Speaker Interview: Kassey Sikora

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name
Kassey Sikora

Location

Cleveland, OH

Current Gig

Designer and Consultant

Career Summary

I spent years doing marketing and design and then shifted focus to UX/UI work in software development. I still do a mix of both with a little photography thrown in!

One word that best describes how you work?

Efficiently.

Current Mobile Device/Why

iPhone. I’ve tried every major OS there is (including BlackBerry back in the day!) and found I enjoy the UI/UX of the iPhone the most.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Web Apps: Google Calendar, Wunderlist, Feedly, Pocket, Dopbox, and Spotify Software: Adobe CC, Axure, Brackets, and F.lux Tools: phone, laptop, Wacom tablet, Bose headphones, and a good old fashioned paper notebook

What’s your workspace setup like?

I have an incredibly long worktop-style desk I’ve had for years. I focus and think best in a neat, sparse space so I like it facing a blank wall with almost nothing on the surface except some flowers or books I’m reading, a candle, and a pencil cup. I always position it near a window for maximum natural light. Not Pictured: The occasional pile of paperwork or magazines that accumulate on the far left end of the desk.

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

It’s so classic/common: Make. Lists. When I don’t have a list/plan/schedule, I waste so much time trying to figure out what to do next or where projects are going and waste so much space in my brain trying to remember multiple things. Take the time to plan and write it down. It’s okay for things to change and shift, but don’t waste time and mental energy by keeping everything in your head.

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

I use Wunderlist to create lists (of lists!) for general thoughts but when working on larger projects I like using the kanban method.

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

This is tough! I want to say my watch because I’m obsessed with keeping/monitoring time but in reality it’s probably my Bose headphones/speakers. I work well in complete silence which you don’t get too often in the city so I usually retreat into good music with quality sound delivery. It’s the musician in me that appreciates it the most!

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Besides being a designer…Cooking and organization. It’s a joke among people who know me that I could rival Martha Stewart with my domestic skills. (I make a mean plum tart).

What do you listen to while working?

If you use Spotify, you can find some of my playlists under my username, kasseys. The music I listen to varies so much but on the average day it’s either classical, dubstep, hip-hop, rat pack (Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin), 90s pop, or alternative.

What do you do to stay inspired?

Go out into the world and take a walk! Bonus points if I take my camera with me. I live in downtown CLE so there’s never a shortage of events to go to, new places to eat, and interesting people to meet. Plus fresh air and a little exercise refresh me the most.

What are you currently reading?

The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them by  Mina Holland. I’ve traveled a fair bit and love trying/cooking new foods from different places.

What’s your sleep routine like?

During the week, up by 7, in bed by 11, asleep by 12. On the weekends I still naturally wake up by 7 but go to bed around 2 or 3. And drink a lot of coffee.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I read this in a book when I was young and it’s stuck with me: “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

I’m obsessed with cats but am also allergic to them so I can’t have any, I don’t watch TV often but I love Sherlock, and I used to live in England for a short time and it really shaped who I am.

Speaker Interview: Danny Santoro

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Danny Santoro

Location

Cincinnati, Ohio

Current Gig

WooCommerce Specialist at Automattic

Career Summary

After starting my first business when I was fifteen, I’ve never stopped looking for new ideas, cooking up plans, making things, and  in general spreading myself too thin. This turned me into a jack-of-all-trades (but master of none), which is definitely an interesting scenario. 🙂 Regardless, I wound up working for WooThemes on WooCommerce and now for Automattic, so at least I went in the right direction.

One word that best describes how you work?

Manic.

Current Mobile Device/Why

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – I don’t remember anything unless I physically write it down, but carrying around a bunch of paper isn’t easy to remember, either. So, I have both the Note 4 and the Note 10.1, that way I can write down all my to-dos and grocery lists, have them sync to the cloud, and only forget half the things.

Current Computer/Why

So, so many. Almost all of my work is done on a MacBook Pro 13″, which I plug into a Thunderbolt monitor for day-to-day, desktop style use. It’s great being able to be mobile with that. I do also have a Windows tower (a monster of a PC, really) which is built for high resolution video editing. Conveniently, it’s a gaming PC, too. Finally, I have a Windows 7 Home Theater PC/Gamebox, which can run most older games just as well as a PS4/Xbox One, so it’s a little entertainment center.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Chrome for browsing. Postbox for mail. Evernote for note taking. Sublime Text for coding. Mau/Markdown Pad for writing.

What’s your workspace setup like?

A white desktop, with a white-ish computer, a white stand, and a ton of black accessories… Also, with daylight balanced LED bulbs as lighting. It would look super futuristic if nerd gear and clutter weren’t everywhere.

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

Hah! That’s a good one, I don’t have any. 🙂

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

Either writing it down (with a pen!) on a blank flash card or scrap paper or doing the same thing in a handwritten Evernote note. Other than that, I don’t have a to-do list.

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

A TV, I guess? Aside from a phone, computer, TV, microwave, and fridge, there aren’t many electronics I like. Do guns count as gadgets?

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Cat wrangling. They’re psychotic, but I love them.

What do you listen to while working?

A pretty diverse soundtrack, I guess. Country is a go-to, but also some rap, R&B, some pop. Audiobooks, too, and very rarely a podcast.

What do you do to stay inspired?

Chug a Red Bull and remember that life is no fun when you don’t have a steady paycheck.

What are you currently reading?
<
2D6 – it's part of a series called Caverns and Creatures. Great if you're super nerdy, not so much otherwise.

What sort of work are you up to now?

WooCommerce, WooCommerce, WooCommerce. The occasional WooCommerce, and actually sometimes just WordPress. Outside of the computer, I’m a pistol instructor.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Terrible ever since I was a kid.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“It’s only a failure when you say it is.”

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

I once worked at Hollister when I was in high school, so… Ya know. Look forward to my model-good looks. 🙂

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions…

Harrison Ford. Can we get Harrison Ford on the line? I could use a boost in the filmmaking area.

Speaker Interview: Joe Querin

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name
Joe Querin

Location
Lorain, OH

Current Gig

Full-Time: Web Development Coordinator | On-the-side: Web Design/Development Consultant

Career Summary
I work full-time for Lorain County Community College for the last 17+ years.  I have also been doing freelance consulting for web design and development through my own company for the past 14 years.

One word that best describes how you work?

Creative

Current Mobile Device/Why

Devices: iPhone 6s+ and iPad | Why: While I’m a PC guy by budget, I liked the variety of apps available for in the Apple store.  The intuitiveness of the iOS and devices attracted me as well.  The others just don’t seem to be as polished as the Apple devices.

Current Computer/Why

Dell Desktop, Dell Laptop  and OS X desktop (Full-time gig) | HP PC at home.  At my full-time gig, we’re a Windows shop thru-and-thru.  At home my PC is what I could afford, plus I grew up on PCs and can take them apart and fix them as well.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Photoshop, Illustrator, Brackets, Chrome, Gulp

What’s your workspace setup like?

PC Desktop (full-time gig and home) – Windows 7 Pro, twin widescreen 19″, corded keyboard and mouse. Laptop – 17″ (9-year old beast, soon to be replaced by a new 17″).  Full-time gig Mac Desktop 24″ wide screen monitor

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

Writing things down, whether digitally or on paper.  I vary between my phone/iPad and a notebook to keep track of things.

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

Google Calendar, Iphone To-do list

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

Any one of the number of power tools I’ve amassed for either maintaining my home or building things at home. After building digitally all day, I enjoy relaxing on my weekends by building/fixing things with my hands.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

My wife says I’m the master shaker, because I always shake everything up, including milk. Who doesn’t?

What do you listen to while working?

I listen to a range of music.  Mostly either Spotify playlists of favorite/new music, or if I’m deep in coding or server setup, then it’s orchestra instrumentals either of video game soundtracks or from various artists.  Mostly been rocking Halo soundtracks lately.

What do you do to stay inspired?

Keep an eye on twitter, as well as perusing Dribbble, Smashing Magazine, etc.  I also try to take a break and look around me throughout the day.  It’s amazing how a printed advertisement, sign, cloud formation or something in nature can inspire you.

What are you currently reading?

Anything and everything.  Blog articles on Graphic/Web Design, Web Development, Server Architecture, Cookbooks, the Bible.

What sort of work are you up to now?

Massive overhaul all of our current web sites to WordPress at my full-time gig, as well architecting and building out new infrastructure for our new WordPress based websites.  In my spare time I help local small businesses with their web presence.  I also assist my wife with her photography business.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Sleep???  Chronic pain doesn’t allow much sleep, though being a parent doesn’t help either.  Though most nights I end up falling asleep on the couch easier than going to bed.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Words from my Dad, “Consider the source and ignore it”.  These 6 words have been repeated in my mind many times over the years.>

Speaker Interview: Jessica Garbarino

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name
Jessica Garbarino

Location
Lake Worth, FL

Current Gig

Accountant by day, Content Creator by night

Career Summary

15+ years in Accounting; also taught accounting classes part-time at night

One word that best describes how you work?

Proactive

Current Mobile Device/Why

iPhone – had one since 2008

Current Computer/Why

Mac Book Pro – just came back to Mac after a 20 year hiatus.  I needed it for the creative content I was creating

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Airline apps, social media, banking apps

What’s your workspace setup like?

A corner desk in what should be the dining room in my apartment

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

TSA PreCheck – it’s given me back hours of my life<

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

Tackle some of the easy stuff first to get some quick wins before tackling the harder items

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

Heart rate monitor – training for another race

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Connecting with people – I have been told I have mad networking skills

What do you listen to while working?

Podcasts – all day long

What do you do to stay inspired?

Visit the beach – it’s the place I go to recharge my creative juices

What are you currently reading?

You Only Live Once

What sort of work are you up to now?

Building my personal finance business to help single women reach their financial goals<

What’s your sleep routine like?

Try to get 6-7 hours of sleep a night.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t believe everything you hear or read

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

In March 2015 I became completely debt free – I paid off $56K of debt

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions

Elon Musk

Speaker Interview: Shelby Elliott

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Shelby Elliott

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Current Gig

Business owner / web designer

 

One word that best describes how you work?

Resourcefully

Current Mobile Device/Why

Droid Turbo 2 / Insane battery life, great camera, 64 GB storage

Current Computer/Why

Lenovo LaVie Z 360 / Super lightweight, touch screen, full screen rotation

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Photoshop, WordPress (obviously), JetPack, Simple Custom CSS, Manage WP, Calendly, 17Hats

What’s your workspace setup like?

It varies from day to day, usually most productive though while sitting at my awesome (thrifted) bamboo table & refinished sunshiney yellow chairs in my dining room. 🙂

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

SnagIt videos screen capture videos for client tutorials or troubleshooting steps instead of trying to explain steps via email.

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

Still figuring this one out…

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

Chromecast

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Bargain hunting

What do you listen to while working?

Indie Pop, Motown, or Big Beat 🙂 – I’m all over the map!

What do you do to stay inspired?

Spend time with other creatives or do home projects

What are you currently reading?

Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown

 

What’s your sleep routine like?

Usually 10:30-6:30 (Not by choice, my 2 year old is an early riser!)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Real life is lived in seasons of investment, not in moments of perfection.

 

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions

Kyle Maurer

Speaker Interview: Sean Manion

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Sean Manion

Location

Ashland, OH

Current Gig

Proximity Marketing

Career Summary

Much Freelance work. Few years at a SaaS startup. New hire at a digital marketing agency.

One word that best describes how you work?

quietly

Current Mobile Device/Why

iphone 4s because it hasn’t died yet..

 

 

 

What do you listen to while working?

people talking

 

What are you currently reading?

my answer as I type

What sort of work are you up to now?

b2b manufacturing

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

somethings are better left unsaid.

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

 

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions

 

Speaker Interview: Adam Silver

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Adam Silver

Location

Redondo Beach, CA

Current Gig

Husband. Dad. WordPress Educator, Podcaster & Developer, Social Media Manager, and all around nice guy.

Career Summary

Short version: Degree in Theatre Performance and love technology. Mixing the two best I can.

One word that best describes how you work?

Frenetically

Current Mobile Device/Why

Iphone 6 – Apple since 1982. Ain’t changing now!

Current Computer/Why

2012 15″ MacBook Pro Retina. Work anywhere.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Obvious answer: WordPress. As a tester and troubleshooter, I love, love love DesktopServer. Much smarter and safer to test things locally. Pretty fond of OmniFocus, Dropbox and Freshbooks as well. All that said, I’m trying to do a technology sabbath one of these weekends.. unplug for a long weekend, as I know it’s important.

What’s your workspace setup like?

Custom hacked standing desk with Ikea Expedit series.

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

Checklists and laying out my running clothes the night before.

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

David Allen’s GTD. I use OmniFocus for task management.

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

Blendtec.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Explaining high level technology/concepts to non techies/new people to the subject. Also finding the lighter side of any given moment, when appropriate.

What do you listen to while working?

Depends on task. Focused tasks I use Focus@Will. Running: Podcasts + Music playlist for the last few laps/mile

What do you do to stay inspired?

Hug my children.

What are you currently reading?

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

What sort of work are you up to now?

Handful of client and personal projects plus planning my exit from the “Day Job”

What’s your sleep routine like?

In bed fairly regularly by 10pm. Up at 4:45am.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions

My wife or kids!

Eats You Can Walk To With Your Feets

Downtown_photo1

WordCamp Northeast Ohio is truly a national event, drawing people from distant lands like Los Angeles and Atlanta.  Some are even coming from as far away as Pittsburgh and Michigan.  Whether you’re coming from near or far, we want to make sure you find a great place to eat lunch on Saturday.  To that end, here’s a rundown of some great local institutions that are a quick walk from our venue.

FILE PHOTO BY COTY GIANNELLI | SUMMER KENT STATER

Ray’s Place

      • American/Bar/Pub Food
      • 4.5/5 rating on 182 reviews
      • 0. 2 Miles, 4 minutes walking
      • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

franklin-square-deli-interior

Franklin Square Deli

      • Classic Deli Sandwich Shop
      • 4.5/5 rating on 46 reviews
      • 0.2 Miles, 3 minutes walking

2459546_orig

Pufferbelly Ltd.

      • American Cuisine
      • Restaurant is housed in a former train depot overlooking the Cuyahoga River
      • 4/5 rating on 121 reviews
      • 0.2 Miles, 3 minutes walking

Wild Goats Cafe in Kent, Ohio

Wild Goats Café

      • Breakfast and Lunch
      • 4/5 rating on 62 reviews
      • 0.4 Miles, 7 minutes walking
      • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

10271_45364

Taco Tanto’s

      • Mexican / Mexican Fusion
      • 4.5/5 rating on 39 reviews
      • 0. 2 Miles, 4 minutes walking

Photo by Jacob Byk

Bar 145

        • Upscale Pub Food
        • 3.5/5 rating on 109 reviews
        • 394 feet from venue

IMG_7550

Bricco

  • Modern Italian Cuisine
  • 4/5 rating on 52 reviews
  • 13 feet from the venue
  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

3993502_orig

Twisted Meltz

  • Gourmet grilled cheese and craft beer
  • 4.5/5 rating on 28 reviews
  • 0. 1 Miles, 2 minutes walking

swensons-drive-in-529cb3fd523cef471f00027f

Swenson’s (Special Mention)

      • 2.4 Miles, 6 minutes by car
      • Classic Drive-Up Burger Joint
      • LeBron’s hometown favorite and an Akron tradition since 1926.
      • A Galley Boy, Potato Teasers and a Peanut Butter milkshake will make your trip.
      • 4.5/5 rating on 97 reviews
      • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

YOLANDA LI | DAILY KENT STATER Mike's Place restaurant.

Mike’s Place (Special Mention)

      • Very unique décor, from the X-Wing out front to the different themed rooms you can dine in.
      • Gigantic, inventive menu spanning most types of food- they sell them as collectibles.
      • 4/5 rating on 212 reviews
      • 1.4 miles, 5 minutes by car
      • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

 

Lastly, if you’re looking for something a bit more nation-wide, we have a few great chains just around the corner.

  • Five Guys
  • Chipotle
  • Buffalo Wild Wings

Speaker Interview: Kyle Maurer

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Kyle Maurer

Location

Jackson, Michigan

Current Gig

Lead Guitar

Career Summary

I started my career milking cows on a dairy farm. Since then I’ve found myself in a variety of roles which all gradually involved more and more technology, particularly web technology. In 2011 I decided I’d rather run my own company so I partnered up with a friend and we began taking on client work. Since then we’ve grown our team, grown our client base, taken on many exciting projects and have become very involved in the WordPress community.

One word that best describes how you work?

Coffee

Current Mobile Device/Why

You mean my iPhone? Are there others?

Current Computer/Why

MacBook Pro. Because I can rely on it.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Slack, Podcast App, Fitbit

What’s your workspace setup like?

Kinda looks something like this 

porch

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

Running instead of walking and driving really fast.

What’s your favorite to-do list method?

Momentum https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/momentum/laookkfknpbbblfpciffpaejjkokdgca

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

My guitar tuner

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Writing rap lyrics about WordPress

What do you listen to while working?

Enya and The High Kings

What do you do to stay inspired?

Listen to podcasts

What are you currently reading?

Star Wars: Cloak of Deception

What sort of work are you up to now?

Painting our upstairs bathroom and working on my WCNEO presentation

What’s your sleep routine like?

10pm – 5am most days

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

If you lift others up around you and make people feel comfortable and good about themselves, you’ll be a very popular person

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

I really love craft beer and home brewing. I’m also really hoping you’ll consider attending WordCamp Ann Arbor this year as well. We’re looking for speakers, sponsors and volunteers now.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ????? answer these same questions

Jeff Chandler

Speaker Interview: Don Abbott

Here at WordCamp Northeast Ohio, we are pretty big fans of the Lifehacker series “How I Work”. We asked our speakers to do a WordPress take on that idea, and thus was born “How I WordPress”- a series where some of the best minds in WordPress share a bit about their process with our readers/attendees.


Name

Don Abbott

Location

Kent Ohio

Current Gig

The Snarky Gardener – a Northeastern Ohio vegetable gardening blog.

Career Summary

Software developer for 30+ plus years; last 8 years at Kent State University

One word that best describes how you work?

Distracted

Current Mobile Device/Why

Nexus 6 – Android’s phone means I’ll get updates sooner.

 

 

What’s your best time/effort-saving life hack?

Live 5 minutes from work

 

After your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? Why?

A.M. Leonard Soil Knife. I always have a knife/trowel on me while in the garden

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Gardening sarcasm

What do you listen to while working?

Podcasts, audio books, and rock music

 

What are you currently reading?

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

What sort of work are you up to now?

Non-fiction and fiction writing, including my first book to sell via my blog.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Bed by 10 PM; up by 7 AM

 

Any other tidbits you think might interest attendees?

Guest blogger for Mother Earth News