WC Chicago 2018: In the cold shadow of their tallest building and finding out their Chinatown is small

For the second time in 2018 I get to go to ‘the windy city’, which in my experience isn’t the most accurate name. It could be I am biased because I live in the wind tunnel that is downtown San Francisco, where the Mediterranean climate causes severe wind gusts every afternoon before sundown, the likes of which I personally have not experienced in The Second City. At least it wasn’t as cold as the last time I was in town

I got in town a full day earlier than I needed to, but got to catch up with old friends, see some improv and have some super tasty vegan grub at the heartiest diner in town, the Chicago Diner. So good. I also got to wander around Chinatown for a little bit, seeing my favorite thing in a large city: The Chinatown Gates.

Of course, this was not all a personal trip. The real reason I had returned was for rejoicing with my WPLife family for WordCamp Chicago 2018

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

Friday night we gathered together, speaker, sponsor, organizer and volunteer alike to rejoice in the kicking off of camp officially at Jefferson Tap & Grille. It is always an amazing experience to get a preview of what other people are going to present. There is clearly an excitement in everyone’s voice and a chance for people new to speaking to seek advice. The food was OK, I ended up with a hummus sandwich and fries all night.

Totally not our party in this tweet, but not too far off from what went down:

Saturday

Breakfast was served! Not just coffee and tea, but fruit and more candy than you could/should eat. Some other sponsors brought doughnuts and bagels as well

Lunch on day one was one of my favorite options for catering, Chipotle. I think their quality is OK, but I love the fact that there was a whole vegan section set out and boy oh boy were the options plentiful! More black beans and Sofritas than any conference could have eaten and all the corn salsa I could pile up. If you are an organizer reading this, a taco bar is a great way to include all dietary restrictions and still serve the meatiest eaters.

no actual tweet of lunch, but this is what we were dealing with

For dinner before the official party some of us got to talking about “The Impossible Burger” and burgers in general, so with Joe leading the way, we went over to Umami Burger and chowed the heck down. With a full stomach we set off to meet the rest of the campers.

After Party:

If you would have said I would have had as much fun as I had playing ping pong, I would not have believed you. We went to AceBounce Ping Pong Bar and had a magnificent time of fellowship and friendly competition. It was a cash bar but the appetizers were free flowing and the ping pong was free on 4 reserved tables! I will take this arrangement over too many or not enough drink tickets any day of the year.

And yes, there was WCKaraoke in full effect. Special shout out to my buddy Doug, from the Drupal world, who introduced us to the DJs here t Blue Frog’s Local 22. It was truly a night where it didn’t matter if you had been at WordCamp or not, we all treated each person as if they were part of the WPLife community!

Sunday

More coffee, more snacks and a lot more candy

We were on our own for lunch, so I got to go to one of my favorite chains, which I really wish we would get in San Francisco, Native Foods. The best vegan bulgogi tacos I know about.

Sessions

Digital Therapy
Ellie Saldana

If there is one thing I wish all people got better at, it is emotional intelligence. If people can empathize with one another, so many issues are cleared right up. Instead of fighting and forcing our own way, we have the option to listen and relate to their position and find a path forward. It sounds overly simple and optimistic, but it is a truth that keeps shining forth in brilliant talks like this one. Make sure the people you are talking with know that you are hearing them and for sure take the time to make sure they feel heard. We will all do a lot better if we all embrace this idea.

Raw Notes:
Story about client who was afraid of getting fired from her role because spikes/lulls in traffic
she helped her realize that was seasonal and normal
saves her a lot of issues
Bringing emotional intelligence into the digital experience
Why? Clients feel unheard. Looking for validation
Clients don’t feel ownership over the digital sphere of their business
how:
Pick up the phone and smile
be transparent, even if you are at fault
dig deeper into understanding client frustrations
help clients understand the process
You don’t always have to say yes
a strong client relationship makes it easier
Don’t just day no, NO but…, NO because…
Give clients a win when you can
not all clients are created equal
remember what worked last time might not work this time
your last experiences with them does not mean next one will be the same
Few different kinds of clients
Lone Decision Makers
client is empowered to make decisions on their own
Answers To A Higher Authority
have to report up a chain
accountable to others
Often times not the person qualified to run a site
need to help them look competent to their management
THE COMMITTEE
Hardest one to her
multiple contacts all with different points of view
need help coming to consensus
lot of active listening needed
client needs to do homework to find out that is actually important to the org
they need a unified vision to get the help they need
Conclusion:
Engage the client
Listen actively
Problem solve collectively

Data Science and Web Development
Joshua Alexander

Data science is a buzz word for sure but this emerging field is still pretty young. Let’s not forget that our current output of data is roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day. This number is only going up. There has never been this much data to parse. This talk, rather than give the market-y spin on why data science is good, we rooted in the practical aspects of the fact this requires both math skills and computer languages different than those we use ofr web development. The awesome part about skills is they can be learned over time. No one is born with a skill. If you want to learn it and become a top data scientist, then get to it!

Raw Notes:
What is Data Science
Short answer: Mine data to Make better business decisoins
Very indemand
Full stack $88K
Data Science closer to $118K
does require math and most people all like
Math is Mental Abuse to Humans (not really)
math is not bad
just enough to make the machine do the math
Additional skills
JS, Python, SQL, C++, C, Scala – for algebraic equations and covariance and contra-variance
R – OSS stats software and language, SAS, Julia
What do we do with it all?
Case studies
Scenario 1: try and predict sales based on time on day and weather patterns in common industries
Scenario 2 – (Missed it)
You need to do anything that requires data and math operations. The programming end of things you need to be able to make decisions

WooCommerce Success
Patrick Elward

I am fascinated by WooCommerce from a number of perspectives. One of the angles I had not really thought fully about is the logistical overhead that mandatorily comes with actually running an ecommerce store of any kind. Even if you are doing all drop shipping, there is a cost and a management overhead you have to take on. This talk is an absolute must see for anyone in the world thinking about starting an online store of any kind. So much practical advice, learned from actually doing this in the wild. For instance, I would have never guessed the most expensive part of mailing fish was the water weight.

Raw Notes:
I got in a little…
Someone has o take ownership
Many of the tasks you hav with other ecommerce is same with Woo
but Woo is arguably easier
Store owners
Who has an online store now
financial commitments tt operations
Review, review, review
How much budget? 10-15% of annual sales is realistic expenditure for eccomerce operations (not ads, just logistics and such)
Shopping cart vs Woo
Key e-commerce tasks to be discussed before starting
tax levels, ownership…..
Product Management Success
What thy have to sell, right now!
how to display these on the site
many ‘Product Import’ plugins available
how to organize by attribute
setup tags and keywords for sorting
Go through product with the customer and weigh everything
sizes and weights are super expensive if we get it wrong
attribute in Woo lets you assign this easily
Photos must be realistic
it is how the client will judge the product they receive
Reviews matter
they MUST be monitored though
Inventory management is a challenge as well
How to handle ‘out of stock’
hide product or display Out of Stock
who receives ‘low inventory trigger’ and what is that threshold
Drop shipping and custom labels, look into SaaS solutions for that
“Does it save my warehouse money or can we do it cheaper ourselves?”
Shipping management
Fedex, etc…
3 main ways to get shipping costs
per total weight (most common)
Make sure you are only shipping places you want to ship
or charge more
Prelaunch comments
ALWAYS check on mobile devices
ongoing support and maintenance
Common mistakes
budget not realistic

Erasing the Stigma: Mental Health and Tech
JD Flynn

I am proud to call JD a friend. I have known him mostly from the Drupal community, as he is a co-organizer of Midcamp. but more recently I have come to call him brother in the struggle to get everyone to try going to Karaoke events. In Chicago, he leads the charge finer than anyone I have ever seen lead it, rallying everyone and making sure that all are invited and feel included.
In addition to this amazing talent, JD is one of the braver speakers I have known, standing up and speaking truth about something that carries a pretty hefty stigma, mental health issues. He is up front and truthful about what he has gone through and is living proof that help exists and with the right support you can do anything! We are very fortunate in our FOSS space that there is a lot of people who want to see everyone else succeed and are here to support each other. The only way we are going to get over the stigma is to have these conversations and admit we are not broken or bad people, we are unwell, or sick, like breaking a leg or getting cancer. Just as real and needing medical attention just the same. Talk with people you trust about this subject in a supportive way and you will be amazed how many other people feel the same way.

Raw Notes:
Has mental illness,
Most costly health concern right now
lot of stigma
Why should this be important?
Suffering in silence and denial
afraid of admitted it it would make it more real
Thought was perfect health until doctor said otherwise
people
Major depression – every day for at least 2 weeks
very wide range of incarnation
Anxiety disorder – fear of daily activities
PTSD – failure to recover after an experience
a phycologist explained it
RAM vs hard disk
short term and long term memory
RAM is fast and HardDisk is slow
PTSD something stuck in RAM and trigger makes them relive the trauma
I accepted something was wrong – THE HARDEST PART
then got treatment
your first therapist will not likely be your last
must find one that works with you and communicates with your style
got involved in community (band, OSS, etc)
got to be comfortable that not everyone is OK talking about this
Before treatment, thought only crazy people sought help
felt like would mess up everything he touched
was easy to get into a downward spiral
paranoid, afraid of social situations, isolated was self imposed
Misunderstood, thought he as angry when he was just anxious
in a wedding standing up, trying not to screw it up
people thought he was being mean
How has treatment affected him?
the symptoms have not completely vanished but gotten better
lizard brain is still there
lot more comfortable in social situations
I’m not/We’re not alone
Why Tech and mental illness?
tech specifically affected
increased IQ linked to more mental issues (studies suggest)
You would never tell someone in a wheelchair to ‘get over it’
but we socially do this to mental issues all the time
need to be stronger than fear!
Do you think an employer would have negative consequences after talking wiht them about your mental health, most people that yes
as of 2015 17.9% of all US Adults had some form of mental issues
We are afraid to talk about mental health
it is a stigma
afraid honesty has negative consequences
Afraid of getting sent to HR
Why should a workplace care?
Impact on performance, job insecurity
HR does not want to hear about it
We should fight ignorance with information and knowledge
Get the OSMI handbook
In OSS, 50% of survey respondents said they had some form of mental illness
we are people together
not 1s and 0s
we are people
we are not damaged, we are sick
1-800-therapist
psychology today has a search
look for someone who can help, not just tossing meds out

90 Days to Live: Finding Your Place in the WordPress Community
Joe A. Simpson Jr.

You want to hear about an inspirational story? Go watch this talk. Going from almost dead to thriving is the central plot of this session that left me wanting to embrace the WP community even more. It is one of those talks I want to show at a meetup where new people have been wondering if there is a path for them as community members and if it is worth it. It is worth it. Keep believing!

Raw Notes:
Was just getting into WP converting a site
then had a heart attack
still many health issues
been uphill climb
Reboot, Level up, and give back
the community has helped immensely
so how did he get involved?
Story of his brother’s print services business
terrible theme and bad site
fixed it with WP
learned about the supportive community
Joined it
went to all the meetups he could find
LA,
Orange County = women in WP meetup
they film all the meetups
Alex Vasquez actually handed him a mic and told him
WCUS is super valuable as well
can watch remote
Volunteered at LA WordCamp, whole new perspective
lot goes into
one night 10:47 pm, driving back from a meetup
though: Why don’t I make a meetup?
Santa Clarita Valley Meetup was born
slack is also good way to get involved
WordPress.tv
He want sot put on a WordCamp Santa Clarita
Live as if you were to die tomorrow
learn as if you are going to live forever

Meta and Schema: Defining the Content about your Content
Jim Birch

Do you like whirlwind, two fisted, no holds barred, data filled sessions that have almost too much information shoved in your face? I love them. I wish every talk I went to I learned anywhere close to as much information as Jim presented. I will admit I started playing with a couple of the resources he introduced me to and might have missed part of what he was presenting in my notes. If you think you have meta nailed down, good on ya, but still, check this thing out. I am betting you will find a new tool or trick in here somewhere. And for those who have never thought about meta or schema before, prepare to have a new world view opened to you.

Raw Notes:
How do we look to others?
How does content look to others?
what you do for google is good for all the other services
TL/R Specs and validators
w3c HTML 5.2 specs
WATWG Meta Extensions
Open Graph
Twitter cards
schema.org
Meta, from the greek, prefix, concept
like card catalogues
full time gig back in the early days of libraries
computerize
Dynix, early but popular
Enter the W3C defining 5.2 spec
4.2 docs about Document Metadata
6 things
– head element
– title only one
– base tag, element to set the base for something
– link, link to other resources
– style – embed information in the doc for styling
– meta – for everything not the previous 5
all name value pairs, only in the head of the doc
name=> value(content)
There are defined metatags in the spec
author, application-name, description, etc
pragma directives language construct that specifies compiler and other technical information
Other Metadata names
WHATWG
list all that have been applied for and their extensions
You can make your own metadata you define on your own
no one would know it was there but you, but you can do some stuff like priority of search engine
Unicorn from W3C
see how good of a coder you are?
pass/fail for
https://validator.w3.org/unicorn/
Validation
Google meta tag validator for things it understands
title, googlebot, refresh
that is it for google, one document, that is all
Open Graph Protocol
Let’s webpage to become object
required fields
title, type, image, url
Types:
music, video, book, etc
FB has a debugger – important to use for FB to re-scrape content
pinterest validator
LinkedIn – using random variable at the end of url to force them to refresh
(?hfhfsh)
twitter card
rich photos and such
summary
summary large image
player card
app card
they also have a validator
How to implement in WP?
Yeast SEO plugin
add meta and fills in some things for you
can but in Open Graph tags
same with twitter cards
Theme itself can use logic to use image via php code
Schema
Started by google, Open source
way to put structured data on sites, in email messages and beyond!
schema.org
goes on for days
drill down into most of them
Most popular are creative works
can implement a few different ways
inline was first and popular
JSON-LD
What does Google care about?
Google Search Gallery Page
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-gallery
How? Yoast of course
Schema Plugin
JDFlynn made a tool to generate the needed JSON
again, theme can use logic to suss this out
Test and Verify
Google to test

Developing for Gutenberg – Converting a shortcode to a block!
Jeremy Josey

I went to this thinking, ‘don’t we have a shortcode block, is this just a talk about using the shortcode block?’. Well, turns out yes, there is a shortcode block solution but when you step back and look at it, this is sort of like writing in Spanish for your website for a Chinese speaking audience and hoping the translation plugin keeps up and is ultra stable. Writing a plugin to properly leverage the concept of blocks will give overall better performance, stability and ultimately supportability. Fortunately there are an emerging number of resources to help you do this. If you have a plugin, get that thing converted today!

Raw Notes:
prerec: HTML, CSS, React, CLI
It’s OK to get lost
you will have to go over this again and again
Learn JS Deeply
Customizer and Gutenberg are the result
JS API driven interfaces are the future of the web
Gutenberg
what it is
demo of it
block is an abstract term to define units of markup
goal today, convert a CTA shortcode to a Gutenberg block
do you really have to? No…….but,
there is a shortcode wrapper block
but you should!
First, install Gutenberg
have NODE.JS
install create-gutenberg-block
npm install global (see his slides)
will spend most of the time int he source mostly in the sub-block.js file
npm start in right folder
Enqueue block JS in the main plugin file
…. (code)
define category for block
…. (code)
Edit function
meat and potatoes of the block
…. (code)

Plugins vs Themes. Functionality vs Format.
Austin Adamson

This is one of those topics that on the surface is easy, but the more you dig the cloudier it gets. Especially when most tutorials and code snippets say to just toss functionality into the functions.php file. What should a theme really be doing and what are the lines? Again, it sounds simple, but if you changed your custom theme right now could you say with a straight face that no functionality would be affected? Austin shows us a path to that kind of a world through some pretty rock solid examples and analogies. This was his first talk and I have a great feeling he is going to be one of the better speakers out there as he dials in his style because the content is great!

Inherited an old site
When activated new theme
all office staff and content just vanished
oh no
put so much functionality in themes
realized he had been doing same thing
plugins and themes do different things for a reason
what is supposed to do what?
building a house
start with a frame and a foundation
the utilities (water, lights)
lastly we paint
we live there for a while
repaint the walls
didn’t have to call the electrician or bulldoze the whole thing
but we do this with websites all the time
WP core is frame of the house,
plugins are utilities
and theme is the paint
repainting is a new theme
should be just that easy
what is even core?
file structure from WP.org
functionality should not be in themes
example
AgentPress Pro theme, $99
when you get theme, must download a free plugin that gives functionality
registering custom post types, should be in plugin, in agent plus plugin
metaboxes,
gravity forms, output CSS yes/no
turn it off, don’t overwrite gravity forms style
wpmeetup plugin
forces big red button
can’t turn it off, hard to override
theme controls presentation of content
plugin controls functionality

My Session

Let’s Learn Git. No Excuses!

I was super grateful to get to present on Git, really one of my favorite subjects. The crowd was awesome and I got to explain one of the more important things we should all be using. One thing I did a little different this time and feel like I need to do better at for all my talks, is giving a clear ‘do this next’, also called a Call To Action (CTA). I did this in the follow up tweet, pointing people to Try Git using Github’s awesome demo site. In fact, if you have not done that tutorial yet, even if you use git already, give it a whirl.

Wrapping Up

I love Chicago. If it didn’t get snow or down to −27 °F sometimes, I would consider it as a place to possibly spend even more time. But the warmth of the WordPress and the Drupal communities there is so worm, that when I do go it never feels that cold. I might well go back once more this year for WordCamp for Publishers: Chicago Edition but that is still undetermined. I hope I do, since that would let me experience the place in full summer swing. Otherwise I am going to for sure count on being in Chicago at least for WordCamp Chicago 2019! *

  • yes I know this link does not work yet.

MidCamp 2018: Chicago in the bitter cold and warmth of community

Chicago has a special place in my heart. It is the ‘Mecca’ of improv theater. It is the heart of the Midwest, where I originate. But I thin I feel a special connection to the community there since it is where I gave my first ever talk back in 2016 at MidCamp and became a camp organizer for MidCamp 2017. I was happy to come back to the DePaul University campus for MidCamp 2018

This year I again stepped up and co-organized, taking on more responsibility, agreeing to help Avi with social media posting and emails. We scheduled an awful lot of these and it was a lot of work, but I learned a great deal along the way around social media automation, so personally it was well worth it. Also, the camp was a success! We gathered together to keep making Drupal happen! Lot to talk about so let’s get it moving!

Food And Fun

Thursday morning was load in for the event and trainings. We had some conference coffee and someone brought donuts. There was a lot to do, but we got people people set up, into their classes and we had an informal sprint day with about 10 people in the room.

Lunch was actually quite great, but no pictures exist that I can find. Instead of a catered boxed lunch or sad buffet line, we got $10 vouchers to use in the DePaul Student Center’s Cafeteria system, which had plenty of options for all. I had the best ‘hot and spicy tofu’ on top of a hearty salad and still came in well under budget. So good.

Opening Social

After a very full first day we had the chance to gather, right down the street at McGee’s Tavern. It was awesome to see my Drupal family gather for a drink and some food. Thanks to New Belgium for sponsoring with some free beer. I am not a big beer fan but their Juicy Haze is actually quite tasty and refreshing. It was a great social to officially kick off camp.

Friday

There is a line in “The Coffee Song” about ‘No tea or tomato juice, You’ll see no potato juice’ This was true of this camp. Though we did imbibe some fermented potato juice at some of the after events. Coffee and water were all that were served, but I was A-OK with that. Coffee is the fuel we turn into Drupal after all.

Lunch was again a $10 voucher for the cafeteria and again I feasted on tofu and salad. Others made different but just as valid choices.

Game Night

Friday night brought with it amazing tacos from a local food truck (Name to be filled in later when I remember it or someone comments on it) and board games! I got to play a modified version of Zombie Dice which eliminated the red dice, as we could not find them. This does not make for a good game. I also played Dixit for the first time. Very interesting rule set and just fantastic illustrations. I think anyone would have a good time just looking at the cards and not worrying about the gameplay. If you ever find a copy of this again, spend some time just looking at it. Totally worth it.

Saturday

More of the same coffee and lunch was the same thing.
Not exactly lunch, but here is a picture of Kevin Thull’s food form the same day

After Party

We traveled a few blocks in the cold at the end of Saturday to Derby Bar & Grill which had hummus and pretzels and mustard galore as well as alternatives for those who don’t want all plant based. Again the awesome New Belgium was there for the free beer and Platform.sh stepped up to sponsor this too. All in all, a great night.

A large percentage of us, lead by the amazing J.D. Flynn marched a few blocks to Shoes Pub to sing some DrupalKaraoke together. It was an amazing time and great way to end the camp celebrations. I witnessed while I was there the finest group rendition of Piano Man I have every seen in my life. The entire place for a few minutes was one voice, arm in arm. It was a perfect moment.

Sessions

Quick note: Due to scheduling issues, I am not doing a round of recaps on these sessions, just pushing raw notes. I do plan to revisit this in the future and recap each section. Thanks for the patience for now.

Keynote Session: What’s So Open About Open Source?
Chris Rooney

Raw Notes:
Tells us his rules, what to expect
Talk on Diversity
Last year a lot of people felt they were under attack
the community is suffering
trying to bridge divide
Used to hate Palantir
had bad feelings about thembut learned
1 Don’t ever ever judge someone presenting at a Drupal event
2 Drop your weapons
he was a boxer and football player, weaponized himself and throught of things in zero sum
your tools, twitter and facebook
inflict pain on others if used that way
powerful, so important to be aware of your own weapons
In a focus group at DrupalCon
someone felt it was not inclusive
he thought he was not welcome there
thought he was ostracized for conservative beliefs,
could be number of responses
3 We are all simultaneously victim and perpetrator
this is fundamentally part of the human condition
we should be more conscientious of ourselves and surroundings
Diversity creates value
lot of research into this, diverse teams perform better
87% of the time diverse teams make better decisions
diverse companies make more money and have better user satisfaction rates
better at recruiting talent
OK, but how are we doing and how did we get here?
How diverse is Drupal?
not very
Participants at DrupalCon
18% Female, 52% male, 30% other/unshared
SPeakers
21% female, 33% diverse (on teh big 8 social IDs)
Tech overall,
30% women
Drupal is a bit worse in these areas
overwhelmingly the tech industry is white and male
lot of stats on that
Blind Spots coming on the horizon for the tech giants
hegemony is bad but systemic of old system
Deepening wedge of dispossession
Customer Distrust
clients demand more diversity
So what is going on here?
Capability Issue vs Systemic Issue
people get up tight about these issues
if capability issue is false, which he believes, then systematic is heart of issue
He interviews a lot of people, especially right out of school
sees kids that are super good, across all lines, good people are good
Super Smart
Really nerdy
socially awkward
(asks us to stand if that described us in our younger days)
over half room stands up
raise hand if still true
almost all raise hand
these are our people
Barriers
Pipeline
Selection Bias
Mentorship/Role Models
stop and think how we each got into the spac
Lauren’s Law
(Lauren is a young engineer at Palantir)
I fell backwards into Drupal
didn’t have a CS degree
liked web stuff
that described most of room as well (we stood up again)
Career Risk Taking Prereqs
desire, interest, capability
a place tot learn/eperiment
mentorship
validation
community
a place to ‘land’
safety
4 Safety Nets
shows video of missing a trapeze move
falls into net
Safe place to land, he was upset
but the net was there to make sure he was OK and could try again
Minority populations and Risk taking
Dispossession opportunity and ris taking
First one to X syndrome – got to stay on a path to make people proud
performing with no net
high school -> College
and then something happens
financial aid lost, family crisis, hae to leave school to find a job
bounce job to job
if lucky then find a way to learn a skill
How do we put Open back in Opwn Source
5 Make it a safe space
be visible
Proactive inclusivity means continual calibration. “How did that sound to you?”
So what is next?
Atlassian survey
over half wanted to learn more about their colleagues backgrounds
5 accountability challenges

RFPs: How to get what you want
Allison Manley

Raw Notes:
At Higher Ed conference talked to person who didn’t know where to start
she talked he through it and thought others would benefit
Sales is like dating. Need tof ind the right partner
need to be excited about it
Stages of dating
If you don’t get a call back, she is sad
prevent that
Do you even need an RFP?
Avoid it if you can, talk to people instead
but if you have to, don’t be a bad date
10 things she hates about the process
Asking for copies
on a flash drive or (eww) CD
physical paper copies
spreadsheets with hundreds of boxes to fill
notary
wet signatures
objections in the proposal stage
no outline of goals
uploading a DB
40+ RFPs…
nightmare scenario
Phrases that mean nothing
like state of the art
best solution
Cutting Edge – not the same for everyone
dig into these adjectives
“Integrations”
Specific to region (“nothing in Northern Ireland”)
banning slavery funded businesses…holdever from very long time ever
Worst Date Ever story (sprocurement)
27 pages long
scope was only 1/2 page
zero info on goals
many questions
6 attachments and a flash drive
scope was very vague
Very!
26 pages on how to submit the RFP!!!!
214 questions were asked
Quotes ranged from $35K to $235K
they STILL have not picked a vendor after 2.5 years
So let’s build an RFP
1 BE SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR GOALS!
avoid all generalities
BAD: I want more traffic
Good: We want more traffic on these pages because…(specific reasons).
2 be specific around constraints
key dates to hit
external forces
brand and ID guidelines
vacations
3. Please tell us your budget
for real, tell us!
seriously!, she means it
at least give a range
if you don’t have a number in mind, ask “Do you think it would be between X and Y?”
That will get some reaction
4 Tell us your exclusions
What is def not in scope
specify URLs
Who is in charge of content creation
Who is in charge of hosting
5 Give details about integrations
Bad: Integrate with LDAP
Good: integreate with Active Directory with LDAP to do x and for y reason
6 List external resources
by role
by skill
Are they interested in working in tandem with us?
7 outline the status of your content
Have you audited content?
Anything being archives?
help them nail down the specifics early
8 send it to the right people
in early days she looked at RFP database
she picked one
went through a ton of work
they went through 100 submissions took months for them to respond
avoid RFPs that are open call
random submissions are bad
9 Give time to respond
at least 10 business days
more like 3-4 weeks is better
10 allow for Q&A
most of the time this is present
can be via an organized conference call or ad-hoc
Send all answers to all vendors regardless of who asked
11 Don’t ask for spec work
we don’t work for free
work without a strategy is no good
see nospec.com
12 Streamline the paperwork
be mindfull of time
reduce formatting or paperwork requirements
keep it simple
13 Give a decisions matrix
how will we be judged?
what is weighted heaviest
geography? cost? clarity? etc.
14 realize you are buying a process, not a product
look for related experience
look ro effective problem solving
Responsive design example, no one every built one in 2011, we learned how
no one asked for one
KEEP IT SHORT
you can really do it in 3-5 pages
Lastly: Feedback please…call us back
cover page photo strategy

Managing Community Conflict in Drupal and Beyond
George DeMet

Raw Notes:
Defining conflict
can be positive or negative
benefits
cross pollination of ideas
can help people find creative solutions
can help clear the air around team members
something people are not saying- tension
sometimes just need to get it out in the open
ultimately if conflict is handled well, can build trust and improve relationships
confilce does not mean you can not engage in an respectful way
Consequenses of negative conflict
When conflict is out of self interest can derail the organization
can damage relationships and end up with toxicity
Unmet needs often lead o neg conflict
don’t feel heard
Feel contributions are not values
interests are not being represented
feel hurt by something someone did
One will prevail over the other
you end up feeling left out and conflict
How? does this happen?
Technical disagreements turn to personal attacks
frustrations with the amount of time it takes to review patches/project applications
people lashing out in issue queues
During the D8 release, saw a lot of conflict
many people declines in contributions
lost moral
has a real impact on diversity
Only 3% of OSS contributors are women
in drupal it is 6%
still terrible!
we literally have no idea how many people of color we have in the project
Code of conduct can help
it is not enough by itself and does not remove issues
just way to understand rules
a COC is worthless if there are no structures to suppport if ther are no structures to support it or mechanisms to enforce it
Enter the Community Working Group
help resolve conflicts between community members
Uphold the drupal COC
Recognize community leadership
Provide conflict resolution resources and guidance
whatever we can to help improve the overall health of the community
no funding, no direct Drupal Association connections other than Dries
Dries mandated they should exist
lot of conversations around what governance means in the community
blog post on D.O with bullet points
session at DrupalCon about the specifics is coming
values and principals need to be true from the top
things get stuck as these things are complex
Ultimately we need to take responsibility for our words and actions
compassion and forgiveness are intertwined

OOP – The Pokemon Journey
Fatima Khalid

This talk is amazing! If you have ever wondered “What is this OOP all about?” then stop wondering and go watch this talk!

Raw Notes:
Write a modular reusable and flexible codbase that is easily extended
Pokemon Journey
pick pikachu
electirc,
attack: thunderbolt
These are like classes, which are blueprints
properties
data points
methods
class-specific functions
creating a Pokemon Class
class Pokemon{
public $name;
public $type;

public function __construct($name, $tyep)
{
    $this->name = $name;
    $this->type = $type;
}

}
$pikachu = new Pokemon(‘Pi
$pickachu->attack;
Wild pokemon appears
how do we know the difference
Oddish
grass
Poison Fire
Inheritance is about sharing
parent class
child classes
overriding methods or properties
tree analogy with parnet class as trunk
Extending the Pokemon Class
class ElectricPokemon
class Picachu extends ElectircPokemon
Inheritance in Drupal
interface WidgetInterface extends WidgetBaseInterface
Gym Battle!
need to think about comparing and contrasting trengths for strategy
Pik
water (str)
Ground (wkn)
Getting data from our Pokemon
PHP magic methods: __get() and __set()
Getters and Setters in the child classes:
class RouteMatch implements RouteMatchInterface {
Using a Pokemon Ojbect
interfaces are like contracts
all methods are public
class ElectircPokemon implements PokemonInterface
Creating a Pokemon Evolution Trait
$nextEveloution = $this->evolutionsstate;
You win your first badge!
one looks like the Drupal Drop 🙂
functionlities on badges will change
plugins are like functional lego blocks
many types of plugins
different behaviors | common interface
Pokemon | plugins
abstract class PokeBadgePluginBase extends PluginBase
class DrupalBadge extends PokeBadgePluginBase {
To be the very best!
tournaments
needs stats of wins and losses
services are like swappable operations
-same function | swappable code
-global available
creating a PokeDataInterface
call the pokemon service
new Pokemon
$pokeDataHelper = \Drupal::service(‘pokemon.pokedataservice’)
$data = $pokeDataHelper->
Services in Drupal are swappable
email.validator good example
when possible, inject your services
Pokemon Dependency Injection
you need to lead it and a container to load it into
if you are in a custom block, do you have a constructor? It tells you if you need to write the service into the interface
bit.ly/oop-midcamp-2018

Too many cooks! Supporting augmented teams without getting salty
Stephanie El-Hajj

Raw Notes:
Defined: Salty – to be upset or bitter, often used to express feeling left out or frustration when things don’t go your way
Augmented teams are when 2 or more existing teams come together as one for a project
cultivating healthy teams going agile are other topics she talks about
Drupal has many companies with distributed teams like Amazee, which makes things a bit early
when do you augement?
Internal dev team?
Are you looking to hire?
Are you just looking for one project consulting?
Let’s talk about teams
scrum master, PO/PM, Devs
technical design review vs functional review
if you are in a run well kitchen, they don’t talk, works as a fine tuned machine
what you want your team to be like
when you bring in new parts of your team, they bring unique things
maybe using comments differently or chat differently
team dynamics can change
Each person can change team and the team needs to adapt to each streength,
if done wrong fights and such
we all start making assumptions
normal project they just lead and lay down how it works
with this they realized that would not work
added a single point of contact, made sense to them
problem is that they interpreted that request differently and assigned wrong person to this task
who’s driving, import to know
differnt than who is in charge
notes, repo, lot of organization logistic works
was not clear in their case who this was, too many people made too many suggestions
lot of time building RACI
Everything can not be a priority
if all are, none are
also different paths present to how to get to end result
like blindfolding carpenters
without the communication of this it ended up being very peicemeal
let’s check in!
during this time they had a lot fo spreadsheets
but also learning React at same time
realized they were doing too much and incorrectly
So we paused the project
got everyone in the same room
where it happens
turns out their side had never worked together as a team before
missing team dynamic
this got everyone on the bus
they enforced that building a website is NOT like building a house
once rescoped as a larger picture they got on track
building a website is like a road trip
only so much gas, so much money and so much time
start here, end there, but know there are a lot of options and directoins you can take
back to who’s driving
visionaries should be informed, but they were not being translated and communicated
Where are we NOT going
have to suss out what is out of scope for this project, make it to new project
want to see heads nodding
after every point asking “nodding head, we agree, we don’t agree? this is your chance”
changes calls because people realize they can’t just go back and add on later
getting into specifics
what the thing will be and what will be in it
planning is a group activity
Get everyone to know where they are
fail fast, fail often
when you get to the end, it is like a three legged race,
win the race with good teamwork

Hot JAMS(tack): Lessons from Building a Music Discovery App with Drupal and React
Brian Perry

Raw Notes:
was listening to a podcast
they had a spreadsheet with a lot of data
At the time decoupled was very stressed
he wanted to learn
the flavors
coupled – all Drupal all the time
progressively decoupled, Drupal still JS sprinked in
Fully Decoupled: JS framework communicating with an API to get data from Drupal
He went Fully Decoupled
limited editorial needs
wanted to go all-in and learn React
Options:
Reservoir
Contenta
Drupal8
Reservoir is the back end to your front end, maybe the easiest but simple
Contenta, better access to vocabularies, comments, media
a more Drupal oke approach to extending
D8: You can roll your own
he used reservoir
migrating the data
please hydrate, it is important
google sheet -> drupal8
creaed custom migrate module
pulls data directly from Google Sheets Plus JSON
if you publish file->publish to web .check. republish on update
real tme access to a public URL data
migrate, more like Mi-great!

My Talk

Nobody wants a website. They want results!

I always see room for improvement, but I got a great reaction from this talk and it turned into a group conversation as I was hoping. Thanks for all that came out!

Sprints Day

I am so happy to be part of the community that makes Drupal. Even though I have no pull requests for core or any other badges, helping others contribute has been amazing! Special thanks to the Drud team for leading the new contributor session. All in all about 40 people came out to sprint and make Drupal better.

Wrapping up

Lot of very awesome plant based options for meals and the wondrous Chicago area Drupal community made this trip amazing. I came back tired and glad ot get back some of my mental space, as I am sure the other organizers did as well. If you are reading this far and are all like “I want to help organize a camp” then I say Do It! It is very rewarding and you learn a lot in the process.
MidCamp will always have a special place in my heart and I can’t wait for next year!

MidCamp: Chicago and my first time camp organizing

Chicago holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. It is improv Mecca and I have lost a few friends to her stages over the years and continue to do so. It is also the home of Rock n Roll McDonalds, my favorite Wesley Willis song. And now it is home of the first DrupalCamp I ever helped organize, MidCamp 2017 at DePaul University Lincoln PARK campus.

This 4 day long event offered a full day of training on Thursday, two full days of sessions and a Sunday sprint day. I had volunteered to organize the last part. Having not ever done this before, I entered this trip with a bit of unusually nervous energy. Very fortunately for me the rest of the organizers made me feel very safe and supported and once again my MidCamp experience was awesome.

The Food And The Fun!

Thursday was trainings, but as with all Drupal events, there was room to Sprint as well. We had some simple box lunches with meat and cheese on wheat bread wrapped in plastic wrap. It has actually been a while since I had such a sandwich and it brought back memories of high school cafeteria lunches and vending machines at the factory I used to work at. Not unpleasant but a tad pedestrian given that the sprint room was in the student center and the air was thick with many varied food service options that ranged from BBQ pork sliders to teriyaki chicken bowls, soup bars to deli counter, sushi to pizza.

A small store with many types of food options, both hot and cold
DePaul’s Student Center Food Options

At the end of the Thursday Training/Sprint day, I was honored to attend the Speaker/Sponsor dinner held at The Red Lion Pub. This delightful English pub offered very charming decor with many books and WWII era posters on very high shelves and dark wood paneling to give it a homey study feel. The bar had my favorite vodka, a locally crafted one. This one was made from the same potatoes they used in the kitchen to make the french fries, Chipperbec. And speaking of the kitchen, there was a delightful assortment of food options, from fish and chips, to a vegan thai curry. Everything was top notch.
The food was only topped by the camaraderie I felt seeing many of my Drupal friends in person for the first time in many months. I left feeling stuffed and feeling really ready for the busy days still ahead.

Tired as I was, I still made time to go see an improv show that night over at The Annoyance. If I am envious of my Chicago friends for anything, it is their proximity to this theater. Given the nature of my talk, I thought it wholly appropriate to do some field research in the improv motherland.The Annoyance THeater sign, it is orange neon.

Friday morning brought the standard coffee, muffins, fruits, yogurt breakfast selections that are the common fare at so many conventions. I drank liberally from the coffee spigot. A brick morning pace had us at lunch before we knew it. Awesome wraps with many, many options for special/restricted diets. At every catered meal at the venue there was a cookie option for dessert. I am very proud to say that I resisted these at every turn.

At the end of the packed day capped by the lightning talks, we started Game Night, sponsored by Palantir.net. They even hired the Döner Men food truck to bring us some of the best döner I can remember having. It was hard to not go back for a second serving. I played a few rounds of Zombie Dice and before there was a movement to go to HopCat, a local diner themed bar with 140 beers on tap.

HopCat is where I met Malort. Take a second and go look at “Malort face“. That is exactly how it tastes and it is a Chicago staple liquor. Coming from the city that drinks 35% of the Fernet consumed in the USA, I totally get having a terrible tasting but worth it for the memorable experience drink. I am glad I drank it, but I do not plan to repeat the feat. HopCat also served up a dish they call Crack Fries. These are just seasoned french fries served with a white cheese dipping sauce. I have no idea what was on the, but I could not stop eating them.

Luckily I was able to tear myself away with a small group to go find karaoke a few blocks away at Harrigan’s.   As most people who know me know, I love karaoke and I am especially in love with small dive bar karaoke. This place was dead as we arrived around 10, but by midnight you could not move around at all it was so crowded. One thing that made this place really stand out was the DJ took pics and posted them on their FB wall in near real time. Really had a blast singing with my fellow Drupal family.

Saturday brought more muffins, fruit, coffee and even hardboiled eggs. This was also the day that one of the organizers brought us donuts. While I successfully avoided all cookies on this trip, I did befall to the temptation of these locally baked delights. The sugar rush made the morning speed by extra quick and crash landed me at the nacho bar for lunch. Many nacho chips, mystery meat scoops and jalapeños later I was sated and ready to give my session.

Saturday night was the platform.sh afterparty at one of the loudest bars I have ever entered. The ‘March Madness’ and the population of the venue assured that the roar was deafening in the main room. Luckily we had a back room reserved for us at far more reasonable volumes. Again I found a ‘semi local’ vodka, Prairie, which is made in the midwest over in Minnesota. Delightful stuff.  I had expected the food to be sports bar quality greasy bites and some of it for sure was, but there was very well executed teriyaki chicken and the best crab cakes I maybe have ever eaten. I was actually extremely glad that I left when I did, not only because the party’s tab had closed and the party was moving on to a karaoke place, but really because I could not stop myself from constantly returning for ‘just one more’ of those crab cakes.

Shoe’s Pub is where the party found itself next and this place was just great. Cheap drinks, many locals and students, and a pair of bullet style mics. The whole evening it was far more common to see duos or even small groups sing than solo performers. This gave the karaoke an extra special ‘we are all doing this together’ kind of vibe.

By midnight, karaoke was overflowing, too crowded to even breathe comfortably, so a motion was made to go see some legendary Chicago blues over at Kingston Mines. Once we arrived we realized that the line would not permit us to enter any time soon, so we went across the street to the slightly less famous but equally as entertaining BLUES bar. It was a night to remember for sure! It was also a great way to officially end the party for MidCamp, leaving only the Sunday Sprint to check off the list.

Thursday Sprints:

As I mentioned, Thursday was the main training day but it also gave room for folks to Sprint.  There was no formal plan or focus for the day, which gave rise to many people working on their own projects and getting help and feedback from their peers.  It was also time for the Organizers to finish many last minute tasks and get set up.  This was a great warm up to the camp days that followed.

Sunday Sprints:

This was not just the first time I organized a Drupal Sprint, this was also the first time I ever attended a formal one. I have attended contributor days on the WP side of the world and I have hacked at many a thing on Drupal, but this was my first real, on the books, official involvement with a Sprint. I loved it! I will at least be volunteering at future Sprint days as often as I can moving ahead.

Huge shout out to the folks who did the real heavy lifting of the day, the Sprint Leads!

First up, by coworker and friend David Needham, lead the first time sprinters on a ‘how to sprint’ session. This session introduced folks to how tickets worked, how to set up their local environments, and the many varied ways they might be able to contribute to the project.

We focused on three main areas for this sprint. Core, Drupal Commerce and Documentation:

The core team was lead by Adam Bergstein, who is not just a nice guy but also a security and best practice expert. I can’t name many other people I would have wanted leading that effort.

Drupal Commerce is a passion of Matt Glaman and it really showed, as he was the first to arrive at sprint day. If you want to contribute to Drupal Commerce, you can find the well organized queue here.

We had the dynamic duo from Drupalize.me: Joe Shindelar and Blake Hall focused on Documentation. This is such a crucial part of the project and one that is entirely accessible to all skill levels, making it very welcoming in general. While I tend to think of this as the ‘go to’ for new contributors, and some new folks for sure focused their energies here, we had newbies at all the tables. It gave me a great sense of hope for the future of the project seeing these new faces make their first contribution and leaving with so much done.

The Sessions

Keynote:
Emma talked about her story of going from feeling like an outsider to being a project lead in a very short stretch of time. Besides focusing on the ‘why it is important’ message that is critical to communicate to new and seasoned folks alike, she also focused on how one can contribute. There are so many ways beyond just writing PHP code to make Drupal move forward. You can write docs, you can volunteer your time, you can team new people things you learned along the way and too many others to list here. Fortunately, thanks to some speedy internet access and the dedication of Kevin Thull you can see her slides and hear this keynote yourself here!

Sessions I saw:

I was very fortunate to have had several members of the Pantheon team with me at MidCamp so I was able to go to many sessions. If you want to see any of these at home, they are all online and available now on the individual MidCamp schedule pages.

I was immediately drawn to this session not for the Project Management or the Yoga, but because it was applying the lessons from one of the speakers’ passions to their tech related work.  This is something I have tried to do with several of my talks.  It turns out that both yoga and project management both use the concept of flows and there are some direct comparisons you can draw.  Agile methodology is analogous Bikram, where Waterfall is more akin to Ashtanga.  Ideas like ‘sticking to the plan’ and ‘internal communication being critical’ are mirrors of ‘practice the poses’ and ‘listen to your body’.  There was even a participatory section where we all learned some poses and stretched out.  I felt more limber and very encouraged about the idea of mapping divergent skills overall.

I was very fortunate to see several of my fellow Pantheors give talks at the camp. The first up was my manager Drew Gorton talking about the very reasons I like working with him. There are many ways to manage a team but it always boils down to some key factors like ‘putting the right person in the right seat.” You can have the most brilliant people on your team but unless they are doing something they feel passionate about and filling a needed function on ‘the bus’ then no one is going to be happy. He also stressed the importance of communication and need for connection beyond what is just on the page of a report data. He fielded some interesting questions as well and I am very glad I attended. Check this one out for sure.

 

 

This was a very fun talk that not only gave a history and ‘how to’ of Mr. Ivy Leadbetter Lee’s priority management strategy, but also how our presenter transformed his life with this method in very short order. The very quick version is “write down the 6 most import things you need to do every day and do them. If any are left at the end of a day, simply move those to the top of tomorrow’s list.” This sounds really simple, and it is, but it is a very powerful tool to get done what needs to get done and feel a sense of success just from marking things off every day. David repeatedly made the point that this always felt amazing to do.
The real take away for me was actually another famous name’s process, Jerry Seinfeld. He was once asked how to be a successful comedian and he answered “write good jokes everyday”. On the surface this sounds like a disingenuous answer, but what he meant was, appy the craft every day and track what you did on a calendar. After a few days there will be a ‘chain’ formed of all the times you did the thing. The funny thing about human beings and these chains, is we do not like to break them once we forge them. I know I will be using this to mark off how I spend some of my time going ahead.

Doug started out this entertaining yet extremely technical talk by explaining that in fact Config Management is not a panacea for all conceivable ways to distribute Db config around the world.  It is for moving config from a dev or stage environment towards a live environment.  This is something I have a good deal of opinion around given where I work.  It is absolutely nor for packaging up config to move between entire projects.  I found it fascinating to hear the reasons why there has been so much love/hate of the Features module and Config Management in general.  Part of this is the gray area that is Content vs Configuration.  Not something I had really thought a lot about before.  My favorite moment came from the Q&A when an audience member lamented that, to him, “features is a hellish solution to a nightmarish problem” but that this talk helped him sort out how to make better use of the concept.

 

Saturday morning sessions kicked off with one of the more fun full length talks of the whole camp, my teammate Steve’s talk about the internet of things.  For this talk he rigged up his great-grandfather’s 150 year old telegraph key (a work of art unto itself) to oranges as a power supply to light up an LED connected to the internet.  While there was a lot of fun and silliness to some of his examples, the core message was actually really powerful, which was “Connect your interests to your workflow” and “Follow the fear”.
The first point is really to start thinking about the tools we use as a part of a larger ecosystem of hooks we can string together to automate all the things.  And by the second point he really was encouraging us to go learn the tech that might intimidate us and trying to do it an a playful way with ‘toys’, maybe silly or childish projects that teach the skills with less pressure.  On that topic he talked about the need for joke modules, which are really meant to show off what a particular hook can do rather than filling production need.  Drupal 7’s Bad Judgment module was the prime example of this.  I am going to be looking into this module moving ahead, as well as all the available webhooks I have in the tools I already use.  If you listen to this recording you will even the infamous FauxAlGore give an intro to the subject.

No one likes having difficult conversations but it is an unavoidable part of life. How to have these conversations is something we also tend to avoid, which I never really thought about until I saw this talk. I have no idea how this topic has not been more widely discussed at camps but can foresee this becoming a much more popular talking point in the future.
The basics are that when people find themselves in uncomfortable discussions they tend to react towards internalizing which results in silence or externalizing, which leads toward violence. You want to stay balanced right in between those extremes in a place of healthy dialogue. This requires some meta conversation sometimes and recognizing that everyone needs to feel safe. If you are in a critical conversation and notice that the other party has shifted to one of these ends, it is OK to ask why and revisit the points that pushed them there in order to find resolution and move ahead.
My favorite part was Chris asking the room if we remembered when we were kids and figured out that adults are not mature? All kids have this moment and it serves to remind us that we should be treating people as people. After all you would not ever say to a toddler ‘they are unfit to lead and are bad people due to their work habits’ but we all too often think things like that of our peers. It is important to turn victims into actors and villains into humans to have constructive dialogue.

 

This was the final talk from a teammate that I got to see. This was a fantastic and very entertaining talk about some basic skills everyone should develop to be more productive.  These were all tips and tricks Tessa learned first hand from being a busy mother and developer and community organizer and many other hats.  The ideas ranged from the importance of journaling to keep yourself focused, on track and motivated on the big picture to the importance of self care and meditation.  Sprinkled in between these meatier subject she sprinkled some great and humorous one liners as Pro Mom Tips.  My favorites where: “Never EVER leave a Sharpie unattended”, “Your keys are always in the other pocket”, and something I can’t use yet in my life, “If you need some alone time, tell your small child to go dress themselves, which we all know is a joke.”

The final session of the camp was more of a group discussion than a lecture on the subject of free speech and free software. Tim reminded us that in fact “Free Software is not the same as Open Source”. That there is a core value to this that goes far beyond the development methodology of sharing the code itself. That there is a responsibility to the freedoms this is build from. It was a great group discussion with topics floating from DRM, desktop linux being a good solution these days and bid data privacy concerns. While energy was overall low due to the timing of the talk and the energy we had already exhausted from the two full days, this was still a very lively discussion with so many great take aways. I know for me, moving ahead, I will be saying I work in Free Software a lot more often.

My Session:

This was the 6th time I have had the opportunity to deliver this session. Each time I do I learn a little more and I find new ways to improve upon it. I hope to have the chance to do this a few more times before I retire the talk. The one thing that stands out the most to me is the extreme shyness and introverted-ness of some of the participants. I give some pretty clear trigger warnings and repeated reassurances that it is OK to sit out the exercises or even leave the room without any judgement if they feel uncomfortable. I absolutely and thoroughly applaud the efforts of these folks who stayed and gave it their all. I left feeling inspired by their courage to try something that outgoing in front of their professional peers.
Afterwards I even learned that in one case former teammates that had a terrible working relationship ended up learning they actually had a lot of things in common as a result of my talk. While it is too late to fix the issues they had as a team in the past this gave them new hope that if they worked together again they would be able to find a common chord and better collaborate. This might be my favorite thing I have ever helped anyone do with improv.

Lightning talks:

Friday ended with everyone regathering in the main hall for a round of Lightning Talks. These are ~5 minute talks on any subject of interest from the speaker. These are not done with a lot of prep time, as the speakers signed up on a sheet that went up 15 minutes before we started the talks. I had the extreme honor of going first and delivered a stripped down version of my “Every Project Is A Story” talk I had given at SANDCamp (link to it). Other talks included “How to convert your sodastream canister to be refillable”, “The time I took my mom to Drupal Northern Lights and she learned what “Drupala” is” and my personal favorite, Jim Birch’s “Theremin” history and demo. This last one will live forever as a giphy, which you can download here.

I almost put this up in the Food and Fun session since it was an absolutely outstanding time, but in the end this really does fall under sessions. If you are organizing a camp and reading this, please consider a lightning talk session at the end of one of the days or over lunch. It was such a great way to connect and get some extra learning out of an event!

Last, on a personal and community note I came into camp with a nervousness stemming from more than just my nervousness as an organizer. If you are reading this then you likely are aware of the Drupal drama going on. If you spend any time on subreddits then it would be easy to think that the wheels were coming off and we were taking sides.  I was more than relieved, I was overjoyed, that when I did see my fellow Drupal folks all together there was the same sense of togetherness and camaraderie that I have come to expect.  Even the subject of the drama showed up and I was proud to interact with him as if there was not anything going on at all.  Put everything in perspective for me and I am feeling much better about the state of D8 and the world.

Also, I could not have been successful as a camp organizer without the seasoned experts on the Organizing team!  Huge love to this wonderful amazing group of people.  Take a moment to go look and see the faces of this tremendous team: https://www.midcamp.org/organizers. While we all did a lot for this camp, a very special shout out to the Camp Lead who kept this ship running and made sure we organized, Mr. Jim Birch!

MidCamp was a blast and there were so many good times. I encourage you to go challenge yourself to learn more, better organize your priorities and become better communicators. I know I will. I can’t wait until next year!