Our team attended TechFestNW2015 and was inspired by the amazing speakers this year. Sarah Joy, developer for Cardsmith, shares her perspective of the event.

Memories of morning locker routines and Taco Salad Tuesdays filled my mind when I walked up the stairs of Washington High School and into TechFestNW this past Thursday. And just like the first day of high school, I felt surprisingly lost even though the main hallway goes around in a square. Other things reminded me of my high school. The tall, skinny lockers along the hallway walls; stairwells at each corner of the building; the mass of milling students. In this case, tech professionals, but the energy was akin to that of a high school on a Friday. What my high school didn’t have was a rooftop lounge, nor a beautiful venue like Revolution Hall, where myself and other members of the Cardsmith team spent our Thursday and Friday listening to talks.

National and local speakers took the stage and talked about a range of topics, mostly focusing on the future and where technology is going. There were talks about diversity in tech, the DIY body modification community, and how to predict the future. Throughout the talks, there was a recurring theme speakers addressed: how technology can better our lives and our communities. Whether by making it easier to manage a household by auto-ordering cleaning supplies when you’re low, open sourcing valuable information, or how virtual reality technology often boxed into the gaming world could offer therapeutic services. The importance of giving back to the community and helping others was apparent. Talking about the future can be scary, especially when talking about technologies such as robots, so it was nice to see that altruism was on a lot of people’s mind.

This was the fourth annual TechFestNW, but the first one hosted at Washington High School in SE Portland. At first I thought the renovated high school venue was odd, but then I realized that there is no better place for a conference than a renovated school. Everyone’s mind was probably filled with memories like mine, and although high school is also full of hormonal teenage anxieties and emotions, the setting reminded us that there is always something to learn. After TechFestNW, the development team at Cardsmith created a public board to share our favorite talks and what we learned at the conference.

Check out our board, here:

We are:

Team building at TechFestNW 2015

Marty, VP of Engineering

Myself, Sarah Joy, Developer

Cleri, Development Intern from Epicodus

Julio, Marketing automation consultant


Latoya Peterson

Jesse Schell

Mowgli Holmes