Tag Archives: ideas

WordCamp Portland speaker process redux

Yesterday we put up the call for speakers for this year’s WordCamp Portland. I’m excited to be helping organize the event this year. In part that’s because of what we’re doing differently with speaker applications.

In years past we’ve done speaker applications like most WordCamps: text-based descriptions of the proposed topic. This year we’re switching it up and asking for a 2 minute video pitch of what your talk would be about.

It’s not that the application process in the past has led to poor talks; far from it. We’ve had amazing speakers over the past 5 years. The experiment this year is to see if we can push that even higher. WordCamp Portland generally sees between 250 to 300 attendees. If you’d like the chance to speak to that audience I think it’s fair to ask you to speak for 2 minutes to the organizers. Ideally this will help us create the best lineup of speakers yet.

Additionally, speakers could make their videos public and share with the community. If the topic proves popular it’d give us organizers a better idea of how that talk would resonate with the Portland community.

The other thing we’re changing is how we’ve defined a theme for talks. With it being the 10th anniversary of WordPress we chose the theme of permanence. As Daniel writes in the announcement post:

WordPress has been around for over a decade now…What does permanence mean to you? Are you a developer who still has to deal with that API decision made three years ago? Are you a daily blogger who’s been writing since the days of b2?

Each WordCamp features dozens of talks that, particularly for newer community members, can be difficult to weave in to a consistent theme. By asking speakers to think of talks surrounding the idea of permanence we can craft an event that tells a story. A talk on BuddyPress development and a talk on social media may appear to be worlds apart but they don’t have to be. With a common theme we can show the relationship between various aspects of the WordPress community.

The deadline for speaker applications is Sunday, June 9th at 9 pm Pacific. Looking forward to seeing what people come up with.

Setting Expectations

Thomas Brand, writing about the importance of setting the right expectations:

 The most valuable part of setting expectations is telling the truth, even if the truth means you don’t know, but are willing to find out. I am much more likely to remain a customer of companies that treat me with respect by setting expectations, and sticking to their word.

So true. Trying to set a false expectation or trying to cover up that you don’t actually know the answer may have short-term benefits, but in the end the customer will find out the truth. If you’re up front and honest with them from the start things work out much better.

Shifting: The Newspaper

Shifting: The Newspaper

…on the web, it’s impossible to maintain the fiction that you can gather a single public together in one place. There’s always going to be one link further that you never explored, or one site that is totally different from you. And I think one of the things that the web does to journalism is that it gives lie to the notion that journalism can ever represent “the public.” And that makes us cynical about news.

To CERN with love

Jeremy Keith, writing about spending a day at CERN:

According to most established social and economic theory, nothing should ever get done at CERN. It’s a collection of thousands of physics nerds—a mixture of theorists (the ones with blackboards) and experimentalists (the ones with computers). When someone wants to get something done, they present their ideas and ask for help from anyone with specific fields of expertise. Those people, if they like the sound of the idea, say “Okay” and a new collaboration is born.

How To See The Future

Warren Ellis, How To See The Future:

The most basic mobile phone is in fact a communications devices that shames all of science fiction, all the wrist radios and handheld communicators. Captain Kirk had to tune his fucking communicator and it couldn’t text or take a photo that he could stick a nice Polaroid filter on. Science fiction didn’t see the mobile phone coming. It certainly didn’t see the glowing glass windows many of us carry now, where we make amazing things happen by pointing at it with our fingers like goddamn wizards.

via Daniel.

Evening Edition topic pages

Not sure when they launched but the topic pages that Evening Edition added are interesting. Syria’s one example I dug up. They seek to answer three questions: What’s happening? Why you should know about this? and What now?

At the bottom there’s then a list of related stories sorted chronologically. Cool to see some real-world experimentation with explainers. It’s probably a lot of editorial work to craft those summaries but the payoff is worth it, I think.