WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Stephanie Leary

Stephanie Leary – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech LinkedIn icon designed by Dan Leech Google+ icon designed by Dan Leech

Stephanie LearyStephanie Leary is a freelance web consultant specializing in WordPress sites for the higher education and publishing industries. She has contributed more than a dozen plugins to the WordPress community. She is the author of Beginning WordPress 3 (2010) and WordPress for Web Developers (2013).

Stephanie spoke about Content Strategy for WordPress on Saturday. Her slides are included at the bottom of this page.

Her book WordPress for Web Developers was just published and is available on Amazon.

Interview with Stephanie Leary: Continue reading

Sunday Architecture Walk (at Lunch Break)

google-maps-logoView a custom Google map of the buildings on our tour here:


We’ll be meeting downstairs in the lobby area at 12:45

A few glimpses of the buildings on our tour:
Printer's RowFisher BuildingMonadnock, Western View
Kluczynski Federal BuildingPortal Marquette Building ExteriorMarquette Building Lobby
Skyscraper motif mailbox/elevator indicator & matching chandelierRookery BuildingRookery Building Lobby


From Clare Parkinson:

My architectural history professor, Richard Betts, used to say that in terms of architectural influence, Chicago is the third great city in the world, after Athens and Paris. Chicago is where modern architecture – steel-frame construction, the skyscraper – was born at the turn of the 20th century. There are still a few lovely buildings from this time, and some nice examples of the architecture of later times as well. Continue reading

Foundation Friday – WordCamp Chicago 2013

Foundation Friday was divided into 4 tracks by experience level. We sold out very early, but to make sure those of you that attended and those of you who didn’t have the opportunity can review, we wanted to post the links to sessions with pictures and twitter reactions here:

2 million Blackhawks fans can’t even slow it down. pic.twitter.com/RpIPPVlNmP

sincerely_jess_Jessica Yaeger @sincerely_jess_
I have never been around so many people in one location willing to help each other and share what they know. Kindness swoon! #wcchi

edpastelakEd @edpastelak
Learning good stuff at #wcchi already and we’re barely a few sessions into the weekend! Does not disappoint for my very first WordCamp!  Continue reading

Friday Logistics: Don’t The Blackhawks Know It’s WordCamp Weekend??

Greetings to everyone arriving in town for WordCamp! For those of you attending Foundation Friday sessions, or just arriving into town on Friday, we’ve got some logistical things we wanted to make you all aware of.

It seems our Blackhawks had to go do something silly like win some sort of huge championship or something (Note: Go Hawks!!) and there’s going to be a massive parade/celebration/festival going on in the downtown area Friday morning and afternoon. They’re expecting turnout in the millions, so keep in mind that both public transit and the roads are going to be extra-congested, and parking may be at a premium. We recommend that people who live in the area try to carpool or take public transit, and everyone allow for lots of extra time to get downtown.

University Center is close to the area where the festivities are happening, and the public is being directed to enter Grant Park right nearby, so be patient and give yourself lots of time And traffic will certainly be affected (the only thing better than rush hour traffic is rush hour traffic with a festival!)

Official map of the Blackhawks parade/celebration (University Center is at State and Congress, and everyone following the second green arrow will be walking right by us):
Blackhawks Map
Via Chicago Tribune

To view a map of the area with nearby parking, amenities, and public transit:

or download this PDF provided by University Center:

Meet our 2013 Organizers!

We’re so excited that WordCamp is almost here! If you have questions about WordCamp while you’re attending, we’ll make sure there’s always someone at the registration desk, but do feel free to ask any of us as well!

Aaron Holbrook – Lead Organizer
Michelle Schulp – Co-Organizer, Head Minion, Graphic Monkey, Location Scout, Print Lackey
Heather Acton – Co-Organizer, Lead Advisor
Sylvia Lima – Volunteer Coordinator
Kari Sharp – Foundation Friday Organizer
Christopher Schulp – Location Manager
Dustin Filippini Advisor
Emily Barney – Social Media, Speaker Interviewer & Photography
Ryan Erwin – T-Shirt Wrangler
Andy Nathan – Speaker Committee, Runner
Joshua Alexander – Speaker Committee, Runner
Ana Kelly & Rick McGrath – Speaker Reception & After Party Organizers
Brian Heitz – Sponsor Liaison
Clare Parkinson – Eatery and Restaurant Liaison

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WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Chris Ford

Chris FordChris is the creative director of Creativity Included, a one-woman studio where she uses both sides of her brain to help clients develop design strategies and systems that provide measurable results. She believes that you should treat content as a user interface element, copywriting is as important as design, you should use agile design practices to spend more time designing and less time doing production work, and typography and white space are 90% of a successful design solution. The only thing she takes seriously is design.

She will be presenting a session titled “What’s So Great About Agile Design?” on Saturday, June 29.

Interview with Chris: Continue reading

Honored To Have Code Poet As A Sponsor

sponsor-codepoetWe are honored to have Code Poet as a sponsor for WordCamp Chicago 2013. Their support permits us to have one of the finest WordCamps in the country.

Code Poet is a resource for anyone building sites with WordPress. Their goal is to be your one-stop shop for WordPress information and resources that will help you grow your WordPress skills and knowledge.

To achieve that goal, Code Poet has:

  • articles that cover a wide range of subjects
  • books on responsive design, pricing and charging, and locking down WordPress
  • interviews with members of the WordPress community
  • resources that have been hand-picked by the Code Poet staff

If you want to test your WordPress chops, they even have a WordPress IQ Test.

Take the time to check out the Code Poet site and tell them thank you for sponsoring WordCamp Chicago 2013.

Sponsor Guest Post: WP Engine

sponsor-wpengine[Editor’s note: We are very lucky to have WP Engine as a sponsor of WordCamp Chicago 2013 and want to thank them for their support.]

Hey Chicago!

We’re looking forward to seeing you all for WordCamp soon! Participating and attending WordCamps is one of the best parts about being part of WP Engine, and we can’t wait to meet all of you. Whether you’re brand new to WordPress, or have committed code to WordPress Core, whether you’re a blogger or run a large organization that uses WordPress, WordCamp Chicago is going to be awesome for you! Continue reading

Thank You, Again, Bluehost!

sponsor-bluehostIn our earlier blog post thanking Bluehost for being a sponsor of WordCamp Chicago 2013, we neglected to mention Bluehost recently launched a new VPS Web Hosting service. Their VPS solutions are built on powerful cloud technology and use Bluehost’s enhanced cPanel environment for configuration. Other features included in the new VPS service are root access, guaranteed server resources, instant provisioning and multi-account management. All of this is backed by a team of in-house experts who are available via email, chat, or phone, 24/7.

Thanks again, Bluehost, for your support of WordCamp Chicago 2013 and the Chicago WordPress community.

WordCamp Chicago Afterparty

Join us! This is going to be a great event.

    • Great food & drink
    • Great venue
    • Walking distance from WordCamp Chicago
    • Great opportunity to get to know other WCCHI attendees

Bar Louie / Dearborn Station

Bar Louie | Chaicago WordCamp afterpartyThis year the afterparty is located at Bar Louie – Dearborn Station (47 W. Polk St.)

It’s just a short four block walk from the WCCHI University Center location. How convenient is that!

We’ll be gathering together Saturday evening at 6:30 pm, not that long after the the close of the last WC sessions. We’ll have ample food waiting for you including vegetarian fare so you can simply stroll on over and keep the conversations going.

More Info: Their Bar Louie – Dearborn Station FB page


On the Menu:

  • Drink tickets – Well liquor, Domestic bottles. We’ve got more than enough for one each for all attendees. After that, cash bar. 😉
  • “Build Your Own Burger Buffet”
    • Hamburgers
    • Assorted cheese
    • Grilled mushrooms
    • Lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, giardinera, pickles
    • Fries
  • Full salad bar for our vegetarian pals

The venue: Bar Louie | Dearborn Station

Bar Louie - Dearborn Station | pic credit google street view

Check this. This is one of our favorite downtown locations, firstly because Bar Louie has great food but also we’re huge architecture buffs. It’s in the DNA of many Chicagoans. The old Dearborn Station is a wonderful, historic, distinctly Chicago location. If you’re visiting Chicago you’ll enjoy the experience of entering this wonderful example of adaptive reuse of an important historic Chicago landmark. Curious what this landmark looked like back in the day? Chicago’s Dearborn Station: Circa 1910.

A Word about WordCamp After-Parties (by Rick and Ana)

So we’ve attended, nearly a dozen WordCamps across the Mid-west and as far away as Miami over the last five years. For us much of the value of WordCamps are in fact the after-parties. We, Ana says it’s just me. 🙂 generally attend WordCamps with some explicit stated objectives when we attend. Ana claims simply to want to have some fun, hang out and get out of town for a bit. I generally have in mind a specific problem we’re dealing with or burning question we’re sure someone has grappled with, getting some feedback on an idea etc. Of course we expect unexpected wonderfulness but we typically have a few things in mind. If we can gain X insight or relationship, WordCamp to the greatest extent will have been a success for us. Further, it’s the opportunity for us to experience some connectedness with the broader WordPress community.

We love the sessions. There’s always something more to learn. The make-or-break moment however for us typically comes down to that one or several conversations we had with someone or that breakthrough from acquaintance to friend. These are the conversations with the presenters, the organizers and other attendees. Frequently these conversations happen where? You guessed it… the after-party.

A tip or two

Personally, I’m in full possession of all those stereotypical geeky, nerdy introverted social skills or should I say lack-thereof. So this is coming not from suave expertise but rather struggling to make the best of it with the rest of you. A room full of strangers and particularly those arranged in fixed constellations of seeming old-friends and intimates can be daunting. You should take comfort in the expectation that the WordPress community is particularly warm and welcoming.

In circumstances such as this I turn to a favorite authority. The Art of Manliness where in their post The Art of Conversation is offered 5 Do’s, 5 Don’ts and 4 things Not to say.
(Yes, sorry ladies this is mostly addressed to your male colleagues. Like male patterned baldness this is an affliction borne more commonly by ourselves.)

Two things we would echo.

    • Tip One: I like having one or two question in mind, particularly if it dovetails from a session you attended. It invites others to talk and shine.
    • Tip Two: Sharing my lame-o secret weapon here. 🙂 Bring your wife as I do or your girlfriend. The innate social lubricant the fairer sex affords you cannot be matched at any price.

If you’re really in a pinch, find Ana-n-I. We’ll introduce you to some of the friends we’ve made.

So there you have it. When driving home from a WordCamp our conversation more often revolves around the people we’ve met and the conversations we’ve had. Don’t check-out early, reserve some energy and join us for the after-party. Chances are good it could be your best time spent at WCCHI.

After-after party?

Jazz ShowcaseIf you want to carry on the party still later we’ve another even later recommendations for you.

In the very same building and just steps away is one of the premier Chicago Jazz venues, The Jazz Showcase.

Keep in mind, get your sleep. You don’t want to miss the Sunday sessions. There are a lot of wonderful things planned for you.

So Saturday night, we’ve got you covered. See you there.

Afterparty Coordinators, WordCamp Chicago