Archive for July, 2016

Field Notes: Podcast Movement 2016

Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do in the community. This week, we share our experience at the Podcast Movement 2016 conference.

People use WordPress.com to share many types of stories, from written essays and photo galleries to podcasts. Podcast Movement has quickly become the conference to attend for audio storytellers, so we were excited to be there to support the podcasting community and spread the word about podcasting tools on WordPress.com.

Live from the WordPress.com booth

Cesar Abeid, Trevor Montgomery, and Dustin Hartzler, Happiness Engineers at Automattic, attended the latest installment of this exciting event earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois. The conference, now in its third year, drew over 1,500 attendees. WordPress.com was a sponsor, so we had a great opportunity to engage with the community from our booth — and to feel the love for WordPress!

Podcast Movement 2016: A Recap

There were sessions on how to get started with podcasting, how to monetize your show, best practices for conducting interviews, and many other topics aimed to help podcasters take their shows to the next level. This year’s speakers included Alex Blumberg, former producer for This American Life and Planet Money on NPR, and Dan Miller, bestselling author of 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Hundreds of conference goers stopped by the WordPress.com booth, where we talked about using WordPress for podcasting and the different tools to publish and promote a show. We were also available to offer hands-on help with bloggers’ WordPress sites.

Podcasting on WordPress.com

While many podcasters are using self-hosted WordPress.org sites, some attendees did not know that WordPress.com also supports podcasting.

Did you know: according to Todd Cochrane from Blubrry, creators of the PowerPress podcasting plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites, there are over 200,000 active podcasts in iTunes. Since Blubrry powers over 60 thousand of them, at least 30% of all currently active podcasts are running WordPress!

WordPress.com makes it very easy to get started with podcasting. All you need to do is create a new post category, change a few settings in your dashboard, and submit your podcast to iTunes and other catalogs. Just follow these steps to launch your podcast (if you don’t have a WordPress.com site yet, get one here).

Some of the advantages of podcasting with WordPress.com:

  • Simplicity: Both your website and your media are hosted in the same place, making it easier to manage your content.
  • Security: Your podcast and site will be protected by WordPress.com against attacks and spam.
  • Backups: All content published on WordPress.com is protected and backed up so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Maintenance-Free: Your WordPress.com site is always running the latest version of WordPress, and you will never have to worry about updates.

We continue to work on tools for podcasters here at WordPress.com, and would love your input on how we can make them better.

What’s your show?

Do you have a podcast? Tell us about it and post a link to it in the comments below!

Filed under: Automattic, Community, Events, WordPress.com
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Handbags for a Cause: Kent Stetson Black Lives Matter Clutch

Kent Stetson Black Lives Matter Clutch

I first saw Kent Stetson’s Black Lives Matter clutch on Instagram (you must follow @kentstetson), and couldn’t wait to feature it on HR! I absolutely love this clutch for a couple of reasons – (1) it was designed to spread peace and awareness; (2) I love the eye popping yellow and multi-color interior flap; and (3) 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the Black Lives Matter Organization. #BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue amongst Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement. 

The Black Lives Matter clutch is handmade in the USA, comes with a removable cross-body chain, logo dust bag, clear vinyl inner pocket and is individually signed. Price: $205.00 at KentStetson.com.

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Designer Deals: Chanel Purple Quilted Washed Lambskin Jumbo Single Flap

Chanel Purple Quilted Washed Lambskin Jumbo Single Flap

I have been on the hunt for a Chanel bag that really speaks to me which is challenging because I love bright colors and fun prints but also know that it’s more practical to invest in a more classic color and style. Don’t you just hate the word “practical”?! In my mind, practical = safe and boring. If you’re going to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a handbag, shouldn’t it be a bag that you absolutely love?! I want a bag that I love so much that it makes me feel like doing cartwheels every time I carry it. That being said, I just discovered this beautiful Chanel Purple Quilted Washed Lambskin Jumbo Single Flap at Jill’s Consignment and can’t help but think that it might be “the one”! It features soft washed lambskin leather and ruthenium hardware; front flap with CC turn-lock closure and exterior flat pocket. The chain & leather entwined shoulder strap can be doubled and worn short or pulled thru to wear long. It has purple leather lining with flat pocket and zippered pocket. This purple jumbo Chanel bag is in pristine condition inside and out and comes with dust cover. Carried very gently and sparingly over the years. There is no corner rubbing, no scratches to the hardware, no stains, spots, marks or damage anywhere on the bag. Price: $2,500 at Jill’s Consignment.

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Louis Vuitton Unveils New Packaging

This new range of packaging is worked in a bright saffron shade specially selected to create a new visual signature. Named “Imperial Saffron”, this distinctive colour has woven itself into Louis Vuitton’s history since a century and a half. It can been seen on many iconic heritage pieces such as the trunk known as “Citroën” in the Louis Vuitton archives, created for an expedition in Africa launched by the French automobile rm in 1924. The Imperial Saffron has also naturally been showcased as the prominent colour on the offcial poster of “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez”, Louis Vuitton’s exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2015.

From now on, the Louis Vuitton packaging will feature this imperial saffron shade highlighted with blue, a complementary colour already used in early personnalisation details from 1854 onwards but also for the House’s ribbons since many decades. The combination of the two colours gives a very modern yet eternal look that it reminiscent of the golden age of travel.

While the thicker paper and cotton ribbon handles allow for greater resilience during transport, the new formats are easily folded and slipped into a suitcase or travel bag. The paler shade of the sides and interiors of the new packaging echoes that of the natural leather used since 1860 by Louis Vuitton, especially for the handles and labels of bags, luggage and trunks. Raw cotton and at-pack boxes are part of a greater focus on sustainability on behalf of the House.

Malle Auto Speciale pour la Croisiere noire [39 x 62 x 17 cm] en Toile Vuittonite jaune - 1924. Fermee vue de face

Special Auto Trunk for Citroën (39 x 62 x 17 cm) in Vuittonite, 1924.

Malle cabine en toile Vuittonite, 1928. Fermee, vue de 3/4.

Cabin Trunk in Vuittonite, 1928.

Images via Louis Vuitton


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Louis Vuitton x Marc Newson Rolling Luggage Collection

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Louis Vuitton launches an innovative new range of rolling trunks for the 21st century traveller designed by Marc Newson.

‘What compelled me to join forces with Louis Vuitton was the challenge to design a great piece of luggage, because like a lot of people, I travel a lot and I feel that I am in many ways kind of uniquely placed to be able to do that, as a consumer more so than a designer’, says Marc Newson.

The trunk has at its core, a new type of self-reinforced polypropylene composite, essentially representing the structure of the trunk, moulded in a mesh matrix of several layers. Its exceptionally thin, lightweight and elastic characteristics can absorb shocks. Louis Vuitton’s emblematic Monogram canvas has been expressly developed for the luggage in a new ultra light weight, a reduction of almost 50%, without compromising the original characteristics.

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The anodised aluminium extendable cane has been relocated outside from within the trunk, adding both structure and strength, as well as substantially increasing the all important interior packing space, removing entirely the awkward bumps and ridges normally associated with internal cane mechanisms and leaving in useful space in its place.

Additional innovations include a new transversal side hinge that is built-in within the structure of the trunk itself, just like Louis Vuitton’s traditional hard trunks, allowing for 180 degree opening. The ultra-slim aluminium 3-digit combination zip-pull lock system is TSA approved and integrated with a single zipper pull, designed to reduce weight and avoid the usual stress points with double zip pulls in luggage. Four miniature wheels, engineered to be as silent as possible o ering 360 degree movement, ensuring smooth and stable maneuvering.

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Just like one of Vuitton’s historic trunks, the trunk’s corners are covered in natural cowhide leather as are the handles, studied to offer maximum comfort when in use and minimum volume when out of use.
The 18 months of development resulted in an increase internal volume of 15% percent compared to a similar sized trunk with the traditional internal mounted cane, and an unparalleled 37-litre capacity in the cabin size. Lightweight, strong and resistant, the trunk weighs a mere 2.7 kilos for the 50 version and 3 kilos for the cabin size, excluding the inside elements.

These innovations have resulted in three new patent applications, all pending at press time, respectively covering the zip-pull lock system, an ultra-thin titanium layer bonded to the polypropylene composite shell, and the external full-width extendable cane.

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I think it’s safe to say that we’re striving to break new ground in terms of developing a product which is one of the lightest on the market, and from a technical perspective is one of the most rigorously designed and engineered’, says Marc Newson. The designer adds ’I’m obsessive about packing everything into a bag of a certain size which is why it was so important for me to design a product that could tick all of those boxes and be the kind of the perfect piece of luggage for a person like me, that travels and won’t travel with anything more than is absolutely necessary.”

The trunks come with a protective cover for use when checking in, an interior removable x strap and a removable mesh screen divider panel. A special range of additional accessories have been created that include a briefcase with a special strap to attach to the trunk, a padded computer sleeve, an accessories pouch, a set of 2 washable shoe pouches and a garment cover. The trunk has luggage tag and accessory pouch can be personalised.

New Rolling Luggage Louis Vuitton Marc Newson

The trunk is produced in Monogram canvas, Monogram Eclipse, Damier Graphite, Taiga leather, in natural cowhide leather and a rainbow of 7 colours of Epi leather. In 2017, the only rolling luggage with a laser-engraved monogram titanium finish will be added to the collection.

The trunk comes in two cabin sizes, 50 (50 x 35 x 20 cm) and 55 (55 x 39 x 21 cm). A check-in size 70 will come later on.

To accompany the launch Louis Vuitton will offer a 48 hour after sales repair service in 14 cities globally which will also be integrated in to the Louis Vuitton travel app.

Images via Louis Vuitton


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Engineering Happiness en Español

As part of our effort to build a localized Spanish-speaking support team, the Happiness Hiring team at Automattic recently had the opportunity to connect with WordPress communities in Argentina and Spain. From speaking engagements to networking events, our trip was a great way to meet local communities that are passionate about WordPress and exemplary customer support.

Last year at Automattic, we built a localized Brazilian Portuguese-speaking support team to help provide support to a subset of the WordPress.com community in their primary language. We strongly believe in the power of an excellent customer support culture — after all, that’s why we call our support team members Happiness Engineers! Customer service isn’t just about answering questions, but making an educational experience memorable and empowering.

Over the past few months, we’ve been working to provide the same level of localized support to Spanish-speaking customers on WordPress.com. We’ve promoted the Happiness Engineer (ES) role through blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook, but we decided to reach out to local Argentine and Spanish WordPress communities in person as well.

“Connecting with Spanish-speaking WordPress communities is invaluable for both sharing our experience with customer support and letting others know what it’s like to work on our support team at Automattic.”

—Karen Arnold, a member of the Happiness Hiring team

Connecting with the Argentine Community

The WordPress community is global, spread across many cities, states, and countries. This decentralized aspect of the WordPress.org open source project plays a large part in Automattic’s philosophy of distributed work. It’s better to have the best candidate for the job, period, than the best candidate in your city.

What’s the difference between Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, and the WordPress.org project? Learn more about .com vs .org.

Karen, along with Deborah Beckett, another member of the Happiness Hiring team, connected with the WordPress community in Argentina to set up events around customer support. On their visit, they spoke with members of the WordPress Buenos Aires Meetup, WordPress Córdoba Meetup, and the new WordPress La Plata Meetup, as well as members of the local tech community through their networking event at Sugar Bar in Buenos Aires and various co-working and incubator spaces, such as Co-Innova and The Tech Pub.

El equipo detrás de @WordPressLPL @retrofox @LauraICL @karenalma Mercedes Barreda @eliorivero @ofwald @Globant ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ovce02TzsV

— Agencia Vovopad (@agencia_Vovopad) May 13, 2016

“We were excited to connect with Automatticians and ask questions about Automattic’s unique customer support philosophy and what it’s like to work remotely with so many teammates,” said Juan Francisco Aldasoro, a WordPress Buenos Aires Meetup organizer. Juan also owns a remote WordPress-related company — and understands the value of distributed work.

Automattic is a distributed company, currently with 478 Automatticians in 45 countries — and growing! Learn more about our distributed work culture.

The conversations Karen and Deborah had in Argentina were enlightening: they shared their expertise on developing a customer support philosophy, but also had the opportunity to hear real questions and challenges facing community members who are building their own projects and companies with WordPress.

Talking Shop in Barcelona and Madrid

Pam Kocke and I flew to Spain to speak with local WordPress and tech communities. We spoke to a dozen or so members of the Barcelona WooCommerce Meetup, and later to the WordPress Barcelona Meetup and WordPress Madrid Meetup.

These were helpful conversations, especially around how to build a reputation for great customer support. “[Good support] not only applies when your company has a product,” said Joan Artés, an organizer of the WordPress Barcelona Meetup. “It also applies when you own an agency.”

“Customers are also users, and they must be happy.”

—Joan Artés, WordPress Barcelona Meetup organizer

@automattic @pyjammy and @ericavarlese are teaching us about the importance of good support pic.twitter.com/yH2CMnKIg5

— MadridWordPress (@MadridWordPress) June 21, 2016

Customer support can often be seen as an afterthought, but we believe in using your interactions with users as a way of building your reputation and goodwill amongst the tech community. When speaking with community members in Barcelona and Madrid, we were impressed by how much thought and time they’d already put into providing excellent support. When an audience member in Barcelona asked for advice on how to work with customers who are deeply frustrated, we emphasized the importance of validating customer concerns — and always going above and beyond.

We had insightful conversations, both on stage and off, and chatted with quite a few people who are equally passionate about providing exceptional customer service. We look forward to building these relationships, as well as our Spanish-language support team.

Think you’ve got the WordPress chops? We’re accepting applications for the Happiness Engineer (ES) role — and many others. Apply today!

Filed under: Community, International, Localization, Support, WordPress.com
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Blogging U. for Photography: Developing Your Eye

Lots of us like to share photography on our sites, so we’re excited to add two photography courses to the Blogging U. library!

These free 10-day courses help you sharpen your visual eye so you can create a beautiful photoblog, enhance your website with images, or just get more comfortable with your camera (or all three!). Use a big fancy DSLR, a cameraphone, or anything in between — everyone is welcome.

Developing Your Eye I

Developing Your Eye I introduces you to the fundamentals of photography. You’ll get an email each day pairing a theme to inspire your image with a related shooting tip. We may ask you to consider composition or image orientation one day, or experiment with color on another.

Developing Your Eye II

Want to keep shooting? Developing Your Eye II offers ten more days of themes and tips. Experiment with light and motion, learn to lightly edit your images, and more. We’ll build on the tips and practices from the first course, but it’s not a prerequisite — you can take this first, or as a stand-alone course.

Both courses are based on our previous Photo 101: A Photo a Day four-week course. For more info about Blogging U. and how it works, check out these FAQs.

Looking for other photography resources? Check out a roundup of four of our favorite photo-focused themes,  or explore the “Craft of Photography” category over on The Daily Post.

Get started

Start and stop these courses whenever works for you. To get started, visit the Blogging U. homepage and click the “Sign up” button next to the course you’re interested in, or visit the course pages (Developing Your Eye I | Developing Your Eye II) and click the “Sign up for this course” button. You’ll get a welcome email immediately, then your first assignment ten minutes later.

Not interested in photography? There are a range of other Blogging U. courses for you to choose from:

Enjoy!

Filed under: Better Blogging, Photos
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Save the Date: 2016 Walk to Answer TTP Together

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, we are joining the Answering TTP Foundation for the annual Walk to Answer TTP Together to help raise TTP awareness. I lost my mother to the rare auto-immune blood disorder, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura aka TTP (more on her story here). With no known cure, patients are living each day in fear of another relapse that could end in irreversible damage to the brain, heart and/or kidneys. Our friends and family in the Columbia, SC area are invited to join Team Walking for Joan. Time and location TBD. As soon as the official website is ready to go live, I will have additional information on registering and donating.

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New Theme: Karuna

It’s Theme Thursday, and I’m excited to present a new free theme called Karuna!

Karuna

Karuna WordPress Theme

Karuna, designed by Mel Choyce, is a clean business theme designed with health and wellness-focused sites in mind. With bright, bold colors, prominent featured images, a sleek responsive design, and support for customer testimonials, your business’ brand is sure to shine with Karuna.

Karuna, a Responsive WordPress Theme for Health and Wellness Businesses.

Want to explore Karuna? Head over to the theme’s Showcase page!

Filed under: Themes
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Customize Your Site’s Footer Credit

Every WordPress.com site displays a footer credit — a line of text at the bottom of the page — which links to our homepage and to the theme you’re currently using. These links help your visitors set up a WordPress site of their own, and highlight the reach and scope of our community. It’s a way to show the world the pride we take in building WordPress.com, which so many of you have chosen as your home on the web.

Over the years we’ve received feedback about the footer credit, where the language didn’t always align with the goals for your website or blog. So today, we’re rolling out the ability to customize the footer credit. We wanted to give you more control over your site’s appearance while maintaining an important part of WordPress.com.

Custom Footer Credits

What’s new? As of today, all WordPress.com users can choose among several options for the footer credit, from a minimalist WordPress.com logo to new options like “A WordPress.com Website” or “Powered by WordPress.com.” If your site is on our Business plan, you now have the option to remove the footer credit altogether.

To find these options, head to My Sites → Customize and select the site you wish to change. In the Site Identity section, look for the Footer Credit option. Choose the option you would like to use — the Customizer will let you preview how each one looks on your site — and hit Save & Publish when you’re ready. Your site will be updated instantly.

We currently offer five footer options, but we’ll keep an eye on your feedback, and will consider adding other alternatives in the future. If you have a suggestion, we would love to hear it — leave a comment with your ideas. Enjoy!

Filed under: Customization, Features, Themes, WordPress.com
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