We were able to snag some time with the ever-lovely Adria Richards during SXSWi last weekend. Adria’s passion lies in empowering people through technology. She actually started her career at Geek Squad way back in 1999. She runs her own consulting company, offers online training through FreshWorkshops, blogs her heart out, produces a weekly tech show and finds time somewhere to help raise awareness of equality in the tech field.
First and foremost, Adria believes that SXSW is all about relationships. It’s arguably the best conference each year to connect with others who share your interests and goals. The panels she attended were informative but the hallway chatter and networking events are what stood out for her – as they did for nearly everyone else in attendance.
Adria points out that a buddy system works well for this event. You cannot possibly attend every session and talk that is scheduled. Work with a friend or two to divide up the talks that interest you the most. Build some downtime into your schedule later in the day and compare notes. Discuss what you learned and what you took away from the session with you. Share the ideas and build upon them with your friends.
Adria has been using WordPress since 2006, and is considered by many to be an expert. She got her start after being spurred by people she had helped via email. They would ask her tech questions, and she would respond with detailed and lengthy messages full of links and bullet points. Those people knew that her information should be made public so that others could learn from her as well.
In the early days, Adria used WordPress when teaching a course on A+ certification. There were no online resources back then such as we have now for learning environments. Instead of relying on mass emails (or even phone trees), Adria could quickly throw something important onto the WordPress install and the entire class of twenty-five had instant access.
These days, she uses WP for much more than teaching courses. She blogs for herself when she has something to say about topics that interest her. She also teaches others how to properly use WP through online and in-person training courses. The online course is four weeks long – two hours per week.
Adria did of course attend the WordPress session during SXSW. One thing that has her excited is the fact that bbPress is going to be integrated as a plugin. This will allow you to quickly and easily set up a forum on your site right from your WP back end.
WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg loves what he does because WP gives people a voice. Having that voice is what Adria works so hard to bring to other people… a task which she does flawlessly.