Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 3–5 p.m. and 7–10 p.m. in the Glenn Gould Studio at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West in downtown Toronto

Tickets available here:


3:00 – 5:00 p.m.: CBC staff talking about digital CBC initiatives including interactives, Vote Compass, and more.
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.: Meet and mingle with makers, ROM staff, and all sorts of cool folks in the Glenn Gould lobby.
7:00 – 10:00 p.m.: Best of Nerd Nite Toronto, with presentations by Lauren Shorser, Dr. Julielynn Wong, and a special CBC guest.



Part 1: CBC – Afternoon Presentations

“CBC Opens the Door to Innovative Content Delivery” by Sam Lightowler, Product Owner

CBC is rethinking the presentation of all digital short-form content. Hear about our approach, our challenges, and our successes as we transform the CBC website into The Feed using elements of agile and lean startup.

Sam Lightowler is a product owner at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, currently working on an agile team to deliver a new web presentation for CBC’s short form digital content. Her passion has always been digital products, social media and team fulfillment.


“Not So Random! Rethinking Sampling Methodology for Big Data Applications” by Clifton van der Linden, PhD Candidate

Vote Compass is an interactive civic engagement application developed by Vox Pop Labs in association with CBC Radio-Canada. Used by millions of Canadians over nearly a dozen election campaigns, it has served to foster democratic participation whilst promoting transparency and accountability with respect to the public policy positions of the candidates for election. In addition, it has generated some of the largest, most richly profiled datasets of Canadian public opinion ever collected during an election campaign. The potential of such data to prompt more responsive government is hindered only by a resistance to research which relies on non-random sample. However, new methods for treating Big Data demonstrate a remarkable propensity for generating accurate estimates, as is evidenced by the unique insights Vote Compass data offer about the Canadian psyche.

Clifton van der Linden is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the founder and director of Vox Pop Labs and creator of Vote Compass.


“Designing and Building Storytelling Solutions for Modern Devices and Platforms” by the CBC News Interactives Team

Modular tools and templates? Or solutions designed and built to explain and enhance a specific topic, data set, or concept? Are there existing sources of information and data? What is known, and how might the story change? Publishing now, tomorrow, or next week? These are some of the questions we ask every day. We’re not looking for definitive answers. We’re practicing asking questions that lead to more extensible and repurposable solutions. We’ll show examples of interactives, tools and templates, and share what we’ve learned in 2015.

The CBC News Interactives team is dedicated to creating meaningful and engaging storytelling experiences. The group of developers and designers collaborate with journalists across the country to produce best-in-class tools and award-winning special features. The team includes expert data wranglers, mobile-first innovators, and creative thinkers who excel at creating bold and buzz-worthy content.


“5 Star Teams, 5 Star Apps” by Leonard Cervantes, Product Manager, Mobile Apps

Everyone loves an underdog story.
CBC, Canada’s Public Broadcaster had a challenge. Of the 20-odd CBC mobile apps available in market, none rated over 3 stars. Apps for the flagship News and Radio brands sagged in the App Store ratings, reporting 1.5 and 2 star ratings, respectively. CBC’s App Team was uninspired and lacked direction, attrition was high. Government funding cuts and the subsequent loss of Hockey Night in Canada took their toll. Somewhere within the depths, here was an opportunity to start a new chapter for CBC’s Mobile Apps – and the change had to begin with the Team responsible. A classic underdog story, but how does it end?CBC’s Mobile Product Manager will share how focusing on the TEAM FIRST led to better apps.

Leonard Cervantes is the Product Manager for Mobile Apps at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Len has lived in the Mobile space since the early days of short codes, ringtones and WAP sites on flip phones.


“Involving Canadians in the Design Process at CBC” by Hira Javed and Beth Robins, Usability Specialists

How do you design for a nation as diverse as ours? Simple. You ask, create, ask again, and depending on what you learn, you refine it, or scrap it and start again. It requires connecting with our audience, sharing our work, and challenging our assumptions. This talk will highlight how we involve Canadians when designing our digital products, and the impact of their valuable feedback.

Hira Javed is a Usability Specialist at the CBC, where she conducts user experience research to inform product decisions from conception to post-launch. She also teaches at the University of Waterloo, where she created the curriculum for a required UX course as part of the Global Business and Digital Arts program

Beth Robins has been a Usability Specialist at CBC since the beginning of time. She has spent 12 years in the usability trenches trying (and for the most part succeeding) to involve Canadians in the CBC user experience process.


“React-ing to the Changing Web” by Robert Medeiros, Senior Product Architect

In a bid to delight our audience with a snappier, shinier web experience we are building a prototype UI interface on top of the cutting-edge React framework. Robert will discuss a bit of the thinking going into that initiative.

Robert Medeiros is a full stack developer with an abiding fondness for parentheses and an outright obsession with automation.


“Time To Go Lean” by Richard Loa, Senior User Interface Architect

Have you ever done some work for someone only to realize that it’s not what they wanted at all? This is a universal problem which happens in everyday life; as well as the work place. At CBC the culture is changing. Changing in a way that can minimize the pains that can surface from such a universal problem. Richard will show you how CBC is shifting its culture into building data driven websites.

Richard Loa enjoys working on websites of large scale and has in recent years been the technical lead for big events like the FIFA world cup and Olympics. In recent months he and his team have been challenged with rolling out CBC Arts. He enjoys photography, snowboarding and basketball.


Part 2: Nerd Nite Toronto Fifth Anniversary – Evening Presentations

“Alien Minds” by Lauren Shorser

Though most people will only encounter them on a dinner plate, cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) are much more than exotic and chewy seafood. These short-lived, anti-social, and occasionally cannibalistic invertebrates are making a name for themselves as highly intelligent beings, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what they can do.

Lauren Shorser is a writer and co-boss of Nerd Nite Toronto. She is also a scuba diver with a deep love of cephalopods. She finds it unsettling to write about herself in the third person.


“What Would Dr. McCoy Make With a Star Trek Replicator?” by Dr. Julielynn Wong

Need medical supplies on a long space mission? If you can’t take everything with you, then you’ll have to print on demand. With this in mind, Dr. Julielynn Wong 3D printed medical supplies using solar energy at the Mars Desert Research Station. Miss Wong has designed an ultra-portable solar-powered 3D printer that can be transported in a carry-on suitcase so doctors visiting remote villages can bring this with them to create medical supplies on-site.

Dr. Julielynn Wong is a Harvard-educated, award-winning public health physician, innovator and educator. Miss Wong founded 3D4MD (, which creates 3D printable medical supplies to deliver healthcare in the most challenging places to those who need it the most.


CBC Special Guest Speaker (details to come)