“It was a Slamboree” – StartupSlam 2017

On September 30th, sendwithus danced the Slamba* at the fourth annual StartupSlam. This year over 400 students, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs joined us at the University of Victoria to learn practical skills and connect with YYJ tech startups. Call the Slambulance, because the workshops were heart-stopping this year.

Sendwithus founders Matt Harris and Brad Van Vugt planned the first StartupSlam in 2014 as a way to introduce students to local tech companies and provide industry-related skills. Since then, StartupSlam has grown to include folks from business and design backgrounds, with a focus on growing the tech community and sharing knowledge with the next generation of tech leaders. Have any feedback about what you would like to see at StartupSlam 2018? Drop us a line and tell us how you’d like your green eggs and Slam served next year.


For anyone who wasn’t able to be there, StartupSlam is a series of interactive workshops presented by leaders in the tech community. This year we had four tracks: intro to tech, advanced tech, entrepreneur, and design. We added the design track based on your feedback and Slamalama ding dong, it was good. We also had more non-developers, business students, and startup enthusiasts joining in this year, and we’re thrilled to see our Slamily growing. The complete list of workshops this year were:

INTRO TO TECH WORKSHOPS
Aurora Walker – Dr. Bash, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Command Line
Aashni Shah – How To Prep for the Job Hunt
Hayden Waring – Git Gud: Why Version Control?

ADVANCED TECH WORKSHOPS
Izaak Schroeder – Using Elasticsearch and Kibana for Data-driven Analytics
John Oram – Lessons Learned Storing 30 Million Records an Hour
Laura Cooper – Exploring Animation with CSS3

Sendwithus Platform Manager John Oram leading a workshop on Lessons Learned Storing 30 Million Records an Hour

ENTREPRENEUR WORKSHOPS
Andrew Seipp – Let Data Tell the Story: Using User Analytics to Build a Kick Ass Product
Bob Warwick – We’re Still Here – A Practical Guide to Failing
Adam Cowley – Criteria For My Next Startup

DESIGN WORKSHOPS
Amanda Healey – Practical Design Tips for Non-Designers
Miriam Thomas – Mapping User Experiences
Michele Macklin – Usability Testing: Testing Early and Often

A productive workshop on Mapping User Experiences with Miriam Thomas.

Keynote Panel

We started the day off with a keynote panel of technical and non-technical leaders speaking about building a meaningful career in the tech sector. Lead by YYJ Tech ladies’ co-founder Mon Gill, panelists participated in a candid conversation about how they got into the tech industry, what their biggest hurdles have been, and how to develop leadership skills. Panelists were:

Sue Connors, VP of Business Development at RevenueWire
Megan Rose, Project Manager at Axiom Zen
Mel Reams, Senior Developer at Referral SaaSquatch
Dominique Charlebois, Software Developer
Tara Hurst, Creative Director at Flytographer

Talk to an Expert

This year we incorporated a new opportunity called Talk to an Expert, where attendees could book a 10 minute one-on-one appointment with a founder, angel investor, engineering manager, or startup legal expert. The aim of Talk to an Expert was to connect folks with mentors who could give practical advice on how to build a career in tech, either as a developer or founder. The feedback from these sessions was great on both sides of the table, so look for a bigger better version next year. Thank you to our experts who participated this year!

FOUNDERS:
Adam Cowley, Founder and CEO of Rooof
Brad Van Vugt, Cofounder of sendwithus
Jason Morehouse, Founder and CEO of Checkfront Inc.
Nicole Smith, Founder and CEO of Flytographer

ANGEL INVESTORS
Scott Lake, Angel Investor
Dave Arnsdorf, Angel Investor

TECHNICAL & EARLY STAGE DEVELOPMENT:
Kerry Wright, Engineering Manager at AbeBooks
Aurora Walker, Software Development Team Lead at Bambora
Anthony Theocharis, Director of Software Development at Workday
James Addison, CTO of ChatterBlock

STARTUP LEGAL:
Kyle Lavender, lawyer at LaBarge Weinstein LLP

Thank you for making this year a Slam dunk

Representatives from Unicorn sponsor Flytographer

From sponsors to speakers to experts, we rely on the support of the local tech community to host StartupSlam every year. StartupSam 2017 was Powered by Rooof. Rooof founder and CEO Adam Cowley also lead a workshop on the criteria for his next startup, as well as acting as an expert in the Talk to an Expert series. A huge thank you to Rooof for being an integral part of StartupSlam 2017!

StartupSlam 2017 had twenty one sponsors who contributed to take you to Slamsterdam this year. Thank you to these businesses for their commitment to enriching the tech community in Victoria!


 

Caffeinated by:

  

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Full Slam ahead

If you liked StartupSlam, but were hoping for more competition, coding, and 80s video games, we hope you’ll join us for BattleSnake 2018! Look forward to a bigger programming competition than ever before. The mettle of your team will be tested in battle and the winner will be the last team slithering. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on BattleSnake 2018 and other community events hosted by sendwithus.

Want to get involved? Reach out to the sendwithus team at events@sendwithus.com if you are interested in sponsoring, volunteering, or participating in BattleSnake 2018 or StartupSlam 2018.

*The Slamwithus team apologizes for our bad puns. We just can’t help ourselves.

 

The Edge of Tomorrow: Email. Engage. Repeat.

Set up recurring campaigns painlessly!

Set up recurring campaigns painlessly!

 

At sendwithus, we believe that setting up recurring email campaigns should be a walk in the park…

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This is why we’re happy to announce that we’ve automated the process behind setting up and querying for recurring daily and/or weekly pitches. This complements the capabilities of Connect perfectly—a recap: Connect allows marketers to access all customer data in real-time, directly from the source, from within the email tool. By being able to effortlessly access (and thereby leverage) all of the customer data you have in your arsenal, you can create continuously evolving, sophisticated multi-dimensional segments. These segments will change as customer data changes within its natural habitat; no stale CSV imports or data transfers necessary!

Continue…

BattleSnake 2017: Slithering into First Place

BattleSnake 2017: Slithering into First Place

Another spring has come to the island and that means another BattleSnake in the books. On March 4th, 2017 over 400 participants took over the lower level of the Victoria Conference Centre for an amazing day of programming, camaraderie and serpentine silliness. The event turned out great and the feedback we are still receiving has been amazing! After the tournament finals wrapped up we ran over to the Guild for an amazing after party hosted by Barkerville Brewing.

Continue…

15 days until BattleSnake: Are you ready?

Shake off your post -Valentine’s chocolate sugar rush and get your coding fingers ready:
BattleSnake 2017 is fast approaching!

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For the fourth annual occurrence, we are inviting all developers and students to come and to join us for the programing competition of the year – pitting artificial intelligence (AI) snakes against one another to duke it out for eternal glory and over $5,000 in prizes.

BattleSnake is open to students and developers of all skill levels. We’ve already had over 450 people sign up to participate but still have room for more.

Continue…

Announcing Sendwithus Lite!

It is with great excitement that we announce the launch of Sendwithus Lite!

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Our goal has always been simple pricing that grows with our customers – and now we’re making it even more simple by consolidating Starter, Business, and Growth plans into Sendwithus Lite.

Continue…

Warm Winter Greetings from Sendwithus

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Next week, our team of SWUbies will be taking some much needed time off to breathe deep, soak up family time, and play with our new Hatchimals. As such, our in-app live chat support will be unavailable from December 24th to January 3rd. API and App Dashboard functionality will be unaffected.

Fret not – if you run into any problems, just drop us an email at support@sendwithus.com, which we‘ll be monitoring per usual.  If you’d like to extend us any holiday wishes such as a Happy Christmukkah, Robonzaa, or just share cute dog pictures – give us a shout on Twitter, @send_with_us.

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Stay out of the Penalty Box: Email Deliverability with SendGrid

This morning, Luke Martinez of SendGrid and I hosted a webinar about Email Deliverability. Luke is a Deliverability Consultant and helps companies sort out complex issues and guides them on the road to a great Sender Reputation. You put a lot of time, effort, and energy into your email campaigns however no one will read them if you’ve developed a bad ‘rap.

A few things we cover:

  • 9 most important email engagement metrics for sending reputation
  • Top 4 expectations for senders
  • How to use A/B testing to try new things without impacting deliverability

Continue…

Don’t Let Big Emails Cost You Big Sales

Despite what they tell you in Texas: bigger is not always better – at least when it comes to email. Sidebar: during my three year tenure as an Austinite, I was very disappointed to learn that not all toast in Texas is Texas Toast. I know, I know – I was just as devastated as you.


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Bigger is not always better when it comes to emails, in fact – huge emails could cost you big sales.

What am I supposed to do next?

Few marketers are able to master the awesome digest style emails showcasing deals or product recommendations. Sending a super long email with a hundred suggested items will overwhelm your recipients and they may just close the email and not convert at all.

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Continue…

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

It’s no secret that here at Sendwithus, we are big supporters of cloud-hosted email templates. Overall, moving transactional emails from hard-coded within an app to the cloud makes emails more accessible to different teams and generally easier to manage.

But before you start making waves at your workplace, be sure to consider how this impacts all teams: Marketing, Product Managers and Developers. Changing workflows and shifting tools/processes at any job is rarely met without some level of pushback. Keep in mind that there’s always a learning curve to any new tool, for all users. The best way to get ahead, and to have a successful rollout, is to consider how this change will impact all stakeholders.

Consider your colleague's perspectives and get your team on board.

Consider your colleague’s perspectives and get your team on board.

For more on what to consider before you start your transition, check out this post by our CEO Matt Harris, the ABC’s of moving to cloud email templates.

Mailgun Verification Changes: What you need to know

As of December 1st, 2016, Mailgun will require all sending domains to be verified to continue sending and receiving messages. If you’re one of our friends sending with an unverified domain, it’s time to get on this and verify so that your emails will continue without disruption. 

To access and update, follow these steps:

  1. Login to the Mailgun Dashboard and select the “Domains” Section.
  2. Select any domain that is labeled as “unverified” in orange.
  3. In the Domain Verification & DNS section, locate the records that have a red warning indicator.
  4. Now within the DNS administration tool provided by your DNS or hosting provider, you’ll need to add all these listed DNS records.  Mailgun has these great guides to walk you through the process for common providers.
  5. After you’ve added all listed records, click the “Check DNS Records Now” button in the Mailgun dashboard, from the same section where you pulled the values. Note: it may take up to 24 hours for this to resolve due to caching.
  6. Once the verification is complete, your domain will update to say “Verified” within Mailgun.

Not sure which domains are actively sending/receiving messages? Check out the logs and reporting features within the Mailgun dashboard. If you run into trouble, get in touch with the Mailgun support team by creating a help ticket.

Reminder – the changes will go live on Dec 1. It may only be November 7th today but if years past are any indicator – the month of November will fly by.

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Get this verification knocked out early so you can cruise into the Thanksgiving season knowing that you won’t be stuck updating this information in the midst of a post-feast turkey haze.

Cheers,
The Sendwithus Team