4 Revolutions at WordCamp Miami 2015

Everyone who attended will agree that #WCMIA was another great success in 2015!  The speakers inspired great new thoughts in their audiences; the picturesque venue absorbed the crowds with ease; the delicious BBQ was followed by unlimited pieces of pie Saturday afternoon; and the swag broke new grounds on interesting (glow-in-the-dark shot glasses and miniature drones, for example). Even the after-party ROCKED as Dave and Busters served up unlimited mini-burgers and chicken skewers on Saturday night!  Kudos to David Bisset and the rest of the organizers, volunteers, sponsors and attendees for creating another epic weekend in Miami!  WCMIA_FIU_SIPA_building2

And let me tell you about several revolutions that occurred there:

1) FIU‘s emergence as the premier public university in South Florida.  15 years ago, if you had asked anyone outside of Miami (and many people in Miami) “where is FIU?” they would have looked at you and asked right back: “What is FIU?”  Florida International University was an unknown school on the outskirts of Miami with little recognition outside of the local community back then.  Today it is emerging as one of the premier universities in Florida. The fact that FIU stole WordCamp Miami away from the University of Miami (and handled the transition well) is a testament to the top-notch faculty, staff, and facilities being built up there.  The FIU of today is “Worlds Ahead” of what it used to be!

2) Livestreaming WordCamps.  Not many people logged into WordCamp via Livestream over the weekend, but those of us who did were impressed.  Sessions were streamed successfully and simultaneously, and pains were made to make sure that the Livestream went off without a hitch.  A/V experts were called in when audio problems arose at the Content/Design track on Saturday, and Livestream mics took precedence over room mics when a choice had to be made during the Business Panels on Sunday. Personally, I was very happy that I could watch Michelle Schulp‘s purple unicorns in the Content/Design track while serving as room monitor in the “How-To” track.  Needless to say, future WordCamps will be well-attended on Livestream, if the quality of those transmissions are as good as they were this weekend.

3) A website design revolution incited by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. @mor10 incited at least one revolution in his talk on website design on Saturday.  The cause of the revolution is best described by the thumb pain zone graphic by Scott Hurff shown below. @mor10 asks: why are website menus so often in the top-left corner of the page, when this is the area most difficult to reach when browsing with your thumb?  The answer is that there is no good reason; we should all start designing our themes to put the menu in a more appropriate location. (Note that the WCMIA mobile website did NOT have the menu in the top left.)  For a more complete explanation, see his talk on Livestream .

thumb-zones-lineup

4) WordCampers’ Revolt. So this was more of a misunderstanding than a revolution, but it was so amusing that I had to write about it.  If you want to see how it all went down, click on the Livestream link, open up Morten’s session, and scroll to about minute 30.  This is where David Bisset came in to give Morten the customary 5-minute warning before the end of his talk. Morten had prepared a 45-minute workshop presentation, however, and he was not aware that he was supposed to finish after 30 minutes. Apparently sensing that Morten still had many more mind-blowing things to tell them, the crowd protested loudly against the 5-minute time limit. David, being the gracious host that he is, quietly acquiesced. He explained that closing remarks would be held in a few minutes, but amid such vociferous requests for an extension, he allowed Morten to continue.  In fact, his reply to the crowd was priceless:  “Well, just lock up when you leave, then.”  And with that, he left the beloved speaker to his audience and went off to hold Closing Remarks at the regularly scheduled time.

All told, a brilliant weekend!  Many thanks again to David and everyone else involved!!!  See you at WordCamp Tampa!

shot_glass

Glow-in-the-dark shot glass from ServerPress!

How to find WordCamp Miami 2015

WordCamp Miami will be held at Florida International University (FIU) for the first time in 2015. The College of Business will host the event on the main Modesto Maidique Campus this year.  Checkin will take place in the College of Business Complex (https://goo.gl/maps/DpgIv), and sessions will be held in lecture halls nearby.  (See map below.)

There is ample free parking just outside the College of Business with overflow parking in the Panther Parking Garage (PG on the map).  From the North or the South find your way to campus using the Turnpike, exiting on S.W. 8th Street, also known as U.S. Highway 41 – Tamiami Trail.  Make sure to take the exit heading EAST.  Once on 8th Street, go east two traffic lights to SW 112TH Avenue, and turn right.  After entering campus, take your first right, and then your first left.  Park anywhere not restricted by signs for Faculty or Admin.

From the airport or downtown Miami, take the Dolphin Expressway (836) West to the Turnpike, and head South on the turnpike one exit.  Take the exit for SW 8th Street EAST and follow the directions above.

The College of Business Complex is adjacent to the parking lot.

fiu_campus_map4

Public Transportation to FIU

If using public transportation, buses 8 and 11 go to FIU from downtown Miami.  Check schedule, routes, and fares here:  http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/routes.asp.

Pre-negotiated Rates at Nearby Hotels:

Comfort Suites – Kendall (3 miles / 5 minutes from FIU)
3901 SW 117th Ave, Miami, FL 33175
http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-miami-florida-FL086
Points Affiliation: Choice Privileges
Conference rate: $109
Reservation instructions:  Call the hotel directly at 305-220-3901 and give the name of the conference: WordCamp Miami.  The deadline for reservations at the reduced rate is May 15th.

Aloft Miami Doral (4 miles / 10 minutes from FIU)
3265 NW 107th Avenue, Doral, Florida 33172
http://www.aloftmiamidoral.com/
Points Affiliation: Starwood
Conference rate: $121
Use this link to reserve rooms at a 15% discount (=$121 for a standard room):
http://www.aloftmiamidoral.com/local-business-rate

Hampton Inn – Doral (5.5 miles / 10 minutes from FIU – free shuttle to/from FIU!)
11600 Northwest 41st Street, Doral, FL 33178
http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/hampton-inn-and-suites-miami-doral-dolphin-mall-MIAFLHX/accommodations/index.html
Points Affiliation: Hilton Honors
Conference rate: $109
Reservations can be made by telephone: 305-500-9300. Use reference code C-WOR to receive the reduced rate.  Reservations at the reduced rate must be made by 5/15/2015.

 

 

Top Ten Reasons Why I Loved WordCamp Orlando!

WordCamp Orlando 2013

When selecting a sticker for my badge from among the nine classifications provided (Developer, Designer, User, etc.), I was struck by the fact that my moniker was missing:  “Newbie.”  Having been introduced to WordPress only a few months ago, this was my first WordCamp experience and my true indoctrination into the WP culture.  Here’s why I loved it:

  1.  Panelists and Presenters.  WordPress experts from far and wide convened in Orlando to help me understand how to use it and how to make money from of it.  The presentations and panel discussions were engaging, informative, and in some cases mind-blowing.  This was the core of my WordCamp experience.presenters
  2. Attendees.  WP enthusiasts looking to learn from the experts, exchange ideas, form new business relationships, pick up tips on development, and even find jobs gathered to share a common love for this amazing tool.Crowd
  3. Venue.  What a beautiful campus!  The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management lived up to its name with its modern facilities and attentive staff.fountain
  4. Food!  I actually did not have time to eat much because I was running from one presentation to the next, but this was not your average cafeteria-style food.  Pulled pork, Portabello mushrooms, vegetarian lasagna—the  food had class. And the coffee station was well-stocked throughout the day, and the brownies were to die for!cafeteria
  5. Organizers.  Excellent job putting it all together.  The show was well-run from pre-camp registration to the final raffle!Lisa Melegari at the reception table
  6. Location.  It’s been a while since I vacationed in Orlando, and driving around International Drive brought back fond memories of past vacations and conferences.  With a limitless supply of attractions and entertainment, Orlando is an ideal place for any conference.OrlandoBanner
  7. Off-season Rates at Hotels.  I stayed in a one-bedroom suite at an upscale resort for $89 per night!  The room was the size of a starter home in Tamarac.  The water-jet bathtub was as wide as  a kiddy pool!deal
  8. New Friends.  I met people with whom I will surely be working and doing business in the future and a few who might become good friends.
    Maria Brooks James Tryon, Syed Balkhi, Mark Jaquith, and others enjoy breakfast David Bisset and friends
  9. Price!  $40 for a life-changing experience.  How can you go wrong with that?
  10. Sponsors.  I’m wearing my WP Engine t-shirt as I write this.  I look forward to my free week of Treehouse learning in the near future.  And I’ve been telling my “What does the Pirate say?” story from Constant Contact ever since I got back!  I can’t mention all of the sponsors in this short space, but as David Laietta said, “We love our sponsors!”David Laietta

Thank you, #WCORL!  It was an amazing experience! Looking forward to #WCMIA!

Erik Lindgren

The Hedonic Treadmill

I recently watched a very cool documentary on Netflix called “Happy” ( Movie info at IMDB.com ). It examines a branch of psychology that has developed in the past 20 years called Positive Psychology – what makes people happy. Whereas other branches of psychology focus on how to treat psychological problems, Positive Psychology takes a more proactive approach. It focuses on finding out what makes people and communities happier. Here is the main point from the movie (and Positive Psychology):

Focusing on external goals such as Career Success, Wealth, and Social Status tends to have a negative impact on happiness. Focusing on internal goals such as Personal Growth, Relationships, and Helping People tends to have a positive impact on happiness. People tend to have the same happiness levels throughout their lives, unless they experience a major and permanent traumatic event.

When I did a little research on something called the “hedonic treadmill” (mentioned in the movie), I found that increasing your annual income beyond a certain point does not significantly impact your happiness. Basically, the problem with striving for more wealth is that the more money you make, the more you want, so you’re never happy. So once your basic needs are met, it’s better to focus on doing something that makes you happy, rather than doing something that makes you more money.

The Social Media Marketing Curve: How Good is a Career in Social Media Marketing?

When analyzing the long-term viability of a business, Venture Capitalists look at a variety of indicators.  One of the indicators is the industry trend.  Is a given industry growing or shrinking?  Has it reached its peak?  Is it in decline?

Ideally, an industry is growing.  In a growing industry there is room for new participants (i.e. new businesses), there is room for growing existing businesses, and there is opportunity for growing market share by innovation.  So, if a business comes along that does something better than existing businesses, it has a good chance of capturing a larger percentage of the growing pie of that industry.  In a mature industry that has peaked, the barriers to entry are much higher because of stiff competition, entrenched participants with strong presence, and customer brand loyalty.

So, what about Social Media Marketing?  Where are we on the industry curve?  How attractive is this industry to be in?

Since the industry is only a few years old (certainly no more than 10), we have to consider it to be in a growth phase.  Anyone can see that companies are now scrambling to establish social media presence, develop social media marketing plans, and establish successful social media marketing campaigns to outcompete their rivals.  In an S-shaped growth curve, the current situation for social media marketing should look something like this:

growth-curve2

In the past few years, everyone has realized the potential benefits of social media marketing.  Explosive hits like the Old Spice body wash campaign (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE&feature=share&list=TL3pNj1YHgQeMxGUxcqVsVi2qAEDyJfp0Q ) have shown marketers and CEOs alike that social media marketing can completely change your business.  And failure to participate can cause disruption ( http://youtu.be/5YGc4zOqozo ).

So, what does this mean to us as social media marketers?

It means that the future looks pretty bright.  As long as there is a Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter (or any of the other tools we use), companies will be searching for people with our skillset. We’re getting into the industry at a good time, and we can expect it to continue to grow significantly.  Now is a good time to be a social media marketer.

But we have to be careful.  Everyone is waking up to this reality.  There are plenty of people ahead of us in this career, but there are even more coming in behind us.  We must continue to learn and grow and develop new methods for reaching out to our customers and interacting with them.  This is a time to grow with the industry, not rest on your current knowledge.

Stay current.  Pay attention to the trends.  Grow with the industry and contribute to it.  This is our chance to shine.  Let’s be bright!

“We’re living in a revolution!” says David Meerman Scott in his foreword to Inbound Marketing (http://www.amazon.com/Inbound-Marketing-Google-Social-Series/dp/0470499311).  We are on the front lines in the battle against interruption marketing. If we are successful, we could become fabulously wealthy (like former blogger Ariana Huffington and others).  This is not a short-term trend.  Embrace your new career, and welcome to the revolution! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aconjR6uH4)

“Content is King — Image is Everything”

Quote from Jeff Cohen at Social Media Day Miami, June 30, 2012