The Inaugural Restaurant Technology Meetup (Fort Bonifacio, Philippines)

Restaurant Technology Meetup Oct. 23

The Restaurant Technology Meetup is a gathering of restaurant owners, managers, payroll and HR professionals who are interested in learning more about how technology can help grow and streamline their business operations.

No sales pitches… just a free learning environment designed to foster networking and learning amongst restaurant professionals.

Register here

Recap: Geeks On A Beach, Boracay

Geeks On A Beach – Boracay Island, Philippines – Tina Amper of put together a fantastic conference on one of the most beautiful islands in the world last week. The event was the first of its kind for the Philippines and was a big success.  Over 300 geeks, investors and speakers descended on the white beaches of Boracay for 2 days of learning, networking and sun.

While there we some nay sayers suggesting a beach location was not the right fit for an event like this, I found it perfect. (Boracay is SEAsia’s Las Vegas)  It attracted attendees from all over the world, into a very cost effective location (when compared to places like Singapore) that provided a quality venue, attractions outside of the conference and plenty of hotel options.  Overall the event was a big success and hopefully will run next year and many after that.

I was invited to be a guest on a panel with Jack Madrid (President DCOM) moderating the “Philippine Startup Success Stories” along with Mark (CEO, Caresharing), Alvin (Director, Microsoft) and Stefano ( It was a fun panel discussion.  You can see the video of the panel below.

photo 1How you commute to Boracay

photo 2Geeks On A Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines

photo 3

PayrollHero In metabridge Top 15 Startups 2013

We’re super excited that metabridge has named PayrollHero one of the top 15 startups in Canada. Standing alongside others like Cinecoup and Mover, PayrollHero is proud to be included in such a high calibre group of startups. A big pat on the back to the other 14 on the list. We can’t wait to meet you all!


What is metabridge?

metabridge is a unique initiative that gives 15 top Canadian startups the chance to tap directly into the main vein of the Silicon Valley and its abundance of resources and opportunities.

The metabridge team stacked PayrollHero up against some of the brightest startups in the country, and narrowed us down to the final list of 15. We have a lot to gain from such an opportunity – we’d really like to meet potential international technology partners for investment and connect with awesome mentors and advisors.

Connecting Canada with the Silicon Valley

Kicking off with the metabridge ethos that ‘One Conversation Can Change Your World’, Adam (Product Development (Co-Founder)) and I are jumping right in and attending the Cascadia Pitch Summit on Thursday June 20th and the metabridge 2013 Finale Party on Friday June 21st. We are excited to build new relationships (and friendships) with 34 of the Silicone Valleys greatest minds, in the west coast wine country of Kelowna, British Columbia.

Amongst the chosen 34 VIP leaders who will be at the event, are:


Partner at 500 Startups


CTO of Xero


Vice President, Partner Programs & Channel Sales at Sage

Recap of metabridge 2012

Here’s a look at last years metabridge event. If you’re going to be there get in touch, it’s going to a fun couple of days!

#VanRuby Hack Night and Co-Working @ Launch Academy

Yesterday Piotr (Engineering & Co-Founder) was in the city again, enjoying a day of co-working, Ruby hacking and wall-to-wall sunshine.

Piotr spent the day co-working at Launch Academy as they were also playing host to the bi-monthly #VanRuby meetup, Ruby Hack Night.

Ruby Hack Night @ Launch Academy

#VanRuby Logo

#VanRuby Hack Nights are back, and are now being held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The Ruby Hack nights have a very different focus to the #VanRuby Social Lightning Talk event we were at last week. For this meetup everyone turns up with their own laptop and spends the night communally hacking away at their favourite open-source project. It’s essentially a bunch of developers jamming together in a room, bouncing ideas off each other if they get stuck on a problem. In #VanRuby’s words, “we all get together and hack on cool stuff!”

Piotr was working on a project to help get more visibility during a deployment process. If this is the kind of project you’re interested, you can check it out here, on GitHub.

Who are Launch Academy?

Launch Academy categorizes itself as a hybrid incubator, accelerator and alternative education centre. As well as housing 70 startups and 120 entrepreneurs they share their space with companies like Microsoft and GrowLab.

Here’s a quick video about their services, it’s not hard to see why they’re so successful!


The next #VanRuby Hack Night is on June 18th at Launch Academy, will we see you there? Leave a comment below if you plan to attend, it would be good to meet you.

#VanRuby Meetup @ Medeo

meetup logo

Last Thursday three of our dev team went to the May edition of the #VanRuby meetups, in Vancouver.

The #VanRuby meetups are a great way for us to stay in touch with our local developer community. Once a month #VanRuby organizes a meetup at a different location and either co-ordinates guest speakers or, in the case of May’s meetup, encourages participation from attendees.

Our favorite #VanRuby social lightning talk

This month’s theme invited speakers to give a summary of their favorite RailsConf talks. We were really impressed by Loki Meyburg’s recap of ‘Rails Insecure Defaults’ because Rails is considered to be one of the most secure web application frameworks available; however, this talk showed us that when you dig a little deeper it’s easy to find situations where Rails in built behavior could be more secure. A great example here, from Florent:

“when you launch a Rails application it has to be launched on a specific IP, so it can be accessed it in your browser. But if you use an IP like, it means that other people can also access it if they want to, from their browser”

We also attended RailsConf back in April, so Piotr and Suman both offered to share their insights with the Ruby community.

Piotr ended up giving two talks, a ‘micro-talk’ (as he put it) on strong parameters and a full lightning talk on API testing.

Suman’s lightning talk was a recap of Sandi Metz RailsConf talk ‘The Magic Tricks of Testing’ and suggested that developers are writing too many tests and testing the wrong kinds of things. Sandi’s original RailsConf talk ‘The Magic Tricks of Testing’ is available on SpeakerDeck.

#VanRuby talk by Piotr

Lightning Talks are 2-10 minute talks where speakers show a short slide presentation or code in a repl.

The #VanRuby meetup location

This month the meetup was hosted at Medeo, a Vancouver-based telehealth utility that makes it possible for patients to connect with their doctors via their computer, phone or tablet. We were fascinated by what was being achieved at Medeo, they’re reinventing the house-call and making healthcare easier and more convenient for everyone. It was a pleasure to be hosted by them.

Modeo devices

Modeo is free to download from the Apps store

Did you attend the recent #VanRuby meetup, too? Please leave a comment and let us know which talks you enjoyed.

Inaugural “Better Business Brunch” in Manila

I was invited to speak at the inaugural “Better Business Brunch” that New Leaf Ventures was holding at the new Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Fort Bonifacio, Philippines.  The New Leaf Ventures team expected about 40 attendees but that number was far exceeded when over 80 people packed into CBTL to take part.

The idea for the Better Business Brunch is to bring in a speaker a month to share details about new technologies and how you can run a better business.  I was pleased to be asked to speak at the first event.

My talk was a similar one that I have done for many EO Chapters around the world, except it was condensed to fit the time slot for this event.  In my presentation I ran through many of the tools that we use within PayrollHero as well as how PayrollHero itself works for the Philippines.  I talked about, 15Five, Wikis, Google Docs, Zendesk, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter, Adroll and much more.  Overall it was a fantastic event.  I think next time they will have to book out the whole place!

417965_10152853728165243_1285284035_n 420307_10152853728615243_2011148723_n 486645_607864692559937_690795795_n 941916_374747519313278_1295351702_n 943082_10152853727875243_1782022805_n

PayrollHero At RailsConf 2013 – Our Favorite Talks And Resources

Last week we were in Portland for the 8th annual RailsConf, the largest gathering of Ruby on Rails developers in the world. For some of us it was a return visit to RailsConf and to Portland, but for most it was the first time and the general consensus was the same; that RailsConf is a very unique mix of social, educational and hands-on learning events.

PayrollHero at RailsConf

“I’ve mostly been to single vendor conferences before, but RailsConf was a nice change, it’s much more community driven,” – Piotr Banasik, Engineering (Co-Founder).

RailsConf 2013 was not the only reason we were stoked to be south of the border in Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses is also the only place you can get Voodoo Doughnuts, it has over 30 microbreweries and as a result hundreds of specialist ales, it boasts an impressive lineage of tech history and has been nicknamed the ‘Silicon Forest’ because of it’s inspiring landscape  – all in all, we felt right at home. And the home we stayed in was pretty awesome, too.

Rental House in Portland for Rails ConfOur House Portland RailsConfFun in the kitchen at the RailsConf house in Portand

The Best Bits of RailsConf 2013

With more than 20 talks a day, the conference was a real immersion into what the Ruby on Rails community had been doing, thinking and achieving for the last year.  It was tough to slim it down to these eight favourites, as chosen by our very own Payroll Hero Adventure Engineers.

1. Volatiles and Stables – Michael Lopp

“It was great hearing about the need for volatiles and stables in a company, it certainly gives you a fresh perspective on the skills of your colleagues and yourself.” – Dane Natoli, Engineer.

In this talk, Michael proposed that a business needs two kinds of engineers, Volatiles and Stables, and that both play a major role in productivity and innovation. He outlined that ‘stables’ play nice with others, are careful and work to mitigate failure; whereas, ‘volatiles’ define strategy rather than follow it, do not see failure as an option and see risk as a thrill. It certainly got each of us thinking about which box we fall into.

Recommended Reading: head over to Michael’s blog post on the topic here at to find out if you are a volatile or stable; or even just to learn how to juggle the two personalities efficiently in the workplace.

2. Describing Your World with Seahorse – Trevor Rowe

“Seahorse looks like a very promising cross platform API framework, we’re curious how it will evolve over time. With Amazon Web Services behind it it should at least maintain momentum for their own APIs.” – Piotr Banasik, Engineering (Co-Founder).

Trevor Rowe is a software developer at Amazon Web Services, he authored the Seahorse tool, worked on integrating Paperclip with the aws-sdk gem, and has contributed to a variety of other open source projects. Trevor’s talk introduced us to the Seahorse language, a DSL for describing API operations for just about any web service. He introduced us to what Seahorse does and showed us that once you have your API described using Seahorse, you can essentially create an entire API client library with one line of code.

Recommended Reading: Sadly we can’t find any slides for this presentation right now, but if we come across any we will update  this post as well as posting it to our Facebook page.

3. Incremental Design: A conversation with a designer and a developer – Rebecca Miller-Webster and Savannah Wolf

“It was interesting for me to see how design and Engineering interact at another company. I hope to apply some of the learning in PayrollHero’s product development process.” – Adam Baechler, Product Development (Co-Founder)

Rebecca and Savannah addressed two problems that everyone in this industry has faced from time-to-time and asked “developers, how many times have you had to completely rip out your hard earned code for a totally new site design?” and to designers “how many times has a re-design taken four times as long as the developer said it would and not looked good in the end?” The resolution, they proposed, was to change to using an incremental approach to design.

This designer/developer talk walked us through an introduction to incremental design, how to design with incremental changes in mind and how to develop for incremental design, including utilizing SASS, structuring your mark-up and CSS, and structuring your Rails views and partials.

Recommended Reading: Rebecca and Savannah’s slide show on incremental design from RailsConf 2013 is available to read, right here at Speaker Deck. You should dive in today, it will change how you work tomorrow.

 4. No Traffic, No Users, No Problem – Jim Jones

“Jim showed us some cool tools for using Mechanical Turk for Usability testing and definitely gave us some food for thought” – Adam Baechler, Product Development (Co-Founder)

Another talk highly recommended by Adam was ‘No Traffic, No Users, No Problem!” by Jim Jones. “Should the signup button be red or blue? Does my site’s sales pitch sound awkward? What will the user think about my site the first five seconds they visit?”, asked Jim. His talk then walked us through Using Rails and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, how to perform usability tests, A/B testing and how to gain valuable feedback on your site before launching to a single real user.

Recommended Reading: If you’ve never heard of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, or you’re struggling to get valuable usability information with your current methods, you should certainly watch Jim’s slideshow, here on Slideshare.

5. How Shopify Scales Rails – John Duff

“Seeing how Shopify scale having so many request at the same time was very interesting, they had a problem that startups usually don’t have, they just had so much traffic!” – Florent Lamoureux, Front-end Engineer

The first line of code was written for Shopify nearly 10 years ago to power an online Snowboard shop. Now the years have passed and today Shopify powers over 40 thousand online stores, processes up to half a million product sales per day and has over 30 people actively working on Shopify – making it the longest developed and probably the largest Rails code base out there. As a start-up, we really found value in hearing their story of how Shopify has had to evolve to meet its immense growth and the needs of its customers, layer by layer.

Recommended Reading: If you need a quick boost of entrepreneurial inspiration we recommend watching Shopify’s talk on YouTube.

6. Morning Keynote Talk – Yehuda Kats

Yehuda’s talk was a big hit with Suman Mukherjee, one of our Adventure Engineers. Unfortunately, because the talk was morning keynote we have not been able to find any slides to share with you but Suman offers this great, personal evaluation.

“Yehuda’s talk mainly concentrated on how not to write adhoc JavaScript and provide a good structure to it. He pointed out how turbolinks and JavaScript, bound to data attributes, makes the JavaScript clumsy and hard to maintain.” – Suman Mukherjee

Recommended Reading: Yehuda Katz is a member of the Ember.js, Ruby on Rails and jQuery Core Teams and co-author of best-selling jQuery in Action and Rails 3 in Action. He is a very influancial member of our community and we recommend following him at his or on Twitter @wycats

7. From Rails To The Webserver To The Browser – David Padilla

“From Rails to the Browser to the Web Server was very interesting. David taught us about Rails internals and it was great to hear from him how it all works under the hood.” – Florent Lamoureux, Front-end Engineer

David asked a room full of developers “do you know exactly how those HTML documents end up in a browser?” and his talk showed us all of the components that make the magic happen. We dissected the relevant code within Rails, Rack and the thin web server to discover exactly how the web server starts and listens to a TCP port, communicates with Rails and returns the HTML document that your browser parses.

Recommended Reading: If you’d like a bit of practical reading for your lunchbreak or morning commute, David’s slideshow is available to read here, on SpeakerDeck.

8. The Magic Tricks of Testing – Sandi Metz

“Sandi talked about how to write tests that you don’t hate. She focused on what parts of the code should be tested and how certain tests do not provide any value but add maintenance overhead. However she did only talked about unit testing” – Engineering (Founding Team)

Sandi, winner of the Ruby Hero Award, said exactly what we were all thinking “Tests are supposed to save us money, right. How is it, then, that many times they become millstones around our necks, gradually morphing into fragile, breakable things that raise the cost of change?” Sandi’s answer was that we could be writing too many tests and testing the wrong kinds of things. This talk striped away the veil and offered simple, practical guidelines for choosing what to test and how to test it.

Recommended Reading: Finding the right testing balance isn’t magic, but if you still feel as though you’re having the wool pulled over your eyes you should definitely watch Sandi’s slides on ‘The Magic Tricks of Testing’, here on SpeakerDeck.

Well that is the end of our RailsConf 2013 review, we hope you find some of our recommendations useful and valuable in your own work.

But You Didn’t Mention The Talk By…

There was a lot for us to cover, and we picked out only a few of the gems. If there’s a particular talk you’re looking for, most of the presentations can be found here, on GitHub.


Recap: Crocodile in the Yangtze Asia Premier

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 10.49.02 PMLast night we hosted the Asia premier of the film Crocodile in the Yangtze in Manila, Philippines.  We flew the director, Porter Erisman in for the event to speak to the group and do a question and answer session after the screening.  It was a fantastic night!

The Crocodile in the Yangtze is a fantastic film that looks at the rise of China’s first Internet entrepreneur and former English teacher, Jack Ma, as he battles US giant eBay on the way to building China’s first global Internet company, Alibaba Group.

A big thanks to Amazon Web Services and EO Philippines for sponsoring the event along with us to make it happen.

*More photos here

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 10.24.42 PMPorter Erisman (left) taking questions after the screening

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 10.23.49 PMPorter Erisman and Mig33 CEO Steven Goh

2 Days of Training (Zendesk and PayrollHero)

Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 5.48.53 AMOur office in the Philippines is used by quite a few companies for events.  We have, what we call, a “think tank” that works great for events. We have been the location for Google, Amazon and most recently been asked to host an event for Zendesk.

Zendesk is running a day long session on April 17th 2013 in our think tank and since Zendesk and PayrollHero share a few customers we thought it would make sense to run a bootcamp of our own the day before to make it easy for companies that wanted to attend both.

Join us!

PayrollHero – April 16th 2013 (Register Here)
Zendesk – April 17th 2013 (Register Here)

Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 5.48.43 AM

Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 5.59.08 AM Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 5.59.21 AM

Fun Times at Zendesk University in Vancouver

This week, Mike and I (Adam) attended an Customer Service education event in Vancouver hosted by Zendesk.

Zendesk is the leading cloud-based customer service software solution. More than 25,000 companies such as Gilt Groupe, Box, and Disney are using Zendesk to lower their support costs, raise productivity, and increase customer satisfaction. Loved by both service teams and their customers for its beautifully simple interface, Zendesk is easy to try, buy, implement, and use.

We have been using Zendesk for over a year now with much success, but we know there is always room for improvement when it comes to communication in customer service and communication within our teams. Our goal was learn more about how to use Zendesk for our customer support and to meet other Zendesk users to share and learn with them.


The event was a full house, with most participants following along on their device of choice: laptop, ipad, smartphone or just plain old eyes and ears! In attendance were companies of all sizes, including start-up tech companies like ours.

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

We met Avandi from Volo, a local start up – they have built software for the Fitness Industry including online scheduling, billing, lead & member management, automated work flows, POS, reporting, and payroll in one system.

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at and the instructor for the event.)

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at and the instructor for the event.)

Living in Whistler, we are well-versed in the term “Après” and always enjoy the socializing and networking that comes after an event with other startups and tech companies! Here we are at the Mix and mingle (aka après!) after class. From left to right, Bryan from Ubertor, Jack and Keith from, Bart and Alex from, J.D. Peterson (Vice President, Product Marketing) at, Mike and Adam from

Après. As all good events should have!

Après. As all good events should have!

All in all, it was a great use of our time. When you can combine learning, inspiration, and networking with like-minded business-people, it’s been a good day.

Check back to see our follow up posts on Customer Service Analytics, How we are using Zendesk Automations and Triggers to help with our business processes.