WordPress “has no ‘known’ limits”

Luke Gedeon has been behind every WordCamp held in Providence.  He shares his thoughts on the experiences.

You were the very first Providence WordCamp organizer.  What motivated you to start a WordCamp here in RI?   
The monthly WordPress meet-ups had been going for a couple of years and we had a lot of people who were looking for classes on WordPress. I, and a few others, suggested that they go to the Boston or NYC WordCamp. They asked: why we didn’t have one here? One person in particular, who was really good with publicity, really wanted one in Providence. So I agreed that if she would help find 100 other people to come, we would do it. A few months later we had an organization team together and shortly after that we had our first WordCamp with nearly 200 people!

What were the obstacles and how did you overcome them? 
The biggest obstacle the first year was finding a location. We contacted many local colleges and other organizations and met with quite a few. It was a full-team effort to find the right people and go talk to them.

What surprises (both good and challenging) awaited you? 
I honestly didn’t know what to expect most of the time so very little surprised me. I figured, “I guess that’s just the way it is.”

Why do you think so many people volunteer their time: to organize, speak, work the day of WordCamp? 
Many of us start using WordPress because it makes it possible to build a complete website all by ourselves. Then we continue to work all by ourselves until we realize all of the sudden that we need help with a particular project. It is at that point, if not earlier, that we start looking around for anyone who can help. WordCamp is an opportunity to meet locals who use WordPress and also meet some of the most active WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.

Speaking and organizing are two great ways to get to know more of the people who can help you most on your next project. It is also a great way to get name recognition and become know as an expert or leader in the community.

Another reason to volunteer is to help support the community that is building the next new feature in WordPress… that feature that you have been wanting for the last six months. WordCamps are where new features get designed and often built.

Where does the Rhode Island WordPress/WordCamp community fit in with the global picture? 
Sitting right between Boston and NYC, we have an opportunity to connect with two of the largest WordPress communities in the world. But for WordCamp, the most important community is the local one. Take the time to meet everyone in you local area. Those contacts will prove invaluable over the next year.

Why do you think WordPress is such a popular platform among website owners/bloggers/developers? 
Rapid setup. I am not going to say easy, because most platforms are “easy.” You can get started quickly, but the real magic is that you can keep learning and do ever more amazing things the more you learn. Most easy platforms have limited flexibility, and more powerful tools have a huge learning curve before you can even put “Hello World” on a page. WordPress does a great job of scaling to your learning level and has no “known” limits.

What is your favorite part of WordCamp?             
My favorite part is the Happiness Bar. It is a great opportunity to give and receive one-on-one help with anything WordPress related.

What is your level of comfort with creating and maintaining websites?     What do you do with WordPress?  
I am very skilled at backend WordPress development in theme, plugins, and core. On the front-end, I am familiar with js and I can match any design. I am still working on developing a design sense that can detect client tastes and that will communicate client priorities.

How much coding/web development/other will an attendee need to know to get something out of WordCamp? 
The more of the basics you can learn prior to WordCamp the more you will benefit from it, but really you can start from anywhere.

What would you say to someone who says: “I know nothing about websites and will be totally overwhelmed.” 
Every time there is an opening in your Saturday schedule, visit the Happiness Bar for one-on-one help.

What would you say to someone who says: “I know so much about websites and WordPress there’s nothing I could get out of WordCamp.”    
I really doubt it. The people who build WordPress are attending these camps on a regular basis. We use these events as a time to brainstorm ideas for future versions of WordPress and to work on code together.

Any advice for a first-time WordCamp attendee?    
Meet people, ask a lot of questions, take notes on who said what, get contact info for follow-up.

Luke Gedeon is a Web and Business Developer specializing in pre-launch businesses, and non-profits. He is currently building several thousand free websites for churches.

Jeff Golenski

“We have WordCamps to learn”

Jeff Golenski is one of the presenters at the Providence WordCamp September 26 and 27.    He took a few moments to answer our questions.

First and foremost, what is your topic going to be at WordCamp?
Jeff – The Tools & Methodologies of Working Remotely.

What type of person should attend your session?
Jeff – Any type of entrepreneur, designer, developer, business person, or marketer. Whether they’re freelance and have clients from all over, or they’re on a remote team in some larger organization. Everyone can get something from this talk.

What previous knowledge, if any, should they have to attend your session?
Jeff – Pretty basic. They just need to basically be alive and know how to use the internet. ;-)

How much coding/web development/other will an attendee need to know to get something out of your talk?
Jeff – Nearly 0%

Why did you agree to speak at Providence WordCamp?
Jeff – I want to help others’ who have a desire to learn and better themselves, in order to make the web a better place.

What do you do with WordPress?
Jeff – We’ll leave it at… “Everything.”

For WordCamp as a whole: What would you say to someone who says: “I’m afraid to go.  I know nothing about websites and would be totally overwhelmed.”
Jeff – That’s precisely why we have WordCamps – to learn. There are different level talks for everybody. I can go sit in some talks and be completely underwhelmed and bored, or I can go sit in talks and not know a thing about what the speaker is talking about (until they say “WordPress” and my eyes light up). We all have to start somewhere, so why not make it at a extremely affordable conference with passionate people, rather than paying thousands at a tech college. It’s easier than ever to dig in and get your hands dirty, so what are you waiting for?

What would you say to someone who says: “I know so much about websites and WordPress there’s nothing I could get out of WordCamp.”
Jeff – There’s always a bigger fish. And if they truly have that mentality then they’ve stopping trying to innovate.  You can be good at a lot of things, but you can’t be the best at everything.

What impressions do you have about the other speakers/volunteers/sponsors/the organizers at WordCamp?
Jeff – I respect everyone. Whether it be 20 minutes, or dozens of hours, we’re all contributing to make a better WordPress community. Even if someone makes a mistake with logistics or whatnot, it’s not a big deal. They’re doing their best, with the best intentions.

Any advice for a first-time WordCamp attendee?
Jeff – Get off your devices and listen. Unless you’re in a workshop or the speaker is asking everyone to do some interactive stuff, you won’t fully absorb what they’re trying to teach you unless you put things down.

Jeff Golenski is a Design and Front-end Engineer at Automattic.  He received degrees at  Johnson & Wales University for Digital Media and Web Development.  Jeff went to High School at Old Colony Technical High School  in Rochester, MA.

Reach and/or follow him at:

website: webtactician.com

photography: http://500px.com/jeffgolenski

portfolio: http://behance.net/jeffgolenski

IG: http://instagram.com/jeffgolenski

Professional: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=30492135

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffgolenski

Dribbble: http://dribbble.com/jeffgolenski

Jesse Friedman

“I love pushing the envelope and seeing how far it will go”

Jesse Friedman is Lead Organizer for this year’s Providence WordCamp.  He is also a frequent speaker at WordCamps around the country.   Why did he agree to step into the Lead Organizer position for this year’s Providence WordCamp?

What motivates you to put the time and effort into WordCamp?
Jesse- I firmly believe in giving back to a community that has done so much for me.

What are the obstacles and how do you overcome them?
Jesse- The biggest obstacle is putting on a conference when it’s not your day job. Carving out that much time takes dedication. I’m lucky to have a really awesome team of organizers who help me stay on track.

Why do you think so many people volunteer their time: to organize, to speak, to work the day of WordCamp?
Jesse- From my experience most people who volunteer recognize that WordPress wouldn’t exist otherwise. It’s comprised of code written by volunteers.

People joke that Rhode Island is “a speed bump between NYC and Boston.” What are the advantages/disadvantages of hosting a WordCamp in a small state nestled between those cities?
Jesse – I agree people do say that, but Technology and our Community is not bound by state lines. New England has a great WordPress and Tech community and we plan to draw people from all over the area. Last year we had people flying across the country to our little state to enjoy WordCamp.

Where does the Rhode Island WordPress/WordCamp community fit in with the global picture?
Jesse- We are one piece of the puzzle. The bigger picture is a singular community that drives WordPress. We are a hub to the local members of that community.

What is your favorite part of WordCamp?
Jesse- The networking, making friends, and working with others. The sessions are pretty sweet too.

What do you get out of it?
Jesse- Other than the extensive knowledge I gain, I meet a lot of awesome people. It’s really great to get to work with everyone, and see our conference bring joy to others

What is your level of comfort with creating and maintaining websites?
Jesse- 100 out of 10

What do you do with WordPress?
Jesse- It’s easier to answer what I don’t do. I love pushing the envelope and seeing how far it will go. In the past I was strictly development but lately I have been spending far more time doing UX (User Experience) and User Advocacy work.

Jesse Friedman is an Internet Business Strategist, Marketer, Developer, Author, Speaker, and Educator.

{Jesse’s website}  http://jes.se.com

{twitter} http://twitter.com/professor

{Facebook} http://facebook.com/wordpressandweb

Kay Belardinelli

Many types of talents helps everyone get something out of WordCamp

Kay Belardinelli once again is bringing her talents to help organize the 2014 Providence WordCamp.  She says she’s looking forward to another great weekend of learning and networking.   “WordCamp is great because it caters to people who are at many different points of the web design technical spectrum. Some are talented designers, some are expert programmers, and some are curious newcomers. Having so many different types of people helps expand everyone’s perspective, which is pretty cool. Being an organizer gives me the opportunity to meet more of those people and help build that community.”

Kay Belardinelli is a UI/UX Designer at Batchbook and Owner of Kanga Bell Co. 

Daniella Norwood

Bring your laptop and lots of questions!

What inspires someone to devote the time and energy to being a Providence WordCamp organizer? What insights can she offer?

Here’s a Q-and-A with Organizer and Co-Chair of Volunteers, Daniella Norwood.

  • What brings you back as one of the organizers this year?

Danni – WordCamp is a wonderful event with amazing people helping out to make it a wonderful success. It’s working with the co-organizers and volunteers that brought me back.

  • What is your favorite part of WordCamp?

Danni – My favorite part of WordCamp is meeting new people in the community.

  • How much does an attendee need to know about creating a website to get something out of WordCamp?

Danni- None.

  • Any advice for a first-time WordCamp attendee?

Danni- Bring your laptop and lots of questions.

  • What impressions do you come away with about the other speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and organizers?

Danni- They are awesome!

  • What do you do with WordPress?

Danni- My company builds purpose-driven websites and we help small to mid-size businesses with online marketing.

Danni Norwood is a developer and online marketer. She’s the owner of ellajdesigns.com  and also a member of the West Bay BNI.

twitter: ellajdesigns
danni@ellajdesigns.com

Daniella Norwood and Rachel Avery Conley are the Co-Chairs of Volunteers for Providence WordCamp 2014.

Contact them if you would like to volunteer for all or part of the weekend of September 26 and 27!

 

Are you interested in website security?

Chris Wiegman
Chris Wiegman

Providence WordCamp 2014 is excited that Developer Chris Wiegman is making the trip from Texas to Rhode Island to talk about WordPress website security.
Website security can seem like an overwhelming topic to many, but Chris is reassuring on that score.

  • What type of person should attend your session?

Chris – Anyone who is interested in improving the security of his or her WordPress site.

  • What previous knowledge, if any, should they have to attend your session?

Chris – They should know how to access their site via FTP/SSH and not be afraid to access files such as .htaccess and wp-config.php.

  • How much coding or web development will an attendee need to know to get something out of your talk?

Chris – Not much, I’ll provide everything they’ll need. They just can’t be afraid to access the files.

  • For WordCamp as a whole, what would you say to someone who says: “I’m afraid to go. I know nothing about websites and would be totally overwhelmed.”

Chris – I’ve taught people at WordCamps who can barely turn on their laptop. …you will learn a lot regardless of what your experience is.

  • On the flip side, what would you say to someone who says: “I know so much about websites and WordPress there’s nothing I could get out of WordCamp.”

Chris – Everyone can get something out of WordCamp. In many cases it is the networking that is the most valuable aspect, especially when the camp attracts a number of out-of-town speakers and attendees you might not otherwise get to meet. Personally, even with considerable dev (website development) experience, I learn something, and meet someone new, at every WordCamp I attend.

  • Why did you agree to speak at Providence WordCamp?

Chris – There are some pretty awesome people in that area and I would love to get to know more of them.

  • Any advice for a first-time WordCamp attendee?

Chris – Get involved and meet some people.

Chris Wiegman is a Web Developer for iThemes.com working on iThemes Security.

Learn more about Chris:
Blog – http://chriswiegman.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/ChrisWiegman @ChrisWiegman
WordPress – http://profiles.wordpress.org/chriswiegman/
https://github.com/ChrisWiegman
http://ithemes.com

Chris received his B.S. and M.S at Southern Illinois University and is an Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at St. Edward’s University. He’s also co-organizer of the WordPress Austin Meetup and one of the organizers for WordCamp Austin.

 

Welcome to WordCamp Providence

We’re happy to announce that WordCamp Providence is officially on the calendar!

WordCamp Providence will be September 26th and 27th at URI’s Feinstein Providence Campus, 80 Washington Street, Providence, RI.

We’ll be keeping you posted on all the details over the coming months, including speaker submissions, ticket sales and more!

September 26th & 27th, 2014