I Survived WordCamp Chicago!

The WebDevStudios team survived WordCamp Chicago 2009! We flew in Friday night, after a much delayed flight, and arrived just in time for pizza and drinks at Lou Malnati’s. During dinner we met Lisa Sabin-Wilson (author of WordPress for Dummies), Jeff Chandler (WP Weekly host and WPTavern.com owner), and a few other WordPress enthusiasts.

Saturday morning came very early, after staying up until 2am the night before, but we managed to wake up and make it to WordCamp Chicago! I met a lot of great people at WordCamp including Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), Jeremy Wright (CEO of b5media), David Peralty (co-host of WP Weekly), Dan Schulz (Advisor on SitePoint), Erin Blaskie, and lots of other WP Enthusiasts.

The presentations at WordCamp Chicago were great. I would have liked to seen more of a focus on WordPress, rather than blogging and branding presentations, but I understand that users outnumber designers and developers at these conferences. The presenters all did a really great job.

If you have never been to a WordCamp, GO! These events are awesome and I can already tell I am starting to get addicted to them.

Next up, WordCamp Montreal in July (which I am speaking at)!

WebDevStudios Team with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress

New Jersey WordPress Meetup coming in January

By StrangeWork.com: New Jersey now has an official WordPress Meetup Group! My company, WebDevStudios.com, is organizing the event and working to build a fun group of WordPress enthusiasts.

The WordPress Meetup Group is meeting on

January 7th, 2009 in Belmar, NJ

Proudly Powered by WordPressThis blog has been powered by WordPress since it’s launch over 2 years ago. Most of you know I’ve been a big fan of WordPress since then. We use WordPress on many different projects, some we can talk about, and some we can’t. Our goal is to create a fun group of WordPress users that want to come to the beautiful Jersey shore in January!

We plan on discussing a variety of topics including WordPress usage, designing WordPress Themes and styles, creating WordPress Plugins and Widgets, and using WordPress to its full potential. This is going to be a fun and informal way to meet WordPress fanatics just like yourself and share your experiences with the popular open source software.

We are also planning on learning about and working with WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and bbPress! Be sure to RSVP for the event on the Official New Jersey Meetup Group registration page. We’re looking forward to meeting all of you there for a fun evening of WordPress!

Getting Organized with FreshBooks Online Invoicing

By StrangeWork.com: Starting a company is hard, and staying organized is even harder. I started full time at WebDevStudios.com back in April of this year. At the start I was tracking invoices using a mix of spreadsheets and word documents. This method wasn’t too bad until I actually started getting more clients. I quickly realized this solution was not going to work for my invoicing needs.

FreshBooks.com LogoEnter FreshBooks.com, the online invoicing system for small businesses and contractors. FreshBooks in a few words, is freaking amazing! For just a few dollars a month I can now track all of my invoices online and it’s completely themed to match my business, including our logo. All of my invoices are now sent through the FreshBooks web portal and can be scheduled to send automatically if needed.

FreshBooks couldn’t be easier to create, maintain, and track invoices, clients, estimates, projects, and time. Invoices are emailed directly to my clients, who can then gain access to their own FreshBooks account to track all of their invoices from my company. It provides my clients with an entire new set of tools they didn’t have before. They can view what they have paid to date, view open invoices, and can even pay current invoices online.

At the end of the day being paid if the most important part of any small business. FreshBooks is a no brainer for online invoicing, but if you haven’t checked them out yet do it today! You won’t be disappointed.

Getting Back in the Swing of Blogging

WebDevStudios.com LogoBy StrangeWork.com: I’ve been very slow to write new blog posts lately, but with good reason. I’ve been blogging primarily on my company’s blog at http://webdevstudios.com/blog/. Obviously the blog posts are less personal and more focused on news and information related to my company, so I need to get back in to the swing of blogging at StrangeWork.

I also changed the title of this blog. As my life evolves so will this blog, and we have entered a new era for StrangeWork.com. The new blog title is: Life of an Internet Startup

When I first started blogging, almost two years ago, I wrote primarily on web 2.0 news, websites, and industry information. My career has taken an obvious change since leaving Batteries.com and pursuing my own website development company full time in April of this year. This blog will now help me track my progress as the founder of an internet startup company. There will be ups and downs, but I plan to document the knowledge I learn here for all to read.

Expect to see blog posts more frequently as I travel down this bumpy road of an Internet Startup!

WebDevStudios.com Gets a Face Lift!

By StrangeWork.com: WebDevStudios.com, the New Jersey based software development company I co-founded, just launched a much needed new site design! Not only is the design new, but we also completely changed our website platform to WordPress.

WebDevStudios.com ScreenshotWordPress is a leader in the open source software community, and a perfect fit for what we needed in a content management system.

Yes, I said content management system. WordPress is a great fit for any size company to manage their public website, and can become a powerful CMS with just a few plugins. Since we specialize in open source website development, it only makes sense to practice what we preach.

WordPress also gives us the much needed ability to blog! Thus the Official WebDevStudios.com Blog has launched. This blog will focus more on open source technology news, tips, source code, publicly released WebDevStudios plugins, and more!

Stay tuned as more website updates are sure to follow!

From Microsoft to Linux….almost

By StrangeWork.com: As most of you know I am in the process of starting my own Web Development Company in New Jersey. Starting a company takes a lot of work, but of course I knew this going into it. Business is great and we are starting to grow!

PHP LogoI’ve decided to shift focus on my technologies track a little. I’ve always programmed with Microsoft technologies including classic ASP, ASP.NET, VB, SQL Server, etc. I’ve been developing dynamic websites with classic ASP for almost 8 years now and I still love that language. I use ASP.NET occasionally when the project calls for it, but I love scripting languages. I’ve decided to focus my efforts on PHP rather than ASP.NET.

Scripting has always come natural to me, so why focus on a more object-oriented language? Exactly, so from this point on I will be primarily developing in ASP and PHP. The logic is the same as ASP, just different syntax so the switch won’t be too dramatic.

Expect to see some sweet PHP applications rolling out in the coming months!

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

By StrangeWork.com: I had my first boss in the Marine Corps, Chief Warrant Officer Lipscomb, contact me and my business partner Brian today. I haven’t spoken with him in over 7 years!

USMC OOORAH! It was great catching up with him! Officer Lipscomb was the man in charge of Brian and I as we became Web Developers for the 2nd Force Service Support Group at Camp Lejeune. Thus the dynamic programming duo was born!

The Marine Corps was hard, but I’ll always have a deep respect for it. After all, it made me who I am today! I wouldn’t be undertaking this adventure to start a Web Dev company without the leadership and self motivation I gained from the Marines.

OOORAH!

I’m leaving Batteries.com and Indiana

By StrangeWork.com: The time has finally come for me to move on from Batteries.com. Not only am I leaving Batteries.com, but I am also leaving Indiana and moving to New Jersey in April!

I’ve come to a crossroad in my life where I had to make a decision. Take the safe route and keep working in the corporate world at a cushy job, or take the less safe route and go with my passion of being an entrepreneur and start my own company and try to make it big. I can happily say I’m taking the less safe route and going for it!

I’m going to be working part time at a development firm, called InfoLoop, where my friend currently works. The rest of the time I will be working on building my new company (Web Dev Studios) and pushing my startup sites (SnapFoo.com, iHotties.net, etc)

This is a huge change in my life and an exciting time. As much as I love Indiana I think it’s time for me to go. In New Jersey I will be within driving distance to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC. All of these locations have HUGE tech scenes and I’m really looking forward to all the conferences/gatherings that I’ll be able to attend.

I’m taking a huge risk by leaving, but in the words of Robert F. Kennedy:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Wish me luck!