EP320 – WordCamp Orange County 2019 Recap #WCOC

May 3, 2019

Steve Zehngut, Mark Benzakein, Sé Reed and Jason Cosper discussed WordCamp Orange County 2019 its organizing crew and how well the event went. The theme this year was The Life Aquatic. They gave out Krochet Kids red beanies depicted in the movie. Sé mentioned WordCamp Long Beach and her involvement with that camp. The discussion changed to the Business Track that Steve ran on Saturday including 1.5 hours of content per session.

Steve shared their method of speaker selection and how they do the blind speaker selection method. He also mentioned how they invite people to talk at their event and how they fill in speakers for topics they want to have discussed. If you are wanting to speak you should submit early and submit a few. When many people submit the same topic sometimes they will form a panel to make it easier to get all of them involved in it. The popular topic this go around was project management second was SEO people trying to sell things.

The panel talked about the afterparty at Durty Nellies and how a fight broke out no WordCampers were involved but Steve did get hit.

Sunday had three tracks where the event ends with Plugin-a-palooza. Jason Cosper was one of the judges and spoke about the ways in which they judged these plugins. Here are the top three:

00:00 Intro & Welcome
02:03 Submission Topics for WordCamps
05:10 Dealing with Salesy SEO Submissions
08:17 The Importance of SEO & its Pitfalls
11:25 After-Party at Dirty Nellie’s
15:45 Incident at Dirty Nellie’s
19:40 Finding Good SEO Experts
22:16 WordCamp After-Party: Lessons Learned
24:30 WordCamp Sunday Highlights
27:05 Plug-in Palooza Event
30:12 Beaver Builder Assistant Introduction

  1. Assistant – Every Day Productivity Apps
  2. WP Debugging
  3. Usher – Keyboard Shortcuts

WPwatercooler was at the event and held a session just before Plugin-a-palooza you can watch it here: EP319 – WPwatercooler Live at WordCamp OC 2019 #WCOC

Join us on this episode of WPwatercooler by visiting our Participant guidelines page.

WPwatercooler network is sponsored by ServerPress makers of DesktopServer. Be sure to check them out at https://www.serverpress.com


Episode Transcription

(00:00) a few water cooler Jason is absent today sorry so I’m playing the role of Jason so that’s why my name says on a Jason Tucker but I will introduce myself as me let’s start by going around the room and getting everybody introduced we’ll start with mark welcome back hi I’m mark and I’m with server press we make really cool workflow tools like a desktop server and WP site sync and you should look us up alright that’s me Casper hey everybody Jason Casper here AKA kurt autoloader aka phat Mullenweg just here happy to be
(00:37) discussing the wordpress appeal for yet another week and i’m steeve zengid I’m the founder of Zeke Interactive and I run the OC WordPress meetup this particular episode is brought to you by ok I can’t do really good drum roll sound server press makers desktop servers so welcome mark did you know your sponsor I well I write I write the checks oh I guess you did yeah I think they make local WordPress development easy so you can check them in on over a server press com thank you so much for sponsoring we really appreciate the
(01:10) analyzer hopefully hopefully when I pay with PayPal every single month that goes through but anyway speaking of PayPal today start with what’s happened last weekend that’s past weekend which was word camp Orange County it was awesome that happens yeah I don’t I actually don’t know who organized we’re Camp Orange County but it’s like those guys have it together yes you know it was all hey there she is it’s say joining us a little bit late but we know she was having internet troubles hello he siad
(01:49) makes WordPress sleep WordPress eat WordPress we can’t hear you yeah I swear WordPress and breed words per man just talk about WordPress have way too much WordPress love WordPress feel WordPress bleed press I think wow okay we’re just starting to talk about work camp Orange County which happened this past weekend I heard about that yeah how was it for you saying you can talk about that at the end since it was on Sunday so mark I know you were making a joke but the lead organizer is Jamal if you guys don’t know it know him he’s
(02:41) a fantastic member of our community as Jamal’s first time as the lead organizer Jamal is is more of a logistics guy he doesn’t have a planning it’ll set up so the reason the camp ran so smoothly we really had no issues this year so not that we normally do but it was a very smooth camp because of the no kidding just because Jamal does so much prep work and so it’s work behind the scenes it’s just what he’s good at he’s been our our organizer that’s been in charge of facilities and logistics for a couple
(03:18) years now so they can’t just ran smoothly and and that’s thanks to Jamal and and the rest of the team you know we’ve got a fantastic team in place that does a great job over here yeah I I think that part of the reason is is that you guys have been a pretty tight team for a number of years so yeah and here’s the thing with this team and I didn’t know this when I signed up okay I guess I kind of sort of did but you you can never leave right it’s very much like the Hotel California they yes once you
(03:50) are the organizer you’re in for life right so yeah so um Brandon and Geoff who started the work camp are still on the team Dave Markowski was still on the team this year I’m still on the team and so we’re just collecting organizers oh is it gonna end up like where we’re camp Orange County one day is gonna be there’s gonna be more organizing team members and there are actual attendees I think so yeah yeah you know we’re striving for yeah yeah it’ll be very Orange County and that it’s like Azkaban
(04:28) where there’s more people in the did not attend in person Yellow Submarine okay I meant more like the talks Oh so but let’s talk about a thing because their feet we’re very proud of our theme every year the theme is its cookies and that’s part of our brand so the theme this year and I don’t know if I need anybody really some people got it we didn’t we didn’t make it this much in your face but it was the life aquatic was the thing oh I did not get that so that’s that’s what it was based on so everybody
(05:13) had this is actually an organizer shirt but everybody had light blue t-shirts and we gave away the red beanie so everybody was the outfit was sort of dressed up like the movie which was and then and then when margao ski showed up with the flippers and the whole system gear and all that and they’re opening her mouth I missed the opening party I didn’t happen this year I assumed that’s what he would have done it wasn’t it wasn’t as in your face as Dungeons & Dragons last year but but it’s a very
(05:42) cool theme so so we’re really happy with anyway what was what was your what was your question well no I mean how do besides the like visual theme which is what you’re talking about in terms of the life aquatic did you bring that in that visual theme into any of the components at the camp or was it just the visual theme like the design theme the life aquatic concept no we’re just the visual theme this year so everything everything everything that we did all the slides all the screens all the printing everything was on brand and the
(06:17) t-shirts and the swag so I it was really cool yeah everybody seemed to really love the beanies that was our big swag item this year you don’t get one you didn’t get to even go can’t technically was the speaker at the camp she was in a sort of like Phantom Zone window up on the screen I’m really glad you got back from the Phantom Zone say I’m I’m only kidding I would get your opinion but this was the beanie here that has a special WC OC tag on it and the beanies actually done by crochet kids if you’re not familiar with
(06:58) crochet kids it’s a it’s a charity organization that Brandon and Jeff have worked with and they they actually if for anybody that has one of these no it’s not at all it’s it’s not it’s not at all wow talk about making the worst possible spot that’s like wow no not at all this if you have one of these you can actually look at the tag inside and you can write a thank-you note to the person who made the the beanie for you so I’m not a kid it’s not a kid here’s the thing say you’re giving if it was
(07:42) kids you’re giving them a very valuable life you know look if you want more information on this look at crochet kids spelled with a k crochet kids online this is a pretty cool organization which okay okay both the kids with a see but the crochet starts with the K kids spelled right but crochets theme but I am excited about that because we are talking it’ll be my first time as well I was kind of on the LAX organizer team but only like ancillary organizer because I just did after party that wasn’t really involved in all the
(08:29) logistics and whatnot but I am going to be I am on the team for we’re at Camp Long Beach what what wcl DC in the house and I’m excited to be a part of like the kind of the whole thing and so right now we’re talking about you know our our theme for talks like how the tracks go and all of that so I’m I’m curious as to this year forward camp board County yeah a big camp you usually sell out and in the past there’s been like not just two tracks but like three tracks right like how many tracks did
(09:04) you have this year three yeah three tracks like that’s that’s a pretty hefty list so yeah we had our two main tracks which are sessions and then we had a discussion track in the conference room and that was crazy yeah it was pretty the discussion track was pretty full I led the SM MOC in the morning which social media mastermind Orange County which we held over we we did last year we did it again this year unfortunately Bob Watson who normally leaves that leads that had to leave town so he was able do it so I stepped in but I I was
(09:43) floating through all the tracks on both days and that that discussion room was pretty full most of the time so that was it was nice panel know the discussion track is is more of as more interactive so the other rooms are meant to be traditional sessions right 45-minute sessions discussion wrap tracks are an hour and a half and it’s really just meant to be someone leading a discussion about a certain topic for instance Chris Ford led a discussion track about project management Erin Mike here’s a presentation and here it’s like okay
(10:21) thoughts what do you think tell me your thoughts it’s really going there with questions and and and and pull the information out of that person’s head and so it’s they’re there they’re there to give the attendees you know exactly what they’re looking for live am a yes people keep those sessions or were they approached okay okay yeah so when we when we open up speaker submissions we let people know this is the format and so let us know what you’re thinking yeah is this a traditional session or is a discussion
(10:56) track is a panel you know what a you know what do you want to do and so we ask that when people submit their talks okay that’s nice I missed that in the call for speakers because I absolutely would have done one for you know performance or or what have you applied applied yes yeah yeah I may have just made all that up I don’t know if that’s actually what it will be next year no that’s no I know it’s there and then you know so that’s what happened on Saturday made tracks on Sunday but Sunday you know I’m still
(11:33) asking questions about Saturday okay though in terms of so you’ve got your discussion track which is like your other two tracks were you did you choose talks based off of like a specific concept or were you just like these sound interesting was it was there a beginner component or was there like this more like what where did the talks kind of land in terms of topic yes so the short answer is we we do really vet the speakers that apply and so it does go through a pretty rigorous process when we when we get all the applications
(12:14) and so we do first do a blind vote on the on the topics that we wanna see without knowing who the speaker is and we we actually do take that pretty seriously and then we go in and we look at the speakers that we chose based on topic we see who has passed speaking experience who might have a YouTube channel anything we can find on somebody we try to look at how they how they presents but we also give a mix of some new speakers as well right so we don’t we don’t just take experienced speakers and so we’re looking at you know a look
(12:49) at personality we’re looking how they how they presented their topic things like that and so we really try to get a good mix of speakers and the the yes to your question about you know the range of topics is we we really try to get a mix of beginner developer design and business topics all rolled into one once we have all that we do sort of put the cards on wall and try to make sense of it right try to tell story with each of the tracks it doesn’t always work out that way but but there is something for
(13:20) everybody at working for County so I question I have a question about the speaker selection thing where they say in the blind the blind speaker selection so how many times because you’ve been in the WordPress community for quite a while you know practically everybody right though there have to be some topics that you look at whether you know you know you may not know who’s gonna do it but you look at the topic and you say oh that has to be so-and-so because it’s uniquely that person and how much do you
(13:53) find that going on in the in the blind the blind selection process it depends on the year right it depends I mean yeah sometimes I can read it stop it and go yeah that’s Chris Loma yeah right so and sometimes people put their name right into the description of the topic so and we’re pretty good about stripping out as many names we can sometimes it slips through right and so but the blind process we actually do take that very seriously the initial process is blind now in addition to that I will let you know a little secret and
(14:33) I think every word camp does this there are a couple spots that we reserved for so that we invite right so we do we do save a couple spots for people that we want to hear or topics that we want to hear and we will match somebody with that topic and so we we do come up with a list of speaking topics that we kind of want to hear and if we don’t get submissions on that we’ll fill them in as we go that’s not exclusive to work camp Orange County yeah I’ve seen that happen that happens at almost every word
(15:02) yeah yeah so you know and and and depending on the year you know when we do the blind selection will get you know yeah we might get a hundred submissions and fifty those or not fifty but 20 of those might be about the exact same thing depending on what’s going on in the word cancer community all right so the the advice I could give you if you’re if you’re submitting talks is submit as early as possible because what some camps do and I’ve seen this is they’ll just the blinds list in the order that which
(15:38) they were received so if there’s 20 Gutenberg talks and you happen to be the first one you might get selected over the last one kiss at that point you’re thinking okay how many more Gutenberg Talks do I have to review right right now we do something different we we randomize by date so it doesn’t work at in Orange County but I’ve I’ve been on on those panels before the word can swear it’s just date order and so submit as early as you can if you’re thinking about so you know working out well and
(16:03) and I will tell you having organized a couple word camps and pick speakers myself there’s I don’t know if this happens in Orange County but there’s also that where you have two people who have very close to the same topic or even exactly the same topic and you really only want that topic covered once so then you look at who it is and you’re like okay well you know this is a known quantity this one isn’t so we’re gonna take this one over that one so that and that’s that’s what I’ve seen happen and
(16:34) sometimes this didn’t happen this year sometimes the past what we’ve done is taken a few people like we’ve had that happen or say okay this is a topic these two or three people would all be good at speaking at this topic and we form a panel yeah yeah I think that’s a great way to handle it question what did you see as themes that a lot of people were writing about this year in your speaker application yeah there was a ton on project management that was the running the right thing and and way more project
(17:08) management talks than we could handle what do you think that’s yeah I have no idea there was just a ton of project management submissions and then like every year you always get the salesy submissions SEO right an SEO experts and people wanting to teach how to make more money with your blog right stuff like that so we just kind of wiped those out automatically this does rarely get through the SEO guy we had come this year led a discussion track he actually did submit but but we we chose him specifically based on his experience
(17:45) because he knew we knew he wasn’t there for sales purposes you know a lot of times SEO talks are just trying to sell you something so a lot of times I was just trying to tell you something yes but only but only a lot of times we had Eric from pathfinder SEO and he did great he’s that with that discussion track specificity was standing room only see that’s the thing it’s like that topic is important like all the time it’s obviously vitally important for people’s clients for people’s rights but it is
(18:21) such a like same kind of thing with social media it’s just so marketed up that it really you know it’s also a big echo chamber a lot of people just repeating the same things over and over but I feel like it’s a lot of that like you know I’ll tell you something and then sell you something a little bit later right gotta be careful for like snake oil salesmen yeah exactly and yeah I know I’m gonna take myself a little bit but I’m working relate to this yeah the yes I appreciate it yeah the SEO
(18:55) person right used to be the desktop publisher right right yeah quark was out you know anybody could get publisher that right nothing right might I I know how to I know how to open quark but see then that’s the problem is by the time a person is seasoned enough and and wise enough to know the good SEO people from the bad SEO people right they’ve practically done enough research to be able to do it you know because it is so hard to tell because like you said you have these people that are parroting what everyone else is saying oh they
(19:33) sound like they know what they’re talking about but then you hire them and six months later a year later you’re like my numbers don’t look any different I just spend a hundred thousand dollars or whatever on SEO and and what’s that I don’t know because because I have look I’ve seen any oh yeah I’ve seen I’ve seen SEO change over the years like crazy and of course any Google comes up with a new algorithm people are like okay now we got to figure this out again and have a desktop
(20:08) publishing change desktop publishing has changed I’ll call it web development anyway so then then then there was what y’all do did you go to dirty Nellie’s and do your karaoke thing for your after you gotta talk about dirty Nellie’s oh don’t don’t put me on the spot oh yeah absolutely it’s your favorite part it normally is there was what happened there was an incident this year yeah no it had nothing to do with us it had nothing to do with with the word campers but a fight broke out at dirty Nellie’s with
(20:46) another group that was there and and the police were called yeah it ended it ended my night a little early and so karaoke guy and there was a new guy we didn’t have we didn’t have karaoke Kevin we had we had Jerry okey he was subpar and as soon as the fight was done he said okay next up is it happened but several of our of our organizers and members had to step in and just sort of protect everybody that was there it was it was a deal was a thing Wow I took a shot to the face and I was right you got hit I got it like did you start
(21:44) the fight no no no I was just trying to to push the fight away from our group the Emmy was right next to us anyway yeah it is a very small place problems can you have a like a group party thing like that in a public space that’s not like a ones fighting WordPress community that’s not yeah so look it was a first for us we never had a problem right in all our years of doing the after party there and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a word camp after party fight creepy drunk dude you know look I’ve heard of word camp
(22:28) after party post trolling but that’s about as far as it goes okay it wasn’t our group that’s something that happened and I think our takeaway the organizers their takeaway was next year private venue we will be sharing we will be sharing a venue with it with anybody and we’re gonna do whatever we can to bring back karaoke Kevin yeah because he’s our guy yeah we tried we tried so hard this year to make an app and it just didn’t happen I didn’t hear anything about that which is bad yeah and you know we kept
(23:02) it pretty nice it it you know we kept it sort of under control it wasn’t our group was nobody from our group it’s just something that happened running panels and then you’re like cool I have a lot of I have a lot of juice left in here yeah there’s yeah there’s there’s no there’s nothing like there’s there’s nothing like having to try to break up a fight to clear to come to sober up really fast now now Steve I didn’t I’m not sure I got all the facts but wasn’t
(23:44) the fight between like some guy trying to like he what he wanted to hit a weapon it was like you want to dwell on this don’t you like the best story well yes yes it was a man fighting a woman yeah yeah his his engagement parties was it his fiancee no but you know she ended up once everything was over I think she thought that I was involved in came over imported drink on my head so it was a good way to end it well Ani day’s work for pristine again it’s just like work yeah it’s just it’s just something that happens that’s all
(24:37) anyone could talk about probably actually know it look you know I dressed it to the crowd told everybody what happened just in case they were hearing things and we moved on like we should yeah because it was an it was a non-issue it was that you know it was yeah if it had been if it had been a work camper it started the fight which I can’t see it happening then we’ve got a thing but it wasn’t it was not us it’s just it’s just not well and that was I mean when I heard about it first thing Sunday morning was when I heard about it
(25:22) I left like 10 minutes before it happened and that was exactly the first question that I asked was there’s no way that it was a word camper it had there been one of the other but then I heard Steve was throwing punches I’m like whoa driving and driving to camp on Sunday morning I said the same I said I said I said I think we need to address this because by this point the rumors will get blown out of proportion and I’m gonna walk in and somebody’s gonna say dude I heard you killed somebody last
(25:58) night yeah all right so anyway what was different about Sunday topic and approach wise then Saturday was it one track two tracks three Jack’s same thing it was Sunday we still have three tracks but as you know on Sunday we end our winter tracks early so that we get everybody in to plug in a Palooza which is our wish our big event onsen which was awesome which was awesome this year a us yeah tell us to be Alex the Alex Vasquez was your host who’s just the post us with the mostess Alex was hosting and we have one of our
(26:43) judges here with us yep absolutely yeah customers always enjoyed it I knew he was judgy but well he was very good he was awesome customers our resident Bigfoot up there on the stage yeah I don’t know why I don’t know why I said that but we had cut our judges with Casper Scott Bolinger Natalie mcLeese and Chris Ford so we added a judge this year nailing the pigs because she’s a fighter yeah a couple times for plugging up loser yeah yeah and then we not only brought I want to expertise around accessibility in JavaScript and sort
(27:26) certainly needed which was awesome there was there was a little bit of worry that we might have because there was four judges we might have like a tutu it was really hard to judge the competition this year so the there was six so we started with ten we ended up with six plugins it’s a tough competition we’ve got I mean you’ve got to put together a full plugin in two months and so it was six plugins ended up being judged and then the three final or the three winners were number one was the beaver
(28:04) builder goddess they have a new plug-in called assistant yeah that’s pretty cool we do we have I’ll tell you second second place was Andy friggin that right customer so Andy fragance plug-in and then third place was drew Jaynes what were the second and third plugin what did they do Andy’s plug-in customers refresh your memory of one Andy’s plugin yeah does and these plugin was effectively just an easy way to flip debugging on and show you know basically make sure that things are hidden so debugging messages aren’t
(28:45) getting through to the main part of your site but and then music this keyboard shortcuts plug it yeah right say if you’re a big keyboard shortcuts in hotmail person uses all of those I actually really liked the druze a lot I thought it was pretty I mean the company competition was really really serious here I mean yeah everybody had a chance does what what the beaver builder assistant it’s essentially the dashboard reimagined right so it’s it’s a it’s a short quick version of the WordPress
(29:39) dashboard meant to panes very very quickly what’s that it’s like a front-end like yelling page dashboard right necessarily no well I think if I can’t remember its front end but I only played with it in the dashboard itself and then it’s it’s actually built as a platform so they have ways of extending it and building modules for it it’s pretty cool this was their alpha launch and it was pretty pretty it was it was nice to the point where like you could show this to somebody who is basically
(30:12) cut their teeth on you know a couple beaver beaver builder an assistant and show it to somebody who has been on Squarespace for the past few years or something like that and they wouldn’t even have to touch WP admin basically at all if you had the the site center I got one for them so it’s it’s basically a nice more user friendly back-end for the site but runand yeah it was way cool anyway look at the time we are over actually over by a minute I know I have to cut you off otherwise yeah yeah you guys put me
(30:49) right on the spot anyway thank you all for being on the water cooler today I’m gonna do my best to try to end this broadcast but just keep smiling as if we’re you know set

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