Oh, holiday season, how you have so quickly approached yet again this year. It seems like every year at Ideas By Nature we notice a different pattern with our projects & clients around this time – some clients slow down a bit in communication for all of December, some decide December 15th is the ideal day for them to start a new project, some are working to get their budgets approved for 2015 (save room for digital marketing, web, and apps), and some are simply done until the next year comes. For us, there isn’t much of a change in workflow. Biz Dev is active, Project Directors are tuned in, Designers are inspired, and Developers are busy - and, yes, they are nerding out on possibilities related to the release of the Apple Watch in 2015.
I always think around this time of year how most companies send out holiday greeting cards, create bedazzled e-cards, or host a holiday party. The average company may even have a gift exchange for its employees, where everyone is required to bring in a semi-crappy recycled gift for someone else. You – our valued client, adored connection, new friend – you deserve something unique.
And we’re not your average tech company. A few years ago when we got in the holiday spirit, we decided to make a prank app that tricked innocent gift-receivers into thinking they were actually getting something cool, and this happened:
That year, we may have gotten a little weird on spiked eggnog and we are #notactors. I digress… We’ve grown a lot over the last few years and we are really proud of the team we have on staff here at Ideas By Nature. We know that who we are, where we come from, and why we do what we do is an important part of why our clients choose us. So, this year for the holidays at Ideas By Nature, we’re doing the Holiday Twist! I wish it were a dance, but I’m not sure any of the guys would be into that, other than maybe Phil and if its anything like what I’m imagining…. I’ll spare you the details. Our version of the Holiday Twist is this:
Each of us will write a blog post about another person at Ideas By Nature whose name we drew from a hat and we’ll post the results over the next two months.
Whether you are slowing down, looking to pull the trigger on a new project, creating next year’s Advertising Budget, or simply turning off all work for now, we hope you enjoy this dose of the Ideas By Nature team over the holidays! May you and your family enjoy the spirit of the season.
Lexi and the Ideas By Nature team
PS, here we are last year on our annual holiday company ski trip:
Evolution - the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
Let us consider the Evolution of cell phone technology for a moment. The first commercial mobile phone call was made November 13, 1983. The phone itself weighted two pounds and cost what would be $9,000 today (Forbes). A lot of time and words could be taken to discuss what followed this initial phone call, flip phones, text messaging, camera phones, smart phone, iPhone, and so on. But we’ll just let you reminisce about the wonder of your first cell phone and the excitement around purchasing your first smart phone. If you are interested in diving more deeply into this topic several interesting articles on this topic include ….
Business Insider- Complete Visual History of the Cell Phone
Time- A Photographic History of the Cell Phone
Extreme Tech- Smartphones set to become the fastest spreading tech in human history
So, the question that comes to my mind is where are we at today?
As of January 2014, 58% of American adults have a smartphone and 42% of American adults own a tablet computer according to the Pew Research. Compare this to the statistic that in 1999 only 32% of population owned a cell phone (World Almanac).
With the evolution of the smart phone desk top computers are seeing a decrease in the amount of time spent on them. ComScore found that 50% of the US’s digital time was spent on desktop computers in 2013. A year later this time decreased by 10%.
As the Smart phone market grows the amount of time spent on these mobile devices is also increasing.
“Total U.S. digital media time spent has jumped 24 percent in the past year, driven by a surge in mobile app usage, which increased 52 percent.” (ComScore).
Jon Layton, our android dev. comments on this, “To me these statistics mean that 'smartphone' or maybe 'super portable computing' technology is more culturally disruptive than even the computer. That's why I'm in the android dev space – there are more people in the world that have smartphones than computers and that is only going to increase. Our world is changing around us and I want to be a part of it.”
How are you going to be a part of things?
To a changing world and everyone’s role in it!
It's my pleasure to introduce Chris Long with Longevity Insurance Brokers. Chris assists business owners with their insurance needs - as you know, launching a digital business requires the same planning and protections as any other business! I asked Chris to guest blog on our site to educate our clients on some of the insurances their start-ups should have in place.
There are many things that go in to starting a tech company and insurance is one of those that is often misunderstood. Here is a basic breakdown of the policies that most companies need:
General LiabilityProtects against injury and damage to propertyExample 1: someone comes to your office and trips over a cord, causing injuryExample 2: a product you sell injures someone
Professional LiabilityProtects again damages caused by failing to do a job/fulfill a contractExample 1: Your computer crashes and you lose vital informationExample 2: You have a contract with a company, and fail to finish the job by the agreed upon date, causing them to sue you
Business Property/Inland MarineProtects equipment from theft and damageExample 1: Your office catches on fire, and your office furniture and electronics are destroyedExample 2: You spill coffee on your laptop, destroying it
Work CompPays for any injuries sustained by an employee while at workExample 1: you send an employee to run an errand, and they are injured in a car accidentExample 2: an employee gets carpal tunnel syndrome
For more information, contact Chris Long and visit www.longevitybrokers.com
This year, our small digital family at Ideas By Nature had the pleasure of not only attending Develop Denver 2013, but also being panelists and speakers! What an incredible experience… Denver has some of the most exceptional and creative minds in development and we are stoked to have shared the stage with them, speaking on the process we embrace at the core of our work, Scoping. Our focus was to speak directly to how we shape our process for scoping and planning mobile application development around the ever-growing start-up and entrepreneur community in Colorado.
For many, scoping is simply “planning.” For us, scoping is the cultivation of an idea. The foundation for the tools we use to make our lives better, more productive and enjoyable every day. For an entrepreneur, the scoping experience can mean the success or failure of their idea and business. We take that very seriously. Even more exciting than the ideas themselves, is working with entrepreneurs and passionate dreamers determined to bring them to life. Sharing how we scope development for the capital-growing entrepreneur was AMAZING and we hope to have reshaped some thinking on an age-old, however evolving process.
My big “take” from Develop Denver 2013: For the best experience and result from your work, and for your client, it is keystone to never stop learning. In the fastest growing industry, being intrigued and an explorer will always help you to move forward and get better. As for our community of explorers here in Colorado… they inspire me every day. I even get to work with them.
If you read my previous blog post, you know I have started my mentorship with two first-generation college students. We Care By Nature, the philanthropic facet of Ideas By Nature, sponsors this volunteer effort. I am honored to represent not only my company, but also myself, to these two students.
Each of my mentees are unique in their own ways: one is a cheerleader who understands her strong leadership abilities but is afraid to use them and the other is an athlete who is far more nervous about living on campus and building her new independent life. We’ve participated in some fun trust-building activities together so far: sharing secrets, asking challenging questions, using communication skills to build matching artistic masterpieces (see pic below), learning about privilege and how to be open to the customs of varying cultures, texting about weekend plans and sharing stories… you know – stuff friends do. Sure, we’ve talked about registering for classes and figuring out parking on campus, but the more I hang out with these ladies, the more I realize that they are looking for a big sister to talk to about the human side of going to college. I mean, what happens when their roommate wants to have a party and they need to do homework? Or when the hottest guy at school asks them on a date and they freeze up? Or when their friend shares a dangerous secret with them? What happens if someone makes fun of their race or treats them as inferior because of their gender or sexual orientation? These are tough questions, friends. We could all use a mentor’s advice in situations like these.
As an only child, this mentorship for me is more than just the desire to give back; it is an opportunity for me to understand and experience the camaraderie present in sibling relationships. While I greatly enjoyed being independent and creative during my youth as an only child, spending a good amount of time alone, I always wondered what it would be like to have siblings. My mentees have become my little sisters and are showing me what it means to have a strong bond with someone they are counting on for guidance. I am learning that in order to be the best “big sis” I can, I have to:
These girls aren’t just looking to me for basic info about navigating the college maze; they want to see what I do and who I am so they can emulate it in some way. They have built me up into someone who is more confident, more available, and more me! It is my humble opinion that everyone could benefit from learning these lessons through mentorship.
If you are interested in getting involved with We Care By Nature, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know any schools that would enjoy having my team come speak about new tech, design, and/or start-up practices, I’d love to hear from you!
Blessings for all.
I feel very fortunate to have become involved with Ideas By Nature right when mobile started paving the way for new business opportunities. Working directly in this atmosphere is the only way I am able to keep up on industry trends and techniques. Furthermore, my gained knowledge is now something that I get to share and inspire others with!
Currently, public and private schools struggle to keep up with our dynamic industry and offer little to no training to students interested in digital development projects (especially those with shrinking budgets). Having identified this shortcoming, the team at Ideas By Nature and I have decided to partake in monthly volunteer efforts at inner-city schools to offer portfolio reviews and mock interviews. We’re also starting a year long mentorship with two first generation college students; I’ll post about how fun that is in a couple weeks.
At one of our most recent events, I had the pleasure of interviewing a young man named Juan, at Lincoln High School in CO. While he was nervous and slightly unprepared (what high school student isn’t?), I could immediately see a huge amount of potential within him. He wanted to start his own business and was curious about marketing. He really didn’t have much of a grasp on the online marketing side of things, nor had he considered the resources he would need to establish and maintain a website. It would have been very beneficial to him to have received instruction on creating a website, marketing and advertising online, and using social media tools to budget those marketing costs while gaining traction for a company virally. I asked Juan what his greatest was strength was, to which he replied, “I don’t know, I’m weird.” I gave him a big smile and responded, “being weird has allowed me to grow my career at a young age. Plus, my colleagues and fellow professionals remember me more because of my quirks.” I think he really took this to heart. The youth shouldn’t be forced to think inside the box, but should instead be exposed to more digital innovations and how they can use progressing technologies to shape and change the professional landscapes they will grow to become an essential part of.
This experience, along with others at high schools like Lincoln, has solidified my belief that schools really do need more support when it comes to students interested in less conventional or “new” career paths.
Given this, Ideas By Nature is excited to announce the rejuvenation of our socially responsible arm, We Care By Nature!
It is the mission of We Care By Nature to empower the youth and community of Denver, Colorado with the knowledge, resources, and consultation required for successful start-up businesses in the realms of new technology, design, application development, and cutting-edge online marketing techniques.
In order to satisfy the mission of We Care By Nature, Ideas By Nature engages in the following:
If you would like to learn more about We Care By Nature by participating in our volunteer efforts, or by introducing us to a non-profit with web or mobile app development needs, please contact Lexi Steele at email@example.com.
I would love to hear your ideas on how We Care By Nature can further contribute to the youth of the Denver community. Leave your comments below!
Until next time,
How can we feel other than grateful and inspired closing this past year. For a new business and line of digital services, Ideas By Nature has evolved quite a bit in response to the ever-changing, marketplaces, industries and clients. Perhaps the hardest lesson that I have personally learned, was to actually SLOW DOWN in quite possibly the fastest moving and growing industry today.
A challenge that we see very often facing development and more specifically, the process for mobile & web application development, is how to scope, map and deliver the optimal benefits to an end user. It’s great to make our clients happy, but let’s face it, this isn’t all about them…
Ok, now I’ll explain how “slowing down” has helped us to speed up and move forward as a young business. I am not saying that we have started to “snail through” through our projects. Actually, we have managed to efficiently move projects forward more quickly and with a greater success and experience for our clients and partners. It’s a super-focused and smart process that we appropriately call “Scoping”.
In slowing down, myself and team have been able to use Scoping to comprehend much more of what our clients need to be successful not only in their minds, but also in the minds of their consumers, users, employees and industries. Understanding this web of factors has helped us to refine our own processes for development and most importantly, for ensuring that success.
In being a part of some fantastic application submission and launches, we've become all to aware that get-rich-quick schemes are actually more well orchestrated business models than anything else. I am not saying it doesn't happen, and rather it happens often with the sheer magnitude of mobile users purchasing applications. But atop the tens of thousands of applications entering the app store monthly, it's more of a perfect storm than fish in a barrel.
We almost need to take on the role of a business developer alongside mobile application developer. Some applications are built for pure marketing and do not need to make money, but for the majority, there needs to be a plan, a model for growth and loosely identifiable phases for updates and versions. To do what? To both keep existing users using and accumulate more. Ya know, "grow the business."
Most businesses don't run themselves like an arcade game in the corner of convenience store. They take industry smarts, trend predictions and a whole slew of skills to be successful. So why am I building an app if it's just more work? Because this work is yours! If you're passionate about your idea, nothing will stand in your way AND all that work... the "work" we hate to do... IT'S FUN!