Socialie Lets Startups Test Their Strategy

Socialie: the Startup program allows for free trial.

Guest post by Kristin Adams, founder and CEO of Socialie

Hi friends and colleagues. I would like to start off by introducing myself; my name is Kristin Adams, founder and CEO of Socialie. My team and I could not be more excited to take part in the upcoming Tech in Motion Philadelphia event: Entertainment Tech Drinks & Demos. We love any opportunity to rub elbows with the best and brightest of the tech world, and from what we’ve heard, there’s going to be some serious talent at this shindig on January 30th. We view this as an opportunity to not only discover what our fellow tech companies have been working on, but to also educate you on the platform we’ve been building with the hope of getting some feedback from Philly’s finest. In exchange for your honest opinions and expertise, we’d like to offer you our platform for a 3-month trial at no cost. Now that I’ve hopefully reeled you in with the whole “free” thing, allow me to tell you a bit about who we are and what exactly it is that you’d be getting.

We believe people are the most important element of social media, so my team and I created a tool that helps companies leverage the people behind their brands by building a connected network of their social accounts and then allowing them to easily send network members suggested content for approval, editing and publishing via SMS. Our platform helps you manage and leverage your non-owned social media marketing strategy and drive your brand message to wider audiences (Click here to find out what is non-owned social media marketing is).

The idea for Socialie came about back when I was running social media for the UFC. One of the biggest pain points while working with sports and entertainment clients was seeding content to very busy and mostly mobile brand influencers. The 400 athletes on the roster were a huge social asset, but it wasn’t easy to consistently get them to share brand content across their social channels and then for us to track it. I wanted to solve this problem. So I left my job, moved to Philly and built a small team of people who believed in my idea and were willing to work their butts off to help me bring it to life.

Now, back to the good stuff; how you’ll be getting this for free. We decided to put the Socialie tool into the hands of the smartest, most creative and passionate group of people we could think of: startups! For a limited time only, we’re offering the Socialie platform at no cost, and all we ask in return is that you share your feedback and help us spread the word. We want to learn from you what’s working, what’s not working and where we can improve. So give your marketing budget a break and try out a new word-of-mouth marketing tool that makes it easy to promote your company’s mission. Did you just roll-out a new feature? Published a great blog post? Get everyone promoting your stories and content.

In order to sign up for the program, head over to socialie.com/startups and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. Once you sign up, we’ll be in touch to schedule a demo. The signup deadline is January 31, so hurry up and get on it!

And don’t forget to RSVP so you can get entertained at the Tech in Motion Drinks & Demos this Thursday!

Recap: Women in Tech in Boston

“Let your freak flag fly!” – Christina Luconi, Rapid7’s CPO. A statement that resonated throughout the event with advice for being yourself, making things work for you, and getting yourself out there. Boston techies left with a slew of tips after the Women in Tech Panel at the NERD Center with Tech in Motion Boston.

Women in Tech Panel

Tech in Motion Boston wanted to celebrate Women in Tech, which is why they brought together a panel of five female tech leaders in the Boston area to discuss the latest trends surrounding women in technology. Moderated by Boston.com’s Business Content Producer, Laura Crimaldi, the panel consisted of:

  • Susan Buck, Co-Founder of the Women’s Coding Collective
  • Dana Artz, Executive Director at Intelligent.ly
  • Annette Arabasz, Chapter Leader at Girl Develop It: Boston and Creative Technologist at Mad*Pow
  • Swati Vakharia, Senior Director of Technology and Development at ESPN
  • Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid7

Despite particularly heavy traffic, about 150 Boston Techies made it out to the Microsoft NERD Center to network and hear inspiring stories from the panel. After brief introductions, the panel discussed mentors, the state of women in tech today, and career advice.

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The panel unanimously agreed that today’s leaders need to plant seeds for the youth to learn, and that having mentors is a key factor in being successful. Everyone needs someone backing them up and that includes being your own cheerleader. Christina said “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will” and the entire panel agreed.

As far as the state of women in tech, although they had a great year, 2013 just wasn’t quite THE year. “We have traction, but our numbers [in the tech world] are still super low, it’s going to take time for that to catch up,” said Susan Buck of The WCC. One day, the panel hopes that there won’t be a need for panels like this one, and that female technologists can all just be. Annette hopes that one day “It won’t have to be ‘Girl Develop It,’ it can just be ‘Develop It’  and when that happens, we’ll know that women have made it.”

The ladies were full of career advice as well. Some key take away points were:

Be comfortable asking questions and don’t be afraid of asking for more money.

  • “I once accidentally asked for 20% more than what I meant and got it, made me realize how much I was undercutting myself.” – Susan

Network, network, network, it will only help, never hinder.

  • “Just do it, meet a lot of people!” – Dana Artz

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you need to get one.

  • “People think that employers aren’t looking on social media these days, but they are, we will Google search you, and one of the first things employers DO is look at your LinkedIn.” – Swati

Be open to showcasing your work online so more than just a profile shows up in searches.

  • “Go on stackoverflow, github, and have a blog, it not only showcases what you can do, it shows that you’re an interesting person.” – Annette

Be proactive, constantly learn, and constantly do.

  • “Go make things happen,” “Companies love awesome people and need to be savvy about who will fit with their company, but you also need to decide if the company is a good fit for you.” – Christina

The evening wrapped up with an audience Q&A session, with active members asking relevant and thoughtful questions. As always, there was socializing and networking where new friendships and business relationships were made.

The Hardware Revolution

By Alex Peron, Head of Marketing and Communications at Upverter

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We are at the very beginning of an amazing change in the way we build, buy, consume, and experience devices. It’s been called a whole bunch of different names over the past decade, but now that things are (finally) heating up the name that feels like it’s going to stick is “hardware revolution”.

I want to dive into how this all came to pass. Where we are in the resurgence of hardware. What the triggers were and what needs to continue to happen. What actually happened?

What changed?

“The evolution in hardware development in some ways parallels what the software industry saw ten years ago.”
– Matt Witheiler

I believe the biggest change has to do with the way hardware comes to life. And to echo Matt, I think what is happening in hardware right now is a bit like what happened to software a decade ago.

The hardware design process used to look like this:

beforeAnd if you know anything about the “lean startup” principles, or Agile software development, you’re going to see a couple of very big problems with this. Personally I see a few really big ones, first the time between idea and customer. Second the time and cost between iterations. Third the upfront capital outlay for manufacturing and prototyping. And lastly the supply chain and manufacturing pressures at the end of the product cycle and their effect on growth and distribution. Long story short these things made hardware harder to do.

And this is what it looks like in indie shops and startups post-revolution:

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The three really obvious differences are: the move away from old school specifications, the decoupling of final manufacturing from prototype manufacturing, and the reversal of sales and manufacturing. All three of these share some DNA with the developments happening in other industries following trends like collaboration and the move to the cloud. They also share a lot of software development and lean startup principles.

For starters, the early development stages of a hardware product historically were very waterfall-style, specification driven, design-by-committee projects. The innovation here was the introduction of both Open-Source, allowing the reuse of existing trusted hardware IP, and the introduction of Development and Breakout Boards, allowing much faster iteration in the earliest ideation stages of the project.

Following the development of a specification, hardware companies would then begin negotiating supply relationships in parallel with the design of their product. These relationships were necessary, as small and prototype-focused manufacturers didn’t yet exist and the hardware companies would have to fight for time on a manufacturing line or suffer ridiculously high prototyping costs. In the last few years the introduction of specialized prototyping equipment combined with the emergence of small-lot-size, prototype-focused manufacturers has led hardware revolution companies to decouple final manufacturing from rapid prototyping, allowing them to move substantially faster through the design phase.

Finally, the reversal of mass-manufacturing and sales, through pre-sales and crowdfunding, have allowed hardware revolution companies to both fund the manufacturing of – as well as market test – their product before building and inventorying thousands of units.

Continue reading this article on Upverter’s blog.

upverterUpverter is the best place to share hardware design with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. The schematics and PCB layout editor runs natively in a browser. We added collaboration to hardware design. Think about Google Docs. Upverter syncs the changes on your design as they happen and enables you jump to any point in time. Upverter is the perfect tool to design better hardware, faster.

Recap: Preparing for the New Era of Invisible Design (UI/UX)

For their 14th meetup, Tech in Motion: San Fransisco explored the new era of invisible design (UI/UX). Members gathered at the Infinity Club Lounge for a night of networking and learning about the principles and best practices in this new era of design.

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The night started off with delicious pizza, drinks, and lots of networking. Once everyone grabbed a few slices and sat down, User Experience Strategist and Presenter, Thom Milkovic, discussed a UI no one will see, touch or click and the contextual content as a new form of UI. He spoke a little on the fundamentals of adaptable information design, the war between personalization and relevance, predicting user behavior and fulfilling specific needs, and using the power of Invisible Design responsibly.

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Thom Milkovic is a UX strategist/designer and founder of Visibl.co. For two decades, he has assisted a broad variety of startups, as well as added value to recognizable brands such as SAP, TRX, CNN, UPS, Citrix, Samsung, Mapquest, Holiday Inn, and Geocaching. Thom has guided creative groups and development teams, and worked hands-on with all types of experience design challenges, consistently bringing one fundamental philosophical approach into all his results. For him, every little detail communicates a critical piece of the overarching story.

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After the presentation, Thom hung around to meet Tech in Motion’s members and answer questions, give advice, and best of all, educate people further on Invisible Design. It was a great event, and we really appreciate Thom coming out to lead it!

Women in Technology: Where do they stand?

lauracrimaldiWhen Tech in Motion hosted a panel discussion in Cambridge about women in technology earlier this month, it took a while to get to the elephant in the room.

The panel was made up of women who are accomplished in the fields of technology and/or startup companies who had a lot of advice and encouragement to share about their work and education experiences.

Swati Vakharia is senior director of technology and development at ESPN.  Christina Luconi is chief people officer at Rapid7. Dana Artz is the executive director of Intelligent.ly.  Susan Buck is a co-founder of Web Start Women and Codagogy, which is now known as the Women’s Coding Collective. Annette Arabasz is a creative technologist at Mad*Pow and chapter leader at Girl Develop It.

The panel also took place against the backdrop of a number of positive developments for women in technology and business. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has launched a movement with her book “Lean In.” Under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has increased its stock price and, by some measures, surpassed Google in terms of web traffic. General Motors just named its first female CEO in Mary Barra.

During the question and answer period, a member of the audience asked the panelists how they square their optimism about the place that women have carved out for themselves in the technology and research that paints a far grimmer picture.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology published a compilation of statistics that seek to quantify how women have progressed in the field. Here are some selected excerpts:

  • Women currently hold more than 51% of all professional occupations in the U.S., and approximately 26% of the 3,816,000 computing-related occupations. (Department of Labor Current Population Survey, 2012)
  • In 1991, women held 37% of all computing-related occupations. (NCWIT, 2010)
  • Among the tech companies within the Fortune 100, only four have female CEOs. (Fortune, 2012)
  • Women hold 11% of executive technical roles at privately held, venture-backedcompanies. (Dow Jones VentureSource, 2012)
  • Women comprise 7% of tech company founders (Kauffman Foundation, 2010)
  • More than half (56%) of women in technology leave their employers at the mid-level point in their careers (10-20 years). Of the women who leave, 24% take a non-technical job in a different company; 22% become self-employed in a technical field; 20% take time out of the workforce; 17% take a government or non-profit technical job; 10% go to a startup company; and 7% take a non-technical job within the same company. (The Athena Factor via The Facts, 2010)

So this is where the rubber meets the road. There was some debate over whether women in technology are benefiting from a boom or, more modestly, finally getting the traction they need to make progress. But overall the panelists’ tenor was a positive one. What gives?

The answer may be just as simple as this: They all love what they are doing. They are passionate about their work, they know their worth and how to communicate it, and if they stopped enjoying what they do, they’d probably move on and find something else.

Speaking personally, I know what it feels like to crave concrete advice that guarantees some measure of a positive outcome. Be confident. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Volunteer for projects. Speak up.

All good advice, but going through a checklist of career pointers isn’t going to get you the work life you desire unless you do what you love and know what you want. If you can get yourself into a place where those two criteria are fulfilled, work won’t feel so much like work. Obstacles won’t seem so daunting. Statistics will be just another set of another numbers.

For me, that was the takeaway message for the panel. So ask yourself those two questions: What do I want and what do I love to do? You may want to write down your response to get it on the record for yourself so there’s no ambiguity.

Use that as your foundation, and then perhaps, the semantics surrounding where women stand in any given field won’t matter or have a role to play in determining whether you prosper.

Recap: Tech in Motion’s Hardware Tech Demos & Drinks

On Tuesday, November 19th, our NYC chapter held an awesome event at Libation, called Hardware Tech: Demos & Drinks. We had five exciting Hardware Tech companies demo for an audience of 250 techies. These companies included: Karma, Canary, ThinkEco, Grand St. and KeyMe.

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Once guests were checked in on the various devices Microsoft provided, they were free to grab a drink, mingle and check out all of the demos. Each of the five companies presented simultaneously at their individual demo tables.

ThinkEco is a market-leader in smart-energy solutions for homes and businesses. At Tech in Motion’s Hardware Tech: Demos & Drinks, ThinkEco demoed the Modlet. ThinkEco’s Modlet is a smart socket and is one of the easiest ways to cut down on excess consumption by devices in off or standby modes. Once plugged into a standard outlet, the Modlet starts tracking the electricity needs of hooked-up devices, and can be controlled via your smartphone.

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Karma demoed the Karma Hotspot, the first peer-to-peer WiFi device that allows you to share access to the Internet, but pay for your own personal data. With Karma, you pay-as-you-go and earn free data when you share. And like their name, the more you share your Karma connection, the more free data you earn.

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Grand St. is a curated shop for creative technology. They handpick, test and highlight well-designed, delightful hardware from independent producers. At their demo table, Grand St. demoed several of the awesome products that are featured on their website.

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Canary demoed their smart home security device which will be launched July 2014. Canary has created the first smart home security device for everyone, and it is controlled entirely from your smartphone. It is a single device that contains an HD video camera and multiple sensors that track everything from motion, temperature and air quality to vibration, sound, and activity to help keep you, your family and your home safe.

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KeyMe lets you scan keys directly from your phone, and whether you’re locked out and need a key immediately or you just want copies because you’re moving, KeyMe can help you get spares. KeyMe demoed how easy their free app is to use and how easily people can use it to make spares.

As a sponsor of Tech in Motion, Microsoft also had their own demo table set up where people were able to check out Microsoft Sky Drive, and receive a free business card holder with a SkyDrive voucher inside.

photo1The evening was a big success and a lot of fun for everyone involved! Big thanks to our continued sponsors who helped make this event a success: Workbridge Associates, Jobspring Partners and Microsoft.

Stay tuned for our next event in NYC and make sure to join our official meetup group!