WP Growth Council

As you’ve likely seen Matt Mullenweg has announced the creation of a new WordPress Growth Council, a group of people and organizations that will focus on accelerating WordPress’ growth in the next months. To apply you have to fill a survey and answer a number of questions. I want to share some of my answers here:

What do you think is responsible for WordPress’ success so far?

Beautiful software does things you don’t expect and reduce the effort for the task   in mind. I think WordPress is in this category. 
Also its open-source model and its architecture based on core+plugins+themes and the capacity to  update, etc. It makes an excellent base to develop websites, online stores and web-based applications.

What could accelerate WordPress’ growth in the next 18 months?

A strong focus in the following key areas:

1) Productivity: there is a ton of data we as a community need to gather, analyze and use to improve the way people interact with WordPress. 

2) Neutralization: as a community we need to look at what / how competitors are doing things, draw conclusions about what they are doing well and..  you guess it: copy them. 

3) Differentiation: invest in the development of new features, products and services for new customer segments that are currently being neglected with WordPress. 

4) Education/Training/Certification/Masterclasses: More focus on professional training events and developer/user education;

5) Events that foster the development of  new WordPress based products and services;

What do you think is the best response to the $300M+/yr Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, et al are spending in advertising?

As important as advertising is.. a lot of businesses struggle and fail, not because they aren’t adding new users, but because they are lousy at keeping the ones they’ve got. We have to look at ourselves and see where we are loosing users rather than just deseperately try to reach new ones. Most people use things based on referrals.

While coming out of a WordCamp with thousands of WordPress geeks it’s easy to forget most people don’t know about WordPress and for the ones that do there is a huge percentage that can’t tell the difference between .com vs .org or the 3 main benefits of going with a self-hosted WordPress.

Why Attend WordCamps

While I’m at Vienna for WordCamp Europe I decided to share a few thoughts around what we are all here to do as a way to remind myself and others why we attend WordCamps. Here it goes, in no particular order:

Keep up with emerging trends — Attending conferences is a great way to get practical tips, keep up with emerging trends, and to meet other people doing amazing things.

Networking — You’ll probably find not just WordPress lovers but also Web geeks passionate about everything surrounding the Web. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and perhaps even, who knows, find that co-founder/business partner you’re looking for. It’s ok to skip a few sessions and just hang out at the Happiness bar or in the halls.

Learn — Be introduced to various new concepts and techniques. Various techniques for leveraging even more of WordPress are presented. How to secure WordPress, how to scale, optimize, improve, contribute, etc are covered in the different tracks.

Get Excited — Working on the Web presents many challenges and is becoming increasing more complex and more exciting. Mobile phones and retina displays are among the many things that are giving website owners more concerns they need to address, and discussion is hot right now about what are the best tools and techniques to be used.

Get better and better with WordPress — By end of the WordCamp you’ll probably feel your WordPress knowledge has increased a great deal.

How about you? Why do you attend WordCamps?

Quixotical Behaviours

Introducing a brand new hashtag today called #quixotical. Here is the definition:

“ In the context of a team, an adjective to characterize something done by a person that doesn’t take into account the rest of the team.”

Example usage:

Simone: we don’t have auto pull on our staging environment.

Ryan: that is #quixotical

Other examples include:

– not having different staging/production environments for the team to test and deploy changes;

– using manual deployment

– manually using ftp to move files and the WordPress admin area to install plugins by hand;

– not using VVV to allow every developer on the team to have the same project setup;

– not using version control;

etc.

p.s. You can also use quixotic — idealistic without regard to practicality.

New York + California road trip itinerary (with Las Vegas)

Last month my dream of travelling through the USA with @aaires came true. We went to New York for a few days and then flied to Los Angeles where we rented a car and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco.

Here’s our New York + California road trip itinerary (with Las Vegas), with a bit of advice on what we might have done differently – hope you pick up some ideas of things to do and places to visit on your adventure. You can amend accordingly, depending on your priorities and the number of days you have!

Day One: New York City

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We flyed to New York via Madrid and arrived at 13:30h local time (good to avoid jetlag). We took a taxi to the Airbnb we had booked in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. Brooklyn seemed a bit rough for us at start but we didn’t have any problems during the 4 nights we stayed. At Prospect Park there is a tube station and we always took the Q train to get to Manhattan (15-20min).

We did the Central Park the first day and the MET museum. We were quite surprised to see things close relatively early and by 5pm we were outside the MET, 5th avenue.

On the other days we did the MoMa (with impressive painting by Piccaso, Monet, etc.), the Frick Collection, the Empire State Building, Times Square and 5th avenue, etc. Most of the times we bought snacks or had street food and generally enjoyed walking around on what sometimes seemed to us like an open air shopping center.

Day Six: Los Angeles

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We flyed to Los Angeles. We did the Hollywood Boulevard (with the famous stars walkway), Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach (where the lifeguards are like the ones on Baywatch), Griffith Park (where you can see the Hollywood sign, a beautiful sunset and look on a telescope), Beverly Hills, etc. The traffic was a bit intense sometimes so be sure to compensate with some sun catching on the beach or a good hike on Griffith Park.

Day Eight: Universal Studies, Los Angeles

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We visited the Universal Pictures studios. It is an enormous campus with thematic 3D experiences and rides (Transformers, Simpsons, The Mummy, etc) and also a tour of the studios and scenarios where they shoot films and shows. I found it to be a bit expensive but it’s a day well spend and some of the rides are quite impressive.

Day Ten: The Big Sur 

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We rented a car and drove up the coast to San Francisco. But first we had a stop at Malibu beach to have a swim. From there it was a beautiful drive and well worth it. On the way we saw elephant seals and even a group of whales hanging out 1-2 km off the coastline. We stayed one night at Morro Bay because it is a long drive and you want to take the time to enjoy the views. Make sure to stop at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to see giant redwoods.

Day Twelve: San Francisco

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We arrived the night before and this was the only place where we didn’t use Airbnb. It was a motel near Market Street which was still pretty central. It was bit noisy and looking back it would have been better to stay on a quieter place (even more because we had a car). We did the Golden Gate Park and the California Academy of Sciences but again it closed really early (5pm) so be warned. We did the Staten ferry which has a nice view over Alcatraz. Since we couldn’t get tickets to Alcatraz  (they run out weeks in advance) we had at least a glimpse over the prison island. At night we went to best of SF standup (runs every Friday) and Fringe Festival was also in town so we went to a show there as well on one of the days.

Day Thirteen: Stanford, Palo Alto

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We did a student-led tour at Stanford University in Palo Alto. They have them every day in the morning (11am) or in the evening (15pm). I highly recommend doing this tour as it shows how this amazing campus is organized.

Day Fifteen: Yosemite National Park

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We headed inland to Yosemite National Park, such an amazing place. We stayed only two nights but could easily stayed there another two hiking and enjoying nature at this best. Housekeeping camp has fresh/clean towels, bedsheets, good toilets, etc.

Day Sixteen: Yosemite Hiking Trip

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What fascinated me more about Yosemite is how men structures are so well integrated with nature. None of the camping facilities has any fences and when you wake up in the morning it’s normal to see wildlife wandering about (deers, squirrels, etc.). On this day we did a hike to the top of Vernal waterfalls and loved it. Make sure to ask the local reception what are the best hikes according to the season.

Day Seventeen: Las Vegas

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We did a tour of Zappos and loved it. Also the Container Park, the Market, Inspire Theater, Work in Progress coworking, etc. there are on to something there with the downtown project.

Day Nineteen: Grand Canyon

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We did a day trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Amazing views and a mesmerising place. We didn’t do the Skywalk as many of the reviews I read said it was expensive and basically a scam (you have been warned!).

Day Twenty First: Las Vegas Strip

We did the strip including the Bellagio, Mirage Bay, Caesar Palace, etc. There is also a rollercoaster with a full loop which is a nice ride. A whole lot of shows are usually in town. We went to Cirque du Solei “O” show and loved it.

Top Tips: GPS is your friend on this trip. During the “Big Sur” and the trip from Yosemite to Las Vegas there were several hours without cell service. Also there’s lots to see on the “Big Sur” so if you can plan 2 or more days for the trip do it. Also I wouldn’t mind camping on the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park or stayed at Yosemite.

Enjoy your next adventure!

 

Making the Lives of the Elderly Better

1. Make them feel less lonely by giving them a ride: 3046265-slide-s-6-a-global-network-of-volunteer-rickshaw

Ole Kassow knows how to help the elderly feel a little less lonely: He gives them a ride in his rickshaw. Read More

2. Do an Urban Art WorkshopLata1 Lata65 is an unique urban art workshop that aims to banish ageist stereotypes through the art of graffiti. In various neighbourhoods around Lisbon, Portugal, this class is introducing more than 100 senior citizens to youth culture. Read More