2019 First Annual RVA.js Conference

2019 First Annual RVA.js Conference

It’s here! On Friday, November 15th, 2019, Shockoe will be sponsoring and attending Richmond’s first conference dedicated to all things surrounding JavaScript! We’ve mentioned previously how much we love working in JavaScript, so we’re stoked that an event like this one is finally coming to Richmond.

Cost of Attendance:
$149.00
Time & Date:
Friday, November 15, 2019
8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Location:
Westin Richmond
6631 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230 

There will be 18 industry leading speakers from all over the world coming to Richmond to provide you with a full day of JavaScript focused content. Some of the discussion topics include: 

  • Visualizing Large Datasets with JavaScript Using deck.gl
  • Building Open-Source Cloud-Native Apps in JavaScript
  • Build Software like Pixar Makes Movies
  • & much, much more. 

There will also be plenty of time for networking with other attendees and speakers. Come on out and learn with us! 

Will we see you there? 

Want to get more involved in the community? You’re also invited to our React Native 2.0 Meetup!

Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve your Brand Strategy

Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve your Brand Strategy

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages, has become a buzzword over the last decade. You’ve heard of it, you might use it, you might fear it, but you can’t run from it. It’s time to understand it.

What is AI?

AI, in today’s world, has led to better customer engagement, more efficient processes, and more reliable data. What people don’t know is, it’s been around for over 60 years. It only started gaining real recognition when the infamous Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, was born in 2011. All AI really is, is a way for machines to “learn” human behavior and operate in such a way to make life easier, better, and faster (sound familiar? Hint hint, it’s our motto). Almost every industry is using AI capabilities.

The one industry consumers don’t associate artificial intelligence with is marketing. Marketers might not discuss their use of AI out of fear of depersonalizing their field, but I can assure you they’re leveraging it. 

AI can do wonders for your branding efforts. The reason people shy away from it is that of what I previously mentioned- depersonalization. The foundation of branding is to make a company human, so by using Artificial Intelligence, companies fear they’ll lose consumer trust. Here are a few misconceptions about AI:

Common Misconceptions about AI 

  1. “The Black Box.” This is defined as “[a] system for automated decision making, often based on machine learning over big data, map a user’s features into a class predicting the behavioral traits of individuals, such as credit risk, health status, etc. without exposing the reasons why.” It describes the reason people shy away from AI, because they don’t understand how it comes up with the data that it does. It’s simple, really. One knows exactly what data goes into the machine, and can assess the outputs it provides, so it’s up to us as humans to figure out the path of completion. It’s not all that ambiguous, it just takes some problem solving. This leads me to my next point: 
  2. “Machines are going to replace humans.” Well, not really. We will always need human intellect, sentiment, and opinions in order to come up with accurate data. Machines only know what you’ve told them, and can only create data based on its repository, which again, is provided by humans. The only way to combat this issue is to ensure the right team of people are responsible for the input. 

The reason the black box becomes an issue is due to a lack of transparency with the consumer and because of possible implicit biases by the humans involved, which may lead to inaccurate or unfair data, and ultimately wrong decision making in training, organization structure, targeting, etc. By allowing the consumer to tweak the outcome and “peek inside” the box a little bit, you’re maintaining that sense of trust and camaraderie, instead of keeping everything opaque and putting all of the power in the person inputting the information. 

How can it enhance your branding efforts? 

Now that I’ve shed some light on the misconceptions and ways to combat issues associated with AI, how can it enhance your branding efforts? Here’s an example: as a consumer, have you ever been online shopping and a retailer’s website presents you with “here’s something similar you might like” or “complete this outfit with these pieces”? Most likely, you have. You’re more likely to either A) buy additional items from that shop or B) feel like they know you.  This is AI, and this is great branding! It doesn’t revoke the personalization and consumer trust, but enhances it. 

According to Blake Morgan on Forbes.com, the future of customer experience lies in using artificial intelligence. She estimates that by the year 2025, AI will support 95% of customer interactions. 

Supported is the operative word here. By leveraging AI capabilities, it’ll be possible to: 

  1. Emphasize your brand’s human factor 
  2. Improve upon customer service (think: chat bots, workflow funneled answers to maximize efficiency, 24/7 support)
  3. More targeted approaches- customers will have a better idea about your company if they are only receiving material from you that pertains to their interests and likeness. Being spammed by a company with things that are irrelevant is far more detrimental to consumer trust than being spammed by a company with things you enjoy. 

Conclusion 

Brand and marketing strategies have had to adapt to technologies since they became the powerhouse they are. First, it was the releases of Windows and Apple operating systems in 1995, then came mobile smartphones like the iPhone in 2007, shortly followed by Siri in 2011, and we’re now in the new age of emerging technologies such as mixed realities and voice. 

Avoiding these incremental changes will do nothing but leave your company in the dust. Leverage them, introduce them, and flourish by using them. Being progressive and innovative will undoubtedly lead to consumer trust. You know what they say, you’re only as good as your last customer. 

Ryan Waltz

Ryan Waltz

Junior Marketing Analyst

Ryan graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia . She is skilled in communication, staffing services, Spanish, and social media. When not at Shockoe, Ryan runs her own wedding photography business & can be found hanging with her cat Kai.

Design Thinking: In the Classroom and Beyond

Design Thinking: In the Classroom and Beyond

Today on the show, we are joined by Jason Vest, a passionate Richmond middle school teacher as well as the host of “AfterEd.”  Jason aims to challenge and shape the world of education to better prepare grade school students to face the world of tomorrow. Through promoting critical design thinking skills and encouraging thought leadership at an early age, Jason is turning quite a few heads across the country.

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.

Episode Topics

  • What does design thinking mean to Jason, from an educator’s perspective? 
  • How can businesses and community leaders play a role in bridging the gap between academic and real-world professional?
  • Shockoe’s Hackathon
  • Exercises used with Shockoe’s client, Winn-Dixie

Credits

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

 

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3rd time’s a charm: Shockoe Makes Inc. 5000 List Again

3rd time’s a charm: Shockoe Makes Inc. 5000 List Again

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

For the 3rd Time, Shockoe Appears on the Inc. 5000,
Ranking No. 1051 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 445 Percent

 

RICHMOND, VA, August 14, 2019 – Inc. magazine today revealed that Shockoe is No. 1051 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, 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.

10 years ago, Shockoe saw an opportunity to change businesses with mobile. And we did. Now, we’re excited to leverage our capabilities with emerging technology over the next 10. 

To think of how far we’ve come, from a basement office with 3 employees, to where we are now, being recognized by Inc. 5000, is an award that not only validates our hard work but our teamwork as well. Our team is what drives us, it’s what encourages us, and it’s what inspires us. 

Mobile is essential, but that doesn’t stop us from finding what’s next and tackling that as well. I’m excited about the future of our organization. Let’s get to work.”

Edwin Huertas

CEO

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” said Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

The team here at Shockoe is honored and humbled by this recognition. Today, we celebrate our growth, innovation, and above all, teamwork. Our extraordinary team of designers, developers, strategists and the support teams behind them are what makes Shockoe, well Shockoe. 

To our clients who make our jobs so much fun and our employees who make it all happen, thank you. We’re excited to continue learning, growing and pioneering the mobile technology space.

Media Contact:
Ryan Waltz
+1 877 696 7001
ryan.waltz@shockoe.com

Designers Unite: Shockoe to host AIGA

Designers Unite: Shockoe to host AIGA

We have a small but mighty design team here at Shockoe. Any given day one of us might be discovering needs from a client, drafting UI standards for another, then refining designs for the most intuitive and impactful experience. With so many facets to everyday workflow, the term “designer” has become a bit nebulous.

Design is more than just making visual choices, but at what point does “Experience Design” or “UX/UI Designer” become too vague? Where do things like research, and strategy fit in?

Join us for some fascinating conversation around the role designers play in technology and a team dynamic. We’ll share some of the things we’ve discovered along the way, both the things that worked and some that didn’t prove all that helpful. Most of all, we want to hear from you and get the dialogue flowing around this topic.

The Deets:

Cost of Attendance: Free
Time & Date: Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: 3122 W Marshall Street #201

What to Expect:

  • Get an inside look at the roles our design team plays here at Shockoe. Explore our workspace and get a taste of our processes (and perhaps some beer too).
  • Flex your thinkin’ muscles in a fast-paced collaborative brainstorming exercise. When the world of mobile development is framed in sprints, design must be too. We’ll share a practice that has helped us expand our idea of what design truly is.
  • Socialize, network, and snag free food & drink to your heart’s desire. We’re keeping things casual, and we know happy hour truly is the main event.

If you’re interested in hanging with the design team here at Shockoe, sign up. Let’s get our design on.

Clutch Names Shockoe a Top Developer in Virginia

Clutch Names Shockoe a Top Developer in Virginia

Align Mobile Technology to Human Behavior

Shockoe brings a holistic view of what it take to bring emerging technology to the edge. We bring a deep experience in mobile apps and the latest in AR and voice technology. Understanding the changing world of software development and our dedicated team of developers, designers, and strategists are what have allowed Shockoe to stand out in the industry for almost a decade. It is clear through our final products that we have chosen the right profession and aren’t going anywhere. We are thrilled to announce that in a recent report, Clutch named us as a top developer in Virginia, for the second year in a row, out of thousands of other agencies!

“Being recognized by Clutch as a Clutch Leader is an honor and confirmation of the work we are doing with our clients. At Shockoe, we know that jobs come in many shapes and sizes: Managing a warehouse? Shopping for groceries? On-the-clock or not, work is work. That’s why we build apps that make work easier—so that people can have more time for the things they care about.”

-Alejandro Otanez, COO

Who is Clutch

They are a B2B ratings and reviews site that works to connect businesses to service providers around the world. Their team of analysts conduct in depth research on aspects such as company market presence, work quality, and most importantly, client experience. Clutch analysts interview former clients of service providers over the phone, publishing the raw feedback onto the provider’s public Clutch profile. We’ve received an unprecedented amount of positive reviews (11 to be exact) and have secured a top position among leading developers.

We are also featured on The Manifest as a leader in our industry! The Manifest is a Clutch sister site that publishes business news and how-to guides with practical business advice for firms of all sizes. Visual Objects is another sister platform that allows businesses to showcase their visual portfolio to potential buyers.

Our achievements thus far have come about as a result of our hard work and dedication, which fortunately runs abound in Shockoe! We look forward to growing our presence on Clutch and encourage you to read more about the latest Shockoe news on our blog!

Want to know more about how Shockoe can do to help you bring technology to the edge?

Ryan Waltz

Ryan Waltz

Junior Marketing Analyst

Ryan graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia . She is skilled in communication, staffing services, Spanish, and social media. When not at Shockoe, Ryan runs her own wedding photography business & can be found hanging with her cat Kai.

Shockoe’s 1st Meet-Up: React Native

Shockoe’s 1st Meet-Up: React Native

The Meet-Up Overview: 

Shockoe would like to provide a space for the RVA React Native community to share its knowledge and grow together. There are many options today for creating mobile applications, and React Native is a great solution for a cross-platform approach. Join us to strengthen the community by bringing in new developers and sharing our knowledge with one another!

Cost of Attendance:
Free

Time & Date:
Friday, August 16, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: 
3122 W Marshall Street #201
Richmond, VA 23220

What We’ll be Covering:

Our first React Native meetup will be targeted towards beginners and more advanced developers.

Part 1:
An introduction to React Native and review resources that are available to get you started. We will discuss how React Native works, and draw parallels to other frameworks and platforms. Additionally, we will run through some newer JavaScript concepts that are prevalent in the React Native community.

Part 2:
A focus on the tools and tricks available to the React Native developer. We will explore the standalone React Native Debugger as well as extensions available in Visual Studio Code. We will also share some development tricks to make your job easier!

I’m a Beginner- What’s React Native?

React Native is a framework, backed by Facebook, for creating cross platform applications. React Native essentially cuts developer effort in half by removing the need for an isolated codebase for each platform. This is achieved by allowing developers to write JavaScript code, which maps to native elements, and can be ran on both iOS and Android. That allows for a smooth transition from web developers that are already used to creating single page applications with JavaScript.

This cross platform idea is not a new one.

Cordova and Ionic achieve a similar goal by utilizing WebViews. Developers actually create websites that are ran on mobile. Plugins are provided to interact with native APIs where needed. This means that all of the UI is not truly native, but instead just a website. UX can suffer when going this route.

Flutter is also not a native experience, but it is not web either. Flutter provides its own UI engine that is super fast and runs on both platforms. The development team has created components that mimic native Android and iOS components, but do not always behave identically. UX will generally be better with Flutter than a pure web solution, but integration with native elements can be strange.

React Native, NativeScript, and Titanium, and Xamarin all allow for a developer to write in JavaScript that then drives true native components. Xamarin falls into this category as well, but it substitutes JavaScript for C#. This approach isn’t flawless, but it does utilize native components instead of attempting to mimic a native feel. We feel that React Native is the strongest in this category due to its dependency on React and the outstanding support from the React Native community.

If you would like to speak at a future event, please contact us through Meetup or send a direct email to kevon.adonis@shockoe.com

Interested in coming? We’d love to meet you!

Meet Your Hosts:

Andrew Rumbley

Andrew Rumbley

Cross-Platform Development Lead

Andrew is a Senior Mobile Developer focused on creating quality user experiences. He is a full stack developer with experience working on every piece of a mobile application from backend APIs to frontend UI. Andrew is passionate about creating high performing native applications. He also has the distinguished mantle of being the longest-tenured developer at Shockoe.

Kevon Adonis

Kevon Adonis

Full-Stack Development Lead

Kevon Adonis is a senior full stack developer with 12 years of development experience spanning Java, PHP, C#, Javascript, HTML, CSS, and SQL. Being a certified AWS Solutions Architect, Kevon also brings cloud solution and dev-ops experiences to the table. When not writing code, Kevon focuses on algorithm analysis and computational theories that impact his everyday coding challenges.

eTail East: Transforming Retail. Together

eTail East: Transforming Retail. Together

We’re heading back to Boston! From August 19 – August 22, Shockoe will be attending and speaking at eTail East in Boston, Massachusetts. 

About eTail

eTail is where the top minds in retail meet, collaborate and learn about what’s disrupting the industry today and what’ll change tomorrow. Shockoe’s COO, Alejandro Otañez, will speak from his seven-years experience at IBM, on how digital technology investments can be implemented and measured for success and impact. 

Why we’re attending

Having all the technological expertise in the world means nothing if you don’t understand your customers. Mobile phones and digital technology are the ultimate culprits of the way things operate today, making tough tasks easy. The two together fundamentally unify the entire experience.

We believe that every company operates in a way that is as unique as its offerings. Every technology solution should be as well. Our team of strategists, consultants, designers, and developers work to embrace existing processes, question inefficiencies and deliver custom digital mobile tools that can improve the overall quality of your customer experience.  

If being out-of-the-box has felt like forcing a square peg into a round hole, we get it. Come to talk to us — we’ll help you create a custom technology solution that will help you truly fulfill your customers wants and needs.

The proof is in the pudding

We’ve worked in several facets of the retail industry— learn more about our work here

If you’re interested in learning more or will also be attending eTail, we’d love to speak with you! Click the link below & we’ll make it happen.