Q&A With Keynote Speaker Jake Goldman

keynote speaker jake goldman 10up

After talking with 10up’s founder Jake Goldman about his WordPress experience and his keynote speech, I am even more excited about having him join us. Here’s what we talked about.  (Please note this was condensed and edited for space and clarity.) 

Talk about your life before using WordPress and how it’s changed your life and helped your career.

I’ve been in web development since before there was a WordPress. WordPress came into my periphery initially as sort of one one tool I was using in a suite. At that time back in 2006, as a blog or news component of a broader web site.

In the spirit of what my talk is going to be, I see WordPress as a tool and a facilitator of a mission, not an ends in and of itself but more of a means. I think embracing WordPress as the means has made for happier customers. Certainly 10Up, which I started in 2011, with WordPress sort of being the core of what we focus on, because we think it best enables the kind of customer experience that we want to create, has obviously allowed me to have a successful business, have a successful company.

Speaking personally, I have found it very fulfilling to really become engaged with the WordPress community. I have many friends and professional colleagues and great experiences with the broader web development community that I never really found when I was sort of floating doing everything in the web.

So what do you think is your favorite feature or plugin?

I love that it is both a CMS and in many ways a development platform in a framework that takes some very complex operations like timed events, like remotely retrieving data, like securely handling Ajax and takes those fairly complex systems and wraps them around functions that make it immensely easier, take a lot of the pain points out of it.

A classic example of this would be like the WP remote functions. Any developer that was around since before there were frameworks knows how tedious and painful it can be to make remote server requests and knows how much easier WordPress’ remote functions take what can be a very tedious, difficult system and makes it significantly more streamlined.

Talk about why the WordPress community is so important to you.

So there’s sort of a theory about why people at a deeper level choose to adopt tools. People don’t just buy the utility of the product, they also buy the idea of the product. I think a lot of WordPress’ success has been built on the idea that what people love about it is not just from a raw, cold, un-engaged perspective of the software, but what it means to have a bigger community that supports them, that is engaged, that is enthusiastic, that provides a support group, that provides tools.There’s a lot of things that having a bigger mission and community do for you.

Why do people want to wear a WordPress logo on their t-shirt? It’s not because it’s just a good piece of software. It’s because it stands for something. It stands for something bigger.

Break down what your keynote speech is about.

I think WordPress is the best tool to get a job done. And it’s the best tool, not just because of how its software, but because of its UX paradigms, it’s the philosophy it takes, the community that’s out there to support people that use the product, the ecosystem and economy that’s built around the product. The bottom line is we see it as the best tool to accomplish a goal.

I squirm a little bit when I hear people talking about something like what it means to design for WordPress. I don’t think we build cutting edge web sites of tomorrow if we take the philosophy that you start with the tool and work forward. I don’t think you say, “I’m going to use this circular saw and design my table around the circular saw.” I think you say, “Here’s a table I envision that I think will be the table that I want,” and then work your way backwards to “What are the best tools that help you get that done?”

So what I would like to see more people challenge themselves to do is start with the user experience. Start with some inspiration for what a great looking web site is and work backwards. I think that’s how we build the showcases and push WordPress to do more exciting things. I think that’s the way forward.

Brilliant dude, right? Be sure you grab tickets now. 


#ThrowBackThursday: WordCamp Birmingham 2013 Photos

We had to join in on the #TBT fun by showing off photos from 2013’s WordCamp.

Make sure you grab your tickets soon! We are one month away.

In the comments, let us know what kinds of content and information you look forward to the most at WordCamp. We are always taking suggestions for sessions.

Photos: Brian Krogsgard

FAQ: 3 Reasons Why WordCamp is One Day

WordCamp Birmingham FAQ

For the first time since its inception in 2008, WordCamp Birmingham is one day  – Saturday, Aug. 16. (Hint, hint: Click the date for ticket information!)

The short (and most obvious) answer for this question is, “It’s cheaper!” But it goes a bit deeper than that.

The organizers took feedback from the 2013 surveys very seriously, so here are a few more reasons why we’re just doing a one-day camp this year.

  • Sunday attendance was very small. We noticed it and other Campers did as well.
  • Out-of-town folks will have a lot more breathing room. Instead of having to rush home right after Sunday sessions, or miss them entirely, they have a full day to get back home.
  • No after-party hangover! Seriously. One of the attendees noted it was tough to go to an 8 a.m. Sunday session after going to our afterparty on Saturday.

Changing WordCamp to a one-day event  means fewer sessions, but it will be a simpler and better experience for everyone this year. (As if previous years could be topped!)

Are you excited about WordCamp this year? Let us know in the comments.

FAQ: How to be an Awesome WordCamp Speaker

So you’ve seen our call for speakers, and you keep clicking away from it.


Clicking away.

As soon as you read it, you had an idea of what you’d like to say pop up in your head.

But you think you aren’t good enough. Trust us, you are.

We’ve had engaging presentations from long-time developers and simply even fans of WordPress. That’s what WordCamp is all about.

So here are a few misconceptions about speaking at WordCamp.

My talk has to be 45 minutes of hardcore WordPress speak.
Nope. Last year, I talked about my path to freelancing after leaving corporate life, and I shared some of me favorite WP plugins. Attendees want to know about every facet surrounding WP, including writing, blogging and design.

I have to be the absolute best in my field.
No. If you have a passion for WordPress, you are more than qualified. You don’t have to be labeled a “guru” or an “expert” to apply.

I should have lots of speaking experience.
This is also not true. In fact, this would be a great opportunity to break into public speaking, as WordCamp Birmingham attendees are friendly and welcoming.

My story is too insignificant to inspire others.
Never think that way about your WordPress story. Everyone’s introduction to WP is unique. Every one has a different talent or skill set. Even if you simply blog for your own personal benefit, there will be a WordCamper who wants to hear your story.

Are you ready to apply? Fabulous. Here are some tips and guidelines. 

Before WordCamp:

  • Slides will add a lot of value to your presentation and give your attendees a chance to take notes. Send over your slides to WordCamp as soon as you finalize them.
  • The presentation has to be relevant to WordCamp attendees and not simply a sales pitch for your product or plugin. Also, no inappropriate language or risque slides. WordCamp Birmingham and Wordcamp.tv are family friendly.
  • For speaking tips, the fine folks at WordCamp Asheville suggest using Speaking.io.

During WordCamp

  • Microphones and video cameras will be available. We will have more details about A/V when we receive them. Be sure to bring an A/V adapter, power cord, and what ever else you think you may need.
  • You will have 45 minutes to speak. It’s good to allow around 15 minutes for questions from the audience.
  • Introduce yourself and talk about how you incorporate WordPress into your life.
  • Chat with attendees, be enthusiastic and have a good time!

After WordCamp

  • Provide links (when available) to WordCamp organizers so attendees can check them out later.
  • If you have free time, and want to assist other attendees with WordPress queries, feel free to volunteer at the Happiness Bar.
  • Take a deep breath. You did it! Enjoy the rest of WordCamp.

We hope this gives you a good overview of your experience as a speaker. Apply now. We will make decisions the week of July 13. Contact us if you have any questions.


Call for Speakers: Closed

Submissions are Closed. We’ll be notifying Speakers and we’ll have the schedule up on the site soon. Thanks to everyone that submitted.

Planning for this year’s WordCamp is coming along smoothly, but now it’s time to hear from you. Are you interested in being a speaker? It doesn’t matter what your experience is, we want to hear your stories and share in your experience. We are looking for people who can share how WordPress has helped them to accomplish their goals, to talk about favorite plugins, themes, or functions, or to tell how you fit in to the WordPress community.

Presentations are typically 30 minutes with a Q and A session at the end. We’re looking for topics that revolve around the following topics.

  • WordPress for your Business
  • Developing with WordPress
  • Designing themes
  • Writing and Blogging
  • Getting Started with WordPress

We’re also looking at having a few workshops with smaller groups for 2-3 hours. These workshops would be focused on learning a specific thing about WordPress like “Creating your first WordPress site” or “Creating your first plugin”. If you’re interested in leading a workshop please note it in the form below.

Final Deadline: Fri, July 18th 2014

Getting Started

Let me be the first to welcome you to WordCamp Birmingham 2014. We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for this year. We’re currently in the planning stages now. If your looking for dates and tickets to the event, sign up to receive an email whenever we have updates.

Note to Volunteers: Since we’re in the middle of the planning stage, this is the perfect time to get involved. If you’re interested in helping we have lots of ways to get involved. Take a look at our organizers page to see what we need help with. If one of those areas doesn’t interest you, send us an email and we’ll find a way you can help.

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