We met in a very uncommon way. Quite unusual as a matter of fact. At the very last minute I saw a sale on a flight to St Louis allowing me to contribute as a volunteer in WordCamp US (2019). Two leaders on the Community team wanted my assistance so I had to split my days assisting both. David Bissett tasked me with hosting what he termed an ‘Unconference’ an unplanned session. Unbelievably, a friendship was forged that resulted in a Wapuu sighting.
We would put up boards, make announcements, and ask for people to post their topics they’d like to speak on in a Lightning Format (15-20 minute short talks) and we received quite a few interesting submissions. We settled on a few including one by a gentleman out of Stuart Florida, Johnni Fazio.
Johnni spoke on the topic of “Learning From Failure Experiences” which was very interesting. I was taken by how natural Johnni was on stage and how he moved about the audience, up and down a ramp that divided the audience, while presenting his topic. Johnni’s infectious personality came through in that short window onstage.
Help Me, Help You
Fast Forward to Summer 2020. Johnny volunteered at WordCamp Santa Clarita and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He reached out a little while later mentioning that he would be starting a WordPress Meetup in Stuart Florida in the fall and if I would speak.
Johnni told me a lot about the Treasure Coast of Florida where his Meetup was being hosted, what part of the state he was located in, and what the area was known for. At that moment I thought, “let me surprise Johnni by creating a Wahoo for his Meetup.” In its history, the area was known for pirates and sunken ships full of treasure sunk off the coast. Inspired by tales of lost treasure in doubloons, toucans, and swashbuckling pirates.
Other influences were Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean, local videos of a wild toucan, and Wikipedia. My task after research was to embody that in a playful Wapuu character.
Tikipuu the Pirate was spotted off the coast of Stuart Florida August 2020 near the WordPress Treasure Coast Meetup and was introduced to the WordPress Community at WordCamp Los Angeles in September. Join the Treasure Coast WordPress Meetup or check out Tikipuu the Pirate in the wild on the wapuu.us website or the GitHub repository.