“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:

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?

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

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

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!

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

Scott Lake, Angel Investor
Dave Arnsdorf, Angel Investor

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

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:



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.


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!

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.


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.


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.



5 Common Mistakes That Destroy Email Deliverability

This post is brought to you by our friend Jessica Martinez. Jessica is a music advocate, social media enthusiast, and Marketing Director of Kickbox.io. 

In this article we’ll be discussing common mistakes email marketers make that keep their messages from reaching the inbox. If you send email, take note, as you may be committing an email deliverability faux pas without even realizing it.

Email deliverability is the percent of emails that land in the inbox. It doesn’t matter how dazzling your email campaigns are if you have low deliverability. Only a small portion of your recipients will ever see your messages. Inbox placement is influenced by many factors, including your sender reputation, so it’s important you adhere to best practices to ensure your messages get delivered.

While it’s common to make errors from time to time, these offenses can land you in big trouble if they occur frequently. This is a big deal because email deliverability issues are not easily fixed.

The following five mistakes will keep you from seeing the results you want. Continue…


tl;dr – For security reasons, we’ve completely disabled SSLv3 access to both the Sendwithus API and Web app. Affected customers will need to take action to ensure they’re not attempting SSLv3 connections with our API.

Google recently uncovered a flaw in SSL 3.0, nicknamed “POODLE“, that exposes a major security vulnerability to all HTTP connections using SSL 3.0. This may include older servers and web browsers.

In response to this announcement, our hosting provider has disabled all SSL 3.0 connectivity to both our API and Web app, effective Midnight, Oct 17 2014. Most major hosting and service providers are doing the same.

This means any attempted SSL 3.0 connection to the Sendwithus API or Web app will result in connection failure. In most cases, customers will remain unaffected. However in some rare cases Sendwithus customers may need to update their OpenSSL on their production servers in order to regain API connectivity.

More information on updating OpenSSL can be found here: https://alas.aws.amazon.com/ALAS-2014-426.html

We’re working directly with all known affected customers.

If you’re experiencing API problems as a result of this recent security change, do not hesitate to reach out and we will assist as best we can.

Post Mortem: Sept 5th, 2014

Last Friday afternoon (September 5th, 2014), Sendwithus rolled out a major infrastructure upgrade aimed at increasing API throughput and email delivery times.

This infrastructure upgrade introduced a bug into our email sending pipeline. For a small subset of Sendwithus customers, drip campaign and segmentation emails were delivered multiple times over the course of a two hour periods early Saturday morning.

We’d like to discuss exactly how this incident happened, as well as the steps we’ve taken to correct and prevent future occurrences.

A full timeline of events is available at the bottom of this post.

Update: At this time all affected customers have been contacted by a Sendwithus representative. If a Sendwithus representative has not been in contact with you, your account and outgoing emails were not affected.


A/B Test with Confidence.js

Confidence.js is a simple JavaScript library that helps you make sense of your A/B test results. It uses the conversion rates of A/B test variants to determine if one of them is likely to perform better. Confidence also lets you know if there is enough data to make the final decision.

Here at sendwithus, we know how important it is to have enough data to confidently choose a winning variation. If you stop your A/B test before enough data has been collected, the variant you select might not deliver the results you’re expecting. We have worked hard to understand the statistics and math behind A/B testing so you don’t have to.

In our research we found that most A/B testing resources can really put a person to sleep. Continue…

Take Advantage of Post-Purchase Purchases

We are starting a blog series on improving transactional emails, taking examples from our inboxes and showing how to be smarter about them. To start preparing for this, I went through some old receipts of mine to see if I could contribute, and was struck by how often companies do not take advantage of the high open rates of their email receipts in order to sell more product.


Dead-End Email Showdown

As part of our blog series with our partners SendGrid, I did a post comparing the best and worst transactional email I’ve encountered lately.

It was really interesting to look at how dead-end email affects your user experience and engagement through email.

So go on and check it out here: blog.sendgrid.com/dead-end-email-showdown/

First Impressions: A Welcome Change

Here at sendwithus, we are committed to sharing information relevant to marketing teams dedicated to improving transactional emails for their companies.  We believe that first impressions matter.  We want your email campaigns to have a positive user experience from the moment they sign up.  Recently, Return Path reported the results of its five-year study on email subscriber experience.