IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup

WordPress Blog Post As Tech Meetup Tool

Today’s post is an events wrangler’s experiment in using a WordPress blog post as a primary tool and information resource for a two hour tech meetup.appleton makerspace coder cooperative

Rather than having a separate presentation like Prezi, SlideShare, KeyNote or PowerPoint, this post has the talking points and many of the relevant links for the Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative meetup to discuss IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) on June 20, 2016 from 7 to 9 PM, at the Appleton Makerspace, 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Using this blog post as the my “presentation” for the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup is essentially “seven at one blow,” because the post:

  1. Outlines the event talking points, aka agenda.
  2. Is a repository of links relevant to the event.
  3. Helps with pre-event marketing and promotion.
  4. Can be easily shared with people who want to remotely participate in the meetup.
  5. Can be easily updated with relevant content after the event.
  6. May provide “meeting topic” SEO, which a standalone presentation might not.
  7. Means no special software or software expertise needed for a blog author to create this event resource.

Talking Points For June 20 Meetup

  • Overview of IndieWeb
  • Overview of PDH
  • Differences And Similarities Between IndieWeb and PDH
  • Non-coder Questions About PDH
  • Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH
  • Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants
  • Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links
  • Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH



  • Tagline:  “the starting point for your digital lifeWordPress Personal Digital Home, tagline
  • Short description:  My PDH concept is essentially One Site To Rule Them All. A PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. The first step for each person who wants a PDH will be to create their own website. This may sound overly ambitious, but people of all ages create websites with every day. And the Mozilla Webmaker initiative was designed to help millions of people at all levels move from using the web to making the web.
  • Main link:
  • Only a concept as of June 20, 2016, but I’m looking for one or several cofounders to transform PDH into an active initiative.

Concept Similarities And Differences — IndieWeb And PDH

  1. More control over personal data.
  2. Personal website.
  3. Make digital life easier.
  4. WordPress applicability.
  5. Emerging trends.

“Non-coder” Questions About IndieWeb And PDH From June 20, 2016 Meetup Participants

  • *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH

  1. Interesting challenge, especially selfdogfooding and building your own tools.
  2. Tantek Çelik’s site
  3. Aaron Parecki’s IRC approach
  4. InfoSec
  5. OYD server (OwnYourData) — integral to (my version of) both concepts.
  6. Coder issues of interest to participants in June 20 meetup:
    1. *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants

  1. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb or PDH to discuss more at a future meetup?
  2. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb to consider getting involved at some level with the initiative?
  3. Do you feel IndieWeb or PDH are important enough that someone definitely should be working on one or both initiatives?
  4. What do you think the PDH MVP (minimum viable product) might look like for the general population?
  5. Does anyone at this meetup want to do a road trip to the IndieWeb Summit 2017 (~June 2017, or XOXO 2016 (September 8 – 11, 2016,

Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links


Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home

This post will be updated after tonight’s Coder Cooperative meetup, and a post later this week on “Events Wrangling” will cover highlights of the event. Assuming there are participants and highlights at tonight’s meetup. Short notice about the event and my attack of food poisoning means many fewer people have heard about the event than I originally envisioned…

If you have questions or want to discuss IndieWeb or the PDH concept, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

—   End of “Coder Cooperative” section of this post   —


Blogging U: Day 4 & 5 (3)

[I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I am working to get on-schedule in my Blogging U virtual class. Cross your fingers — I hope today’s post brings me up to date with the virtual schedule… And by the way, no, I’m not worried that my “Day 4 & 5 (3)” post heading will confuse anyone other than June 20 meetup participants. Even they are unlikely to read this far in today’s post, so they are likewise in little danger of suffering from PHCS (Post Heading Confusion Syndrome).]

blogging universityIn an effort to “catch up” in my Blogging University class, today’s post is also addressing the topics of Blogging 101, Day Three: Using Reader AND Day Five: Love Your Theme. I somehow lost or didn’t get my email regarding Day Three’s assignment, so I poked around in the class “syllabus” and found that the Reader was what the missing email would have covered. It looks like the Day Three primary assignment was:

  1. Read about Reader and get an initial understanding of what, why and how.
  2. Add several tags to my Reader and browse those tags.
  3. Follow five new blogs that I come across while browsing tags in Reader.

For the three items above for Day Three’s assignment, check, check, and mate! 🙂

I’m not listing in this post the five blogs I’m following because the Blogging 101 syllabus said “following a blog is a guilt-free activity.” If I list the blog titles here, I’d feel more guilt if I unfollow them.

Day Five’s assignment email arrived in my inbox as I was almost done with this post!

Arghhh.  😦 Thought I was done writing the post. Well, a bit of additional work, THEN I’ll be all caught up. Day Five’s assignment consists of:

  1. Visit the Theme Showcase.
  2. Scroll through the options, and click Preview on at least three themes, then click Try & Customize to see the theme in action with your posts.
  3. Save and activate a new theme, or close the Customizer to keep your original.

So I (probably too quickly) went to the Theme Showcase, looked at theme options, previewed three themes “in action” with my posts, then closed the Customizer to keep my current theme. I fiddled with different themes when I established “Events Wrangling” and have specific reasons for choosing my current theme.

I’m not against all changes, and sometimes change is even good just for the sake of change. But I need to have more time to evaluate a theme change, and I’ll only change it when I can clearly understand at least one significant benefit to making the change. Can’t tell I’m an engineer, can you…  🙂


Blogging U, Day 3 (4): Ideal Reader, Media & Laughter

[You might not believe this, but I really am going to get this Blogging U class schedule figured out. Soon. I hope. For me, this is Day 3, but the class email from Blogging U said Day 4! I looked through my Trash folder, Spam folder, archived folder, Inbox, did searches for Day Three — couldn’t find that Day 3 class email anywhere. Better find out what the instructor assigned for Day 3 so I don’t get a zero on that assignment…]

Day 3 (4) Assignment

Today’s assignment was a harsh dose of reality because it included:

  1. Define the ideal reader of my blog, “Events Wrangling.”
  2. What do they want to spend their (very) limited spare time and attention reading?
  3. What do I want to tell them if they do read one or more of my posts?
  4. Put in a media element you haven’t previously used.
  5. Give the post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals.

The challenging part of today’s assignment was trying to figure out what the ideal reader(s) of my blog would find worth spending their precious and limited time and attention on. And I haven’t come up with a satisfying answer yet. So I’m going to spend next couple days thinking about and writing down who my ideal reader is and various topics, ideas, opinions, and information that might be of interest to them.

After I develop the list of their potential interests, I’ll start working on titles or descriptions of posts I can write addressing some of those interests.

This approach to today’s assignment means I can fulfill the letter of the law (assignment) today, but I won’t have the spirit of this assignment really done for a few more days. And fully addressing the issue will take many days.

It makes a lot of sense, though. Why write posts that your ideal reader won’t read, even if you do the unlikely thing with the long tail of the internet and somehow your ideal reader does happen to see your post. Once you’re writing content that people of interest to you will read, then you can work on promoting the blog and increasing its visibility. Until you write something people want to read, though, getting visibility doesn’t accomplish much.

TED Video: Laughter

Inserting a new media element was easy. I decided to embed a TED video using the WordPress short code. The TED video “Why We Laugh” is a 17 minute video looking at the science of laughter. It’s a bit of a long watch, but it has a couple good lessons for events wranglers, including:

  • You’re 30 times more likely to laugh if you’re with somebody else than if you’re alone.
  • If people are honestly laughing with each other, it can help make stressful moments much less stressful.

The reason those two lessons are important to me is because they relate to relationship building at events. If you get to know one or several people well enough at an event that you’re enjoying carefree and honest laughter with them, those relationships are likely to last much longer than a strictly business or information-based relationship. The more events wranglers can do to create connections which result in laughter, the better job they’ll do with all their events!

Well, the first phase of today’s assignment is done. The real work comes over the next few days as I struggle with what the ideal reader would be willing to take the time to read…


Day 2, I Think, Of Blogging University

[This is either Day 2 or Day 3 of Blogging University — because of the food poisoning that put me out of commission for the past two days, I didn’t see the Blogging U Day 2 email until today. Since it’s a virtual university, and I already had part of today’s assignment done, I’ve decided today is Day 2.]

Still recovering from the food poisoning, and not much energy yet, but starting to feel like I’m alive again.

So, Day 2 assignment was:

  • Update title.
  • Update tagline.
  • Explain title.
  • Explain tagline.

Update Title

Well, I told you on Day 1 of Blogging U that I’d be a good student on that day, which sort of implied that I might not be a “good” student every day. It’s hard to say whether not updating my blog’s title means I’m not being a good student. But I chose it carefully when I set up the blog, and it’s the title I want.

Update Tagline

I did change the tagline, in that I didn’t have one before and now I do. That probably qualifies for updating the title.

Explain Title

“Events Wrangling” refers to founding, organizing, running, participating in, and following up after events. That activity is also called event manager, event coordinator, or event planner. I’ve been doing that for over ten years. More than that, actually, but it’s been on a more intentional basis and across a wider spectrum of events over the past ten years.

Explain Tagline

I had less time to think about the tagline than the title, so that may change over time as I let it bounce around for a while. The tagline’s primary meaning is that I look at pretty much every event as a chance for the event goers to meet a few new people. Even if the main purpose of the event is to fulfill continuing education credits or obtain a certification, you would be amazed if you took more time to talk to people, and more importantly, listen to people at the next event you go to. If you know some of the people at the event, sit by people you don’t know. If you go to a multiple-day event, sit in different areas each day. That conversation you start while eating lunch or standing around with other event attendees might even be a serendipitous connection which could lead to interesting or amazing outcomes.

Running out of steam, so I’ll end for today. Hope to be back to full strength by tomorrow…


Today’s Event: Food Poisoning Recovery

Food Poisoning

This will be short. The only time I’ve left my bedroom today was to walk about 8 feet to the bathroom. No energy at all.

About 5 pm yesterday, I was hit with what was probably food poisoning. Tremendously horrific abdominal cramps and my digestive system has nothing left in it.

If I had been in the middle of running an event, or just about to leave to run an event in another city, there’s no way I could have done it.

Contingency Plans

So my question for you, and for me, is what contingency plans should be put in place for each event you wrangle? Do you ever have a backup plan for who will fill in for you if you get knocked out of commission like I did yesterday?

Time to lay back down on the bed.

Think about it. What would you do if you got food poisoning, or some other nasty thing happened to prevent you from doing your job?


Today’s Event: First Day Of Classes At Blogging University

Events. Freshman At Blogging U.

This blog is written from the viewpoint of an events wrangler, covering these topics:

  • Events and events wrangling, all aspects.
  • Automattic and WordPress.
  • blogging universityTIME Community Building (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs).
  • WordPress Personal Digital Home.
  • Occasional random topic.

Today’s event is my First Day of Classes at the Blogging University!

Since I’m a freshman at Blogging U and not quite sure what this university is like yet, I’ll be a good student and complete the homework assigned for today, which was:

Publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

Who I Am

[Having written blog posts since 2004, or maybe earlier, I might not do all my assignments if law of two feetI’m not learning or contributing something of value in the class. As I learn more about what the class is like, I’ll probably follow the unconference Law of Two Feet, which is, “If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.”]

The above italicized aside is part of explaining who I am.

wisconsin and UP with starI am also Bob Waldron, a digital nomad who is currently a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. By education, I’m a chemical engineer, but over the past 10+ years I’ve gotten involved in a wide variety of activities in addition to engineering. With respect to this blog especially, I am an events wrangler working to become an Events Wrangler. The upper case E and W indicate my goal to do events wrangling as an Automattic employee. I hesitate to write that — but I figure if saying that out loud hurts my chances at getting the job, I probably wouldn’t enjoy working at Automattic. And everything I’ve read and heard indicates I will enjoy it tremendously! So I won’t hide the fact that I want to be an Automattic Events Wrangler.

The About page on this blog explains more of the mundane details of who I am, for those few who may be interested…

Why I’m Here

why I'm hereTo me, “Why I’m Here” refers to what I hope to achieve by publishing this blog. The goals of this blog that come to mind at this moment in time are:

  1. Share and learn information and insights about events wrangling (a modified Law of Two Virtual Feet, applied to blogging instead of unconferences).
  2. Transition from events wrangler to Events Wrangler.
  3. Improve my writing and blogging skills.
  4. Expand my personal networks.
  5. Increase serendipity in my life.

As you can see, I have very modest objectives for this blog. After I achieve all the above goals, I’ll set new ones.  🙂

Blog Post Tags

Today’s assignment for Blogging U includes learning about blog post tags and using them. This assignment will help me with Goal #3 from the above list — “Improve my writing and blogging skills.” It will also help me improve the WP TIPS & TRICKS page on this blog, as described in the post “ Tips &Tricks.”

Many years ago, I experimented with tags on blog posts but quit using them because it didn’t feel like it was worth the extra effort. It’s good to be open to new things and to periodically re-examine your position on most matters. You change. The world changes. It might be good for both of you if your opinion changes.

So I’ll take another look at blog post tags to decide if they’re likely to help me achieve my blogging goals. The most challenging part of today’s assignment is deciding what tags (and Categories) to use.

Retrospective: First Day at Blogging U

students at universityFeels odd to be back in class at a university. I haven’t seen any other students. Or instructors. Or classrooms. Makes me wonder what the first day at Blogging U will be like ten years from now when virtual, augmented and mixed reality are much more developed and commonplace. Maybe students in the 2026 freshman class at BU will see other students, instructors and classrooms.

Yay! Done with my homework! 🙂

Time to find where the other students are hanging out. BU Student Union? Playing frisbee on the lawn? Coffee shop? Bars? Maybe I’ll go organize an event for BU freshmen…


Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home

Two Approaches For Managing Your Digital Life

IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) are two concepts for managing your increasingly important digital life.

appleton makerspace coder cooperativeThe Coder Cooperative meetup on June 20, 2016, from 7 to 9 PM at the Appleton Makerspace, 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, will have a discussion about webdev and coder issues related to these two approaches to managing your digital life.

Over the past twenty years, the average American’s life has become more “digital” — more affected by computing devices of one type or another. It’s a pretty good bet that cyberspace and digital services will become even more important parts of our everyday lives in the coming years.

Imagine what your digital life will look like in twenty years, in the year 2036. Or, better yet, imagine what the digital life of a baby born in 2016 will be like twenty years from today…

Who Controls Your Digital Content?

facebook apple google govtDo you want the government, Facebook, Apple, Google, or some tech company not yet formed deciding the best way to manage your digital life, or determining the rules for how you (and they) access and use your data and files because they store or control your data? Right now they can sell your digital stuff, they can delete it, and they can seriously impact your daily lives by what they do with your pictures, words, files, records, songs, digital books, etc.

facebook momentsA real life example from just last week of how this situation impacts people was the June 11, 2016 headline, “Facebook threatens to delete synced photos if users don’t download its new photo app.” People put lots of their photos on Facebook. Now Facebook has changed the rules for keeping those photos available to you and others. If you don’t follow their changed rules, Facebook can just delete your photos, even if that’s the only copy you have of them.

Most people want to have more control over their digital lives and their data. Some people are working to design and build better systems, ones that help you be more in control.


IndieWebCampAn IndieWeb website is designed to immediately make you the master of your own digital content. The initiative’s tagline is “a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web.’” The IndieWeb initiative:

  • Is an active project founded in 2010
  • Has annual summit events
  • Has small regular meetups in various places around the world
  • Has existing websites which follow the POSSE content publishing model.

POSSE stands for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. That means you put a comment or post or picture on your website, then APIs (application programming interfaces) at services like Facebook, Twitter or other web companies enable a copy of your digital content to show up other places. When those other companies decide to delete or change your digital content, that doesn’t affect your original version of it.

Personal Digital Home

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineA PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. This initiative’s tagline is “the starting point for your digital life.” The PDH initiative:

  • Is only a concept as of June 2016.
  • Will be discussed publicly for the first time at the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup.

The next step for turning PDH into a reality is to talk with “customers” to find out what would help them take control of their digital lives and identify what the minimum viable product (MVP) should look like.

Coder Cooperative Meetup Details

At the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup, we will:

  • Give an overview of IndieWeb and PDH and answer questions about the initiatives.
  • Look at the technologies that are needed for and being used by IndieWeb.
  • Identify what capabilities and components meetup participants (coders and other tech people) would want in their PDH.
  • Discuss what meetup participants think the PDH MVP might look like for the general population.
  • Encourage meetup participants to get involved with IndieWeb, PDH or a similar initiative.

diverse groupWe are inviting many developers, designers, website builders, and general internet citizens to this Coder Cooperative meeting, trying to get meetup participants with a wide spectrum of experiences and viewpoints. The meeting is open to the public, so please come on June 20 and bring a friend!

We will also reach out to potential sponsors for food and beverages at the meetup. Having more control of your digital life is an important topic which should draw a large crowd on its own merit. But we’d love to offer an extra incentive to the tech people who enjoy something to eat and drink while they have world-changing conversations.

So now you know the three goals of this Coder Cooperative session.

  1. Help people learn about and understand IndieWeb and PDH.
  2. Start fun, interesting, and world-changing conversations.
  3. Inspire follow-up work on IndieWeb, PDH, or a related initiative.

The Appleton Makerspace About / Contact webpage has a location map and address. See the Google Streetview image and the overhead building layout drawing for details on finding the makerspace door.

We look forward to you walking in that door and joining the conversation on Monday, June 20, 2016!appleton makerspace


Other posts related to IndieWeb and Personal Digital Home

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home” — today’s post
IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup
Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH


IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH

Go To IndieWeb Summit 2017

IndieWeb Summit 2017: Everyone who is seriously interested in the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH) should go to go to IndieWeb Summit 2017.

indieweb summit 2017Based on IndieWeb Summit 2016, it’s likely that IndieWeb Summit 2017 will happen in Portland, Oregon, USA, in June 2017. You can keep an eye on the IndieWebCamp events wiki page or use your preferred method for tracking when events of interest to you get scheduled. (Maybe you have a bot or AI digital assistant do that for you…)

On its website, IndieWeb Summit 2016 described itself as:

The sixth annual gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.”

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineThe reason people interested in the WordPress PDH should go to IndieWeb Summit 2017 is that IndieWeb appears to have a philosophy and goals closely aligned with the PDH concept.

As of June 14, 2016, IndieWeb appears to physically and virtually brings together more PDH-concept supporters than any other initiative or organization I know about. Of course, until today, I wasn’t consciously aware of the IndieWeb’s potential to seriously impact the PDH concept, so I’ll continue looking for other initiatives and organizations which may be highly relevant to PDH. It’s likely many people scattered around the world want much more control over their digital lives, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find other groups of like-minded people coalescing around PDH-friendly principles. Connecting everyone interested in PDH concepts to create a critical mass will help bring PDH v.1.0 closer to reality.

Maximize Event Impact of IndieWeb Summit 2017

From my viewpoint as an events wrangler and a proponent for the personal digital home concept, two questions highly worth considering and developing answers to are:

  1. How can IndieWeb Summit 2017 have the most impact for achieving IndieWeb’s goals?
  2. How can IndieWeb Summit 2017 have the most impact for the PDH concept?

IndieWebCampBefore I can attempt to answer either of those questions, I need to find out more about IndieWeb, goals for the initiative and its 2017 summit, past IndieWeb summits, and what’s already planned or in the works for IndieWeb Summit 2017. Gathering that information, and the opinions associated with the information, will take a good bit of reading and a fair number of conversations on IRC or Slack, as well as other communication channels which may be preferred by the core team members for the 2017 summit.

Addressing those two questions about the impact of the 2017 summit will have the most value for PDH and for me if:

  • PDH people participate in IndieWeb Summit 2017. If my continued research and understanding of IndieWeb confirms significant overlap between IndieWeb and PDH and identifies value IndieWeb and PDH can gain from summit participation by me and / or others interested in PDH, I will propose ways to increase the summit’s impact and will work to have PDH people at the summit.
  • PDH is viewed as worthwhile by someone active in IndieWeb. If a PDH supporter connects with and builds a mutual-interest based relationship with at least one person active in the IndieWeb community, that will open the door to conversations about how the two concepts relate to each other and whether the 2017 summit might appropriately address PDH issues.
  • Ways are identified to increase impact of 2017 summit. If IndieWeb organizers of the 2017 summit have an interest in discussing potential ways to increase the impact of the summit, there are likely a couple ways to do that. I’ll be more than happy to work with people to develop and propose summit preparations, activities, or follow-ups that seem likely to increase the event’s impact.

Relevant Events Before IndieWeb 2017

Here are a few events relevant to IndieWeb and the WordPress PDH which are or may be in my future:

  • Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative session — June or July 2016
    • appleton makerspace coder cooperativeDuring a June or July Coder Cooperative session in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, I will share a short overview of the IndieWeb initiative and the PDH concept.
  • Civic Hacker Meetup — July 2016?
    • We don’t yet have a date for the next DHMN Civic Hacks meetup, but an all-day hackathon has been proposed for this summer. There may be a civic hacker or two interested in IndieWeb or PDH. I will start working on pinning down a date in July, if possible.
  • barcamp green bay 2016BarCamp GreenBay — November 5, 2016
    • The NWTC CCC has been reserved for BarCamp Green Bay 2016. I plan to do a session there about some aspect of IndieWeb and the WordPress Personal Digital Home concept.
  • BarCamp Milwaukee 2016 — Date TBD
    • No date has been set for BarCampMilwaukee, but a Google Group has been created and a webdev is working on the website (IndieWeb or PDH opportunity?). Like BCGB, my goal is to do a session related to IndieWeb and PDH at BCMke.
  • *** Possible Event *** Homebrew Website Club meetup (HWC) — 2016 or early 2017
  • *** Possible Event *** XOXO Fest 2016 — September 8 – 11, 2016
    • XOXOI’ve wanted to go to XOXO in Portland, Oregon, USA, for years — participating in the 2016 event would be a blast for this events wrangler. If that gets put on my calendar, I’ll work to schedule a meetup in Portland just before, during, or after XOXO. My son said he’s up for a road trip to Portland, and maybe we could turn it into a group road trip multi-event along the lines of TarCamp I-94 and the X PRIZE Cup 2007 Road Trip event I proposed in 2006 and referred to in an Events Wrangling post earlier this year.

Background And Info About IndieWeb

The IndieWeb “movement” (as much as two people getting together and naming something is a “movement”) was started by Aaron Parecki and Tantek Çelik after they both attended the 2010-07-18 Federated Social Web Summit in Portland, Oregon and decided what they wanted was a different focus, a focus on creators instead of talkers, selfdogfooding, and owning your data.” [slight paraphrasing — BW]

[I especially like the part about owning your data, since OYD is the name of an open source project for which I’m developing a proposal.]

The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.

  • Your content is yours — When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.
  • You are better connected — Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.
  • You are in control — You can post anything you want, in any format you want, with no one monitoring you. In addition, you share simple readable links such as These links are permanent and will always work.

If you want to know more about IndieWeb, see the links below at the end of this post, or Google for specific IndieWeb aspects of interest to you.

Grokking IndieWeb & More Research For PDH

I just today became aware of the potential synergy between IndieWeb and the WordPress PDH.

decentralized webBefore I can determine IndieWeb’s impact on and importance to PDH, I need to further research and grok IndieWeb, the Decentralized Web, and other PDH-like concepts, initiatives and organizations. IndieWeb may be much more hardcore than what I’m envisioning as a starting point for WordPress PDH. It might make more sense to build the WordPress PDH with hooks and a designed-in upgrade path to an IndieWeb-style site. On the other hand, people are currently operating and building IndieWeb sites, which is more than I can say as of June 14, 2016, for WordPress PDH sites! 🙂 At least as far as I know.

BTW, there are a number of people actively working on WordPress aspects of IndieWeb, but that’s a topic for a future post…


Miscellaneous Notes Re IndieWeb:

BarCamp ⇒ IndieWeb connection: I’ve been a BarCamp (technology unconference) enthusiast since the first one was held in 2005. Tantek Çelik was a cofounder of the first BarCamp. He was also a cofounder of the IndieWeb. (Matt Mullenweg was also one of the inaugural BarCamp cofounders, or at least he’s listed as a BarPlanner Rabble-rouser for the event.) 
Why IndieWeb may be important to you:Why Indie Web” 
If you want to get started with your own IndieWeb site:Getting Started” 
January 2016 post about getting involved with IndieWeb:Taking part in the IndieWeb
April 2014 post about why IndieWeb is important:Why the Indie Web movement is so important
August 2013 Wired overview article about IndieWeb:Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet
February 2016 post about going to the next level on an IndieWeb site:Going Silo-Private to Prefer the IndieWeb, Leave Silo Publics, and Pioneer Privacy on the Independent Web


Other posts related to IndieWeb and Personal Digital Home

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH” — today’s post
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home
IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup
Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH


Tech Company Events & Regional Tech Community Building

Dual-Purpose Tech Events

Tech events. Community building.

I’m always thinking about those two topics. Individually and events

Today’s post is more specifically about how events created and hosted by tech companies can be leveraged or dual-purposed to build the regional tech community.

The spark for this post came from an event announcement email I recently received from PKWARE, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, tech company which provides encryption and compression software to enterprise customers and government entities. Their email said:

You are invited to attend PKWARE’s first DevFest Deck Party on Thursday, June 23rd [2016]…

Calling all software engineers! Come hang out with our awesome engineering and development teams at PKWARE’s DevFest Deck Party…We’ll have tons of food…music, and even a free Raspberry Pi for the first 100 qualified attendees…”pkware

When I saw the email, my thoughts bounced immediately to “if PKWARE is interested in discussing it, how can we leverage this PKWARE event into a community-connecting opportunity for the Wisconsin tech community?” Based on the email mentioning Human Resources (HR) as the primary contact for the event, it appears to be focused on developer recruitment for PKWARE, either short term or long term.

If PKWARE’s sole interest and perceived value for the event is immediate or short term prospects for developer recruitment, dual-purposing the event to also connect and strengthen the Milwaukee or Wisconsin tech community is unlikely to appeal to the company. However, to me it’s worthwhile to initiate with the email’s author a conversation about the potential long term value (to PKWARE) of connecting and supporting the region’s tech community. An open discussion with the company might lead to them deciding tech community building would be a worthwhile secondary outcome of the meeting

milwaukee makerspace 2As a starting point, I suggested to the email’s author that they promote their event with the Milwaukee Makerspace, an organization which has members who are developers and are interested in Raspberry Pi and drones (two swag items at the party). Along with the suggestion, I provided a makerspace contact name and email address. I also offered to share the event announcement with the BarCampMilwaukee Google Group, whose members are primarily Milwaukee area tech people.

In addition to follow-up with PKWARE regarding the email, I pinged a contact I know at another tech company to see if they had an interest in collaborating with PKWARE on that or other tech events. The focus of our discussion was primarily related to the June 23rd party, and my contact felt PKWARE was unlikely to be interested in collaboration on something which appeared to essentially be an internal recruiting event. Future event-support discussions with that other tech company will be pursued since they’ve supported events in the past.

Lunch 2.0

Lunch 2.0One example of tech companies supporting community-connecting activities is Lunch 2.0. I don’t know if a 2016 version of Lunch 2.0 is active in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, but there are other events and practices, e.g. unconferences, which launched on the West Coast ten years ago that are being experimented with in 2016 for the first time by companies in the Midwest and other regions with tech-lag. An article about Lunch 2.0 said:

“…Silicon Valley usually views lunch as an unwelcome break from the high-speed workday. Google and other high-tech firms even serve up gourmet cuisine to keep their workers in the office.
But a small group of high-tech go-getters…created a loose-knit community in search of a free lunch — and social interactions with their peers. They call it Lunch 2.0. Their slogan: “We really want to eat your lunch.”

At first, they pressed friends for informal lunch invitations. Afterward, they blogged about their experiences and posted photos and videos…As the concept caught on through word-of-mouth and on the Internet, more techies began to sign up — online — and show up.

Companies, seizing the opportunity to get face time with some of Silicon Valley’s top talent, began hosting lunches, handing out T-shirts and other swag, getting feedback on their products and collecting resumes. Now Lunch 2.0 circulates through Silicon Valley like a progressive cocktail party, the quintessential social network tapping the power of the Internet to create community and conversation…”

Was Lunch 2.0 just a short-lived dubious-value phenomenon, like some Silicon Valley trends, or do some aspects of Lunch 2.0 still have inherent value for tech companies? Was it a high-value activity for Silicon Valley companies in 2007, and might it have significant value in 2016 for NE Wisconsin, NW Michigan, or other regions not on the West Coast or in tech hotspots like Austin, Seattle, or New York?

Abundance Economy or Scarcity Economy?

rising tide floats all boatsThere are numerous other types of events which can be dual-purpose for tech companies, achieving both an immediate company goal, i.e. connecting with potential recruits, and a larger-view long term goal which benefits more than just one organization. The prerequisite for productive conversations about dual-purpose tech company events is an embrace of the abundance economy concept, sometimes captured by the John F Kennedy catchphrase, “a rising tide floats all boats,” vs the scarcity economy where people primarily focus on getting their piece of a limited pie. [Caveat: IANAE — I am not an economist…]

There are a lot of companies which can be classified as tech companies, or which have a significant number of tech employees in NE Wisconsin, in NW Michigan (Lower Peninsula), and in other regions. Decision-makers at some of those companies are likely receptive to discussions about sponsoring dual-purpose events, and discussions with decision-makers who don’t see value in dual-purpose events may have other serendipitous outcomes.

If you’re interested in discussing or working on this type of dual-purpose events involving the tech community (regardless of your location), please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com. And regardless of whether you contact me, consider supporting, organizing or participating in dual-purpose tech events in your region!


Other posts highly relevant to connecting and supporting regional tech communities:

Events And Building Regional Culture: Part 1

Events And Building Regional Culture: Part 2

TIME Community & Events


Automattic Happiness Engineer For 3 Weeks: Part 2

[Just to clarify — this post is being written from the position of having sent my application for the position of Events Wrangler, but not yet having heard back from them regarding scheduling an initial chat interview.]

Comprehensive Coverage Is Elusive

This is an updated perspective on what sounds like a challenging, exciting, scary, exhausting and fun way to start out my Automattician Adventure — three weeks in the role of Happiness Engineer! Part 1 was published about a month ago.

happiness engineerIt was my hope that over the past month I’d find a bunch of detailed posts about Automatticians’ first three weeks on the job, sagas of their onboarding stint as a Happiness Engineer. Didn’t happen. Lots of Google searches. A dearth of detailed sagas.

That dearth is understandable. The first three weeks in a new job are usually brain overload. The Automattic new-hires who will be full time Happiness Engineers (HE) no doubt find few things remarkable about their first three weeks, because that’s what they hired on to do full time. Their first three weeks must blend into weeks four, five and six without much of a bump. So they don’t have any particular reason to highlight what the three week orientation HE work was like.

Automatticians going into other full time positions might end their three week HE stint with a sigh of satisfaction followed by a longer sigh of relief. They’re happy to move on to code wrangling, theme wrangling or whatever other area they signed on for. The first month or two in a new job after the onboarding period are generally pretty hectic — trying to get up to speed with everyone else, adjusting to the rhythm of work at Automattic, digging in deep to produce something that feels worthwhile. Writing a blog post about a three week HE tour of duty is far from the top of their to-do list.

4 Steps To A Detailed Tale

Odds are, the only extensive tales capturing the three week intro to HEing are written by a new hire who:

  1. Before being hired has set themselves the goal of chronicling those early-on escapades.
  2. Takes numerous notes throughout each day of the first three weeks.
  3. Summarizes the daily notes periodically throughout the three weeks.
  4. onboardingPublishes their “3-Week Onboarding: The Automattic Ship” final post, or series of posts within the first month after moving into their full time position.

The above four points are what I will do after Automattic hires me as an Events Wrangler. Well, I’ve already done the first, so I’ll actually be doing items 2 through 4 when I start working for them…

Although I didn’t find the storehouse of intriguing tales of onboarding, there were bits and pieces, and I read lots more about other aspects of work at Automattic. I’ll continue to poke around with Google and new search terms, and I’ll update this post if my searches locate any particularly helpful posts.

4 Automattically Interesting Items

Whilst searching for more info about the three week onboarding period, the four items below that I serendipitously found were of high interest to me.

rands(1) Seeing the Automattic Excellence Wrangler page quote Rands (Michel Lopp) was one more plus for the company. He is an excellent writer, knows geeks and the tech industry, and has been on my must-read list for many years. If you’re a coder or other type of nerd / geek, check out Rands, including his Nerd Handbook.

A healthy development team was one that had engineers doing their best to build a great product. These engineers were paired with a team of QA engineers who were doing their best to prove the product wasn’t great.
Rands in Repose

(2) Andrea Badgley highlighted an insight that all new hires need to internalize or they’ll always feel conflicted about taking “work” time to read the P2/O2 posts. While doing the three week onboarding and in my work as an Events Wrangler, I’ll keep that point in mind.

“…When I transitioned to full time, the hiring squad set me up with a mentor, Caroline. I told her recently, “I’ve spent the past couple of days reading relevant P2 posts, there’s no ‘product’ at the end of that – no ticket or chat closed – so it feels like I’m slacking off, you know?”

She knew.

I am guilty of thinking I’m ‘not working’ when I’m reading P2s,” she said, “But that’s a huge part of our jobs! It’s all the talks and meetings we’d have if we were working in a traditional office. So it’s still important, and counts…”

(3) Andrea also did a post recently about SupConf. That post is a good indicator that the not-conventional events I’d like to do as an Events Wrangler will either be endorsed and supported, or that the event proposals will at least generate good discussions and lead to supconfworthwhile progress on moving WordPress and Automattic forward.

Several months ago, Scott Tran of the Support Driven community asked me some questions about an internal mini-conference I had organized for Automattic‘s annual meetup. He was thinking about organizing a conference for support professionals, and he’d never organized a conference before…I had never organized a public conference before, either…

A couple of weeks later, Scott contacted me with some follow up questions…And then he asked, “Would you like to help me plan this conference?”

…Customer support is a noble profession with a bad reputation…And so I said yes. SupConf needed to happen. We needed a place where we could gather, learn from each other, teach each other, and figure out how to blaze the path…”

(4) This last item was more of a food-for-thought soundbite from Fast Company. It made me stop and think about open source projects and the huge influence of benevolent dictators for life, e.g. Linus Torvalds, Guido van Rossum, Matt Mullenweg. Thinking about them reinforces the saying attributed to Margaret Mead — “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” It also causes one to wonder what the future holds. For Matt. For Automattic. For WordPress.

“…if Zuckerberg dies, Facebook users won’t notice. If Mullenweg moves on, WordPress won’t immediately crumble, but its spiritual fire may die…”

Regarding my three weeks as a Happiness Engineer, what the future holds for me is more time in the forums. I intended to spend lots of time there, but haven’t integrated that item into my calendar yet.

Goal: Spend 1+ hour per day at least five days per week in the forums for the next few weeks; take notes and write a future post about the forums.


June 11, 2016: News & Views Roundup For Events Wranglers

Here’s today’s curated smattering of recent events wrangling news and views. My goal is to have this Saturday’s items inform you or inspire you. Maybe you’ll even do something a little different for your next event because of what you read here! For complete details on any of these goodies, click the headline link and read the juicy cyber-details at the source.

See How C2 Montréal Used Umbrellas for NetworkingBrain dating and the modern conference-goerThe Conference That’s Trying to Reinvent How We Network

E 180For some conference goers, there is nothing more stressful than the idea of networking. Many would rather pull out their smart phones and check their emails than take the risk of approaching a stranger to introduce themselves or get stuck in the wrong conversation. However, when asked, many people cite networking as their number one reason for coming to conferences, so avoiding networking is not the solution.

Sometimes it just takes something or someone (or both) to facilitate the connection. This is what Christine Renaud, founder of E-180, the social business that powers C2 Montréal’s Brain Dates, refers to as engineering serendipity…”

C2 Montreal, suspended chairs

This past May, I found myself at a conference unlike any other I’d ever attended. What made it so different was the way people were interacting. One group sat in a circle of chairs suspended from the ceiling, a net beneath them in case anyone fell. Two others were in seats on the ground, positioned back to back with virtual reality goggles on, conversing with one another’s avatar. Two more were climbing up a ladder into a giant nest-like structure. Another pair chatted while pumping their legs on exercise bikes on an elevated catwalk. And, out back, strangers were taking Ferris wheel rides together.

According to Nadia Lakhdari…this is the future of conference networking. “A big reason we go to conferences is for the sense of community, to make personal connections and build relationships,” she explains. “We want to move people beyond sharing business cards at the coffee break, or, worse, just standing around staring at their phones…”

C2 Montréal and E-180 sound Extremely fun and intriguing, and I’ll be researching them more after I finish this post. I especially think the wording in “Brain dating and the modern conference-goer” captures the situation accurately and succinctly: “For some conference goers, there is nothing more stressful than the idea of networking… However…many people cite networking as their number one reason for coming to conferences, so avoiding networking is not the solution.” If E-180 has developed a tool or approach that effectively addresses this issue, I want to work with them or figure out how to replicate their success. Here are two related items you might also want to scan: and

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Storytelling at Events

An engaging, attention-grabbing story will make anyone sit up and listen. Great stories are the cornerstone of every great event, but harnessing their true potential is often overlooked in the planning phase…Stories can transform an entire event, start to finish and inform the tone for the next event. Here are some different ways event professionals can incorporate the use of stories… 

  • Our brains spark magical neural connections with storytellers when hearing a fantastic tale. If we relate to a story, we are much more likely to remember it and connect it to an existing memory. In order to be effective your marketing materials, keynote and breakout speakers, brand activations, and even entertainment needs to be contextual…
  • Allow your participants to be part of the story you tell at your event. Weddings are a great example of this because each guest is invited to become part of the Bride and Groom’s love story, and help tell that story through the ages by being part of their special day…”

I included this item because storytelling is one of the three most neglected and most important aspects of events. Events can have much greater impact if the stories which people bring to an event, which occur at an event, and which happen because-of-but-after an event are captured and shared effectively. This short article isn’t able to thoroughly cover the myriad of issues related to event storytelling, but I hope it gets you thinking about how this general subject might make your event better.

Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-centric

Social media and events, at their core, bring people together. When used properly, they should go hand-in-hand. Social media providers have recognized this and are increasingly becoming more event-centric in their product offerings. Here are a few new ways that this is happening:

  • …Last year, for Facebook Business Pages, “Call to Action” buttons were added including a “Sign Up” button. Every event planner using an online registration form should consider including this “Sign Up” button on their FB Event page linking to their event registration page.
  • In April 2016, Facebook partnered with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite allowing attendees to register directly on their Facebook pages. With an API (Application Program Interface), this should become more common with other online registration providers…
  • Instagram, with 400 million users, is owned by Facebook. The inherently visual and mobile nature of this app has proven to be helpful and is increasingly used at events and exhibitions.
  • In January 2016, Instagram started curating videos about live events. Although these have centered around large sporting events, it is an indication of the recognition of the importance of events.
  • Snapchat, with 100 million daily active users, is much more than an app for teenagers to send disappearing chat messages. They have made a number of moves to make their app more event-centric…
  • Snapchat Experts can help plan a Snapchat event marketing campaign…
  • Twitter, with more than 332 million active users, provided the original social media back channel for events. Making its major debut at the 2007 SXSW conference, the twitter hashtag is now a central social media search phrase at many events, and is used across multiple social channels…
  • Periscope is increasingly used at events for event marketing and for attendees to share their experiences (for up to 24 hours) with each other and to a larger audience…”social media and events

For 80% of event goers it’s true that “social media and events, at their core, bring people together; when used properly, they should go hand-in-hand.”

Someone on your event team needs to be knowledgeable about and responsible for event interaction with Facebook, Twitter and other social media which is relevant to your target audience. Connecting social media and events effectively is a something that should be experimented with a bit cautiously because of the possibility of negative virality or personal sensitivity. From a general event standpoint, though, tasteful promotion and storytelling about an event on social media can pay huge dividends.

The one clichéd caution I offer you for this communication channel is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Hard for it to stay in Vegas if it’s on social media

7 Signs You May be a Jurassic Park Event Manager

Jurassic ParkI read with great amusement a post on the Event Planning and Event Management LinkedIn group by someone who called himself a “member of the Jurassic Park class of event managers” because he looks askance at those who think they can pack everything they need to manage an event on their laptops and mobile phones…herewith are a few of the signs I can think of that you may, in fact, be a venerable velociraptor of the meetings kind…:

  • You wax nostalgic over the “handshake” deals of the past as you review page 27 of your upcoming meeting’s 52-page contract.
  • Texting is all well and good, but there’s nothing like walkie-talkies to communicate with staff on site…”

This lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek post has two lessons between the lines for events wranglers.

  1. If you’re a Jurassic Park Event Manager, your events might suffer because of it. Evaluate the pros and cons of changes and new tools carefully. Don’t reject new options just because they’re new.
  2. Not all changes are good, and there is much more event technology available than any conference or unconference can effectively make use of. Evaluate the pros and cons of changes and new tools carefully. Don’t use new tools or technology just because they’re new.

What’s a CMP Worth? About $8,500

CMP“…Results from the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2016 annual salary survey find that, while the average salary of the more than 400 association, corporate, and independent meeting professional respondents was $80,505, those with the CMP behind their names earned about $8,500 more than those without it. More findings from the survey:

  • The glass ceiling appears to be intact in the meeting planning world: Men reported earning an average of $100,179, versus $77,340 for women.
  • More than two-thirds also said they had more responsibilities piled on their plates over the previous year…Three-quarters of those who had more work piled on over the past 12 months said they were not getting any additional compensation for it…”

Whether a certification would improve your events wrangler job depends greatly on where you work or the clients for whom you want to work. For some people the CMP title will bring more jobs, a higher income or self-satisfaction. For others, it may be a questionable use of time and money.