Friday, December 5, 2014

Dear Startups–You’re Invited to PrDC in March!

Dear Startup,

Hi! You may have heard about Prairie Dev Con – or maybe not, so let me do a little intro. I’m D’Arcy Lussier and I’ve been putting on this technology conference since 2010. Since then its grown and we’ve seen fantastic speakers and sessions, and seen our technology community grow.

We haven’t seen you guys as much though. I know – startups are busy, startups don’t have tonnes of money, and startups need to focus on their product. But you need to get some technical feeding too; drink from the tech firehose, talk with others who have built or are building companies and products, and meet others in our tech community.

So I’ve done a few things to try and make Prairie Dev Con something that you, the startup, will find value in.

Startup Pricing
The biggest announcement is that we’re offering startups a special discount. Regular price of the conference (non-early bird) is $650.

Startups can send people for $275!

Why the discount? Because the startup community of today is the mid-to-large employers and businesses of tomorrow. Manitoba needs you, and we as a community want to support you as you grow.

We do need to put some parameters around what a “startup” is for this though, so here’s the criteria:
  • Employ up to 10 software developers (Independent consultants are not considered startups)
  • Have yearly revenues of less than $1 million
  • Have been in business less than 2 years

Content Meaningful for Startups
We have a lot of awesome technical content for the conference, but we also have some folks who bring real world startup and entrepreneurial experience as well!

Derick Bailey, who operates the podcast hosting service SignalLeaf, will be talking about the “5 Stages of Entrepreneurial Grief”.

Leonard Cervantes, Product Manager for Mobile Apps and Emerging Platforms at CBC, will speak on getting the most from your team and how to manage a difficult stakeholder.

Eric Boisjoli from Manitoba tech company Bold Innovation Group will share about a scary lesson learned around scaling applications.

Mario Cardinal, co-founder of Slingboards Lab, will share his experiences developing a mobile application.

And there’s others as well!

So Consider Yourselves Invited
We’d love to have you come out and experience Prairie Dev Con! We’ve tried to remove as many barriers-to-entry as possible to have startups become part of our Prairie Dev Con family. You can get all the details about the conference, including information on registering, at our website:

Thanks, and I hope to see you out in March!

D’Arcy Lussier

Prairie Dev Con Winnipeg 2015–Speaker, Sessions, Registration Info Posted!

I’m always excited to do this blog post – the one where I announce that the list of speakers and sessions for Prairie Dev Con’s Winnipeg event March 2 – 3 2015 is now online!


We have an incredible roster of 36 speakers coming out this year from all over North America, including…

  • Leonard Cervantes - Product Manager for Mobile Apps and Emerging Platforms at the CBC
  • Dave Haney - Part of Stack Overflow's core development team
  • Wesley Reisz - Enterprise Systems Design Lead for HP Enterprise Systems


There was such a strong response to sessions, and so many amazing talks, that for the first time ever in Prairie Dev Con history, we’ll be running six rooms to accommodate the over 60 sessions featured for our Winnipeg event!


Dylan Smith will be putting on a full day “Introduction to the CQRS and Event Sourcing Patterns” workshop on Wednesday, March 4th!


Registration is now open, and Prairie Dev Con is still one of the most affordable professional development events in Canada!

Take advantage of our early bird pricing of $549.99 until the end of January, and groups of 3 or more still get a group discount of $50 off each registration!

Check out our Website!

Head on over to to get all the information about our speakers, sessions, Dylan’s workshop, and how to register!

I look forward to seeing you out at Prairie Dev Con 2015 in Winnipeg!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Refreshing the Conference Mission Statement

In only three months from now I’ll be putting on the 9th Prairie Developer Conference. Ninth. In four and a half years. Wow!

The conference has come a long way since the initial event in June 2010. The initial conference was born out of what I saw as needs:

  • A high quality software development conference for the Canadian prairies (MB/SK typically got overlooked by vendors and event organizers).
  • A conference that would be accessible to people of the prairies – lower cost and regional, so organizations could send more people and get better ROI on training dollars compared to sending one person to a remote conference and spending on travel expenses.
  • An incubator for new speakers to be developed in, and an opportunity for lesser known (but still highly competent) speakers to break out on a larger stage.

I feel that Prairie Dev Con has met those three things and continues to meet these three core needs. But I feel like Prairie Dev Con is ready to evolve – to take this thing that we’ve all built together and further impact our Canadian prairie communities.

I started thinking about what the mission statement is for the conference. I had never really thought of that before – what is it that Prairie Dev Con exists for? It can’t just be to “have a conference”. It can’t just be “offer learning”. There needs to be more behind Prairie Dev Con than just another technology event on the calendar.

After giving it some though, here’s what I want Prairie Dev Con to be known for:

Prairie Developer Conference is an event…

  • for software developers to share, learn, and connect
  • where all skill levels are welcome, from student to expert
  • that’s inclusive of the tech community, regardless of tech stack or organization size
  • that’s safe for all, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
  • that provides an opportunity for new community leaders and speakers to emerge
  • that impacts Canadian prairie developer communities beyond the event itself
  • that showcases the Canadian prairies to guest speakers and attendees

I want Prairie Dev Con to be more than just two days of sessions. I want it to be an experience where people connect, have those “a-ha!” moments, get excited about building something because of what they saw or heard or experienced, and that provides opportunities to continue those conversations and support Canadian prairie developer communities.

Now what does all that mean in real life? How does that look in practice? In the next day or so I’ll be making announcements around the March 2015 Prairie Dev Con that will speak to some of these, but otherwise – well the purpose of a mission statement isn’t to state what you’ve already done but rather where you’re going. It’s a statement you rally behind and move towards. It’s the values that you should be comparing every decision and action to.

I hope you’re just as excited as I am and share this vision about Prairie Dev Con, and I hope you come out to experience it this March in Winnipeg and this June in Regina.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Winnipeg 2015 Call For Speakers – Update!

The call for speakers for our Winnipeg 2015 Prairie Dev Con event has been open for a little while, and I wanted to post some comments and updates for those considering to speak.

Call For Speakers Deadline Extended!

I received some feedback that a bit more time to get sessions in would be appreciated. So with that in mind, the new date to submit your talks by is November 14. 2014! Please submit your talks to our online form found here.

Topic Interest

I have a survey for perspective attendees to provide feedback on what topics they’d like. Although there’s still time for people to submit their feedback, here’s the top topic areas currently:

Must Have Topics

Really Want Topics

Have Interest In Topics

Mobile Development
Dev Practices
Dev Team Management


When submitting talks, please keep this in mind. Also, if you have a talk that doesn’t fall into this list I’d still encourage you to submit them. I look for diversity in the conference topics and would love to see talks around security, general cloud architecture (regardless of platform), and others.

I Forgot to Mention Speakers Must Be From North America

Did it again – failed to mention on the call for speakers page on the site that we can only accommodate North America speakers (its just too expensive for our regional conference to cover overseas travel expenses).

Apologies to those who have submitted from overseas.

Any questions on any of this please let me know!



Friday, October 24, 2014

Will There Be a PrDC Regina This Year?

You may have heard that the next Prairie Dev Con will be in Winnipeg March 2 – 3, 2015. But what about Regina?

I would love to do a Prairie Dev Con in Regina this June! For that to happen though I need at least 5 Gold-level sponsors to come on board before I book the venue and open the call for speakers.

There are many benefits to conference sponsorship in addition to the traditional name/logo recognition on marketing material, including…

  • Complimentary Passes and Special Sponsor Pricing
  • Booth Space
  • Vendor Sessions
  • Post Event Attendee Communications

Plus in addition to helping ensure the conference is a success, sponsorship enables us to provide access for high school and college computer science students to attend and plug into the local IT community.

If you’re interested in learning more about how your organization can help make Prairie Dev Con Regina a reality, visit the sponsorship page of our website:



Monday, October 20, 2014

Call for Speakers – Prairie Dev Con Winnipeg March 2-3 2015!

Some exciting news to share!

Save the Date – PrDC Winnipeg 2015 happening March 2 – 3!

The next Prairie Dev Con will be held in Winnipeg March 2 – 3 2015! We’ll be opening up early-bird registration in November.

Call for Speakers is Open!

We’re now accepting session submissions for our 2015 Winnipeg event!

The four themes for our Winnipeg event are: Expand Your Horizons, Dive Deep, Get Hands On, and Dev Stories:

  • Introductory or informative sessions which help expand our attendees horizons.
  • Focused sessions on one aspect of a technology or methodology that assume attendees have a basic understanding of the topic before diving deep.
  • Interactive hands-on sessions where attendees experience and learn through doing.
  • Real-world development stories that share wisdom, insights, and lessons learned from projects and experiences with technology.

For out of town speakers, the conference covers

  • Airfare
  • 2 Nights Hotel

We also do a speaker dinner on the Monday night.

For more information on speaking at Prairie Dev Con, including where to submit your session abstracts, visit our ‘Call for Speakers’ page here.



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vision for Prairie Dev Con 2015

Planning for Prairie Dev Con 2015 events are in full swing! I’m talking with potential sponsors*, lining up venues, and next week the official call for speakers will go out. I wanted to share with you the vision for the 2015 shows and what you can expect content wise.

I love attending conferences and hearing about new technology, or about existing technology and a particular way to use it. But what I really love about conferences is hearing the real-world stories of software development. Learning how systems were architected, how problems were solved, how teams were structured and worked together. I feel strongly that while technical knowledge is important, the experience of software development is just as important to share and we can sometimes learn the most from the experiences of others.

So for 2015, in addition to the great technical sessions that focus on a technology or topic, we’ll be bringing sessions that tell developer stories – the how’s and why’s of system development and implementation, the roadblocks and solutions, and the reality of bringing technical solutions to various platforms. We’ll talk from different points of view – the enterprise, the startup, and everything in between.

As I look around the prairie communities I see a shift happening – communities want to do as much as they want to learn, to experience as much as study, and innovate as much (or more-so) as to maintain. Prairie Dev Con wants to be part of that shift. I hope you join us at our 2015 events and become part of it too.


To join our mailing list to get updates on Prairie Dev Con, head over to our website and fill out the newsletter form on the main page!

*Sponsorship is very important to the life-blood of a conference. If you’re interested in having your organization sponsor, get all the details here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Announcing the Prairie Dev Con Podcast!

I’m thrilled to introduce a new way for you to stay connected and interact with the Prairie Dev Con community – the Prairie Dev Con Podcast!

Every two weeks we’ll be bringing you new episodes featuring topics of interest to Canadian-prairie developers. You can check out the first three episodes on the Podcast page of our website here:

Also please let me know if you have any ideas on topics or speakers that you’d like to see on the podcast!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Important Information for Receiving Prairie Dev Con Info

On July 1st Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will take effect. To ensure that Prairie Dev Con is compliant, we're striking up a new email list and asking those who want to stay informed about the conference to sign up. Believe me, I'm not happy about asking this of our attendees and speakers but, like many other organizations who rely on email communication, the penalties for not complying with CASL are too steep not to take these precautions.

If you'd like to continue to receive information about Prairie Developer Conference events and our newsletter, please take a moment to sign up via the link below.

Although we haven't determined if Prairie Dev Con 2015 will be in Regina or Winnipeg yet, there will be a conference next year and we'll draw from those who sign up by July 31st on the mailing list for a free pass to the event!

Sign up to our mailing list – click here!

Thank you for supporting Prairie Dev Con and I hope to see you at our 2015 event!

D'Arcy Lussier
Prairie Dev Con

Friday, May 9, 2014

PrDC Java Day – Gauging Interest

Prairie Dev Con is considering holding a single-day all Java event in Winnipeg in the Fall of 2014!

This would be a multi-track event focusing on the interests of the Java community, with a hot breakfast and lunch included for $250.00.

Before I can move on this I need to gauge interest and get feedback on session content, desired speakers, and pricing. We have a short survey to capture this information and I’d be very grateful for any feedback provided! You can access the survey here:

If I get enough people saying this should happen, and enough sponsors/speakers getting on board, we could have a fantastic Prairie Dev Con Java Day this Fall!

Any questions on this please ping me at darcy[at]



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prairie Dev Con 14 Session Materials

I’ll be posting links to session materials here over the next few weeks as I receive them. If you don’t see materials for a session you’re interested in, please let me know and I can reach out to the speaker directly.

Mobile Cross Platform Dev with C# and Xamarin
Nick Landry

JavaScript Unit Testing
Shabnam Shahfar

Refactoring Workshop
Amir Barylko

Test Your JavaScript with the help of D&D
Tim G. Thomas

Go Native-ish
Tim G. Thomas

Get Functional on the CLR: Intro to Functional Programming with F#
David Alpert

Caching Up Is Hard To Do
Chad McCallum

Your Design is Only Mostly Dead
Steve Rogalsky

Mobile Cross Platform Dev with C# and Xamarin

Domain Driven Design Primer
Design Patterns You Didn’t Know About
Donald Belcham

More to come!


Monday, April 7, 2014

PrDC 14 Wednesday Workshop Info

On Wednesday, April 9th Prairie Dev Con is offering day-long workshops. For those who registered here’s the information.

Wednesday, April 9th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

CanadInns Polo Park (same venue as Prairie Dev Con)

Which Rooms?
Please see the below map for which workshops are in which rooms:


Is Food Provided?
Yes! Continental breakfast at 8:00 AM and a buffet lunch at 12:00 PM.

What do I Need to Bring?
The DDD and ALM/TFS workshops do not require a laptop as they are lecture based, but feel free to bring one to take notes on.

The Angular JS workshop is hands on, so a laptop is required for this workshop!

In addition, the Angular JS workshop requires attendees to have the following tools pre-installed:

If anyone has questions, please let me know!



Thursday, April 3, 2014

PrDC 14–Attendee Info

Hello Attendees!

Only a few days to Prairie Dev Con! I hope you're as excited as I and the speakers are for the event! I wanted to touch base on a few items before the conference. Please read through all items here, some important stuff for conference and workshop attendees!

Arriving for the Conference on Monday

When you arrive at CanadInns Polo Park (you can get the address for the venue from our website here:, head to the Ambassador Conference Rooms.


There will be a registration table set up for you to pick up your name badge. You can then enter the meal room for breakfast. Breakfast and Registration start at 7:00 AM!


Parking is free at the CanadInns Polo Park. If there's no space at the front of the hotel, check out the lot behind it.


Here is the menu for the conference:

Breakfast (both days) - scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, pastries

Lunch Monday - Pasta Buffet with Alfredo and Marinara sauces and salad

Lunch Tuesday - Roast Beef, Cheese Manicotti (vegetarian), Potato, Vegetable, and Salads

For the workshop attendees on Wednesday:

Breakfast - Continental Breakfast

Lunch - Aalto's Buffet

If anyone has any dietary requirements or preferences please let me know so we can make alternate arrangements for you!

Wi-Fi and Power

CanadInns Polo Park provides free wi-fi. With that said, there will be 150 of us all jumping on to said free wi-fi. If possible please consider using only one device while at the conference (laptop or phone) connected to the wi-fi to ensure everyone has access to it. Power bars will be available in all session rooms and we'll have a power-charging station by the registration area.

Schedule Finalized!

The schedule is now finalized! There was one small change we had to make on Monday morning. Unfortunately we won't have the HTML5/JavaScript workshop sessions with David Wesst on Monday morning. We have booked David Alpert to do an F# talk in one of those slots though, which will be a fantastic session!

Code Retreat Sunday

There's still time to register for our free Code Retreat event happening on Sunday! For more information check out our website:

Workshop Attendees

All workshops on Wednesday, April 9th will be held at the CanadInns Polo Park, with breakfast/registration starting at 8:00 AM and workshops running until 5:00 PM. Lunch will be provided. A separate email will be sent with room location and any other requirements.

Microsoft MVA Contest - You Could Win a $200 Best Buy Gift Card!

We're holding a contest along with Microsoft Virtual Academy and you could win a $200 Best Buy gift card!

Get all the details here:

Thanks all!

Thanks for coming out to Prairie Dev Con! If you have any questions please let me know, otherwise we'll see you on Monday!


D'Arcy Lussier

Prairie Dev Con

Microsoft MVA Contest–You Could Win a $200 Best Buy GC!

Prairie Dev Con Winnipeg MVA Contest

We’re running a contest with our friends at Microsoft and the prize is a $200 Best Buy gift card – well, that and some great technology learning! Here’s how it works:
  1. Complete two (2) Microsoft Virtual Academy modules from the list below by noon on April 8th.
  2. Print out the MVA transcript showing you completed them and bring them to Microsoft’s Jonathan Rozenblit at the conference.
  3. You’ll get a very cool t-shirt and will be entered to win the gift card, which we’ll draw for at lunch on April 8th!
  4. If you happen to watch Prairie Dev Con presenter James Chambers’ MVA videos (found here), you can even get your transcript autographed by James!

Pick your two modules from the list below! Note that you don’t have to complete two full courses, just two modules from any of the below options.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Early Bird Registration Extended to March 21st!

Haven’t registered for Prairie Dev Con yet? Great news – you can continue to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing until March 21st!

That’s the $499.99 price for 2 days of amazing content from incredible technical experts! Groups of 3+ get an extra $50 off each registration, so get some co-workers and register today!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Win a Conference Registration with Microsoft Virtual Academy and Developer Movement!

We’re running a contest until February 28th where you can win a free pass to Prairie Dev Con Winnipeg! Entering is super easy – check out the steps below:

Step 1 – Register for The Developer Movement

The Developer Movement is a program put on by Microsoft where developers can earn great prizes for…well…developing!

Registering for The Developer Movement is your first step towards winning a conference pass! Simply visit the Developer Movement website here and sign up to receive the latest updates!

Step 2 – Watch Two Microsoft Virtual Academy Course Modules

Once you’ve registered with The Developer Movement, head on over to the Microsoft Virtual Academy! MVA is an ever-growing collection of online training sessions in various Microsoft technologies – and its entirely free!

So your second step is to register for the Microsoft Virtual Academy
(make sure to use the same email address you used to register for The Developer Movement) and watch two modules of any of the following courses:

Step 3 – Email Prairie Dev Con That You Completed Steps 1 & 2!

Once you’ve registered for The Developer Movement and you’ve watched your two modules, you’re ready for the last step!

Send an email to and tell us your name and what email you used to register for The Developer Movement and Microsoft Virtual Academy, as well as the titles of the two modules that you watched.

We’ll validate your details with Microsoft and enter your name into the draw for the free conference registration, which we’ll announce on Saturday March 1st!

Its that simple!

This contest will close at 11:59 PM on Friday, February 28th and is only open to Canadian residents.

This ends on the same day as the Early Bird registration pricing – what if I win but I’ve already registered?

No problem! If you win but have already registered with the conference, we’ll just refund your registration.

Any questions, comments, or clarifications, please let me know!


Prairie Dev Con

Friday, January 17, 2014

Prairie Dev Con 2014 in Winnipeg–Details Announced!


Prairie Dev Con will be returning to Winnipeg April 7 & 8 2014, and will be held at the Canad Inns Polo Park hotel and conference centre!

We've got an amazing four days of technical awesomeness coming your way in April!

Free Community Code Retreat Event Sunday, April 6th

On the Sunday before the conference, Prairie Dev Con and its sponsors will be hosting a FREE Code Retreat event! This is an excellent opportunity to come and sharpen your development skills as you work cooperatively with other developers to solve a shared problem.

For more information visit our CodeRetreat page!

Prairie Dev Con 2014

We've brought in some fantastic speakers to present over 40 sessions over the conference's two days! Taking your feedback, we've focussed the content on web, mobile, ALM, and development patterns & practices (with sessions on other topics as well).

We've arranged for some awesome out-of-town speakers to attend, including:

  • K. Scott Allen - Pluralsight author and blogger at
  • Dave Methvin - President of the jQuery Foundation and lead developer of the jQuery Core library
  • Howard Dierking - Program Manager on the Windows Azure Frameworks and Tools team
  • Donald Belcham - Author and speaker on development patterns & practices

I could go on but then I’d just be listing all of our amazing speakers, so head over to our speaker page and check out our line-up for April!

Post Conference Workshops

We're offering post conference workshops on Domain Driven Design (Donald Belcham) and Kanban & TFS ALM (Dylan Smith)!

Check out our workshop page for more details!

Amazing Professional Development Value!

Attending Prairie Dev Con is still one of the most affordable professional development experiences you can get as a software developer. Our Early Bird price (available until February 28th) is $499.99 and groups of 3 or more still get an extra $50 off each registration!

Get all the information on how to register on our Registration page!

Connect With Us!

If you'd like to receive email updates for our Winnipeg conference, please join our mailing list by clicking here!

You can also connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, the conference blog, or email us at!

Thanks, and I hope to see you in April!

D'Arcy Lussier
Prairie Dev Con