Peers Austin
April 25-27, 2018


Smart Tech; Good Business

Conference sessions take place Thursday, April 26th and Friday, April 27th
at Austin Central Library downtown. Come join the fun.

Thursday, April 26
10:00 - 11:00 AM

How To Negotiate With Difficult Personalities

Tanya Tarr

Founder, Cultivated Insights

Hate negotiating? Have trouble navigating difficult clients or teammates? What if I told you there was a way to navigate your way through conflict to better project outcomes or even sales? (They're related, I promise!) Come to this workshop to learn two great and immediately useful negotiating frameworks that can help you better collaborate with your colleagues and clients. 

Thursday, April 26
11:30 - 12:30 PM

Productizing web services to stabilize business cash flow

Garrett Winder

Founder & Managing Director, Good Work

Garrett spent years encountering that all-too-frequent scenario: prospects who wanted an online presence that was more than a template, but one that cost less than a custom website. After repeatedly referring that business elsewhere, he decided to compete with his full-service company by launching Hatch, a website service that combines a customized homepage with  standardized site elements at a lower cost than a fully-custom web project. 

Established in late 2017, the effort is currently geared towards specific markets, with plans to expand over time. We'll hear about the reasoning and planning behind the creation of Hatch, along with initial data, early mistakes and lessons the team has learned along the way.

Thursday, April 26
11:30 - 12:30 PM

Intro to GatsbyJS

Amanda Bozzi

Senior Frontend Engineer, SBD2

These days, speed and security is the name of the game. Website visitors abandon sites after just a second or two of delay, and database hacks have become commonplace. One way developers combat this is by using static site generators (or SSGs).

In this session, we will be focusing on Gatsby, a SSG which takes Markdown and other static data sources and turns them into dynamic blogs and websites using ReactJS. By supporting the component-driven development model of React, Gatsby is able to re-use components across a site, adding consistency and speed. Blogs developed in Gatsby function as a single-page app, with JS bundles preloaded, so page transitions are instantaneous.

We will begin by discussing the basics of SSGs (and why or when you may want to consider using one) as well as an overview of how they work. Next, we'll go over Gatsby's three basic building blocks: React, Webpack and GraphQL. We will then discuss the pros and cons of using Gatsby and check out how to get started.

Thursday, April 26
1:30 - 2:30 PM

Brute-Forcing Customer Acquisition with Cold Email

Charles Perry

Owner, RelaNet

Having a product or service that's ready to sell isn't enough to generate the revenue you need -- you also need customers. One inexpensive and time-efficient way to find those customers is cold email. By pre-vetting cold leads and then contacting them via email, you have the opportunity to build relationships with the specific individuals who are in a position to make buying decisions about your product.

In this presentation we will develop a customer acquisition system using cold email that is especially suited to B2B products. We will talk about when it does (and does not) make sense to use cold email, how to find and vet cold leads, the characteristics of an effective email script, and the mechanics of sending bulk email without risking your domain's email reputation. By the end of the presentation, you will have the tools you need to create your own system that emails cold leads, converts a percentage of those leads into warm prospects, and keeps your sales funnel full.

Thursday, April 26
1:30 - 2:30 PM

Developing a solid back-end API for mobile apps

Andrey Butov

Owner, Antair

The talk covers a multitude of topics that could affect web app design and infrastructure when building a back-end API for mobile applications.

We'll look at how to structure the API endpoints and payloads that would work best with a mobile app client, API versioning, authentication options. We'll also discuss error messages, server-side exceptions, and various other things that make building a web app for a mobile client different from building one for a web client.

Thursday, April 26
2:30 - 3:45 PM

Partnership Panel: Making Marriage and Business Work

Natalie and Anthony Armendariz

Founders, Funsize

Ian & Jamie Landsman

Founders, UserScape

Chris & Natalie Nagele

Founders, Wildbit

Find two people with common interests and values, balance strengths and weaknesses, money and time management, and hopefully throw in a shared sense of humor. 

Sounds like the perfect recipe for a marriage. Or are we talking about a business partnership? 

Statistically, the latter is even harder to get right - over 70% of partnerships fail. Balancing work, ego, money, stress and time - all while managing employees, clients and products takes effort. Continuing the relationship after hours introduces a whole other set of challenges.

Our panelists are making it work: in the office and at home. Meet three couples who've built a successful business while creating a life for themselves along the way. We've asked them to share their approaches to developing meaningful partnerships along with insights that apply to both marriage and business.

Thursday, April 26
2:30 - 3:30 PM

Understanding Docker for Development

Jessica Mauerhan

Software Engineer, Independent

Docker is often lauded as a tool for deploying and running applications - but it's also extremely useful for your local development process. Whether you've never used Docker, or you've been using it for a while but aren't quite sure how it all actually works, this talk will give you an in-depth understanding of Docker and how to use it locally. We'll cover creating your own Dockerfiles, building, tagging and pushing images, running containers, networking multiple containers with Docker Compose and debugging your setup.

Thursday, April 26
4:15 - 5:00 PM

Building a reliable business development process

Joe Rinaldi

Founder, That Was Clutch

Effective business development has three inherent traits: Intentionality, sustainability, and sincerity. Harnessing these three goals, and spreading your effort strategically across a variety of business development channels, best insulates you for the ebb and flow of sales. Let's review how to apply intentionality, sustainability, and sincerity across outbound sales, account management, content marketing, and partnerships, and develop a process you can rely on.

Thursday, April 26
4:15 - 5:00 PM

Venturing into the Unknown, or Managing Real-World Development Risk

Linda Gorman

Developer, Upstatement

Every web project begins with a whole host of assumptions, on all sides.  

This infrastructure you’re proposing will withstand a big traffic spike on launch day.  Users will understand that clicking the blue circle in the top right corner will expand a full-page shopping cart (duh).   The javascript framework you’ve chosen won’t become unwieldy at scale.

These conjectures are useful and necessary for getting the ball rolling.  However, leaving these hypotheses on the back-burner until launch is nigh can be risky, not to mention anxiety-inducing.  This talk will cover strategies for validating your assumptions early in the project, from grokking analytics to rapid prototyping to ad-hoc user testing.  You don’t have to be a giant ad agency with a zillion dollar budget to validate that you’re making the right thing, in the right way.

Friday, April 27
10:30 - 11:30 AM

So you're the Tech Lead? Now what?

Eryn O'Neil

Developer, Independent

You’ve been programming for a while now. You know your way around the code, and you’re becoming a go-to for technical advice. And it looks like someone else noticed, because you’re the technical lead on your next project. Congratulations! But now what? It’s a lot more than just coding: The technical lead can be responsible for designing software architecture, writing requirements, interfacing with clients or management, or dividing work amongst the team– and those are just the parts of the job they tell you about ahead of time.

We’ll talk about how to oversee the technological vision for the project without losing sight of what’s happening on the ground, how to motivate your team members without overstepping your bounds, and some tactics to deal with challenges you might not anticipate, but will almost certainly encounter.

Friday, April 27
11:30 - 12:30 PM

Online, but Alone: a Case for In-person Communities

Cat Johnson

Writer, storyteller and content strategist, Coworking Out Loud

People are more connected than ever, yet we face a loneliness epidemic. The global workforce includes a growing number of freelancers, remote workers and soloprenuers who value flexibility and mobility, yet we spend much of our time alone. How can we rethink what it means to be an independent professional and find authentic ways to connect with the people around us?

Friday, April 27
2:00 - 3:00 PM

The Psychology of Fake News (and what tech can do about it)

​Cecy Correa

Software Engineer,

Technology, the internet, and Facebook are a few objects of blame when it comes to the fake news phenomenon. For many, fake news seems like either a new occurrence, or a situation exacerbated by recent technology. But fake news has been around since, well, news has been around.

Humans are wired to believe fake news. We are predisposed to agree with information that already supports or conforms to our existing world view. Okay, so just change that world view, right? Deeply held beliefs are as hard to unlearn as unlearning how to drive a car.

So why does our brain work this way? In this talk, I will explore how the way our brain works is conducive to believing fake news. Understanding the psychology behind fake news will help us, as technologists, build better tools to serve our users.

Friday, April 27
4:00 - 5:00 PM

​Designing Diversity and Inclusion

Sameera Kapila

Designer, Thoughtbot

In this talk, Sameera references what we can learn from common design and web development processes to improve Diversity & Inclusion in our industry. Sam will tackle buzzwords and definitions, dissect case studies, and end with tangible action items for attendees to take back to work. Attendees will leave with 1) design and development processes with inclusion in mind, 2) doable, tangible ways to individually or collectively contribute to improving inclusion in tech, and 3) resources that are out there to help support inclusion in tech.