Aug 24
Mashable Monthly at ROE Restaurant Posted by Laura Iriarte

Angela – my entourage – and I attended Mashable Monthly on Thursday, August 21, 2008. We attended SummerMash ( last month and enjoyed it so much that we decided we HAD to go.

Angela WAS my entourage, but recently started a blog of her own:

please check it out! Angela writes in a straightforward way with dashes of humor!

Mashable Monthly was held at ROE Restaurant in San Francisco. We arrived and checked in – receiving a Bloggers Lounge wristband and a drink ticket.
Because I attended WordCamp last weekend we were able to arrive early and have entrance to the super secret Blogger’s Lounge! That also entitled us to free pizza. The Bloggers Lounge had a curtained entrance and security to get into the door. If you didn’t have a wristband, or weren’t with someone who had a wristband, you weren’t allowed! Angela and I had wristbands, we WERE the cool kids!

The Bloggers Lounge was set up for bloggers to bring their lap tops and blog about the event as it was happening, but I personally need to experience it all before I blog about it. We did twitter the event. I used twitterfone as well which ended up posting some really odd things on twitter! Too much background noise doesn’t work well with Twittefone apparently! Although security was there to keep our laptops secure, I was also reticent to borrow and carry around/or be responsible for one of my kids laptops on a night when I was having a couple of drinks!

Angela and I sat at the bar in the Bloggers Lounge and met some great people. While we were sitting there a guy peeked around the corner of the curtain and asked, “What’s going on in there?” I said, “Would you like to come in? I can bring you in.” Of course he said, “YES!” So, I did. Really nice guy, Robert Kohn with He was a good sport and tried absinthe with Angela, while I was drinking some Savignon Blanc.

We decided to venture upstairs where the main event – Mashable Monthly – was taking place. On my way upstairs a guy asked me what was going on in that curtained off area. I said, “Sorry…I can’t tell you – it’s a secret!” We arrived upstairs and WOW! It was packed! Wall-to-wall people! A DJ was playing, but honestly, with all the people, the music was mere background noise.

Karen Hartline(’s event coordinator) was buzzing around everywhere all night! She tried absinthe with Angela and I for her first time! Karen and I have a funny, odd thing going on where we meet in the ladies room. We physically met for the first time in the ladies room at Mashable’s SummerMash, then last weekend we met in the ladies room twice at WordCamp. So this time we planned it and said okay, we must take pics in the ladies room at Mashable Monthly – so we did! Mashable’s photographer, Michael, and Angela both came into the ladies room and we had a little photo shoot! It was too fun! Stay tuned for more…

After that we chatted with Michael the photographer and took some pics with him!

It was so crowded upstairs that we decided to return to our private sanctuary, the Blogger’s Lounge. Once again, we perched at the bar to hold court. We met Merv and Missle – aliases, also Terry Chay – who had an awesome camera and used post-it notes in his pocket for business cards! We met Marita and Amanda from Organic, Khris Loux – CEO – with JS-Kit, Erin Healy with momentum and Erin wants me to guest blog on kazowie! Eric Doyle with TheConversationGroup had absinthe with Angela! I sat and talked quite a bit with Diana Williams, account executive with Shift Communications. Diana and I are now twitterfriends as well! I also met Nicole Reber, who I believe was in PR or marketing, but her business card doesn’t say. She wants to email me some products to review – at least I think it was her – I need to film this or something. One of my favorite things of the night was meeting Jen O’Roarke, a Twitter friend who recognized me! Too cool! Now I am trying to find Jen on Twitter and I can’t! :( If you know Jen or Jen if you see this contact me!

Near the end of the night I was sitting at the bar chatting with Diana Williams and I realized Angela had disappeared. I looked around the Blogger’s Lounge. No Angela. I tried her cell. No answer. I thought maybe she had gone upstairs, maybe to the ladies room? So I went upstairs looking for her and found her standing chatting with Mashable’s Pete Cashmore and a few others. Apparently she was chatting with this funny Englishman, Bruno, in the Lounge and he wanted to meet Pete, since they were Facebook friends, and asked her to introduce them. Not that Angela and I know Pete Cashmore well – we’ve met him a couple of times now – but apparently more than Bruno did!

Angela and I decided to call it a night. I had to get up for work at 6AM and she had to get up to attend a Landmark seminar for the weekend. I got home about 11:30PM.

I heard we missed out on karaoke! Darn! I must practice for next time, and we must sing Klymaxx’s – I Got A Meeting In the Ladies Room – with Karen!

To see my complete Flickr Photostream on the event go HERE

I can be contacted at:

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear them!

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Aug 21
WordPress’ WordCamp 2008 Posted by Laura Iriarte

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

I had a wonderful day!  I went to camp yesterday, WordCamp!

WordCamp is a seminar for bloggers and those who enjoy social media.  The speakers included the WordPress elite, other website owners, as well as a couple of musical surprises!

WordCamp was set up with two Tracks – a User Track and a Developer Track.  The two Tracks were based in two different areas of the conference hall and had different speakers.  I am a User.

I arrived at 10:00am, missing the Welcome by Matt Mullenweg, The Future of Education and WP by Alan Levine, and SEO Mistakes Most Bloggers Make by Stephen O’Grady.  To be honest I could not find a schedule or a starting time for the event other than registration began at 8:00 AM.

When I arrived I luckily ran right into DK, @purposeinc, and he was kind enough to let me borrow his laptop to set up a blog game.  For some odd reason I could not log on to my WordPress account on his laptop?  I don’t know why?  Fail!  I did the same thing I did today to start this blog, but it would not work to save my life, so he ended up posting a new game on his own blog instead.  I usually use a desktop, and both of my kids have Apple Mac laptops, but DK had a Toshiba, I believe, and I am really unfamiliar with that type of a mouse!  It’s a tiny red dot in the middle of the keyboard!

Next I went inside the conference room and Stephen O’Grady was speaking on Open Source Business Models.  Steven shared a link for Search Engine Land – Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search Engines and also for his presentation slides.

Following Stephen O’Grady was a musical performance by Andy Skelton, who played the guitar and sang.  Later in the day we were treated to a performance by Chuck Lewis aka SEO Rapper who was also interviewed by Matt Mullenweg.  I found it on YouTube and here is the link – YouTube – SEO Rapper At WordCamp SF 2008

Ben Huh of LOLcats gave a very amusing talk – including some LOLcats – on The Secret of Virality. <~~Ben’s powerpoint slides are here.  Ben also mentioned a new site,

Next up was Tantek Celik, part of the WordPress team, Tantek spoke on WordPress & Microformats: Past, Present, and Future.  Tantek recommended installing Firefox Operator 0.9.3 and tinyMCE.plugins.  His website is Underground Web Designs | Content Managment Systems and Easy To Use Websites.

After Tatek spoke we broke for lunch which was a BBQ buffet outside, included in the event.  I ran up and introduced myself to Matt and Tantic and then took a picture with them.  Really nice guys!

Cue music – “I’ve got a meetin in the ladies room – I’ll be back real soon!”  I went to the ladies room before lunch and ran right in to Karen Hartline, event coordinator for  She said, “Laura!”, I said, “Karen!” and we gave each other a hug.  Then she said, “Hey, didn’t we meet for the first time in the ladies room?”  “Yes, yes we did!”  We met at SummerMash in the ladies room for the first time!  We started laughing and decided to take a picture to commemorate the occasion!  Wouldn’t you know it, later that day we were both coming out of the stalls at the same time again!  Karen said our bodies must be on the same schedule.  Too funny!  (We’ve already made plans to meet in the ladies room at the upcoming Mashable event!  Must keep the tradition going!  haha!)

Following lunch Lloyd Budd spoke on “Switching to WordPress Painlessly”.  I’m going to really need to study my notes on this as I am currently in the middle of switching my blog from the WordPress site to it’s own site.

Lorelle VanFossen was introduced by Matt Mullenweg - who called her “The Queen of WordPress”.  Lorelle’s topic was, “450 WordPress Power User Tips”.  Lorelle started out by giving us a tip to put red fingernail polish on the buttons on your keyboard that you shouldn’t touch.  She shared a lot of wonderful information and is also the author of a book, “Blogging Tips”.

As soon as Lorelle finished speaking and left the room I followed her out to her display and I bought a copy of her book and she autographed it for me!  I got to speak to her personally for a few minutes and told her about a problem I was having installing my stats and she recommended the Woopra WordPress Plugin.  She was very warm and gracious, a lovely woman!

Sam Bauers was our next presenter speaking on, “Hassle Free Upgrades”.

Our keynote was Matt Mullenweg who shared a lot of facts and figures demonstrating the upward growth of WordPress.  Matt stated that The State of the Word was “Strong!”  and said that, “Blogs are multiplying like rabbits!”

Andy Peatling was up next, his topic was “Get Friendly with Buddy Press”  Andy described Buddy Press as social networks in a box.

Jeremy Clarke spoke next on “Democratizing the Web Through Global Voices”.  Global Voices Online is a site that, “…aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”  It encourages people in different countries to blog, thereby opening up our communication with the world, which was previously lacking in certain third world areas.

Matt Mullenweg then invited Om Malik to come and sit down and chat with him interview style on publishing, technology and life.

Liz Danzico and Jane Wells then shared their research findings regarding new versions and upgrades for WordPress in a presentation titled, “Riding the Crazyhorse”

Right before Matt Mullenweg spoke, the Developer Track had joined the User Track so that we could all hear the keynote speech together.  As everyone was walking in I noticed Kathy Sierra walk up the stairs.  She was listed as the final speaker of the day.  After the keynote the User Track left to go back to their conference room, and quite a few people around me left for the day.  I looked up and Kathy Sierra and her husband had moved down closer and she ended up sitting right next to me.  I said hello and reminded her that we had met recently at the Half Moon Bay Twitter Meetup.  We had been briefly introduced as I was leaving by Laura Fitton.  We started chatting, and I felt as if I knew her!   It isn’t often that you meet a kindred spirit.  We realized that we both shared a love of horses, and she ended up inviting me to come riding after she settles in to her new home.  I was thrilled!  I haven’t been riding in yearsss, and I would truly love to spend more time with Kathy!

Kathy Sierra got up to speak. I had been told Kathy was a blogger and that she had some trollish problems, so that was what I expected to hear her speak about, but I was wrong!  Kathy took the stage by storm and spoke full of humor and fun and sass!  Her topic was “Kicking Ass and Creating Passionate Users”.  She urged bloggers to find their spark and add randomness and fun to their writing.  I adored her even more!

There were moments in the morning where I almost changed my mind and stayed home.  I had a few challenges, and I prefer not to go to events solo – I do love my entourage – but I went to this event not knowing if I would know a single soul.  I was more than pleasantly surprised.  I had a fantastic time!  As Dolly would say, “If you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!”

I danced!

To read a more in depth account of each speaker see the follow blog: The WordCamp Report

My flckr WordCamp stream:

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