WordCamp Chicago 2012 Highlights!

Our friends over at Marktime Media put together an amazing video highlighting WordCamp Chicago 2012.

Thanks so much to everyone that participated in making the event a huge success!

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Newbie Workshop Follow Up

As promised, Bob Dunn provided us with some follow-up insights from last week’s Newbie Workshop:

WordCamp Chicago, Some Resources and a Bit of Insight

Bob Dunn and Mary DuQuaine provided an introduction to the world of WordPress.  The WP world is full of tech terms and they both gave some tips and hints to make things easier. Our suggestion?  Immerse yourself in the dashboard, learn the language by reading articles on WordPress and use tutorials to help bring it all together.  And, of course, invest in WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson to get you started.

Chicago has some great WordPress Meetup groups to support you along the way!

Chicago Northside WordPress Meetup Group

WordPress Lake County (IL) Meetup Group

[Ed: there's also a new meetup out in McHenry County!]

 

 

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Want to follow along online?

Presentation Icon by Visual Pharm - http://www.visualpharm.com/

Looking for Slides? We will be posting more info after the conference, but you can view the links to slides and find our speaker’s twitter handles here on this Google Spreadsheet.

SLIDES!

Twitter icon by YOO Theme:http://icons.yootheme.com

Don’t forget you can catch a lot of the back-channel conversation from our speakers and attendees on Twitter under the hashtag #wcchi

Flickr icon by YOO Theme:http://icons.yootheme.com

Our photographers will be uploading photos to our flickr WordCamp Chicago 2012 group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wordcampchicago2012/

facebook icon by YOO Theme:http://icons.yootheme.com

We’re also keeping our Facebook page updated with quick links and photos: https://www.facebook.com/WordCampChicago

 


Free icons from Visual Pharm and YOOTheme

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Interview with Matt Patulski

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:
Wordpress has a duel purpose in my day-to-day. We use WordPress a lot in my day gig at Capgemini: We have several offerings like small brochure-ware sites, event kiosk solutions, and private extranets for managing our long-term client relationships.
I also volunteer for a few groups associated with my sons’ school. My workplace experience comes in to play when building a site for my local PTA or school booster club. But we have no time, no budget–very off the shelf, but very effective.

What will you be speaking about?
JP Peters and I will be running an interactive session on WordPress in Education.

Who is your target audience?
Persons in the PK-12 or University space who are building sites to provide education resources or run volunteer/booster groups that support any school/program like a PTA or a club.

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?
A great open-ended discussion with a lot of new options and ideas on using WordPress in the education space.

What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?
‘Theme My Log-in’–perfect for building sites that require the log-in/profile pages to match the rest of the site. It keeps the user experience consistent for the non-technical account holder.

Do you have a WP hero?
Mike Devarrenne at www.swampsidestudio.com. Mike does a lot of my development work on my corporate projects. He keeps his cool, works well with my stakeholders, knows WordPress.

What is your favorite tourist attraction in Chicago?
Art Institute of Chicago, try to go every time I am in town.

Tell your favorite WordCamp story!
Last year at WCC2011, when John James Jacoby showed up to talk about BuddyPress for 90 minutes–that was great.
Contact Info:
matthew@patulski.is

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Interview with Samuel Wood aka Otto

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:

My name is Samuel Wood, but everybody except my parents calls me
“Otto”. It’s a nickname I picked up in college which stuck. I do
random things for WordPress.org, the WordPress core, plugins, themes,
support, and everything in between. You might say that I’m a bit of a
generalist in that way.

What will you be speaking about?

After speaking at dozens of these events, I found that having
pre-defined topics is boring to many audiences. Either it flies over
their heads, or they already know it. So I’ve taken to the “support”
route. Lots of people attend WordCamps, and leave without having their
specific questions answered. So what I do is to have an “Ask me
anything” type of session, where I will answer any question posed
whatsoever. If I don’t know the answer, then I have the core code up
and ready and I will demonstrate how to find the answer. This evokes
more discussion, more interaction, and is frankly a lot more fun for
all involved, IMO.

Who is your target audience? Who will get the most out of your presentation?

Anybody and everybody. No question is too simple, no question is too
difficult. After doing WordPress for over 6 years, and being involved
in all aspects, I know most of the answers. If I don’t, then I can at
least point the way. I’ve only been stumped once, but it turned out to
be a really obscure issue. :)

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?

Answers to their questions. That’s one of the hardest things in a
community based system, finding decent support. Since I mostly do
support all the time, on all sorts of things, then I hope that
everybody in the room gets their specific questions answered. If
somebody isn’t willing to speak up, then I’m always available for the
entire conference for a one-on-one consult to try to help. Helping is
what I love to do most.

Tell your favorite WordCamp story!

A bit over 2 years ago, the first WordCamp I attended was in Savannah,
GA. Jane asked me to speak, but I replied that I’d actually prefer to
attend one before speaking at it. :)

Up until then, I had never met anybody else who even used WordPress
except for two people: my friend Paul (whom I convinced to switch to
WP from Blogger) and Matt Mullenweg, who had been nice enough to
sponsor my BBQ team. I had been working for Matt for about 4 months at
that point, and didn’t realize the amount of name recognition that I
actually had. So when I introduced myself to people as “Otto”, every
single one of them said something to the effect of “Oh! You’re OTTO!”
to me, and usually thanked me for helping them out on the support
forums for some obscure problem a couple of years earlier.

It was bizarre, because I didn’t know that I was actually well known
at the time. Came as a bit of a shock. It’s still very weird to be
recognized, but at least it’s for helping people. That’s a good
reason, I think. :)

Contact Info:

http://ottopress.com

otto@wordpress.org

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Interview with Brad Parbs

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:
I’m Brad Parbs, internet rockstar. I’m a designer, developer, plugin author, and core contributor. I use WordPress all of the time. Whether it’s building client sites, my own projects, WordPress is always the right solution.

What will you be speaking about?
I’m speaking on Responsive Design, a primer on it. We’ll cover what it is, why it’s important, how we got to this point, and how you can start using responsive design, even if you don’t know CSS or anything.

Who is your target audience?
Users, developers, designers. I think everyone can learn a little bit or a lot!

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?
I really want everyone to start seriously thinking about how to embrace Responsive Design, it’s something that is really moving the web forward.

What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?
If I don’t count the ones I have in the repo, which I of course love, I would have to say Posts2Posts, because I’ve used it a few times, and it is extremely powerful. It lets you map relationships between post types and you can do a lot.

Do you have a WP hero?
John James Jacoby is probably one of my favorite Automatticians. He’s taught me a lot, helped me out, and always has a great story to tell.

Pizza is a food group unto itself in Chicago… Where is your favorite place to get pizza?

This little pizza place in Dahlonega, Georgia called Gustavo’s. It’s awesome.

Tell your favorite WordCamp story!
Working with Mark Jaquith and John James Jacoby at WordCamp Grand Rapids. They helped me through core code and getting my first contribution into WordPress. It was awesome!!

Contact Info:
BradParbs.com
Twitter.com/BradParbs
Brad@BradParbs.com

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Interview with Tom Carney

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:
I am from Philadelphia, PA. I love playing and watching sports (especially the local pro and college teams). I have been designing websites for over 10 years and have been using WordPress for 3 years. I use WordPress almost every day, I use WordPress multi-site to setup rough draft sites for my corporate and freelance clients. I enjoy developing custom themes and plugins to help me improve with WordPress.

What will you be speaking about?
I will be speaking about using jQuery with WordPress.

Who is your target audience? Who will get the most out of your presentation?
My target audience would be mostly designers who have and haven’t used jQuery within WordPress. Everybody who wanted to enhance their WordPress sites with jQuery will get a lot out of this presentation.

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?
I am hoping the designers and developers use jQuery properly in WordPress. jQuery can help resolve current design and development issues within WordPress and web design in general.

What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?
Gravity Forms

Do you have a WP hero?
Brad Williams

Pizza is a food group unto itself in Chicago… Where is your favorite place to get pizza?
Pica’s Pizza – outside of Philly.

What is your favorite tourist attraction in Chicago?
Wrigley Field

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Interview with Pippin Williamson

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:

I’m a WordPress plugin developer. I write plugins that are distributed on WordPress.org as well as other sites, such as Code Canyon. I also run a tutorial sites focused on providing education for plugin development.

 

What will you be speaking about?

I will be speaking about developing modular plugins that can be extended by others, without ever changing core plugin source code.

 

Who is your target audience?  

Developers with  at least a basic knowledge of how to write a plugin, as well as semi- and highly-advanced developers.

 

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?

A better idea of the reasons why modular plugins help the entire WordPress community as a whole.

Do you have a WP hero?

Every one of the core developers. Without them, I would not have the career that I do today.

Pizza is a food group unto itself in Chicago… Where is your favorite place to get pizza?

I’ve never eaten Chicago pizza.

What is your favorite tourist attraction in Chicago?

The lake.

 

Contact Info:

Twitter: @pippinsplugins

Web: http://pippinsplugins.com

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Interview with Joe Chura

Joe Chura owns Launch Digital Marketing which is one of our latest sponsors this year.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:

I use WordPress as one of the core platforms for both my company and clients.  Launch Digital Marketing has built over 200 custom WordPress Websites in the last year. We have built the blog for Navy Pier, several automotive related websites,  six non-profit related websites and many others in a variety of niches.  We use WordPress to transform and help business move away from static HTML websites and their dependency on developers to make simple changes and updates.  It has given us a great foundation to build marketing plans around while providing flexibility clients are begging for.

My target audience would be business owners or people that would like to know how to use WordPress to improve their business and become more efficient. Some examples include: e-mail to posting or custom database work,  social contests, etc.

What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?

Probably the most helpful is Gravity Forms. We style the forms for Facebook Applications, check out pages, surveys and a lot more. It has awesome flexibility and is very reliable.

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Interview with Trafton Esler

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you use WordPress:
It sounds cliché to say that I am “passionate about business and technology,” but that’s a pretty fair description. I built my first computer when I was 13, and immediately began a small consulting business fixing neighbors’ computers. I went on to do a degree in Computer Engineering and consult on Enterprise Systems, later completing my MBA in Entrepreneurship.
My love for technology is only equaled by my love for people, and so I’ve found balance as a bridge over the gap between nerds and normal people. I can talk tech or break down technology into simple terms that anybody can understand. I have the coolest job in the world, getting to talk about what the smart people at WP Engine are doing to innovate WordPress Hosting every day.

What will you be speaking about?
I’m going to be breaking down the world of web hosting for beginners and intermediates so that they understand the difference between shared, dedicated, virtual and managed hosting. We’ll look at some of the common uses for each type of platform as well as the advantages, disadvantage or pitfalls contained in each type of service.

Who will get the most out of your presentation?
If you’re a beginner and want to know the lay of the land in terms of what “web hosting” really means, this is perfect for you. If you’re an advanced WordPress user and want to know your options as your hardware needs increase with the amount of traffic your blog sees, come on down. Every wonder what a dedicated IP is and why you might want one? Or maybe you’re doing e-commerce and you wonder why SSL might be important. All fair questions.

What do you hope the WordCampers will get out of your session?
My hope is that people walk out with lots of questions that they can follow up on in order to make an intelligent decision on what hosting makes the most sense for their needs. We’re going to cover a lot of things at a high level, and by the end of the session you should have a good idea of which bucket your site fits into and what you want out of a host. Then it’ll be time for each attendee to do their own evaluation and a lot of Googling to pick the right host for them!

What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?
I’ve become quite fond of Chorus by Wordnik. It organizes related content cleanly at the end of each blog post.

Do you have a WP hero?
Oh I have several – but my favorites are the WordCamp organizers that take the time out to build up and educate the community. I’d be hard-pressed to pick the best organizer because you all work super hard.

Pizza is a food group unto itself in Chicago… Where is your favorite place to get pizza?
Chicago Pizza and Grinder Co – those pies are cool!

What is your favorite tourist attraction in Chicago?
The Lakeshore running path.

Tell your favorite WordCamp story!
Hanging out in a legit brewery (not just a brew-pub) after WordCamp Milwaukee before going for margaritas and Mexican food with a bunch of the Automattic developers. What a night!

Contact Info:
Trafton Esler
trafton@wpengine.com

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