Topics & Speakers

This year’s topics are listed below (a few more are still forthcoming, so check back). We’ve brought together a team of talented area experts to speak on topics grouped into three main tracks:

  • Development
  • Marketing
  • Design

We will also offer the following two tracks:

  • Development 101 – so you want to be a developer?
  • Innovation (beta) – combines development, design, and marketing for launching a new product.

Dev 101

(A unique track for people just getting started in Development)

Session 1 – Cloud Services Registration – Gerald Lovel
Session 2 – Intro to Data Structure – Gerald Lovel
Session 3 – Using Cloud Services – Gerald Lovel
Session 4 – .net Surprise – Ben Hamilton
Session 5 – Learning Ruby – Julia Lovel
Session 6 – Ruby Coding Dojo – Julia Lovel


How to go viral without getting sick
Quickly gain awareness for your product, your blog, your app, or whatever. I’ll review several cases of viral growth, and even a few who missed the opportunity to grow virally, and hopefully have some good takeaways for the group with regard to social media, inbound marketing, and content creation and distribution.

Cliff McKinney



Build a Successful Personal Brand Online
Today’s job market and business climate is competitive. If you want to succeed, it’s vital to sell yourself in a way that makes sense, conveys professionalism and stability and emphasizes your positive, unique qualities.

Beth G. Sanders



The Blogging Platform Worth Waiting For
Ghost is a new open-source blogging platform currently under development and slated for public release in mid-September. The Ghost project was funded on Kickstarter and received nearly 8x the requested amount, as well as tons of positive press from TechCrunch, Mashable, Wired and Forbes.

You can think of Ghost as a reboot of WordPress. While WordPress grows into a CMS and becomes a ‘platform for the web’, Ghost will situate itself as the preferred platform for ‘just blogging’. See more at

The presentation will be an overview of Ghost and its capabilities. I want to keep it as ‘non-technical’ as possible, and focus on the features and usability as much as possible. However, although the open-source version will be available in November, the hosted platform (similar to, Tumblr, Medium, etc…) will not be available until January – so there will be some ‘technical bits’ related to installing Ghost.

Eric Terpstra



How to get more leads through your website
Getting traffic to your website is important. But what next? This session will provide practical steps you can take and tools you can implement to help convert more website visitors into business leads.

Steve Phipps



How to incorporate videos in your marketing plan
YouTube is the second largest search engine. Your target market is watching videos to decide on which products to purchase. I will show attendees how to get started using videos in their marketing plan.

Pamela King



Choose901 Marketing
A behind the scenes look at a holistic marketing effort to promote Memphis from within. Choose901 was the solution to a few client problems that has taken on a life of its own. Learn how the concept developed and how web, video, photography, graphic design, writing, social media, and product branding all merged to create this growing venture. Attendees will gain insights into problem solving marketing needs with tech solutions and how creativity with tech has multiplied the success.

John Carroll




Composer: Game Changing Dependency Management
Managing dependencies and third-party code in PHP applications is a daily challenge, keeping everyone on the same versions during development and at deploy time a struggle. Meet Composer, a tool designed to help you maintain a consistent set of dependencies as well as share and discover new libraries. Let’s see how you can use this tool in your Applications and Libraries to wrangle your dependencies with a simple json configuration file and a command line interface.

Jeremy Kendall



Complete Code Reviews
In this talk we’ll explore what options a team has when implementing or tweaking a code review process. Using content from the book Code Complete 2 by Steve McConnell as a guide, we’ll talk about formality, effectiveness, and guidelines for effective group code inspections.

Thomas Langston



Why your CSS should be SASSY
A rundown of all of the advantages and features of the SASS extension.

Keith Mattix



Twilio Voice/SMS API: Teach you apps to speak
Learn how to easily add voice and SMS interactivity to your applications.
After an introduction to the Twilio API and a simple application, we’ll look behind the scenes at a couple of production and in-development apps by the presenter (including a voice app averaging 2,000 calls per day).

Stewart Whaley



Your Graph is Showing: The Trend toward Graph Databases & Connected Data
Developers have turned to NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB and Cassandra, to build social networks and online communities because of their relative speed and simplicity. However, when creating connections, understanding trends and seeing commonalities within data, developers at places like Facebook and Twitter have increasingly turned to graph databases.

In this discussion, we’ll start with a quick overview of the database landscape and how graph databases fit within it. Next, we’ll dive into neo4j, a popular graph database, and demonstrate how to solve complex, connected data problems with an in-depth look at examples demonstrating the power, speed and simplicity of using graph databases. We’ll close with a look at some caveats as well as glimpse into the future of graph databases.

Learning outcomes:
1. What are graph databases
2. Why devs should care about graph databases vs. relational databases
3. When graph databases makes sense
4. Security & integration/implementation options with the neo4j graph database
5. Caveats and the future of graph databases

Greg Jordan



HTML Form Processing with PHP
Nearly every website has a form, the problem is how to properly secure the form against spammers, bad user data, and accomplish its mission of transferring input from the user to some destination. The problem is there are so many things to be worried about: Data Sanitization, Captcha, Preventing Cross Site Scripting, et al. To solve this problem I have worked out some tips, tricks, and bad ideas to help new and old PHP developers learn from mistakes I’ve made and hopefully show some neat things they may not have thought of. The talk would demonstrate the problems PHP developers need to be aware of and show real world examples of how these problems can be solved and demonstrate what happens when form processing goes bad.

Joe Ferguson




The Building Blocks of Good Design
The building blocks of good design have remained the same across the board, even though the landscape of the designing world has drastically changed.” She’ll share insights on how to create impactful, engaging and memorable works, no matter what medium you use.

Rebecca Ziemer



Sneaky Tips Your Own Design
Web Design is expensive and learning to make small changes can help put your money in the right places. I’ve developed an online community where we share tips and other easy ways to make changes in your site design without leaving it all to your designer and leaving your pocket empty.

Jerri Ann Reason



Guerilla Testing, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love UX
A talk about the grand importance of user testing and research and how anyone can perform these tasks with no UX staff or budget.

Bryan Robinson



Boost conversions and raise your revenues with A/B testing in Rails
A/B testing is a fabulously profitable way to optimize the copy, layout, and general calls to action of your online business. We’ll talk about the opportunities of A/B testing, the surprising possibilities inherent in automatically testing hundreds or even thousands of competing configurations, and see some A/B test demos using Ruby on Rails.
Hosting / promoting @MemphisRuby monthly since April 2013

Daniel Pritchett