun night of flaming drinks and good conversations. It seems most drinks taste better when they come to the table on fire.

Saturday

We were greeted with convention coffee and a tea assortment at the lovely yet aging Plaza Hotel and Casino where the event was happening. It was OK coffee, right in the middle of the pack and nothing to note further on it. We also had branded bottled water, which I always find amusing for some reason. Like am I going to do more business with this hotel because their name is on the water bottle?

Lunch was boxed lunch sandwiched and wraps. I want to specially say a huge thank you to the organizers who made it easy on the folks with dietary needs to have a filling and quality lunch. Part my lunch was a little salad in a cup which was just enough and the cup let me shake the dressing thoroughly throughout.

The after party was in the same venue but outside by the pool. This is the hotel pool and a number of folks, including myself assumed we would have a private party there. Instead we got to share with the other hotel guests and that made for an interesting experience. Still a good time and I actually got to soak in the hot tub for a bit while the thermometer on a building across the way told us the temperature was 104F and dropping as the evening wre on.

While the drinks at the party were great, I ended up needing a meal at some point. Did you know that White Castle has an Impossible Burger slider? I got to introduce some people to it.

WCKaraoke

We tried to get some singing done, but the way Cat’s Meow ran things unless you paid a $30 line cut fee, you would be eternally bumped down the list. It really does not help that between every single singer the staff did a song and tried their best to manufacture a party atmosphere which you can see in the photos. I guess some people like that experience but after a coulpe hours of always being 5th or 6th in line and getting a little sick of the staff singing, some of us bailed without singing. At least they had buy one get one free well drinks.

Sunday

More coffee and the exact same lunch were on tap for Sunday during the event. Afterward, one of my favorite firebrands in the world Beth Livingston and I took to the skys above Fremont Street to zipline all the way way down the 5 block stretch thanks to the Slotzilla Zip Line experience. It was terrifying and amazing and gave me a glimpse into what Superman might feel like with people staring up at a person flying through the air. It was the best bet I made the whole trip. Since I could not use my phone on the ride here is a tweet of someone who did

Sessions

Opening Remarks

Backward Compatibility is Good for WordPress, Not Mental Health
Bridget Willard

Bridget is my friend and we were in the trenches together heading the WordPress Community Marketing Team for almost 2 years. Almost that long ago she pitched me the idea of a talk on mental health and I have been encouraging her to give that talk ever since. I am very glad she did. I have a ton of self doubt and I do find myself being self deprecating a lot. It was startling to realize how much of that I have actually been believing lately. I am grateful that I got to support Bridget here, but in all reality he supports me emotionally as a friend far more than I can write.

Raw Notes:
Been in the space for a while
supportive amazing women
but people with issues
1 and 0s do what you expect
people don’t
What are worthiness issues
Friend’s therapist told her to work on worthiness issues
what does that even mean?
like backwards compatibility
clicked for her friend then
We talk about mental health a lot, but we need some breaking changes
Believes negative things about herself
we are way harder on ourselves than we are to our friends
why does self-talk matter
Self talk is insidious
it changes the things we choose in our lives
do we make friends easily or figure they’ll hate is anyway?
Do we make self-deprecating jokes?
Do we try better jobs? Better clients?
Do we self isolate?
Are we brave in our relationships? willing to trust someone?
are we vulnerable to someone? maybe a therapist, but trust someone
Listen to Corey Miller, Don’t see everything underneath
How do we make breaking changes
have to find the bugs, they are not features
Find someone to talk about it wiht
recognize the patterns in word choice
practice self awareness
journal
write: “I am” statements
what are you goot at?
What do people say about you?
Who do you want to be?
Write it down

Lucky 7: Don’t Do Anything Until You Hear This WordPress Presentation
Joe A Simpson Jr

Joe has one of my favorite origin stories for a WordCamp organizer. Basically, my super short version of his tale is “Joe got tired of driving to LA for meetups, started his own and it got so successful that he did a WordCamp within the first 2 years of starting it.” Joe also has lived the life of a developer who had to learn on his own and lean on community to get unstuck at times. As a result, his wisdom is some of the richest of any speaker I can name. Though this talk was basics for beginners kind of feel, it was chock full of great nuggets and reminders of best practices for folks at any stage of that WordPress life.

Raw Notes:
Luck be a widget tonight!
First visit to vegas like you getting into WP for the first time
it can be overwhelming
Today, he is our welcoming party for WP
2 years ago he got tired of driving 2 hours for a meetup
started his own
they had own WordCamp already
started about 10 years ago, inherited Headway theme blog
WP has come a long way since then
they had budget fortunately
moves to VIP, got to go to summits
everyone helped him when he was new
issue 1
“I bought too much hosting up front..”
there are so many hosting companies
buy small and level up
considerations
what kind of traffic do you expect
are you selling products
is site speed important
will mutliple
“Why doesn’t my theme look like the demo?”
“how do I add a thing to a theme?”
page builder maybe?
“A11y makes me angry”
he got punched in his shoulder once at a meetup about a11y
be advocate for a11y
NFL colorrush example
colorblind and SEO
color should not be only way to ID content
contrast!
Awwwared wining site failes basic contrast checker
free tools from webaim
contrastratio
chrome color contrast analyszer
test tab useage and no mouse
Start with an a11y theme
“Can’t I google a theme to do all this for me?”
redising his brother’s website
Hymaze from somewhere on Google
unmaintainable mess
“I’m still waiting on my client to send me website content”
so many tools to help you write more efficiently
Grammerly – typo and rich text
yoast
all-in-one-seo
“This is too basic, I want more advanced..”
make.wordpress.org
get involved
slack
look for events in your community
libraries lynda.com for free
WordPress.tv
livestreams
quick hits
security
WordFence
iThemes
two-step uthentication
Strong passwowrds
Royalty free images
avoid cowboy coding – don’t work directly on your live site

What you thought you knew about WordPress security! (With real hacked site stories)
Rob Marlbrough

You can not learn enough about security. I don’t care if you think you are an expert, attending security talks are always a good decision. Hearing some of the anecdotes from Rob’s work over the years make you realize not every takes security seriously, which makes it super important that anyone working professionally as a web developer or site owner does.

Raw Notes:
care about passwords
they can read table prefix, so not a good path anymore
Real total cost of a hacked webstite
Cost of a hack repair does not include
cost of reputation
shareholder distrust
GDPR lawsuites, CC protection services
Cost of wasted digital as spend FB/Insta ads
cost of wasted tv/radio/print ads
cost of email or other sign ups
cost of memberships sales
Security befoe getting to your website
Network security WAF, at the ISP level, at the data center level
Server securty at the host level
Often hear, I can’t control these things” Yes you can!, you ca change webhosts
prepaid $3/m for 3 years? so what!, still worth changing hosts, one hack site could comst more than 3+ years of cheap hosting
Strong passwords
don’t rely on obvious solutions
Block IP based on behaviour, nimber of failed logins, guessing usernames, looping through known URLs
2factor authentication!
lastpass
Update daily!
security patches are relased daily
hackers are alerted daily to vulnerbility
get free SSL cert for many a reason, SEO, http/2
behind a network scanning/filtering sytem
choose a web host that protects networks and servers
don’t shoose a host based on affiliates only
WordFence is great, install on all sites you manage
Securi: free plugin scans site
reinstalls pugins from repo in bulk
backups can be worthless
no protection is site is deleted from their servers!
Dialy and Off Server and Tested or Worthless!
hourly or continous backup for ecommerce/membership sites
UpdraftPlus: reliable and free plugin
Jetpack and Vaultpress, Backup BUddy and many other quality plugins out there
Free services for WP website maintenance
Free can be expensive, time consuming, stress-filled
Advanced Automatic Updates plugin email alerts failures
managewp/mainwp/infiniteWP
Music lessons website hacked
redirected random visitors 1 out of 10 or so, redirected to porn website
vulnerable cross scripting plugin
recovery: backups for 90 days – still infected
search/replace DB tables to remove injected JS, patched the plugin

She Said, He Said: Hackers’ Guide To Coding
Shelby Sapusek
Jim Raffel

I met Shelby and Jim at the speaker dinner and I knew immediately that I wanted to see their talk. They are the definition of seasoned WordPress site builders. I think between the two of them the have encountered just about every weird situation WP can throw at a person and they were happy to share that battle hardened know how with everyone. There is a chasm between the typical WordPress user and the developer who lives in the terminal and code editor. This talk is a step toward the latter for folks who find they cant do all they need to with off the shelf GUI tools, but also which of those tools can solve some of the tricky problems.

Raw Notes:
Partners for a while
why is coding or hacking necessary?
Our compnay has grown and taking on more complex
Are we coders? If not, are we hackers?
If you have written any HTML, you are a coder
Hackers – negative connotation
Black hat
White hat
Grey Hat – looking for a payout
Programmer – compent cook
caution with coding
always back things up
staging sites
css, PHP, etc, file copies
Consider how changes will impact other parts of the site
Document all changes
safety first
work with minimal number of frameworks, (genesis)
Logo and header change example
inspector – old was firebug
customizer additional CSS
theme editor but DANGER!
what to edit and where
Tools within customizer
CSS and PHP
Custom HTML widget
Additional CSS under Customize, often underlooked
diff tool
Elementor Plugin
drag and drop editor
design pallete pro
Google Maps
Responsive Slider

Inclusive Content Strategy
AmyJune Hineline

This is not the first time I have seen AmyJune speak but I can’t recall seeing her speak at a WordCamp before. I have known her for a while now from my work in the Drupal community and I always look forward to hanging out with her. She has a lot better technical chops than she lets on, but her focus is on the human side of things for the most part, which is the skillset she is shared in her talk. We can’t overthink being kind and accessible to our fellow humans and just hearing the best practices out loud push us all in the right direction. Let’s all use more people positive language!

Raw Notes:
Verna Myers
diversity is being invited to the party, INclusion is being asked to dance
inclusive mean accessable
Visual needs
motor needs
auditory needs
cognitive needs
Meaningful Content
inclusion of all race, religion, contrie of origen
gnerder ID
and all thing
Ableist language
people with a disability vs the disabled
use people centric language
never lazy, crazy, retarded
Gender Nutral
Humankind not mankind
Folks vs guys or dudes
mansplaining is not gender neutral
enter the WYSIWYG
styling is for coders and designers not content authors
WYSIWYG should be for entering content
never for styling
use style guides or stylesheets
an a11y is goal
events a11y for everyone
families, neurodiversity
people who live with disabilities
avoid acronyms
abbreviations
numeronyms (a11y, i18n)
problematic to screen readers
emoticons
screen reads can’t even deal most of the time
buffer and twiteriffic can make
use camel case

Accidental Business Owner: Now What?
Mike Demo

I already mentioned Mike earlier and his amazing organizational skills. He has many other skills as well, which I have not heard him talk about too much, as the only other talk from him I can find my notes for is his ‘Which Way Does Your Duck Face?’ talk. His general advice to get over yourself and go fill the need you see at a price point that just works is much needed in a world where speakers routinely talk about firing clients and rejecting work below a certain threshold. Both those world views can hold true but not for everyone. Mike has a great head on his shoulders and I am downright inspired by him, as well as dang proud to call him friend.

Raw Notes:
Mike was building CMS sites when his school told him no one was using
now in OSS
Epcot, spaceship earth
history of communication
like the web
democratize publishing, making the web and world better
free software as in freedom of speech
If you can dream it, you can do it (not actually Walt Disney)
used to sell timeshares
Fell in love with the community
loves the passion of the community
everyone wants to get to that next level
don’t have a vision of grandure when you are getting started
3 page websites
Accidental business owners: started to learn jus for fun, then built a site for family
plugin 15K active users, can’t kill it
day job as well that id getting in the way
just build without a plan
passion without a way to get there
make a plan for your clients before you start the work
goal of more sales, what does more mean?
clients hate launching websites
never selling single website contract again
“never have to make a new website again”
launching basic website with a large wishlist
goals vs wishlist, pick what is impactful
we are guessing as website designers
people think they know their clients
protect yourself and get the money you are owed
Step 1 get users
step 2 ??
step 3 profit
charge for every change
reprice per the reality that the client presents

How to Outshine Your Competition in Our Exploding WordPress Market
Beth Livingston

This is not the first time I have see Beth talk about this subject, but this is the best version of the ideas so far, as she has been refining it throughout this year of camps. The ideas she is helping people get on board with are in line with the writing I have been doing on my LinkedIn blog about impriving processed and project management theory. She is coming from a very practical standpoint on this subject, taking what works in the corporate world making the concepts easily digestable for all who sell services. Keep your eyes open for her content and check out her site for some awesome stuff right now.

Raw Notes:
millions of websites, hundreds of thousands of devs for WP
lot of copetition
Clients spent a lot onf costinvetment
some of timeline
almost none on solution
compoeting on price is a losing bet
unique value prop
not a call to action
not headline: subtitle
not an explanation ot your service
not an into to your business
communicates the unique value provided to your target customers
what you do well vs what our competition does for your clients
SEO is not a unique prop
What clients care about most
cost/investment
timeline – scope creep, delays
on time and i budget
What business problem will your solution solve
clint management plan
this defines who your ideal client is
ideal client avatar
who do you want to work with?
stop penalizing the client for not understanding how websites are built
help them understand consequences for not following process
have a change budget
define process and consequences for non compliance
use incremental acceptance
set acceptance criteria up front
font on the website
8 essential questions
–could not type fast enough here —
once you have answers to all those questions
give the clients the same list of questions to show the other guy

My talk

Bash is magic # No it’s not

I keep running out of time when giving this talk. There is just more content than time about this subject that just delights me to explain to folks. It is ike revealing t hidden secret club to the world where everyone was actually already invited and all are welcome. Introducing experienced command line users to tools like BackstopJS and behat is also a thrill and so far the comments I have recieved have ben overwhelmingly positive. I think I might need to do something else with this content moving ahead to reach a wider audience.

Building Successful Client Relationships in a Digital Age
Jodie Riccelli

I thought I had seen this talk before, but in a city where I was getting deja vu all over the place I was not sure. Checked my notes and sure enough I saw a similar version once before. However this did not hinder my enjoyment or the quality of content for me at all. It was awesome to be reminded that learning all our skills don’t need to have an immediate payoff, as sometimes it takes years and multiple opportunities before it all clicks. It was also a reminder that multitasking is not a good idea. I have been terrible at this, trying to do to many things all at once. I am actually inspired by this talk to find some more productive habits in the days and weeks ahead.

Raw Notes:
loves to learn
worked at a car wash
learned to detail cards
then upsell the customer
music promotion
myspace
she learned WP and GIMP to make artist websites
sales for a small agency in Philly
magical coming together of skills at that point
then moved to WebDev Studios
She is not everything though,
not a great speller, not the one with all the answers
paul barnwell
My students don’t know how to have a conversation
in a world of digital life is there any more important skill?
Don’t multitask, be present
record calls, take notes later
video or in person
close all the things
feather triangle string
segment the room
just moving through segments, want to engage with each group
breaking down the audience to connect with her
imagine you are holding feathers and need to move the feather to back wall
Triangles are the joints
string is your head, string out the top of your head
Choose your words wisely
this is why we are the bst vs this is how we can help
problem vs challenge
pick up the phone
zoom is my friend
saying ‘I don’t know’ is not just OK, it is essential
what measurable goal can we set
be authentic
remove qualifying word and phrases
thank you notes or cookies
principle of reciprocity
the psychology of persuasion
thank you notes increase registration
productivity rule
if task takes less than just 2 minutes, just do it now
say think you
file paper away
looking away for a minute “eye care chrome extension”
The four agreements

Wrapping Up

As I start wind down my life of constant travel to dozens of events per year, I am taking stock more and more of the opportunities that each and every one of those events has granted me. I suffer a but at seeing the trees but not the forrest. This trip put a few things in perspective for me and I could not be more grateful for the folks who have been there for me along the way. The biggest revelation to me is that I have spent so much time absorbing such a wide, wide range of subjects that the road ahead seems like it has way too many option for me. Picking one is going to take some more thorough thought than I have been giving it for the last few months. I have know idea what the future looks like but I am planning to plant some roots and figure out what that feels like before too much longer. This trip to Las Vegas might be my last for the foreseeable future but I hope to retain the friendships and connections I made at WordCamp Las Vegas!

WordCamp Minneapolis 2019: Seeing Friends In The North And A Good Time At The State Fair

The last time I visited Mini Apple was way back in 2018 for Twin Cities Drupal. I am a fan of this town for their progressive politics, growing vegan foodie culture and efficient public transportation. It is on my short list of places to possibly move one day. I landed at MSP early and got to see some old friends before I attended the reason I was really there, WordCamp Minneapolis 2019.

Food and Fun

Thursday

Speaker Dinner

Though there was a day of training this year, which I was not part of, the event officially stated for my on Thursday evening, at the traditional Speak/Sponsor/Organizer/Volunteer dinner. It was great to see so many folks I know and to meet some new folks as well. We gathered at the The Trading Floor at Fueled Collective, which is in the old Grain Exchange. The Trading Floor is where, at one point, they actually bought and sold grain futures in Minneapolis, which is the seat of all things agricultural for the whole region. A beautiful building turned into a giant and bright co-working and event space. A few of us ended up at Tracey’s Saloon for a nightcap before getting ready for a busy next day at camp.

Friday

Coffee, tea and water awaited us there at the McNamara Alumni Center, the host venu. Coffee was good enough in my opinion, so I stuck with that for the duration. Lunch was upon us before we realized it and the vegan option, which was very filling included salad and a quinua dish. I will never complain about quinua if I can get enough of it, which some catering struggles with for some reason. This was serve yourself so I was pretty happy. Afternoon snack was a build your own granola bar, which was OK.

WPVegan

Being so close to one of my favorite vegan/vegetarian places, Hard Times Cafe I of course had to make an attempt to rally the WPVegans. There were a lot of cometing distractions and only a small but hearty bunch of us did succeed at getting some of the best vegan seitan in existence! We also played some Foodtown Throwdown, my current favorite game.

Some of us ended the night at Otter’s Saloon to attempt some karaoke, but sadly, we arrived too late to sing.

Satruday

Saturday was a repeat of day one’s coffee and water service, but this time I had a bit of breakfast at the local vegan friendly craft cafe Simpls. Go support this place if you are in the area. The vegan breakfast sandwich was so good I am going to be craving it and trying to replicate it back home.

After Party

Lunch was provided as part of the after party, since it was a half day of sessions. We gathered over at Loring Pasta Bar & Restaurant for some craft drinks and a pasta lunch. Vegan options again were available, which were anchored with a pretty hearty and tasty spaghetti dish. The space itself is massive and has a claim to fame that Bob Dylan used to live there when he was a student in what is now their ‘Red Room.’ It was great to have so much space to mix and mingle and reflect on all we learned at the event.

Also, while not officially part of the camp I got to join a couple WordPress colleagues for a good time at the Minnesota State Fair later in the evening. It awesome to be part of the opening weekend and I even got to see Herman’s Hermits perform. Definitely worth the visit!

Sessions

Opening Remarks

The Developer’s Spectrum – From Junior to Lead
Jeff Holland

Sometimes things that seem obvious are hard to define, like what does water taste like? Or what do you mean by Senior Develover vs Architect? Thankfully Jeff gave us a low down from his vantage point as someone with a lot of experience on a large team at USA Today. I found it pretty helpful to be able to put myself on the scale of somewhere between Junior and Mid Level based on what he shared, and depending on what we are talking about. If you are on a growing development team, or are just curious about it, this might help you navigate as well.

Who is on the team
The Junior
right out of bootcamp
very mallaeable
you can teach them ‘your way’
they are quick learners who work extra hard
spending hours outside of work hours to learn more
pair well with senior devs
experiences are somethign they look forward to
very risk averse
have to draw them out and comfortable with ‘I don’t know’
Process change is difficult
first time using Git, or Jira, or communication tools
lot of questions about ‘how you do things’
They identify with their code
they take it personally
need to help them to feel seperate from their code
stay blunt but explain things in code reviews, not much criticism
“Here is how you can do it”
and tell them don’t identify with your code
The Junior is fresh out of school or changing careers
Ambitious, ready to talk about new ideas
Solved something – have some sense of accomplishments
Apt to make mistakes
On;y address one solution to a problem
have to peer review with them
Unaware of edge cases, debug errors and not know what to test for
over confident quickly once they start seeing patterns
Errors lead to imposter syndrome
How do they get better?

  • They need to code
  • Study and Read, but they need to read code to see how others are doing things
  • Pair program
  • meetups – meeting others makes you feel less isolated
    How to scale?
    Improve your skills
    Learn new languages
    Learn to context switch
    Mid Level – The workhorse of your team
    Very competent in their domain
    industry, languages, problem sets, etc
    Reliable output of work
    Predictable
    Shiney new ting syndrome
    Reliable
    Consistant
    Overconfident
    Over reliance on their favorite tool
    Focus on a piece of the puzzle (tunnel vision)
    How Midlevel grows
  • Try new things
  • Mentor
  • Take on Challenges
  • Speak or Write!
    Mid level Scale?
    Personal to team level
    The Senior!
    Able to take on new things
    Architecture over implementation
    future thinking
    mentor
    They are patient
    helpful
    wise
    knowledge know things
    wisdom, know when to apply that knowledge
    focused
    intuitive
    always discussion, don’t huddle them together
    shortcomings
    The old way works fine
    can over engineer for business needs
    Strategize
    Streamline
    The Lead and the Architect
    the roles at the top
    Lead manages dev work and communicatio with other teams
    Hels build team member’s skills
    insulates and advocates for the team
    keep people out of meetings
    make wins visible outside of the team
    insulate team from problems
    Lead spends less time in code
    The architect manages the infrastructure
    Need to juggle the industry trends with org needs
    has to do it without working with all teams

My Talk

Bash is magic # No it’s not

I love this subject. There is no higher compliment to me than to have someone come up after a talk and say “You made Bash fun and a lot less scary.” Though one of me other favorite bits of feedback was from someone who uses the command line everyday saying they learned something new as well. Learning together is the heart of open source and I am so happy I get to share that learning experience with the community.

Automating Site Creation
Dan Flies

My notes for this are short because you should just go check out the code itself. I was introduced to Dan at the speaker dinner and I could tell immediately we had the same genreal passion for tech nerdery, which I mean as the highest compliment. People of our ilk like to tinker and find new, elegant ways to solve issues in general. His support of my talk, which was delivered right before his, was also encouraging to hear, as some of what he spoke about assumed oyu had a general understanding of Bash and how WP-CLI commands work. He is managing a lot of scale and watching a devops master explain the tips he has learned about error checking and speeding up the build process was just pure gold. If you are managing more than a handful of sites, this talk and his code might just change your life!

Like Bash there are good reasons to use it
scale
need scripting
code at github.com/danflies/wptoolsdanflies/wptools
Using PHP to run WPClI
Bash scripts got messy quickly
but all WP-CLI run in exec()
scandir
wp theme install, doing it locally
2> DEV NULL
installing plugins like he does themes.
if theme is alreeady active check
using exit codes from is-active
activate and check if activated , then active plugin list
ARRAY_FILTER_USE_BOTH
Default_settings
array[name => value]
key example in repo
adding pages managing widgets managing menus

Alternative datastores – When CPT, Taxonomies, Options and Object Meta aren’t enough
Gary Kovar

Ever since I saw {Felix Arntz’s talk at WordCamp Portland](https://www.mcdwayne.com/2018/11/05/wordcamp-portland-2018/) last year about the WordPress database structure, I have been more interested in talks about the subject. Most of the them are of the nature about how to work around the limitations inherent in the Post and related fields structures. I can foresee this being a future overhaul for WordPress, where we set out to fix the structure and make it much more tuned to getting individual Gutenberg blocks in and out of individual fields in the DB. For the time being, using alternative data stores when you can seems to be the prevailing path many are focusing on.

WP Storage
WP Stores Datain MySQL
WP has strongly Defined Models
Posts
Taxonomies/Terms
Users
Comments
Options
one table per data type
SP does not do it that way
gets ugly quick
MySQL oversimplified
custom tables/views
list with the rest of tour WP Data
no extra config from host
allow you to store your data the way you intend to use it
Elastisearch
Great for search
Super Fast Responsive ime
External Service
Eventually Consistent
can miss things in shards
Redic/Memcached
Lightning fast
May not be persistant
key value pair
Geolocation
requirements
Location CPT with lat/lng Field
Ability
query slow
make a custom table
change where it looks up certain things
Geolocation – elastisearch
GetPoint
lat/long
Task Runner
Requirements
make the site run faster
danger
Tsk runner redis
Add a key/value for each task
taskname plus uuid
multisite stuff
Requirement
I want to post something to 1 site in Mltisite and how it on Other Sites

Keynote: Collaboration and Communication: Success in Community and Business
Cami Kaos

Cami is someone I consider an inspiration. Her no nonsense attitude toward pretty much everything I have ever dealt with her on is downright refreshing. AS a speaker she is witty and always has fantastic slides. As someone who is now working from home, as that is my office these days, I really appreciate her advice on work/life balance and just all the general tips she gave in this keynote. For sure a great one to check out if you are working from home as part of a distributed team.

Edd of a long day keynote
not 100% serious, going to tell jokes to entertain herself
Distributed work
found herself in a scary situation
been out of the workforce for a while and was getting a divorce
made a name as a mommy blogger and podcaster
didn’t want to disrupt being full time mom
wasn’t sure what skills to mark
customer management and retention
built on WP
co-working space in an accelerator for startups, next dae at pub with good wifi
other main contrib. in Denver
boss was out most of the time
she became a distributed employee
part of a movement
different kind of workforce
being normalized
WP is what she does and with tech makes sense to work form anywhere
Distributed school as well
distributed work has beed around for a while actually, with mail and telephone
distributed 201
strength and weaknesses of a DW
a bunch of her co-works and friends from working from home slide
working for a distributed team on a distributed project
the good
no brick and mortar
more convenient for employees
good for opening up to larger set of the best people
underrepresented groups and diversity are enabled by
very few people like to commute
removes the late for work part of the equation
additional me time or time for family
What about work life balance
more relaxed schedule
but have to be mindful, it is work to maintain work/life balance
The bad
most frequently
how do you know they are working if they are not at their desks all day
Communication is the way
call center productivity 13% increase when could work from home
increase was due to reduction of sick days.
Distributed or disturbed
time zones are a real thing
not a happy thing to work with
no great answer, just kinda sucks
The Ugly!
Not bathing for days
take care yourself
happy hour zoom
get a coworking desk
dedicated work space
alternate login on your computer
if you know you need social activity, schedule it
Going to gt coffee shop
morning ritual
if he has to relocate he does it once in the day
limit context switching
Culture!
brick and mortar learn to work together
Distributed teams need to be built with intent
loss of sense of belonging is core of feeling isolated
mission statement that means something to you and building community to reflect it
Tools
IRC
78% of people she surveyed miss it
know how to have a workaround
Slack, WP, Google Docs and Zoom
In her survey other peple brought up
zendesk, helpscout
githb, basecamp, trello, telegram, twitter, instagram, FB, Mastodon, Asana, Calednly
email
All communication tools
social is important to follow along to other people’s lives
Distributed companies do well
Stakeholders, clear vision of company
Also compensation
benefits, insurance, money, retirements
hopefully find something you care about working on
Resources are self explanatory
working with a communication
easier in company than a project
when there is a meeting, P2
slack small conversation
digital breadcrumbs to get where you need
include everyone in the project, makes it more accessible in many ways
welcoming place
Passion Project
Teamwork
Better together, what can they learn from one another, projects and companies
Great ideas come from anywhere
next million $ idea
passion
communication is key!

Code Organization and Optimization for Blazingly Fast Rest Applications
Pete Klein

I ran into Pete the day before his talk and the very idea of accessing data for specific use cases intrigued me. Ultimately, the CMS is just a fancy GUI to model and access a database, so changing how you access that data in a progressive, timesaving per cycle way makes a lot of sense. I really appreciated how straightforward he was with the limitations of this approach and how it is not a one size fits all situation, which is a trap many less experienced devs fall into as they chase the new shiny thing. If you are optimizing front end search or any anonymous content, Short Init is definitely worth exploring as a code pattern.

fast queries vs the RestAPI
Primer on the WP DB structure
guide on easy benchmarking
primer on $wpdb an MySQL in operator
OOP
what talk is not
Universally applicable
A step by step walkthrogh of Rest
user authentication
have anything to do with WP caching
Not a lecture, as questions
code examples setup
VSCode
PHP Intellephense
Composer
ACF
An Example:
Travel Review App
Destination custom post type
feadured content
editor content
region taxonomy
Our Rating – post metadata
hotel link – post meta
Reviews Post Type
WP DB structure, been the same since 4.4.2
terms have term meta
our endpoint
— see slides, moved fast —
2 ways to implement
REST API
Short Init
measure speed
Apache Bench built in to mac
ab -n 100
science of waiting
nngroup.com/articles/response-times-3-important-limits
update: 6 seconds before you lose all attention these days
navite = 343ms
short init = 58ms
quick comparison: default WP
register_rest_route()
Data access WP_Query
get_post
get_the_terms
get_the_posts
look at functional code
-code-
now the short init way
endpoints are stand alone files, not theme or plugin code
skips all the authentication and such
files start with
define DOING_AJAX
define SHORTINIT
Require_once ../wp-load.php
All data access is done through $wpdb
ID’s as array indicies are used to return results
no WP_Query
no WP_Usr object
can’t be used for complex querys
good for frequently hit, unauthenticated queries that need to be fast
Search
Featured Content
User Profiles
Anything on a homepage or first page of an app
Code Examples again
Collections
INtro
techopedia.com/definitoin/25317/collection
it’s a bucket
that holds data
has methods to fetch and access that data
just making it clean and reusable

Who Needs Themes When You have Blocksets
Wil Ranney

Having sidestepped actually using the current WordPress code editor, thanks to Markdown and WP-CLI, I have realized recently I am not up to speed with some of the current thinking about the direction blocks are generally headed. This talk gave a pretty compelling argument that we should be thinking about block collections as a different path to the same outcome Themes gives us today. It feels we are in an in between time, where blocks are not quite understood enough by the masses and are being imagined differently by the advanced camps. It will be interesting to watch the story of the editor unfold over the next few releases.

Used to use Divi
Conversation at WCUS 2017
Divi is a theme, not a plugin
how would they use Gutes
layout packs
Limits of themes: static sections
headers
each theme in WP treats this differently
4 different design systems
working on replacing widgets with blocks, but why stop there?
another limit: proprietary code
Another issue: Global Settings
customizer a good step, but aspect ratio change is hard
Most things we use themes for can be reduced to blocks and blocksets
group of blocks arranged in a way and stored together
reusable blocks
not in the main WP menu yet
export these blocksets as JSON
“Pages are wrapped inside themes, where blocks operate inside pages”
rarely do you see theme settings for single page
Page level theming is what we want
projects always get stuck on content
we don’t need a block repo, we need a blockset repo
New, better blocks
Gutes Blokcs – ultimate addons for Gutes
Stackable – gutes blocks
Page Builder Gute Blocks – coblocks
Kadence Blocks – Gutes page builder toolkit
Blocks Lab
Premium Blocks for Gutenberg
Gutes Bloks and Template Library by Otter
ACF Global blocks
Give some time to help make it better
One more case for blocksets and not just blocks
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace all have blocks
Like Divi a few dozen blocks and layouts
can’t compete with the community to make it happen

Gamify task management. Take your turn, strategize, and WIN!
Justin Foell

I kinda really love board games and I have been pretty focused in my other writings about process management and better workflows. So, to see a talk that I would actually like to give at some point was both validating and just downright inspiring. The term ‘gamification’ threw me off a bit but thinking about how games have rules and patterns that are identical to project management principles feels exactly right. I need to get my hands on that Kandan the board gameand that Project Management board game I discovered at NERDSummit this year.

Linux on his personal machine!
Gamify Taks Management for the win!
tasks and tickets, he uses them interchangeably
hates Candyland/Shoots And Ladders
all chance
let’s talk about strategy games
Jeremy Ward Board Game enthusiast and stickler for details
complex games
some could be considered punishable
Before we start, what is the goal
we have to cooperate and communicate
Pandemic game example
Can openly trade cards
good analogy
Victory points!
feature launch or a theme redesign
product launch
full site launch
make sure the goals are clear
also we have to know the roles
Project Manager (dealer)
Production Team (Devs and Designers)
The Client (the Driver)
project manager does board setup
this is not your out to say “that is the PM job”
everyone needs to know setup and rules
game example – complex
know what the standard information is
when managing tasks, flags, statusus, labels
a meaningful view of what is going on
Can we reduce complexity?
Setup is a big part of gaming
Epics/Milestones/Sprints/Features
simple terms
an example in Jira
so customizable, can be cumbersome very quickly
if set up simply, it is one of the best solutions out there
Jura, Milestones are Epics
Theme Redesign
Customize Content
Backlog – adding tasks
potentially a long list of stuff
clever way of hiding the stuff you are not working on at the moment
try to hide the mountain of work below the fold
agile development – we will go through terms
Agaile sprints, just set amount of time, wek or 2 or a month
resonable amount of tasks completed in that time
typical gameplay on outside of the box, helps with planning
setup time not counted in there
take the tasks we want to and add to sprint
you get to set the rules of this game
might not hve sprints if just reactively doing tickets
kanban – timeboard
To Do
In Progress
Done
invented by auto industry to make sure supply/demand was efficient and manage workforce
Pro tip, game called Kanban
once set up, default screen you see
addint another status with the + button
winemaking game with seasons
planting, growing, harvesting, vinting
phase moving from one place to another
just got to be aware of what is going to make this cumbersome
Take your turn
Order or flow of ticket as it moves from person to person
have to spell out which people and which roles will be doing wich actions
software example

  1. Client requests a feature
  2. Project manager enters ticker into Backlog
  3. Dev provides an estimate
  4. Client approves budget
  5. PM assigns dev based on workload(prints/ToDo)
  6. Dev does work (in progress)
  7. Lead dev revies work
  8. Client reviews the work and it gets deployed
  9. PM completes it
    Castle Panic game example
    Draw Cards (pick a task)
    Play Cards (do the work)
    Move the monsters (Hand it off)
    moving the tokens are fun
    Trello does this too
    jira owns Trello now
    Remember post-move actions
    last step should be reassigning it to the next person
    Do necessary documentation, tell people what you did
    links, screenshots
    Add/Remove label or a flag, etc
    Reassign it to the next person in line
    Who’s turn is it?
    Sometimes there is a lull cause people are masterminding a plan to win
    not asking who’s turn it is is bad
    asking it is right thing to do when in doubt
    it is important to know when it is your turn and what todo on your turn
    My CLient Refuses to use our Task Management System
    Coach them on the rules
    Remind them that it’s their project
    play the game for them (when they go to the bathroom), play fair and good
    Celebrate the wins
    Review tasks at the end of a milestone, let each dev or designer show off work
    Talk about what went well and what coule be improved (adjust the rules)
    Provide a peer-to-peer reward system
    peer to peer feedback better than top down
    Take our turn, Strategize and WIN!

Wrapping Up

I rarely have to say anything negative about a hotel experience but I need to get this pne off my chest. The Moxy Downtown Minneapolis was a terrible experience for me. Thursday night going into Friday the fire alarm went off at 1:30am and due to an alarm malfunction they could not turn it off on the floor I was on. I had to change rooms at 3:00am. My new room had very thin walls and for the next 2 nights I had some noisy neighbors. This all added up to the least sleep I have gotten on a roadtrip in recent memory. It might be a hip, kitschy vibe but my stay there was the opposite of why I want to stay at a hotel.

Other than the lack of sleep this was a fun trip. It was great to see everyone and I walked away not just learning some new cool stuff, but I also walked away excited other folks are as into process management and project management optimization as I have been recently. As my life changes and I am recognizing my frequenting of so many WordCamps might be winding down, it makes me appreciate every second I spend out on the road to support the community even more. I have no idea when or if I will every return to Minneapolis, but I look forward to that day. Maybe it will even be for WordCamp Minneapolis 2020.

While not part of the camp, this got published while I was there: