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.