Keynote Speaker Spotlight: Chris Lema

chris lema

He’s probably completely unaware of it, because he’s that humble of a guy, but Chris Lema is a really important part of this year’s WordCamp Las Vegas. Why? Well, not only is he our Keynote Speaker, but he’s also a sponsor. His expertise brings a lot of street cred to our WordCamp event. Over the past 20 years he’s started and sold off several software startups and has turned many around. Today, he is the is the Vice President of Software Engineering at Emphasys Software; and when he’s not doing that, he helps companies leverage WordPress and helps WordPress companies find leverage, while also blogging daily at

Chris Lema

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

CL: I love the fact that non-programmers can manage their own website directly – putting all the power in their own hands. Instead of being beholden to developers, WordPress gives business owners freedom to control their own sites.

WCLV: What are some of your favorite WordPress-built websites?

CL: I love what my friends Syed and Brian have done as they’ve created WPBeginner and Post Status.

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

CL: I’m really digging three plugins right now – RAMP from Crowd Favorite, Sidekick from WP University, and OptinMonster by Syed Balkhi and Thomas Griffin. RAMP not only prices itself well, but delivers fantastic value, Sidekick is a new plugin that is offering a new way to think about product support, and OptinMonster rocks for growing my mailing list.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

CL: I’m lucky enough to live relatively close to Dre Armeda – which I’m sure makes everyone else jealous. But his support in introducing me to the WordPress community, his model of building a fantastic startup (Sucuri), and his constant upbeat attitude which leads to sharing and networking all make him my hero!

WCLV: What do you do for fun that’s off the grid?

CL: I love cigars. Smoking them and finding new ones, and hanging with friends while we enjoy them are all tons of fun.

WCLV: Favorite TV show and why:

CL: House – because being a jerk isn’t a problem if the menace you’re fighting is worse (deathly).

WCLV: Favorite book and why.

CL: Microsoft Secrets – because it highlighted a role (as a connector between tech & marketing) that changed how I thought about my career (at the start of my career).

WCLV: What are your plans for surviving the zombie apocalypse?

CL: None.

WCLV: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever done with a piece of bacon?

CL: Eat it.

WCLV: What are three of your pet peeves?

CL: Questions about my favorite books, questions about zombies, and bacon. 🙂