Let the DreamUp (s) Begin!

Near the end of last year we announced our DreamUp program to everyone and have been searching high and low for the best leaders!  We received so many inquires and have a bunch of leaders preparing to bring a DreamUp to a city near you!

Tomorrow, March 20th, marks our very first DreamUp!  This DreamUp will take place in Pennsylvania put on by a very awesome brand ambassador, Matt Haas!

Before we dive into the interview, let’s review what a DreamUp is!

Well…  DreamUps are similar to MeetUps, but better! DreamUps are regional meetings of DreamHost users or potential users that take place across the world, organized by and for those very same users!  We refer to those organizers as Brand Ambassadors.

If you are interested in learning more and possibly becoming a DreamUp leader,  email dreamup@dreamhost.com!

Now back to DreamUp Pennsylvania! AKA PA DreamUp

Hi Matt!!

You have put together a pretty awesome program and we are so excited to have you as a leader!

Are you excited for your first DreamUp tomorrow?

I’m very excited about my first DreamUp!  Name tags are printed and I’m ready to play with some new toys I purchased: projector, screen, laser pointer, etc.

Tell us about PA DreamUp and what can attendees expect?

Attendees can expect to learn about web technologies in a relaxed and informal setting.  Overall, the goal is to show how technology can be used to make life easier.  Many DreamUps will have me demonstrating a product or service, although I hope to locate guest presenters or invite panels of experts for round-table discussions.  I’m encouraging people to suggest topics and I’ll be sure to include any topic that will benefit a wide audience.

It may be easier to explain what not to expect.  This won’t be a class.  Attendees won’t need to “follow along” or remember where all the “knobs and switches” are, so to speak.  Rather, attendees should leave with an understanding of the “big picture” and be able to visualize how to put what they have learned into action.

Some topics will directly relate to services DreamHost offers.  For example, I just started using DreamObjects and I’m sure that will be a topic in the near future. However, there’s a 3rd party web service I’m particularly excited to demonstrate. It’s called: IFTTT.com and stands for: “If this than that.” Everyone should know about this free service!  It’s useful even if you’re not a geek.  Without going into too much detail, this service can perform events when certain things happen.  For example, you can have a text message sent to yourself every time a new post appears on the DreamScape blog… or any blog!  If a friend tags you in a picture they post to Facebook, you can have that image saved to your Dropbox folder.  It can do many more interesting things with a huge suite of services: Instagram, Twitter, Evernote, gmail, weather sites and the list goes on and on.  This will be the topic of the April DreamUp and I can’t wait.  The simplicity of this service truly belies its power.

That actually sounds amazing and I can’t wait to check out the slidedeck for April’s DreamUp!

Where can they learn more about PA DreamUp and future ones?

This the strategy for now: Details and links to everything will be on a blog PAdreamUp.com and a facebook group (facebook.com/groups/paDreamUp) will contain event information.

The blog is good place to start even though I’ll be using various online services and tools to connect with people, make announcements, and post documents.  The blog will contain agendas, slide shows, and maybe even video of the discussion topics.  You’ll be able to follow the Twitter account, subscribe to our free email newsletter, see presentations on SlideShare, add the Google+ account to your circles, etc.

Meeting details (dates, locations, etc.) can be found on this public Facebook group. This is also the place to RSVP to a specific event.

Again, this is a public Facebook group, so please consider joining even if you can’t make it to a DreamUp.  You’ll have access to a lot of useful information. Note: Facebook requires all members to be confirmed.  If I could enable auto-confirm, I would. I’ll do my best to quickly confirm every new member. Please be patient for this to happen.

And coming very soon we will be incorporating all things DreamUp on our DreamScape site. 

What made you want to get involved in our DreamUp program?

Many people come to me for advice about various tech topics.  I have always enjoyed helping people.  The DreamUp program seemed like a good way to have a fun night out and meet people who are passionate and/or curious about tech!

Also, I find the hardest part about technology is not the technology itself.  Seriously, this stuff isn’t that hard to grasp.  The hard part is knowing what’s possible and what questions to ask.  I’m a big believer in showing someone the end result (the benefit) first, then explaining the big picture.  After that, the details usually just fall into place.

I would like to learn about server architecture and all the hard stuff DreamHost does “under the hood.”  It would be great if I crossed paths with someone smarter than me so I can better understand this topic.

Tell us a little about you!

First, I’m a creative person with a degree in design. I’m a former instructor that taught Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop evening classes at a local college.  I started my career rendering textbook illustrations and quickly moved to a management role and and had to deal with boring “management work.”  So, I decided to learn programing and automated just about all business activities: scheduling, accounts payable/receivable, HR stuff, etc.  I found other ways to be creative outside the textbook world.  In addition to my publishing job, I keep busy with 3 main freelance activities:

  1. I work with a licensee of Major League Baseball (MLB) to create MLB themed Activity and Coloring Books

  2. PHP & MySQL Web Development for a large manufacturing plant

  3. Build Drupal and WordPress sites for small businesses and community groups (local police, swim teams, sports clubs, etc.)

Obviously you are a DreamHost customer, how long and what sites do you host with us?

I’ve been at DreamHost for over two years (Jan 2011).  I host PAdreamUp.com, MattHaas.com and about 20 other sites. Some of these sites are on DreamHost, but some are not… I’m in the process of moving them all over to DreamHost: http://matthaas.com/websites

Good answer :)  Now on to some silly stuff…

Milk chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

You’re asking someone who has grown up near Hershey Pennsylvania, the sweetest place on Earth. I’m a big fan of Milk Chocolate… but I’d take some Jolly Ranchers if given the choice.  Mmmm green apple. Yum!

Hmm… I will let that one slide.   I have a huge sweet tooth and love dark chocolate.  At least you didn’t say neither and respond with white chocolate, because clearly that isn’t even chocolate.

If you could be any superheroes sidekick, who would you be?

The Tick! He seems like a good guy to party with… plus I would feel very safe fighting crime next to someone with nye-invulnerability.  Finally, his battle cry can’t be beat: Spooooooon!!!!!

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?

Most intelligent geeks will make the argument that a single foe is easier to defeat than a swarm of smaller enemies. Although that would be correct for just about any situation the opposite is true in this case.  You see… one large horse-sized duck would be a terrifying enemy.  It can fly, swim, run, etc.  However, you could easily find safety from a hundred small duck-sized horses by simply walking up some stairs or perhaps climbing a tree.

Who would win in a fight… a ninja or a pirate?

What are you crazy!? I’m not touching that one!  The internet can barely contain all the cat videos.  I fear the internet will break when all the geeks around the world would simultaneously debate this topic.

Thank you Matt!

Keep you eyes out for a follow up to the first PADreamUp with pictures and a recap!