peer

one that is of equal standing with another : equal;
especially : one belonging to the same societal group
based on age, grade, or status.

 

Wish you could go to a web conference where you'd learn something new?
Be inspired by the people building solutions and products on the web you actually use?
Join a supportive community that prides itself on craftsmanship and collaboration?
Welcome to Peers.

We're a different kind of conference. One where you'll hear from folks you know, and some new voices you don't. We bring together developers, designers and web business owners to share their knowledge and experiences. (And have some fun, too.) Whether you're a pixel-pusher, an artisan or a maker, Peers is for you. Let's do something awesome, together.

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Our talks offer smart stuff for smart people.
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A great hotel just steps from our venue for $159.
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We reserve the right to move sessions around and generally improve upon the event as needed.

FRI
MAY
01

9:00 - 9:30 AM

Coffee, Checkin

9:30 - 9:45 AM

Friday Welcome

Jessica D'Amico

BIZ9:45 - 10:30 AM

Everything I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Rabbinical School

You’ve been at it for a while now. You’re beginning to feel that you’ve got a handle on things but still can't seem to shake the feeling that your growth has plateaued. In this talk Yitzchok, a rabbinic scholar, software developer and small business owner, shares the “wisdom of the sages” as practical, actionable advice – strategies and tactics – that you can use to reinvigorate your growth and fast-track your success.

BIZ10:30 - 11:15 AM

When It All Goes Wrong

Chad Crowell

We've come to expect a slowdown at our design agency in the early weeks of each year. 2014 was no different. Except that it was. Early weeks turned into early months, and by March, Clearfire was teetering on the brink due to financial issues. How could we be working so hard, yet making no money? Learn how it happened, how we survived, and how we hope to prevent it from happening again.

11:15 - 11:30 AM

Break

BIZ11:30 - 12:30 PM

Freelancer +1: How my first employee changed things forever

Patrick Pohler

Hiring employee #1 is a milestone for any business, like most milestones it can be a terrifying and exhilarating leap of faith. In this personal talk Patrick Pohler of Anecka will discuss how hiring an employee changed his web agency and how he ran the business permanently. Attendees will get practical advice on how to onboard and train a new employee as well as hear first hand how having an employee forces you into a new mindset about your own roles and responsibilities.

12:30 - 1:30 PM

Lunch provided on-site

BIZ1:30 - 2:30 PM

Well, that didn’t work.

Jason Siffring

In the last eight years I’ve gone from freelancing from coffee shops to running a distributed team of nine people. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’m constantly experimenting with and adjusting how we operate. Sometimes I crash and burn in a spectacular fireball. Occasionally, a new idea works right away. Mostly though, I’m tweaking and adjusting. I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned the hard way and discuss how you can build experimentation and logical risk taking into your business.

2:30 - 3:00 PM

Break

BIZ3:00 - 4:00 PM

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Support

Brad Bell

Left unchecked, supporting the software and services you’ve created and sell can crush your soul, destroy your business, bring about financial ruin and leave you an empty shell of a human being, no matter if you’re a developer, a designer or a business owner. We’ll take a look at strategies for how you can prevent this from happening: * Labeling your customers by their neediness * Engineering your way out of support * Training your customers how to help you help them * Triage: Weeding out the lies in support requests * How not to be taken advantage of in support Lest you think that support is all horrible, we’ll turn the other cheek and examine how to balance support with running a business, methods of monetizing support and discuss how exceptional support works as a long-term marketing investment.

BIZ4:00 - 5:00 PM

Surviving Digital Overwhelm & Burn Out

Fred LeBlanc

We are a generation with a unique problem: many of us were raised in a more analog world but are now required to survive in a world steeped in digital. We make our livings from it, yet were not raised with tools to cope with the pressures, the stresses, the danger that secretly comes with an all-connected world. While many of my peers seemingly had no problem transitioning, for me, it's been jarring. I threw myself into iPhones and twitter, but just when I hit *my* breaking point, I realized I'd only dipped my toe in the water. And I'm increasingly discovering that I'm not the only one who's had trouble with this shift. This dizzying realization literally sent me to the ER. That was two Augusts ago. Since then, I've worked hard to claw myself back from the edge, and learned how to deal with this world that I don't understand but am forced to participate in. My talk is for those who are overwhelmed with the web, but realize that this is what they're best at; for those who have yet to burn out but are scared of doing so; and for those who are too young to realize what burning out is but want to do what they can to avoid it.

FRI
MAY
01

9:00 - 9:30 AM

Coffee, Checkin

9:30 - 9:45 AM

Friday Welcome

Jessica D'Amico

DEV9:45 - 10:30 AM

Everything I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Rabbinical School

You’ve been at it for a while now. You’re beginning to feel that you’ve got a handle on things but still can't seem to shake the feeling that your growth has plateaued. In this talk Yitzchok, a rabbinic scholar, software developer and small business owner, shares the “wisdom of the sages” as practical, actionable advice – strategies and tactics – that you can use to reinvigorate your growth and fast-track your success.

DEV10:30 - 11:15 AM

Have Your Cake And Eat it Too: A Primer on Performance

Una Kravets

What do speedy websites and cake have in common? Everybody loves them! Why is this relevant? Because building a performant website is like delivering a wedding cake: it’s a team effort, and each member of the team needs to understand the impact they have on the entire experience. As builders of the web, performance is our most important job, dictating a users happiness and willingness to use a product. This talk outlines how performance is everybody's job: from content strategy to design decisions to front end architecture, and will discuss how to optimize performance in each step of the process. The audience will understand the neuroscience behind page speed and will leave this talk with several tools, recommendations, and techniques to build performant websites and make the internet a better place.

11:15 - 11:30 AM

Break

DEV11:30 - 12:30 PM

Content Modeling: Where Strategy, Design, and Tech Converge

Seth Giammanco

A content model defines the structure of your web content. It details the types of content you have, the copy and assets that comprise them, and the relationships between them. It is the wizard behind the curtain that impacts your website’s ease of use, content’s ability to stay on brand, to tell a story, to integrate or power outside services, and to be responsive. This session explores the concept of content modeling, shares examples, discusses implications, and showcases latest trends that offer notable impact on how you can craft your content and deliver your stories through the web.

12:30 - 1:30 PM

Lunch provided on-site

DEV1:30 - 2:30 PM

Mobile app development options for web developers.

Andrey Butov

As a mobile developer, I often work with web-dev shops whose clients are looking for mobile apps to complement their new web apps. This talk outlines the options that freelance web developers, and web-dev consultancies have when it comes to developing a mobile app for their clients. We'll cover current technical offerings, and compare the pros and cons of going native vs. mobile web app vs. hybrid solutions. Then we'll look at the effect each option has both in the short and long term on both the web developer and on their client.

2:30 - 3:00 PM

Break

DEV3:00 - 4:00 PM

Writing modern JavaScript today

Jerel Unruh

Programmer happiness and design patterns are very important but often they appear to be a low priority when writing code for the browser. "jQuery spaghetti" is a term you may have heard to describe poorly organized front-end codebases. Usual features like modules, classes, and default parameters seem to be missing. And due to the glacial pace of browser vendors we are stuck with the current state of things... or are we? Learn a little about the process behind the next version of JavaScript, ES6, and how to use almost all of its features in your applications today while still supporting older browsers.

DEV4:00 - 5:00 PM

Surviving Digital Overwhelm & Burn Out

Fred LeBlanc

We are a generation with a unique problem: many of us were raised in a more analog world but are now required to survive in a world steeped in digital. We make our livings from it, yet were not raised with tools to cope with the pressures, the stresses, the danger that secretly comes with an all-connected world. While many of my peers seemingly had no problem transitioning, for me, it's been jarring. I threw myself into iPhones and twitter, but just when I hit *my* breaking point, I realized I'd only dipped my toe in the water. And I'm increasingly discovering that I'm not the only one who's had trouble with this shift. This dizzying realization literally sent me to the ER. That was two Augusts ago. Since then, I've worked hard to claw myself back from the edge, and learned how to deal with this world that I don't understand but am forced to participate in. My talk is for those who are overwhelmed with the web, but realize that this is what they're best at; for those who have yet to burn out but are scared of doing so; and for those who are too young to realize what burning out is but want to do what they can to avoid it.

SAT
MAY
02

9:30 - 10:00 AM

Coffee, Checkin

10:00 - 10:15 AM

Saturday Welcome

Jessica D'Amico

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Developers and Communication

Sam Hernandez

We developers are a different breed. Stereotypes aside, personality test data shows that many developers do experience life differently than most others. The same could be said for many other creatives. It’s no surprise, then, that communication difficulties are common in our field. After a candid peer review highlighted my own poor communication skills, I reached out to project managers, designers, clients, and other developers for insight and advice. These insights not only helped me improve, they revealed some surprisingly common frustrations with developers in general. I hope to share what I’ve learned to spread peace and harmony to developers and non-developers alike in the workplace. While this talk centers on developer communication dynamics, the subject matter is relevant to anyone; developers, non-developers, agency workers, and freelancers alike.

11:00 - 11:15 AM

Break

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Be Your Own Angel (Investor).

Amy Hoy

A frank talk about bootstrapping, products, and money: how to start small and grow big, on the side, without breaking your bank or your will to live.

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Lunch off-site

1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

The Importance of Side Projects

Mubashar Iqbal

What is a "Side Project”? Mubashar Iqbal has been doing side projects since 2001. He shares his thoughts on why you should do side projects, what makes a good side project and how you can fit doing a side project into your already busy schedule. Best of all he will inspire you with some examples of successful side projects.

2:15 PM - 3:30 PM

‘Shark Tank’ Show & Tell

Ian Landsman

Working on a new project? Building a killer app? Pitch it to our "Sharks": Amy Hoy of 30x500, Andrey Butov of Antair, Ian Landsman of UserScape, and Rachel Andrew of Edge of my Seat, in front of our whole audience. Get real world feedback from the product developers and business owners who'll weigh in (with love and humor) on whether your idea will sink or swim.

3:30 - 4:00 PM

Break

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

How Customers Hold the Secret to Your Success

Rachel Andrew

When I look back at six years of developing Perch CMS the successes and failures along the way can seem almost random. However there is one common thread to the things that have worked - in terms of the product, our marketing, and supporting materials. Things go well when we *really* listen to our customers. Listening means sometimes hearing things that are hard to accept. It means not writing off every incredibly specific feature request at first hearing. It means learning to ask the right questions to uncover the real use cases when our gut reaction is to dismiss something as negativity. However once you learn to really listen, surprising things can happen.

EVENING - 5:30 PM

Don't head home early!

Join us directly after our event for a memorable closing party
sponsored by Pixel & Tonic.
Location TBA.
You don't want to miss it.