I’m Sounders ’til I Die

I grew up loving soccer. I remember having a Boca Juniors and Maradona poster in my room as a kid. My family would gather around during big tournaments and shout at the TV.

I had a collection of trophy’s at home from playing all throughout elementary school. I didn’t play in high school because after changing schools, I was nervous about joining a team in a new school.

Once I moved out and started traveling around the world, I forgot about soccer. It became tricky to follow as timezones were hard to follow and I kept moving around. My busy work/travel schedule didn’t allow much for other hobbies outside of travel. It’s also hard to relate and feel connected to a team without the connection of it being part of your home. Seattle is my home and the Sounders are a part of that. While I still follow many European and South American regional teams, I don’t have the same connection as I do with my local team.

My travels have slowed down and finally settled in Seattle for awhile. I didn’t follow MLS much before I moved but I got lucky and happen to be in one of the greatest soccer cities in the US. There are very few cities in the US with a huge soccer passion as much as we have here in Seattle for the Sounders.

The finals of the Women’s World Cup were in Vancouver so we got to see the US in the finals. We also got to see the US Mens win a match in the Copa America tournament in Seattle along with Argentina as well.

I’ve marched with the Sounders supporters group, contributed to the ECS supporters group, helped paint tifos, and chanted many times during games. This will be my second year in a row purchasing season tickets and I couldn’t be happier about supporting the Sounders.

 

Open Vacation Policy

The first benefit that’s highlighted on Automattic’s Work With Us page:

Open vacation policy (no set number of days per year). We encourage all employees to take the time they need for vacation, to pursue their own interests, to stay healthy, and to spend time with friends and family.

Since working at WooThemes and now Automattic, I’ve never worked for a company that cared more about the personal well-being of their employee’s than at WooThemes and Automattic.

Typically on Labor Day, employee’s in the US have off. For us at Automattic, it’s completely optional. I prefer this. I can take off on days that are important to me rather than a holiday that I’d sit around playing video games all day anyway. It’s important to me that days off are days that are productive in some way and not taking off for the sake of just having the day off.

I choose to rarely take off on US holidays and instead save those days for days that are important to me and my family. This allows for greater flexibility and planning around travel and family visits. I can avoid the high costs of travel around the holiday and instead take time off when it’s convenient for me.

Due to the flexibility of vacation time and remote work, sometimes I work even while I’m on vacation and on weekends but there’s no pressure nor is it expected to work on those days. I just do it because I want to.

VR is the Future

I pre-ordered an Oculus Rift for $600 and I’m incredibly excited.

I pre-ordered an Oculus Rift for $600 and I’m incredibly excited. I watched the countdown tick on January 6th to 8am PT as I hit F5 often. As I ordered my Rift, I took a step back and realized I’m witnessing history. It sounds melodramatic but I think it’s true. I just pre-ordered the first consumer ready virtual reality that will hit mass market and change technology forever.

If you’ve never tried VR, please try it. Go to a friends house that has an Oculus Rift DK2 or HTC Vive. By April (after release of Rift and Vive) there’s going to be a lot more devices out there and a better chance of you finding a friend that has one.

With VR we’re going to be connected in ways you never could have imaged seeing in your lifetime. It’ll change gaming forever but more importantly, our everyday lives. You’ll be able to virtually attend school from anywhere in the world, virtually time travel to any major event in history and see what it was like, virtually transport yourself to a hangout among other friends while watching Netflix on a giant movie screen personally made for you and your friends, co-work with your coworkers in a virtual office space. Once you try on VR, your imagination will explode with ideas on all the different use cases this could be good for.

To prepare for this amazing future, I’ve been very involved in the VR community locally and online for a long time. I’m learning Unreal Engine and Unity Engine to create my own worlds and have experimented with WebVR for a virtual web. I really enjoy all things VR and can’t wait to see where this all leads us.

Releasing Photos under Public Domain

I will be releasing photos from my travels as Public Domain (CC0).

I will be releasing photos from my travels as Public Domain (CC0).

This will waive all copyrights related to my photos. Everyone will be free to use these photos for any purpose without attribution.

I have thousands of photos that have never been published online from my many years of travel. They are being stored locally on my computer with no other purpose other than to look back on my own memories. I want to everyone to be able to use them and share them.

I feel giving everyone access to my travel photos will help teach everyone more about the world.

I will be somewhat selective in which photos get published as CC0 to avoid publishing photos of myself so I don’t see myself in a random ad. There is a possibility the photos could be used for purposes I don’t agree with but I know it will be used for more good than bad.

This will be a monumental task of correctly giving a title, description, and tag to every photo. I’ll be releasing photos in batches as I edit them.

All CC0 will be released via Flickr. The reason is because I find Flickr to be the easiest and most popular to tool to find Creative Commons and Public Domain photos. Follow my Flickr account and more photos will be published over time.

WordCamp Milwaukee: Creating an Engaging Community and Membership Site

I helped co-found a company that grew into more than 1,500 paid members that uses bbPress forums, courses, exclusive benefits, and an engaging community. I will share my experience on how I encouraged community engagement and built it all with WordPress, WooCommerce, Sensei, bbPress, WooCommerce Memberships, AffiliateWP, and more.

Description of the talk:

I helped co-found a company that grew into more than 1,500 paid members that uses bbPress forums, courses, exclusive benefits, and an engaging community. I will share my experience on how I encouraged community engagement and built it all with WordPress, WooCommerce, Sensei, bbPress, WooCommerce Memberships, AffiliateWP, and more.

While I’m no-longer co-founder of TravelBlogSuccess.com, it continues to rapidly grow today and is highly successful WordPress membership site.

By building an engaging community, your users will help promote your site further building an even larger community.

Slides from the presentation can be found here.