Sponsor Spotlight: SpectrOMTech

Today I get to highlight a pretty radass company. SpectrOMTech. They’ve generously offered to sponsor and participate in our little WordCamp, here in LA, this year and frankly we couldn’t be more excited.

SpectrOMTech is a shop that goes far beyond “the basics.” Look, there’s no shortage of design shops and theme devs that can crank out a pretty site, or a site that generates leads. But I’m going to let you all in on something, just in case you didn’t know. There are those shops out there that take on the stuff that no one else wants to do, or are even capable of doing because of the mind-twisting nature of the work to be done. There are those shops out there that eat the complicated type work for a sensible mid-morning snack. People, let me introduce you to that shop: SpectrOMTech.

Headed up by Dave “The Stache” Jesch, they’re a multi-disciplinary development firm that focuses on ROI, elegant and well-thought and well-executed solutions for businesses. Not only that, but as I mentioned, he and his team take on the sorts of projects that cause lesser developers to shed tears and beg for mercy.

What they know doesn’t begin to pain the picture, though, with SpectrOMTech. Dave is one of the first people you’ll have the pleasure of meeting, if you’re in the Orange County WordPress community. His humble and helpful nature offset the true mad-scientist-level genius at work behind that big beautiful mustache. The mustache is just one part of the equation, though. They have a staff of pros to get you on your way.

Let’s give an a huge ‘River dance Themed’ thank you dance to SpectrOMTech for going to big to sponsor WordCamp Los Angeles this year. You guys are so friggin’ awesome!

This week’s upcoming WordPress meetups

Hey, we all know that the WordPress community is like super stupendously amazing. But did you know that you don’t have to wait for that once-a-year WordCamp to hang out?

We have lots of WordPress Meetup Groups throughout Southern California, so there’s sure to be one in your neck of the woods, beach, desert, or mountains. Check ‘em out over on our Community Page.

This week we’ve got:

  • OC WordPress Design Meetup happening Monday, August 4th. WordCamp LAX speaker Joseph Karr O’Connor, perhaps better known in the WP Community as ‘Accessible Joe’ will be speaking on accessible design.
  • Inland Empire WordPress Meetup will be on Tuesday, August 5th. If you’ve been out to that one before, note that they’ve got a new location this month, and haven’t decided on a topic just yet, but it’s sure to be a good time hanging out and learning something new with WP peeps.
  • Los Angeles WordPress 101 will be meeting up that same night, on Tuesday, August 5th to talk about plugin best practices. This group is just for those who are just getting started with WordPress and need a little extra help getting things figured out.
  • Advanced WordPress (San Diego) is hosting a summer hackathon at Thought House. If you’re in the mood to code, collaborate, and create be sure to RSVP to join them.

Holy smokes! That’s all happening within the next 7 days!

Our local WordPress community is something really extra special, so don’t hesitate to jump in and get involved with one of your local WordPress meetup groups. You don’t have to wait until WordCamp!

Beginner Workshop Speakers Announced!

We’re so excited to be bringing Foundation Friday – a full day of workshops – to you as part of WordCamp LAX. We’ll have three, count ‘em THREE,  all-day workshops running on Friday to give you a great place to get some intensive learning done!

We’ll be announcing the schedules and speakers for the other two workshops soon, so keep your eyes peeled for those announcements! Today, though, we’re all about the Beginner Workshop!

If you’re just getting started with WordPress and need some help getting it all figured out, then this is the workshop for you. You’ll learn how to set up a site, and how to add, edit, organize, and remove content. You’ll learn all about themes and child themes and how to change the look of your site. You’ll learn about plugins and how to add extra bits of functionality to your site and customize it to make it all yours. And you’ll also learn how to run backups and keep your site secure. You wouldn’t want to lose all of your hard work!

Here are the smart and helpful speakers who will be guiding you through the Beginner Workshop:

91bbe686a63e30869289e1726d3b6d36Gregg Franklin will kick off the day with a 4-hour introduction to WordPress. Gregg is a WordPress Developer and team member over at ServerPress LLC, the creators of Desktop Server – and all-around awesome and great guy. We suspect he walks around with a superhero costume under his clothes. He’ll cover setting up a local copy of WordPress, then will walk you through posts, pages, categories, tags, menus, and widgets.

06c8b571b6a88dcfb17de91de4900802Adam Silver will explain themes, theme frameworks, and child themes so that you can get your WordPress site looking just the way you want and decipher many of the conversations happening in the WordPress community. He’s also a podcaster and a talented dancer, as Facebook videos have attested. Adam owns and operates Silver Lining Productions and spends his days working as a social media manager, website developer, and photographer.

67a6505bfb36238498079f18d2287f82Lucy Beer will tell you everything you need to know about plugins – how to find them, evaluate them, install them, and configure them. She’ll also share some of her plugin recommendations so you’ll have some great plugins to get started with. You’ll also get a chance to check out Lucy’s stylish haircut – the result of having shaved her head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to conquer childhood cancer. Lucy has been using WordPress since 2004 and teaches people how to use WordPress for a living.

7a128db19c0cd5e3597b69d864df70ddSuzette Franck will cover making and storing backups of your site, and also some basic security measures you can take to keep your site safe. Suzette’s a WordPress Evangelist at Media Temple, an LA-based hosting company and all-around terrific WordCamp speaker. If you’ve attended any of our local meetups or pretty much any WordCamp ever, chances are that you’ve run into Suzette! She jet-sets all around the country spreading the WordPress love!

a5e56e16e70022ff99839050f8b38b4ePhilip Artinyan is going to explain hosting and domains. Philip is a part of the SiteGround Customer Service team and he’ll be stepping workshop attendees through choosing a reliable host – what to look for in a hosting company, what your hosting options are, and when to use them. He’ll also go over how to choose and register a great domain name.

With these helpful, dedicated folks on board to teach, our Beginner Workshop will get you up and running with a new WordPress site in no time flat.

And, if you’re local to Los Angeles, you might want check out our local WordPress 101 Meetup Group. Geared just for beginners, you can get answers to your questions and help getting up and running. That group is run by WordPress coach Karen McCamy. Their next meetup is coming up on Tuesday, August 5th.

But wait…there’s more!

We have one new speaker to announce for our Saturday Sessions! What the what? The fun never stops here at WordCamp LAX Planning HQ.

aed115c68b7a66222606bc282caabfc3Shaimoom Newaz an artist, musician and coder and has a particular fondness for CSS. He’ll be speaking on a starter theme workflow that involves such fancy things as Roots, GitHub, Grunt, and Bootstrap. And if all that sounds scary to you, well, let me just assure you that Shaimoom will show you how he accomplishes all that without getting too deep into code. Create custom themes with less bloat and easy deployment.

Like I said, folks, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the announcements on the speakers and schedules for the Design Workshop and the Business Workshop because we’ll be announcing those in two shakes of a lamb’s tail! Foundation Friday is worth taking a vacation day for! Or, well, you know, maybe calling in sick. *cough*

Sponsor Spotlight: Pantheon

“Focus on what you do best.” Of anything I can tell you about Pantheon hosting it’s that little tidbit there. I can also tell you that they’re one of the top tier optimized

What does that mean for you? Quite a lot actually.

As a developer, someone who builds professional sites for clients for a living, you probably want a platform that has an easy to use suite of tools for only what you need so that you can focus on delivering value to your clients and less time on things that don’t generate revenue such as managing separate staging/test/prod environments. You should have version control as a part of your workflow; you should be able to deploy to the platform you’re building on and not have to go through a third party service like Beanstalk or Deploy HQ. You should have automated backups; you should have great anytime technical support; you should have a platform that can be managed with only a few clicks.

In short you should have a professional hosting platform. In short Pantheon delivers just that!

Pantheon’s platform is one that I’ve been waiting for now for awhile. When I start a new project I set up a local environment and a testing/staging environment, sometimes separate of one another. This can take me 30-40min to an hour or more. I’m working on anywhere from three to four projects at a time. That time configuring these environments adds up quick. I could burn through a season of ‘House of Cards’ in the time I spend setting up 12 sites’ staging environments! I currently use a 3rd party deploy tool on a number of my projects anymore. That costs my around $25.00 per month. $300 per year. Do you think I could find something better to use that money on? You betcha! Would I spend it more wisely? Probably not! Don’t judge me, people!!

I’d recommend to any developer to give their offering a spin. They provide a solid solution optimized for folks that need agile hosting that allows them to focus on building great sites.

Let’s thank Pantheon for helping us put together WordCamp LA this year! Thanks so much!

Sponsor Spotlight: SiteGround

They’ve been doing this web hosting thing quite some time now. It’s a hotly contested battleground. There are a lot of “players” in the game. There’s a very limited few that I actually recommend to people who ask me. SiteGround is one of them.

Sure, sure. You’re thinking, yeah, but they’re paying you to say that as a sponsor. While true they are stepping up big time to help our Camp, I could just as easily copy and paste a bio and be done with it. But I’m not and there’s a good reason why.

Of the myriad hosting options that are available to folks SiteGround really does provide a compelling option at the right price points. They have the right set of feature offerings to accomplish what you need. If your need is just shared hosting, then they have a shared hosting solution that doesn’t go “kaboom” when traffic suddenly picks up. If you have a high scale site handling millions of pageviews and tens of thousands of concurrent users, then their cloud hosting or dedicated server options will surely handle the load. If you’re a WordPress sort of user then they have optimized solutions for that, too! Did I mention their tech support? I’m not going to butter them up here. Their support is amazing. You get an agent in minutes; if they can’t help you they escalate pretty quickly. Their response times are blazing fast, too, more times than not… It’s ridiculously good! Are you a power user that needs SSH access? Do you need to deploy via git to your server? Do you need an easy to use, reliable yet blazing fast caching solution? Done, done and done. SiteGround has you covered.

I use them for my staging environment for all my projects and recommend them to a number of customers. I don’t make a dime off of those suggestions. No “bro links” here, people.

If all of that didn’t give you the warm fuzzies then maybe this will. SiteGround is doing more than they need to to help WCLA this year. They’re sponsoring at one of the higher sponsor levels; they’re also donating hosting accounts to attendees of the Foundation Friday Beginner Workshops; and lastly they are pitching in big time with our after party. They not only do a great job hosting your websites, but they’re also working hard to be a community leader as well; it’s not just about giving money, they’re “showing up” too! That’s the most important thing, I think. Being present.

Can’t wait for WordCamp LAX?

We’re chugging along with just 6 weeks to go until WordCamp LAX kicks off. Yes, it’s going to be awesome, but you know what else is awesome? The WordPress community we have here in Southern California!

WordCamp LAX happens just once a year, but there are WordPress meetups happening year-round all over Southern California. If you haven’t been to a meetup yet, why not check out one of these meetups coming up in the next couple of weeks?

  • Advanced WordPress LA is having their July meetup on the 26th. If you’re a WordPress developer or advanced user, come geek out with us. This meetup is co-organized by WordCamp organizer, Natalie, and a couple of WordCamp speakers, Joe Chellman and Lucy Beer.
  • OC WordPress Meetup, for those a little further south, is having their general meetup for all levels on July 28 in Huntington Beach. This meetup is organized by Steve Zehngut, who’s putting together our Business Workshop for Foundation Friday.
  • North County San Diego Meetup, continuing right down the coast is meeting up to talk about building WordPress themes with Foundation and Underscores on July 29. This meetup is co-organized by WordCamp speaker Chris Lema.
  • Hollywood WordPress is hosting their ‘One Problem, One Solution’ meetup on July 30. This meetup is organized by WordCamp designer and speaker, Greg Douglas.

And that’s just the next week or so! Didn’t I tell you our local community is amazing? We have about 20 different meetup groups throughout Southern California, so there’s sure to be  one in your neck of the woods. We’re trying to wrangle them all up over on our Community Page if you want to take a gander.

Don’t wait for WordCamp to get involved!

Sponsor Spotlight: Crowd Favorite

When I think of professional service providers that have a core focus in WordPress I don’t need to look far. The landscape of providers is expansive. However, there are giants among them. Yep! Giants!!

One giant that stands far above the rest is Crowd Favorite (not to be confused with their Canadian arch-nemesis Crowd Favourite) and they’re a remarkable company. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you why!

Did you guys ever see that movie ‘Pacific Rim?’ I did and it was epic! Crowd Favorite is like the “Jaeger” of WordPress shops. Big, bad-@$$ and, well, BIG! But it’s not because of their size, you see. It’s what’s inside that makes Crowd Favorite special! Continue reading

WP Photographers Kicks in For WCLA

Aaron Hockley isn’t just a man. He’s a legend! He’s also the guy behind an new innovative venture called WP Photographers (launching in August 2014) that marries the intersection of WordPress and Photography. How so? Well, there’s a staggering number of things to think about where it concerns photo usage with WordPress. WP Photographers steps in to fill the knowledge gap in that area with their vast expertise and advice.

WP Photographers is definitely stepping in an underserved area. Additionally, their service offerings aim to help people choose appropriate themes, hosting and more. Get on board and signup to get notified when they launch!

Aaron, the LA Community is just thrilled to have you as a sponsor. Your generosity makes this thing go and become an unstoppable Juggernaught of WordCampery-goodness!

Sponsor Spotlight: Sprout Apps

I’d like to tell you about our new sponsor Sprout Apps. Who are they? What do they do? Why should you care? Hold on, people. I’ll get there. Be patient!

Sprout Apps is a new company that seeks to build something of value for a specific group of people. Specifically WordPress-Centric Business owners. They don’t just want to create an “also-ran” product. Nope! They want to change how you and I work. But how?

By doing something that Chris Lema talks about: “Making the hard things easy, while keeping the easy things still easy.” Specifically, they’re introducing tools that help flesh out your workflow. If you’re like me, your customer intake system probably starts with Gravity Forms, email and then an estimate or proposal from your tool of choice. It’s not integrated, it’s not sexy; it’s downright clunky. That’s the problem Sprout Apps hopes to solve. Integrated workflow; consistent branding, makes getting paid easier…

Simply put, Sprout Apps gets you to where you’re growing.

Sprout Invoices will be their flagship product and you should definitely check it out!

Thanks so much for being a sponsor of our camp this year. Can’t wait!


Call for Design Workshop Speakers

We’re planning a full day of design-y goodness for you on Foundation Friday…but to pull it off, we need some amazing speakers willing to share their design expertise. That’s where you come in!

We’re looking for designers who are pushing the boundaries of design in WordPress while solving actual client problems. It’s easy to talk about design, user experience and branding in theory–we want you to share how you put those theories into practice with a client case study. Tell us about the project that you’re most proud of…or one where you learned a hard lesson. We’re interested in any topic that will help make us all better designers.

Don’t limit yourself to topics related to visual design only. We’d also love to see what you have to say about user experience design, brand strategy, copywriting, or data visualization too!

If you’ve never spoken at a WordCamp before, take a deep breath and apply right now! We’d love to have a mix of WordCamp favorites and new perspectives sharing their knowledge (so just do it already) :D It’s fun, I promise!

The deadline for entries is July 30, 2014. We’ll announce the final lineup on August 11.