On the evening of the 14th July – I drove down to my first meetup with the Haverfordwest WordPress Meetup Group…
This was the first real meetup so that we could introduce ourselves and form a rough outline of what the purpose of the group and the direction that it could take and what areas would be covered….I had been in communication with Ken Mahoney via the meetup web site and app – but this was the first time we met face to face… and I must say he did the group proud… He is doing a sterling job of setting this up and arranging things all at his own expense of time and money – and I for one have every intention of supporting the initiative and providing as much help as I can at this venue and any possible future branches at Carmarthen and Llanelli (which is much nearer home for me)… We shall see….
This group of people came from a wide background with widely differing experience of digital techniques and website development –
The common goal was to provide a means of sharing experience and for all to be in turn teachers and learners – mentor and share facilities… I suspect also that this will also be a platform to get people out of their comfort zone – and to start presenting their work and experience as ‘guest’ speakers in the following weeks –
I think I realised a long time ago – that the fastest way to develop detailed understanding of a subject area or technique is to have to explain it to others… and to provide illustrations and case studies to back up this understanding.
I believe that this group will prove to be productive and interesting for all concerned – especially after we get over the initial period and start to develop and understanding of each others needs and knowledge… It was obvious that there was a great danger of launching into things like marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Video marketing, Google, Social Media Campaigns before many have even got to grips with the basics of blogging or creating sites using WordPress as a framework…
I think however that what was perhaps evident was that this is NOT the vehicle to try and sell others services and skills – it is to share knowledge, expertise, experiences or lack of – and for us to help each other…. I think that one of the lessons learned is that we need to formulate ground rules and etiquette – regarding conduct and behaviors…
We are there to learn and help – and that is the purpose and intent – and I for one appreciate that we are doing this for no fees or expenses and it is for the benefit of others – and as a mean of developing our own skills and expertise…. after all we are all there because we want to learn how to do things ourselves – and not pay for other peoples services or advice…..
I think we could have a very full agenda over the coming months and I will continue to document progress, lessons learned and mistakes made during these sessions…
Unfortunately the time passed so quickly during this session – which hopefully means that it was enjoyable for all present and We can work on what we want to discuss and what facilities we can share and who will be guest speakers in future sessions.
If anyone is interested in joining us and contributing please download the Meetup app for iPhone or Android (or open the meetup.com website and search for WordPress within 100 miles of Haverfordwest, Wales, UK…
Both My wife and myself – along with our sons have had a pretty trying time since the end of February 2015 and it has taken its toll on our lives, businesses, work and health.
Unfortunately that dreaded disease Cancer has taken my father – who despite giving all the appearance of being independent,extremely fit and strong up till the start of 2015 – started exhibiting unexplained aches, pains and numbness in legs. It ended with him being hospitalized and despite the best efforts of our health service – he was only to return home for a few days at the start of March – only to lose the use of his legs.
Despite the great efforts of our health professionals and care workers – we were unable to fulfill his wishes of returning to home to be nursed – it seems we were within two days of arranging the facilities and so on… when he took a turn for the worse and his care needs became too intensive for us to cope at home.
What is so sad is that my mother – his wife of over 56 years also succumbed to the same disease only 2 years previously but hers was an extremely short illness compared to the drawn out battle my father had… He was obviously very strong and stubborn and despite saying he wanted to go – if his mobility was compromised – his body obviously was not willing to let go…. but eventually his body was no longer able to fight and he lost his battle 5 days after his 84th Birthday… I know that 84 is a good age – but we had expectations that he was going to outlive us all – as he was so active and independent … he was cycling up till Christmas 2014 and had a pretty active party life until he was struck down… He will be missed.
We seem to have lost a number of friends and family to cancer in the last few years and its cruel and leads you to re-evaluate your lives in detail because it seems to show no respect to how well you appear or how fit you keep yourself or how active… It only re-enforces the old sayings that you only have one life… life is too short… Life is for living and you should ensure what you do is valid, worthwhile and fulfilling.
What I do know is that despite our best endeavors to care for him and protect him – it is obvious that there were a great deal of unscrupulous characters out there who seemingly search the obituary or recent death pages that are readily available and then start a campaign of lets rip off a vulnerable person. We managed to prevent him getting solar panels but only just – he wouldn’t have benefited from the claimed savings and income from the scheme in his lifetime… but he certainly in quick succession without us knowing in advance – had replacement triple glazing (well perhaps that was sort of a good idea) – replacement doors, all new cladding and fascia boards – and to top it all I suspect an external paint job from a company who possibly claimed it was NASA space shuttle derived pain (It sounded like that when he told us) – I do know that some firms have been exposed for using ordinary paint and claiming super powers – I can’t say in all honesty that this was one of those… His place does look good though… but unfortunately he was not really able to appreciate the fruits of his money being spent… we also discovered that we had other people trying to sell shares in things like oil fields in America, coloured diamonds and other dodgy – risky schemes and he seemed glad that they were cold calling him on the phone… and we were powerless to prevent this happening – in fact he stopped us from registering his telephone number with the telephone preferential service with the aim of preventing such calls… It turns out that while we were working he must have felt so alone without his wife – that he welcomed any one phoning. Unfortunately this has only come to light as we are sorting out his affairs.
I just wish there was something that we could do to prevent this from happening to other vulnerable people out there as it seems the authorities are losing the battle and are largely unable to chase these people down.
What we didn’t realise at the time was just how much we were running on emotion and adrenaline – It seemed straight after he passed that we thought – he is at peace now – now to get our lives back on track and then we then started feeling pretty ill ourselves and the drive just wasn’t there – there was still things to sort our regarding my fathers estate and still is… plus our employment, interests, side projects and other plans still were suffering greatly… and emotionally we are spent – the enthusiasm is taking its time to return… but returning it is…..
I have a couple of side projects that I have been asked to help people with and Annette (My wife) is now embarking on the next stage of the family enterprise – so I am helping her with the websites, marketing, processes and tools… Its for that reason I am undertaking the mentoring with John Thornhill (P2S) as well as the other challenges that I have set myself.
I am undertaking some of the activities as a case study just to prove how powerful a tool the internet is for local business ventures and documenting what approaches and techniques help my friends business regain a secure footing again – after years of working via referrals – word of mouth and newspaper adverts – to a internet driven marketing and business plan – hopefully involving an aspect of passive selling of products to ensure income is available without having to rely on physical customers to her services. The other side jobs are in conjunction with my wife to help in the running of our sons businesses – in quite different niche areas and in different geographic locations – and I expect this to also involve my other interests in business processes, mobile application development and application/system development.
My eldest so is in the Health industry – Chiropractor and Sports Fitness and Care – the whole body – while my youngest is in whole life legal and financial planning.
So in conjunction with my sons – I think you are likely to find this blog expanding to cover things like keeping healthy and fit while working in offices and computers – and linking to various other sources of information and guidance for financial and whole life planning – we will just have to see how things progress but expect sections to address these aspects shortly. Annette of course will be contributing as and when she is able.
Hopefully this is the start of a new beginning
Learning at Work Week
This week is learning at work week – employers in the UK should be promoting all kinds of opportunities for their employees.
Use the above link to get more information and register your interest.
Of course many of you out there believe its the employers responsibility to provide training – and where possible this should be the case – but usually this means it is training that is targeting where the management think is of benefit to the company and not the employee… Unfortunately in my experience this is not always the most interesting or useful skills for the employee.
I am a great believer in forging my own opportunities and getting employers to show an interest in funding these interests is not an easy task – It is for this reason I search the internet for offers and opportunities to enroll in free or cut price offers on web based training.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised on the quality of training that is out there and I have to be honest I have been on quite a number of organised training courses as part of my employment over the years – and a great many disappoint and do not live up to the anticipation – the cost of accommodation, travel and the course itself – plus the loss of productive work time has been a huge issue – Yes the networking at the events can be great but I am largely not a huge fan…. Often web based tuition afforded by employers are also not the most exiting and riveting…
Don’t get me wrong I think it is getting better and I have been on many courses that did enthuse me and have made lasting friendships due to the networking… So I am no trying to put a damper on these facilities at all… but there is a great need for the ability to read reviews regarding courses and their effectiveness.
I will be adding to this blog entry links to many of the web based training facilities out there and identifying many of the courses and instructors who have impressed me along the way…
I must also say that as I am producing information products and adding training and explainer videos to this site in the following weeks – many of these sources of tuition have inspired me and I only hope I can match the quality out there.
We all need to cover costs – so there are chances that many of these links will provide me with affiliate income but I hate sites that push items just to earn funding to run the referral sites – So course reviews presented here are ones that I believe are good – of course your preferences may not match mine…
Please feel free to comment and add your own favorites and recommendations.
To be continued …….