Sessions at Queen City Merge on Friday 11th May

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  • If you just build it, they won't come

    by Sara Morgan

    A wedding industry veteran, and lover of all things fashion, Sara founded Tailored with a mission to change the way brides shop for their weddings. Sara is an entrepreneur at heart, believes strongly in loving what you do, and is truly passionate about her work. She handles PR, Marketing, and Brand Strategy for Tailored and her background in media and broadcast journalism have helped her become a formidable source on writing and delivering a message that will have an impact.

    Sara’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited when she served as the Director of Marketing for Weddzilla.com, where she handled business development and brand strategy. It was there that she met her co-founder, Aaron Hall, and the two have been working side by side to bring new technologies to the industry ever since. A Broadcast News Major from the University of Georgia, Sara has been featured in such renowned publications as The Huffington Post, InStyle Magazine, Glamour Magazine, MSN, Forbes, and more.

    At 8:30am to 9:00am, Friday 11th May

  • Innovation Is Something You Feel

    by marty_b

    Innovating within an organization is a mystery, especially those within service industries. Why? Because innovation is something that you feel and not necessarily just something that you do. Making individuals feel something is a hard assignment. For service organizations there are limitations to our business model putting business practicality and unpaid innovation at odds. Yet, without investing in innovation, clients won’t pay for skills that you have not demonstrated—the ultimate chicken or egg question. In addition to the business challenges, there are a lot more practical questions as well, like where to start innovating? As we reflect on our year, we always realize how many hours went unbilled, unused every year. Many organizations just do not know where to start or how to create a plan for innovation. This talk will put actionable steps to innovating at any organization, focusing on the service industry, and discuss how to harness the power of the unbilled hour to innovate. Harnessing the energy of your organization has the ability to win new business, empower your teams and finally help people feel innovation.

    Marty Boyer is the Chief Product Officer of Possible Worldwide, Cincinnati. He leads Technology, Program Management and Resource Management functions. He helps steer the technology and processes that deliver their creative product.

    He thrives on brand building and solving business problems utilizing technology. During his tenure at Possible Worldwide, he's worked with a number Fortune 100 businesses building applications and executions ranging from social to mobile applications.

    At 9:00am to 10:00am, Friday 11th May

  • Data Driven Decision Making

    by Ben Curren

    Ben has spent the last 12 years developing web and desktop applications for both small and large corporations, including several years in Intuit's QuickBooks Group. He specializes in using technology to solve real world problems by creating easy-to-use solutions.

    At 10:00am to 11:00am, Friday 11th May

  • Community

    by LB Denker

    Etsy is an online bazaar for handmade goods, and one for the key aspects for the site itself is the Etsy communities and sub-communities that have and continue to form and grow. The Etsy development community is the group of smart engineers that grow and maintain the site that helps to facilitate these amazing Etsy communities. While these engineers are very smart, you should recall the old adage, "A stupid person is someone who never learns from his mistakes, a smart person is someone who learns from his mistakes, and a wise person is someone who learns from other mistakes." At Etsy we embrace learning from mistakes and sharing with others so that they may learn from these mistakes as well because we also know that no one is perfect. Here, I will share several of the bumps along the way that took us from being small yet bureaucratic to large and still growing with more community and emphasis on culture, all while maintaing that small startup feeling.

    Laura Beth "LB" Denker graduated from RIT with a BS/MS in Computational Mathematics/Computer Science. She then moved on to a small job in a small city in central New York before being courted by Google, bringing her to the Big Apple, where she worked in both test and development for over 4 years. Now she has taken a turn for handmade, helping Etsy grow its spectacular development culture and continuous deployment process as the self-proclaimed Anthropologist of Developer Culture.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Friday 11th May

  • Cheap and Easy Customer Support

    by Sarah Hatter

    Learn how to offer your customers amazing support over email and Twitter, create a fanatical user base, and how to avoid the quagmire of 1-star reviews.

    Sarah Hatter is founder of CoSupport, a company that's teaching small app teams worldwide how to offer amazing customer support. Sarah started CoSupport after building up the support team at 37signals and has since trained the support teams of the top-rated web and mobile apps. She likes wine.

    At 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Friday 11th May

  • Top Ten Mistakes That Kill Companies

    by Rob McDonald

    It is tough to an entrepreneur. You are expected to understand every aspect of your business; everything from filing your business taxes to changing the toilet paper in your international headquarters. On top of all of the stuff you are expected to understand, you will have to synthesize the clutter of advice and information you will receive. The Lean Start-up model instructs entrepreneurs on how to eliminate some of the unnecessary distractions and focus on rapid iteration of a product. Unfortunately, your lawyer is likely anything but a lean start-up disciple. You'll be receiving reams of paper for signature that will read like they were written by Robin Hood with a quill pen. While being smarter than your lawyer would be great, lets focus on the top ten mistakes that could kill your company so that you can avoid any armageddon situations. This discussion will focus on helping you avoid the company killing mistakes and coaching you to your minimal viable legal solution. No one wants to waste money on lawyers when there are more important business expenses (like upgrading the ramen noodles you bought in bulk).

    ROBERT W. MCDONALD is an attorney in the Business & Finance Practice Group at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. Rob is a Co-Founder and Director at The Brandery, a seed stage business accelerator in Cincinnati. Rob’s practice at Taft is focused on venture capital, corporate, securities, and sports law work. Rob assists start-up and emerging companies through business formation, early-stage investments, and other issues that face entrepreneurial businesses.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Friday 11th May

  • Design for Developers

    by Jen Myers

    Designers are designers and developers are developers and never the twain shall meet, right? Except – not really. There are some imaginary lines drawn around the two disciplines of design and development, but the truth is they are closely intertwined, and it can be very useful for a developer to have design knowledge and skills in his or her toolbox. This presentation will correct some commonly-held misconceptions about design, cover the basics of design from a developer’s perspective and explore how a developer can employ these principles to build clearer, cleaner and more usable applications.

    Jen Myers is a web/interface designer at the software company Relevance. She works from Columbus, Ohio, where she also teaches HTML/CSS and organizes the coding education program Girl Develop It Columbus. Her particular areas of interest are user experience, teaching innovation and using design as a tool for communication. She also likes good movies, comic books and frequently changing her hair color.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th May

  • TBD

    by Alex Hillman

    My name is Alex, I’m from Philadelphia, PA.

    I start things: businesses, conversations, parties, and sometimes a little trouble. I’m probably best known for starting Philadelphia’s Indy Hall coworking community in 2006, years before coworking became a darling of the mainstream press and workers everywhere. Since, Indy Hall and my work have been featured in national and international publications. I’ve started and contributed to conversations around the progress and methodologies behind my projects, making “open source” a reality for more than just software and helping countless aspiring catalysts around the world. Many credit me with their starts, citing my non-nonsense credo “JFDI” (just effing do it) as a source of inspiration to stop with the excuses and, well, JFDI.

    At 4:30pm to 5:30pm, Friday 11th May