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Watch The Entire Keynote Presentation Below
Let Us Take A journey Together With My Thoughts on WordPress
If you’re anything like me you probably did not want to sit there and watch a 40-plus minute video. This is why I decided to break down all of the slides that I presented in this keynote blow so then you could read through and even skim through some of the areas that interest you. Please understand and know that everything that I stayed within this post and in my presentation is from my heart and from personal experience with WordPress.
According to dictionary.com and any other word reference material, the word “LIFEWARE” does not exist and has no meaning. Now it really does not make any sense that I would put this word “LIFEWARE” into the actual title of my presentation. Well of course at first glance, you may have noticed this title flaw right away especially to all the uber talented content creators in this room. But before you judge me and draw premature conclusions on my future slides and statements, let me tell you that this was very intentional.
One of the most powerful attributes in the WordPress community is creating things that did not exist prior. Let me say that again, ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL ATTRIBUTES in the WordPress community is creating things that did not exist prior. Another very simple term for this is PROGRESS! And the PROGRESS that is created can be used by all of us.
There is a very strong feeling behind the selection of this word “LIFEWARE” and we are going to take a journey together exploring its meaning.
My hope at the end of this journey is to have this word become part of your vocabulary when you think of WordPress.
TWEET something every time you read the word LIFEWARE….YEAH CHALLENGE!!!
Take a moment of pause if you have ever been on a date or take a moment of pause if you have ever been on a good date. Now, laugh out loud if you have ever been on a bad date.
OK and finally scratch your head if you have no clue how dating is anything like WordPress.
It really is and I will show you how.
There are different types of dating strategies. Would we all agree on that? There are actually 4 kinds with 4 different goals in mind.
Dating for Fun
This category of dating is the no-strings-attached type of dating.
Dating to See
This category of dating is more intentional. Sure, you can have fun, but you are wanting to see if it can become more serious.
Dating to Decide
Goal: Making a yes or no decision about marriage
The old-fashioned name of this category of dating is called “courtship.”
Dating after Marriage (this does not mean dating someone else while you are married although that might be a type of dating but surely not a smart one)
This category of dating is much different than the others. Now that you have made a lifelong commitment to another person, you will have to nurture and grow that bond together
WordPress is pretty slick vehicle for reaching a wide range of goals. Just like those that are dating, the people that use WP can be put into a category of use for a specific goal that they wish to accomplish. I have defined the 4 major categories of WordPress users. As I go through them, I want you to listen carefully and decide which category or multiple categories you belong to.
WP for Work
This category of user relies on WP for their income and livelihood. These can include freelancers, designers, developers, consultants and employees of any WP centered business. This user makes up about 27% of all WP users. I love this fact because almost a ? of all WP users depend on this LIFEWARE to feed themselves and support their families.
Are you are this type of WP user?
WP for Share
This category of user sets up WP in way to share a particular interest or niche with others. These can include but not limited to Blogs, podcasts, video blogs and community centered sites. WP is in my opinion and hopefully shared by many of you here, is the best solution for a platform that delivers interactive content. Just to give a support fact about this, there are over 409 million people viewing more than 24.2 billion WP pages each month.
Are you are this type of WP user?
WP for Marketing
Goal: Online Presence
This category of user selects WP has the platform to use for marketing their services, products or an idea online. This can be a vast range of people with the most common being business owners. WP is a LIFEWARE solution that allows an arsenal of marketing and promotional plugins to drive traffic and get noticed online.
Are you are this type of WP user?
WP for Giving
This category of user is my favorite because they contribute back to the WP community in a way that helps it advance. This comes in many forms and a few to mention are developers creating FREE useful tools that complement WP and also since we are here WordCamp volunteers and presenters. Please pat yourself on the back if you have created any free WordPress resource or you have volunteered, spoken or organized a WordCamp?
If you are dating there are specific goals you wish to achieve. We just went over them!
- Have fun
- Get serious
- Nurture love
If you are using WP there is a special goal you wish to achieve.
- Make some money
- Let other know what you have to say
- Get noticed on the internet
- Give back to others
Being successful in dating and being a successful WP user requires you to build a relationship.
The definition of a RELATIONSHIP is the way in which two or more people, objects, or concepts are connected.
A relationship as you know is something you construct and requires time and sacrifice in order to be successful.
Every one of you in this room has decided to take time out of this lovely St. Louis Saturday to attend WordCamp in an effort to gain something based on the type of WP user you are.
Whether you know it or not you have a relationship with WP and hopefully at the end of today that relationship will be stronger through the talks and networking you will experience here.
I really want to inspire you to define yourself as 1 of the 4 WP users I explained and then take action on building a relationship with how you use WP. You might be several of them or all of them but I want you to pick the one that you are most passionate about and is inline with your goals. Doing this will help you lay out a road map for today’s talks so you are not wasting your time learning about something that does not align with the type of WP user you are. Makes sense?
How many of you have ever got up after a WordCamp talk started to go to another because it was either stuff you already knew or information way above what you want to know?
So if you are a WP for Work user, spend time upping your game on the technical aspect of the work you provide.
If you are a WP for Share user, learn the best ways to reach the audience you desire.
If you are a WP for Marketing user, stay consistent in the tasks that drive traffic to your site and don’t be scared to try learn things. And this actually goes for anybody that wants to be successful, DO NOT BE SCARED TO LEARN NEW THINGS
If you are a WP for Giving user, I adore you and you are perfect already. Keep giving and be patient with those around you that ask what the difference is between WP.com and WP.org is
I am happily married with 5 daughters ranging in age from 4 year twins to a 17 old boy crazy teenager and you can imagine the madness that happens in our home on a daily basis.
I grew up in Buffalo NY. My wife is from what I like to call Old York England and we both ended up in beautiful Southern California in 2000. Our closest relative is about 1000 miles away in Denver CO.
We are on our own as far as raising and caring for our children and let me just say we have seen some stressful times over the years. Now my wife has worked her entire adult life until just a little over a year ago, when we decided that it would be best for her to become a stay at home mom because I was doing a horrible job at night checking homework, making dinner and brushing hair.
This meant that I alone would be responsible for providing all the financial support we needed and it freaked me out bit. Thank goodness I had spent the last 8 years building a relationship with WP and inside of about 18 months WP would completely change my life and the lives of the ones you see in this picture.
So you can probably guess which type of WP user I am by this point right? WP for Work – WP for Share – WP for Marketing – WP for Giving
Isn’t it so much better to have someone else say something great about you rather than you saying it yourself RIGHT?
I am one of those people that dislike having a birthday or any self centered event because I do not want it to be about me.
Especially in presentations. I do not like to spend time talking about myself.
Well I am going to have to this time because the exploration I took into WP opened up a future that was unplanned and unimaginable and I want to share that story with you today.
So before I before I start rambling on about myself, I want to show you something I call WORDPRESS SOS
According to an article from CodeinWP.com published January of this year, there are almost 16 million sites on the web using a self hosted version of WP.
There are about 77 million WP blogs hosted through WP.com
So you can imagine there are millions of WP users out there and the skill of each vary.
Based on some independent research that my company did about a year ago, we came up with a Scale of Skill called WORDPRESS SOS
Almost half of all WP users fall into a category I like to call GROWERS. The reason I call it this is because these are the users that feed the WP Eco System financially and allow the community to thrive. These users can be categorized as the ones that have been using WP consistently for less than a year or just got introduced to it but haven’t used it yet. Over the years I have met so many people at WordCamps that are interested in learning more about WP before they dive in. I always tell them the same thing too, the best way to learn WP before you dive into it is to is to dive into it.
Then we have our PROMOTERS. These WP users possess a skill set that allows them to do most things possible with WP and usually depend on WP as their main source of income. I call them the PROMOTERS because they are the ones that take WP very seriously and encourage others to use it and grow with it.
Now at the top of this scale is the ADVANCED users which display and execute a skill set that allows the GROWERS and PROMOTERS to use WP to it’s fullest potential. If you are a GROWER or a PROMOTER, you will quickly notice an ADVANCED user at some point today because when they are talking you will see their mind actually moving. In some case you might even ask yourself what language are they speaking.
Now the important thing to note here as we continue to travel through the LIFEWARE which is WP is that each skill set complements the other in some way and together they create an engine that fires at full speed all the time.
So many moons ago I was a District Manager for Linens and Things. Remember them?
I was living in Long Beach CA and my office was about 50 miles away in Orange County.
I was responsible for 6 stores in the OC area my main responsibility as a DM was to drive sales and customer service goals.
During my travels to other stores I met a department manager named Andre and he told me about something he did in college with some buddies and NO this is not going where you think.
Andre built a web page using FLASH and it had 1 million squares on it that were 1px by 1px. Each square was sold for a $1 as advertising space and when you hovered around the page, it would expand the ad.
The goal was to sell 1 million squares at $1 each in 1 year and make how much?? VERY GOOD!
Andre was able to sell a total of almost 200,000 squares and it was all automated. This was the first time I heard the term “make money while you sleep.”
So I began to teach myself Flash because I thought is was soooo cool and was the future of the web. That lasted about 6 months and then I gave up and dove into HTML and CSS.
In the first quarter of 2006, Linens and Things was purchased by a private equity firm and they had 1 goal in mind. Liquidate all inventory and file bankruptcy.
I was fortunate enough to see the writing on the wall so I pondered what would I do next to make money for my family. I had been playing around with HTML and CSS for a few months and thought maybe I could sell websites for a living to small business owners.
I gave my notice to Lines and Things and then panicked for about 3 months because I didn’t have the confidence to sell somebody a service I just learned. 1 thing I learned right away is that you can build that type of confidence really fast when your rent is past due and you are hiding your car so they do not reposes it.
I joined the local chamber of commerce in hopes of making my phone ring with with tons of business. That did not happen. My phone did ring one day though and it was an employee from the chamber of commerce inviting me to a networking lunch. I asked my buddy to go with me as like a wing man because I was nervous. I showed up to this event with about 3 business cards and then noticed there were about 100 small business owners there. During the event check in, I was told I will have 30 seconds to ask the attendees for the type of referral I was looking for. I WAS PETRIFIED. Yeah sure back in retail I used to give massive district training sessions and talk in front of others for hours. But this was different. I was asking a group of professionals for business.
Well this meeting set a chain of events in motion that would lead me to this very stage in front of you. I was given a referral by a mortgage broker to a woman named Susan that was a realtor specializing in beach front property and wanted a website to target this niche. This would be the very first website client I ever had.
Now you can imagine I become addicted with this concept of business networking and very soon after my first client I was attending 2-3 meeting per week and receiving 4-6 qualified referrals for website builds each month.
While I was becoming a master net-worker my HTML and CSS skills were still in the infant phase and if a client asked me to do something with their site I never did before, I always said sure, that is easy. No problem. Then would rush to the web to figure out how to do it.
I was cheating a bit too because I was using a software called Sitebuilder by Homestead which made it easy with drag and drop design.
Then one day, a client of mine that owned a pool cleaning service called me and ask that I take their site offline. I was curious why and he told me that he built a new site using WordPress. I quickly said you built a company site using a blog software? He said not at all and shared with me the new URL.
I was very impressed with what I saw as my client was not tech savvy at all but managed to build a beautiful site on his own. I then thought wow, maybe WordPress could allow me to cheat even more and make me look like a super website builder.
So in 2009 about 2 years after I sold my first HTML website, I rebuilt my company site on WordPress and began doing all my builds on WordPress.
Please do not judge me with what I am about to say. Ok are you sure you are ready?
I am not a mac person. I have always used PCs
One day I was speaking with an office neighbor of mine about Apple support and he explained how it worked where you pay a flat fee and they will service your issue until resolved.
I thought this would be a brilliant concept for WordPress support.
So 1 Sunday afternoon in December of 2011 while my wife was asleep on the couch I created my current company.
Let us fast forward to August of 2015 when I decided to step away from building WordPress sites and only focus on support.
This is when I really immersed myself into the community and was hungry to know more about the people that use WordPress
In less than 6 months because of this LIFEWARE also know as WordPress I was making more money per month than I ever had in my life.
So why did I just spend some time telling you my story? Who cares right?
If you are me, when I listen to a story like this at an event which I came to learn something, I am like cool but big deal, how is that going to help me.
Sounds pretty selfish uh right? Well it is not selfish at all.
Let us go back to something I just said. YOU ARE HERE TO LEARN SOMETHING. Learning means you are gaining knowledge.
My story about about how this LIFEWARE WordPress has had, and continues to have, a massive positive affect on my life and those around me is meant to be inspiring.
There are many different ways to open your mind and take on new information. Today is going to be packed with lots of information about WordPress and I really want you to be prepped to take it in and then to take action on what you learn. One of the easiest paths to productive learning is through inspiration.
Inspiration is an adrenaline shot for successful learning. One more time because I love it! INSPIRATION IS AN ADRENALIN SHOT FOR SUCCESSFUL LEARNING
When I was a kid going to McDonalds was just a treat and I remember when I was about 9 years old I learned about Hamburger University. Hamburger University was founded in 1961 in the basement of a McDonald’s restaurant in Illinois. This is the premier training and leadership development center for McDonald’s employees.
I was fascinated and certain that once I was of age, I would go to Hamburger University and learn all there was about McDonald’s and become a manager there.
It was kinda crazy because we always had those in class exercises in elementary school when you talked about or drew pictures about what you wanted to be when you grew up and I would draw a big cheeseburger with a door and me walking into it.
I never made it to Hamburger University but did see the documentary SuperSize Me about 3 times and believed I learned all I needed to know about McDonald’s. Do not get me wrong though, I can murder some nuggets any day of the week.
So while McDonald’s has a very distinguished learning program, a LIFEWARE like WordPress does not. There is no official WordPress delivered training or learning program.
However this does not mean there are not places to learn and master WordPress. There are multiple online training systems that offer easy to learn material for any level of WP use. In most cases a lot of these resources will cost you nothing.
Technology moves fast right? Who has ever heard of TLC?
Ok, so all the women in here are like I love them and started singing “DON’T GO CHASING WATERFALLS”. Right?
Then all the men are like, my girlfriend or wife is telling me all the time she needs more of this. Men we agree?
Well you are both wrong. TLC means Technology Life Cycle!
This is the lifespan of new technology. The average lifespan of new technology is 6-9 months. This means that any new technology created today will be on the decline in 6-9 months from now because it has either been upgraded to made obsolete.
WordPress is no different. It is constantly changing and this means you must keep learning and soaking up these changes to be proactive and get the most out of your WP experience.
This novelty shirt sold about 22 million in sales and royalties.
Alright time for 2 things that will change the way you learn forever! This is going to be so basic but so powerful if you actually implement them.
First thing you must always do and never forget – WALK BEFORE YOU RUN
My 12 year old daughter asked what she can do around the house to make some money and I said learn WP and I can give you plenty of work. I told her to open a free account on WP.com and started building her first site using the on board tools. She is just now asking questions on tasks that involve some CSS editing. I also told her that I will not give her any help at all but will tell her where to find it if she needs.
Second thing you must always do and never forget – DO NOT BE LAZY!!!
Successful learning is all about consistency. I recently hurt my back playing hockey. Now just to give you some outline to this story, prior to last December, I had not been to the doctor for about 15 years. Just didn’t need to until this injury. I did the whole urgent care thing but needed to see a specialist to properly diagnose my back issue. In order to see a specialist you need a referral and in order to get a referral you need to see a primary care doctor. So during my doctor examination, I am told I am 30 lbs overweight based on age and height. I must say the new patient forms I filled out had some of the most bizarre questions on them. For example they asked if I ever went through a red light. WHAT???? Anyways, I really thought about all this extra weight and it can not be good so the fastest thing I could do was to cut out all the beer I loved to drink often. Within a couple of weeks I lost 8 lbs but with 3 weeks I was back enjoying beer again. I was not consistent and gained back 4 of the 8 lbs I lost.
You can NOT be lazy when it comes to WP. it changes sooooo fast and you have to stay on it learning what those changes are that directly affect the way you are using WP.
The ULTIMATE way you can harness the power of WP to your advantage is by actually just experimenting with it. Do not be afraid. The more mistakes you make, the faster you will learn.
I literally started at zero WP experience 8 years ago and through complete self learning have gained enough knowledge to support my large family solely.
So let me say that another way, without the things I taught myself over the last 8 years about this LIFEWARE WordPress, I would not be able to support my family the way I do now.
That is just so humbling to me and never did I think I could do all this until I started to do all this. Take a moment at some time this weekend to pick something you have wanted to learn how to do with WordPress and get on it right away!
Knowledge is NOT a well trained dog. The items you want to gain information on will not come to you. It is a MUST that you go out and find them and absorb them.
Let us just for a moment focus on today only!
Nothing would make me happier than if each and every one of you can walk away at the end of today’s event and have 2 thoughts.
First being that you are proud of yourself for making the smart decision to use and be involved with WordPress.
The second thing I want is for each of you to walk away today with the satisfaction of learning something new that will improve your WordPress experience. Now this goes for every single level of user. Be on a mission today to learn something that fires you up make you want to take action on it as soon as you can. This is the absolute best thing that will happen for you today and remember the moment it does so you can pat yourself on the back.
WordPress is not just software but LIFEWARE and the part of this that brings it to life is all of you! Now let’s go an have an awesome day of learning!!!!