Speaker Spotlight: Krystle Herbrandson

krystle-herbrandonKrystle has had the great pleasure of being a part of the Sucuri family for the past 3 years. Throughout her time she has experienced everything from cleaning a website to building and establishing a sales organization for the company. In her current role as Director of Sales she aids users, agencies and enterprises in navigating the complexities of website security.

Krystle Herbrandson will be presenting “I Want the REMOTE: Business, Culture and Hiring for the Remote World” on Saturday, October 15 at 3:10pm in the Assembly Hall.

Why do use WordPress?

WordPress is a great tool for anyone from a novice to an expert. I especially love how receptive the community is to helping grow and expand on the experiences people are having with WP!!

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I first started using WP about 7 year ago when my husband started doing web design and development work for local businesses.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

You can’t beat the value in the sessions and personal engagements you’ll find at a WC. Weather you go for the education or for the networking there is something for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

As an attendee who typically also represents the company I work for as a sponsor; I would say the team experiences are something beyond words. We pull together individuals across multiple functional groups to form our events teams and it’s during our times at WordCamps that we building lasting bonds!!

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

The coolest thing we at Sucuri have recently put together for the WordPress community is our guide on How to Clean a Hacked WordPress site.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The networking that takes place in the hallways, sponsor tables and afterparties of events.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Great question- I would recommend looking into the benefits of having a remote team and what that can provide.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I get ridiculous anxiety when it comes to heights but loved sky diving.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Bridget Willard- @YouTooCanBeGuru She is an amazing person with a spirit that can light up the room. Through the obstacles of life that make up this journey she has found a new career and has quickly become a name in the WP community.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

I’d say attending so many around the world ๐Ÿ™‚

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

I get the pleasure to attend these camps on behalf of Sucuri which is a great benefit to making work enjoyable.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

Have a site online ๐Ÿ˜‰ security is a must

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

Nothing needed- this is for anyone curious about remote working and what I’ve learned over the nearly 3 years working at Sucuri.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

http://www.wpbeginner.com/ – great content and guide for any WP user

Where can we find you online?

Speaker Spotlight: Ben Cool

ben-coolBen is a Developer, WordPress enthusiast/hobbyist and Father of three. He has been making websites and programming back-end systems since 1999 and is currently developing technology for autonomous vehicles at GM.

Ben Cool will be presenting the “Unit Tests Workshop” on Friday, October 14 at 11:00am in Wolverine room.

Why do use WordPress?

I use WordPress because of the community. Not just the community of developers that support the platform, themes and plugins; but, the community and culture that surrounds WordPress.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress when I started working at A2 Hosting. My Job at A2 was to make websites faster and since WordPress has the largest market share of hosted websites, WordPress was the logical place to start. After writing tools and plugins to make WordPress faster, I learned why WordPress was used by so many people and developers.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

I guarantee that anyone that attends a WordCamp will do three things.
1. Learn something.
2. Make at least one new Friend (probably 20).
3. Feel more confident about themselves.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

Random acts of kindness.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

I set up a custom plugin repository using Reaktiv Remote Repo.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

Friendships Forged

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Attend as many WordCamps as possible.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I like to drive my Jeep on the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Rich Robinkoff

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

A2 Optimized WP.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

are a person

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

codex.wordpress.org

Where can we find you online?

https://twitter.com/benjamincool

Speaker Spotlight: Annie Wolock

annie-wolockAnnie founded Keystone Media in 1994. Keystone created its first website in 1995 and has not looked back since. With an educational background in fine arts and marketing, Annie has been able to guide her clients through the implementation of successful (and effective) websites. Annie’s roles in all website projects are marketing strategist and project manager.

Annie Wolock will be presenting “Creating an Effective WordPress Website” on Saturday, October 15 at 11:05am in the West Conference Room.

Why do use WordPress?

Using WordPress allows for expedient implementation of great websites. My clients all really love the ease of making their own website updates.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

The very first WordPress website Keystone create was in about 2010, when we created a blog for one of our customers. Back then they were fairly cumbersome to customize, but we did! We love how easy WordPress has become to make a really great site.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

The line up this year is outstanding. Come learn about WP and how to best leverage it!

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

Last year Keystone created a completely custom WP site for the Washtenaw County Medical Society. We created a complete custom design and created a physician directory for the county. WordPress was simple to extend and the client loves their new site. Their main goal was to reduce customer phone calls in and the new site did just that!

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I’ve been successfully running Keystone Media for over 22 years. I love having my own business on Main Street, Ann Arbor.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

want to connect about business strategy
want to connect at all

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

You can just come listen. No need to really learn anything, but do have an interest in digital strategy.

Where can we find you online?

Speaker Spotlight: Mike Hale

mike-haleMike Hale is a developer at Rainmaker Digital where he helps build the Rainmaker Platform. He has almost 20 years of software development experience and started working with WordPress in 2010 building custom plugins and sites using the Genesis Framework. He is also a writer, speaker, puppeteer, realtor, podcaster and co-organizer of the WordPress Naperville meetup.

Mike Hale will be presenting “Amp it UP! Using Google Accelerated Mobile Pages with WordPress” on Saturday, October 15 at 3:10pm in the West Conference Room.

Why do use WordPress?

I use WordPress because there are so many great designs, plugins, resources, and people willing to help to get started. Because of its popularity chances are someone else has already come across the same problem and has shared a solution. Even on a complex project WordPress helps you get to launch quicker than building something from the ground up.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

My first WordPress site was in 2010. I was building custom .Net web apps for clients, and needed to spin up a new site for one of my own projects. Rather than building something from scratch, I decided to tip my toes into the WordPress waters. Most of the sites I built had some sort of CMS built-in, so I wanted to try WordPress as a starting point and never looked back.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

The best thing about a WordCamp is that the speakers are people who use WordPress day in, day out. While you might not get pro speakers, you get practical advice based on someone’s actual experience. It’s also a great chance to meet, network, and get help from your peers.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

At a recent WordCamp a guy came over to say hello and thanked me for helping him get past a major roadblock on his site. I didn’t remember meeting him, but he explained he was sitting at the same table for lunch at a previous WordCamp and was listening to the conversation. I had mentioned a plugin I used before that was just what he needed. It felt great to know that a simple conversation ended up helping someone else.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

I just relaunched my real estate website, and spent a lot of time automating a lot of the listings entry, integrating several useful APIs and adding schema.org microdata. It’s lots of under the hood improvements but will help it really stand out from other sites.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The “hallway track”. I have a lot of friends that I only see at WordCamps so it’s great to catch up and make new friends too.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Pick a specialty, either a service or a type of customer/industry and focus your marketing on them. That doesn’t mean that’s the only type of work you’ll do, but it will help you get the most result for your effort. Also network every chance you get and make sure people know that you are looking for work and referrals.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I have a lot of interests outside WordPress. I’ve played guitar for almost 30 years and enjoy writing and puppetry as other creative outlets.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

There’s too many to list, but I’ve been paying a lot of attention to designers because I’m trying to level up my design skills and front-end development.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

Getting hired at Rainmaker Digital and helping build the Rainmaker Platform. I’ve been at various conferences and met people that are on Rainmaker Platform and it makes me proud to know I’ve helped create something that people can build their entire business on.

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

I’ve made so many friends from people I’ve met at WordCamps, and built a network of people that I can use as resources and that will refer people back to me.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

“Want to know how to grow your business with WordPress”

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

They should read up on Google AMP to have a basic understanding of what it is and does, and install the AMP plugin from Automattic on a test site.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

Sites like WP Tavern and Torque are great for news. I refer beginners to WP101 all the time to learn how to use WordPress. There are also a lot of great blogs I follow on how to build a WordPress business and be a better developer.

Where can we find you online?

On my website I blog (infrequently) about WordPress and development, but the best way to connect with me is on Twitter.

Speaker Spotlight: Joel Worsham

joel-worshamI’m a WordPress enthusiast and plugin scientist. I love building really cool, new things for people and their websites. I’ve been working at Real Big Marketing with Kyle Maurer for about 3 years now doing exactly that.

Oh, I also really love music and play in a gigging band!

Joel Worsham will be presenting the “Version Control Workshop” on Friday, October 14 at 9:30am in the Wolverine room.

Why do use WordPress?

Because it’s awesome. It’s incredibly modular, powerful, flexible, and highly supported. It also has the BIGGEST online community surrounding a piece of web building software (or perhaps any software!). This means that I can always have a place to go for help, because Stack Overflow is always teaming with new WordPress questions.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Around 5 years ago when I began working for a friend’s business. He used WordPress and needed someone to manage the site. I hated WordPress at the time, “Isn’t that just for blogging? pffff”. Oh, young Joel, so many things I would tell you about.

Needless to say, I love it now and owe my exposure to that first site.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

Free coffee.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

Too many… I’ve met so many incredible people. The relationships and networks you build at these things are invaluable.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

I built an integration that allows a Gravity Form to submit entries to Google Sheets ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nifty.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The community.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Immerse yourself in this community. Trying it alone will never be fruitful. People really are the salt of the earth.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I’m in a gigging band as the drummer and I roast my own coffee! … and I brew beer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Pippin Williamson

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

Biggest? Hmm… I don’t know, so tough. So many things. Me and Kyle built a pretty neat free plugin called Client Dash, and it’s active on over 3000 sites, so that’s cool right?

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

So. Many. Ways. As previously mentioned, the relationships and networks you build are so helpful. I’ve gone to others for help/advice so may times, and have also been able to offer the same in return.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

breathe

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

It’s a workshop, so I’ll be starting from the ground up. So, I suppose at least familiarize yourself with the idea of version control and how it can help your projects.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

The Codex I suppose, if we’re going by how often I view it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where can we find you online?

Speaker Spotlight: Adam Silver

adam-silverAdam teaches a variety of courses in the Southern California area, presents a monthly WordPress seminar at SBDC, runs the SouthBay WordPress Meetup and produces a weekly podcast over at kitchensinkwp.com. He also was the lead organizer of WordCamp Los Angeles this year.

Adam Silver will be presenting “WP Battles: Webmaster vs. Hacker” on Saturday, October 15 at 1:55pm in the Amphitheatre.

Why do use WordPress?

It allows me to share my content (kitchensinkWP.com) as well as help others share theirs.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using in late 2008, early 2009 WordPress for my photography site, though I pivoted as that industry changed and I was asked for help in building websites for friends and eventually clients. Someone then suggested I teach a class and I did that via the local adult school for 4 years. I recently went out on my own as far as teaching.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

If you want to be a part of an amazing community and make friends from all walks of life, go to a WordCamp. I am happy to say that many of my closest friendships started at a WordCamp.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

While talking to someone in the hall, a person walked by, stopped, turned around and asked “are you Adam Silver? ” I said yes and they said “I recognized my voice from my podcast. That was cool!

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

As I have attended a lot of WordCamps, I still find my favorite part is presenting. I really enjoy sharing what I know to others. Other than that, it’s great seeing friends across the country as well as make new friends.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Find an area that you have passion for and focus on that. Code, design, customer service, business development..etc. No need to try to do it all. Also surround yourself with people smarter than you, .trust me, it helps. Lastly things take time. There is no overnight success, or magic formula for “passive income”. Do good work. Provide Value.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I have an amazing wife of 18 years and 3 really cool kids!

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Way to many to just have 1, so here are a few:
Dustin Hartzler, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, Cory Miller, Steve Grunwell, Kyle Mauer, Marc Benzakein, Natalie MacLees

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

Being the lead organizer for WordCamp Los Angeles this year. It was an honor to make it come together for the community

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

WordCamps have had a huge impact as I simply a “user” for my old career in photography. I now make a living as a WordPress educator/trainer and providing client support with conciergewp.com. None of those things would have happened without the information and relationships that were made at WordCamps.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

are new to WordPress, podcasting or just to the community and like to laugh…

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

Have an open mind!

Where can we find you online?

on twitter: @heyadamsilver or @kitchensinkwp
on web: kitchensinkwp.com

Speaker Spotlight: Topher DeRosia

topher-derosiaTopher is a Christian, husband, father, WordPress developer.

Topher will be presenting “What’s a REST API and Why Should I Care?” on Saturday, October 15 at 1:30pm in the Amphitheatre.

Why do use WordPress?

So many reasons. The platform does what I need to get done in the best way I’ve found so far. The people around it are wonderful. The availability of education is sky high. It’s simply the best option for building web sites.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I tried it out when it first appeared on the scene, but didn’t like it much. I came back to it in 2010 for a job, struggled for a while, and then 3.0 came out with Custom Post Types and everything changed. I haven’t built a site with anything else since.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

I’d love to share a meal with you and hear about your project. I’d love to hear about your journey in life, and in web development. So would all of my friends. And they want to be your friend too. We want to come along side your project and help out where we can.

Going to WordCamp means joining a team that can help you get done what you’re working on.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

Someone I’d never heard of came up to me and said that a talk I’d given changed the way they build web sites, and that changed their career and their entire life. it’s breathtaking.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

The company I work for, Modern Tribe has a cool
client I’ve gotten to work with called “What Should We Do?”. It’s a
concierge service in New York. You tell them what you like to do, and
when you’d like to do it, and they find cool stuff for you to do and
make all the arrangements, so you don’t have to do anything except show
up and have fun.

It’s a cool idea and it’s been a lot of fun to work on.

https://www.whatshouldwedo.com/

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The parties! Actually, that’s mostly true because the best part about the parties is talking to people. I love all the relationships I’ve made over the years and I’m excited about all the new ones coming up.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

If you already know WordPress, concentrate on learning everything else. Learn about taxes, laws, time management, employees, etc. The idea that you can simply start a WordPress business because you know WordPress is a terrible lie.

If you don’t know WordPress, start there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I have my pilot’s license.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Tom McFarlin

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

HeroPress.com

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

WordCamps allowed me to make relationships, and relationships are where GOOD contracts come from. WordCamps allow you to create a reputation, and a good reputation is solid gold.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

are attending WordCamp Ann Arbor

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

Nothing specific. My talk is aimed right at people who don’t already know anything at all about the topic.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

Slack. I’m a member of a number of great slack groups where I can talk to people in real time.

Where can we find you online?

topher1kenobe works just about anywhere.

Speaker Spotlight: Seth Alling

seth-allingSeth Alling is a Detroit-based developer turned designer turned developer, who has been working with WordPress since 2009. Currently he works remotely as the Lead Developer for Ranch House Designs, a small agency located in Wharton, Texas, where he is primarily responsible for developing custom WordPress websites and plugins. When heโ€™s not developing (or designing), you can find him running, playing soccer or spending time with his wife and two sons.

Seth Alling will be presenting “Getting Dialed In” on Friday, October 14 at 10:00am in the Pendleton room.

Why do use WordPress?

Because itโ€™s awesome! Seriously, I use it because itโ€™s easy to use and learn. Also, it has a great community of people to continually help make it better.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Before graduating from BYU in 2009, I needed to quickly put up a portfolio for one of my classes. I had heard of WordPress and gave it a shot, and found out how easy it was to pick a theme and add some content. I started developing with it a few months later when I was asked if I could develop a WordPress theme while working as a web designer. Even though I had never done it before, I said sure, found a couple posts on how to build a WordPress theme, and everything just kinda took off from there.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

You will meet some of the smartest and coolest people. And, the amount you will learn is well worth the price.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

I was able to talk with Eric Meyer a bit at WordCamp Northeast Ohio this year. He asked what my speaking topic was, and when I told him, he said he was interested in it and came to listen to my session.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

There was a site for a conference that wanted to begin selling virtual tickets. I developed a plugin to integrate with the already built site and allow people to purchase both yearly and lifetime memberships for the virtual ticket on a per conference basis.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

Hallway track.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Work hard and learn hard. Everything else will follow.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I love eating all sorts of different cheeses from around the world.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

The user who is afraid to try new technology, but is willing to login and try out WordPress for the very first time.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

I developed a plugin called No Page Comment that provided a solution to individually set the default comment setting on new page. This solved a problem that didn’t have a native solution until WordPress 4.3.

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

It’s an opportunity to meet up with people who โ€œhave been thereโ€. Each time I attend, I am able to find some knowledge and inspiration to help me improve.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

just want to talk about anything WordPress

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

Nothing. Just attend the two sessions before mine on Friday, and you’ll be all set!

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

WordPress.tv or just the source code of WordPress.

Where can we find you online?

Speaker Spotlight: AJ Morris

aj-morrisAJ Morris is the Managed WordPress Product Manager for Liquid Web, a fully managed hosting company. He has extensive experience both developing WordPress sites and speaking at WordPress events. AJ leads product and go to market strategy for Liquid Webโ€™s Managed WordPress product line. Liquid Web’s Platform as a Service solution for WordPress hosting allows you to seamlessly host multiple sites and access top-quality 24/7 Heroic Support.

AJ Morris will be presenting “How to Build an Email List and Generate Qualified Leads with WordPress” on Saturday, October 15 at 9:50am in the Assembly Hall.

Why do use WordPress?

I use WordPress because I’ve continued to find it very easy to get what I’m looking for without having to do a lot of development myself. It’s amazing what you can do these days with WordPress and a few plugins and a good theme.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress in 2006 when I was looking for something to start blogging with. I wasn’t a big fan of blogger and moveabletype was too confusing. I gave WordPress up for a few years as I got into Ruby on Rails development but quickly returned to WordPress to continue developing sites for clients.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

If you want to learn how to use WordPress, how to build a blog or a website, you absolutely need to attend a WordCamp. Not only do you get local WordPress experts, but WordCamps attract a wide array of influencers in the space to either present or attend. You will learn more at a WordCamp than you can doing a few googles.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The hallway track is my favorite. Getting to hang out with all my friends from all over the globe and being able to hear what they are all working on is great. The conversations you have in the hallway track are many times where you can hear about new products or opportunities that allow you to collaborate with others.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

If you are looking to start a WordPress based business, follow these people, Cory Miller, Rebecca Gill, Karim Marucchi, Chris Lema, Carrie Dils. They are all tried and true business professionals with decades of experience.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I love photography and have been picking up a camera more and more now that I have my daughter.

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Cory Miller. He’s been a leader in the plugin and theme space for nearly a decade and is one of the hardest working people in the WordPress community I know. He cares passionately about his community and customers and makes sure that they have the tools that they need to prosper.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

Launching a popular Managed WordPress hosting product line. In a year we’ve been able to provide great hosting with expert WordPress help.

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

When I was doing freelance and coaching, I found many clients from attending and speaking at WordCamps. Even found a few people to collaborate with.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

Are looking for more ways to increase subscribers to your blog…

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

My favorite WordPress resource would have to be PostStatus. You get to hear all about the business side of WordPress.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me online on Twitter, Facebook, Github, Instagram, etc. You can find me by just searching my name.

Speaker Spotlight: Kevin Skarritt

kevin-skarrittKevin is actively involved with his community as the President of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce and as an officer in the GL Masonic Lodge.

He has two Eagle Scout sons. His hobbies included snowboarding, water skiing, tournament chess, reading, upright bass guitar, and making sushi.

Kevin Skarritt will be presenting “Explode Your WordPress Business!” on Saturday, October 15 at 4:00pm in the Amphitheatre.

Why do use WordPress?

I’ve found there are seldom any good reasons to use any other CMS other than WP. Because I find most of my clients come from the SMB world, I find the WP learning curve is less steep for the average business owner … which leads to a higher happiness factor. How can you beat; fast, easy, powerful AND free?!

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I’ve been using WordPress since its earliest days (roughly 2004) when it was competing with MoveableType. It was just personal blogging back then (I’m not even sure we were using the word blog yet) but later that same year plugins and static pages were added to the mix. The clouds parted and the light shone down upon all of us. I can count the number of NON-wp websites I’ve built since then on one hand.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

Regardless of your level of tech savvy, what facet of development you’re in, whether you’re a developer or a user, there’s SOMETHING there waiting for you to discover it! All you need to do is attend.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

Connecting with awesome new professional peers AND THEN having a forum to bump into them again and again!

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

http://www.MariSmith.com

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The networking BY FAR! And, although the presentations can’t go suuuper deep, you get to touch on all the latest/greatest ideas from some of the top pros in the biz. The value of that can’t be measured in $$.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Talk to as many people as you can. Go to lunch with a new group each day. If there are time slots that have presentations that don’t resonate with you, there’s ALWAYS a brain-explosion going on out in the hallways. LOTS of people miss this opportunity.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I’m adopted AND a twin! (oops, that’s two things)

Name someone in the WordPress community that inspires you.

Topher DeRosia

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

Each one that I’ve attended has grown my pro network substantially. This allows MY company to grow … due to the larger, higher quality of resources.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you ___________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.”

… want to grow the size of your business AND remove a lot of the grief that some clients bring to the table (Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about), then come tap my shoulder…. Or join my group for lunch!

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

Nothing. Just bring your mind open to LOTS of new possibilities.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

too many

Where can we find you online?