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Talk Archive

Didn't make one of our gatherings? Here are the slides—or other resources—from past speakers.

Dealing with Devpression or How I Learned to Dislike Myself Less

JD Flynn
Drupal Architect, OSMI

In this 45-60 minute session, I talk about how I live with mental illness and how it took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that I'm not damaged goods, but I'm sick. More importantly, I'm not alone. I will go over some statistics, some resources, and some things that helped me get from where I was to where I am now.

Making Chrome Wear Your Multiple Hats

GitHub: Associate Program Manager - Education
CoderSpace: Co-founder & Director of Education and Technology
Girl Develop It: Chicago Chapter Leader

We'll share tips and tricks for staying organized with multiple profiles in Google Chrome, particularly for those who are part of multiple work and personal organizations, those who have various different email addresses and accounts to stay logged into, etc. We'll also make our own Chrome themes, and talk about how using multiple profiles can be useful for testing as a developer.

Math for Meme

SUBI SHAH, Senior Support Engineer, Jellyvision  |  March 21, 2019
An explanation of all the math in this meme.

The Good, The Bad, the Unethical: What is data ethics and why should I care as a technologist and as a technology user

LORENA MESA, Software Engineer, Sprout Social  |  September 19, 2018
We've all heard about data ethics in one fashion or another. The 2016 United States Presidential election and Russian hacking. Social media's precarious relationship with content moderation. Policing that increasingly looks like Minority Report. Google using search results to infer if someone is suffering from depression and therefore provide resources for it in their finds.
The ethics behind how we use data and what we do with that data is a varied and complex one.
Together we'll review the landscape of the data ethics debate, defining what it is and what it is not. We'll then apply that definition to the examples listed above as well as to some hypothetical ones. So no, we won't answer the data ethics debate but rather we'll provide a framework that can help us as technologists and as technology users learn how to ask critical questions of the tools we create and the tools we use.
If we are ever going to face the moral implications of what lies in the heart of the data ethics debate - autonomy, privacy, connectivity in the global era, to name a few - we must start the conversation somewhere. This dialog will help us start.

Motivational Drivers & Communication

RHEA GHOSH, Director of Site Reliability Engineering, ActiveCampaign  |  August 22, 2018
This will be discussing how motivational drivers impact your communication and leadership style in work and in life!
There are 6 main drivers and we'll talk about what each of them are, how they relate to each other and how to understand what yours are. There will be some time dedicated to self identifying after we discuss what they are and start to think of examples of where you might fit in. They present differently for everyone so there are no right or wrong drivers! We're all different and that's what makes this awesome but identifying these drivers can help improve your communication with people who may value different things.

Value-Based Retainers for Fun & Profit

NICK DISABATO, Cool Guy, Draft  |  July 22, 2018
Over the past 6 years of running an independent consultancy, I've gone from barely scraping by to thriving, and it's largely come about because of the way that I position and price my work. In particular, most of our work happens on retainer (so we can beat the feast/famine cycle), and it's priced on the value we provide (so we can charge more). In this talk, you'll learn how to increase your own pricing and build a durable business model over time – so you can charge what you're worth as an independent designer or developer.

"Ooh, I have a Good Idea for a Podcast"

CHER VINCENT, Audio Producer, One Illinois  |  June 26, 2018
Podcasting is super cool and trendy, but it's not just plugging a mic into a laptop and talking into the void. Cher Vincent will take you through the steps to make sure that your good idea turns into a great podcast.

How Improv Improved My Career

EMILY WENGEL, Freelance Consultant  |  May 30th, 2018
How I embarked on a journey to improve my communication skills using improv - and how it's helped me in my career (and life). I'll likely do a quick activity to get people involved and interested in improv.

How to Hand-Letter

CRISTINA VANKO, Freelance Art Director, Author, & Illustrator  |  March 27th, 2018
Hand-Lettering is for everyone, so let’s learn some tips, tricks, and letter together!
This is a hands-on workshop, so space is limited. Bring pens, pencils, and paper and come ready to draw!

Working from Home - A Survivor’s Story

JON PETTO, Senior Front-End Developer, Mozilla  |  February 26th, 2018
Personal and professional lessons learned after years of working from home and being an independent contractor.

Ask @ghostwheelie in the Slack for a link to the video.

Don't be Lazy, Make Things Better!

MOLLY BRAMLET, PRODUCT Designer, Yello  |  January 28th, 2018
As someone with a degree in Art, I always thought user research and usability testing was for people with backgrounds in HCI, anthropology, or business strategy. Over the years as a product designer, I've come to integrate multiple types of research tools in to my scrappy design practice. I'd like to share with you all some basic tools and techniques, how you can implement it even without a research team, and the impact it can make!

Color Choreography of/a/an Pop Music Video: Presenting Considerate Epistemology and Culture

JULIA MURRAY, UX/UI Designer, United Airlines  |  October 24th, 2017
We're going to drink and watch 90s music videos and I'm going to say some words.

Intentional and Accidental Career Development

DAVID MICHAELS, Devops Engineer, SwipeSense  |  September 19th, 2017
From 2014 to 2017 I grew from being the office IT person to a devops engineer. Sometimes I was given great opportunities, sometimes I had to fight to learn or move throughout the company. I was given lots of help sometimes and dutifully ignored at others. In the end, I'm in a wholly different career than I expected to be.

Effective People Take Long Naps

RUDY RIGOT, Lead Software Engineer, Salesforce  |  August 29th, 2017
I feel like I’ve never been so productive an engineer as today; and yet, I notice that I’ve never worked fewer hours in a given week. Paradox? Maybe not…

Clipping Your Way to the Top: How to be a Baller Couponer

JENELLE HUDDLESTON, Visual Designer, eSpark Learning  |  July 18th, 2017
Learn how to combine the Internet and your Competitive Spirit into a money-making scheme better than your mother's Sunday paper coupon clipping.

Designing for Value

CHRIS WILKINSON, Director of Product Design, Devbridge Group  |  June 21st, 2017
Design is a moving target. Being a designer means chasing the future, embracing the now, and delivering meaningful experiences at the intersection of business need and user's goals. The most meaningful realizations of design do not happen in obvious places. Let's explore the unexpected places design can deliver value, and what makes design design.


MARVIN CESPEDES, Frontend Web Designer, Vox Media  |  May 24th, 2017
Dissecting the path it took to establish what I wanted to do for a living and how I got there. This is both a talk about achieving a goal and tempering those expectations A LOT.

Inclusivity in Video Games + Nintendo Celebration

PAUL BERSCH, Software Engineer, ActiveCampaign  |  February 28th, 2017
The spirit of Nintendo is one of creativity and inclusivity, inspiring a generation of games that can be played by anyone and that are more representative and diverse. I'll explore the ways indie, mobile, and mainstream games are becoming more inclusive, the missteps Nintendo and other developers have made, and how gaming is a hobby for everyone (especially people who don't identify as "gamers"). Then we'll play Wii U and 3DS (Pokemon!) games together!

Jekyll: Static Sites on Steroids

COLT BORG, Front End Web Developer, Backstop Solutions Group  |  January 19th, 2017
Do you want a blog but don't want to host WordPress or the like? Ditch the database and host your blog on GitHub for free. We'll cover how to install Jekyll, use its command line tools, how to add dynamic content with liquid, and finally to deploy to GitHub. By the end, you'll have a website ready for you to blog until your heart's content!

WP Admin as a User Experience

JAMIE SANCHEZ, Freelancer  |  October 19th, 2016
Leave those divs out of the WYSIWYG. Clean up that editing screen. This session covers the basics of Advanced Custom Fields, modifying the admin menu, and other ways to dummy-proof wp-admin and simplify data entry. See what's possible to transform Wordpress from a boring blog into a full-blown CMS.

I Could Make This

SUBI SHAH, Tech Support, Braintree  |  September 21th, 2016
Physical Product design is more complicated than anyone knows. Why does a piece of acrylic glued to another piece of acrylic cost so damned much?

YAY, Git!

SAVANNAH MILLION, Software Designer/Developer  |  August 17th, 2016
Learn the basics of git and version control in this introductory workshop! We'll be covering creating a repo, adding and committing changes, making and switching branches, and contributing to other people's repos on github, all from command line. Already familiar with version control? GREAT! Join us and share your knowledge!

Hyper Contextual Gallery Linguistics

BRIAN MONTANA, Interactive Developer at closerlook, inc.  |  July 13th, 2016
Art vernacular becomes extremely useful in development, design and marketing, by empowering my explanations and interpretations of designers/artists intentions during the life cycle of a product. The talk will focus on the construction of different methods the art community uses to communicate to viewers by reviewing the writing, visuals, curation and context of artwork.

Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy: Gaming and Self-Care

MICA ALANIZ, Current UI Engineer, Former Music Promoter  |  June 8th, 2016
In an industry where work and fun often intersect, it's good to do things that have no real importance or productive "value" outside of for funsies as a function of self-care.


KENNEDY COLLINS, Product manager  |  May 11th, 2016
“Anyone who’s not willing to pay at least the 25th percentile for a role is either a crook or and idiot and you don’t want to work for them.”
Salary negation: how to find out what you’re worth and how to get it.

“Whyfi amiright?”

DAVID MICHAELS, Devops Engineer   |  April 13th, 2016
Most wifi networks start with a consumer access point (hello Wirecutter, who's the best this month?) and do just fine, but when the number of people increase and the space gets bigger things get complicated pretty quickly. David will tell the story of growing the wifi network at Signal from consumer grade access points through multiple sets of new hardware and an office move. Obstacles along the way include terminating cat-5e, mesh networking, noisy neighbors, hammer drills, and metaphors about speakers. Along the way he learned valuable lessons about ping times, friendship, and software updates.