Interview with Rian M. Kinney

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

I attended and volunteered at WordCamp Miami and all of the questions at the business track were legal and contract questions from small business owners looking for answers, I want to provide reliable answers to help the WP limit their legal liability and protect themselves and their businesses.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Immerse yourself! This is a strong community full of people ready and willing to help, encourage and inspire so volunteer, ask questions, help out where you can and you will find assistance when you need it.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

I do not have any suggested improvements.

Who do you most admire and why?

My grandmother, she is a strong and courageous woman. She lost a child and the love of her life at 26 years. At a time when women working was unheard of and she lacked formal education for nursing or secretarial work, she worked the graveyard shift at an automotive factory to provide for her 4 children. Despite many hardships she is happy, generous and grateful. She inspires me.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Interview with Reid Peifer

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

I’m a designer at heart, and I’ve seen how effective design leadership can radically change a project, and an organization. The design conversations that happen within the WordPress space at large often struggle to move projects forward. Regardless of your discipline, design can radically change how you approach your work.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

While the WordPress community is incredibly rich, and generally welcoming – it can be hard to ‘break in’. If I have any advice about getting involved it’s to focus on the work. Design interesting things and share them. Build interesting things and share them. Everything else will work itself out.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

Modular Content Management FTW. I want to be able to remix and repackage content on the fly.

Who do you most admire and why?

Uffda. That’s a little personal.

It’s either Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, who made me think I could run a business and not lose my soul or Raymond Chandler – I want to do one thing as well as he could write a single sentence. Or Ghandi. Or my dad. Or…

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

Graphic Design will save the world. Right after Rock n’ Roll Does. ~ David Carson

Interview with Heather Acton

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

As a small agency owner with a vision of moderate growth, hiring has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. While I don’t have all the answers, I want to encourage others with a similar vision and help them get through some of the same challenges I’ve encountered.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Just do it! The community can be large and intimidating, but you won’t find a more welcoming and supportive community. Since many of us are on our own as freelancers or part of just a small team, the WordPress community gives us a way to be part of something bigger.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

Not a core WordPress thing…but efficient and “easy” database merges would be a godsend.

Who do you most admire and why?

My parents. I could go on for days about “why”, but I’ll give the short version. They have been the perfect parents for me – supportive, loving, and always “there” (and yes, I still need them at 38 years old!).

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

Dr. Brown / Back to the Future – “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Interview with Rebekah Smith

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

Over the years I’ve collected loads of recorded interviews but never really had an outlet for sharing them. Podcasts changed that. Knowing some WordPress basics gave me an advantage as far as executing a vision and having maximum control over my creative work. I can really appreciate this now as I see other aspiring podcasters try to get started. This was exciting to me and I thought that was worth sharing with others.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

I am constantly amazed by the generosity of the WordPress community and I can say with certainty that the information shared there has helped me realize my goal of becoming a podcaster. For example, on the WordPress listserv, a few people responded to my “dumb questions”, pointing me in the right direction and ultimately saving me time and frustration. Take the help.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

Anything to make security better and more user friendly would be good.

Who do you most admire and why?

Who I admire changes daily. It could be my friend who figured out how to open a winery (Yeah! Urban Forage Winery & Cider House!). Or it might be someone who made the tough decision to leave a bad relationship or someone who gave up a secure corporate job to walk dogs or the other way around. The theme seems to be that I’m drawn to people who are engaged in figuring out how to move closer to purpose and happiness.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

I wouldn’t exactly say that this is my favorite quote, but “Nobody cares. You sound like an asshole” (from the movie “Friends with Benefits”) is applicable in more situations than it should be. It’s a phrase that can really get my spouse and I laughing, especially when it applies to either of us.

Interview with Gary Kovar

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

I’ve had situations in my professional career where I’ve found myself muttering, “I can’t believe I’m about to do this.” We all know that cowboy coding is wrong, but sometimes external conditions dictate that we as devs must do something irresponsible or stupid. Since we all do it (and don’t admit to it) I want to share some ideas I’ve had to at least “be dumb” in a safe way. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Read blog posts, try things, jump in with reckless abandon, and struggle until you reach a dead end. At that point, ask for help and listen.

Know that your knowledge is where someone else wants to be. Happily answer questions. If someone is willing to be vulnerable with you; ask you specifically for help (which is a position of submission)…they trust you. Respect and honor that trust.

Thinking and talking about fundamentals is always a good investment.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

WordPress needs to not bill itself as easy. The concepts of a CMS are “easy” if you’ve struggled with creating a site from scratch and pondered content types, and how to add new content, and categorizing, and SEO, and commenting, and site maps, and feeds, and data structure, and coding standards, and, and, and… However, many users are dipping their toe in the web-water with WordPress and finding that it’s not easy.

Who do you most admire and why?

Dang…this is a good question.

I admire tons of people for a myriad of reasons and have false-started answering this question a half dozen times.

I admire anyone that is able to find peace with who they are.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

“It could be worse” – Princess Leia Organa: Star Wars IV – A New Hope

Interview with Rebecca Gill

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

SEO is scary and confusing for a lot pf people and I aim to help people clear through all the clutter so they can understand what really matters in today’s world of search.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Jump in head first! I was hesitant to engage with the community at first but I’m so thankful I did. My best friends and business associates were met at WordCamps and WordPress related conferences.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

My improvement would be community based and it would be focused on finding and reaching out to those massive amounts of WordPress users who do not attend WordCamps. There is so much they can learn, contribute, and be part of and I’d love to have them jump into the community.

Who do you most admire and why?

My maternal grandmother. She raised be from age 11-18 and was very instrumental in shaping the future me. She taught me about the importance of strong ethics, hard work, and just plain doing good to those around you. I would not be where I am today without the knowledge and love she provided.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

I love this quote because it applies to life in general, parenting, and even SEO and website development.

Interview with Valerie Lockhart

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

I am madly in love with WordPress and want to give back to the community by spreading the love amongst other users.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

I am just getting involved myself, so I am not really in a good position to give encouragement in that area, but I will say that WordPress is one of the most accessible platforms out there, and I would imagine the community is equally as accepting and open.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

More heat mapping plugins to track the flow of visitor activity.

Who do you most admire and why?

John Waters is one of my heroes. His fight for the first amendment and true freedom of expression throughout his entire career is inspiring.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

“All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” ~Poe

Interview with Dwayne McDaniel

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

As I work with more and more code and documentation, I have found it necessary to adopt version control. Once understood it made a great deal of difference in how I could organize information and collaborate with it. I have talked to freelancers and agencies who know they need to learn this, but are not sure where to start, this session is meant to be a crash course on the basics and hopefully encourage folks to give it a try.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Absolutely. JUST DO IT! The benefits are vast and the people are amazing.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

I think there would be more encouragement to move to a more collaborative model for plugins and themes, inviting others to review and suggest edits via a system like Github.

Who do you most admire and why?

This is a hard question since I admire so many people. I am inspired by almost everyone I meet and I learn from each person, so to single one out would be impossible.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

“We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. This is as true for the infant moving from kicking to crawling to walking as it is for the scientist with his equations.

If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses to learn; and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach. ‘Talent’ or ‘lack of talent’ have little to do with it.”

–Viola Spolin: Improvisation for the theater

Interview with Raquel Landefeld

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

Recently I was interviewed on a WP show and was asked about my WordCamp talks. I had to admit that I had never given one. That’s when it hit me that I’ve been in this community far too long to have not given a WordCamp talk. Shortly after that interview I applied to speak at this camp.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

If you’re thinking about it, you’re already there, so just start asking how you can help and go for it.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

Having more grace.

Who do you most admire and why?

I most admire Lewis Carroll’s Alice for her curiosity & tenacity.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

“And my name’s Dignan, man. So what?”

Interview with David Needham

What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?

I’m excited to talk about productivity and continuous improvement because it’s made such a big difference to my life. I hope that by sharing my experience I can help others do more each day and feel the significance of their work.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?

Welcome! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone has to start somewhere and the community is a really friendly place. The best way to get involved is to start meeting people and hacking on a new project.

If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?

I’d find a way to make it easier for beginners to jump into writing their own plugins and themes. A little custom code can go a long way!

Who do you most admire and why?

When it comes to WordPress, I admire my colleague Andrew Taylor. Whenever I, another colleague, or even a random stranger has a WordPress question he’ll go above and beyond to help any way he can.

What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.