WordCamp US 2017 from the eyes of a 12 year old

I’m attending WordCamp US in Nashville Tennessee at the end of this month. This is the first time since WordCamp SF turned into WordCamp US that I’ll be attended this event. For the last few years, aside from the local WordCamps here in California I’ve haven’t been venturing too far from home to attend a WordCamp. WomenWhoWP wanted to send two people to WordCamp US Bluehost said they would sponsor those people. So WomenWhoWP put an application on their site, we applied, and were selected from the entries. Jessalyn has shown interest in technology by getting involved in STEM at school and joining the Girls Who Code club there as well. For the last few months, I’ve changed my focus Meetup wise and have attended WomenWhoWP’s Meetup to show support for my friends Bridget Willard and Jen Miller and to get more involved in their community. I’ve been taking Jen and Jessalyn making this a family date nite of sorts and they recognized that Jessalyn is showing interest in technology, getting involved in it at home, school and in her social groups. Bluehost with WomenWhoWP’s recommendation wanted to send her to WCUS to learn more about WordPress and the technologies that I, her dad am fluent in. I’m stoked to get the opportunity to go with her and learn from her point of view what “WordPress” is to a 12-year-old.

I’ve been to many WordCamps over the 10+ years I’ve been involved in WordPress and I’ve traveled a few times to far off places to attend. Miami is the furthest for me thus far with this WordCamp US in Tennessee being the second farthest.

This trip has a few firsts for Jessalyn:

  • First time flying anywhere, ever.
  • First time building and writing for her own blog ( jessalyn.blog )
  • First time going further east than Colorado.
  • First time going to a WordCamp.
  • First time going on a dad and daughter only trip somewhere, ever.
  • First time Mom has both of us out of her hair for a few days this year.
  • First time interviewing people on camera – My idea to interview women in technology

With all these firsts, I’m looking at this from her perspective. The drama of going through security, of getting on a plane (for the first time), of spending MANY hours on the plane (doing homework) and then arriving in a city neither of us has been to. Shuttle / Uber / Lift over to the hotel, staying in a hotel, dealing with time zone changes and then realizing we need to wake up really early (for us) in the morning. Breakfast, trip to WordCamp and then… WOW! This place is HUGE! swag, swag, swag, shirts, shirts, shirts, more swag and then going to her first session of the day. Many sessions later and an after party that is 100% kid friendly. This trip is very much for her to “ramp up” and learn how a “WordPress” website works. I use quotes here because other than it being a “blog”, she really doesn’t know much about the technology. Two days of that then we chase the sun and arrive back home just ticks on the clock face longer than we left TN. Whew!

I’m really looking forward to this experience and looking forward to what Jess will get out of it. Her first blog post is out, take a minute and read it and then leave her a comment (obviously after you comment here on mine!), she’ll have a few out over the course of the next few weeks leading up to WCUS.

My first meeting of Girls Who Code

Jessalyn will be interviewing women in technology at WordCamp US.

My idea to interview women in technology

Don’t get caught looking at the clock during a live video stream – Video Streaming Tips

In this video, I’m going to show you a million dollar tip, one that makes it very easy to stay engaged with your live video stream without showing your viewers you are looking at the clock.

I record about 2 hours of live video each week and I have hard starts and hard stops on these shows so I need to look at the clock a lot. The best way I’ve found to not get caught looking at the clock is to move the time to the center of the screen so people watching me won’t see me look at the time periodically. It’s distracting to the viewer seeing your eyes move up and to the right over and over again much like it would be when you are having a face to face conversation.

We all do it, we’re talking on Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout etc and we look up at the clock to see what time it is. This is just as bad as looking at your watch while talking to someone in person, you lose engagement your eyes drift to the corner of the screen and now your participant or many participants while you are live streaming have seen that you looked at the corner of the screen, are they no longer important? Sure they are so why not show them the attention they deserve.

Share this tip with friends that do live streams, webinars and other on computer recorded content and save them the embarrassment using the social share links on this page. Leave me a comment if you do something like this or if you have any other tips to share!


How to build a new WordPress website – https migrations, seo, contact forms, google analytics

This month at my local WordPress meet up I demonstrated how you can build a WordPress website and what tools you need to get started. I covered a myriad of topics and our plan is to cover this series for the next couple months. We hope that folks can figure out how to build WordPress websites themselves by combining all the info we share in this series.

Here is the video from WhittierWP, my local WordPress meet that I co-manage. If you don’t live in the Whittier CA area and are looking to get involved in using WordPress you may want to find a local meetup.


Live streaming with an interactive audience is hard

Bridget Willard and I started WPblab as a way for her and I to answer people’s questions about WordPress and to be able to share our knowledge with our viewers. We started this show on blab.im a new yet now sunsetted live video streaming website with some new features that we couldn’t find elsewhere. It reminded me of the early days of WPwatercooler and our use of Google Hangouts On Air to stream our show to the masses. Blab.im had the potential to do some amazing things with their platform but in the end I think other projects they were building got the best of them.

The things we liked about blab.im were:

  1. Artificial limit to the number of people who could be on the show
    Limits are good and not having too many people on a show (talking over one another) is a good thing.
  2. Everyone on the screen at the same time
    I love the idea that they used a 2×2 grid allowing just 4 people total to be on the show at any given time.
  3. “The Hot Seat” – Anyone can join in that had a webcam
    This is what we called the available seats that we could lock or even unlock allowing our “studio audience” to take a seat and interact with us.
  4. / slash commands for asking questions or shrugging ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    These were great and made for some interesting interactions with our audience.
  5. Save the show for later use
    The ability to upload directly from blab.im to YouTube and/or download audio and video versions of the show.

Things that we disliked about blab.im

  1. Social Media “Paywall”
    Requiring users to login with Facebook or Twitter to watch our content, they did have a way to login without this but the text was soo small and at the bottom of the screen. We lost about 3/4 fo our viewership when this was implemented this.
  2. Support
    Having to be in a live blab and use the chat to type /help to get someone to help you “publicly” just seems dumb.
  3. Features randomly not working
    The /q question feature stopped working randomly one day and ever came back. Running a show where you are answering people’s questions and not having a queue of questions was annoying.
  4. Pinning a comment’s link only worked on https sites
    The devs refused to add a way for non https links to have their content cached and then displayed as a pinned featured image. The feature was great when it worked but not all websites are https… yet.
  5. Echoooooooooo
    We tried every setup known to man to cut the amount of echo that the show would have, nothing seemed to work.
  6. Unable to switch sources mid show
    Once you selected what audio and video device you were going to be using you were stuck using that device until you quit and come back in again and be prompted to select a new device.

Make live streaming great again (move to a new service)

Bridget and I have been doing WPblab for a few months now and we’re slowing seeing the chipped paint and the small cracks form, the carpet not cleaned and the janitor not picking up the trash anymore. I started looking at other solutions (and a new name of the show… never ever name your show after a technology, your show WILL outlast the technology)

We’ve looked at a few options so far:

  • Firetalk
    I love the user interface for this, allows for some interesting things such as monetization, embeds and other things.
  • Google Hangouts On Air
    We use this for WPwatercooler, you can’t get the audience to join the show without some pre-planning, not sure we’d go this route.
  • YouNow
    Just no… this place is over-run by people paying to see one another strip using what I could only call a Millennial’s version Chuckie Cheese. I can see Blab doing that same thing at some point if they would have stuck around.

What we moved to

Moving away from Blab.im to Google Hangout On Air (now called YouTube Live) and not looking back has been tough for Bridget and I. Having that spontaneity of allowing people to join our conversation when they see fit is something we miss and is hard to reconstruct using Google Hangout On Air. We’ve changed the format a bit bu utilizing the YouTube live chat as our way of interacting with our viewers. It’s available on YouTube and on our website (using the embed code they offer) and made it easier for our people to talk with one another during the event. we’ve also brought on scheduled guests to talk about topics they know a lot about which as made the show more interactive for our viewers.


Whatever you do when working with a new video service is run some tests to see if things are going to work your way. I’d say don’t be the first one to the party, let a software or online service mature a bit before switching to it and make a backup plan for when things don’t work out.

  1. Test
  2. Test
  3. Give a software or online service time to mature, don’t be the first to the party if you can help it.
  4. Have a backup plan
  5. Don’t feel married to a solution, your show should still work regardless of how people interact with it.