One Million Cups: Connecting Through Coffee and Concepts

For entrepreneurs in Oklahoma looking for a regular dose of inspiration, 1 Million Cups might just be the perfect pick-me-up. A free, nationwide program developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Oklahoma City branch of the program meets monthly at StarSpace46. 1 Million Cups OKC gives local entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet and present their startups to a thriving peer network of founders. As their website suggests, “The coffee is highly encouraged.”

This name for the program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs search for solutions and connect with their local communities over a million cups of coffee every day. Founded in 2012, members in 182 communities around the United States gather on a regular basis to learn and engage with other business owners and professionals. The program is managed by volunteers who tirelessly work to further the impact of 1 Million Cups throughout all 50 states.

An important division of the Kauffman Foundation, the overarching mission is to work with entrepreneurs and empower each one with tools and creative resources that break down barriers. The founder believed that being able to bring a big idea to life is one of our fundamental rights as humans. 1 Million Cups was created to fulfill that mission.

Photo Courtesy One Million Cups OKC Facebook Page

Photo Courtesy One Million Cups OKC Facebook Page

Each monthly meeting offers a presentation from a different expert in their field. Past offerings include topics like using cutting-edge technology for the common good and entrepreneurship around the globe. Attendees often hear from local Oklahoma business owners, who tell the stories of how their companies have grown, and the real-life lessons they’ve learned.

Mike Slack, one of the organizers of 1 Million Cups OKC, spoke about the history of the local chapter, which began before StarSpace46 originally opened. The meetups were previously held at the offices of Dunlap Codding, Oklahoma's largest intellectual property law firm. SS46 partners presented their mission for the coworking space there, in an effort to find its first members.

Slack also discussed his personal mission, and how those align with the current goals of SS46 and of 1 Million Cups. He said, “I want to help create the Oklahoma City that I want to raise my kids in. Not just the Oklahoma City that I want to live in, but that I want my kids to be raised in. And that is an Oklahoma City that has not only an economy of the present and of the past but of the future.”

WordPress Fans "Plugin" to OKC User Group

Serving as the content management system for over 60 million websites, WordPress is the most popular web publishing system in the world. For Oklahomans who are interested in learning more about this ubiquitous platform, the OKC WordPress Users Group is a place to call home. Since 2009, this group has offered Meetups on a regular basis, with the goal of connecting fans of WordPress in the OKC area. Their mission, according to the group page, is to share an enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, "the Internet's awesomest dynamic content management system."

If you are unfamiliar with the world of WordPress, it is free, open-source software designed with accessibility, performance, and security in mind. The basic design is intuitive and straightforward, which is why it has become so popular. Because so many developers have embraced WordPress, there are now millions of advanced plugins and options available to users.

Adam White with Main Street Enterprises

Adam White with Main Street Enterprises

Meeting monthly at StarSpace46, the OKC WordPress Users Group discusses a variety of topics. These range from basic site setup, to content creation, and advanced topics like analytics integration. While each presentation is designed to help users who do not consider themselves WP experts, experienced users state that they learn something new every time they attend.

Crystal Oakes, the owner of Crystal Oakes Creative House, spoke at the OKC Wordpress Users Group Meetup earlier this year. She shared insightful best practices when designing WordPress websites. Oakes said she loves developing websites with WP because “Wordpress is an extremely powerful and cost-effective tool for businesses to have a website presence. It can also be complicated to figure out on your own. There are many basic design principles that you can use in a site design. However, the best advice I can give is to keep the design simple. Don’t try to overdo it, this alone will give you a professional look without all of the bells and whistles.”

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The organizers, led by Sara Graybill, have a fondness for the open-source nature of WordPress, and all the benefits that come with a flexible website management system. Previous co-organizer, Tim Priebe, said that "We've found people pick WordPress for a variety of reasons, but they stick with it when they find it easy to use. And it doesn't hurt that open source software is free, either." Each Meetup includes a Q & A session, where anyone can ask the presenter, or other WordPress users in the room, for helpful advice.