Peers Seattle
April 26-28th

SESSIONS

Smart Tech, Good Business

Our workshops take place Wednesday, April 26, at Impact Hub Pioneer Square.
Our conference sessions take place Thursday, April 27 - Friday April 28, at the Seattle Art Museum.
Each venue is in downtown Seattle, steps from our conference hotel.
Come join the fun.



Wednesday, April 26 | 9:30 AM - 12:30 |

AM Workshop - Creating a Living Style Guide

Adriana De La Cuadra

UX Designer, Bitovi

Building a solid UI that is easy to maintain and scale are keys for any web startup. However is easy to cut corners just to get an MVP out of the door. An alternative is to invest up-front into building a UI system. With a UI System in place many MVPs can be created and then scaled into full-fledged applications, without sacrificing quality. 

The Style Guide Driven Development approach provides the workflow to do this while improving the communication among developers, designers, and stakeholders. In this workshop you will learn how you can incorporate this approach into your development workflow and will get hands-on creating a Living Style Guide for a demo app using the open source tool documentcss.

Wednesday, April 26 | 9:30 AM - 12:30 |

AM Workshop - Intro to Craft 3

Brandon Kelly

Owner, Pixel & Tonic

Craft 3 Beta is here, and the Pixel & Tonic team expects a stable release by late fall. We’ll bring you up to speed on all the new tools and features, so you can be ready to make the switch when the time comes. Looking to learn about multi-site and localization? Curious about the new powers your Twig templates possess? Just want to get a sense of how much time it’s going to take to update your site? Whether you’re meeting Craft for the first time, or you’ve been using it for year, this workshop is for you.

Wednesday, April 26 | 1:30 PM - 4:30 |

PM Workshop - Craft 3 Plugin Development

Brandon Kelly

Owner, Pixel & Tonic

Craft 3 might look the same as Craft 2 in a web browser, but under the hood, everything has changed. The Pixel & Tonic team has completely rewritten Craft to be more modern, easier to develop with, and way faster. Come get an in-depth look at these changes, and what it all means for plugin development. You’ll leave with all the info you need to start porting your plugins (or writing new ones), so you’re ready to submit them to the Plugin Store later this year.

Wednesday, April 26 | 1:30 PM - 4:30 |

PM Workshop: Pain points, Pricing and Pipelines | Addressing the Perpetual Woes of a Small Business

Tracy Osborn

Creator, Wedding Lovely

Every small business eventually faces the same issues: "How can I get more work?", and "How should I price it?" As we grow companies, or venture into the product/software space, we often experiment with different ways of getting business, and several types of pricing. 

How do I develop and sell retainers to get more regular work? Should I raise prices, or will that scare business away? Should an app aim for volume sales, or be a SaaS? Will value-based pricing help me make more money?

Join fellow business owners and freelancers for a frank discussion about money and sales. We'll have seasoned web industry professionals who've experimented with various methods over the years. We'll discuss what worked, (and didn't), for businesses of different sizes and structures, and how to communicate about pricing with clients and customers.

Finally: you bring the pain. Split into group-led discussions with our panelists on how to apply specific methods to your business, and to hear from your Peers on how they've tackled the same problems.

Seamus Holman
Seamus is Founder and Creative Director at Gridwork Design. Seamus has experimented with several pricing models and currently uses a magazine-industry influenced pricing model based on weekly deadlines and monthly retainers. 

Shawn Maida
Shawn is an established leader in technology with over 15 years of professional development experience. Driven by a passion for people and technology, he founded Foster Made in 2005 with the encouragement of his wife, Sara. Since day one, he's worked tirelessly to create meaningful digital experiences through thoughtful interactions with the Foster Made Team and the people they serve.

Tracy Osborn
Tracy Osborn is a designer, developer, and entreprenerd living in Toronto, Canada. She’s the author of Hello Web App and the upcoming Hello Web Design, as well as the creator of WeddingLovely. She's also an avid outdoorswoman and would love to go on a hike with you.

Ben Parizek
Partner at Barrel Strength Design and, in a past-life, a teacher of economics, Ben believes pricing is one of the most underappreciated, beautiful ways that humans communicate across languages, distance, and time. Between the start of his freelance career at $20/hr and his current role as a Partner in a 10-person firm, Ben is appreciative of the pricing challenges faced as you grow a business, and the value of discussing them with other business owners.

Thursday, April 27 | 10:00 AM - 10:45 | business

Beyond Fit: Why culture affects the bottom line

Natalie Nagele

Co-Founder, CEO, Wildbit

How do you measure the value of culture?

A great culture isn’t just for huge companies, and it definitely isn’t about ping pong tables. With the right culture, you can make it easier to hire and retain people, making your company more profitable. And you’ll all enjoy your work more by virtue of being surrounded by team members that genuinely care about their work and each other. It doesn’t evolve over night, but with some care and cultivation, you can build a team that can weather the storms of building and growing a business.

Thursday, April 27 | 10:00 AM - 10:45 | development

Server Admin for Web Developers

Viraj Khatavkar

Technology Director, Tantragyan Technologies

2 years ago, one of my client's WordPress website was hacked. This also led to compromise other sites on the same server. I had followed every damn step to set up my server as mentioned in few notable blogs. Unfortunately, I had to take control of my own servers. As a developer, it was very frustrating. Servers are messy stuff. Managing them is pretty tough. I’ve been there, learned some lessons the hard way, and found success. 

In this session, you will have an hands-on practice on security, provisioning, monitoring, queues, load balancing, deployment workflows for major PHP frameworks and many other topics related to server stuff. Let's learn to control our servers rather than servers controlling us!

Thursday, April 27 | 11:00 AM - 9:22 | business

Reality-Based Hiring

Genghis Philip

Scrum Master, WAND

Unless you’ve got HR training, hiring is probably kind of a black box for you. It's the most important part of growing a team, and a hell of a financial investment, but a lot of companies end up hiring people who are good at interviewing, not good at their jobs. Chances are, you don't need someone who's only good at talking about their resume. 

This talk details a system for establishing what you’re hiring for, evaluating candidates, confirming with stakeholders, and ultimately making an offer. You can never be absolutely certain a hire will work out, but reality-based hiring makes sure you can be clear about what you need and how a candidate fits your requirements while wasting as little time as possible.

Thursday, April 27 | 11:00 AM - 9:22 | development

Actionable Advice for Moving Faster as a Front-end Engineer

Saimon Sharif

Software Engineer, Rent the Runway

In every team or company, there always seem to be a few engineers that just seem to be faster, despite having to contend with three different fundamental technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), libraries (jQuery, Lodash, Moment.js, etc), and frameworks (React, Backbone, Angular, etc). In this session, you’ll learn specific techniques, that are both framework and text-editor agnostic, for moving faster as a front-end engineer. The techniques will revolve around implementing low-hanging fruit for improving workflow and tooling, debugging efficiently in a front-end stack, and reducing friction when implementing new features.

Thursday, April 27 | 11:30 AM - 9:22 | business

A Crash Course in Tech Management

VM Brasseur

OSS Developer, Independent

'Programmer' and 'Manager' are two different titles for a reason: they're two different jobs and skill sets. If you have managerial aspirations (or have had them foisted upon you), come to this session to learn some of the tricks of the managerial trade.

“Wow, are you ever a great programmer! You’re such a great programmer that we’re going to make you a manager!”

A promotion! Calloo! Callay! Except…

The truth of the matter is that being a good programmer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a good manager. You’re about to have a lot of new responsibilities thrown at you. Are you ready?

Thankfully for you managing is a skill which you can master just as you did programming. This session will introduce you to many of the skills and resources you’ll need to become a successful tech manager (and keep your team from wanting to string you up).

Thursday, April 27 | 11:30 AM - 12:30 | business

Content-First Websites: From Theory to Reality

Carrie Hane

Owner, Content Strategist, Tanzen Consulting

What does "content first" really mean? How can we go beyond the words and incorporate back-end content strategy into our development? How does it change the web design and development process? How does it make websites better? 

 Planning appropriate structure, technology, and processes to support content reuse leads to adaptable and reusable content that is future-friendly and device agnostic. Wherever you are in your governance cycle, there is a way to get started.  During this session, we’ll walk through a process to put content first in a collaborative environment and find the best way to deliver valuable websites, no matter where you’re starting.

Thursday, April 27 | 2:00 PM - 9:22 | business

Dealing with Technical Debt – Lessons from the Field

Ram Nadella

Principal Engineer, Paddle8

Whether you’re a one person shop or a large engineering organization, technical debt is something we all deal with – you know, the thing that always falls to the bottom of the TODO list. It’s more difficult for smaller teams and solo developers to even get to the point of acknowledging technical debt, let alone coming up with a strategy to deal with it and then finding the time to act on it. 

This is the story of how a small team in New York building an auction platform dealt with it (and continue to deal with it) with some takeaways that could help you and your peers.

Thursday, April 27 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 | business development

Debugging our Feelings: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Developers

Jamie Strachan

Application Development Manager, Info-Tech Research Group

As developers, we're used to solving problems. We can learn all the frameworks, tools, and techniques we need to tackle any technical challenge. But when the problems we face aren't in our code but are in our head, what tools do we have then?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts determine our emotions so we can change how we feel by changing how we think. While CBT is generally used to treat mental disorders like depression, it can also be effective in dealing with more common challenges like procrastination, impostor syndrome, and handling criticism.

Drawing on basic programming concepts, this talk will teach you the foundations of CBT and practical techniques you can use to help correct the distorted negative thoughts that can prevent us from doing our best work.

Friday, April 28 | 10:30 AM - 11:30 |

“It won’t be a straight line.”

Garrett Dimon

Marketing, Wildbit

Some days are going to suck. Really bad. In some cases, weeks, months, or even years can be incredibly rough. Other times will be great. Business, like life, will have its ups and downs. The key isn’t to chase the ups and dodge the downs. It’s to embrace the journey knowing that it will never be a straight line. After several years dealing with medical issues that ultimately led to an elective below-knee amputation, Garrett is bouncing back.

While the experience ultimately led him to sell his small SaaS business and slow down to embrace the new trajectory life had handed him, he’s gained some fresh perspective to share about making the the most of the chaos at the intersection of living life and building a business.

Friday, April 28 | 11:30 AM - 12:30 |

Technology's Role in 21st Century Humanitarian Leadership

Sabrina Hersi Issa

CEO, Be Bold Media

Technologists have a role and moral responsibility to build solutions for a better world. With cases from the Flint Water Crisis, protecting voter rights and designing hackathons to support refugee services, this talk will explore that role and how to work in partnership with vulnerable communities to co-create strong communities, resilient networks and a better world. 

Friday, April 28 | 2:00 PM - 3:00 |

How Complexity Theory Can Save Your Job

Rob Conery

Founder, Big Machine

You’ve been asked to add a feature to the app you’re working on. What do you say when your boss or client asks: “how hard would it be to add feature X”? If you’re like me, you might say “I’ll take a look” or “this could be interesting - I’ll let you know”. I hate saying “no" to clients and I love delivering value, so I would put on my cowboy hat and see if I could figure out how to implement feature X. Sometimes this approach worked. Other times… not so much. In fact it cost me my job.

In that situation it turned out that the problem I was trying to solve is known as NP-Hard, a classification in Complexity Theory, and if I would have known that at the time I would have been able to explain to my client that what they were trying to do wouldn’t work the way they wanted. I would have saved my job, avoided the needless waste of investor money, and the company might still be around. In this talk we’ll venture into Complexity Theory, understanding what simple, hard, and impossible problems look like all in an effort to save you time, money and possibly your job. If you fancy stories about failure, this might be for you.

Friday, April 28 | 3:00 PM - 4:00 |

Overcoming the Challenges of Mentoring

Kim Crayton

Founder, Jr. Dev Mentoring

The movie Hidden Figures has introduced the world of programming to the main stream public in an approachable way. But what's next? How do we translate the excitement for coding people will experience after watching this movie into work ready developers? We do it through the power of mentorship. And successful mentoring doesn't just happen, it's planned. We will discuss what mentoring is not, what mentoring is, factors for effective mentorship, and why it's important to the developer community.

Friday, April 28 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 |

How Math and Star Trek Explain the Value of Team Diversity

Fredric Mitchell

V.P. of Engineering, Better Weekdays

The greatest asset of open source software is the ability to fork and improve. When it comes to tech culture, are we accepting all pull requests? Can we be better? 

If so, how? To the science! 

This session explores the mathematical algorithms and scientific studies describing the advantage of diverse teams.

We’ll dive into existing research and real-world situations that solved complex problems.

We’ll also explore a mathematician’s theory that “diversity trumps ability.”

We’ll also explore how Star Trek played a pivotal role in being the allegory for this concept.