Startup Slam is built on participation! Turn your camera on and don’t be afraid to jump into the chat. You can expect to learn a lot, and have a few laughs along the way.

October 3, 2020 / 9:00 am - 3:15 pm PST

Welcome / 9:00 - 10:00 am PST

Event Kick-off + Introductions
Using Tech to Build a Better Tomorrow
Keynote Presentation / Aashni Shah

COVID-19 has impacted the entire world and has fueled a digital acceleration and has caused shifts in every industry. These shifts have changed human behavior and normalized ideas such as grocery delivery and working from home. With so many continuous changes, the tech industry has no shortage of opportunities to launch products and solutions. Tech gives us the ability to build a better tomorrow – we need to make sure we do it right.

Sponsor Booths / 10:00 am - 1:00 pm PST

Connect with our amazing sponsors at their virtual booth.

You’ll also have the opportunity to collect a code at each booth to be entered to win a prize at the end of the day.

Session 1 / 10:15 - 11:15 am PST

Styling With SASS And The Basics Of BEM
Laura Cooper

The mere thought of writing CSS can send some developers into a panic due to its traditionally tedious and repetitive nature. In this workshop, you’ll learn about the foundations of SASS (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets), a CSS extension language that makes writing stylesheets a breeze. SASS allows you to nest styles, create variables & reusable rulesets, and organize your stylesheets into logical smaller segments for readability. You will learn how to use basic compiling software to translate your SASS into basic CSS that the browser can read, and see some examples of more advanced SASS features. You’ll also learn about BEM (Block Element Modifier), a system that uses specially formatted HTML classes to help you further optimize your stylesheets and make the whole process more efficient.

Session Requirements:

Basic knowledge of HTML, intermediate knowledge of CSS

Running our first pen testing exercise
May Pongpitpitak

Pen Testing, or penetration testing, is an exercise meant to simulate a cyber-attack, performed to evaluate the security of the system. There are many great benefits and lessons to be gained. However, it can be quite a daunting task for the inexperienced, and difficult to justify the cost to both some of the colleagues, and the management team.

This talk will go over what we did at Tutela to get our team started and showcase its value. We’ll go over what you will need to started, mistakes to watch out for, and what to expect from the exercise as a participant.

Challenges and considerations of 3d interactive interfaces
Karina Rigby

Mixed Reality (XR) is so incredible in that it can be used in many powerful ways to make our lives more efficient, enriched, and fun. If you’re considering getting in on the excitement of XR application development, be prepared to add new ways of thinking to your skillset. Mixed reality is a relatively new medium, and as such, it has its own challenges and paradigms that are completely different than when creating for 2D experiences! The software development industry knows what works really well for successful 2D applications, but XR applications do not necessarily benefit from these paradigms. What do creators actually need to think about when creating 3D interactive interfaces? What are the qualities of a successful XR application? This session will introduce you to some of the typical challenges and considerations that mixed reality creators face while developing convincing 3D immersive experiences.

Accelerate your startup in a virtual world
Jason Carter

Are you interested in building a strong foundation to create growth in your startup? With the way the world is heading, businesses are now adapting to a new (virtual) normal. It’s times like these where organization and understanding of your startup’s financial position is more important than ever. Find out the importance of technology and how it can help drive growth and scalability in your business. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The ideal set of apps to use and integrate into your startup’s accounting cycle
  • Key financial metrics to start tracking once you have an optimal setup
  • The power of forward-looking data and how it will help grow your startup

* Thank you to Virtual CFO for sponsoring the entrepreneurship theme and this session!

Talk to an Expert Roundtables
Jamie Geiger / Ania Wysocka / Connor Munro / Maryam Sheikh / Sam Fraser

Have an idea you want to bring to fruition or want to talk to a mentor about how to get started in tech? Talk to investors, founders, product managers, and startup legal experts one-on-one.

Break / 11:15 - 11:30 am PST

Session 2 / 11:30 am - 12:30 pm PST

Battlesnake: early game strategies and tactics
Aurora Walker

You’ve finished one of the Battlesnake getting started tutorials – now what? In an updated version of the tutorial session presented at the 2020 “Stay Home and Code” event, Aurora walks you through the first four commits every snake should have, reviews the common move strategies, and talks you through how to build your snake-foundation so you have a solid starting point to build up you own combat-worthy Battlesnake.

Session Requirements:

Attendees have completed the ‘Getting Started‘ guide for Battlesnake, up to an including registering their Battlesnake and testing it by creating their first game.

The getting started guide above includes having installed and setup the following:

  • Git and a GitHub account
  • A Battlesnake Account
  • A Account

The workshop will be run using the Python Starter Snake as the example

Progressive web apps: the ins and outs
Dave Robinson

An app is an app is an app, or is it? Everyone is familiar with the smartphone app these days. Microsoft is trying to get in on the buzzword action with the new Windows 10 store, so I guess we can call some Windows applications apps now too. But wait, didn’t I hear something a while back about HTML5 and the wonders it beholds? Weren’t all iphone apps meant to be powered by this technology, cause that sure didn’t happen?

Despite the setbacks Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are still very much a real thing, and the revolution still may be nigh. ChromeOS refuses to die despite years of failed prophecies, Cordova/PhoneGap is wildly popular, and web browser Javascript processing is becoming more and more powerful. Whether PWAs eventually take over still remains to be seen, but the one thing we know for sure is that it’s a technology that cannot be ignored.

Now with the maturing of Service Workers, web apps can load and function on a user device without the need for an Internet connection. This session will cover some of the history of the various technologies at use, the pros and cons of PWAs from business and technology perspectives, strategies and approaches for building PWAs, and the technologies and techniques needed for enabling them to function while offline.

Session Requirements:

Not required, but some knowledge of Javascript will help for context.

Introduction To Design Systems
Stéphane Fournier

Design systems are a fantastic tool for distributed design teams and ultimately lead to more efficient sprints. However, startups rarely offer us time to create a Design System before jumping into a first Sprint. Quite often there isn’t even a brand before the first Sprint. In our world, the brand, tone of voice, visual guidelines often evolve as we tackle individual user flows and pieces of functionality. Let’s discuss how we can build our Design Systems as we use them.

*Thank you to Gearbox Development for sponsoring this session!

Unlocking The $1.2 Trillion Market: How Tech And Entrepreneurship Can Support Black Communities Entrepreneurship
Yamila Franco + Deborah Motilewa

According to American stats, Black consumers have $1.2 trillion dollars in buying power, however only $0.02 of every dollar goes to black-owned brands. 67% of Canada’s Black population ranks in the bottom half of the family income distribution.

Entrepreneurship can be a key catalyst for empowering every community. Unfortunately, Black-owned businesses often fail at a higher rate than others. Why? How can we harness the power of the Black community? How can we leverage technology to be a tool for true inclusion of diverse communities? Join us in this interactive workshop as we explore entrepreneurship, tech and business sustainability as tools to create meaningful change as you build your organization.

Talk to an Expert Roundtables
Jamie Geiger / Ania Wysocka / Connor Munro / Alex Dawes / Sam Fraser

Have an idea you want to bring to fruition or want to talk to a mentor about how to get started in tech? Talk to investors, founders, product managers, and startup legal experts one-on-one.

Lunch Break / 12:30 - 1:00 pm PST

Session 3 / 1:00 - 2:00 pm PST

Tips and tricks for your first week on the job
Jason Michael

During this session I’ll walk you through how to set yourself up for a successful first week with a new employer. I will outline the steps you can take to make a great impression, and what kind of support you should receive as a new hire.

In addition, if you’re already in a role you’ll be able to take away a plan to help set your next teammate up for success. While a new opportunity can be daunting, this session will ensure you get the most of your first week, and have the tools to create successful first weeks for others.

Map all the things with Mapbox GL!
Evan Savage

Come learn how to map millions of features while keeping your visualizations understandable and navigable for your users! In this session, we’ll use Mapbox GL and open data from the City of Toronto to cover tools and techniques for mapping large datasets. From Mapbox GL basics to vector tiles, heatmaps, and clustering, you’ll learn several ways to harness the power of these datasets in your applications. Although we’ll focus on web-based applications, many of the same techniques can be used alongside Mapbox mobile SDKs to power map-based experiences on mobile.

Session Requirements:

You’ll get more out of this session if you have some experience with frontend (HTML / CSS / JavaScript) development and are comfortable using npm or similar JavaScript package managers. Previous experience with mapping and/or data visualization also helps, but is not required. Slides and materials will be available after the workshop as well, so you’ll be able to refer back to them anytime

Gathering residents to improve technology: how inclusive usability testing can improve your products, and how you can do it from anywhere
Marisa Bernstein

If your usability testers are your friends (or your parents), you’re doing it wrong. In this session, Marisa Bernstein of GRIT (Gathering Residents to Improve Technology) Toronto will show you how to build a better, more inclusive usability research and testing program for your business or service. You’ll learn how to connect with diverse and underrepresented communities as part of your testing, and how to deliver IRL and remote testing experiences that are respectful of difference. After all, the best products are the ones that are built with users and not just for them.

Session Requirements:

This session is open to anyone who’s interested in making technology work better for everyone, but it will be of the highest value to attendees who have products or services that they either are — or want to be — testing with users

Failing up: a personal story and discussion of entrepreneurship
Julianne Johnson

Get ready for an honest and engaging discussion on Entrepreneurship! Julianne shares her professional and personal highlights and lowlights, including how she failed to “Startup” a social travel app. Throughout the presentation, there will be opportunities to contribute your thoughts, experiences and resources. Let’s make peace with ideas not working out and get inspired together to start new ones!

Talk to an Expert Roundtables
Annabel Youens / Rob Bennett / Alex Dawes / Margaret Gauthier

Have an idea you want to bring to fruition or want to talk to a mentor about how to get started in tech? Talk to investors, founders, product managers, and startup legal experts one-on-one.

Break / 2:00 - 2:15 pm PST

Session 4 / 2:15 - 3:15 pm PST

Making a web application distributed
John Oram

Given a web application that works with a small load, have you ever wondered what would happen if that workload increased? And how to handle that? I’ll walk you through taking a single process, single server application, and rebuilding it to work in a distributed fashion.

  • The talk will involve some slides, and a fair bit of code screen sharing, cover the following:
  • We’ll use an image recognition web application, that runs on a single server.
  • We’ll see what happens to it as we simulate more use of the site.
  • We’ll read through some of the code for the site, and discover the bottleneck.
  • We’ll talk about a better scalable design to accommodate this increased usage.
  • Then we’ll rewrite it to use a queue consumer model.
Session Requirements:

Ability to read some code (the talk will be in python), basic understanding of what a server is

Building a realtime analytics dashboard with elixir and phoenix liveview
Dave Russell

Building applications for the modern web requires a responsive realtime experience for users. Adopting Elixir and Phoenix has helped us reduce the complexity of our tech stack and increase quality of the experience that we deliver to our users. In this workshop we’ll build a realtime analytics tool. Our real world experience has shown this architecture to handle more than 50 requests/sec with 1ms response times on a small Heroku dyno. In this workshop, we’ll see how Elixir allows you to quickly build scalable, reliable services without complex architectural requirements.

Session Requirements:

If you want to code along, you must have Elixir, Postgres, and Git.

Beyond the code: Github for product management
Anne Thomas

Github has become an incredibly popular way for developers to use version control on the cloud, but what else can it do? This talk will delve into how you can use features that are free within Github to manage your product(s) in a way that is accessible and visible to your entire team.

Session Requirements:

You’ll get the most out of this session if you have a GitHub account to try it out on.

How To Turn An Idea Into An Opportunity
Jayesh Vekariya

As an entrepreneur at an early-stage startup, although you might have unlimited intangible resources such as passion, confidence, and faith in your idea, you will have limited tangible resources such as time, money, and energy to turn your beautiful idea into a wonderful opportunity. There are certain mistakes that can dry out those limited resources quickly. As an ex-startup consultant, early-stage product marketer, and the first-time founder, I have been through the above situation quite a few times now and have made a fair number of mistakes that could have almost destroyed my product or startup. I strongly believe that not all mistakes are worth the experience to learn a lesson. Some lessons can be learned from others’ mistakes too. So, in this lecture, I will discuss my personal and some of my client startups’ positive and negative experiences, early mistakes, and the lessons learned.

  1. The early mistakes that can be and must be prevented
  2. How to raise capital when you don’t have traction and track record, and
  3. How to get maximum out of the limited seed money, time, and energy.
Talk to an Expert Roundtables
Annabel Youens / Rob Bennett / Maryam Sheikh / Margaret Gauthier

Have an idea you want to bring to fruition or want to talk to a mentor about how to get started in tech? Talk to investors, founders, product managers, and startup legal experts one-on-one.

Talk To An Expert

These sessions give you a chance to participate in a friendly Q&A with experienced pros. If you have questions about your career path, tooling, technical troubleshooting, or your brilliant idea, these are the people you want to talk to! Sign up ahead of time or visit the virtual Info Booth on Oct 3 to snag a spot.

Alex Dawes
Founder & Virtual CFO, Virtual CFO Solutions
Ania Wysocka
Founder, Rootd
Rob Bennett
Chief Operating Officer & Program Director, VIATEC
Annabel Youens
CMO & Founder, Appreciation Engine
Jamie Geiger
Director of Advertising Operations, Redbrick
Maryam Sheikh
Engineering Manager, Dyspatch
Connor Munro
Lead Developer, Pixel Union
Margaret Gauthier
Product Manager, Pixel Union
Sam Fraser
UX Designer & Researcher, Workday