Award-Winning Secrets to Success from Previous Best Manager Recipients

For the past few years, Tech in Motion Events has encouraged local tech communities to nominate top tech managers from all over North America and celebrated those leaders at the annual Timmy Awards. Thus far, 16 have claimed the trophy as their region’s Best Tech Manager with another 11 looking to hoist the hardware later this year. From bridging the gap between employee and employer to keeping energy levels high, the secrets that these managers shared aren’t just the keys to their success, but also to keeping their teams engaged, eager to constantly improve, and excited to come into work every single day.

Do you have a manager like this? Nominate him or her as a 2017 Timmy Award Best Tech Manager.

Strong management in the workplace impacts every employee within the company. For instance, in a 2015 survey on Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement from The Society for Human Resource Management, 55% of employees surveyed rated the trust between employees and senior management as “very important,” the fifth-highest rated of any aspect considered. For Andrew Santorelli, Senior Development Manager at KANETIX SaaS in Toronto, giving feedback is one thing he has always valued, even from his days as a junior employee. “I always felt like I was doing a good job, but I never knew my manager saw the same thing. It’s hard to know where to put your energy or how to meet expectations when you are not given any feedback.” With the goal of providing more transparency and thus, more trust, Santorelli has implemented various checkpoints throughout the year specifically for giving employees feedback: how they’re doing in the workplace, what areas they’re excelling in, and where they need to improve.

CTA2Of course, there needs to be a balance between work and play. In the survey mentioned above, 53% of employees also rated work/life balance as “very important” to their job satisfaction. However, it’s not just change that has to come from the top: “they always make fun of me because I want to play games or take them to the park,” reflects Eva Pagneux, Product Manager of Hexo+ by Squadrone Systems, based out of San Francisco. She knows that her energy keeps her team motivated even if they do poke fun at her for it.

One of the most important points stressed by multiple managers was finding a style of management that works not just for you, but for the team as well. “Leadership is about responsibility, not authority” says Seth Dobbs, VP of Engineering at HS2 Solutions. Coming from a previous role that included a servant-master relationship with a previous manager, Seth adopted a style of giving responsibility to his employees, so he could lead as a mentor rather than a boss. Empowering rather than directing your employees will help them develop in the long-run.

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And finally, for the advice they’d give all other managers? It’s simple: Venkat Rangasamy, Principal Software Architect at Equinix in San Jose, sums it up best when he says his managing style follows the mantra Do stuff, no bluff.” He suggests to be transparent and a part of the team rather than managing and directing from behind a closed office door. Understand your team members and their concerns, and focus on making others successful, because ultimately, their successes are your successes.

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Ultimately, 2017 will allow 10 regions to crown a new “Best Tech Manager,” one that promotes career growth, ensures a great team culture, inspires innovation, and has a clear and communicated vision to produce a great product. The managers quoted above have embodied what it means to be a great manager by leading their teams to success through their many projects and initiatives and continue to do so year-after-year. To learn more about what it takes to become a Timmy Award-winning manager or to nominate a certain special manager in your life, visit the Timmy Awards’ website here.

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The 3 Tech Startup Lessons You Need to Learn (From A Mark Cuban-backed CEO)

Written by Jesse Stauffer, Co-Founder and CEO of XpireSee Jesse and Xpire at the first Tech in Motion Dallas event on March 9th. 

Lots of people have ideas. Mention you’re an app developer and you’ll be instantly bombarded with tons of far-fetched visions for apps. The problem is that most people don’t have the passion to actually turn their idea into a product. Being a developer, I have always been able to think of a cool idea, sketch it out, and then build a beta version of the app in anywhere from three days to six months. This allows me to jump on ideas quickly and get a working version into the hands of my family, friends, and co-workers.

Obviously, not everyone has the technical chops to code an app. I’ve spent over six years learning programming — sometimes coding for up to 18 hours a day. You don’t have to be a code guru to be in tech. Many of the greatest tech innovators of our day were not technical guys. Instead, they were visionaries who knew exactly what they wanted their product to be and how to get there. The key to running a startup is to be scrappy. If you really truly want an idea to see the light of day, then you will do whatever it takes. You’ll wake up early and go to bed late and you’ll meet the right people. You’ll sacrifice time and energy and effort and money. Do one thing every day that pushes your idea to the next level and closer to the starting line, and these three tips will help guide your tech startup to success.

Not a tech person but need one for your startup? Contact your city rep to help you find a developer.

1.     Fail Quickly

The only way to know if your product has any hope of being successful is by getting it into the hands of consumers. Many companies spend years developing software and testing it exhaustively, often delaying their launch further and further. You don’t have to get it right on the first try.

fail quickly xpire

Of course you don’t want to develop an app that constantly crashes, but you also don’t want to build every feature you can think of in version 1. Stay focused on 1–3 key features for your app and make them minimal. The goal here is to create a working version of your app that demonstrates the general purpose of your app. This is very helpful when sharing the app idea with investors or future business partners. By showing a working version of the app you are showing that you are invested in the idea and really mean business.

Also, don’t take months to update your app. Listen to user feedback, build it, launch it, and repeat it.

 

2.     Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Many people read articles about startups that seem to take the world by storm overnight and don’t see why they can’t do the same. While there are a few that have done this, the majority of companies take years and years to build. When I launched my first app, I woke up the next day disappointed after seeing the small amount of downloads that I had received. I was under the assumption that as long as you grind through the tough development work, after that you were golden.

I was wrong. Because of the large amount of apps on the market, it’s hard work to get downloads. Because people have short attention spans, it’s even harder to retain users. While app growth takes time, it also takes work. Some people think that if they just wait a year then they will check back in and magically have millions of organic users.

success doesn't happen overnight (xpire)

This is not the case. Because the majority of people have never even heard of your app, your job is to locate your target customers and sell them on your product. You have to continue to grind. Never stop selling.

 

3.     Keep on Keeping On

Though running a startup is hard work, it is highly rewarding – but not in the way you may think. Lots of people start their own company because they are money hungry. They want to drive cool cars and set their own hours — who wouldn’t?

Want a job where you can set your own hours? Here are some open tech jobs with flex hours.

It takes true passion and dedication to what you are doing. You won’t be able to last through the bumps on the road if you are not motivated by your product making the world a better place. It sounds cliché, but in the end that’s why most products and inventions are created. The human race tends to look at the results without looking at the work put in. People will be sure to notice the good things, but will easily overlook the late nights you spent in front of the computer screen in your parent’s basement banging your head against the keyboard because of an unknown bug.

keep on keeping on

Even if you’re in a dip, continue pressing on and building what you believe in and what people find useful.

Jesse will be showing off what Xpire has been up to at the Tech in Motion “New to Dallas Demos & Drinks” event on March 9th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. RSVP and see all the companies here.

Related articles for great startup advice:

jesse xpire headshotAbout the Author:

Jesse Stauffer is the CEO of Mark Cuban-backed Xpire, where he builds mobile tools that make social networking quicker, easier, and less permanent. Prior to Xpire, he worked as a white hat hacker, discovering and patching vulnerabilities in websites. Jesse is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas, where he received his Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science.

Want to launch an app? Buckle up, it can be a wild ride!

Toronto food and fitness apps

This fall, Tech in Motion: Toronto hosted Food + Fitness Demos & Drinks, packing coworking space Acme Works with more than 100 local enthusiasts for a night of networking, drinks and demos from 8 food and fitness app companies that are revolutionizing the wellness industry. Check out some of the latest products and ideas from these hot companies: Gymnut, MealSurfers, Baron Biosystems, Ritual, MenuSnap, Trainer+, MizPiz, and Carrot Pass.

Join a Tech in Motion chapter nearby to attend events like this in the future.

Tony Merlo, Sales Manager of the app Carrot Pass, impressed attendees with his demo display and shared his thoughts on launching a new app. Here is what he had to say…

Smartphones have taken over the world. Almost anywhere you go you’ll see people with their eyes locked deep into the warm glow of the screen on their hand. The modern day gold rushers have long envied the ability of this relatively new technology to capture people’s attention. The business potential is almost unlimited. Perhaps the best part is that it gives developers an almost unlimited playground to bring their idea to life. It seems like life will be a bed of roses until some of the realities of creating an app show up.

The first question to ask is: What is the specific goal that you are trying to accomplish?

Are you looking to boost sales for your company? Create a new way for people to connect? New games or other forms of entertainment? Once you have an answer to that, research what is currently available that is close to what you want to do and try them out. Ask your friends/colleagues to test them also. Pay close attention to the feedback, and especially whether or not it is something they would use frequently enough to want to keep. If you think you have a unique idea, start to proceed… cautiously. Besides the reality that it is costly to create an app, especially since it can cost extra to build for both Android and Apple, the real challenge begins once your app is approved and officially launched. The million dollar question then becomes: How are people going to find out about you?

One of the most important financial numbers for a company is the Cost Per Download.

This number determines how much advertising money is spent per person that downloads the app. The number in the beginning can be a lot higher than what many people anticipate. Before launching your app, you need to have a marketing strategy in place. Every few months there are stories about a creative app designer who strikes gold by having the latest viral hit and tech world watches as their download numbers skyrocket. This is a terrific example of hard work paying off, and it definitely can for you too, but it is important to prepare for the challenges that you will face in reaching that level of success.

The first challenge you need to understand is that it can be very difficult to get people to download your app. Why?

There are many roadblocks that can prevent this from happening. It can be surprising to those who work in the tech community, but many people have not ever downloaded an app because they do not know their iTunes password, nor how to reset it. Memory storage is also frequently an issue as many phones get loaded up with photos/videos, etc. to the point that they have zero space available. It is crazy to think, but some people still have the iPhone 3G or one of the original Droids, and have an old version of the iOS or Android firmware that does not support what you need to run your new app.

The reason these factors are important to consider is because many times it makes more sense to build your idea into a website that has an excellent interface from a mobile device. It can be much easier to engage with new users by having a link to your site that you can email, text, tweet, post or link to on a blog, etc. that people can easily access than it is to convince them it is worth the effort to find and download an app. It is also much easier and quicker to update and add new features on a website than an app. There is always the opportunity to build an app after you already have an established customer base. However, sometimes you do need to build an app to fully control the user experience and provide unique levels of service that are not available elsewhere.

Once you have decided on the best path to proceed, it can be of vital importance to connect with the local tech community in your area and promote your new product.

Many times great new ideas or partnering opportunities can come from attendees of networking events like those created by Tech In Motion that can take your business to the next level. Carrot Pass is a new app that uses beacon technology and encourages people to be more active by providing financial incentives for them to do so. We were fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to present at one of their recent events and the exposure and contacts we made will be incredibly valuable once we are able to expand into the Greater Toronto Area. Whatever your vision is, you can be successful doing it as long as you prepare and plan for the challenges. The potential market is HUGE. People love using their smartphones and are always excited to find a new reason to turn it on.

Become a demo company or speaker at a Tech in Motion event in 2016 to get exposure like Carrot Pass! Contact a city organizer near you. 

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Live Demos, Startup Pitches & Orange County’s Tech Scene in 10 Words or Less

Last spring, Tech in Motion OC invited the Orange County tech startup scene, which is buzzing with exciting ideas, to apply for one of four pitching opportunities at live demo event Kickstart Your Startup [Presented by Total-Apps].  From the pool of more than 23 startups, most local to Orange County, a select few got to pitch and demo at The Vine OC, one of the Orange County tech scene’s newest additions for entrepreneurs.

And the winners were…Changeframe, LUMO, AUDVI and PUSH. Get the details about them.

Apply to become a demo company with Tech in Motion.

While all of the pitching startups were crowd-pleasers, LUMO won the Audience Favorite poll. Following the startup pitches and live demos, Tech in Motion OC members were able to mix and mingle with the local tech community during networking portions of the evening (below).

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The Orange County Tech Scene in 10 Words or Less

Here’s what the startups and sponsors involved in the event had to say:

“Thriving community and resources for startup hardware companies” – Craig Smith, PUSH Inc.

“We can change the world and live at the beach” – Dusten Pecor, AUDVI

“Full of innovation and passion like I haven’t seen before.” – Rey Pasinli, Total-Apps

Want to work in Orange County? Check out Tech in Motion Job Board.

Every month Tech in Motion OC hosts a free event in the Orange County area, as well as nine other locations across North America. For more information on upcoming events in OC, click here.

Connectivity of the Internet NYC: Tech Talk and Film Screening

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If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re somewhere in the western hemisphere. How do I know? You have access to the infrastructure necessary to connect to the internet, you speak English, and you probably have data to spare. What I bet you don’t know is that you’re in the minority: 62.1% of the world has no access to the internet, and most who can’t connect either don’t know the value that the web holds, or are content without it.

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On Thursday March 26th, 160 Tech in Motion members met at the beautiful Landmark Sunshine Cinema in the Lower East Side for a night of networking, to hear CEO and Co-Founder of Foursquare, Dennis Crowley speak on the implications of a connected world, and a screening of WEB: A Human Right. Despite a rainy morning and afternoon, the evening cleared up as Tech in Motion members arrived at the cinema. They were greeted with a cocktail hour hosted by Minibar Delivery and Cliffton Dry Ciders, and plenty of SkinnyPop Popcorn to set the mood. They mixed and mingled, getting to know one another and even experiencing a virtual reality device that another member brought with him. Meanwhile, Sloane Barbour, Regional Director of Motion Recruitment, and Dennis Crowley, CEO and Co-Founder of Foursquare, got a lay of the theatre and warmed up for their keynote talk.

Bar

Taking their cues from the film, the topic of the night was connectivity of the internet. Beginning with Foursquare-inspired questions, Crowley shared that one of the amazing insights that his app has given the world is that many connected individuals “skipped the moment where they got cable. They went straight into mobile.” Adding that when the infrastructure doesn’t exist in a rural area, “the only way to deal with these crazy situations is to come up with crazy solutions, like Google’s Project Loon.”

Talk

Mid-way through their discussion, Barbour stopped. “Who in here has checked their phone since we sat down?” It was an interesting question given that we were in New York City. Over half the audience raised their hands—the author of this post included—and other than the obvious breach of decorum, no one thought anything of the fact that we were a room of connected individuals. “There are people who live their whole lives without knowing that the internet exists,” he said.

Talk Two

The evening ended with a screening of WEB: A Human Right, a documentary that tracked one filmmaker’s experience in a remote Peruvian village with the One Laptop Per Child Program. Not only a powerful film in its own right, the screening put faces to Crowley and Barbour’s discussion. As the children on screen became connected to the outside world, the audience became connected to the children. And if the internet is capable of doing one thing, it’s connecting.

If you’d like to connect with us, join our Tech in Motion NYC Meetup group for the latest event announcements.

 

Finding Success on Product Hunt: From Bond’s Founder

Written by guest author Manan Rokani, founder of Bond 

To give you a little background about me, I grew up in India, moved to the US about 9 years back. I went to grad school in Chicago, lived there for about 5 years and then moved to California around 4 years back for work. I have lived in different places but everywhere I have gone, I have met amazing people and made really good friends. Also professionally, I’ve met some really smart people at every company I have worked at. But what I realized was that, as soon as I moved or switched jobs, I was not able to keep in touch with the people there. You know how it is sometimes, out of sight is out of mind.

It was my 30th birthday last year. I got lots of calls, texts and Facebook messages from friends and family. I felt guilty that I was no longer in touch with a lot of them; just because we don’t go to the same school or college any more, live in the same city or work at the same company any more. These were all the people that I was really close to at one point but then life happened, we went in different directions and got so consumed in our new lives that we just completely lost touch. I wanted to change that. I started looking for apps that would help me get better at keeping in touch with people but I could not find anything good. I put together a small team and we decided to build one ourselves. The result was Bond.

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We wanted to build something simple with a great user experience. I had the design and the flow in my head so I quickly built the mock-ups and our developers got to work. We got to mvp in 6 weeks, spent another 6 weeks polishing it up and pushed the product to the app store. I only invited a few friends, family and colleagues to help us test the app in beta. Because we were in the app store, we also started getting some organic traffic. I was also going to a lot of meetups here in LA trying to get the word out about the app. I was getting pretty good feedback from everyone who saw the app.

See the lineup of Tech in Motion meetups across the country and RSVP to attend here.

From the initial feedback we were getting, we knew that we had a decent product in hand. But we had to get it validated from a larger audience. We submitted the app to Product Hunt…(Note: Product Hunt is a curation of buzzworthy new products, every day. It started as an email list and evolved into a competitor of TechCrunch and other tech blogs with it’s ability to surface the latest mobile apps, websites, and tech products that everyone’s talking about.)

product hunt

We honestly weren’t expecting much. But to our surprise, we were trending as the #1 app on their website the following day. I didn’t realize what that would mean until we looked at our numbers. In the first two days alone we got more than:

  • 13,000 hits on our website
  • 2,000 app downloads
  • Tons of emails with a lot of good feedback, suggestions for features and requests for the Android app.

More importantly, these were founders and CEOs of some famous startups, product managers at some top product companies like Apple and Nike, designers, developers and some other tech influencers. These people build amazing products that we use every day- their feedback really mattered.

Soon, other tech websites and bloggers from different parts of the world started writing about us. ABC7 News did a piece on us too. Now the word is spreading.

Product Hunt gave us an amazing platform to put our product in front of the right audience and it really helped us validate our idea. But there’s a lot of people out there who obviously still don’t know about the app and we want to be able to reach them. So growth is our primary focus right now and at the same time we’re building more ways for people to bond with people in their networks. We’re really excited for everything that’s coming up.

To become a Tech in Motion demo company like Bond, contact the organizer in your city.

Keep in touch with people that matter to you by downloading the app. If you have any feedback or suggestions please feel free to email us at [email protected]

manan

About the author:

Manan Rokani, Founder of Bond at www.getBond.co, is passionate about building Internet and mobile technology. With more than 7 years of experience working as a tech consultant for Fortune 500 companies as well as an entrepreneur in the start-up environment, he has now founded multiple companies including Bond. Bond is a simple app that reminds you keep in touch with people. There are different ways to keep in touch with different people. The first version of the app had options to keep in touch with people through Call, Text and Facebook, and the new integrates with WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Emails. For each service, simply select the people you wish to keep in touch with and then how often you’d like to contact each one of them. Once set up, the app schedules regular reminders for you. When you get a reminder, just swipe the notification open and you get an option to contact that person right away, leaving no room for procrastination.

Download the iPhone app for free : https://appsto.re/us/ggTu1.i

Sign up here for Android : http://www.getBond.co/android/

Pebble Time vs. Apple Watch

One week, 15.8 million dollars, and more than 63,000 backers – that is the success of Pebble Time’s fundraising efforts for their newest Kickstarter campaign that is causing internet havoc. With the new Apple Watch set to launch the week of March 9th everyone’s curious who the top-dog is and where their money should go.

Exactly a year ago, San Fran Tech in Motion pegged wearable tech as hot topic in the year to come. Read more...

So which one should you choose?

Tech in Motion Orange County members weighed in on the Pebble Time vs. Apple Watch debate and here’s what they have to say:

Albert-Qian-ConvertImageAlbert QianHistory will repeat itself

“Apple knows that it has the device market cornered. After all, competitors shudder in fear upon product announcements, and none was more clear during the holiday season for another competitor, FitBit, upon the announcement of the Apple Watch. While I and manyothers received FitBits for Christmas, I also predicted that this would probably be their last profitable holiday with the wearable from Cupertino waiting from the wings the following Spring.

The choice is pretty clear: Apple Watch. While Pebble presents formidable competition, popularity, and a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign to boot, Apple has proven time and time again that it owns an ecosystem that integrates technology, user experience, and quantified self all in one place. They did it with the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad — and they’ll do it again with Apple Watch simply because they know that people want convenience, no hassle, and they are willing to shell out the extra dollars to do it.”

Photo by Nate PhotographyChris WaleryTried and true over new and shiny

“My take on the smart watch is simple, I need something that fulfills its first/main task as priority number one…being a watch. If a smartwatch requires a shake of the wrist to turn on then it’s no use to me as a watch guy. That reason alone gives the Pebble Time my nod, since it’s e-ink it is always on and its battery lasts up to 7 days which is also crucial to me. Tried and true (Pebble) over new and shiny (Apple) will always be my moto.”

 

 

Michael-duong-ConvertImageMichal DuongTrading the Beast for the Beauty

“I’d like to preface that I currently own one of the original Pebble watches. Although I followed Pebble when it was first starting out on Kickstarter in April of 2012, I was not intrigued enough to buy in at the time. Fast forward to August 2014, I’ve decided to take a plunge and get a smartwatch to help me manage all the notifications from my iPhone allowing me to work productively without distractions. For months, I loved everything about the Pebble I have. Then came the day I set my eyes on the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch – an elegant, exotic, technologically advanced timepiece. Let’s be honest, even though the Pebble can do a lot of great things, it doesn’t look all that attractive on a wrist. The Apple Watch on the other hand is a beauty and is capable of doing all the things the Pebble is known for as well. Even with the looming release of the Pebble Time, a color version of the one I have, it’s still not enough to sway me from the Apple ecosystem; and I am far from an Apple fan(boy).”

Corey Greth – Ferrari over PriusCorey-ConvertImage

“I believe the Pebble Time is being hyped up from an underdog storyline.  Yes the Pebble is much cheaper and the battery life is much longer; however, the additional features, higher quality material and exquisite design of the Apple Watch must also be accounted for. It’s like comparing a Prius to a Ferrari and bragging about how great the gas mileage is on the Prius. There are many differentiating factors between the two watches; which make a direct comparison difficult. The classy design, retna display and intuitive features made my decision on purchasing the Apple Watch rather simple!”

Join the conversation! Comment below on which you’re considering as your top choice or tweet us @Tech_in_Motion.

Join us for our next Tech in Motion Event in a city near you by clicking here.

Product Design Trends: The Future

Within the tech industry, it is becoming increasingly important to broaden our skills and embrace new ones that are paving the way of our future. Product design is described as a whole process with many different factors that go into the design. From concept to completion, an idea evolves through a life cycle of UX/UI designers, graphic/visual designers, user researchers, data analysts, and prototypers to name a few. As we see day to day, current trends of messaging, virtual reality, all things “smart”, and data storage are consistently changing.

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Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley recently held a Product Design Demo at The California Art Institute in Sunnyvale. With roughly 200 tech enthusiasts in attendance for the night, the event showcased companies such as:

  • Zackees– the World’s first turn signal glove
  • FlameStower– designs/manufactures energy products and services for global markets
  • PocketLab– a wireless multi-sensor and software platform that enables anyone to engage in open ended science experiments
  • VivaLnk– developing integrated solutions with its ultra-thin and flexible eSkin™ wearable technology platform
  • Nixie– the first wearable camera that is also flyable
  • The Wearhaus Arc– Bluetooth headphones that let you wirelessly sync music with multiple people around you
  • Orion– creates communication accessories and services that connect people
  • Ministry of Supply– research-based design used to create purposeful products for a life spent in motion
  • Flashtag Photo– an interactive photo booth that automatically prints photos taken at your event when they’re tagged on Instagram or Twitter.

Sign up to attend the next drinks & demos event from Tech in Motion by finding the closest one here.

Throughout the night,Tech in Motion organizers interviewed the guests and demo companies on what some of their favorite products are, what the future holds for product design, and the hottest design trends on the market now. Here are some of their responses:

What are some of the trends in product design for 2015?

Richie Zeng, CEO/Founder of Wearhaus  

“I’m seeing a lot of connected devices and products built around connectivity with phones as the central hub.”

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Sylvia Wu, Design Lead at Orion

“Wearables that add value to people’s lives, or products that are specific for communication. Products utilizing voices are becoming popular as well because you can convey emotions through tone, for example Siri and Amazon Echo.”

Clifton Zoozeboom, CEO/Co-founder of PocketLab

“Simplicity. Everyone is following the ‘Apple Way’.”

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What makes your product stand out among competitors?

Alena Laptsinskaya, Director of Customer Relations for Zackees

“We make better quality products. We have sensors that detect ambient light so that the LED will be brighter at night. We have a feature that disconnects the light after a certain amount of time to save battery, and you can change out batteries, unlike our competitors.”

What was the story behind your product and what does the future look like for it?

Adam Kell, Founder at FlameStower

“We’re aiming to impact energy services, and we’re also currently partnering up with the Guatemalan Government as well as doing some work in Ethiopia.”

“In 3 months we will start working on emergency energy solutions. Like for earthquake kits.”

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What is your current product you are involved with and how does it play a role in consumer’s lives?

Guy Horgan, Sales consultant for Ministry of Supply

“We do ‘smart’ men’s clothing… We are looking into eyewear as well.”

“We want our customers to feel comfortable in our clothes all day. We want work life integration. Our customers can go from work, to dinner, to a movie, and then out for drinks without the need to change or any discomfort.”

Interested in participating in a Tech in Motion event? Contact your city’s team here.

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Audience favorites of the evening were Nixie, PocketLab, and VivaLnk to name a few. Be sure to keep an eye out for these companies and how they will be impacting the product world and possibly our very own lives.

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There’s an exciting lineup of events coming up for Tech in Motion in Silicon Valley this spring and summer. Join in on the next meetup by becoming a group member and see what’s on the docket for April and May.

Company Culture in Tech: More Important Than Money?

With Tech in Motion’s upcoming Women in Tech panels across the country, company culture and treatment of employees in the technology industry has been a big topic of conversation. Taylor Aldredge, Grasshopper’s Ambassador of Buzz, dove further into these topics with a Q & A discussing the importance of a company’s culture and how culture has shaped Grasshopper and its employees.

Why is company culture so important in the tech industry?

Company culture is vital because things move at lightning speed in tech.  Bad culture or none at all can exacerbate issues in a heartbeat.  If you’re growing without structure and goals, then you’re just growing for the sake of growing.  It helps the entire organization when everyone is on the same page and those people are aligned in how to help their customers as well as their colleagues to solve problems.  This will reduce employee churn and morale will be higher.

View More: http://davidsalafiaphotography.pass.us/grasshopper2

Speaking of morale, in light of Women’s History Month (March), what can tech startups do to help women employees feel more comfortable in the office culture?

First and foremost, hire more women. Plain and simple.  From a culture perspective, make everything more inviting and gender neutral.  Immediately saying that this perk is for women and this perk is for men, and thinking of things separately is counter-intuitive.  That’s not going to improve anything.  Instead, do things and create things that everyone can believe in and buy into.  That will go a lot further in creating an environment that everyone wants to be a part of regardless of whether they’re men or women.  Ultimately, there are bros everywhere.  The hope would be to filter those bros out in the hiring process and bring in people that understand how your culture operates.

Just why should companies take note of Grasshopper’s view of culture?

Companies should take note because it shows there are other ways to build a sustainable company that lasts over a decade; plus, we’re revenue positive (and profitable), and we did it without constantly raising rounds of funding.  We’ve shown that if you hustle hard, work hard, and build a great company with shared beliefs, then anything is possible.  So many companies get wrapped up in raising too much money too fast and fall flat on their face without figuring out what they believe in first and how they should build revenue.  The feeling of understanding our customers and building a great company has permeated into our decision-making – and our customers would tell you it’s reflected everywhere they interact with us if you ask them.

So what does Grasshopper offer its employees that makes it different from other companies?

The more important thing – beyond the benefits and perks that we offer – is that our culture operates from top to bottom.  Top to bottom means that every interaction we have internally and externally with customers reflects our brand promise and core values.  Sure, we have the standard benefits like Health and Dental as well as a PTO policy and various other perks to working here, but that’s not culture.  Culture is the shared belief structure that we all operate within here.  It helps us make decisions about how to grow our company, help our customers, add new features, and create new perks for employees.  Our brand promise is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed and our core values are:

  1. Go Above and Beyond
  2. Always Entrepreneurial
  3. Radically Passionate
  4. Your Team

This structure has helped us grow as a bootstrapped company without taking any VC funding and to do things our way.  That’s one of the greatest perks about working here.  It’s very free and loose to try things and be creative.

View More: http://davidsalafiaphotography.pass.us/grasshopper2

Well, what are some of the results Grasshopper has seen from its benefits and perks?

Everything has improved because we’ve done a better job hiring the right people based on the core values, making decisions about the product, reducing employee turnover, and increasing revenue each year. Since 2008, employee turnover has reduced from 25% to 10%.  That’s huge.  We’re a small company, and if we have turnover at 25%, we’re constantly in flux.  We need to hire the right people and keep them here.  In turn, that’s enabled us to keep revenue goals on track with over 20% YoY growth the last two years.  Additionally, the marketing team has been together at its core for more than two years now.  I don’t know a lot of marketing teams that can say the same thing in the tech world.

About the Author

taylor a grasshopperTaylor Alredge is the Ambassador of Buzz for Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Founded by two entrepreneurs in 2003, Grasshopper is dedicated to making it easier to start and grow small businesses. Grasshopper set out to empower entrepreneurs with a product that enables businesses to sound more professional and stay connected from anywhere in the world. Grasshopper also offers resources and guides to help small business owners succeed. To date, Grasshopper has served over 150,000 entrepreneurs—and the company continues to grow.

Tech Talent, Legacy Industries and Cost of Entry: Talk From Those “Made in OC”

Tech in Motion OC successfully hosted their first Made in OC: Tech Talk, a panel discussion which featured executives from successfully established Orange County companies – Boeing, Telogis, Numecent and Local Corp.

Check out the Tech in Motion event lineup to find a tech talk near you.

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Reporter Chris Casacchia, of the Orange County Business Journal, moderated the conversation for the evening, which covered topics such as: the ups and downs of maintaining a successful tech company in Orange County, the advantages to working in Orange County as opposed to other tech hubs in California, opinions on the current startup scene in Orange County, and the future of each speaker’s industry.

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“I think there’s a very good breadth of talent here,” said Art Hitomi, Chief Technology Officer of Numecent in regards to the pros and cons of starting up in Orange County. “To talk about the downsides I think admittedly, with my company, I had to go out of the country to get funding. Although, there are definitely people in the bay area who are moving down to this area. They are moving because they see a huge opportunity here.”

“I’ve never had a hard time finding good people here in Orange County,” agreed Joe Lindsay, VP of Technology at Local Corp. Lindsay, having been a part of businesses in both Northern and Southern California said the culture and career paths of people in technology are different. “I’ve found that the type of engineers I want to hire, it’s easier for me to find them down [in Southern California] than up there. Here, software developers are applying software to businesses rather than core technology.”

When asked about the legacy industries in Orange County and how they’ve benefited the tech industry as a whole or the local community, Manuel Beltran, Chief Software Architect at Boeing, had great remarks about how Boeing has been actively involved.

“If you recall, even the facility I’m in was McDonnell Douglas and was bought out by Boeing,” he said. “Rockwell was bought out by Boeing and Conexant is a Rockwell company. So what happens is, when these larger companies invest in the community, you give smaller companies opportunities. We try to do the best in our local communities and school systems. We try to bring interest and stimulate that resource pool and I’d like to see more of that done with the startup community.”

With the ever-advancing world of tech, Casacchia asked the panelists what they’re excited about in regards to the current and prospective tech scene.

“I think what’s really exciting is that the cost of entry into a new business is very low,” Tim Taylor, Chief Client Success Officer at Telogis said. “When I started my career, to start a business you needed four loans. Now you just need your iPad and Starbucks WiFi. I don’t think there’s a better time to have a business, than right now.”

made in oc tech talk

Before the discussion kicked off, the night began with a networking session where members came together to meet with new and familiar faces. The event was made possible by sponsors Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners.

Don’t forget to join Orange County’s meetup to be at the next event!