Slide Decks & Resources from WCLAX2016 Talks

That’s a wrap!

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

Here we go, the traditional post WordCamp blog post. Oh, where to start? How about with “WOW,” “That was awesome” and “All of this for just $40? That’s crazy!” Those were the sentiments that I heard throughout the weekend. In planning WCLAX2016, my personal goal was to have the best WordCamp 2016 that we could, by providing a welcoming environment, helping to foster friendships and learning some new things about WordPress. I’m feeling pretty confident that all of those things did happen.

For the record, WordCamp Los Angeles didn’t just happen. It took some planning, like months of planning. Now I’d like to thank those people who made it all come together.

Starting with sponsors; without their financial support, those tickets would be much more expensive. Sponsoring a conference, any conference is a tough decision. The ROI might be hard to track, but our sponsors are all about building trust and relationships in the community, which I am confident will come back and pay dividends in the near future. Show your support and thank them again via social media and use their service where it makes sense. Thanks again to all of the amazing sponsors.

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

To our awesome speakers, you ladies and gentlemen rocked it! From what I’ve heard, everyone brought their “A Game” presentations and offered immense value. The fact that you all gave so much is again a testament to the sharing that happens in our community. For those of you who traveled from a distant state or country (Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Canada) paying your own way, we are in your debt. But please don’t send a bill, it won’t get paid!

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

Hey You! Thats right I’m talking to you, the volunteers. You offered to help, so we took you up on it! Without your help, the camp would not have been nearly as good. Another thing I was told often was, “Hey Adam, the volunteers are awesome!” I couldn’t agree more. From the registration desk to the parking lot to the workshop rooms, volunteers made it happen. It took a village and I thank you for all of your help. Also a few special shoutouts to our social media maven, Bridget Willard who kept our Facebook page and Twitter account filled with content, Jen Miller who rocked blog posts, Traci Lawson who designed our graphics (and won the iPad from SiteGround!) & Kari Leigh Marucchi who provided photography coverage. Ladies, you are rockstars!

Speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees gathered for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 #WCLAX

Of course there is no way I could have done anything without the awesomeness of my co-organizers. These guys were crazy good! Seriously! The fact that they all have day jobs, along with other commitments, (and one with a non-sleeping-through the-night child), they stepped up and got their respective jobs done. Scott Buscemi killed it with getting sponsors signed up, Jamie Currie ran the Speaker, Sponsor, Volunteer event (and founda great spot for it!), Thomas Levy wrangled the speakers and building the website, Stephen Harvey herded those cats, I mean volunteers. I sincerely thank you. I’ll miss our weekly 2pm chats!


Finally I want to say thanks to all the attendees. Like I said, the WordPress community is an amazing thing. Without you willing to spend a weekend away from your friends & family, the WordCamp Foundation probably wouldn’t have let me book the venue and bought all that food! 🙂 As crazy as it may sound, I am seriously looking forward to seeing you ALL next year!


2016 WordCamp Los Angeles


P.S. Have you joined the community yet? I’m still selling it! 🙂

P.S.S. Thanks to my wife & kids as I was neck deep in WCLAX planning in the final 4 weeks. I even missed a kid’s soccer game on WordCamp Saturday (he scored 2x!). They know how happy I am doing “WordPress stuff” and for that I thank them for their unconditional love and support.


Photos by Kari Leigh Marucchi |  Found Art Photography

Developer Workshop Downloads

Hello Campers!

If you were planning on attending the Developer workshops tomorrow aka the “Jam Sessions” please take a moment to download the resources the speakers have made available. Better to not rely on the venue wifi!

Andrew Norcross:

Nathan Tyler:

Nathan also suggests these Chrome extensions

Ben Cool

Natalie MacLees Needs More Podcasts

In today’s speaker interview we’re talking with Natalie MacLees, a front-end web developer and UI designer.


Natalie is  the founder and principal of the interactive agency, Purple Pen Productions. She is the author of jQuery for Designers, now in its second edition. She was the lead organizer for WordCamp Los Angeles 2014 and 2013 and organized the first Website Weekend LA, a 48-hour hackathon matching web professionals with nonprofits in need to websites. She’s also the founder and chapter leader of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It, bringing affordable and accessible coding classes to the community. Along with Nathan Tyler, she created the Draw Attention WordPress plugin for creating interactive images. She makes her online home at

What should we know about you that you haven’t included in your brief, third-person, professional biography?

I’m a podcast addict. I subscribe to about 35 different podcasts and I keep up to date on all of them. Right now I’m waiting for some episodes to be released today so I have something to listen to.


The second Website in a Weekend is around the corner, can you tell us a little bit about the event and how we can get involved and participate?

I organized the first Website Weekend in 2013. I do a lot of work with nonprofit organizations so I know there’s a huge need for help with websites. And it’s difficult help to get – web professionals are busy folks whose skills are already in high-demand, so it’s tough to make time for a pro bono project. So I thought if we could limit the commitment to a weekend, we could get a lot of professionals on board to help out and that worked! Everybody came out and worked hard and had a good time and got some really good work done for some really worthy organizations.

Website Weekend 2016 is happening October 22 and 23. We’re looking for all kinds of help, so don’t feel like you’ve got to be an expert coder to make a meaningful contribution. Anyone interested in participating can get more information and get signed up at our website, Applications are open for nonprofit organizations too, so if you run, know, or love a nonprofit that could use some professional help with their web presence, send them our way!


As a former organizer of WCLAX, how does it feel to be returning as a speaker rather than an organizer?

I’m so excited to be able to attend and just enjoy the talks and chat with friends I haven’t seen in awhile instead of having to be stressed out about whether or not lunch will be served on time or if the registration desk is running out of lanyards. 🙂


As a founder and leader of so many communities, what can you suggest to people who want to get more involved in their local communities but don’t know how?

Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to do it, just go do it! Everybody’s waiting for that awesome new group or conference or event you want to start, so take the first steps.


What’s one thing that plugin and theme developers can start doing today to write better Javascript?

Stop making dangerous assumptions. Don’t assume that an element will always be on the page, don’t assume that all WordPress installs are in the root of their domain, don’t assume that people won’t use custom post types. WordPress is flexible and can be used in so many ways, so be sure to account for that when you’re writing your code.

Natalie will be presenting Bulletproof JavaScript for Themes and Plugins at WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 in the Dunbar at 9:00am on Sunday, September 11.

Alex Vasquez is Automating All the Things

Alex “Nice Hair” Vasquez got his start in WordPress by working the docks for Jimmy “the pincer” Spiccoli. What started as a fish-punching summer job turned into a multi-thousand dollar business. Alex is survived by his future daughter, Alex Jr. an apple and two half-eaten gobstoppers.


What should we know about you that you haven’t included in your brief, third-person, professional biography?

I’m Alex Vasquez, a WordPress Developer and owner of DigiSavvy, a boutique digital studio providing digital marketing and custom web development services.


What is “the Machine” and why should we want to automate against it?
“The Machine” is a metaphor for handling day to day business operations. If you’re running your own business or small agency then you know what it means to wear multiple hats. If you can automate things then automate them! I’ve worked hard to develop automated processes that help move my sales funnel along from general inquiry thru to project onboarding and finally off-boarding.


You’re preparing for a long journey and you know you’ll need to do plenty of automation on the way but you’re only allowed to bring one tool, which do you choose and why?

The magic that has helped me go the most is tough. ActiveCampaign and Co-Schedule have been huge additions to my business. But if you jerky people are only letting me choose one, then it has to be ActiveCampaign.


Why should we trust you, a former fish-puncher, to provide us with good strategies?

Can you really trust a fish puncher? No. I always took driving advice from people who have been in the most accidents. I prefer not to be a member of any club who would have me as a member. Take from that what you will, child of the corn! =)


What one thing can we start automating today that we might not have considered?

I think automating your sales funnel or lead intake is a great place to start with automation. It requires thought, but if you lay down a good process for yourself, you can save a lot of time and mental bandwidth by letting people qualify themselves for your service offerings and follow up with them. You can ping old clients you worked with and get more work out of them. Just by “fooling around” I added just over 2k in additional revenue by sending an automated campaign to old clients who I wasn’t work with, but still had websites I worked on for them. It’s not rocket science. It takes time and thought.


Head over to Club Alabam at 1:30pm on Sunday, September 11 at WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 to catch Alex’s presentation, Automating Against the Machine, and stick around for theAfternoon Business Panel (Moderated by Steve Zehngut) with Alex, Libby Barker, and Matt Cromwell in the same room at 3:30pm.

Start Snapchatting at WordCamp Los Angeles

Get Local by Snapchatting at WordCamp Los Angeles

WordCamp Los Angeles is a playground to those who WordPress. We use and believe in open source code because we want to be open, transparent, authentic and share. WordPressers, particularly those at #WCLAX want to get to know you and find out who you really are.

Are you ready to get real?

Then it’s time to venture into Snapchat!

#WCLAX is the perfect place to do so as you’ll be among friends, fellow WordCampers and Snapchatters. If you don’t know anyone yet, you will VERY soon.

Zeek Interactive has sponsored a Snapchat Geofilter, making every snap even more personal! And Snapchat has another feature you may love, especially for the after party. Every Snap disappears after 24 hours, unless you choose to save it to your memories or download! While this may seem like a waste to some, it really is an interesting perspective. Your Snaps capture life in the moment. Time stands still – and you snap it! Share still photos, audio notes or short videos. Use the chat feature for interactive phone calls, even!

To make the most of your time on Snapchat, you first need to create a profile. Take 4 photos of yourself to make the required gif. This will become your Snapcode (a picture of you on a ghost like pegboard) and it’s what you share on social media to connect with friends. You can also add people by username. If you see someone’s Snapcode and want to connect, take a picture of it and then click on add friends which will prompt you to add their Snapcode or photo.

Once you have a friend or two, you can get started! You can send individual photos (snaps) or add all of them to your Snapchat story, a 24 hour view of life as you know it. Add verbiage, art or emojis to your photos by pulling an icon from the top onto your photo. Into stickers or Bitmojis, you’ll find them here. Check out more fun features by tapping your face. Swipe to the side to discover more fun features. Want to use the WCLAX filter? Keep sliding and it should appear. Not seeing it? Ask a friend or WCLAX volunteer for help. Word to the wise, Geofilters like the one used at WCLAX are used instead of hashtags in Snapchat.

This is a platform where you don’t need followers, but the more you post, the more you’ll get. Whoever you exchange snaps with most often become your best friends on Snapchat. And, guess what, you’ll be able to see who’s viewed your snaps which means… transparency! So, use it to share who you are and what you do. Show off how you WordPress!

Need help deciding what to Snap? Look for fun, silly or outright hilarious moments. Document Alex’s hair. Share a presentation slide or some swag. Make your friends who didn’t attend jealous by private messaging them the fun you’re having. Watch stories your fellow attendees post by sliding left and enjoy!

Speaker Interview with Kim Shivler

Kimberly (Kim) Shivler, M.Ed. has been a technical trainer and writer for over 20 years.


She learned HTML in 1995 building help files as a UNIX system administrator and opened her first web development company in 1996. Since then, Kim has worked as a business owner and employee in a variety of fields including a few years as part of an IBM worldwide team. Between 2008 and 2012, she worked with a variety of Content Management Systems and ran an online membership site for skincare professionals using Drupal. In 2012, Kim found WordPress and never looked back at any other CMS. She has been creating online courses in WordPress since 2013 and currently combines her background in education, years of business experience, and WordPress experience to teach others how to build online courses and membership websites.

What should we know about you that you haven’t included in your brief, third-person, professional biography?

I absolutely adore cats, and my three are frequently part of my webinars and classes. I’m in the process of creating a website just for them. I’m basically a goofball who loves to have fun, so if you take my classes prepare for a little silliness and some fun along with the tech and business information.


We’re all partial to WordPress, but as someone with a host of experience on other platforms, why WordPress over the alternatives?

There are so many reasons to love WordPress. The community rocks!! I think that’s one of my favorite things about it.

Also, since my main focus in life is teaching and empowering others, WordPress is a no-brainer. It is the most powerful online platform that I have found that can still be accessible to people who don’t want to become professional developers.

Having said that, there are definitely technical aspects of WordPress that need to be learned if you’re going to work with it, but in the past I never would have been able to teach my mother to build a basic website and blog to share her message.


In 20+ years on the web, what’s the most drastic change you’ve seen? What have you done to stay relevant despite this change?

From when I started in 1995, I’m not sure if the most drastic change was the advent of WYSIWYG editors like FrontPage and Dreamweaver, the implementation of dynamic sites that then lead to the Content Management Systems like WordPress, or the addition of CSS which really changed the way we could work with styling sites.

As for staying relevant, in some ways I got lazy. I still use text editors for CSS, but now fall back on the visual editors for content editing. And, I’ve moved to more user friendly text editors like Text Wrangler on the Mac for hand editing. I’ve completely forgotten vi.


In your experience, what about learning management systems is so powerful and why are they so hot right now?

The power of learning management systems is the increased connection and interaction they provide between student and teacher. While a blog post, may provide great information, a well created learning system and user-focused, educationally sound course can create a bond between student and teacher. Even when much of the interaction is automated, because you are able to step-by-step walk someone through a process and setup homework, quizzes and other interactions to help insure that they understand and demonstrate the knowledge of what you’re teaching there is a deeper connection than a simple post or ebook.

As for why they are hot right now, the first is because of the interaction aspect. People are looking for interaction and engagement. They don’t just want authorities broadcasting to them. They want to engage. Unfortunately, the second reason they are hot is that the more spammy Internet marketers are touting them as a way to get rich quick. In my experience, they can be powerful tools to build and engage with an audience, and while some people have had 6 figure launches, it’s not the norm.


What one piece of actionable advice would you give to someone who wants to start building their learning management system today?

Create your plan and requirements document. This is the most critical step to insure you build the platform that fits your needs. We’ll be covering some of this in the presentation and a planning guide will be available for all attendees. It’s important to know what you need before you build it. For example, do you need the option for multiple instructors? Are you going to want forums for increased engagement and interaction? Building a platform and then finding it doesn’t meet your needs is a bummer.

Head over to The Dunbar at WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 on Sunday September 11 at 2:3opm to catch Kim’s talk Building an Ultimate Learning Platform with WordPress.

Speaker Interview with Jarrett Gucci

Jarrett Gucci comes from a retail background that started at Home Depot in Buffalo NY as cashier and 18 months later was asked to be a project manager based out of Carson California with a goal of opening 12 stores in 14 months.


This goal was accomplished. He has also been an area manager at Big Lots and Bed Bath and beyond. He left his very last retail career as a district manager at Linens & Things in 2007 to pursue a hobby of website development as hope he could make some money doing it. After 4 years of building and managing WordPress sites, he founded a company called WP Fix It and since 2011 his company has serviced over 48,000 WordPress support tickets. Something you may not know about Jarrett besides all this, is that when he was 15 his neighbor gave him a 1962 dodge dart and he completely took it apart and rebuilt it.

What else should we know about you that you haven’t included in your brief, third-person, professional biography?

I love to go camping with the family, all seven of us. I have 5 daughters ranging in age from 4 year twins to 16 old boy crazy teenager.


What did you learn at Home Depot, Big Lots, etc… that you were able to carry across industry lines to WordPress and the web?

The greatest strength I brought with me from that industry was customer communication skills. I have found that this has really set me apart from others in WordPress development and support because while many of them are genus behind the keyboard, communicated with customers can some times fall short. I have used training from past experience to train my team and always focus on a high level customer service.


Tell us a bit about WP Fix It, where’d the idea come from and how did people around you react to the drastic career change?

This idea was modeled after the Apple Support program and created one Sunday afternoon in 2011 while my wife was asleep on the couch. After about a year in, it was very apparent that the idea was better than expected and their was a desire for instant 1 time payment support rather than the very common monthly model. Those that knew me for years as a developer were happy for my transition and excited to see a new support option for WordPress users.


What’s a common mistake we might not know we’re making, but can easily avoid, when handling support tickets?

Has been and I think will always be, the issue of submitting the correct login credentials. This has been the number one thing that delays a support ticket being resolved.


What can we start doing today to provide better support?

Education and willingness to learn more each day. The web and WordPress changes fast and we must keep our minds moving with these changes to allow us to provide better support when needed.


Catch Jarret in the Blue Whale at WordCamp Los Angeles 2016 on Saturday, September 10 at 2:30pm presenting WordPress Support Toolkit.