Who are we?


Chris Jones – @jonezy

It’s funny, as I write this I realize that it was somewhere around this time (Fall) of 1996 that I started writing HTML.  Shortly after that in early 1997 I built and launched my very first website, http://www.crosby.ca/. This year (2011) marks my 15th year of building stuff on the internet.

During the early part of my career I worked with a company NKaos Interactive Media (later renamed Weave Communications) where we worked with big banks and retailers (TD Canada Trust, Le Chateau and Northern Reflections) to small local mom and pop shops and even a few well known Canadian bands.  We built sites that were just a couple of pages to complete platforms that took thousands of hours to finish. It was a wild time with some wild people, boy are there some stories to tell. During this time is also when I took my first stab at a startup, it didn’t go well and left a bad taste in my mouth, that’s all were going to say about that.

After working in the marketing and services side of things for a while I joined a few close friends and helped start http://www.q4websystems.com. We took something that was relatively well known and common (web content management systems) and built in features and functionality that targeted (and solved many new problems) for publicly traded companies. They have over 100 clients and are going strong to this day.

Interesting Fact: I have 2 different coloured eyes (brown and blue). I’ve never broken a bone (knock on wood).  I’ve been using the same ftp program for 10+ year (leech ftp, there’s only 1 annoying thing about it).

 

Nael El Shawwa – @naelshawwa

My first run into programming was probably Logo as a kid; remember that turtle you provided instructions to to draw some patterns on the screen? I think that was the first time I was rather amused that I can tell this white Tandy computer what to draw. In 1995 we finally got the Internet at home and it cost $4 an hour but that probably lead to what I do for a living and for fun today 17 years later. I think scripting, coding, programming or whatever you want to call it can be a very rewarding career, mainly because you are not limited to work in any one industry or field. You can fairly easily make your move to any technology team across different verticals if you wanted to.

During the day I lead the product development team at Veriday building digital marketing products for financial advisors.  Although my development toolset has been evenly sharpened, I have taken a keen interest in front-end & JavaScript architecture for rich web applications. I’ve placed my bets on JavaScript and working hard on carving myself a niche there. As the JavaScript code running in a browser grows to support these rich features I’m betting any application’s front-end  will equally benefit from an engineer’s eye just as much as it benefits from a designer’s eye.

So what brought me to #DevTO? I wanted to know what other developers in Toronto are working on? what problems are they solving? and what technologies are they solving them with? When I heard about the idea from Chris and Kevin, I jumped on board right away – mainly because the idea for the group was technology agnostic. We had our first event the following month! The Toronto tech scene is pretty hot these days so there has not been any shortage of things for me to learn at any #DevTO event.

Interesting Fact: I love horror movies, you can tell when I’m really terrified when I start laughing hysterically!

 

Kevin Kelly – @kdblez
Me and HTML were friends for a bit in the late 90s. My first exposure to the language was mostly through a book on the subject that I acquired at Costco after I displayed a bit of a learning hunger for the art on Netscape Navigator. After getting a bit into Flash and html in high school, I decided to get into the Multimedia Design and Production Technician course. I did mostly front end production for Humber’s WebCT by the time I hit second year. The Ontario College of Teachers redesign took the form of my first gig.

I got into server side technologies on my post-grad, keeping PHP after brush-ins with Classic ASP,
ColdFusion, and JSP. The story of my career took more turns as I continued where I started from – a hired gun in the realms of front end and minor server side, assisting in solutions for Rogers Consumer Publishing, TAXI, Dashboard, kenna:, Bureau Group, KPMG, Annin And Co, Capital C, and Metro Interactive, in the last 6 years after leaving the college nest. Looking at where I have been and was about to go, I decided to focus on User Interface Development as my primary skill. Really, alot of I did was:

Translate beautiful site things, that your creative guy does so it doesn’t trip up your backend guys.

After hours, it varies from things such as helping out a design shop in Sudbury, or reviewing a developer book, for a peer and top author, that is miles away Or making #devTO awesome, which started out with a tweet of giving back and interacting with other members of Toronto’s vast market. Now, #devTO became 150 people monthly, listening to presentations, asking questions, connecting and producing startups, and sharing their code war stories.

Interesting Fact: I bring a stein to bars, parties, and get-togethers, randomly.

Joallore –  I’m a Social Instigator more than a developer. Of my three partners I have the least amount experience with development in the code sense. I am a developer in creating relationships and engagement of the Social Developer community.  I graduated with a Graphic Design Diploma at George Brown College in Toronto. I have a background with over 10 years of Graphic Production and currently work for Rogers Publishing in PreMedia. I’ve worked with publications such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Flare, HELLO and Canadian Business magazine. I have over 14 years of experience in Event Management with Rogers Event Services. I’ve coordinated events from start to finish and deal with Guest Relations. I’ve also implemented training and recruitment for Rogers.

On my personal time I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I enjoy surfing the web for a wealth of info on any particular topic. I’m a strong believer in continued learning because the more knowledge you can bring to the table the better prepared you are for what life has to give to you. DevTO is a great outlet for me to challenge my interpersonal skills and to be a contributing member to the ever changing world of Technology and Social Media.

Interesting Fact: I once eaten over 120 mussels prior to a dinner in a restaurant in Halifax.

5 thoughts on “Who are we?”

  1. Hi Dev TO team!

    I’m writing you from Xtreme Labs here where I handle all the public relations. I was wondering if I could grab all four of your emails? We’d like to have the on file to send you something in the near future.

    Cheers!

  2. Hi there,

    I really wanted to attend the screening tonight for The Startup Kids but won’t be able to. Wondering if you can comment on when the documentary will be available outside these screenings?

    - e.

    1. Thanks for the comment Eugene – we’ll have to see, we may do it again or may hear of someone else arranging one. You’ll hear from us on the mailing list either way.

  3. We are wanting to promote our film screening and allow a 20% discount for DevTO members in exchange for some promotion of our event to our crowd. Let me know if you are interested..no cost to you as we are trying to build community and promote a little art and timely story to Toronto startups.

    Cheers,
    Murray 416.803.3183

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