Opening Remarks: Wordcamp Raleigh Convention 2018

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At 9:15am on 4/28/2018, I attended the Opening Remarks, Presented by Bridget Willard of Pressable, at the 2018 Raleigh Wordcamp Convention in the Engineering Building I of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

Opening Remarks: Wordcamp Raleigh Convention 2018

The first part of the opening remarks were begun by Ben Silver. He began by telling a story of his first wordpress camp. In this talk, in the opening remark, a newbie interrupted to ask the main speaker “How do I FTP into my website?”. This is a major faux pas. Its important to note that you should not interrupt the speaker in a small room. You shouldn’t interrupt the keynote speaker at any time, and you shouldn’t ever interrupt a woman-his wife taught him that…

He stopped the story to let us imagine how the main speaker reacted to an almost instant interrruption.

5 Quick Things To Note

There is a code of coduct here– its on the website. Should we need this? not really, but we do have it. Make sure you adhere to it. This event is about the community, not the speaker and not you individually. If you feel the session isn’t y0ur speed, do what needs to be done and then consider visiting the happiness bar for individual assistance.

There is an After Party at the Raleigh Beer Garden. Its not a techbro spot. Why did we choose this venue? Well, it was free. The beer is great. Lots of beer, inside there are multiple floors, outside there is plenty of places. All ages are welcome, it’s all inclusive. Come join us from 7-9pm at Raleigh Beer Garden.

There is a conference tomorrow here. Its called “Wordcamp” and we encourage everyone to attend. There are donuts and other breakfast items for those not into wheat and gluten and things that are sweet. Its in EB1 where we registered for this conference. Typically the event crowd drops off drastically in the second day, but we encourage you all to attend. There are great speakers.

This is an all-volunteer organization. In the past we has several different tracks: developer, business, designer. The workshops were often seen as too X for the X track. Naming after flowers allows each person to gauge what’s right for them. Please enjoy the topics you like and ensure that you can have some time to meet with everyone. Ask lots of questions and contribute when and if you can.

This is a volunteer run conference, and it cannot be run without sponsors. Please visit our sponsors and see if and how you can use their services. Without their help, this conference would not be possible. Meet them, see how they can help you, and sing their praises. There will be giveaways at the closing remarks.


Finishing the story.

As he waited for the impact to happen, Ben was worried about the fire that might rain down. But, it turns out the result surprised him heavily and reacted in a way that no other conference speaker might.

The speaker did 2 things:

  1. The way she responded was not angry, but rather very excited with a huge smile on her face. The smile didn’t say “I’m going to enjoy ripping you apart” but more “I’m going to be the one who gets to show you how to login to your website’s FTP!”
  2. Her words were kind: “This is not the best time to answer that now, but this would be a great way to meet at the happiness bar later and I’ll show you in person on your laptop.”

Rather than focus on the negative aspect of the interruption, she focused on the joy of working with wordpress, the ease with which it could be done, and the helpful nature of this conference. The goal here is to treat everyone well.

You Can’t Have A Thriving Codebase Without A Thriving Community

The Open Remarks were completed by Bridget Willard

Bridget Willard is a marketing consultant and educator with a passion to help small businesses. She began in construction, and worked in franchise development, nonprofits, and tech. She is known for her brand building for Riggins Construction and GiveWP.

She is the co-host of WPblab, a show on the WPwatercooler network, co-organizer of Women Who WP Meetup, and Marketing Team Rep for Make WordPress.

She writes about social media and WordPress on her site at and teaches social strategy on her YouTube channel.


What does code have to do with community?

WordPress is part of the free opensource software movement. There is no one paid to update, train, create, market, etc. The entire ecosystem is run by volunteers. The thriving codebase requires a thriving community. There is more than just a core.

Open Source projects depend upon a volunteer-based workforce-you

She was at wordcamp and decided to go to a movie, but she was a introduced to a marketing team. She felt perhaps she didn’t belong as a writer, but they made her feel at home and asked her to consider volunteering. They asked her to help write emails and she did. At another wrodcamp, she was recruited as one of the loud marketers. She led an event. Later, a staff member went on sabbatical and she was asked to take over a team. In this fashion, things seem to slowly snowball into greater effectiveness. This is probably very similar to the way many of you have approached your business careers.

If you feel burned out, its time to take a break. Its really ok

The volunteer community is made to ebb & flow. Its just volunteer work. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up. That is the main part of her talk.

Let’s talk about perfection

Be professional, but don’t stop and don’t beat yourself up in order to do well. This is a volunteer organization, and many aspects of what we do as designers, builders, and makers seems to point to our perfective nature. But software is agile and not released in perfection, so how can we be perfect as users? Well, perhaps we can be, but that’s no reason to drop from the face of the earth because of it.

Accounting demands perfection, and you would not believe how long they look for a penny. In perfection if something is missing, the whole thing doesn’t work and is a failure. So let things go, but understand that sometimes you cannot help yourself.

Remember this mantra:

  1. Progress is better than perfection
  2. Done is better than perfect
  3. Something is better than nothing

What Really Matters

Communication with your clients and your loved ones only matters, because of your relationships. Relationships are the only things that really matter. Communicating, doing what’s best for your client, doing YOUR BEST for the client, being there for whoever needs you- That matters.

Consider An -ER Approach

Rather than obsess over being smart, fast, etc., take an -ER approach. Work to be smartER, fasterER, etc. the suffix -ER implies that progress is being made. It doesn’t lock you into failure for reaching some hypothetical approach.


In times of trouble, we feel like a failure because we feel pain. Athletes are praised for enduring pain. When we feel as though we cannot go on, we feel the failure hit us like a hammer. When it happens to an athlete, you see them shake their bodies, push them to their limits and beyond, and then they collapse. And for some of us its like that. We wake up in the morning, examine ourselves, shake our bodies off and go to work with a fake face on. We work all day like its no problem and then we come home and just collapse.

We feel like we cannot feel pain, cannot get help, cannot rely or even tell others about our pain. Our bodies know what to do. Tears contain cortisol, a hormone which accompanies stress. We release it, and feel somewhat better, but we might be too afraid to do even that. Give yourself permission to feel pain, to let it go, to release it and keep going, but sometimes even that may not be enough.

If that happens or if you feel its happening, get help. Your pride could be keeping you from success.

Financial Health

Stop undercharging for your services. Raise your hourly rate. People do not know how long it takes you to do things. Breathing costs you something.

It is imperative that you cover these three things

  1. Believe you are worthy
  2. understand your costs
  3. Be open to business Ideas

Say to yourself “I am Awesome. I love Me.” Know that there is a mind/body connection.

If you find that you are open to the business ideas, more business will come. If you are doing something for a client for free, give them a full invoice, but zero it out. Present them with the piece when its done along with a polite note: This item has been completed for free, THIS TIME.

For instance, Bridget Willard wanted to write for a twitter feed, but there was no content. She asked for a bio, and the client didn’t want to write one. She offered to write them a bio for  $25 dollars and now she’s done that for 16 clients. by saying “I Only Do This” you close yourself off to numerous ideas and opportunities.

Closing Remarks

Goals are massive. Make sure that you have actionable goals with incremental progress. Incremental progress is the key. Rather than say I’m going to drop to 200lbs, say I’m going to drop 5 pounds. If you want to change, change 1 thing. The future awaits, one step at a time. Its OK to fail, but push yourself without beating yourself up.