WordCamp US 2016 Philadelphia

So this year has been a relatively quiet year for me on the WordPress front. I’ve been hard at work on a large scale music education project that has kept me from attending many WordCamps or being very active in the WordPress world as a whole. Since it’s been hard for me to make much time for events, I wanted to make sure to attend WordCamp US this year. Since I only made it to two other WordCamps this year (Miami-Feb and Minneapolis-May), this was my best chance to see lots of friends in one swoop.

This year was a unique trip for me because I was asked to attend by Sucuri who I believe is the best security company in the WordPress space. In my 10+ years in the Air Force, I was an Intelligence Officer so you can imagine security was very near and dear to my heart. Getting to know Tony Perez and Dre Armeda from Sucuri over the years, we’ve had many amazing conversations about our time serving our country, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and security. Since I was planning to attend WordCamp US already, it was a no brainer to help my dear friends spread the gospel of security as a “brand ambassador.”sucurisecurity_2016-dec-04


Hallway Track

I don’t generally get to a lot of the sessions at the big camps, this year was no exception. The only session I attended was Andrew Nacin’s talk about his time working in the government since leaving Audrey Capital. I alway love Nacin’s sessions and I wanted to hear about his experience since I had essentially done the opposite by leaving the government to pursue my own endeavors which have included WordPress for the last 7 or 8 years.

The Hallway Track is where the interactions happen. Trying to walk past all the booths at WordCamp US is much like trying to walk the red carpet at a major media event. You have people trying to talk to you from every direction. This is a great place to chat with people and see what people have been up to and what new things are happening in the WordPress world. Since Sucuri didn’t have a booth at the event, there was no pressure to stay in one place and I had the freedom to roam and see what conversations happened naturally. The most common question I got all weekend was, “When did you start working at Sucuri?”


Friday After Party

Friday night I went with the Sucuri team to the GiveWP/Media Temple get together. First off thanks to both of them for putting on a fantastic party! I had a great time and great conversations with many people I don’t see very often. It was great to talk to Tom McFarlin since I had never met him in person before and we got to talk about everything from parenting to web development.

After leaving the party, we found our way to an amazing taco spot before heading back to the hotel to crash. It was nice to be able to catch up with Jeff Chandler from WP Tavern at our late night dinner and talk about much of what happened the first day at the event. I always enjoy spending time with Jeff. There was a lot of drama at this camp over a sponsor being removed from the bill the night before because they had partaken in some marketing that was felt to be of an unapproved nature. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on it but it’s always great to talk to Jeff because he tries to stay away from the drama and just get to the facts of the events in his reporting. I always appreciate his direct candor and willingness to go against the grain if the facts lead him there.


State of the Word (SOTW)

Matt held his annual State of the Word at the end of the day on Saturday to wrap up the formal part of the event. He covered the growth of WordPress since the 2015 event and mapped out a lot of the way ahead. You can get a full recap of the SOTW at Post Status, so I’ll spare the details here. This year’s SOTW seemed a little flatter than it has to me in previous years. It is starting to feel more like a political speech than anything else. While I appreciate the info and in the past I felt it gave me vectors on how to grow my business in the coming year, this year it felt much flatter than in the past. The idea of having someone get up on stage in a suit and tie to tell me about the open source community I’m involved in feels a little bit off to me.


Saturday After Party

The official event after party was held at the Academy of Natural Sciences. It was the first time I’ve been to a WordCamp after party that had dinosaurs. The organizers did a great job putting on a party in a place that didn’t feel like it was typically used for parties. If you’ve never been to a WordCamp before, the after party is a great time to talk to people even some that you’ve never met before. Everyone is there to relax and unwind after a long two day event and you’ll likely get the opportunity to meet people you follow online or you see contributing to WordPress on Trac in an environment that doesn’t feel threatening at all.


Wrap Up

All in all it was an amazing weekend with old friends and new. The highlight for me was being able to train with Dre Armeda and Justin Mazzi (Pressed) on Friday at lunch. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a major part of my life and the fact that I get to share those experiences with people in the WordPress community is the best! I also got to spend a lot of time with the team Sucuri brought to the event and I get to know the amazing folks that are working hard every day to make the Internet a more secure place. If you have a website, you should seriously look into Sucuri and what their platform can do for you! Thanks Dre and Tony for letting me tag along with your team! Look forward to building our BJJ Rolling tradition next year in Nashville! dremeda_2016-dec-02

First WordPress contribution is released today – WordPress 4.1 “Dinah”

Today WordPress 4.1 was released. This is a big release for me because it is my first contribution that was committed to WordPress. I’ve worked with WordPress since 2009 but hadn’t gotten to contribute to core until this release. This contribution was so I could go through the steps of the process, so I could get into more contributing in the future.

You’d think contributing is easy but there are a lot of little things you have to understand to be able to contribute even one line of code. If you’re looking to get started, the WebDev Studio guys have a great blog post on getting into contribution.

Profiled on Pagely’s Blog

Today I was featured on the Pagely blog. For those of you who don’t know Pagely, they are a full-service WordPress hosting company. I met Sean O’Brien this year at WordCamp San Francisco and got to spend quite a bit of time with him over the course of the weekend. I was flattered when Sean asked to do a profile on me. You can check out the profile on Pagely’s blog: https://pagely.com/blog/2014/11/kiko-doran-jimmy-kimmel-wordpress/

It was the first time I’ve ever been compared to Jimmy Kimmel and I’m flattered by the comparison. I love the WordPress community and love to help people connect with the right people to help them achieve their goals. I don’t think I know “everyone” yet, but I accept the challenge to keep going to conferences and meetups and getting to know more of the awesome professionals in this community!

Officially a WordPress Core Contributor

I’ve been working with WordPress since early 2009 and today I had my first patch committed to WordPress for the 4.1 release. It was long overdue and I plan to do much more in the future. I’ve been a contributor to WordPress for many years by organizing WordCamps, speaking at conferences and meetups, mentoring newer community members, and answering questions for people on various forums. It had been on my todo list to get something contributed so I could learn the process and do more code work on the project in the future. I worked on a Javascript ticket related to the customizer stuff added in WordPress 4.0 at WordCamp Los Angeles and it was committed today.

More contributions to come in the future…

Talking WordPress and Happy Joe on Genesis Office Hours

Yesterday I was on Genesis Office Hours “Where Veterans Meet WordPress” hosted by Carrie Dils. It was a Veteran’s Week special and I was joined with James Dalman, Happy Joe founder. James and I are working together to try and make a difference for Veterans looking to become entrepreneurs or to work in the tech industry. Happy Joe is an amazing organization that you’ll see lots of great things out of in the future. Check out the video and you can learn a little about what we are trying to do at Happy Joe.

Bring a Client to WordCampMpls

I mentioned this at the local WordPress Meetup last month and I saw a lot of light bulbs go off. If you deliver WordPress sites to your clients, you should think about purchasing them a ticket to WordCampMpls.

Networking Opportunity

You’ll get to spend the day with your client helping them learn more about WordPress. We’ll even include lunch in your $20 purchase. So you can sit and talk with them about the things they learned in the morning sessions and talk about the things they may want to add to their site. You’ll also get the chance to hang out with them over beers and food at the official WordCampMpls after party at WerkPress.

Hard to Get Client’s Undivided Attention

It’s hard to get your clients to take the time to really learn about what it is you do for them. WordCamps are a great way to get together with your clients and they would never guess it only cost you $20. Take advantage of the great opportunity.

How I Stopped Email From Running My Life

For the longest time, I would check my email hundreds of times a day. It was a bad reflex. I would consistently just check it throughout the day. If I added up the time, I knew I would be very sad about it. I tried and tried to resist the urge to check but I still found myself in email constantly. It wasn’t just on my computer but also on my phone. The phone might have been my biggest enabler.

My first step

The first thing I did to stop checking email was an accident. My iPhone camera had a speck of dust on the inside of the glass. Little did I know it was this little piece of dust that was going to save me…

I went to the Mall of America with my daughter on a Friday afternoon. I was taking her and a friend to the amusement park for the day and when I got there, I thought I should swap this phone out at the Apple store. So I got them their wristbands and headed over to the Apple store to do my exchange. Everything went well but then, because I have strong passwords, I wasn’t able to setup my password software or email. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack all day. Once I got through the day, I never put email on my phone again.

I always understood the idea of Inbox Zero and practiced for stints of time but when I was getting email on my phone, I’d check it when I was away from my desk but I’d leave emails in my inbox so I could deal with them later. Eventually, I’d get overrun by emails and then found myself not practicing the fundamentals of Inbox Zero.

Great but I sit at a computer most of the day

I do lots of different things at my computer and email always seemed to pull my focus away from what I really had to be doing. In any given day I find myself recording music, editing video, programming, writing, strategic planning, and many other things on top of email communication. I took the idea of leaving email off of my phone and applied it to my computer. I created two additional logins on my computer called Development and Video. I don’t have email setup on either of these logins and it forces me to switch user account to check my email. I did this about six months ago and it has really helped me from checking my email incessantly during the day. When I have time scheduled to focus on correspondence, I switch back to my main account and take care of email.

Creating the separate accounts also let me customize my toolbar for each account’s focus. This helped my productivity in ways other than email. When I’m editing video, I don’t need access to my text editor very often. Depending on the role I’m working on, I need regular access to different software and I use my toolbar to help me keep things a single click away.

You still have to condition your clients

This is just a tool to protect you from yourself. You still have to create a climate with your clients so answering email once a day is acceptable, but that is for another post…