Get Charged up next month

Get Charged up next month

If you’re interested in learning more about Sudbury’s tech and design communities, there is an exciting new event taking place in town next month. Charged is a one-day event consisting of a workshop and evening conference with guest speakers Davis Neable and Darrin Henein who both work at Shopify. We spoke with event organizer Kyle Haapala to find out more.

What is Charged?

Charged is an annual one-day event that consists of a lunchtime workshop at the TimeHero office, followed by an evening conference with two speakers at the McEwen School of Architecture.

Our mission is to bring together the design and technology communities to encourage collaboration and education that will cultivate long-term relationships and a more vibrant community.

Although there are a few groups that are specific to programming or design, currently there is nothing that brings these groups together along with product managers and business owners. People in these roles work together on a daily basis, so it makes sense for everyone to get together periodically to help build a stronger community.

What can attendees expect to learn at the event?

Ultimately every person is going to bring back something a little different. The hope is that even if one of the talks doesn’t directly apply to someone, they can still pick bits and pieces from it and apply what they’ve learned to their day-to-day work and interactions.

At the workshop, attendees will learn about story mapping, an approach to requirements- gathering that can ultimately be used to create user stories for software development. Story mapping is a way to prioritize your work based on what will bring the most value to your users. It’s also a highly collaborative, hands-on exercise that will be a lot of fun for the attendees.

The evening conference will feature two talks. The first will help provide a better understanding of how lead roles can work effectively as a team scales. The second will walk through the making of the hit indie game Lastronaut. You’ll learn how video games are made as well as get some insight into how to finish what you start. Lastronaut was featured in TIME magazine and won an Apple Editor’s Choice award.

Can you give us some more information about the guest speakers?

Without our speakers, Charged wouldn’t exist, which is why we’re thrilled that we were able to attract some top talent. These speakers took a leap of faith and decided to participate in our inaugural event. When they were asked to take part, Charged only had one sponsor and didn’t have a name, website, or venue. We’re very thankful!

Davis Neable leads the UX team at Shopify Plus in Waterloo. Shopify Plus is an e-commerce platform for high-growth merchants whose clients include Nestlé, GE, Red Bull, and many others. Previously, Davis worked as a product designer at various companies, including IBM. She is also involved in Fluxible, a UX festival in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Darrin Henein is a designer, writer, photographer, and video game developer who leads a team of 30 designers as a UX Lead at Shopify in Toronto. Darrin has also worked at a few of Toronto’s startups (Polar, Wattpad), and led a team of designers at Mozilla (Firefox).

What are your thoughts on Sudbury’s tech and design communities?

I think the perception of the design and tech community in Sudbury might be a bit skewed. It’s easy to assume nothing is going on here and to want to leave for a larger city, but that isn’t the case. There are a number of startups and businesses here doing incredible things.

For example, Jannatec is designing and building some amazing wearable technology for miners. TimeHero has built a product that makes managing your time a breeze, and Minalytix is building the next generation of software for mining and exploration. These are all game-changing innovations created right here in Sudbury. There are also a number of great design agencies, such as Studio 123 and OTA, who produce world-class design.

With events like Charged as well as groups like the GDG, Sudbury Design Society, and CodeOp, more people are connecting and the community is becoming more aware of what Sudbury has to offer. The trick is keeping the momentum going.

Any tips for someone looking to get into tech or design in Sudbury?

A good education sets the foundation for success in design and technology. Cambrian has an excellent design program, and LU has a great computer science program. Design students at Cambrian consistently win student design awards, beating out students from top schools from down south. There are also all kinds of online programs for design and programming that can really jump-start your career.

Finally, attending events like Charged and joining groups like Sudbury Google Developers Group or CodeOp will help build relationships that can lead to future career opportunities. It’s important to get out there and make yourself known to the community.

Any plans for future events?

Absolutely! The plan is to run Charged yearly and expand it a little bit. We’d love to run a few more workshops next year that cover a broader spectrum of topics, and we’ll obviously bring in some different speakers. There’s also the possibility of running the odd workshop throughout the year, but that’s more of a long-term plan.

After this first event, we’ll be sending out some short surveys to gather feedback. It’s important for us to learn what we got right and where we could improve so we can better serve the community. We also want input on what type of talks people are most interested in. Sudbury has a small tech and design community, and although we can’t please everyone, we want to make sure we’re being as inclusive as we can.

Where can we get tickets?

The workshop is sold out, but there are still some tickets left for the conference. If you’re interested in attending, visit www.chargedevent.ca to learn more and grab free tickets. There will be an afterparty at Fromagerie Elgin, so be sure to RSVP for that as well.

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Emily Franceschini is a craft addict, Public Relations graduate and lover of all things purple. Her free time is spent taking photos of her dog and searching for the perfect cup of coffee. She’s a regular at Old Rock because who could resist their delicious Creme Brûlée latte? And yes – it is probably her 4th coffee of the day.

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