Looking for a WordPress / BuddyPress Developer?
I build robust themes, plugins, and web applications.

Top Ten WordCamp Miami Swag Items

2018 marks our 10th consecutive WordCamp, so I thought a couple of posts honoring that were in order. My first in this series is something that actually has been requested – for someone that’s been involved in all 10 WordCamp Miami conferences…. what swag stood out most in my mind?


I think out of all swag and items we’ve made to thank our volunteers, speakers, and attendees… shirts is probably the category I take the most pride in. It’s really great to go to other WordCamps and see people wearing WCMIA shirts (we try not to date all of our shirts for this reason). We were among the first to offer women’s sizes standard, and we managed to also produce shirts for kids along the way – some of which became so popular parents wanted to buy them for themselves (someday you might see Wapuu shirts in the swag store!).


These were speaker gifts and very impressed how they came out. We did three versions (fitting in with our 80s theme): Miami Vice, Back To The Future, and Stranger Things. Back To The Future was the most popular, in case you were wondering.

Wappu Uno Cards

This was a surprise hit that year, and looking back it’s easy to see why. We took advantage of the Wapuu designs in Github and each cards represented a unique, colorful Wappu (at the time we covered most that existed in Github). This also happened to coincide with Wapuu’s 5th anniversary, which made it even more cool. The Wapuu cards are open sourced and available on Github. Someone even made a mobile app based on our cards.

Speaker Cards

Relatively cheap to print, but takes effort to extract information from speakers (some speakers are particularly choosy about their photos) and make the cards. This first appeared during WordCamp Miami 2012 (I think). Literally had people not attending sessions trying to trade with other attendees to get the cards. It was (and still is) a great networking tool. Also we had comments that people liked the cards just so they had speaker’s name and Twitter info. They’ll be back in 2018 for sure.

Wapuu Dominos

These speaker gifts were a natural progression from the Wapuu Uno Cards and the box gives off a great Miami/Cuban vibe.

Happiness Bars

These were an “easter egg” in WordCamp Miami 2016. Cheap to print. If there was a candy bar of WordPress then “Happiness Bars” would be it. The covers are open sourced and available on Github (wrap them around a Hershey bar and you’re good to go). Of course, please the Happiness Bars in your WordCamp’s Happiness Bar… mind blown.

Playing Cards

Simply a deck of playing cards but each card had a different WordPress function and a description of that function. Anyone who was a coder loved these.


Pins have been a trend recently, especially among those who visit multiple WordCamps. WordCamp Miami tries to come out with one or two unique ones each year and gives people a chance to try to collect them all. Kids especially loved the Wapuu ones – although we produced numerous pins over the past 10 years.

Drinking Containers

For a WordCamp organizer, drinking containers might be like children… you publicly state you love them all… but there’s always a favorite. Ok, scratch that… my kids might read this someday. In any case over almost a decade I think we pretty much touched on almost any kind of drinking container in our limited price range.


For the past 3 years, we’ve been using pretty cool custom badges – kinda have to see one in person. Water proof, very well printed. Highly customized – they are as much a swag item as a button or pin. For 2018 we are upping the customization with a new design.

Read More

WordPress: 14 Years

So… tomorrow (May 27th) is WordPress’s observed 14th anniversary. Back on May 27th, 2003 the first version of WordPress was released.

My How Big You’ve Gotten!

Hard to believe it’s been 14 years. Also hard to believe that after 14 years, WordPress has now reached 28.0% marketshare.

We Don’t Party Like We Used To

I haven’t heard alot of talk about this particular anniversary in the community or on social. My theory is after a certain point you start celebrating 5 and 10 year milestones like crazy and let the single milestones get the “that’s great, but next year is 15!” treatment. Evidence: last time we REALLY celebrated WordPress was on it’s 10th anniversary. I’ll have to admit – i’ve been married for 15 years and our 14th anniversary was basically “let’s go out to dinner today but do a cruise next year”. In any case, i think it’s worth a brief mention now and we’ll save our big party for 2018.

Personally, I’ve been involved with WordPress since 1.5. My first CMS was Movable Type but honestly that was really just well suited for my personal blog – it wasn’t for most client sites I was working on at the time. I did try Joomla and Drupal at the time (along with PHPNuke). I found them ok, but simply not in conditions where you can hand them off to non-developer clients after you were done. WordPress has it’s faults too – it was still mainly for blogs back then – but seemed better suited for my client base. Plus the ease of setting it up you couldn’t beat.

WordPress is Barely Out of Diapers

Example of growth pains: possible decision on JavaScript framework moving forward

14 years is forever in Internet years. By one measure WordPress should be getting it’s AARP membership and get a senior discount at the movie theater. But on many respects, WordPress is barely into it’s teenage years. My daughter turns into a teenager next month, so I can relate to what that means. Teenage years are filled with wonder but also it’s a time to start determining your direction in life, work on self-control and patience, and suffer through all the mistakes you’ll be making. It’s a great, but awkward time.

Minimum PHP versions, focus of goals and leadership, coding issues – just a few of the things WordPress still needs to tackle. Not to mention it’s perception to some outside of the WordPress community. Like a teenager, it will try to wrestle with these issues – sometimes well, other times perhaps not so well. But it’s still growing, and will get more mature.

What I Would Like To See In The Next Year

My opinions don’t mean jack and maybe i’ll go into them more in future posts, but if someone asked me what i’d like to see this is what’s off the top of my head:

1. I would love to see more examples of the REST API being used to inspire others.
2. More awesome work with accessibility, multi-language, and the overall admin experience (writing experience in particular).
3. I would love to make more WordCamps accessible to smaller sponsors with smaller-than-hosting-company budgets.
4. I wouldn’t be a WordCamp Organizer if i didn’t put out an invitation to everyone – from Matt M to Mike L to that young person learning WordPress for the first time – to come down to WordCamp Miami in 2018 for our 10th anniversary. We’ll show you a good warm time when the rest of the country is cold. 🙂

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

Congrats to WordPress for 14 years. You’ve provided a means to support myself and my family, a means to provide my local community with education via meetups and WordCamps (WordCamp Miami will soon be celebrating 10 non-stop years!), and a means to develop relationships with wonderful and interesting people in a community is among the best in tech. Thank you Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg for starting something wonderful 14+ years ago – something that now covers 28% of the web.

Other Links

Here’s a list of posts that are celebrating 14 years of WordPress. Ping me on twitter or leave a comment and i’ll keep the list updated:

14 Years Of WordPress Playlist (SiteGround)

Read More

How WordCamp Miami Endeavors To Handle Sponsors

FYI: Although WordCamp Miami is still energetically seeking sponsors, this post is not meant to promote. In fact, an official version of this post is being planned to be posted on the WordCamp Miami website but I felt first was safe and proper to post on my personal blog.

Disclaimer: In case you didn’t know, i’m currently involved with WordCamp Miami organization for 2017 and have been involved in years past.

Recently, Tony Perez from Sucuri Security wrote a guest post on WPTavern about WordCamps and Sponsorships. I’m not writing now to give my feedback on the article and his points – although I highly suggest you read it. One thing I can tell you is that I was pleased he mentioned WordCamp Miami in a favorably way. I’m not an accountant or even good with math – but it seemed (at least to me) WordCamp Miami was favored positively in his published reports.

After talk with lead organizer Ptah Dunbar, I wrote a response to a question in the comments section (risky I know!) about what Miami does that might stand out to sponsors like Sucuri and Tony. Although I couldn’t answer for Tony I wanted to list the reasons WE thought of, since we do get this question in some form from time to time. This is basically what we responded with:

  • Financial – We don’t have total control over sponsorship amounts, but we even have provided in the past early bird pricing for sponsors who want to get on board early. This helps us too since the more support we have early, the better we can plan for the event.
  • Communication – We talk to sponsors as soon as they express interest, and stay in communication with enough updates as to not annoy them. At the event, we assign a sponsor coordinator and that person(s) touches base with the sponsors physically before registration and during the event. Sponsors also get a private Slack channel, and some other perks.
  • Exposure – We make it a point to accommodate sponsors that have tables/booths in our area. We include them in conference “mini-events” – like our kid’s camp, and we also make “trading cards” for them (as we do for our speakers) to increase foot traffic and interactivity.
  • Announcements – It might seem small, but we strive at WCMIA to not rattle off mentions of sponsors quickly at all announcements, esp. during the opening remarks. We try to give each top level sponsor a half-minute or two of why we respect them and why attendees should check them out. We are constantly tweaking this, and we might be trying new ways of introducing sponsors at next WCMIA. We also tend to mention sponsors at after parties and other functions, in visual (in the form of signs) or vocally.

At some point, I would like to write up a more detailed blog post. But for now, I felt the above information should be living outside WPTavern’s comment section (no disrespect to WPTavern at all, in fact the opposite). We are constantly making adjustments, correcting a mistake here or there, and doing our best. Personally, I think little details can make a difference.

As organizers, our uncompromising goal is to throw a phenomenal event for WordCamp attendees by packing in as much bang for their buck as we can.

If you would like to become part of helping make WordCamp Miami awesome, please reach out to the WordCamp Miami team.

Read More