Automattic’s new Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion — Keynote at WordCamp RI

Keynote – John Maeda

Computational Design and Inclusion.

John Maeda has a vision and goal: that what you see and what you don’t see will work together well.  Especially when it comes to websites.  Especially when it comes to WordPress websites.  Because it’s not a case of “what you see is what you get” but rather what you don’t see determines what you will get.

Quoting from his blog, Maeda, in 1996, “co-founded the Aesthetics + Computation Group (ACG) along with a talented group of people who seamlessly bridged the wide divide that existed back then between engineers who could design and engineers who could code. ”

John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design + technology industries. He recently joined Automattic as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.

Maeda says “Being at MIT for close to 20 years shaped how I saw the world …. But it was my years leading Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that shaped how I saw the world through artists’ and designers’ eyes.”

WordCamp RI is excited and honored that Maeda has said “yes” to our request that he be our Keynote Speaker on October 1.

Maeda previously served as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a world-leading venture capital firm. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State U, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan.

WordCamp RI is being held Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1 at New England Tech in East Greenwich.  You can get tickets:


Google Analytics Boot Camp

Are you wondering how to get the most traffic to your WordPress website?  Wonder where the traffic you have is coming from?

You need to attend the two-hour workshop “Keeping Your Website/Blog Looking Fresh!” and “Analytics: Gaining Meaningful Data from Your Audience” on Friday, September 30 at New England Tech in East Greenwich.  Ajay Coletta, Assistant Professor at the New England Institute of Technology, along with Patrick Gleavey will be helping you maximize your internet audience.

Ajay teaches multiple courses in WordPress and enthusiastically uses the platform in his personal life as well. Bring your laptop and an eagerness to learn.  You’ll be getting a lot out of this morning’s workshop.

WordCamp RI is just $20 for both Friday and Saturday, including lunch each day and the After-Party on Saturday evening.  Get your ticket at:

Create Your Portfolio, Your Blog, Your Website at WordCamp RI

WordPress is the perfect internet platform for you, but you are not sure how to begin.  WordCamp RI to the rescue! During the Friday workshop sessions, on September 30, there will be two beginner workshops.  One is geared to the person who likes to have some hands-on control over the coding of their website and the other workshop focusses on creating what content you need and leaving the maintenance to WordPress itself.

WordPress.ORG Basics:  Setup and Installation is being offered by Daniella Norwood of Ella J Designs.  Daniella has taught at past WordCamps and is always well-received. You’ll be able to set-up a website in this workshop or make improvements to the site you currently have.

WordPress.COM Basics: Setup and Installation is for the person who wants to create a website, blog or portfolio and does not want to worry about security updates and maintenance.  Lydia Rogers will show you how to get your website up and running with the focus on what content you’ll be putting on the internet.

Both Workshops will run for 4 hours, with a break for lunch.  Bring your laptop; WiFi will be available.

Before you arrive on Friday morning think about:

What is the purpose of this website/blog?

  • Your work/academic portfolio?
  • Ecommerce?
  • Classroom or nonprofit website?
  • Personal blog?

Now there is only one thing left to do – get your ticket to WordCamp RI!  Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1 at New England Tech in East Greenwich.  Friday is workshop day and Saturday offers you a choice of 45-minute seminars on varying topics.

$20 gets you both days of WordCamp RI with lunch included each day.  You cannot afford not to come!

Thank You to Our Speakers

by joyMarie Adamonis- Friedman

KON Asian Bistro

Did you know that every speaker at a WordCamp volunteers their time to do so? That’s right! Each and every speaker we have had the privilege of hosting at WordCamp RI has done so on their own time. Without these amazing speakers, WordCamps all over the world would not be as successful as they are. We thank each speaker for submitting talks and ultimately choosing to volunteer their efforts to help make WordCamp RI such a success.
Each year, we invite the speakers to a private party to thank them for all they have contributed to WordCamp RI. This year we are hosting a dinner party at KON where they will eat, drink and surely talk WordPress!  Speakers can network amongst themselves and also meet the organizing team! It’s always a great night and it’s something we at WordCamp RI love to do for our talented group of speakers.
Along with the organizing team, each speaker is dedicated to helping the WordPress community grow & flourish. If you think speaking at a WordCamp sounds like something you are interested in, please consider submitting a talk. We hope you are as excited about this year’s WordCamp RI as we are! Hope to see you there!

Our Fifth Year of WordCamp RI

This year marks the fifth annual WordCamp RI.  Can you believe it?  Here are some #Throw Back and #Flash Back highlights.


2012 WordCamp Providence logo

2012 WordCamp Providence logo

Our first WordCamp was held in 2012 at the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media in downtown Providence.  The lead organizer was Luke Gedeon. Jesse Friedman was on the WordCamp organizing committee.

The first year we held a one-day WordCamp, on a Saturday at the end of October.  There were three seminar tracks: beginner, developer, and education.

Some of the sessions and speakers were:

  • “Plugin Development – Stirred not Shaken” by Jon Desrosiers
  • “From Employee, to Freelancer, to Business Owner (An Unnatural Progression)” by Aaron Ware
  • A “Panel: The use of WordPress at The Harrington School of Communication and Media, URI” led by Jonathan Friesem.

The After-Party was held at Congress Tavern.


WordCamp 2013 was expanded to a 2-day weekend of learning all things WordPress.  The co-lead-organizers were  Luke Gedeon and Jesse Friedman.  There were four tracks in 2013: beginner, intermediate, advanced and marketer.

The all-day Friday in-depth sessions focused on mobile strategy, WordPress templates, and starting a WordPress website for beginners.  Saturday sessions offered topics such as:

  • “How We Built the Harrington School Website with WordPress” by Renee Hobbs
  • “Real-Time Site Personalization” by Jesse Friedman
  • “Plugin Development” by Jon Desrosiers.

In 2013 the After-Party was held at Local 121’s Speakeasy.


2014 found WordCamp back at the Harrington School of Communication with Jesse Friedman as the lead organizer.   During the last weekend in September, WordCamp started with three all-day sessions on Friday: WordPress Basics, Plugin Development, and Security.

Saturday had sessions on a variety of topics: beginner, advanced user, developer, business, education, and design.  They included:

  • “WordPress Security: Fundamentals for Professionals” by Joseph Herbrandson
  • “You Will Never Be Good Enough” by Aaron Ware
  • “Flexibility of WooCommerce ” by Danny Santoro.

This year the After-Party was at Trinity Brewhouse.


In 2015 we stayed with the two-day format, but changed locations to the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich.  The organizing committee wondered if WordCampers would be happy with a change in venue from downtown Providence.  We need not have worried.  The new location was an instant hit.  WordCamp RI was held the last weekend in September.  Jennifer Kusiak and Aaron Ware were the lead organizers.

The Friday boot-camp sessions were WordPress Basics, Getting to Know SASS, and Contributing to WordPress Core.

Some of the Saturday sessions included:

  • “Child Themes” by Ajay Coletta
  • “The World Of WordPress: Roles, Tasks, and Skills in WordPress Development” by Colin Murphy
  • “Content is King, but You Don’t Have to be its Slave” by Aileen McDonough.

The After-Party was held at Chelo’s Waterfront Bar & Grille.



What’s in store for our fifth WordCamp in Rhode Island?  Stay tuned to this space for developments.  WordCamp RI 2016 will once again be at New England Technical Institute in East Greenwich.  The dates are Friday and Saturday September 30 and October 1.

What are some of your best memories of WordCamp here in the Ocean State?

Let us know in the comments section!

Also tweet us @WordCampRI and like us on Facebook

Design from the Content Out

Today’s Flash Back Friday memory from WordCamp RI 2015 is almost a philosophy talk.  John Eckman posits that many developers create websites using a design that was made for books, then try to reshape content to fit that design.  He argues website developers should start by knowing what the content will be and then come up with the best design.  He outlines approaches to achieve that.

Fascinating talks like this will be part of WordCamp RI 2016 at New England Tech in East Greenwich on September 30 and October 1.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at John’s talk:

Data is not Knowledge

So your website is generating all kinds of statistics and pie charts.  What do they mean? What does this information tell you would be a good next step for your website?  Today’s Flash Back Friday memory is the talk given at WordCamp RI 2015 by RC Lations: “Tracking Meaningful Moments on Your Site.” He outlines some tips so you’ll be able to tell if the data indicates you are on a good course or if you should take some corrective action.  RC quotes Albert Einstein “Information is not knowledge.”  However, with RC’s suggestions, you can start to translate that information into knowledge.

Come back to WordCamp RI 2016 for more great sessions like this.  We’ll be at New England Tech in East Greenwich once again.  The dates are September 30 and October 1.

Going International

Many WordPress websites could benefit from, or would like to attract, both local and international audiences.  How can you achieve that?  Today’s Flash Back Friday memory from WordCamp 2015 takes a look at the coding behind the scenes.  Dave McHale shows how to use many of the more common translation functions.  He hopes sessions like this will get more developers to use such functions in their products in the future.

Make sure you attend this year’s WordCamp RI at New England Tech in East Greenwich, September 30 and October 1.

From Beginner to Expert with Some Help from WordCamp

Max Morgan is the Lead Frontend Developer at Linchpin and once again is one of the organizers for WordCamp RI. He’s presented at WordCamp, but also remembers the first time he attended a WordCamp. He’s gone from a member of the audience who was nervous to a knowledgeable speaker (okay maybe he was still nervous then too.)

Max, you are back again this year as WordCamp RI is planned and coordinated. What draws you back?

The community and my passion for WordPress is what draws me in! I’ve been attending Rhode Island’s annual WordCamp since 2012, and no matter how many WordCamps I attend I am always going to learn something valuable or meet someone with a perspective that hasn’t crossed my mind. It’s a great place to network and learn, and as a developer who makes a living utilizing WordPress this is SO valuable and I love being involved with any aspect I can help with.

You presented at an in-depth session on Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) last year at WordCamp. Tell me about that experience.

My experience was amazing, I had never held a session – never mind a 6-hour workshop – so honestly I was very nervous to be in front of all the folks who attended, and the turnout was AMAZING! Once it got rolling everything went great though. We spent some time exploring what Sass is and why Sass is such an amazing tool for any frontend developer to leverage. We had discussions around some CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) best practices and why things should be done a certain way. Plus, we covered how folks can easily improve upon their daily workflow to make Sass work for them. I had some help from a good friend and an amazing developer, Jeff Golenski from the Jetpack team at Automattic, who had a lot of valuable insight on using Sass in a distributed team and staying organized. The whole experience was great and I think those who attended got a good understanding of how to move forward and use Sass in their projects.

In your professional life, when you’re not helping to organize WordCamp RI, what do you do? What role does WordPress play?

WordPress plays a huge role in my professional life. I am the Lead Frontend Developer at Linchpin, an agency out of Pawtucket, and a majority of our clients are built on WordPress. As a Frontend at Linchpin my role is take our client’s vision of functionality, our designer’s vision of the site and tie it all together. This ranges from building plugins and themes to writing the JS (JavaScript) and Sass.

WordCamp RI is two days of all things WordPress. For someone attending for the first time, what advice do you offer to get the most out of WordCamp?

When I attended my first WordCamps (Boston and Rhode Island in 2012) I was SO overwhelmed. The company I was with at the time was making a transition to WordPress, which at the time I had ZERO experience in, so I sat through a lot of talks that I knew were valuable but went way over my head. Looking back at that now, my advice would be to enjoy your time, meet like-minded people – AKA everyone at WordCamp, the community is super friendly 🙂 – and take some minimal notes. Every talk (except the workshops) will make its way to So pin-point the talks that really made something click for you, understand what drew you into it, and watch it again. If you attend a talk and then jot down to revisit after you’ve explored WordPress more, the video will be there and it WILL make sense.

Friday there are day-long in-depth sessions on various topics. Saturday is made up of a variety of 45-minute seminars through-out the day. What is the advantage of taking the two approaches over the course of WordCamp RI?

I think Friday’s in-depth sessions are very valuable, as you can get a real hands-on approach to certain aspects of WordPress. Typically, the workshops encourage attendees to bring a laptop and code along, and for a lot people like myself this is the best way to learn something. Of course Saturday is also a valuable experience, covering a range of topics from child themes, to security, to content, etc. Just about every aspect of WordPress is covered and this really expands people’s knowledge on WordPress in general. The best part is you can always sit down with speakers at the Happiness Bar after their session, if you have more questions or want to dig a little deeper.

What’s this Happiness Bar everyone is talking about? Why would I want to stop by?

The Happiness Bar is there to help attendees with all things WordPress, plain and simple. You can pick speakers’ or volunteers’ brains on a crazy range of topics, from getting advice about what theme you should (or shouldn’t) use, why is this bug happening, what plugin should be used, or asking speakers to expand on certain parts of their session. Anything WordPress, we’re there to help! 🙂

After WordCamp RI is over, there is the After-Party. What is that? Why should I attend?

It’s a celebration of all the things you’ve learned over the past 2 days and a great opportunity to network. A lot of the time things can get pretty hectic at WordCamp for organizers, volunteers and speakers, and you may not get to have a 1-on-1 with a speaker you enjoyed and this is the perfect place to get that time.

WordCamp draws a diverse crowd: beginners, experienced coders, people who provide web content, project managers, and more. What approach does WordCamp RI take that such a varying group attends each year?

We try to recognize the needs of everyone involved, the community is huge and WordPress isn’t just for the developer or copywriter. We get feedback every year on what folks found useful, what they didn’t, and what they’d like to see next year… and we listen! We don’t want someone to attend if there isn’t something for them and we want anyone who has any interaction with WordPress to be able to attend and get something out of it.

Some examples from last year: John Eckman held a session that was focused on designers, Aileen McDonough had a great session on handling content in WordPress, Jonathan Desroisers had an amazing workshop on how to contribute to WordPress Core, and of course there was a rad-tad group of folks (Lydia Rogers, Colin Murphy, Daniella Norwood) who held a workshop geared toward getting started with WordPress and using it for a business. Pile my Sass workshop on top of that and that covers a wide-range of groups, and that’s only a handful of all the sessions we held.

What tips and tricks do you recommend to get the most out of WordCamp RI? What should I bring? What should I do? Does it matter if I look at the schedule posted on the WordCamp RI website a day or two before I attend?

You should bring your preferred note taking devices – pen/paper or laptop – and take some notes! Just jot down some keywords or sessions/speakers that really made a light go off for you because you can always watch the sessions again on to focus on some key points that interest you. Also, bring something to keep swag in! There’s a lot of swag to be had 🙂 It doesn’t hurt to look at the schedule beforehand and get a game plan for what session you want to attend. Every session has a description so you can find early on if it’s right for you.

Once the actual days of WordCamp RI arrive, what do you personally like to make sure you do?

I soak up as much knowledge as I can, talk with folks I haven’t seen in a while, try to meet some new people and just enjoy my time with the community.

Is there any follow-up that makes sense once WordCamp RI is over?

Just stay connected with people you’ve met, put some of your new-found knowledge to work, build skills that sparked an interest in you, and keep updated with the WordPress Rhode Island Meetup Group ( WordCamp is held for your benefit, so take advantage of everything you’ve learned!

You can reach Max at:

Twitter:  @maxinacube

Slack:  @maxinacube

How to Execute on Big Projects

Today’s Flash Back Friday to WordCamp RI 2015 involves a look at the business side of WordPress projects.  How do you find good clients and give them the follow-through they want on their project(s)?

Brett Cohen gave an interesting talk “Moving up the Food Chain- How to Find, Land, and Execute on Big Projects.”

There will be more great sessions this year at WordCamp RI 2016 at New England Tech in East Greenwich on September 30 and October 1.  Meanwhile, here’s a look-back at one of last year’s popular sessions: