Consulting, Leadership, and Beyond

Consulting, Leadership, and Beyond

In this episode, we are joined by guests Will Loving and Scott Walker, founders of Ironworks and Consult360. We discuss topics around entrepreneurship and what it means to be a successful start-up leader in a volatile tech economy.

We’ll dive deeper into what it meant to establish a tech company in the dot-com bubble, how they’ve seen tech consulting evolve, and how the senior leadership team at Ironworks went on to start their own ventures now driving a large part of the Richmond tech scene.

Stemmed from Ironworks

  • Authentic
  • Veracity
  • Fuel Digital
  • Shockoe
  • Tenant Turner
  • BuildOnMe
  • IronWorks

What is Mobile By Design?

This show was started by Shockoe, a mobile app development shop based in Richmond, Virginia whose goal is helping companies create better tools to improve utility for their customers and employees. We’re a podcast about all things technology, business, and design.

How to listen:

You can listen below, or subscribe (it’s free!) in your favorite podcast app. All links are listed below the media player.

Consulting, leadership, and beyond

by Shockoe | Mobile by design

Episode Topics

  • How has tech consulting changed over the years? Would Ironworks follow the same strategy today?
  • What challenges did Ironworks face?
  • What made you start and push Ironworks through was a nuclear winter for technology?
  • What proved successful for recruiting technology leaders and in turn selling to giant companies?
  • What did you see in technology that other companies didn’t?
  • Tell us about a time before mobile phones and the proven track record of digital enterprise technology. How did you help companies understand that value?
  • Ironworks grew to over 200 employees before being acquired by ICF — tell us about the companies that stemmed off and the successes you have seen branch from your initial operation.
  • What is the single most important leadership trait towards creating impactful leaders?

Credits

This podcast is produced and directed by Olya Polishchuk. Our host is Mason Brown. Follow us on Twitter @shockoe and Instagram @shockoe_rva

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December 19, 2018: Annual Hackathon

December 19, 2018: Annual Hackathon

In what has become an annual Shockoe tradition, we will be holding our annual hackathon in late fall 2018! We look forward to showing off the results from this year, but if you’re eager to learn more, check out our 2017 work from our “Civic Hack.”

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Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership

Coming out of the rvatech/Women in Tech event, on today’s episode we invite Liz Doerr, a partner at SandBox, Helayne Spivak, the former Director at the VCU Brand Center, Val Middleton, a partner at West Venture and our very own Rebecca Thompson, Project Manager to the Shockoe office as we discuss what its like being leaders in venture, creative and digital business and what it is like to be a woman in those fields.

What is Mobile By Design?

This show was started by Shockoe, a mobile app development shop based in Richmond, Virginia whose goal is helping companies create better tools to improve utility for their customers and employees. We’re a podcast about all things technology, business, and design.

 

How to listen:

Subscribe (it’s free!) in your favorite podcast app.

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In this episode you will hear more on:

 

  • What is the biggest challenge for women in the creative or tech field at the moment? Obstacles of women in the workspace, diversity, and inclusion.
  • What are the most critical changes that we, as a society, must make to face the future effectively?
  • What effect have women made on the tech/creative industry?
  • What do you perceive are the barriers to the growing number of female investors?
  • Do you feel that equality at work, with respect to women, has changed in the past 5 years? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?
  • What effect have women made in the tech, creative, or venture industry in Richmond/U.S.? In what way has this shaped your career?
  • Are there any specific Women or Women-led Businesses or events in Richmond you Admire or Respect?
  • What is the most interesting trend you have seen in 2018?

Thank you for listening! This podcast is produced and directed by Olya Polishchuk. Our host is Mason Brown. Follow us on Twitter @shockoe and Instagram @shockoe_rva

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Vision that Impacts the World

Vision that Impacts the World

On this episode, we invite Andy Stefanovich – corporate curator and provocateur – to the Shockoe office as we talk about what it means to challenge business leaders and how it can deliver innovation for clients.

What is Mobile By Design?

This show was started by Shockoe, a mobile app development shop based in Richmond, Virginia whose goal is helping companies create better tools to improve utility for their customers and employees. We’re a podcast about all things technology, business, and design.

 

How to listen:

Subscribe (it’s free!) in your favorite podcast app.

mobile by design podcast on stitcher mobile by design podcast on google mobile by design podcast on apple

In this episode you will hear more on:

 

  • How does one help executives think about how to think about what they’re thinking about?
  • From founding Play, how did this innovation and strategy firm forge the entrepreneurial spirit in Richmond?
  • How does one inspire executives of massive enterprises all over the world be empathetic and do good in the world?
  • Andy’s reach goes very far – why is Richmond the proud hometown and why has this not changed?
  • Seldom do you see a junior position as a provocateur – What’s the career path of someone like you and what does being a provocateur really mean?
  • Where does tech fit in the brand and innovation strategy? Where do you see the intersection of brand and tech? Especially for some of the big name companies you’ve worked with like Coca-Cola, Gap, and GE.
  • Brands and technology have so much leverage in our world. How do we make sure leaders align empathy, responsibility, and ethics with clients, works and humanity?

Thank you for listening! This podcast is produced and directed by Olya Polishchuk. Our host is Mason Brown. Follow us on Twitter @shockoe and Instagram @shockoe_rva

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To get inside scoop on our latest news, episodes and upcoming guests before it's released to the public.

Event Recap: Digital App Design for Academic Research

Event Recap: Digital App Design for Academic Research

About the Event

This discussion was on the ins and outs of designing custom digital applications for academic research. In 2017, VCUarts Department of Music Professor Susanna Klein partnered with app consultancy Shockoe to design and develop a custom application for a rigorous study on “The Power of Information for Goal Oriented Processes in Music Education.”

Shockoe began an engagement with VCUArts professor and researcher Susanna Klein to create an application that would allow her to study the role of technology inhabit reinforcement for student musicians. The project was a blast to work on, and it pushed our team to work better, smarter, and faster. Project manager, Rebecca Thompson, implemented new and effective PM techniques, while designers Mason Brown and Dan Cotting and developer Justin Boswell pushed through to create and build a product from scratch. Once the app was finished, Susanna was able to implement the tool in her study, and thus far results have been encouraging. This past week, Shockoe was very excited to speak on a panel at the annual edUi conference, which highlights tools, techniques, and theories for UX and UI at universities, libraries, and museums.

The panel started with a summary of the project, its genesis, and what the relationship of a large public research institution was like with a private product firm. Susanna talked about how she leveraged Shockoe’s expertise in technology and design to help solve a problem she had seen with students and performers over her decades of music experience. Throughout her career, she had noticed that practice time was often wasted on inefficient of unfocused time spent with the instrument as well as habits that often led to injury or poor mental health around progression.

Susanna came to Shockoe with a multitude of ideas involving an array of technologies including Microsoft Kinect, AR, and other sensor-based solutions, it was her engagement with Shockoe’s design team that helped her narrow into a product she could deliver to students quickly and one that could be used to study these habits in order to create an effective study.

Dan touched on that original ask of the project, and how working alongside her with his team, Shockoe was able to introduce several product design concepts to help solidify an approach. One featured heavily in the panel was the effectiveness of user interviews and how that created a strong journey for all participants to center around when designing and developing the “V-Coach” application. The learnings from the user interviews largely drove design decisions that would ultimately be reported favorably by research participants.

Mason then walked through several features of the app, showcasing how Shockoe used the UX strategy research, and turned it into an effective end-to-end product design that would satisfy users while effectively delivering for the study. Susanna then shared the current status of the results of the study, which are still being processed by statisticians, but the qualitative surveys issued have illustrated success so far. The team of VCU and Shockoe were able to produce an application that was able to solve practice woes brought to the table by Susanna while being easy to use and effective throughout students’ practice sessions.

During the QA, audience members were able to engage with the panel, asking questions relating to Shockoe’s processes, timelines, research methods, and outcomes. It was a great opportunity to share some great outcomes with some great professionals in the field of design.

About the Speakers

Susanna Klein
Area Coordinator of Strings, Assistant Professor, VCUarts

suzanna klein - digital

Susanna Klein is the assistant professor of violin and coordinator of strings at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University. She has 15 years of professional orchestral performing experience and currently enjoys focusing on chamber music performance with her trailblazer group ACE.

Klein served as principal second violin of the Richmond Symphony for five years. Previous orchestral appointments have been with the Colorado, Memphis, Vermont, and Rhode Island Symphony Orchestras. She has been a member of two string quartets: Artist-in-Residence with the Oberon String Quartet at St. Catherines School in Richmond, Va. and violist with the Seneca String Quartet in Boston, MA.

Professor Klein is an active researcher, writer, and pedagogue. She has recently launched the YouTube Channel Practice Blitz, dedicated to efficient practice routines for string players.

Mason Brown
UX/UI Designer, Shockoe

Mason BrownMason Brown is an experience designer at Shockoe. Whether it’s designing applications for musicians, credit union members, or enterprise employees, Mason is passionate about creating quality tools that provide significant improvement to whatever task is at hand. With years of experience in systems and product design, Mason works with clients to identify business problems, understand the needs of the user and craft products that benefit both. You can find him on the James River from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. nearly every morning coaching collegiate, high school and para rowers while continuing his quest to see every single James River otter.

 

Dan Cotting
Director of Immersive Technology, Shockoe
@dancotting

Dan CottingWith over a decade of customer and user experience strategy under his belt, Dan Cotting is Shockoe’s Director of Immersive Technology and resident “future-tech-crazy-person.” Dan fully believes that virtual and augmented reality will pave the way for an entirely new approach to business operations: improving the lives of both employees and consumers, while simultaneously increasing business efficiency and productivity. When he isn’t dreaming about this “Ready Player One” future, Dan spends his free time playing bass guitar, practicing 18th-century photographic techniques, brewing beer, and enjoying time with his wife Kelly and their five rescue pets. He holds a B.S. from Boston University and an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

 

 

An Intern Project to Drive Good: Feed Racer

An Intern Project to Drive Good: Feed Racer

What is Feed Racer?

Feed Racer is a competitive food donation app built to help FeedMore in its mission to help provide in-need Virginia families and individuals with food supplies  — it’s a race to win where everyone wins.

A two-fold project: learning and helping

This summer, Shockoe put together a comprehensive intern program focused on the delivery of a fully developed application to drive a community initiative. Mason, Rebecca, Misty, Paulina, and the many members of Shockoe structured the project as well as our professional growth around a project with clear direction and purpose. Our intern project ultimately took shape as we conceived, designed, and developed an app to help bridge donors and the food bank in the Richmond area.

Research & Rationale

During the discovery phase, we met with on-site with FeedMore, one of the major food banks in central Virginia. They taught us about their donation, collection, storage, and delivery processes and how they plugged into the pantry network — an expansive operation that exists on a scale much larger than we had expected.

FeedMore’s largest obstacles were centered around food donations, money, and time (i.e. volunteering). We learned that FeedMore’s largest wins come when more people engage by giving back, in one way or another.

So we jumped on our research and investigated creative ways to engage people in this context. We began drafting up methods focused around playful competition which incentivize camaraderie around shared goals and driving desired donation behaviors.

Design & Development

We chose a race-centered theme because we believed that collecting food should feel more impactful and playful. Feed Racer promotes gamification, repeat involvement, and participation versus typical food drives that people forget after one-and-done donation.

Our core features include:

  • Race Dashboards
  • The ability to create races
  • Customizing races
  • Building teams
  • Fuel points (collected from actual donations)
  • Total fuel score (calculated from total donations from specific food categories)
  • Leaderboards
  • Recent donations

The team with the highest accrued fuel score at the set finish date will be crowned the winner of the race.

Future Vision

With our limited time frame we left some open ends on the project we hope to wrap up in time. A future roll out of Feed Racer will integrate rewards and badges where users can keep track of their progress, “lap battles” to incentivize donating specific items (a great option for FeedMore when supplies of a specific category are low). Last but not least, we hope to improve user, or “captain” in this case, permissions to allow more effective moderation of ongoing race.

We are optimistic that our project can be an impactful concept to help promote community initiatives around food donations. We are thankful to have had a chance to work through countless research, strategy, wireframes, designs, and development and giving us the insight to understand what it takes to create not just an application, but a method of engaging donors with the mission of a non-profit. We look forward to seeing it fully in action in the not-distant future!

Olya Polishchuk

Olya Polishchuk

Marketing Coordinator

Olya Polishchuk is a two-year Shockoe team member and the force behind the company’s marketing efforts. Her passion for content generation, promotion strategy, and inbound marketing are only matched by her love for her two dogs Beamka and Mars. Olya is a Ukranian native fluent in Russian, and in her spare time enjoys music, art, travel.

A Summer of Interning: What we Learned @ Shockoe

A Summer of Interning: What we Learned @ Shockoe

Our Shockoe family is comprised of people with different skills, talents, and backgrounds — we know it’s what allows us to grow and learn as a team. It’s for this reason that our internship program took on a different shape this year. Thanks to the prep work and persuasive initiatives of our very own Mason Brown, Shockoe put together a comprehensive program focused on leveraging our culture of mentorship and growth, not just for the interns, but for our team as well.

Jackie, Matt, and Cameron joined the Shockoe team in May and shared their invaluable contributions to design, strategy, and development. We were fortunate enough to call them part of the Shockoe team, albeit for the short period before they headed back to their studies. We asked that all three share their thoughts and experiences of being an intern — one thing is for certain: we will miss having them around!

Jackie

Finishing my first year as an Experience Design student, I was eager to find a summer internship where I could expand my UX/UI knowledge and gain real client experience; I was super stoked to join Shockoe’s Intern Program. As a Design Intern, my time was split between working with the design team on client projects and the remaining time with my fellow interns on what called “The Intern Project.”

There were many cool firsts for me while working on the Intern Project. It was my first time working with a developer to move a design past the prototype stage. I had to learn the best way to communicate and quickly problem-solve to align with a developer’s process. This was also my first experience with QA testing. I helped evaluate the app for both functionality bugs and inconsistency with the UI. Additionally, this project was the first time I designed using the agile methodology. It was awesome to see how in such a short amount of time we were able to implement a whole process including discovery, design, and development.

Being part of the design team was as fulfilling as it was educational. Everyone was willing to answer any question and quickly welcomed me as a member of the team. I loved the all-hands weekly design meetings where we shared projects and received feedback and advice discussing new tools or resources to better execute our job. I also had an amazing mentor, Sam Carbonell, who helped me define goals for the summer and met with me regularly to help steer my time here at Shockoe. I am so grateful for this mentorship and am happy to say I met all my goals!

Working at Shockoe for the summer has made me more confident in my design skills and I know I walk away with a new breath of knowledge. Thank you, Mason, Sam, Paulina, and Edwin.

Cameron

I came into my internship the same way many others do. I had no idea what to really expect out of the experience, and I was afraid of underperforming in front of my new found co-workers. Shockoe had a prearranged system set up in order to ease me into their environment, masterfully uncovering their processes to me as time went on so that I would not be overloaded with information. Shockoe allowed me to get a first-hand experience into their continuous integration system with technologies like Jira, Bitbucket, and their own accredited App Tracker, as well as work with some of the teams on real applications testing for faults. Before I got here my knowledge of app development came from Native Android, and instead of having me continue with this, they challenged me to branch out and learn the React Native framework.

By learning React Native, I also got experience working with redux, as well as using Firebase for cloud data storage. I utilized these newly established tools in my favorite part of the internship, the Summer Intern Project. This project granted me real experience working with Jackie and Matt, the designer and strategist interns respectively, to develop a high-functioning app by the end of the summer. I got to learn a lot about their processes and the obstacles of their role to both communicate and integrate their ideas into what I then had to develop. The app vision was handled by our amazing internship coordinator, Mason Brown, and our product managers Rebecca and Misty made sure the project timeline and direction stayed on track.

Getting up and bugging senior developers can be a daunting task at some firms, but here at Shockoe, the developers are very understanding and open to help. Whether you are asking to learn more information about a subject, or just have debugging advice they really want to see you grow. I believe that this stems from the amazing culture established at Shockoe.

Shockoe’s emphasis on culture meant they provided many activities outside of work to get co-workers involved. Lunch and Learns were always a great experience since they gave us the chance to sit down with peers for a free lunch and to listen in on a topic from another coworker. Whether that be hearing about the Mystery of the Stolen Bicycle or a lesson on how to self-defense, an amazing experience was always guaranteed to ensue. I was also a member of the Shockoe indoor soccer team (or Shockoe Futbol Club, SFC) which gave me something to do outside of the office and a better chance to get to know my colleagues while playing a game of soccer. Last but not least, by the summer’s end the office held a summer party solely for the team and family member to enjoy a BBQ, corn hole, Jenga, a live DJ, and so much more!

I cannot thank Shockoe enough for the invaluable experience they were able to provide for me. I can leave Shockoe feeling much more confident in my own skills in an industry where you always feel out of place. Thank you, Mason, Paulina, Edwin, Andrew, and the rest of the Shockoe team for hosting this amazing internship program!

Matt

As an Experience Design student, most of my class projects wrap up after concept presentation and prototype walkthroughs. So I was excited for the opportunity to learn how designs and wireframes turn into functioning products, and I don’t think there’s a better company in Richmond to learn that process than Shockoe.

I learned from a variety of opportunities throughout my 9 weeks here. For the Feed Racer intern project, my role was to be the project owner. I worked with Jackie and Cameron to design, develop, and bring our ideas to life. I learned to write user stories, which break down and translate user behaviors into individual features and functionality. One of our biggest challenges was time, specifically not enough of it! I wish we could’ve had 2 more weeks. So we focused on the MVP, and laid out the plans to iterate, and improve. Prioritizing features and fixes was the greatest learning for me because ultimately those are the moments and decisions that make or break success!

One of my other favorite projects and built skillset this summer was focusing on Usability Testing. It was my responsibility to field surveys, screen respondents, and schedule a day of participant interviews. I helped coordinate and participated in the interviews and synthesizing of notes and findings. It was a cool experience to see how people’s thought processes lead them to behave and interact with screens so differently.

Overall, Shockoe was a great place to intern, and the direction and support we received from the Shockoe team was amazing. A big thank you to Mason, Rebecca, Misty, Paulina, and Edwin!

Onwards and Upwards

On behalf of the entire team, thank you Cameron, Matt and Jackie for your hard work, your warm and engaging spirits, and for embracing the culture we proudly call Shockoe — we wish you all the best with your ongoing studies and thank you for helping our team grow and learn from your truly valuable contributions.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post where we will showcase their summer project app aimed at helping local food banks with collection drives and encouraging giving through a fun competitive interface.

Civic Innovation

Civic Innovation

On this episode on Mobile by Design, we are joined by Richmond’s First District City Council, Andreas Addison, to sit with our Marketing Coordinator, Olya, and our host, Mason Brown, to discuss civic innovation and technology as it relates to a fast-growing city. Join us as we dive into topics including city innovation projects and Code for America and what steps government officials are taking to bring a bustling tech sector and a growing city to work together.

Civic Innovation occurs at the intersection of transformational ideas with data, technology, and inclusive engagement cultivated by strategic engagement. Andreas Addison is in the center of this with an impressive list of projects. You can connect with Andreas on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What is Mobile By Design?

This show was started by Shockoe, a mobile app development shop based in Richmond, Virginia whose goal is helping companies create better tools to improve utility for their customers and employees. We’re a podcast about all things technology, business, and design.

How to listen:

Subscribe (it’s free!) in your favorite podcast app.

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In this episode you will hear more on:

  • Civic technologies and larger innovative projects being undertaken by Richmond.
  • What is Code for America and how have Andrea’s experiences played a role in his political career.
  • What are the limitations and challenges of embracing innovative technologies as a city?
  • Open Data and Open Gov – what’s been challenging toward the success of these projects?
  • How is Richmond distinguishing itself as one of the world’s leading cities for technology development? How will we make Richmond a more technology-driven city?
  • Which exciting technology initiatives is Richmond pursuing in the future?

 

Thank you for listening! This podcast is produced and directed by Olya Polishchuk. Our host is Mason Brown. Follow us on Twitter @shockoe and Instagram @shockoe_rva

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Inc. Magazine Unveils Its 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

Inc. Magazine Unveils Its 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

Inc. magazine revealed that Shockoe is No. 815 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

“It’s an honor to once again be recognized amongst the Fastest Growing companies in the country. The extraordinary team of designers, developers, strategists, and all the support teams behind them has been the unquestionable ingredient to our success. We look forward to the years ahead as we continue to pioneer cutting-edge mobile solutions that enable our partners and clients to excel” – Edwin Huertas

Not only have the companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 (which are listed online at Inc.com, with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 15) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2 percent, and a median rate of 171.8 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.

Olya Polishchuk

Olya Polishchuk

Marketing Coordinator

Olya Polishchuk is a two-year Shockoe team member and the force behind the company’s marketing efforts. Her passion for content generation, promotion strategy, and inbound marketing are only matched by her love for her two dogs Beamka and Mars. Olya is a Ukranian native fluent in Russian, and in her spare time enjoys music, art, travel.