Talks & Presentations

  • Making HTML Email Fun

    Remember when HTML email development used to be fun? Yeah, neither do I. Since the dawning of the Internet, HTML email development has been the worst possible task given to a Web developer. Groupon is open sourcing Gleemail, an email development environment that puts the fun back into HTML template development.

  • What’s Wrong? I’m Right!

    As an engineering manager at Groupon, I have seen first-hand the way that someone “being right” can hurt working relationships, poison teams and ruin projects. In this talk, we will explore how we think and act about being right, learn about tools that reduce the need for concensus and take actionable steps towards improving our teams.

  • Tracking All the Things

    For the last two years, Chris Powers has led the development of Groupon’s “Bloodhound” tracking system which collects and records user behavior metrics across the globe. Throughout this process, nearly as many things went wrong as went right. Chris points out the pitfalls and big wins to look for while building out a tracking infrastructure.

  • Chrome Apps & Extensions

    As a Web developer you use Google Chrome every day, but have you ever peeked under the hood? Chrome provides Web developers with a surpisingly powerful development environment for building apps, extensions, even custom plugins to its dev tools! Come learn about the APIs that Chrome exposes.

  • Detangling Your JavaScript

    Tangled JavaScript code is hard to read, understand and maintain, but it’s not broken – yet. I teach the foundational principles of detangling (or refactoring) JS code to keep your code clean, legible and bug-free.

  • Intro to JavaScript TDD

    Jasmine isn’t just for Rubyists - it’s for anyone that wants to revolutionize their Javascript code and development workflow. I give a tutorial in getting up and running with an agile, Test Driven Development workflow using nothing but HTML and JavaScript.

  • Introduction to Web Sockets

    This talk will be taking us through an overview of how HTML 5 WebSockets work and demo some of its applications. It will demonstrate how WebSockets can be implemented on both the server and client sides, and how you can be up and running in 10 minutes with the help of the Pusher service.

  • Assets with GridFS

    Cloud hosting provides huge benefits, but can come at a cost. Services like Heroku give you a Read-Only filesystem that prevents many of the usual dynamic asset management techniques. Amazon S3 is a great solution, but if you’re already using MongoDB then you can use GridFS for free.

Recent Work

  • Groupon

    I am currently working as a software engineering manager at Groupon. As a leader in merchant services, Groupon presents unique challenges in scaling and optimization given its significant traffic load.

  • DRW Trading Group

    DRW is a leading trading firm distinguished by their investment in technology. As an Obtiva consultant, I helped internal DRW teams build out infrastructure projects using JavaScript, Node.js and Ruby.

  • Metromix

    Metromix is the best resource for planning a fun night out on the town. As an Obtiva consultant, I helped the Metromix team build out their Deals section and daily e-newsletter system.

  • Careerli

    Careerli was a finalist in Chicago Startup Weekend and a contestant in SPARK Chicago. As part of a 3-day incubation with Obtiva, I quickly helped bring to life their vision for empowering students making big life decisions.

  • Tiffany Thompson

    Up and coming singer/songwriter Tiffany Thompson needed a flexible portal page to help connect all of her social media into a central hub. I was able to give her an easy to maintain site that would reduce her costs long-term.

  • Eventwax

    Eventwax is the premier online tool for quickly and easily setting up online event registration. As an Obtiva consultant, I built out the form customization system that lets users add customized fields to their registration ticket forms.

  • Smart Real Estate is a consumer-facing tool for finding and monitoring real estate listings in the Chicagoland area that match your search criteria. I led the team that built this site from the ground up.

  • Get Thumbs Up!

    This site was my submission for the Node Knockout competition. Get Thumbs Up gives Web designers with little or no coding knowledge an easy Web service to dynamically crop their images on the fly.

  • Save the Cups

    Save the Cups was an experiment in branding and social media while promoting a good cause. I developed the site in Rails and was one of the founding members of the organization.

More About Me

About Me

Chris Powers has been developing Web applications for the last ten years. He strongly believes in the power technology has to bring people together and enjoys developing platforms that empower the user. Currenty Chris is working as a software engineering manager at Groupon and lives in the northern Chicago suburbs with his wife and daughter. In his free time he enjoys drumming, playing tabletop games and homebrewing.