Theme of the year goes to bringing people together.
Twenty-seventeen has certainly been a year of tremendous personal growth, learning, and connection in regards to WordPress.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Kyoto, the first of only two WordCamps held in Japan this year. And just this past weekend, I attended the second—WordCamp Tokyo.
Pre-Conference (Day 1)
New Chitose Airport—I’m back! But this time I’m going to Tokyo.
I decided to take trip to the food court and hit up good ol’ Freshness Burger for lunch as I still had a couple hours to kill before my flight. I was deeply contemplating whether or not I’ll have just a burger or a burger AND a hot dog.
If there’s anything you should know about Japanese burgers is that they are relatively pricey and most of all friggin’ tiny. When you compare them to burgers you’d find in the US, these guys are like little babies. I always get at least two burgers when I go to Mos Burger or McDonald’s here in Japan. One is just simply not enough to get a good fill.
But, I resisted and got just the burger.
Anyways, my burger was as delicious as it looked on the menu. Although, as expected, I was still hungry.
At this point, I would’ve made a direct bee-line to the counter and ordered two more of those guys, but knowing that I just made reservations at my brother-in-law’s French restaurant in the evening, I held back.
(so hungry though)
I made sure to stop by the Royce shop before heading to my gate. Picked up these bad boys.
And so that pretty much sums up my pre-departure activities. Boarded my my flight at 1:35 and I was off!
Arrive in Tokyo
Narita International Airport, I can’t believe it’s the first time being here again since I first came to Japan six years ago. But technically, I arrived in the domestic terminal area, but still… it was a nostalgia trip.
Right off the plane, I found that the cheapest way to get from Narita International to Tokyo Station is the limousine bus. 1000yen. That’s a deal.
What happened to when things were simple? I mean, Sapporo only has three lines—three.
All I have to say about this is HALLELUJUH FOR WIFI AND GOOGLE MAPS.
It took only about a 10 minute walk from the station to the spot where I’m staying at. Recommended by the folks organizing this year’s WordCamp Tokyo, I decided I’d give the capsule hotel experience a shot.
Booth Net Cafe And Capsule
Checked-in and dropped off some of my things. Really digging the hipster vibes here by the way. But since you can’t really loiter in your capsule as if it were a hotel room (it is after all just a capsule with only enough room for you to sleep) I was quick to head out soon.
cuisine française Narita Yutaka
If you are ever in the Nakameguro area, go to cuisine française Narita Yutaka. Yes, the name of the restaurant is actually his name, but that’s beside the point.
I apologize in advance for the simple image descriptions because for the life of me, I wouldn’t have remembered all the names of these dishes.
Yutaka is just killing it with his French cuisine. He does use ingredients and selected flavors from Hokkaido in his menu, so that’s super cool. Nothing beats the taste of your hometown food.
It was nice catching up with him since the last time he came to Sapporo (last winter, I think). I remember he cooked some pasta at the house with some everyday ingredients and it was like a Michelin grade dish. Like, what?? How… what is this cooking sorcery???
I feel so grateful (and maybe even a little spoiled/guilty) to be in a family of such amazing cooks. While Yutaka is handling it at the business level, Kosato is owning the kitchen with her Japanese-style soulfood cooking at home.
WordCamp Tokyo: Session Day (Day 2)
9:30am – Arrive at venue
10:00am – 開会予定 Introductions (Imai Mizue aka Mignon Style)
This year’s WordCamp Tokyo’s main event coordinator was Imai Mizue and the event started off her welcome speech.
There were around 50 speakers giving talks this year and having to choose which ones to go to was a tough dilemma this time around. Looking at the schedule, there were definitely a lot speakers with topics I wanted to hear about. But to maximize my learning experience, with the exceptions of both the first and last talks of the day, I decided to go with all the English tracks this time.
10:10am – ダイエット記事から考える 情報発信をする上で知っておきたい科学的根拠のこと
朽木 誠一郎 (Kuchiki Seiichiro)
This first talk was done by Seiichiro Kukichi, who works for BuzzFeed Japan as a medical journalist.
His talk focused on effective ways for conveying information accurately when writing articles and he used his own experience of weight loss as an example.
Quite an interesting talk, granted I wasn’t able to pick up on all the details, as my Japanese is still a work in progress. Argh, must get better quickly.
He goes on to emphasize that having evidence is key to keeping an audience and I totally agree. A person can’t just say something without backing it up with concrete numbers, details, statistics, etc. Without these, what you say are just words.
It reminds of what I always try to tell my students in our writing class when writing essays—always have facts.
11:00am – Digital Marketing Techniques for WordPress (WordPress サイト向けのデジタルマーケティングテクニック)
Jeff will be discussing some techniques the WordPress users can do to attract more visitors to their site, and convert them into paying customers.
Jeff had some fantastic points about landing pages and how to go about implementing them into your business. He pointed out that a common pitfall he’d see users doing with their traffic is that they are often pointing all their traffic to their homepage, when actually they should be directing it elsewhere.
I think what we often forget is that traffic comes from all different parts of the web. When we have users coming from different sources like organic search results, social media networks, advertisements and other places alike, we have to understand that our homepage may not be the best first place to send them to.
So where should we send our traffic then? Well, that’s what landing pages are for. They’re geared and designed in way that will appeal to a specifically targeted audience and when that audience lands on your page, they’ll be more likely to convert into paying customers if they see content that they like.
11:40am – How to Grow Your WordPress Business by Saying “No!” (WordPress ビジネスを成長させるための「No」と言う力)
Discover the power of turning down work in your WordPress business.
Many starting WordPress business owners underestimate how long it takes to build a strong foundation for their business. Often, out of desperation, they will take on any job, at any price, no questions asked. Ending up financially and emotionally drained. This is probably a reason why so many businesses close down in their first two years. Having experienced this myself the hard way, I discovered the power of the tiny word “No!”, the most powerful key we hold to end this rat race.
Saying “No!” is counterintuitive. And it is certainly is not an easy thing to do. But practicing to say “No!” can keep you from disliking your business and the people you do business with. The moment you stop saying ‘Yes” to every opportunity that arises, your WordPress business can grow bigger than you could have imagined.
The “No!” strategy is all about doing the work you are passionate about and are good at, and with the right clients. It really boils down to doing less of the work you dislike, isn’t profitable or does not fit your beliefs.
Learn to say “No!”
I feel the time is right to share some insights about why and how I learned to say no to certain work and clients. I will share my six step process that helped me grow my WordPress business over the years…
And remember: “If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no.”
Manuela van Prooijen
Manuela’s topic was a wonderful talk about the importance of saying “no” to a potential client or project, essentially turning down work.
The reasoning behind this is because what we ultimately should be doing with our own businesses is work that we love.
I totally understand where this is coming from. Work that we find interesting and fun will naturally bring out the best of our talents and will eventually lead to more work just like it.
12:30pm – Lunch
For lunch, there was a kind of Italian restaurant/cafe located on the first floor of the venue, so I decided to check that out. Grabbed a pasta and an iced lemon tea.
1:20pm – Life of a Nomadic Coder: Story of Metorik, WooCommerce Analytics Service (ノマド開発者が WooCommerce 分析サービス「Metorik」を作るまで)
Bryce will talk about how he got to start the Metorik startup. His life as a developer and WordPress community member started as a traveling freelancer. Laos, Thailand, Korea, and now based in Australia.
After doing freelance jobs, he joined WooThemes, the owner of WooCommerce, which later got acquired by Automattic. So he joined Woo, joined Automattic, and he left the company to start his Metorik. In this talk, he’ll show how he’s found his life so far, why Metorik? why by himself, and what the startup business is about.
このセッションでは、Metorik という WooCommerce アナリティクスのスタートアップビジネスを始めることになった背景について話します。
彼の開発者・WordPress コミュニティメンバーとしての人生は、ノマドスタイルで旅行をしながらフリーランスをしていたことからスタートしました。オーストラリア出身のブライスはラオス、タイ、韓国に住んだ後、今はまたオーストラリアに在住しています。各国でフリーランスとして働いた後、WooCommerce の運営元であった WooThemes に雇われ、Automattic による同社の買収により移籍。その後、Metorik を立ち上げるために独立しました。なぜ彼が一人で Web サービスを運営することにしたのか、数ある選択肢の中から Metorik のようなビジネスモデルを選んだ理由など、興味深い話が聞けるでしょう。
Bryce had an interesting personal story, or rather series of stories, that points out the path he took that eventually led up to his startup career with Metorik.
One of his key takeaways from his talk was being able to merge your own personal life with your work life. In doing so, work no longer becomes or feels like work. The reason being is that we are presumably enjoying what we’re doing.
Time takes an entirely different approach when we enjoy what we do.
2:00pm – Think Before You Post: Themes on WordPress.org / WordPress.org (テーマディレクトリから学ぶテーマ開発ベストプラクティス)
In his session, Ganga will be sharing his knowledge on how to make themes that can be approved on WordPress.org Theme Repository. By learning the best practices of WordPress theme development, you can become more confident in building your own themes.
Many of submitted themes are closed due to the deviation from the WordPress.org standards. As one of theme reviewers, he will talk about his theme review experience and encourage theme developers to submit themes to the official repository. He will also explain how the theme review process works: role and responsibility of authors and reviewers, admin queue, new queue, closed tickets, tickets under review, and more.
このセッションでは、WordPress.org テーマディレクトリで承認・掲載されるテーマを作成するために必要な知識を共有します。WordPress テーマ開発のベストプラクティスといえる方法を知ることで、自身を持ってテーマ作成に臨むことができるようになるはずです。
Ganga gave a very informative talk on what both theme developers and reviewers should look out for when developing, submitting or reviewing a theme.
It was very interesting to learn how much goes into theme reviews. At some point, I definitely want to get my hands dirty with theme reviewing too.
2:40pm – Konichiwa: What I’ve learned helping a Japanese WordPress start-up grow in the US (日本産 WordPress サービスの米国展開から学んだこと)
WordCamp US 2015 was my WordCamp. Attending I had the opportunity to meet a sponsor and one that I would eventually call my employer, coworkers, and friends.
From that day, I’ve worked with this company as a business partner, event planner, developer and now, COO.
Based in Japan we’ve overcome language barriers, the physical distance, and a brutal time zone shift. We make it work and WordPress made this opportunity possible.
I would like to share what I’ve learned bringing a Japanese business into the US market from a conversation starting with, Hello.
My belief is that your best opportunity is one step out of your comfort zone and that business should feel like a conversation. Whether you are creating SaaS products for end users, building B2B relationships or moving into new markets. Anything is possible by putting the conversation first.
WordCamp US 2015 は、彼にとって大きな転機となったイベントでした。スポンサーのひとつであったデジタルキューブ社との出会いが同社への入社につながり、同僚や友人を得たのです。
日本に本社を置く企業として、言語、物理的な距離、そして厳しいタイムゾーンのシフトという壁を乗り越えてきました。このようなチャンスを可能にできたのは WordPress のおかげです。
私は、2つのことを信じています。最高の機会は、自分のコンフォートゾーン（安全地帯）から足を踏み出すことで生まれるということ。そして、ビジネスは対話であるべきだ、ということ。エンドユーザー向けの SaaS プロダクトを作っている人にも、B2B の関係を構築している人にも、新しいマーケットに参入しようとしている人にも言えますが、対話を優先させることであらゆることが可能になるはずです。
Daniel shares his personal story about his experience working with Amimoto.
There were two really great takeaways I got from Daniel’s presentation, so I’ll talk a little bit about that.
The first was, “Branding is more than design”.
When it comes to branding, we might usually think about a logo, design or some sort of visual imagery that represents our business. But like Daniel mentioned, it’s not just about design and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.
I believe a business should regard its brand as a representation of the beliefs and values it considers to be the most important. Branding represents how a company thinks and acts and should represent the heart and soul of what the business is all about. The way employees conduct themselves in their day-to-day work, the support and service they provide to customers, the products they make, and most importantly the relationships they establish with clients—these are all examples of what makes up branding.
And finally the second takeaway was, “Your best opportunity is usually one step out of your comfort zone”.
I think this might be the hardest part for any person or business to come to realize. Stepping out of comfort zones will naturally place us in situations we either rarely or even never encounter. It’s in these situations that we’ll find undiscovered opportunities, ones which we would have never realized if we stay within our comfortable limits.
Daniel’s decision to work with Amimoto was a step out of his comfort zone, but in the end, it provided him with an invaluable experience, one which led to the result of something great for both parties.
3:20pm – WordPress in 2018 (2018年の WordPress)
WordPress has grown in more ways than we could have ever imagined, but what does the future hold? In his talk, Noel will make predictions about how our industry will change in 2018 and what it means for you and your business. From freelancers, agencies to product companies, there’s a lot going on you need to be aware of so that you can best plan for the upcoming year.
Noel による今回のセッションでは、2018年、WordPress の産業構造がどのように変化し、その変化があなたや、あなたのビジネスにどういう意味を持つのかを予言します。
Noel Tock による「予言」は今回が初めてではありません。過去にも何度かブログ投稿の形で行われ、それが的中してきています。
As the description notes, Noel Tock has been doing predictions about the future of WordPress for the past few years.
His talk was very insightful and some of the topics he covered included: react, differentiating yourself from common developers, Jetpack, cloud dependencies, hosting, enterprise maturity, and Gutenberg.
4:00pm – AMA: Mike Schroder, Jon Ang, and Noel Tock (WordPress のコア開発者・コミュニティリーダー・サービス開発者だけど質問ある？)
Mike, Jon, and Noel will be having an AMA session together. The audience and facilitator will be asking questions on their expertise, which may include their involvement in the WordPress communities, running a SaaS product using WordPress, WordPress hosting trend, and more.
マイク、ジョン、ノエルの3人が「AMA（Ask Me Anything）」スタイルであらゆる疑問に答えるセッション。客席やセッションモデレーターが彼らの専門分野についての質問を投げかけます。WordPress コミュニティへの参加、WordPress を使った SaaS プロダクトの運用、WordPress ホスティングの最新トレンドなどについて、聞きたいことがある方はぜひ用意してきてください。
The “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” session was a great way for people to ask questions about literally anything.
This session wrapped up the last of the English tracks for the day.
4:50pm -【基調講演】wp_next_step – WordPressの次のステップ
高橋 文樹 (Takahashi Fumiki)
Takahashi Fumiki gave the last talk of the day. He introduced to us the role of WordPress in community expansion, its role in helping to change the world, and the so-called “closed web” also known as SNS.
“The web is dead.”
This particular slide stood out to me the most and what Fumiki had to say about that resonated deeply with a recent experience I had with my students.
The phrase itself was inspired by the infamous “hip hop is dead” slogan. The phrase was coined when the culture and authenticity of hip hop was lost when mainstream media started to capitalize on its popularity, thus completely changing what hip hop originally once was.
This concept is no different to what’s going on in technology today and that’s what brings us to Fumiki:s main point about the web.
インターネット体験の変化, or in English, the “change in internet experience”.
The fundamental and most basic experience of opening up a browser and searching for something is slowly decreasing. More and more people are consuming and searching for content within apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Hence, the term “closed web”. These social networking systems are closed off from each other. A user’s experience takes place completely inside the app itself.
My personal experience realizing this phenomenon firsthand takes us to the time when I recently introduced WordPress.com to my high school students. I thought it would be a fun idea to use WordPress.com’s notable blogging features as way to integrate technology with our writing class.
The problem didn’t even have to do with WordPress itself though.
When I took my students to the computer lab and we booted up all the computers, I told my students to first please go to WordPress.com. And from there, I was met with some of the most blankest of blank faces. Naturally confused, I clarified the instructions in Japanese, and even wrote the complete URL on the board as “http://wordpress.com” and even then there were still people who just did not know what to do.
While they did manage to get their browsers open, as I was walking around to see what was going on and help those who didn’t know what to do, I was seeing some students do the strangest things with the URL I gave them.
Instead of using the browser’s address bar, some students were typing the URL in the search bars of the browser’s default homepage, which was either Yahoo or Google. And of course students would then be further because instead getting to the WordPress.com homepage, they would now be seeing dozens of search engine results.
Some students had there browsers open but didn’t know where to type in the URL address at all.
Now, I do admit that many of the computers were using somewhat dated software which could have added to the mania and not all my students were clueless about what to do, but there was definitely enough confusion to make an impact on me.
I came to an important realization after this experience. Our current generation is living in an app-based world. More and more, companies and businesses are shifting their web presence through the use of apps. They are slowly trying to take the entire online user experience and funnel it into single app. Social networking, news, shopping, gaming—all of it now in one convenient place.
Before apps and before smartphones, there was only the web.
Looking at our current generation of users and how they use technology, is it safe to say not knowing how to use a browser is a problem? Well, yes and no. Maybe 10 years ago it definitely might have. To say that it’s a problem today though may not be completely accurate. Rather, it is a representation of the truth we’re currently living in.
The truth is, technology is constantly changing, evolving, and forever growing. At an incredibly rapid pace too. It reflects what we as a society demand of technology. And technology adapts to what we need. And sometimes it even gives us things we never thought we needed.
So, the web may be dead, and beautiful websites we put our heart and soul into building may not ever be seen by single set of eyes except our own, but one thing is for certain—content will always live on. Fumiki makes a point of this.
Moving forward, we must remember the mission of WordPress and what it stands for—democratize publishing.
5:50pm – 懇親会入場開始 (After Party)
And this brings us to the last part of the day—the after party.
The after party is kind of world of its own. It’s most certainly the main place for networking for the entire event.
If you are ever lucky enough to attend a Japanese WordCamp, bring your business cards. You’ll have the unique pleasure of experiencing the Japanese culture of 名刺交換 (meishi koukan)—exchanging business cards. And yes, there is an entire etiquette on how to do it properly.
To quote from the above article:
Dr. Deborah Swallow, who has written numerous books on cultural communication, put it on her blog, “If you do not have [a business card in Japan], this implies you are of no consequence; you don’t exist.”
How about you reread that, take it in, and just let it sit for a while.
If you do not have a business card in Japan…
That is so intense. (wtf)
Thank God I decided to make and bring business cards to both this WordCamp and my first.
WordCamp Tokyo: Contributor Day (Day 3)
Blue Bottle Shinjuku
I made plans to meet up with a good friend of mine before heading off to the last day of WordCamp.
This friend and I go way back and I was glad to have caught up with her while I was in Tokyo. A much needed catchup sesh was in order.
We met at this trendy little coffee shop located in the heart of Shinjuku, just a few minutes walk from the station.
I never been to or heard of this coffee shop until I came across it while searching for recommended cafes online. The shop definitely sports those modern vibes.
After an hour of good ol’ reminiscing, it was time to say goodbye and I headed off to the venue.
Contributor Day is when people can gather together and work on different areas or aspects of WordPress. Every day, there are hundreds of people who voluntarily contribute to WordPress’ open source, and this is one of the reasons why WordPress is so great. People don’t contribute to making it better because they have to. They do it because they want to.
Codex 翻訳 / テーマ・プラグイン翻訳 (Codex, theme, & plugin translation)
I joined the Polyglots team again and worked on translating a plugin. It wasn’t until I was 160 strings in and asked for translation approval from any available PTE via WordSlack that I realized I was translating a near useless e-commerce plugin.
In the end, it was all for a good cause and I most definitely learned a lot from the work I did. I enjoy Polyglots because while it’s always a good way for me to practice my Japanese and expand my technical vocabulary, I know it’s also contributing to the localization of WordPress.
It was a long weekend in Tokyo.
Strictly on business, but fun business.
Despite having only been to two WordCamps in my life, both of which have been within the past four months, I feel like my knowledge of WordPress and its community (specifically the Japanese community) have grown in exponential numbers.
I can only imagine what the next experience will bring. And the next one. And the next after that.
I look forward to continue growing with this community and helping contribute to the WordPress open source project in any and all ways I can.
join /dʒɔɪn/ 〖原義は「2つ以上のものをじかにつなぎ合わせる」〗
verb [with object] link; connect