All posts by Siobhan

Parking at WordCamp San Francisco

If you’re driving to WordCamp San Francisco this weekend, you may be wondering where to find a parking place!

Mission Bay Conference Center

There are two main parking options that we recommend for Saturday and Sunday:

  • Parking Garage at 1625 Owens Street: 8 hours of parking for $30. For WCSF attendees there is a discount to $15. To take advantage of the discount you need to get a parking voucher from a WCSF volunteer and then pay at the garage as you leave. There is no in-and-out parking with this $15 voucher.
  • Fourth Street Surface Lot: on 4th Street, just north of 16th Street. This is only $3 per day, but is a bit of a walk from the venue.

All parking at Mission Bay is first-come, first-served, so please plan accordingly.

More info at


Here are two parking garages that we recommend within 5 minutes walk of the Automattic Lounge at 132 Hawthorne:

California Parking 690 Harrison, SF, CA 94107
Archstone Parking 1 Saint Francis Place San Francisco, CA 94107

Surviving the World Series at WCSF

You may, or may not, have heard that the world series will be held in San Francisco this weekend. If you’re like me and you come from out of town, you might be wondering what a world series is. The world series is the annual championship series of the North-American baseball league. It’s sort of like the world cup, but with more hitting a ball with a bat and less kicking a ball with a foot.

The world series will be played in San Francisco 25th – 27th October.

What does this mean for me?

This weekend, you can expect a huge influx of baseball fans into San Francisco. Even more baseball fans than WordPress fans (if you can believe it!). Here’s what you need to know:

  • Games start at 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and possibly Sunday.
  • Car traffic will be particularly bad in the 2-3 hours prior to the event (from about 2pm onwards).
  • Car traffic will be bad again when the games get out (around 8pm – 9:30pm).
  • Trains will also be crowded during these times.
  • If you are driving to the Mission Bay Conference Center, park in the parking garage at 1625 Owens Street. Collect a discount voucher from the WCSF volunteers at Mission Bay and you’ll get a discount rate of $15 for the day. You can pay at the parking garage.
  • If you arrive in the morning and leave after 5:30 – 6pm you should avoid the worst of the traffic.
  • Parking will be difficult and/or expensive in the area near the Saturday social, the Automattic offices at 132 Hawthorne Street.
  • Restaurants will be more crowded than usual and wait times may increase. Either book ahead or plan to eat while the games are on.
  • There will be a lot of drunk fans in the SOMA area.
  • You can use the SFPark app to help you find parking spaces and keep up to date about traffic.
  • The 511 website has updates about public transport and traffic.

The games may end on Saturday but they may continue over the whole weekend. This depends on the wins from the games being held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday this week.

If you have any questions or concerns get in touch, or grab one of our helpful volunteers over the weekend.


Introducing Sara Cannon

Sara Cannon is an artist, designer, creative thinker, business owner, developer, and dreamer. She’s a Partner and the Creative Director at Range: a Design and Development Agency specializing in WordPress.

In the beginning

In 2004, Sara was a design student in college when she  was searching for a CMS to use for an organisation she supports.

I put them on Joomla and thought “surely there is another option out there.” I stumbled upon WordPress and have been hooked ever since.

Since then she’s contributed to core, organised WordCamps and Meetups, and co-founded a WordPress business:

WordPress and the WordPress community is such a huge part of my life. I can’t imagine what I would be doing without it. #CheersToTheGPL


As well as being a designer, Sara is a talented artist. Her work, at is based on the intersection of organic shapes, geometry, and landscapes:

I thoroughly enjoy making art and believe that the exploration of form and imagery in a different medium makes be a better designer.  I really enjoy exploring stimulating geometric patterns and bright whimsical imagery.

Sara at WordCamps


Sara is a WordCamp regular. In the past she’s been an organiser of WordCamp Birmingham. She’s attended 4 WordCamp San Franciscos alone, and spoke at two of them. “One of my favorite memories is hosting a launch party for Range in 2012 and inviting all of our close friends in the community (our WordPress family) to come and celebrate the new beginning with us.”

Sara’s first WordCamp presentation was at WordCamp Birmingham in 2009. The presentation, “WordPress and Your Brand”, went well, but unfortunately there was no microphone so she had to yell to be heard.

A slide from that presentation is a precursor to her presentation this year. It reads “good typography improves user experience.” This year she will talk about “Typography and User Experience.”

“Typography is everything” has been one of my mantras for many years. It is one of the most important aspects about visual communication, yet we rarely discuss it. It sets the tone, message, readability, as well as the experience in performing tasks. Typography can be so great that you don’t even notice it’s there when reading, or it can be so bad that it messes up your experience to the point of frustration (Like sending an article to a reader to avoid on-page distractions). Really, I believe that type is an important aspect of user experience and I’m super thrilled to be presenting on it an WordCamp San Francisco!


Introducing M Asif Rahman

M Asif Rahman is an entrepreneur and WordPress enthusiast. His motto is “I do Code, I Write, I Dream and I make them Real.” He spends part of the year in Dhaka, Bangladesh, part of the year in Florida, and the rest of his time is spent travelling in places like California, Europe, Australia, and Singapore.

Getting Started with WordPress

His first experience of WordPress was in 2004 when he had to make a website at University. He tried Blogger first but, disappointed with how it looked, he switched to WordPress.

Asif Speaking at WordCamp Melbourne

Asif’s first WordCamp presentation was “Best practices in WordPress from a Webmaster point-of-view”, presented at WordCamp Melbourne. His biggest challenges was his accent, which some people struggled to understand, but he slowed down and the audience gave him a warm round of applause at the end.

Asif has attended WordCamp San Francisco four times. One of his fondest memories is meeting Matt in person.

Though I wrote to him and we communicated in social media for long time, but meeting in person was superb. We talked for awhile and he showed keen interest on learning how people interacted with WordPress back in my country, Bangladesh, and how we could bring that community closer.

WordPress in Bangladesh

WordPress’ growth in Bangladesh was slow to begin with, competing in its early days with Joomla. Since 2010, WordPress has had a big impact on developers and small businesses. A large number of people are builing themes and plugins, and some design firms and consultants a focusing purely on WordPress. “You will be astonished,” Asif says, “that the rates of adoption of WordPress among mid to large company is way higher then US or other market.” In Bangladesh, WordPress enthusiasts gather around a community called WordPressians which has 12,500 member on Facebook alone.

WordPress became the touch point, the starting tool for a young nation with about 100 million people under 32yrs old: it’s massive. You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you but WordPress is more well-known among normal Bangladeshi people than from here at US.

Asif’s presentation

At WordCamp San Francisco this year, Asif will talk about his story with WordPress.

I want to show people how WordPress changed my life, I want to show how this community, this open source eco-system, helped me to dream big. How does a very simple boy from Bangladesh without any prior web programming experience try to make a real difference. This is real honor to me and I really feel privileged to be able to speak in Central WordCamp on such an emotional topic. I hope to inspire others and give them hope.

Making the Most of the WCSF Happiness Bar

Happiness bars are a common feature at WordCamps, and WCSF is no different. A happiness bar is a place where you can go to talk to WordPress experts about your website. We’re lucky at WCSF to have so many WordPress experts from across the community so if you’re having problems with your website it’s a great opportunity to get some advice.

What Type of Questions Should I Ask?

You can ask any sort of WordPress question you like, but if you want to make the most of those experts’ brains it’s best to have a think beforehand about what sort of assistance you need. Here are some things you could ask about:

  • concerned about your website’s security? Ask for advice on how to make your website more secure.
  • if your website is running slowly, ask for some advice on performance that can get things moving again.
  • sick of your website’s theme? Ask the experts for recommendations of places to find well-coded, well-supported themes.
  • if you’re just thinking about setting up a website, you could ask whether or WordPress is better suited to your needs.
  • if you’re getting a lot of error messages, ask our experts to fix your site and learn how to do it while you watch.
  • get advice on CSS customizations and design tweaks on your website.

Feel free to ask whatever questions you wish, but please be respectful of other attendees. If a queue starts to form, make sure that other people have the chance to ask their questions too.

Whatever WordPress help you need, the folks at the Happiness Bar are there to help. It’s like the support forums, but live!

What To Expect When You’re Expecting to Go to WCSF

This post was originally posted by Mika Epstein (Ipstenu) on Half-Elf on Tech. Thanks Mika for letting us repost here!

So WordCamp San Francisco is in a month and a half and you’re raring to go? I’ve done two WordCamp San Francisco’s, so I’m by no means an expert of them, but I’ve been to the Bay Area enough to know some of the more annoying aspects of it. Here are my top considerations for the camp of camps.

Airport delays

I’m going to say this. SFO sucks. It just does. I’ve only flown once without significant delays, and that was 2012 where they had a ‘surprisingly mild summer.’ The rest of the time, consider flying into Oakland. You can still take the Bart. The reason SFO sucks, in general, is the cloud coverage. The airport is right by the water, and the weather caused by the bay is nuts. Speaking of ….


Pack for cool weather. “Summer” in the Bay Area is not like summer in pretty much the rest of California. It’s a micro-climate, hemmed in by the bay and the mountains, which means it’s cool and a little damp. Unless you’re used to it, pack long pants and light jackets because the damp will do a number on you. Spring or fall weight (light sweatshirts) versus summer weight is smart. Lots of people bring shawls, if you’re into that, and the trick is light layers. Everyone from outside the US, I’m really sorry, it’s not ‘summer’ at all. I will note than in 2013, it was actually warm, so having a light jacket that was easy to tuck away was my best friend.

October isn’t going to be cold in San Francisco, but it won’t be warm either. That light jacket will be your friend.

Comfortable shoes

Shoes that are probably not very comfortableSpeaking about clothes, remember your feet! You willwalk. Bring comfy shoes. In fact, bring two pair. I pack sneakers, comfy ‘talking’ shoes, and a pair of flip-flops for the inevitable moment when I can’t fit my feet back in my shoes. You will also be standing and talking a lot. If you, like me, have a knee that likes to flip you the bird, keep that in mind and have no shame in telling people you have to sit down.

Transportation woes

There are six taxis in SF and you probably know the way better than they do thanks to Google Maps. No, I kid. But really, taxis are rare. A lot of people use Uber or Lyft to handle booking cars for quick transport, but even with that, people use other options. It’s kind of like Gypsy cabs, if you’re from the East, only a little less sketchy. Most of us use the BART, though. It comes right from the airport (both Oakland and SFO), and you can get a Clipper Pass to use both MUNI (which goes from downtown to where WCSF if held) and traditional BART. If you plan on coming back to SF ever, it’s a decent investment.

Walking through many classes of areas quickly

You can go from upscale to seedy in about a block, so if you’ve never walked through the city before, please go with someone you know already, or suck up the price of a car ride. Can you walk from your hotel to WCSF? Probably. Do you want to? Probably not by yourself. This is not to say that San Francisco is particularly dangerous, but it’s a big city. There are crazy people and bad people in every major city in the world. Be aware of this. I try to never be alone on the streets at night in any city, just as a rule, unless I know the city really well. Even so, I lived in Chicago for 15 years, and I never once forgot that I was a woman, and it just plain wasn’t safe to walk though, oh, Cabrini Green by myself at night. If you don’t know what is and is not a safe part of town, don’t go alone, or don’t go at all.


Hundreds of Maine students who gathered Thursday at the University of Maine's Collins Center for the Arts hold up the Apple laptops they use as part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.Unless you’re speaking or doing the Happiness Bar and, thus, need the laptop, leave it at home. Bring your tablet to take notes on or use a notebook. There are usually some Moleskin and pen swag lying around, so grab one if you forgot yours and take your notes/reminders there. If you bring your computer, you will be tempted to log in, be social there, and do work. You just came to a massive, in person, WordCamp. Look up from the screen once in a while. I promise, WordPress is people.


Everyone gives away swag at WordCamps. There are the high-level sponsors who have tables, and they’ve usually got t-shirts, pins, pens, candy, postcards (with information), water bottles, and all sorts of weird stuff. You can get swag from everyone, even your competitors (who really are your coopetition, right?). I’m fond of how soft the WPEngine shirts are. You will get tons of swag. Leave room in your luggage for this stuff so you can get home. Also you’ll want to bring an empty bag with you to the event to tote stuff around. Unless, like me, you know how to make bags out of swag pins and t-shirts, you want that extra bag.

Hugs (set boundaries fast!)

I need to preface this with “The way I hug you is not directly proportional to how I feel about you.” I hug like I follow people on Twitter. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, and it’s pretty fluid based on my mood.

It’s okay not to hug! A lot of us are huggers, though, especially because some people are considered family. No, I’m not related to Amy or Andrea (or Andrea) or Courtney or Jen, but we’re good friends and they’re people I will likely hug a lot. Especially right before they go on stage, or right after, or when we first see each other, or when we’re leaving for the day, or when we check out of hotels… Then there are people like Otto and Jaquith and Nacin and Koop who almost always get at least one hug hello.

There are also a lot of people I bro-hug. You know the one, right? Where you clasp a hand and keep it between you as you one-arm hug?

Bro Hug

This doesn’t mean I like you less. I’ve hugged my wife this way following a performance. It may mean I’m feeling overwhelmed and need not to hug someone. I may have spilled my drink on myself and not want to get you wet. Maybe I smell bad and don’t want you to know. Point is, different people have different huggy rules depending on their mood. Respect that. Also it’s okay to hold up your hands and so ‘No, bro, no hugs.’ I went to WordCamp Portland while getting over a nasty flu bug, and was on a no-hug trip. People understood.

People talking like they know you (and they probably do)

They do know you. Or your work. Or your avatar. Suffice to say, it’s weird the first time it happens, and it’s weird every other time. Even Otto has remarked to me that he finds it weird. I mean, we’re just people, we’re not celebrities, right? You’d be surprised how other people feel. It’s still weird to me, but recently someone said “Where do I know you from?” and I smiled and replied “Probably the Internet.” He cracked up and we exchanged nicknames which was when he realized he’d seen me on WordPress TV. People know you, they know your avatar, and they’ll want to treat you a little different than ‘normal’ because to them, you’re kind of important. Say ‘you’re welcome’ when they thank you, and if they have something to give you (like more of those awesome 10up moleskins?) say ‘thank you’ and you will be a great person.

Mobbing and/or Monopolizing People

So many people do this, I feel bad for Matt Mullenweg (whom I know expects this and is probably okay with it). A lot of people want to meet Matt and talk shop. Respect the fact that everyone wants his time, and try not to take up more than five minutes. Maximum. If there are other people hovering around you looking anxious, ask him what a good way would be to get in touch and talk longer later.

As for other people… I was at a WordCamp where I was chatting with a friend and noticed someone standing to the side looking edgy. I smiled at her, stepped to open up the chat circle, and asked if she wanted to join our chat. She actually wanted to thank me, personally, for something. As we talked, a couple more people queued up. As the first woman kept on talking, I finally said “You know, I’d love to talk to you more about this, but we seem to have made a line. How about we all sit together and lunch and we can all chat?” She huffed, but agreed, and the next person smiled at me and said she didn’t want to monopolize, but did I know of a good plugin for something. I did, she thanked me, and left. That set the tone for the next few people. They realized they weren’t the only person important to me in that moment, and they shared me.

So the take away here? Share the person you’re mobbing. Take no more than 3 minutes. If it takes more than that, you should offer to buy them lunch/coffee/dinner and have a private chat. After all, they’re here to learn too!

Woman plugging her ears with fingers

Afterparty Earplugs

Sensitive ears? Bring ‘em. The afterparty is a party. It’s loud, and it may not be for you. But know that earplugs are probably a good idea. Also it’s NOT a dinner, so after camp breaks up, get with a group of people and go eat. Go to your hotel and nap. Then come party. We’ll still be there. They usually have to kick us out.

Losing your voice

I come out of WCSF sounding like Angie Harmon, and with a really sore throat, every single time. I talk to a lot of people, I end up shouting to be heard at dinner/parties. I am far more social at at WordCamp than I am in my normal life, where I like to be pretty quiet, so I almost always come back a little Kathleen Turner. So I guess there could be worse fates!

What about you?

What are your tips and tricks?

Thank You to Our Golden Gate Sponsors

WordCamps are made awesome by the speakers and the attendees that come to share their knowledge, meet each other, learn about WordPress, and generally have a good time.

But WordCamps are made possible by the sponsors who support them. With that in mind, we’d like to thank our Golden Gate sponsors, Bluehost, Jetpack, GoDaddy, and Pantheon.

They’ve shared some videos with us to tell the world why they love WordPress and WordCamps.





Introducing Jenny Wong

Jenny Wong is a web developer from Reading in the UK. She works at Human Made, a WordPress-focussed agency in the UK. As well as her development work, she works to help local communities to get involved with the WordPress project.

Her first involvement with WordPress was at the PHPNW conference. As an intern, she was given the job of updating content. In 2011, she migrated all of their annual conferences into one multisite instance and built a new theme.

UK WordPress Contributor Days

WordPress co-founder Mike Little at the contributor day in Manchester
WordPress co-founder Mike Little at the contributor day in Manchester

Jenny has spearheaded a drive in the UK to organise contributor days across the country. These events are focused on getting people started with contributing to WordPress. The first was a one-day event in Manchester. The day starts with the attendees splitting off into groups and learning how to contribute in different areas.

It was inspired by WordCamp London and it was to encourage contributions outside of WordCamp events. I found that it was a common problem where people either could not get set up correctly on their machines locally to contribute / didn’t know how to contribute / didn’t have any time to contribute. Contributor Days solve this because you have people who can help you get set up, you are making time to contribute by going to a event as well as getting help and support to contributions.

It’s also more fun to be contributing together as a community rather than on your own.

The first event went really well with patches being accepted into core on the day of event. Since then, the UK community has had 3 more contributor days and there are more being planned. With so much contributor activity in the UK more names are appearing on the WordPress contributor list.

Jenny at WordCamps

Jenny’s first WordCamp presentation was last year at WordCamp Lancaster, where she talked about debugging. “I learnt a lot through the Q&A,” she says, “which was more of a discussion of tools other people used to debug WordPress.”

Since then she’s been to a number of WordCamps, and organised WordCamp Manchester. She finds that she learns a lot at WordCamps, from different developers’ methodologies to tools and plugins.

The best bit about attending WordCamps has to be the awesome people you meet. I meet people who on IRC or a forum have helped me out on setting up or developing something (Paul Gibbs springs to mind as one of the many people) and being able to say Thank You in person means a lot. Other people I’ve met at WordCamps are now my colleagues and friends.

2014 will be Jenny’s first WordCamp San Francisco! She’ll be presenting a lightning talk on “The base ingredients of debugging.” In the presentation she’ll be taking you on a tour of the debugging process and tools that will make your life easier.

it doesn’t matter what level of developer you are or what type of developer you are, we all come across bugs in our development life. I used to always get myself in a frenzy over how to tackle each bug but this process has helped me keep my head cool and my stress levels down.

Introducing Boone Gorges

Boone is one of the lead developers of BuddyPress, a contributor to WordPress, and the author of a dozens of freely available plugins. As a freelancer, his free software work is unpaid: he’s a vocal advocate for convincing clients to cover the costs of his community-focused work.

He works as freelance WordPress developer and consultant, specialising in custom functionality for BuddyPress. As a former academic, he works mostly with universities who are interested in creating online spaces where faculty, students, and staff can meet, collaborate, and share the work being done on campus.

He is also a dad, a competitive crossword solver, a former philosopher, a barbecue enthusiast, and a very cool guy.

In the beginning


Boone first used WordPress to create a forum for the students in his Introduction to Ethics class where they could share work and provide feedback to one another. In 2009, he started working professionally with WordPress when a friend started a WordPress-powered project called CUNY Academic Commons. From helping out with IE6 CSS bugs he found himself delving under the hood of WPMU and the then-in-beta BuddyPress.

The same year, he gave his first WordCamp presentation, on the WPMU & BuddyPress track at WordCamp New York. It was called “Developing BuddyPress as a Collaboration Hub.” Boone talked about some of the customizations he’d done for CUNY Academic commons.

I don’t remember much about the talk itself. I do remember being terrified that Andy Peatling – BuddyPress’s founding developer – was sitting silently in the back row. It was like being in high school and meeting a girlfriend’s father for the first time: I half expected to get my lights punched out for defiling his baby. (Postscript: I now know that Andy is One Sweet Fella and I am far less afraid of him.)

L to R: Matt Mullenweg, John James Jacoby, Boone Gorges, Raymond Hoh, Andy Peatling
BuddyCamp Vancouver. L to R: Matt Mullenweg, John James Jacoby, Boone Gorges, Raymond Hoh, Andy Peatling

At WordCamp San Francisco

2014 will see Boone attend WordCamp San Francisco for a second time. The last time he came was in 2012. He spent the contributor day working with other members of the BuddyPress team, wrapping up some final issues before releasing BP 1.6. “I had to catch the red-eye back to NYC that night,” he recalls, “and I remember sitting in a bar at SFO around 11pm, waiting for my flight to board, and drafting release materials in a WordCamp-induced haze.”

This year, Boone will be talking about why it is both prudent and feasible for WordPress freelancers and small business owners to contribute to WordPress and other related free software projects. Despite being a free software advocate himself, Boone stresses that the presentation will be non-idealogical. “The truth is that  people susceptible to Stallman-type arguments probably don’t need any convincing to contribute to the cause of free software,” he says “The people who need convincing are those who are more concerned with profits than with philosophy, and its to those people that I’ll really be addressing my talk.”

Boone will talk about strategies that enable freelancers to contribute to the project in a sustainable. He’s put together some interesting stats about the project’s contributor base:

I’ll have much more to say during the presentation itself, but I’ll tease it with this observation: WordPress powers some 20%+ of all web sites. Yet WordPress itself is built (even when we understand “built” quite broadly) by just a few hundred people. When such a huge economic burden is placed on such a small number of individuals, it puts the entire system in danger. For this reason, I humbly suggest that my presentation is super important and unmissable for every person who relies on WordPress in any way at all.

(Featured Image CC License webmatter – thanks! 🙂 )

More WordCamp San Francisco Tickets and our Schedule

The schedule is live! Now you can check out when your favorite speaker is on stage, and agonize about tough choices over who you’re going to see live and who you’ll catch on later.

And, as promised, we have another batch of tickets on sale. One more small block of tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, October 1 at 6am Pacific time, but buy your ticket now if you can! There’s only so many WordPressers that we can squeeze into the Mission Bay Conference Center at one time.

Coming in from out of town? Having trouble finding a hotel room? We have arranged a special rate of $269 per night at the Hotel Triton (342 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108). Book your room at this reduced rate via this special link or call Alison Kuntz at 415.292.8173.

See you in October!