Thank you to BlackMesh for being a Gold sponsor!

We would like to thank BlackMesh (now Contegix, after being acquired) for their generous Gold sponsorship of the first-ever WordCamp DC!

This is also the first time BlackMesh has ever sponsored a WordCamp, so we’d like to also use this post to welcome them to the WordPress community!

From BlackMesh’s sponsor page:

Founded in 2003, BlackMesh is a trusted leader in innovative cloud-based solutions, offering secure, compliant, and scalable application hosting platforms with unlimited support to businesses of all sizes including the healthcare, government, and non-profit sectors. Delivering innovative solutions, BlackMesh system administrators are experienced at combining high-performance technologies with on-demand support.

BlackMesh/Contegix staff will have a table set up at the conference, and they would be happy to answer any questions you have about their hosting platform.

Thank you to GoDaddy Pro for sponsoring!

GoDaddy Pro is a Silver-level sponsor of WordCamp DC 2017.

GoDaddy is a long-time domain registrar and web hosting company, and has branched out into other areas of business as well.

From their sponsor description:

GoDaddy Pro is a free membership program for web developers, designers & agencies. It offers exclusive tools to help onboard, manage and maintain multiple clients and their sites fast and easy.

In recent years, GoDaddy has invested heavily in their managed WordPress hosting operation, and have plans starting at $3.99/month.

GoDaddy will not have a booth presence at WordCamp DC this year, but we encourage you to reach out to them on Twitter @GoDaddyHelp if you have any questions about their services!

Meet the Wapuus!

Greetings, WordCampers!

Every WordCamp needs its Wapuu, and WordCamp D.C. is no exception. Thanks to the talents of one of WordPress D.C.’s dedicated members—Tara Claeys—we actually have three patriotic Wapuus to serve as our exclusive mascots!

Meet Capitol Wapuu

Capitol (with an “o”, please!) Wapuu is hugging the famous dome, which recently completed a multi-year restoration project. Atop the Capitol dome is the Statue of Freedom, and it is the tallest structure in the District of Columbia.

Meet Honest Abe Wapuu

Lincoln Wapuu pays homage to our nation’s sixteenth president, with his trademark beard and top hat.

Meet D.C. Flag Wapuu

Last, but certainly not least, is D.C. Flag Wapuu, hugging the District’s colors! Officially adopted in 1938, the District of Columbia’s flag is derived from the coat of arms of George Washington and consists of three red stars above two red bars on a white field.

Of course you’ll be receiving sticker sheets at WordCamp D.C. so you can bring all of our Wapuus home with you!

But, What’s a Wapuu?

Want to know more about Wapuu and his history with WordCamps around the world? Head over to wapuu: origins.

Let’s Do Dinner

On Saturday evening we will be transforming the Carnegie from our palace of WordPress learning to our lit after-party space. So please take this time to go out and grab a bite for dinner in one of the best food cities in the United States!

Walk a few blocks south on 7th Street and you’ll come to the Gallery Place/Chinatown neighborhood of D.C., which is one of the hottest dining destinations in town.

I asked our organizing team for some of their recommendations for good places to eat, and got back a wide variety of choices. No matter your taste and budget, you’ll find a great dinner spot just a few minutes’ walk from our venue.

Cheap Eats

Saving money for something other than dinner? No need to skip a meal. We’ve got plenty of local and national low-cost eateries all around the neighborhood, including a few holes-in-the-wall favored by locals:

Mid-Priced Meals

Looking for a little more variety for not a lot more cost? Head over to one of these moderately-priced restaurants:

Time for a Splurge

Willing to spend a little more for some local flavor? Try one of these hometown favorites:

Just Desserts

If sweet treats are your thing, you could check out one of these tasty establishments:

Bon appétit!

Combination Creates Leader in DevOps Application Management

Editor’s Note: This following post is from BlackMesh, a Gold-level sponsor. WordCamp DC would not be possible without the generous support from our sponsors and we very much appreciate it!

BlackMesh is thrilled to be a sponsor at this year’s WordCamp DC and even more excited to share with everyone that we’ve been acquired by Contegix!

Contegix, a leading cloud, application lifecycle management, and managed services provider acquired BlackMesh in June 2017. Contegix is the global leader in Atlassian application hosting and offers public (AWS & Azure), private, and hybrid cloud solutions. With their long-standing focus on application management, the Dev Ops community and delivering Go Beyond Support, Contegix is an ideal fit for BlackMesh.

BlackMesh has in-depth expertise supporting and managing WordPress and other complex open-source web content management platform technologies including Magento and Drupal. BlackMesh manages the application down to the infrastructure layer, offering end-to-end managed hosting. These solutions empower customers to retain complete control over their application environments, while dramatically reducing the time and costs associated with in-house administration.

Together, Contegix and BlackMesh will deliver secure, scalable and superior solutions through additional offerings, support, resources and capabilities.

Please join the BlackMesh/Contegix team at WordCamp DC on July 14th – 16th at Carnegie Hall. We are looking forward to technical discussions, sharing experiences, and meeting you!

Register Today!


Speaker Guidelines

Are you speaking at WordCamp DC? Great! We appreciate you offering to share your WordPress knowledge with the DC WordPress community. Here are some things to keep in mind about our speaking policy.

Speaking Policies

  • Speakers must know the subject matter they are talking about.
  • Speakers must embrace the WordPress license. This means that if they are distributing WordPress-derivative works (themes, plugins, WP distros), any person (or their business) should give their users the same freedoms that WordPress itself provides. Note: this is one step above simple compliance, which requires PHP code to be GPL/compatible but allows proprietary licenses for JavaScript, CSS, and images. 100% GPL or compatible is required for product promotion at meetups when WordPress-derivative works are involved, the same guidelines we follow on and our sister WordCamp events.
  • Speakers must respect the WordPress trademarks. This means they do not operate websites with the word “WordPress” in a top-level domain, they do not use the logo in a way that violates the usage policy, they do not use the trademark in AdSense/AdWords, and they do not promote people/businesses/entities that do. Speakers must ensure that WordPress is spelled correctly in presentation material, with a capital ‘P’.
  • Share > pitch. WordCamps are educational events, not marketing opportunities, so a product pitch or anything really salesy will not get you very far with the speaker selection team. If you’d like to mention your product or service in your talk that is OK, however, please keep it to a minimum of 1 slide per presentation, and no longer than 3 minutes.
  • No “pay for play.” WordCamp DC never offers speaking opportunities in exchange for sponsorship or anything else.

Preparing Your Talk

You were accepted to speak? Exciting! Keep these things in mind when putting together your presentation:

  • Our events are open to everyone. That means your audience is liable to include people of all ages, backgrounds, and inclinations. Please keep your presentation G-rated in both images and content. Your content should not alienate anyone in your audience, this includes but is not limited to, political, religious or stereotypical threads.
  • WordCamps are about WordPress. Even if your talk doesn’t center on WordPress development or design, your audience is there to learn about working with WordPress. The expectation is that speakers whose topics are not WordPress-centric will use examples from WordPress websites/admin/codebase to illustrate their points.
  • Prepare. Know your topic, have your presentation prepared ahead of time, and practice your talk to ensure a quality delivery!

Thank you to WordCamp Tampa for the awesome text.

Food Trucks At WordCamp DC

At every WordCamp, what do people usually remember? The food, right! The inaugural WordCamp DC is no different and has to do something big in terms of food, so we’re showing off some of DC’s best food trucks. All of the trucks below will be available Friday, July 15, and Saturday, July 16, so don’t be afraid to try something new both days.

It is worth noting that all of this is included in the price of your ticket — so, yes to free-ish food.

neil degrasse tyson with his mind blown

DC Slices

Menu | Vegetarian Options
A mobile pizza kitchen with some of the best pizza slices in the city. With freshly rolled dough, homemade sauce, and hand grated cheeses, this pizza will blow you away.


  • Cheese Pizza (v)
  • Pepperoni Pizza
  • Buffalo Chicken

DC Empanadas

Menu | Vegetarian Options
There are only a few places in the city to get handmade gourmet empanadas in the city, and this truck is one of the best.


  • El Toro
  • Cubanito
  • The Badass
  • Tio Shawn (v)

Pho on Wheels

Menu | Vegetarian Options
A sensation across the city, Pho on Wheels blends the highest quality spices to create traditional tasty Vietnamese dishes.


  • Pho (Beef Broth)
  • Tacos (v)
  • Bahn Mi (v, vg)
  • Eggrolls (Shrimp and Pork)

Rock Creek Food Company

Menu | Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free Options
Hand picked, fresh, and simple ingredients make this truck a gem in the District. What truck allows you to add feta to anything?!


  • Sandwiches
  • Salads (vg, gf)
  • Feta Fries (v)
  • Gnocchi Pomodoro (v)
  • Tarator (v, gf)

One More Thing…

We strive to meet everyone’s food needs, so if you follow a diet or have an allergy that is not a good fit for these lunches, we’ll have a special delivery for you based on your needs.

v = Vegetarian, vg = Vegan, gf = Gluten Free

Time to get your Gravatar on!

What’s a Gravatar?

You may have heard of an avatar before, but just in case, it’s an image that represents a person in the virtual world. Well, a GRAVATAR is a “Globally Recognized Avatar” used in the WordPress world.

If you have ever seen an image next to someone’s name who wrote a blog or comment or been to a WordCamp where participants had a photo or avatar on their nametag, that was a Gravatar!

Nice! How do I get one?
Gravatar has easy to follow instructions on their website. We have also posted a cheet-sheet below. 🙂

Really Abbreviated Gravatar Instructions
Gravatar uses your account. If you don’t have an account already, you can set it up while creating your Gravatar.

  1. Go to the Gravatar home page and click Sign In. Fill in your account information.
  2. If you don’t already have a account, click Need an account? to register for a new account. Create your account. You will need to activate the new account by following the instructions in the activation email you will receive.
  3. You are now ready to add an image (avatar), a bio, and anything else you want the WordPress world to know about you!

P.S. If you are having trouble picking an image for your Gravatar and you don’t want to use a photo of yourself, might we recommend a Wapuu?

Announcing WordCamp DC’s Speakers – Part 5

We are super thrilled with our amazing lineup of speakers and are excited to see them all present at WordCamp DC. This post rounds out our speaker roster. If you missed it, check out the speakers we’ve already introduced in parts onetwothree, and four!

Andrew Nacin

Andrew NacinAndrew Nacin is a Lead Developer of WordPress. He’s led major releases, mentored contributors, and spearheaded new development. He has strong feelings about the core philosophies of WordPress, among them “decisions, not options” — software should be opinionated in lieu of burdening the user with too many options. In January 2014, he joined the U.S. Digital Service at the White House, where he works to improve the usefulness and reliability of the country’s most important digital services.

Ellen Amaral

Ellen AmaralEllen Amaral is an Art Director at Made by We, where she leads branding and web design projects for non-profit and social enterprise organizations. She is excited by the collision of design with content strategy, user experience and development. Ellen leverages a BA in Communication Design from the University of Pennsylvania and front end development skills from General Assembly to take design out of its silo and into an integrated space.

Tkeyah Lake

Tkeyah LakeTkeyah Lake is a Senior Account Executive at public affairs firm, Banner Public Affairs. There she develops and executes social media, communications and advertising plans for a variety of industries including defense, technology, and advocacy campaigns. She also serves as a reservist at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, providing specialized digital and social media services in emergency situations.

She has a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. In addition, she runs a boutique live social and digital media company, Dotted Digital.

Adam Silverstein

Adam SilversteinAdam wrote games in assembly code, and then applets and of course the obligatory CMS in Java when Netscape Navigator ruled the web – eventually embracing WordPress as his platform of choice. He is a WordPress Core committer and works on the WordPress security team. He is currently helping lead an effort to improve core JavaScript. Adam is a Lead Web Engineer at 10up where he helps make the web better by finely crafting websites & tools for content creators. Adam loves long rafting trips, playing mbira, travel, taking walks and tending his over-sized garden.

Benjamin Bradley

Benjamin BradleyYou may know my face, but I’m pretty sure you know my voice. I’m Benjamin Bradley, and for the past 20+ years, I have been training and assisting small business owners to take their skills to the next level. Over the years, I have generated thousands of hours of business and technical training materials. I’m currently building a community for freelancers to learn, grow, and develop their WordPress, web design, development, and business skills at

Marissa Goldsmith

Marissa GoldsmithThe very first website Marissa ever worked on was for a small university department. The only browser she had access to was Lynx. Since then, she has worked in nearly every aspect of web design and development. She has worked with non-profit organizations, the government, and creative agencies. Today, she is an independent consultant, focusing on digital analytics to enhance the user experience and website conversions.

Tori Peterson

Tori PetersonTori Peterson is the web writer-editor of the National Park Service’s new training website, the Common Learning Portal (CLP). She trains, assists and supports the site’s content authors and provides user help to end users. When Tori isn’t online, she’s frolicking in nature.

Sal Ferrarello

Sal FerrarelloSal started programming on a Commodore 64 when he was eight years old. He went on to become a web developer and educator specializing in WordPress. Sal’s past also includes work as a beach photographer, magician/juggler, and high school calculus teacher. He contributes to WordPress core, the Genesis framework, and various other open source projects.

Sal writes regularly about programming at

Savannah Gignac

Savannah GignacSavannah is an information management professional living in Washington, DC who works directly with clients to understand their long-term vision for their content and then translates this into content type definitions and migration plans. She melds her passion for words with an analytical eye to bring a big picture point of view to content strategy, data management and archival & library sciences.

Managing information on multiple platforms is Savannah’s forte. She has served as an Archivist and Librarian at federal, public, and non-profit institutions like The Smithsonian, The Harry Ransom Center, and The American Institute of Physics and holds a Masters of Science in Information Studies (MSIS) from the University of Texas – Austin. She is presently a Technical Content Strategist who manages content migration from start to finish for website redesign projects at Agency CHIEF.

Marc Gratch

Marc GratchI am a WordPress Consultant, a life long student, a husband and father. I have been developing themes and plugins for WordPress since 2.8 (give or take a point release,) with a strong focus on simple, specific, niche functionality. Most everything I know about code comes from the WordPress community which is why I try to give back as much as I can. I love the WordPress platform and the community!

Ryan Sholin

Ryan SholinRyan Sholin, Director of Product and Growth at Chalkbeat, has made it his mission to help professional journalists get the tools, skills, and inspiration they need to inform their communities on any platform. A former investigative reporter for the Oakland Tribune, online editor for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, product strategist at GateHouse Media, and director of product management at Gannett, Ryan was also a co-founder of Wired Journalists and a Knight News Challenge winner for ReportingOn.

We have one more speaker announcement left, so stay tuned! If you haven’t yet, get a ticket to WordCamp DC!

WordCamp Is for Everyone!

“I don’t know anything about code! What’s there in a WordCamp for me?”

We’re glad you asked!

It’s certainly true that WordCamp D.C. will have amazing developer talks from some of the top minds in the WordPress world, but it will also have tons of great presentations on content, design, business, and strategy that are such a vital part of the WordPress community.

We have a number of case studies planned from the government and nonprofit sectors such as “Decentralized Content Strategy for the National Park Service” and “The Andy Warhol Museum Website Redesign.” We have talks from thought leaders on search engine optimization, social media, and “How to Build a Popular Blog and Master WordPress Even If You’re a Liberal Arts Major.”

And if you want to try something a bit more technical like “How to Understand & Use HTTP Without a CS Degree,” well, we got you covered there too!

“Will I have time to talk to people outside of the sessions?”

We call this the Hallway Track. Whether it is between sessions or during a time block where you are “free,” the opportunity to network with other designers, social media experts, business owners is stellar. Strike up a conversation with someone at lunch; you may find you  have more in common outside of WordPress than you imagined!

“I’m not a developer yet, but I’m looking to learn. Is that possible?”

We’re all about that. All day Sunday we’re holding workshops for people looking to break into the developer (and business) space with introductions to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more. We’ll also have talks throughout the conference from novice to expert and everything in between.

WordCamp D.C. aims to cover the breadth of the WordPress universe, so come join us. Even if you don’t know your loop from your template tag, there’s still going to be lots of great content for you!