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:

workplace diversity (2)
startup 2manager work culture

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:

OC Panel: What is the Future of DevOps?

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UCI Innovation Campus was buzzing with energy when the local Tech in Motion chapter hosted their event Tech Panel: DevOps | Driving Productivity and Efficiency on August 25.

The panel was moderated by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager of Workbridge Associates and a subject matter expert on the local DevOps market. The evening’s focus was in response to the community requesting more education-focused events and to provide a space for members of the numerous Orange County DevOps Meetup groups to gather.

Schnepper began with defining some key terms.

what is

DevOps is a framework for identifying and eliminating constraints, so processes such as software development and deployment run smoothly at a high level of efficiency. Panelist Matt Chung, a Systems Development Engineer with Amazon Web Services in Seattle and founder of the OC DevOps Group said, “DevOps is both technical and cultural. It involves making sure teams such as software developers and the people who administer the resulting systems are co-existing and working together. Technical productivity and efficiency are also part of it. The goal is to eliminate waste and add value to the company.”

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“Software is a key battleground and winners and losers are being defined by the way they ship software and interact with customers and users. Shipping software when you need it is key. DevOps is the realization that existing IT systems are too slow. The ROI on DevOps is pretty clear. All organizations can benefit from automation and tooling. Just look at the data. Put the right data in the right environment and you can improve release timelines and gains across all faces of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle),” responded panelist Jedidiah Yueh, Founder of Delphix and Avamar (sold to EMC).

Panelist Spencer Seebald, Senior Field Technical Solutions Engineer with Puppet, Inc., added, “People are starting to see software, regardless of the industry, as a competitive advantage for business and a way to drive it forward. DevOps people can help move things along more quickly, and that is an advantage. Data shows companies that adopt DevOps move faster in a more reliable and controlled fashion.”

Future

The evening concluded with questions about the future of DevOps and how businesses at different stages can adopt this framework. Chris Ciborowski stated, “With DevOps practices outside of the US such as Europe as Australia; they are already working and running in the cloud, applying these strategies. As these markets see where improvements can still be made, they will also see where the trend moves.” Ciborowski added that, “You cannot buy or hire DevOps” and that businesses, whether they are a startup or enterprise, can benefit because DevOps encourages, “A real understanding of how your business is developing software and how the business maps into the process of future releases and testing. All of these processes go hand in hand.”

Original article  by Hai Truong, UCI Applied Innovation writer

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GoPro, Acorns and Eturi Recognized at Orange County and San Diego Timmys

Second Annual Timmys Returns in 2016 to Name Region’s Best Employers and Managers for Tech Professionals

IRVINE, CA (October 19, 2016) Tech in Motion announced the winners of the 2nd Annual Orange County and San Diego Timmy Awards today, after recognizing top local employers of IT professionals in front of 250 of their peers during an awards ceremony at UCI Applied Innovation in Irvine. Submitting more than 7,700 votes, the local tech community selected the winners from 30 remarkable finalists, including noteworthy first runner-ups GoPro, Appletree and Mike Selberis of Glidewell Laboratories, to represent the best of tech work culture, startups and management in the region.

The 2016 Orange County and San Diego Timmy Award Winners are:

  • Best Technology Manager: Jim Magner, President and Chief Operating Officer of Eturi Corporation
  • Best Tech Startup: Acorns (pictured below)
  • Best Technology Work Culture: Technossus

Acorns-accepting award4-web

“We are honored to recognize the growing tech community in Orange County and San Diego with our second annual Timmy Awards here,” said Tech in Motion Organizer Jaime Vizzuett, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates Orange County. “This year, we were able to highlight finalists who were nominated by their peers because they are companies that are growing daily not only in size, but in the number of innovations they are sharing with the community.”

“The entire event really celebrated local leaders and innovators creating the best tech workplaces,” said Tech in Motion organizer Kevin Gabrielson, Division Manager of Jobspring Partners Orange County. “It was an added thrill to hear emcee Richard Sudek, a lifelong entrepreneur, experienced angel investor and Executive Director of UC Irvine Applied Innovation, praise the progress of the community here.”

Last night presented a first in Timmy Awards history: this is the only time a company was recognized two years in a row. Last year, Eturi as a company won the Best Tech Startup Award under the name ParentsWare, since rebranding  to better reflect their growth and potential. This year, the Best Tech Manager award went to Jim Magner, President and COO of Eturi, making them the first employer to be acknowledged twice (pictured below receiving his Timmy Award).

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According to his coworkers, Magner is the silent hero behind Eturi Corporation’s success, involved with every element of its operation. Every day, he spends time in the ticketing system talking personally with users, while still managing to coordinate engineering, product, design and marketing decisions without hesitation.

Winner for Best Tech Work Culture, Technossus (pictured below), regularly provides a myriad of technical learning opportunities as well as tuition reimbursements for the training courses that their technically curious staff are always wanting to take. They make the latest in technology hardware and software available, from Augmented Reality to Cognitive Computing environments. They challenge their teams to leverage these cutting edge tools and shine by frequently sending them to compete in hackathons all over the world.

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The Timmy Awards are presented throughout the year in cities across North America, including Boston, NYC, San Francisco and Chicago. Previous winners include innovators such as Jet.com, LearnVest, Venmo, Trip Advisor, Gilt, Constant Contact, Casper and Instacart. The next ceremonies are the 2nd Annual Timmys of both San Francisco and DC on December 8. Please visit techinmotionevents.com/awards for more information.

Runner-ups for the 2016 Timmy Awards were also recognized at the ceremony last night: GoPro (pictured first below), Appletree (second below) and Mike Selberis of Glidewell Laboratories (third below).

go pro runner up Appletree-runnerup tech manager runnerup

 

About Tech in Motion Events

Tech in Motion, presenter of the Timmy Awards, is an international events series that brings local tech community professionals together to connect, learn, and innovate. What started as a collaborative project between IT recruiting firms Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates in 2011, grew into an organization of over 72,000 members across 11 chapters in North America including Boston, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, LA, Orange County and Toronto. Please visit www.techinmotionevents.com for more information about our notable speakers, sponsors and events.

30 Tech Leaders of Orange County and San Diego

On October 19, Tech in Motion is proud to hold their second annual Orange County and San Diego Timmy Awards at UCI Applied Innovation (5141 California Ave, Suite 250).  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. 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) tech startup, (2) technology manager, and (3) technology work culture. Here are OC and San Diego’s 30 outstanding finalists.

Best Tech Manager

Aaron Gibson – VP of Engineering at SabioAaron Gibson

“Brings a comforting level of humanity”

Aaron is very highly respected and admired by those he leads. He often does code reviews as team conferences, not only as a way to have people comfortable with sharing their work, but also to demonstrate that everybody makes mistakes and there’s nothing wrong with doing so. He brings a comforting level of humanity that allows people to be themselves.

Sabio nurtures exceptional tech talent and produces developers who are ready to step into a junior full-stack web role at any company that uses Microsoft stack. They also produce web prototypes for entrepreneurs who are looking for an affordable way to get their product to market.

Adam Miller – Founder of Vibrant Software LLCAdam Miller

“He’s not just our manager, he’s our teacher and mentor”

Adam is immensely respected by his staff, thanks to the work environment he creates. He spends the majority of his time with the engineers, allowing them to explore different avenues of technology and avoid feel pigeonholed into one area of expertise. Every other week, Adam’s team has learning sessions where one team member presents a topic in their area of expertise, letting the entire group  learn from one another and strengthen their own skills.

Recently, Adam led a team to work with Hyundai Motor America to develop a custom software solution that allowed the OEM to order and allocate vehicles directly from their plants.

Caleb Bradley – CTO of TradivCaleb Bradley

“Drives productivity by understanding the work-life balance”

Every month, Caleb meets with his team to go over their individual career goals and to ensure that Tradiv is doing all that it can to help make those goals a reality. By providing a platform for meaningful discussion and complete transparency, Caleb gives his team the opportunity to challenge the norm in the company and, therefore, the norm in the industry.

Tradiv is the leading online wholesale cannabis distribution platform. They are striving to demonstrate to the rest of the country that cannabis business can be a healthy part of the community.

Carlos Anchia – VP of Engineering at DistilleryCarlos Anchia

“Defines a clear strategy for how engineers can grow”

Carlos dedicates his time and energy to define a clear strategy for how engineers can grow into team leaders and architects. He provides employees with career coaching to help them achieve their goals of growth and prosperity, as well as promotes a safe place for engineers to try and fail.

Carlos’ team is responsible for producing the highly successful Tumbleweed news app that was featured by Apple as one of the top news sources in 2015.

Greg Glenn – M.E. Manager at Freedom Innovations

“Demonstrates the technical ability, solution- oriented approach, and can do attitude that is infectious”

Greg works with his direct reports to plan out their career path and develops work assignments, trainings, and weekly feedback for fine tuning. He authored their Design for Excellence (DFX) guidelines. These guidelines are the result of manufacturing issues during the launch of new products and provide systematic solutions that ensure quality control.

Freedom Innovations is a medical device company that develops microprocessor controlled ankles and knees for amputees, along with the apps to program, monitor, and adjust the prosthetic by their users.

Hossein Eslambolchi – CEO of Cyberflow Analyticshossein

“Pragmatic visionary in an ever-changing technology landscape”

At Cyberflow Analytics, Dr. Hossein is a visionary for strategic ideas around big data analytics platform and machine learning algorithms with innovative visualization techniques. He cultivates open dialog within team members, promoting collaboration and innovation through motivation and empowerment.

Hossein is the principal visionary for a real-time analytics platform built to detect security attacks on enterprise networks and data centers before intellectual property or PII data is stolen.

Jim m squareJim Magner – COO of Eturi Corporation

“The silent hero behind OurPact’s success”

Every member of Eturi’s team is familiar with every facet of the company’s operation, and that’s all thanks to a leader who is willing to open lines of communication, think outside the box, and present opportunities for his team members to deviate from their given roles. Jim gives his employees freedom through a flexible schedule that allows everyone to come to work happier, healthier, and more focused.

Eturi’s flagship product, OurPact, enables parental control to limit children’s apps and internet access remotely using MDM (mobile device management).

Jim Plush – Senior Director of CrowdstrikeJim Plush

“A passionate innovator leading his team to deliver visionary technology”

Jim has created a unique multi-track career ladder that ensures engineers are able to follow the same career advancement as a Senior Vice President while still focusing on their engineering initiative. He’s led initiatives such as “No Meeting Thursday,” “Think Week,” and “CrowdFest,” which are all part of driving the team culture at CrowdStrike. Jim has also set the cloud engineering standard for quality and resiliency.

CrowdStrike has revolutionized endpoint protection by combining three crucial elements: next-generation AV, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and a 24/7 managed hunting service – all powered by intelligence and uniquely delivered via the cloud in a single integrated solution.

Keola Malone – CTO of Underground ElephantKeola Malone

“Play to your strengths while you strengthen your weaknesses”

Keola created a team culture where everyone is empowered to innovate and think creatively. He implemented a “shark tank” style of innovation leading to a wide diversity of software platforms and a rich arsenal of technologies to use. This created an environment where a technologist of any kind, or skill level, can learn and grow.

In 2016, Keola’s team built and launched the infrastructure that thrust Underground Elephant into the FinTech space, allowing consumers to connect with dozens of financial service providers at the same time.

Mike Selberis – CTO of Glidewell DentalMike Selberis

“His endless vision and authenticity inspires each member of the organization”

Mike makes it a point to set detailed career goals with all of his employees and regularly follow up to ensure that they’re on track to meet their goals. His vision for Glidewell and sense of humor are contagious and foster a fun and innovative atmosphere. He sponsors internal hackathons and other team building activities that engage the whole company to grow together.

Using Amazon Web Services, deep learning, and cutting edge infrastructure solutions, Glidewell has achieved a digital manufacturing workflow that proposes a custom-fit crown for each patient and simplifies the rest of the manufacturing workflow.

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Best Tech Startup

AcornsAcorns_logo

“Breaking down barriers”

Father and son team Walter and Jeff Cruttenden founded Acorns in order to empower millennials with the tools of wealth-making – breaking down the barriers that have traditionally made it daunting for young people to start investing.

Acorns is the fastest-growing investment app in the United States, creating more than one million investment accounts in the past two years, and is specifically designed for the millennial audience.

AppletreeAppletree-Logo

“Work hard, play hard”

At Appletree, forward-thinking leaders have taken innovative ideas and teamwork to rebrand the company, shifting from BuzzMob to Appletree to appeal more personally to their target audience. They are now on a path to success while maintaining a fun, work had/play hard, and support your teammates type of environment.

Appletree exists to form a bond between school and home so that students succeed through a cross-platform communication tool teachers use to send class-wide updates and message parents directly on any of their synced devices.

Eturi-LogoEturi Corporation

“Driven by leaders”

Eturi empowers their employees to be leaders in his or her own way. An example of this is when their team created a brand new solution to a known mobile device management issue that eliminated scrambling, tremendously improving overall user satisfaction..

Eturi’s flagship product, OurPact, enables parental control to limit children’s apps and internet access remotely using MDM (mobile device management).

FoxTalesfox tales

“Non-traditional thinking and seasoned creativity”

The team at FoxTales includes seasoned creatives and leaders in the marketing, events, and communications space. They empower employee autonomy, promote non-traditional thinking, and host weekly cross-functional review sessions to ensure team collaboration and constructive feedback drive their business objectives.

FoxTales creates compelling custom visual experiences for brands such as Facebook, Instagram, Microsoft, GoPro, Nike, and many more. Their StoryStudio has the ability to act as a 360 degree movie studio set while integrated with GoPro to create their Burst GIF feature.

InsellerateInsellerate

“Brainstorm consistently”

This startup encourages its lead software architects to think outside the box by meeting every two weeks to reassess their application and determine the life expectancy of the current technology and structure. The team is encouraged to brainstorm with new ways of building the application with new technology or structure to increase the health of the application.

Insellerate’s product is the only CRM in the market that allows workflow customization, integration with other systems, a very easy user interface, extensive lead distribution engine, and a product that caters to the mortgage industry.

OSSIC-400OSSIC

“Pushing boundaries”

Seeing the market shifts in entertainment to more immersive and interactive media including virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming, OSSIC knew it was time to introduce their technology. VR and AR need immersive audio to be successful and OSSIC X provides it.

Integrating sensors, beam folding array of eight audio drivers, and smart audio algorithms, the OSSIC X enables accurate and immersive 3D audio playback that instantly gets tailored to the unique anatomy of the listener.

PeopleSpace OCpeoplespace

“We, not I”

PeopleSpace OC offers free programs for the start-up tech community, including classes and workshops led by local entrepreneurs and professionals, free meet-up space, quarterly innovation speaker series, and training.

PeopleSpace offers a startup program, iLab, that is completely community based, and provides startups the opportunity to meet with advisors and investors throughout their startup journey.

SpringboardAuto.com, Inc.SpringBoardAuto.com_blue-2

“Find your inspiration”

SpringboardAuto.com, Inc. requires a great deal of creativity to solve their technical challenges. They encourage their engineers to collaborate, white board, and huddle in any area where the lightning strikes them. They also set aside part of their corporate budget for technical learning, which ensures that their engineers continue to grow and evolve in their roles.

SpringboardAuto.com wants to fundamentally change the auto lending experience through their platform that leverages advanced analytics and data to enhance the consumer experience.

underground elephantUnderground Elephant

“Collaboration and empowerment”

Central to the development process at Underground Elephant is the company’s open culture of collaboration and empowerment, which makes it possible for the team of 32 technologists to access and reset their creative thresholds in order to build better roads that lead to organic sales conversations for large enterprises. Underground Elephant’s collaborative team environment, renowned company outings, and robust benefits package have earned several awards and nominations.

Underground Elephant uses proprietary technology to automate the marketing process, enhancing the connection between large enterprises and their prospective clients by delivering a highly efficient route to organic sales conversions.

Urban WorkshopUrbanWorkshop-Clear-410x155

“The startup that creates startups”

Urban Workshop was created to provide tools and equipment for people to use on their own projects. Their community now includes more than 650 people with more than 200 small businesses operating fully out of Urban Workshop generating over $12M in revenue annually.

Urban Workshop provides more than $1M of current state-of-the-art tools and equipment along with hands-on training, allowing people to make virtually anything.

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Best Tech Work Culture

AutoGravity

“One team, one dream”

The AutoGravity leadership team promotes the use of different types of technology in order to widen their employees’ skill set. Tech experts are regularly brought in to educate their team about specific problems so that they don’t have to face issues on their own. They also push for diversity on their team and respect family time by awarding flexible schedules, telecommuting, and employee children are encouraged to come to the office to do their homework.

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AutoGravity creates a user-friendly platform to help people finance their car-buying process right from their smartphone.

BIZX

“Changing the physics of business”

BIZX internally recognizes and rewards outstanding technical contributions. As a team, they attend several local tech camps and regularly host internal seminars where team members present their insight and best practices, fostering growth and collaboration.

Bitz office

BIZX develops an HTML5 broadband speed test that works on all devices and screen sizes without the need for any browser plug-in.

CIE Digital Labs

“Applying Startup Know-How to Your Business Challenges”

CIE Digital Labs has a fantastic web team that is consistently learning new things and making them part of their tool belt (Gulp, Bower, Node, SASS, and everything in between). They are rolling out a tuition reimbursement program to help those who decide to get a degree in a specific field, have partnered with the engineering program at UC Irvine, and intend to continue their partnerships with reputable college programs.

cie-digital-labs

CIE Digital Labs is a true, one-stop shop. They provide strategy, ideation, design, and execution in the realm of web development.

CrowdStrike Inc.

“We Stop Breaches”

In June 2016, CrowdStrike led the investigation and public disclosure of the high-profile breach of the DNC. With the unique CrowdStrike technology, their innovative tech team identified and attributed the intrusion to Russian intelligence agencies in less than two hours. This capability would have been simply impossible if it wasn’t for the unparalleled creativity, ambition, teamwork, and vision of the technical team.

crowdstrike small

CrowdStrike has revolutionized endpoint protection by combining three crucial elements: next-generation AV, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and a 24/7 managed hunting service – all powered by intelligence and uniquely delivered via the cloud in a single integrated solution.

Cylance

“Redefining the enterprise endpoint standard of security”

Cylance’s top talent produces and publishes numerous research projects at industry-leading events such as RSA and BlackHat. The team enjoys a flexible work-life balance, is motivated to learn and inspired to have fun all while creating some of their industry’s leading software.

cylance

By coupling sophisticated math and machine learning with a unique understanding of a hacker’s mentality, Cylance provides the technology and services that are predictive and preventive against advanced threats.

Dark Rift Entertainment

“Creating games that are engaging, dynamic, and most of all… awesome”

Dark Rift Entertainment is an advocate for technical exploration. If a team member has an idea for their project, even if it’s outlandish, Dark Rift harbors a space for them to test it. Recently, their team decided to upgrade to a new texture and material solution called Substance, a significantly more complex pipeline that requires their entire team to work together to solve both predicted and unforeseen issues along the way.

dark rift ent.

Dark Rift Entertainment is currently producing a revolutionary game, Embers of War, with radical new mechanics never before seen in the Tower Defense space.

GoPro

“Encourages employees to get out and pursue their passions”

GoPro prides itself in strongly confiding in their employers as they strive to be the leading innovator within the action camera industry. They have employed a “Live It, Eat It, Love It” program that encourages employees to take two hours every Thursday afternoon to get out and pursue their passions while capturing it all on GoPro and getting paid to do so.

gopro-san-mateo-headquarters-11

Recently GoPro has launched their best action performance camera yet, the HERO5 Black as well as their own Karma drone, which allows users to capture amazingly smooth footage in the air, handheld, or mounted to their favorite gear.

Hart

“Dreamers and innovators with a passion for changing the way people interact with their health”

Hart’s core values (craftsmanship, ingenuity, and change) revolve around fostering creativity. They encourage their employees to not be afraid to question the current technology in place or even to build their own. Hart takes monthly field trips to visit other companies and get new ideas to incorporate into their company culture. They’ve also created Hart University, which hosts three classes a week on pressing topics and engineering challenges.

hart

Hart is a medical software company with an open API platform, HartOS, used to solve many of today’s healthcare challenges. It allows consumers to access their health data from their doctors’ EMR, schedule appointments, send direct messages to their doctor, and soon also share data with family.

Surfline / Wavetrak

“Surfline champions the balance of life and work”

Surfline’s headquarters are located on the beach and employees are encouraged to take time to surf and get outdoors. Their products serve surfers, fishermen, and mariners, and their employees actually spend the time participating in these recreations in order to build great technical solutions to user problems.

surfline

Their technology is at the forefront of marine weather modeling and forecasting by combining complex weather models with human curation to provide the most accurate forecasts for ocean-related activities including surfing, offshores fishing, sailing, offshore cruising, and more.

Technossus

“Thank God it’s Monday!”

Technossus promotes technical creativity by applying a number of strategies throughout the organizational chart. Frequent new hires bring in energy and enthusiasm to seasoned veterans who, in turn, mentor and educate them. They also challenge their team to leverage the cutting edge tools they use daily to compete in hackathons all over the world to continuously hone their skills and master new technologies.

technossus-office

They pride themselves on providing a cutting-edge set of technology solution services that sit precisely in the sweet spot in the continuum between “obsolete” and “bleeding edge.”

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Your votes will decide who takes home the Timmy Awards on October 9th. In 2015, Sheim Edelbrock, CTO of the Control Group won Best Tech Manager, Parentsware won the Best Tech Start Up, and Tickets.com took home the Timmy Award for Best Work Culture. Who will win this year? You decide!

Winners will be revealed on October 19th in front of a live audience. RSVP now to attend the celebration!  

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.

data science cta

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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Orange County & San Diego’s Timmy Awards Winners Announced

Tech in Motion Orange County hosted its inaugural Timmy Awards at Applied Innovated (formerly UCI Institute for Innovation), on October 15, 2015. The awards recognize Orange County and San Diego’s top employers for technology professionals with a ceremony crowning the best work culture, technology managers, and startup leaders. More than 130 nominations were submitted and 5,971 votes counted from local Tech in Motion community members.

Want to get involved in a Timmy Awards in your city? Email us!

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“We were delighted to host our annual Timmy Awards in one of the most innovative tech hubs and honor Orange County’s top technology employers and managers,” said Matt Najera, Vice President, IT Staffing Solutions of Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners. “These companies have proven to be the top workplaces for technology professionals and deserve recognition in their community.”

The 2015 Timmy Award Winners for Orange County and San Diego are:

First runner-ups were also awarded certificates, as the voting for all three categories was extremely close! The first runner-ups are: Illuminate Education (Best Technology Work Culture), Phillip Pham – Chief Technology Officer at Cypher Genomics (Best Technology Manager, pictured below middle), and Zadara Storage (Best Tech Startup). View the full list of 28 Timmy Awards finalists here.

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Tech in Motion honors the best technology employers in Orange County & San Diego on an annual basis at the Timmy Awards. The Timmy Awards first debuted in Boston in February 2015 and are presented throughout the year in tech hub cities across North America, including New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Previous winners have included innovators such as Venmo, Trip Advisor, Gilt, Constant Contact, Casper, and Instacart. The next awards ceremony will take place in Washington D.C. on November 4, 2015.

Want to attend the Timmys in DC? Get on the list here.

The Orange County event featured demos from EZDrone and PUSH while members entertained themselves with the FoxTales photo storybooth. Sponsors for the evening included IBM, Veritone, LearningFuze, FoxTales, Eureka Building, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates.

Visit our sponsorship page for more information about how to sponsor in your city.

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The Timmys will soon be hosted in all ten Tech in Motion cities. Please frequently visit techinmotionevents.com/awards for more information and regular updates.

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.

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.

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.”

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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!

Recap: Demos & Drinks in OC, Smart Home Edition

At the end of September, Tech in Motion Orange County hosted a Demos & Drinks mixer – smart home edition! Some of the best home automation companies were on display at Eureka Building’s high-tech outdoor venue while 400 Tech in Motion members enjoyed drinks, viewing the latest home tech and meeting up with local techies and friends.

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Featured companies INSTEON, EDGEhome and Smartenit demonstrated how our Orange County members could use the latest smart home tech in their own homes.

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Medicast, a service that delivers doctors to your home within two hours with just a click of a button graciously sponsored the event and raffled off a service package to a lucky member!

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INSTEON entertained our members by demonstrating how they’ve integrated their Windows 8.1 phone app with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.

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EDGEhome and Smartenit both helped our members understand the logistics behind home automation. While Smartenit has been part of demo events other than Tech in Motion, they were sure to note that this was one of their best demoing experiences to date. They said the casual atmosphere and interest from our members really made their demoing process enjoyable!

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Founder Peter Cullen of Core Performance Consulting also sponsored this event, and provided our members with information on how his company can provide excellent Cloud based Accounting Services to small and mid-sized businesses.

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As always with our events at Eureka, people networked into the early evening and left our event with new information, new friends and new memories! We can’t thank our sponsors Workbridge Associates, Jobspring Partners, Core Performance Consulting, Medicast and Eureka Building enough for helping us put together this event!

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If you’d like to learn more information about joining the largest tech meetup in Orange County, please check out Tech in Motion Orange County to join the group and RSVP for our upcoming events!