Startup Slam 3.0

On October 1st we held our third annual StartupSlam event in Victoria, BC. The Sendwithus team, in partnership with Workday and the University of Victoria Computer Science Department, took over the Engineering and Computer Science building from 10 AM until 5:30 PM. The event was a whirlwind of activity with over 300 students, developers, and tech enthusiasts coming together for a day of workshops, education, and community building. This year’s record turnout was a 100% increase over last year, and a strong indicator of the growing Victoria tech community.

Startup Slam

StartupSlam could not have been possible without the support of our community partners, sponsors, and volunteers. This year’s StartupSlam was powered by Workday and several Workday volunteers were on the ground helping out throughout the day. Workday also hosted an awesome workshop on WebSockets. More than 20 local companies supported the event, proving how Victoria’s tech community loves coming together to share knowledge and insights with the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs.

All of these companies came together to make StartupSlam 3.0 a huge success.

Startup Slam Sponsors

What is StartupSlam?

StartupSlam is series of workshops presented by leaders in the Victoria tech community. This year we had three tracks of workshops: Junior Tech, Advanced Tech, and Entrepreneur. The entrepreneur track was a new addition this year in an effort to make the event more inclusive to non-developers, business students, and startup enthusiasts. The complete list of workshops held this year were:

Junior Tech Track

Advanced Tech Track

Entrepreneur Track

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We also introduced the “Side Project Side Table” this year, which provided attendees a chance to discuss passion projects with professional developers and mentors. The table was operated and sponsored by Ladies Learning Code mentors, who spent the day reviewing side projects, giving feedback, and discussing with students what they enjoyed building. In exchange for sharing their side projects, students were entered to win a random drawing for a $500 scholarship (furnished by Hello Ventures). It was really exciting to hear about all the great products/ideas that students were building and iterating on.

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What is the point of all this?

StartupSlam has two goals, and no, one of those goals was not to see if we could order the most pizza for any event in Victoria; for the record this crew did demolish over 140 pizzas. The first is to introduce modern and industry focused technologies and concepts to students who are predominantly learning and building in an academic environment. These two styles are very different and, like any industry, the more exposure to how things are done “in the wild” is always a benefit to students who will be entering the job market in the near future.

The second goal is to expose students to the variety of tech companies operating in Victoria. Too often we hear from students that they had no idea how many companies have offices in Victoria. By learning and interacting directly with founders and early employees of these companies, students receive a thorough introduction to the growing Victoria tech scene. The Entrepreneur Track exposed attendees and students to what it is like to build early products, start companies and how to bring an idea to real customers.

Live Code demonstrations

Moving Forward

Another year, another StartupSlam has come and gone. The chaos has mellowed, the dust has settled and now we look forward, to BattleSnake 2017! Look forward to a bigger, more expansive programming competition than ever before. The mettle of your team will be tested in battle and the winner will be the last team standing. What that battle will look like, well, you will just have to stay tuned to find out. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on BattleSnake 2017 and other community events hosted by Sendwithus.

Thanks again to the following companies for making StartupSlam a success

 

Workday City of Victoria Beanstream Leanpub
Famoso Sendwithus Stembolt Checkfront
MetaLab Fernwood Coffee OneNet Whole Punk Creators
Go2Mobi Kano/Apps Redbrick Ring Partner
Referral SaaSquatch Pretio Interactive Flytographer Starfish Medical
Ladies Learning Code U of Victoria Computer Science dept.

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 2017 and/or Startup Slam 2017.

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The Clash of the Snakes

BattleSnake 2016 was last week, and there is still excitement throughout Victoria about what an amazing event it was! With one hundred more people than expected showing up, BattleSnake turned to be a 350 person event. That’s three times the amount of participants as last year! We completely took over the entire Engineering and Computer Science Building from all day, only to fill up Felicita’s campus pub afterwards. Click to watch the Advanced Division Finals!

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Snaking 2: Electric Boogaloo

It’s been about 48 hours and we’re still de-hyping from Battlesnake 2015, so there’s a lot to cover here.

First off – I want to take another opportunity to give a huuuuge thanks to all of our sponsors. The Battlesnake game server was powered by Heroku (a platform we use and love in production) along with all of the team clients – more on this a bit later. Dropbox was also hugely important in bringing everything together (especially when we broke their Heroku integration the night before). Food and drinks were made possible by our friends in the Victoria tech community: OneNet Marketing and VIATeC. And of course, the University of Victoria Department of Computer Science.

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Wait, What is Battlesnake?

Battlesnake is our annual AI competition held at UVic. It’s a multiplayer version of the classic arcade game “Snake.” Participants create webservers that receive and respond to requests from the game server. The requests contain the current game state: the contents of every tile on the board, the locations of other snakes, the list of food locations, the current turn number, etc. The response contains two strings: the move (‘up’, ‘down’, ‘left’, or ‘right’); and, much more importantly, a taunt. The taunt is optional in the sense that excluding it won’t throw an error but really, what’s the point of a move without a taunt? Continue…

SuperHero Email Recap

Earlier this week I was in Denver, Colorado, visiting our good friends at SendGrid. I was mostly in town to sample the amazing Denver BBQ, but I had a secret side mission. A live webinar with SendGrid’s Jillian Wolhfarth, talking smack about transactional email, and sharing some exclusive case studies in email optimization. If you missed our webinar, stop reading NOW and go check out the slides.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way… time to answer some of the awesome follow up questions that we received!

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The Top 3 Trends from the Litmus Email Design Conference

The following blog post features sendwithus Front-end Developer Karl Horky (@KarlHorky)

When sendwithus asked me to represent the team at the first Email Design Conference in London, I jumped at the opportunity. I thought I would maybe learn a thing or two, and at least get a trip out of it.  Was I ever wrong.

The conference was a whirlwind of talented presenter after presenter.  A positive vibe permeated the conference center. It had endless networking opportunities with great people. As I furiously took down my notes, I noticed these top trends woven through the presentations:

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