Steve Grunwell

Open-source contributor, speaker, and coffee snob

Category: Career

An empty, auditorium-style lecture hall

Quick Tips for New Speakers

I’m not a professional speaker by any stretch of the imagination, but I do tend to make it to a non-negligible number of conferences each year, where I get up on stage for 45 minutes to an hour at a time and try to help people.

Lately, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to newer conference speakers, and trying to offer what little advice I feel qualified enough to give. This post aims to sum up some of the more common points.

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Today is my last day at Growella

Though it was only a few short months ago that I left my Lead Web Engineer position at 10up to join Growella as their Director of Technology, today is my last day in that position. It’s not a decision I’ve arrived at lightly, but it’s a move that I feel is necessary for my career satisfaction.

I’m extraordinarily proud of what I’ve accomplished in my few months at Growella; our small team was able to take the site from concept to release in less than two months, rolling out the “Prime” release on January 17. I pitched, built, and have been writing weekly on the Engineering @ Growella blog, a place to discuss how we approach engineering challenges at Growella. Growella’s GitHub organization has a number of open-source contributions to its name, including several WordPress plugins, a WP-CLI package, and several contributions to other open-source projects.

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8 Highlights from Engineering @ Growella

If you recall, I launched the Engineering @ Growella blog at the beginning of 2017. Since then, I’ve been publishing at least once a week on that blog, but this site has been neglected as a result, which is unfortunate.

I’m very proud of the content that’s being published on the Engineering @ Growella blog, however, so I thought I’d take a moment to highlight some of the better pieces from the last two months.

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The Tuletornen residential project in Sundbyberg, Sweden

Schemify: Automatic structured data for WordPress

It’s been several months in the works, but I’m thrilled to announce that my latest WordPress plugin, Schemify, is now available on WordPress.org!

Schemify is designed to automatically generate Schema.org-compliant structured data for WordPress, with full customization capabilities through actions and filters. With Schemify, you can rest assured that Google, Bing, and other search engines see your posts as articles, pages as webpages, and ensure that your authors get the credit they deserve.

Best of all? Schemify is able to inject structured data into your site without you having to change your markup!

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Members of 10up's Arrested Development group enjoying tacos along Mission Beach in San Diego, California

Today is my last day at 10up

Just over two years ago, I joined 10up as a Senior Web Engineer. I was looking for an opportunity to stretch my skills on bigger clients with a larger team, and I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished over the last 24 months. I’ve moved around a few different positions in the company, and been afforded the chance to travel to places like Boulder, San Diego, Atlanta, and Manhattan, all while working with a tremendously-talented team of engineers.

For all these reasons and more, it saddens me to announce that today is my last day with 10up. Beginning Monday, I’ll be joining the team at a young company, Growella, as the Director of Technology. While it’s a big change for me, Growella also represents a tremendous opportunity for me to build a company from the ground up, developing not only software but a team of talented engineers.

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An employee sitting across the table from two other people

Preparing for your Annual Review

The annual review can be a sink-or-swim moment for many employees, but I've seen far too many people – myself included – let a good opportunity to talk about growth and trajectory pass them by when review time finally comes. The review can and should be a time to reflect on your successes, reinforce learning from mistakes, and set goals for your future at the company.

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Generating a new Reveal.js presentation using a Yeoman generator

Building Presentations with Reveal.js

As I mentioned in my Exporting Reveal.js Slides to PDF Using Decktape post last week, I tend to use Reveal.js – a HTML- and JavaScript-powered presentation framework – for most of my conference talks. Having given a fair number of presentations using the framework over the last few years, I thought it might be useful for speakers who haven’t yet tried (or found their footing with) Reveal.js if I laid out my preparation workflow.

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A pack of elephants bathing and drinking at a watering hole

Review: Building Exceptional Sites with WordPress & Thesis

While I was in St. Louis for php[tek], php[architect] announced the release of their latest book, Building Exceptional Sites with WordPress and Thesis by Peter MacIntyre. php[architect]’s Editor-in-Chief, Oscar Merida, asked if I’d be willing to read through the new book and offer my thoughts, and I quickly accepted; not only have I been looking forward to meeting Peter in-person (he’s one of the organizers of Northeast PHP, where I’ll be speaking in early August), but the book’s forward was written by my close friend and mentor, Eric Mann.

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A wooden deck, sprinkled with flower petals and leaves

Exporting Reveal.js Slides to PDF using Decktape

After giving two talks last weekend and WordCamp NEO, one of the conference organizer emailed me and asked if I could provide PDF versions of my slide decks to send to WordPress.tv.

If you’ve seen one of my talks before, you may know that I’m a huge fan of Reveal.js, a JavaScript presentation framework that allows me to author my slides using Markdown, present in a browser, and share everything via GitHub Pages. Then, as I give talks at multiple conferences, people can see what’s changed, report any inaccuracies, and see my presentation history. Pretty snazzy!

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Track WordPress Site Searches with McAvoy

Another week, another new plugin, it seems. This time, I’m proud to announce that McAvoy is now available in the WordPress.org repository!

McAvoy was born out of a client need to get information about what visitors are searching for on their site. While there are enterprise-level packages to do this and it’s pretty easy to set up in something like Google Analytics, our client wanted a solution that would simply collect information about what people were searching for and make it visible within the WordPress Admin dashboard.

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Be excellent to each other.