The 2017 Timmy Awards: What to Expect

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Two years ago, Tech in Motion set out to recognize (and celebrate) the best employers for tech professionals in North America through the Timmy Awards. In 2016 alone, the Timmy’s saw more than 2,000 companies nominated and over 83,000 votes cast to name each city’s “Best Technology Manager,” “Best Tech Startup,” and “Best Tech Work Culture.” The Timmy Awards has featured national household names such as Dollar Shave Club, TripAdvisor, Instacart, and Venmo, as well as dozens of local heroes that make each community successful. In pursuit of the same level of success, this year, Tech in Motion is making a few changes to improve the entire award series from the nomination process all the way through to event night. To learn what these changes are, check out the 2017 Timmy Awards FAQ below!

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2017 TIMMY AWARDS FAQ
When will the 2017 Timmy Awards take place?

In the past, the Timmy Awards were spread throughout the year in 10 different regions. This year, the award ceremonies will all take place in the month of September, bringing together our cities in a unified effort to showcase the best employers for technical employees. Every one of the 10 cities will hold a Timmy Award ceremony within a few weeks of each other.

Who can attend? The Timmy Awards is still a free event that is open to the public, not only to attend, but also to submit nominations for. This award series is an amazing opportunity to gain exposure for any companies or individuals in the tech community, and in order to keep it in the local community, we want anyone who is invested in the future of tech in your city to attend, including tech professionals, managers, entrepreneurs, and founders.

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Which awards are presented?

Tech in Motion began with three award categories: Best Tech Manager, Best Tech Startup, and Best Tech Work Culture. This year, Tech in Motion decided to add an additional award category: the Best Tech Workplace for Diversity award. The goal of the original Timmy Awards categories was to recognize companies not just for their use or development of technology, but also for their investment in the people that make technology possible, which the new award category rewards.

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Below are the criteria by which each of the Timmy Awards winners are selected in each category:

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How will the nomination process run in 2017?

Nominations will be open from July 5th to August 14th for 10 regions (Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Orange County, LA, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco). Nominations will be open to the public to nominate a company or person that creates the best work environment for technology professionals to work in 1 or all 4 award categories. Additionally, as previous years, nominations will continue to be a two-part process. To be eligible as a finalist for any category, it is required to fill out and complete Part 1 and 2 of the nomination forms. However, we are now automating this process, which means that once you complete Part 1 of the nomination form and are eligible to become a nominee, you should receive an automated email within 24 hours prompting you to complete Part 2.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the 2017 Timmy Awards, as a sponsor, MC, venue host, etc., please contact your local Tech in Motion chapter.

Read about the 2016 Timmy Awards held in various regions by clicking the links below:

What Your Tech Experience Says About How Much You Earn

Tech Salaries by Experience

Tech in Motion’s proud supporter, Workbridge Associates, recently published a report predicting the tech salaries for 2017. In this report, it is forecasted that in 2017, the average salary for a software engineer will increase by approximately 3%, compared to 2016, and reach a total of $107,745 a year. One of the biggest contributing factors of salary growth is experience, and the way that engineers can leverage their experience to get the best possible pay will make the up-most difference. After analyzing thousands of job placements across the US and Canada, we built a graph that demonstrates the growth of annual salaries by experience level in the tech industry.

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Looking for a job in the tech industry? Click here to check out our Online Job Board!

College Grads and Those Who Have Few Years of Experience in the Tech Industry.

You’re probably wondering why the above graph illustrates that having “0 years” or no years of experience in the tech industry can get you a higher paying salary than someone who has one or two years. Surprisingly, entry-level university or college graduates with little to no experience can actually negotiate a 4% higher salary than their peers who already have some experience in the industry. The reasons behind this are: (1) with a shortage of tech talent, there is fierce competition amongst big companies to attract engineers and tech graduates right out of school. (2) If the candidate has little experience, but is already searching for a new job, it’s a big indicator that something went wrong, such as termination of employment. It could also indicate that a person is looking for some type of career change (industry, company, technology, location, etc.) and would be willing to settle for a lower salary. (3) Once graduated, many young people try to find success as entrepreneurs. If that fails, a lot of them will then resort back to the job market, where their experience as entrepreneurs partially counts but their earnings at the time were little to none. Therefore, there is more leverage for an employer to offer less.

Want to get your foot in the door working for a big company? Join us at a Tech in Motion event to meet and network with other tech professionals and enthusiasts in your city! View our calendar here.

Tech Salary Growth Virtually Stops After 15 Years of Experience.

Based on the data we’ve found, below is a breakdown of salary growth after 5, 10, 15, and 30 years of work experience in the tech industry:

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As illustrated, someone with five to ten years of experience will see the biggest increase in salary. This is because there is a vast and apparent difference between, for example, a Java Developer with five years of experience and one with nine years of experience. Also, for many tech professionals, this period could be characterized by a big career move or change, such as relocating to a more pricey area, acquiring a senior or executive level role, learning a new technology, receiving an advanced degree, or switching from a small company to a big one or vice versa.

However, based on the data we’ve found, the growth in salary virtually disappears for tech professionals after 15 years of experience, and there are many reasons why it happens. One reason is that many experienced technologists are moving into higher level roles on the corporate ladder, turning into stakeholders or executives, or becoming independent business owners. Therefore, they are not considered “tech professionals” anymore and are no longer in the same salary bracket.

Another reason why salary growth diminishes for tech professionals after 15 years of experience or more is because it may be hard to keep up with new trends in technology and compete with new tech talent entering the workforce.

Also, it’s hard to convince your employer that your degree from 1990 and your 27 years of experience is better and deserves a higher pay than a person who graduated in 1996. In order to continue growing your salary in the long run, you need to continuously develop your skills and experience.

Contact a local Jobspring Partners or Workbridge Associates to help you in your job search!

Ensuring Steady Growth in Salary after 15 Years of Experience (Or Less):

We recently published an article titled “How to Earn $200K+ as a Software Engineer”, which provides some tips on how to increase your salary in the tech industry. This advice could also be applied to developing your skills and negotiating a higher pay. Here’s a brief overview of what this article has to say:

Want to read the entire article? Check it out here.

  • Consider relocating if you feel that higher paying jobs are limited in your country, region, or city. For example, based on our data, over 60% of tech professionals who make $200K or more live in the San Francisco / San Jose area; another 10% of professionals with salaries over $200K live in New York City.
  • Learn new technologies to be highly demanded or a “hot commodity”. Those who learn cloud computing, data engineering, iOS, Android, C++, DevOps, Java, Perl or UI/UX can expect anywhere from a 7% to 26% increase in salary.
  • Demonstrate that you are not only a developer who knows how to code, but also a leader who can make decisions, train, mentor, supervise, manage, and lead a team. It’s all about how big your impact is on an organization, which is why it is recommended to take additional classes in management and leadership, or even pursue a Master’s degree in engineering, computer science, management, finance, or business administration (MBA). A Master’s degree will help your negotiating power when pursuing a top level position.
  • Consider moving to a bigger or smaller company. For the most part, large companies have more resources and can provide higher salaries and growth opportunities. On the contrary, if you already work for a big organization, try to look around for a small startup, as your experience could be valued as a “treasure” and this company may be willing to pay you more for what you can offer.

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The Top 25 DC Tech Influencers Nominated for a Timmy

On December 8th, Tech in Motion is proud to present the 2nd Annual D.C. Timmy Awards, which will be held at 1776 Crystal City.  The “Timmys” are hosted by Tech in Motion in tech hubs across North America, with the goal of acknowledging the local companies and individuals that strive to create the best places for technology professionals to work in. After all the votes are in, the finalists in each city come together for one celebratory evening where the winners are crowned as the best (1) technology manager, (2) technology work culture, and (3) tech startup. Here are D.C.’s impressive finalists.

Best Tech Manager

Andrew WillisAndrew Willis – VP, eCommerce Technology of Customink

Andrew implements “blameless postmortems,” where the focus should be on the problem itself rather than the person who caused it. In addition, he supports the managers by having regular one-on-ones with the team and on a bi-weekly basis.  He also hosts a team meeting called “Gossip, Rumors, and Lies,” where employees can talk about anything in a safe place.

Andrew’s balanced look on innovation and pragmatism greatly impacted a rebuild of the Online Design Experience, using a modern stack of React w/ Redux.

 

David WolfandDavid Wolfand – VP, Engineering of United Income

Under David’s management, career growth is measured less by title and much more by the opportunity to learn new skill sets, hone existing abilities, and demonstrate an ability to kick ass. David has promoted the growth of his team through the use of continuous deployment of code, moving away from the typical two-week release cycle. The team is honing their Agile and Lean skills even further, delivering value to members the moment it is ready.

David and his team are developing a financial services web-based product that does not have any of its own servers, making it near-infinitely scalable (so long as Amazon has the servers) no matter the popularity of the application.

Matt HagopianMatt Hagopian – VP, Engineering of LiveSafe, Inc.

Matt is dedicated to providing growth and development opportunities for his team. He encourages employees to attend conferences, speak or present at local Meetups, and holds the team responsible to the individual goals that they set for themselves. He is also a vocal advocate for cross-team collaboration.

LiveSafe provides an enterprise-class mobile safety communications platform, comprised of a robust, cloud-based Command Dashboard and a user-friendly customizable mobile application to enable the community to engage on safety and security related issues directly on their smartphones.

Philip SchmitzPhilip Schmitz – CEO of CharityEngine

Philip has cultivated a culture of achievement recognition. Every Friday during lunch, the team reads nominations that coworkers have written based on individual successes during the week.  The individual with the most votes wins a gift card for their hard work. This has created a camaraderie across the entire CharityEngine team that encourages creative solutions, but also cross-disciplinary partnerships and appreciation.

CharityEngine was created by BIS Global as a way to help nonprofit clients by providing integrated customer relationship management email and website management, payment processing, and eCommerce tools.

Rami EssaidRami Essaid – CEO of Distil Networks

Rami is a believer in ensuring that the individual and cultural goals should always be in sync. He offers to help employees make the next step in their careers should they choose to leave Distil. He has also been instrumental in developing the company culture and works tirelessly to maintain a high company morale, whether through the implementation of unique company perks or a company trip to SXSW.

Distil Networks uses a bot detection product paired with a team of experienced security analysts to provide real-time threat monitoring, analysis, investigation and response, as well as post-incident reports and best practices to ensure a 24/7 managed security service customized to each user’s unique security policy.

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Best Work Culture

AOL

Once a month, AOL engineers submit prototypes of cutting edge projects that provide a new service or application that benefits the technology teams. The project is assessed and if deemed viable, the submitter gets the opportunity to work on the project for a month to make it a reality. The engineer is even excused from dedicated project work while the prototype project is being completed.

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AOL offers new and exciting applications that help streamline, reduce costs, and provide quicker software solutions to the market

Aspire

Aspire’s product is built completely in-house, and consistently improved by their team. Every person is involved in product suggestions, design features, and testing. The product team spans sales, account management, and fundraising to truly solve the needs of every piece of the business. This transparency allows anyone to learn about product design and technical implementation.

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Aspire’s easy-to-use platform and dedicated team of support staff lets one quickly coordinate events in their office, from catered lunches and happy hours to wellness programs.

Deloitte Digital

Deloitte Digital starts every week with a Monday Huddle, where 120+ employees gather together to share any relevant and interesting articles, short films, or other materials. In addition, they integrate themselves into the local DC design scene by hosting creative dev and front end technology meetups.

deloitte

Deloitte Digital brings human-centered design to the federal government through workshops with clients. This collaboration allows clients to fully integrate their ideas into their products and applications.

Leverege

The first rule in Leverege’s culture book is “Use your best judgement in all situations.” This approach encourages employees to take risks and approach problems in their own unique way. They further reinforce this mindset by holding a weekly Show-and-Tell where every team member shares the interesting projects they’ve been pursuing.

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Leverege offers an IoT Platform that is the industry’s first fully-integrated product designed from the ground up. Their platform meets the needs of all business users from the C-suite executive focused on the corporate bottom line to the junior engineer charged with the day-to-day technical operations.

LiveSafe, Inc.

Every two weeks, LiveSafe lets the engineering team demo new features that they’ve created to the rest of the company, teaching them about the functionality and processes along the way. In addition, they explore new technologies as a team and regularly attend Washington, DC Meetups together.

livesafe

LiveSafe offers an enterprise-class mobile safety platform fueled by crowd-sourced intelligence, maps, analytics and other features. Their goal is to enable the community to engage on security and safety issues directly from smartphones.

MapBox

Not only is continued education encouraged, it’s expected at MapBox. Departments across the company actively engage and teach each other relevant information for the betterment of themselves. Along with this, MapBox pays ticket and travel expenses for any employee looking to go to a conference.  For example, a group of designers was sent to the NACIS Conference.

mapbox

Mapbox builds and offers a multitude of tools to developers to add location-based services to their apps and websites.

MobilePosse

MobilePosse recognizes that professional development is more than just schooling and training. Through shadowing and observing senior leads, junior level employees are able to learn in collaborative and personal ways. These collaborative and personal interactions allow employees to gain unique experiences first-hand.

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Mobile Posse provides mobile carriers and OEMs a platform that delivers salient messages from the operator to the subscriber.  This provides an option for consumers to receive content they love to their smartphone’s home and lock screen.

Optoro

Optoro believes that fostering an environment of autonomy and creativity is crucial to reaching groundbreaking solutions. They promote a creative culture by hosting events intended to spark innovative thinking and encourage employees to question current processes. For example, they host an internal “Hackathon” day once a month where each person in the tech department chooses a challenge facing their company and codes an original solution. The winners receive additional funding in their Professional Development accounts, enabling them to access a wide variety of resources beyond Optoro.

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Optoro offers an end-to-end reverse logistics solution that helps retailers process, manage, and sell their returned and excess inventory.

SkyBitz

SkyBitz continually encourages its employees to take professional development courses, host trainers to come in, and they encourage employees to share their technical expertise and knowledge with each other. Most recently, they provided Azure Cloud Training to some of their engineering team members.

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SkyBitz offers SaaS-based solutions that provide rapidly deployable solutions for enterprise and local fleets, tank monitoring, and petroleum logistics.

Ventera Corporation

Hackathons are a great tradition at Ventera. They sponsor a variety of technology focused Hackathons called “Hack.Ventera.” Engineers also participate in similar events hosted by clients and other organizations. This gives employees an avenue to test new technologies and ideas while collaborating and innovating with people outside of current projects in a fun environment while delivering tangible proof of concepts and solutions to clients.

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Ventera is a professional services organization that supports a variety of technology needs, such as Agile, plug and play automated testing, and AI-influenced predictive modeling across both Government and Commercial customers.

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Best Tech Startup



BigParserBigParser

BigParser’s team is headed up by a former Yahoo Engineering Manager. They stay focused on the goals for the day there and respect everyone else’s space and time.

BigParser is on a mission to connect the world’s data through its three main apps, Grids, Share, and Plug.

 

 

 

 

 

BrllntBrllnt

Brllnt’s goal has always been to build an open and collaborative culture inspired by thinkers and entrepreneurs. The Co-Founder, Chief Marketing Officer, and Director of Operations are focused on growing and supporting the local DC community.

Brllnt’s doesn’t just build platforms. The team collaborates to build brand strategies, identities, and marketing campaigns.

 

 

Gravy AnalyticsGravy Analytics

Gravy’s team is led by a serial entrepreneur and previous executives from AOL, Neustar and AT&T. They are focused on the goal of building an open-environment to foster interaction, collaboration, reward, and recognition in the workplace.

Gravy is a mobile, location-based customer intelligence platform.  Using verified attendances at local events and venues, it identifies and predicts segmentation and consumers’ preferences.

Innovators BoxInnovatorsBox

InnovatorsBox values long-term growth. With flexible hours and locations, they want their staff to constantly learn and craft their tangible and intangible skills as professionals such as how to best manage time and energy, and effectively balance multitasking.

InnovatorsBox teaches creativity, builds community, and raises public awareness of the importance of creative thinking for all individuals. By providing a supportive community and educational resources, everyone has the opportunity to integrate creative thinking into their lives and careers.

MetiStreamMetiStream

MetiStream’s leadership has founded the DC Area Apache Spark Interactive Meetup to foster community collaboration on Spark, which has since grown to 2,000+ members. The next project is to grow the DC/VA/MD Big Data Healthcare Meetup to spearhead innovation in healthcare.

MetiStream has developed a framework that integrates FHIR, a progressive API-enabled healthcare standard, with Apache Spark. This combination targets improvements in patient experience and uses genomics to provide personalized health recommendations.

NotionTheoryNotionTheory

NotionTheory only accepts those who are passionate. Every member of the team has either started their own venture, has former startup experience, or is mostly self-taught in their expertise. They choose their projects based on how well they will be able to leverage each team member’s expertise with the goal of making a truly collaborative effort.

NotionTheory creates custom Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for brands while also building in-house products. They spent one-and-a-half years building their own VR framework, which allows users to build virtual reality applications IN virtual reality.

 

RizeRize

Rize has always known that the company will succeed only if its customers are successful. By never losing sight of this very important truth, the work environment has never been driven by either seniority or the bottom line. Instead, each member is a consummate forward-thinker who focuses on knowing how the financial industry will evolve and unfold.

Rize’s online savings platform uses behavioral design and automation to help customers save an average of 10% of their income towards goals they care about. They help customers understand what they can achieve and provide the means and confidence to help customers reach their goals.

SensewareSenseware

Senseware has effortlessly created an open community of trust, transparency, respect, support, and laughs. Everyone works in one room and they aren’t afraid to question and challenge each other. Team members push each other and help each other grow.

Senseware is a Smart Building Solution that wireless monitors performance across all Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, and Plumbing systems to run more cost-effectively. They’re building the one true smart-building.

United IncomeUnited Income

United Income runs Agile on two-week sprints. Every single person commits to work for the two week sprint and then demos what they accomplished to the entire company at Demo Day. They hold each other accountable across teams. They struggle together and they celebrate together. Everyone is responsible for their work, and everyone is responsible to the team.

United Income is building a financial technology solution to improve retirements. They offer a hybrid solution that combines web-based products and access to financial advisers to provide guidance to users and make it easy to stop worrying about finances and focus on the fun of the future.

 

Virgil SecurityVirgil Security

The team at Virgil Security has led multiple DARPA projects delivering next-gen technologies in cognitive radios, cross layer networking optimization, data fusion, distributed sensor networks, dynamic spectrum access, machine cognition, mobile ad hoc networks, and an array of foundational technologies.

Virgil Security is delivering software-based security building blocks to developers so that they can quickly and easily add security to their own products. Their goal is make every software developer an applied cryptologist.

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The Timmy Awards ceremony will celebrate the local technology community and also recognize not only the winners, but the entire D.C. community for creating a great business environment to thrive in. The event itself will be a great opportunity to network with finalists and other members of the tech community.

Don’t miss out, RSVP for the 2nd Annual DC Timmy Awards here to meet the finalists in person.

Data Science: Trusted Relationships & Scientific Exploration

Tech in Motion Orange County will explore Data Science through a tech panel on Wednesday, July 20th at 6 p.m. at The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation. The event will include speakers across different tech sectors applying Data Science today. Below is a guest blog from one speaker on this panel. Learn more and register for this free event today! REGISTER HERE.

Written by Dave Herman Vice President of Applied Science at Payoff, a leading financial wellness company, using science, psychology and technology to help their members reinvent their relationship with money and accelerate their journey to financial well-being. You can learn more about Payoff’s Science team here.

The new field of data science is rapidly enabling us to link massive amounts of seemingly unrelated ideas, and pool that new knowledge to potentially predict outcomes of virtually any situation.

How do data scientists do this?

To a great extent, we do what scientists have always done: We look for repeatable answers to the questions that surround us, by finding meaningful patterns in data. In the context of psychology, we look for patterns that allow us to understand and predict human behavior, behaviors that are expressions of beliefs, habits and desires.

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The process of finding relevant patterns in these big data sets has been exponentially advanced by the adaptation of more powerful computational infrastructures and machine learning algorithms.

As data scientists, we use our knowledge of algorithms, computational tools and a wide range of subject matter expertise from natural language processing — from the digital interpretation of human language to behavioral psychology to neuroeconomics. Through a combination of scientific method and machine learning, we develop an evolving and increasingly more powerful set of insights and methodologies to explore large data sets in the big-data clouds.

Interested in Data Science, Big Data, and other tech topics? Find an upcoming event centered around the hottest technologies in a city near you.

Fundamentally, data science is about finding patterns and information, hidden within data. Imagine a tiled mosaic, in which each tiny tile represents a unit of data. At close range, we’re limited in the information we can gather, focused around the attributes of individual tiles. But only when you absorb and compute on the entirety of the data, can you see the deeply insightful patterns. When we stand back, take it all in and see the collection of images and story at full scale, that’s when we learn from big data.

Someone who understands the sequential process of data science explores the data structure that holds this mosaic together using algorithms and their knowledge of math, science and statistics to guide this exploration, finding patterns. Without patterns, the data is useless. Once a pattern is found in the data, it becomes very meaningful and we’re able to learn important insights potentially applicable to wide segments of people.

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Our digital behaviors, including “likes” on social media, clicks to buy products, and measurements of physical and mental activity (Fitbits, accelerometers, questionnaires, MRI and EEG) all offer views into the core of human individuality, and allow data scientists to see humanity on a very large scale.

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Looking for a new role in Data Science? Check out our open data science jobs.

Data Science Uses the Most Powerful Machine Around

Working with information to determine how to tell a story at this vast scale, data science uses the most powerful machine around – the human brain – to develop algorithms that allow computers to take over the storytelling and point the information in the right direction.

Data can’t tell a story without a digital brain to organize the data and a human brain to contextualize it into human experience. Much of our digital lives is powered, at some level, by the decisions of people about what patterns matter, and what algorithms and experiences are needed and intended. It’s where digital interactions get the contextual IQ that transforms data into information, followed by experiences that actually connect with humans.

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Think of an algorithm as a means to make the complicated digestible, as it creates the filters/structure and statistical summarizations that enable specific points to come into focus. And like with everything else in life, what you get out of it is a result of what you put into it. While an algorithm creates the matching, its value is a result of it taking into consideration things we really care about.

So, what do we really care about? As it turns out, almost everything where human behavior is concerned. This is science, after all, and the iterative, empirical process of study can be applied to everything we humans do.

As we increase the application of applied data science across areas of focus, what matters is who or what is behind the algorithm. Data is one thing, but telling a story that captures the value in the data in a way that earns people’s trust is something different altogether.

Take for example, the “stable marriage problem.”

Say you have a large set of people X, who each desire someone from set Y, and vice versa. Here’s the task ahead of you, the ultimate cupid: Is it possible to optimally assign pairs where they are all “stable”? (Mathematically speaking, “stable” here means there are no people in both sets who would rather be with someone other than their current match.)

As it turns out, there is a smart algorithm for solving this problem. However! Creating the algorithm is just half of what a data scientist must do. They also need to know what information matters and what makes for a good match. The algorithm lets us do the matching, but it’s the features, traits, assessments and real-world knowledge that make that match effective.

Is that a little too George Orwell, dystopian nightmare for you, you say?

Data Dating - holding hands1

Let’s look at eHarmony, for example, which is powered by an algorithm developed in part by Dr. Galen Buckwalter, co-author of this article. We all know couples who met online — people who would likely never have found each other otherwise. The most important decision in an adult’s life — who to choose as a partner — has been improved, thanks to applied data science and the intelligence of the human minds who pointed their emotional intelligence in the right direction, toward love.

Could there be a more profound use behind brains and algorithms working together?

The data — a long list of very specific attributes selected as appealing by an individual — leads to a match with someone who has chosen many of the same attributes. Then the humans make a date and get to decide if the connection will become more than an awkward dinner, albeit with a stranger with whom you share many attributes.

Some may call it unromantic and perhaps lacking in the serendipity we tend to assign to romance, but the scientific process is exceptionally effective, as is evidenced by the thousands of people who engage in this experience every day.

Data science in action is an algorithm that guides a user toward choices they would probably never have found without it. Given the seemingly infinite possibilities of a connected world with more than 7 billion people in it, matching us with what we want and need becomes increasingly valuable every day, as more and more data is collected.

This post was adapted from the original on Medium.com, “Data Science, Trusted Relationships and Scientific Exploration,” which you can read in full here.

Read more about data and technology:

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The Revolution: the Cloud & Multi-Channel Communication

Article written by Nick Newsom, Ytel CEO

As the world around us changes, we must adapt. The revolution of the Cloud has already changed the way companies do business, but it also applies to the most basic of human interactions for businesses: communication.

The way we communicate is enhanced and modified consistently through the technology, tools and resources made available to us. To satisfy the demands of consumers and new trends, businesses have to not only find their audience, but also communicate with them wherever they actively listen. Those using a multi-channel approach supported by cloud communications will be the front-runner of this exciting revolution.

Interested in finding a new role where you work with Cloud technologies? Apply now.

Let’s start with the Cloud.

Ytel_TechInMotion1

Cloud communications are Internet-based voice and data communications, hosted by third party service providers, accessible over the internet. Because you only pay for the services you use, it’s a much more cost-effective choice for businesses. It’s a more reliable and secure communication environment, with the cost-savings appealing to many businesses in the market today.

Take my business, for example. Ytel specializes in cloud-based communications solutions that service businesses worldwide. My team of engineers, developers, support staff, marketers and sales know all about the power of communication on a granular level… they live it on a daily basis.

Personally, I found the power of communication as a middle schooler when I received my ham radio license (KE6CZD) and discovered the world of Bulletin Board Systems (old, I know…). All that led to a career in communications that I am incredibly passionate about. I’m also a member of several organizations and executive boards in Orange County that fuel innovation and communication through technology and discovery.

While my team at Ytel builds, maintains, and distributes the software our customers want, we also enhance the experience by adding features and add-ons for their unique business models. In order to provide this level of satisfaction, there has to be a strong sense of understanding about what our customers need. This comes from a deep knowledge of the industries we work in, from lead generation to marketing and sales, to solar and call centers; we are fortunate in that the Ytel team is made up of individuals who come from these different verticals, so they know what pieces are missing from the way those businesses communicate with their customers.

You’ve got the cloud infrastructure on your side, and you need a strategy to attract and keep those valuable customers.

 

Let’s talk multi-channel communication.

A strategy that businesses (the smart ones, at least) use to engage with their customers in a modern, efficient way. The multi-channel approach is simple; you exist where your customer exists, and the communication channels used are based solely on their preferences. Multi-channel is all about giving customers a choice.

What better way to align yourself with prospects and customers than through the communication channels they already use? The goal behind multi-channel is to actively listen and engage with your customers, prospects, and leads, and to turn that listening into a productive interaction with clear steps forward. You’re taking all the noise of marketing and sales and turning it into action, and action into customer loyalty.

Encourage active listening by practicing what you preach. Maybe your customer wants to be contacted via email. Maybe they love the chat feature on your website. Or perhaps they crave human interaction over the phone. Knowing these preferences, and being able to segment them appropriately, is multi-channel done right. Active listening packs a huge punch for your business; all you have to do is listen and take action.

Multi-channel communication can:

  1. Increase brand recognition
  2. Build customer loyalty
  3. Grow and scale your business

Introducing message360°

It can be difficult and stressful for businesses to keep their communication channels organized, updated, and cohesive with their brand. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all those channels housed in one central location?

With the new message360° API, we’ve removed the need for multiple communication platforms by offering the four core communication channels in one API. Voice, text, email and direct mail, easily accessible in one API. message360° integrates with any web application, and removes the complexity of building.

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Check out Drips.com, a current user of message360° and discover how they successfully interact with thousands of customers through voice, text, and email drip campaigns.

With cloud infrastructure on your side, your business can function at a lower cost with more efficiency and scalability. A multi-channel communication strategy is just the cherry on top; you’ve laid the foundation with technology and you’re simply polishing the customer experience and improving your bottom line. With message360°, you get the power and security of the cloud and the channels your customers prefer, under one roof. It’s communication done right.

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The Next Major Tech Convergence: Virtual, Augmented Reality

Written By Captain Philippe Lewicki of HTMLFusion

With so many developments in virtual reality this year, many of us are excited about a coming boom in 2016. I am too — but I am less focused on VR mobile apps or the endless cool hardware and gadgets appearing daily on my screen (though I admit to finding them very enticing.) I am most excited about what these advancements mean for us when everything comes together.

I believe we are on the verge of a major new technical convergence where augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will change our world as dramatically as the emergence of smartphones did.

Hear more about the Future of Virtual Reality from the CTO of Juant here.

Phillipe Lewicki talks at the Tech in Motion 50K Celebration in Los Angeles, above.

The last time we saw this happen was in 2007.  A well-timed merging of cellular technology, capacitive screens and UI design — mixed by the legendary Steve Jobs — set the stage for a world craving things like mobile apps and image sharing.

We love all this technology, but it stresses us out. These machines are here to increase our productivity, entertain us and improve our social connections; however, our laptops and phones are cumbersome and not designed for our human bodies. Relying heavily on these physical machines dampens our capacity to connect with others and discourages us from participating in activities where we move around.

This can be resolved. We are in the process of better integrating the machines in our lives. With this next major conflux, we will be connected to our devices in an intuitive way. These physical limitations will begin to disappear.

A combination of factors makes this possible. First, after enduring decades of false promises, we are finally seeing AI deliver results, thanks to new learning machines and neural network technologies. Programs like Siri and Google Now show how our voice can command actions on our screen, and the last few years have proven that they only get smarter.

Add to this the Internet of Things, which emphasizes how the Internet is beginning to transcend our phones and laptops to operate within our watches, glasses, audio speakers and thermostats. These devices are connected and responsive.

Integrate the concept of mixed realities and you can begin to see the possibilities.

In our weekly labs at HTML Fusion, we focus on how this future will look and feel. Our visit to Microsoft’s HoloLens Academy gave us a peek into what was possible. We continue to learn more and more about manipulating augmented reality spaces as we spend our weeks teaching machines to respond to our movements and desires.

We call this work the Holo UI. It is our platform for exploring how we control augmented reality, and it’s a small window into the converging future. You can consider it a seed.

This is a tool for a much more immersive experience. Our machines are integrating into our physical world, learning to interact with us naturally. Our cell phones, laptop, and desktop computers will slowly disappear and be replaced by more human-like interactions. We can still be productive and connected without staring at the screen.

Humans were designed to be moving, not stuck behind a screen and keyboard. This convergence will let us move again.

I am excited to work with my team, and a growing community of inspired entrepreneurs, to actively create this future and the way we use these machines — and make the impossible possible. This convergence is happening now, so the time has come for us to define how we will interact with technology, the Internet and each other. Now is our a chance to make this technology more human.

Follow HTML Fusion’s blog and @htmlfusion on Twitter for a weekly window into their latest tech discoveries.

You can also see innovative speakers in Virtual Reality and beyond at Tech in Motion Events across North America. Check out the event calendar.

team_philippeAbout the Author

Philippe Lewicki, Captain at HTMLFusion

HTMLFusion is a Culver City-based team of veteran developers working with mixed reality environments and creating successful businesses with entrepreneurs who have great ideas. Most recently, they were invited to the HoloLens Academy to share and explore their augmented reality work.

Their current project is a user-friendly virtual reality platform for real estate called OpenHouse VR.

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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How to Win Big with (I)IoT, Industrial Analytics & Big Data

Written By Rick O’Brien, President of SemperCon.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is on track to change the way businesses work. Enterprises are already going digital—employees are using mobile devices to access information, communicate and collaborate. Just as mobile devices and applications have become ubiquitous, cloud connected sensors, industrial devices, machinery and equipment are also being developed at a rapid rate.

sempercon cloud iot Companies that depend on durable, physical goods to conduct business—from manufacturing, mining and agriculture to healthcare organizations, transportation and logistics—are already realizing the opportunity of the Industrial Internet of Things. In a recent survey of 450 businesses across the world, 30 percent indicated that they already adopted IoT technology. In another, half of the interviewed business leaders indicated IoT as a key priority in their strategic use of technology to win, serve and retain customers.

Want to get into a career with Internet of Things? Here are some IoT-involved openings.

Whether a business serves consumers or other businesses, IIoT can help with more fully engaging customers, increasing productivity and simplifying internal processes. The productivity gains associated with IIoT enabled business models can be significant. Recent studies have estimated that manufacturers, for instance, can boost productivity as much as 30 percent and reduce maintenance costs by as much as 30 percent with IIoT. Businesses more interested in boosting customer value leverage IIoT solutions in order to commercialize industrial analytics and business intelligence. By taking a ‘big data’ approach and launching product-service hybrid offerings, significant value is extracted from IIoT.

cloud imageSuch solutions produce a large volume and variety of data that IT departments must be prepared to manage. The sheer volume and structure of data collected from hardware devices challenge conventional data storage methods. Businesses that require real-time business process support from IIoT systems will need to scale fast enough to transfer the entire collection of raw data being generated to and from a location.

Industrial IoT solutions’ administrative and user dashboards differ to some extent based on whether they are designed to drive new revenue or promote internal cost savings. Generally, system administrators should be able to control features, manage users, and access real time system diagnostics and reporting via a cloud-based dashboard.  Alerts and notifications also play an integral role for IIoT solutions. Well configured user monitoring and alert functions allow business leaders and administrators to keep their fingers on the pulse of their business—supporting user adoption and customer utilization. When developing customer-facing solutions, convenience will be especially critical. Tech buyers value mobility and thus prefer IIoT solutions with mobile accessible user dashboards.

Did you miss the IoT Drinks & Demos in Philadelphia? Check out the List of Upcoming Events at Tech in Motion so  you don’t miss the next one.

The user interfaces of IIoT apps must present data so that it’s both useful and immediately actionable. Data filtering, predictive and visual analytics can all be used to simplify IIoT data and enable smarter business decision making. Industrial IoT solutions must also grow smarter as users think of innovative ways to apply its business intelligence. Data service exchanges allow IT leaders to extract critical data points from a wider pool of devices and partner with third party data service providers to continuously evolve their IIoT offering.

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We are still at a stage where few IT leaders understand the process of developing an Industrial IoT solution. The properties encapsulated above only brush the surface of meaningfully applying IIoT to businesses. This IIoT strategic planning checklist covers 50+ practical and technical IT requirements that should be evaluated when determining how IIoT can evolve your business processes and customer offering.

Sempercon was a demo company at Philadelphia’s Drinks & Demos: IoT Editionrick o brien this summer. Check out the past event and join the Tech in Motion chapter here.

About the Author

Rick O’Brien is a serial entrepreneur with 20 years experience leading product development, marketing and sales for mobile, hardware and software technology startups and enterprises. Nearly eight years ago he launched Sempercon, a software development firm that specializes in building Internet of Things, mobile and web app solutions for enterprises and startups.

The Internet of Things 101

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Are you ready for your front door to be able to talk to your alarm clock? Prepare yourself, because one of the tech world’s biggest buzzwords is on that route.

It has been argued that the term internet of things should be changed to the internet of everything. With the capability to connect your phone, laptop or tablet to all the appliances in your home, your car and even your dog, it’s easy to argue that anything can be connected these days.

If you’re looking for a position in IoT or another tech field, check out the job board here.

Internet of things or IoT for short, is described as the connection of non-traditional devices such as security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in households and commercial environments, alarm clocks, dog collars, vending machines and much more. These devices utilize embedded technology to connect with an external environment through the internet. Most IoT devices have sensors that can act as your eyes and ears in your home or business. These sensors can register changes in environment, movement, temperature, amount of light, water pressure – even air quality.

Delve deeper into Internet of Things with Industrial IoT: Read “How to Win Big with (I)IoT, Industrial Analytics & Big Data” from Sempercon. 

IoT is making our lives easier, keeping us connected and increasing productivity. Naturally, this topic is driving several Tech in Motion events across the nation, and even inspiring Tech in Motion stories. On September 17th in Santa Clara, some true innovators in the IoT space will be demonstrating at Tech in Motion’s IoT Demos & Drinks, including one company that took to addressing California’s water crisis.WaterBit-LOGO1-copy-636_114

WaterBit has created a sensor that enables growers to optimize yields as a primary outcome, through soil monitoring and related irrigation control.” This sensor allows growers to prevent over-watering and reserve California’s precious water supply. WaterBit can also be used by homeowners by empowering them with the ability to understand, control and monitor water quality and usage for the entire home (or business).

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When it comes to having fun with IoT Hurley research has got you covered with their product Droidle. They are tiny fun robots that can be connected to social media. Droidles can also be considered as a learning tool because they teach programming trough your smart phone. They are a great way to introduce children to robotics, engineering and developing software.tend-insights-86560506 (1)  Tend Insight has your home covered, even when your away! They have created “lifestyle smart home products and apps that deliver awareness and insights through immersive experiences powered by computer vision technology.” They offer live video streaming and cloud recording so you can monitor your home ecosystem from anywhere.

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FlipFlic, a product designed by Comfee, uses solar power to adjust your blinds to close when the sun is shining through the windows and overheating your home. This helps save on heating and cooling bills, plus you can adjust the settings for you Flipflic by syncing it to your smartphone.

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SIGFOX wants to help you keep all of your “things” connected and the price low. “SIGFOX is the first and only company providing global cellular connectivity for the Internet of Things, fully dedicated to low-throughput communications.”

Want to demo at one of our events? Contact a Tech in Motion event specialist near you here.

We look forward to seeing these demo companies in action. Don’t want to miss out? RSVP for this event on the Tech in Motion Silicon Valley meetup page.

Cybersecurity and Its Growing Role: Washington D.C. Experts Dive in

Earlier this year, local tech enthusiasts in the Washington DC area congregated at 1776’s downtown location for Tech in Motion’s panel discussion: Cybersecurity And Its Growing Role. The featured panelists included Anup Ghosh (Invincea), Tom Parker (FusionX), Jason Rivera (Deloitte) and Josh Marpet (BiJoTi), with moderation by Bob Stratton, General Partner of MACH37, a Northern Virginia based cyber accelerator.

Before the panel took the stage, sponsor companies Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates thanked everyone for coming and offered to help with any job or talent search. Looking for a new role? Check out open tech positions here.

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The discussion kicked off with a look at the cybersecurity industry as a whole. As with any industry, there are notable pros and cons. Anup took the lead by stating that “security problems are not new,” which rings true as we continue to see an ever increasing amount of cybersecurity-related headlines in the media. The most common of these relate to cybercrime and attacks on high profile companies.

“In the last decade, we’ve seen the professionalization of the cyber adversary,” Tom addressed this growing trend in the marketplace.

Jason reinforced this with his point that “Cybercrime is the most profitable illicit business on earth; it is a trillion dollar business.”

This growing trend of cybercrime makes for an increasingly profitable industry as more companies look to reinforce their security measures. However, Anup noted that cybersecurity companies aren’t looking to reverse this trend, “We’re doing a really good job of making a lot of money in the cybersecurity industry but not fixing a whole lot.”

The industry places a larger emphasis on attack detection versus prevention when in fact the opposite is ultimately what is needed to reverse the progression.

In combatting the rapidly increasing presence of cybercrime, the panelists discussed the importance of educating the masses in general best practices. Josh explained, “To bridge the gap between the knowledge and deployment of cybersecurity practices, you must educate the people.”

Anup further addressed the responsibility gap when it comes to protecting company data: “Can’t blame users for bad things happening on sites; [companies] need to give them the right equipment to do their job.”

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Looking to attend events on topics like cybersecurity? Check out our event calendar for the next tech talk near you.

Heading into 2015, the cybersecurity industry was at the forefront of national headlines after the data breaches on major corporations such as Target, Sony, and Anthem. As the panelists attested, large corporations are now taking extra precautions to ensure that their network is safe from attackers.

Josh prefaced this topic with a shocking statistic: “In the past year, there have been more records breached than the number of American citizens.”

So where do large companies fall short? “Companies that tend to fail and are breached are those that cannot conceive of themselves being a target,” Jason answered. “The ones that succeed are the ones that are proactive and acknowledge the internet is a part of their business.”

The panelists continued to discuss where the cybersecurity industry fits into the current breach landscape and how it can proactively respond to breaches. In Anup’s opinion, “We should focus on prioritizing detection, that’s how we’re going to change this breaching trend.” Jason added, “Cybersecurity is reactive– what if we were more proactive and made breaches more challenging as well as less profitable?” The speakers all agreed that these breaches have essentially become expected among most in the security industry.

Tom firmly stated, “Unfortunately, it’s going to take more breaches and larger corporations going out of business to make others understand this threat can happen to anyone.” In the meantime, he said, “Businesses should practice ‘good hygiene’ ” and spend money wisely on the appropriate preventative security measures for their network. This includes having your network checked regularly, as well as operating under the assumption that “there are already hackers in it,” according to Josh.

The discussion then transitioned into the panelists exploring both sides of the debate on encryption. Anup started off saying, “With encryption, you have to have reasonable expectations of what it can and cannot do.”

Our panelists all agreed that the value of encrypting company files lies in increased difficulty for hackers looking to access that data. However, it’s important to be realistic in ones expectations; encryption is not the only defense necessary when facing hackers.

When the topic of surveillance emerged later in the discussion, Anup stated that “Encryption leads into a debate about a larger issue of surveillance.” It seems that encryption is almost a double-edged sword: able to bring increased security to one’s network, but not without the risk of increased surveillance.

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To bring the evening to a close, Bob opened the floor to the audience for questions. The 30-minute session for questions ranged from tips on the best way for customers to protect themselves against corporate breaches to the panelists’ ideas on how to bridge the knowledge gap within the cybersecurity industry. The questions and audience engagement really drove home the concept that cybersecurity is definitely applicable to everyone.

If you’d like to connect with meetups like this, join the Tech in Motion DC Meetup group for the latest event announcements.