Rick Wargo


Rick Wargo is an innovative and cross-functional technology leader and architect with extensive experience in full lifecycle software development, data warehousing and analytics, business strategy, and process improvement in professional services, legal, and healthcare verticals. Rick played integral roles in developing, building, and delivering successful solution architectures in Microsoft and Open Source technologies leading up to 10x performance increases in execution and cost savings. He is currently serving as president of the Philadelphia Business Intelligence User Group. Rick is also an Alexa Champion. Find out more by visiting www.rickwargo.com.

Build a Skill with the Alexa Skills Kit

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 11:30 am

The Amazon Echo, Alexa-based devices, and Works with Alexa were THE story of CES 2017. The Echo is a seasoned digital assistant and the Dot provides a low barrier for entry at only $50. Being able to develop Alexa Skills is a nice value-add to your repertoire of tech kills. Get a good understanding of how to do this in 75 minutes!

It is still a great time to learn how to create an Alexa skill and get millions of people to interact with it. By using Amazon’s ecosystem and Node.js we will build an Alexa Skill that can be hosted in the cloud and available to all Alexa devices (Echo, Tap, Dot, Fire TV, and a host of other devices embedding the Alexa Voice Services).

This session will cover an introduction to the Alexa Skills Kit and development environment for building skills. We will use that knowledge to build a working skill and experiment with it during the session.

How to Create an Alexa Skill

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 at 1:30 pm

By now you must have heard of it – the Amazon Echo. It is leading the smart home battles and has become the device everyone is playing catch up to. And yet, the application (or skill) offerings are very low (only about 2,000 at this point). This means it is still a great time to learn how to create an Alexa skill and get millions of people to interact with it. By using Amazon’s REST API, JavaScript, and Node.js we will build an Alexa Skill that can be hosted in the cloud and available to all Alexa devices (Echo, Tap, Dot, Fire TV, and a host of other devices embedding the Alexa Voice Services). This session will cover an introduction to the Echo and the current development environment for building skills. We will use that knowledge to build a working skill and experiment with it during the session.

Programmatic Interfaces to Minecraft (or how to look cool to your kid)

Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Minecraft’s popularity has resulted in an abundance of mods – however coding a mod in Java is not the only way to extend or interact with Minecraft. In this session we will interact with Minecraft through the Raspberry Jam interface and learn how to build structures in Python. Almost everything is available at the API level and it’s relatively easy to build complex structures that will amaze your children. We will also briefly cover using this as an intro to programming for your kids – they will realize the power of programming saves them time in building their worlds and maybe it will get them more interested in learning to code.

How To Create an Alexa Skill

Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 8:30 am

The Amazon Echo is quickly becoming a beloved gadget in the home. Recently, Amazon published a REST API to build your own Alexa Skill that can be made available to all Echo owners. The skill is what is used to interact with Alexa about a topic. It’s relatively easy to build your own and have it hosted in the cloud. This session will cover an introduction to the Echo and the current development environment for building skills. Then, we will use Node.js and AWS to build our own Alexa Skill. We can also cover an overview on building skills in other languages.