DECODING TECHNOLOGY MARKETING

The Art of Marketing Technology to Millennials

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Dec 7 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.


Recently I participated in my first ‘hackathon’, DubHacks 2015, and it was exhilarating. There were hundreds of student hackers and dozens of tech companies in attendance – and many of the companies gave away swag related to their offerings (I can’t wait to tinker with my new Raspberry Pi 2.0). Even more exciting, some companies offered prizes to the teams that used their technology the best, compelling hackers to use their technology to solve real-world problems. 

Today, a huge percentage of the world’s consumer base includes young people like those at the hackathon – or “millennials” – people born sometime between 1985 and the early 2000s. These consumers are also the future of our global workforce (up to 75% of it by 2020). And since millennials are the most tech-savvy generation to date, with many raised experiencing the rapid evolution of personal computers and smart devices, it’s essential to understand how millennials think in order to attract them.

This got me thinking about how mutual relationships are being fostered between tech companies and millennial customers. How do you get millennials to try your tech offering? Then, how do you convert them into customers? I spoke with some of my fellow engineering students and compiled a list of questions we ask ourselves when confronted by new technologies.

  • Is it an improvement to a tool I already know? If not, how easy is it to learn?

Learning new things can be difficult, and finding the time to learn them is even more difficult. Selling a product with a steep learning curve has never been a bigger challenge. At DubHacks, it was evident which technologies were most enticing. For instance, a machine-learning API that can enable photo recognition attracted a big crowd because it was new, easy to learn, and produced fast results people could see. How can you do the same with your technology?

  • Why do I need another app or device?

We have so much technology at our fingertips, often empowering us to be more productive, efficient, and interactive. But one can only commit to so much. What makes your app or device uniquely meaningful to millennials? What makes it worth incorporating into a daily routine or wearing on a wrist? 

Most millennials like to have the most popular mobile apps and devices as the interdependence with social networks on these grow (Can you name the last app you used that doesn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest extension?). For millennials, deciding to purchase and adopt new technology rarely happens in a vacuum. Take advantage of this, and integrate ways for people to interact with and expand their social network. 

  • How can I use technology to build something new?

Watching innovation evolve so quickly drives millennials to solve challenges at a record pace. When there are several competing brands selling the same type of technology, millennials are often drawn to the brands that feature relevance in the modern world and the potential to integrate other technologies. After all, what would the iPhone be without all of the apps?

My experience at DubHacks proved that there is value in offering free tools to showcase why they’re worthwhile. After getting my first real experience working with API’s, I now love to find ways to integrate different ones to make some useful application. 

  • Is it really worth my time and money?

Coming of age during the Great Recession and having the highest rates of student debt than any previous generation, most millennials are accustomed to being frugal and selective in their buying choices. Marketing your solution in a way that quickly catches attention and clearly shows how it can improve one’s lifestyle is essential. 

At the end of the day, to truly be a millennial-savvy technology marketer, always consider how you’re fostering the mutual relationship between your company and millennials. Whether you get them to explore your product through a creative and witty marketing campaign, leveraging the power of social media, or by investing some time and resources to introduce your technology at a hackathon, one thing is certain: you never know what scrappy young innovators may come up with under pressure and fueled by entrepreneurial aspirations and liquid courage (Red Bull and Monster Energy, FTW).

Here's to 15 More

Michele Bourdon Keeffe wrote this on Nov 23 / 0 comments

Michele Bourdon Keeffe sees the possibility in everyone, which is why she encourages both clients and employees to go past their comfort zone and push well beyond their own perceived limits.


For many of us, the holiday season is an opportunity to give thanks and reflect on what we’ve learned, and to show appreciation to those around us. It’s also BuzzBee’s anniversary, and this year it’s a milestone: 15 years. 15 years of great customers, great teamwork and great results. In celebration and reflection of this, the staff wanted a speech. I opted for a blog post instead.
 
Turns out, defining success is – and should be – really personal
The first thing I’ve learned about success is that defining it is personal. Every time in the past 15 years that I allowed my idea of success to be altered or I let my ego lead my personal intentions, the business has stumbled.
 
To me, success is the same today as it was when I first started BuzzBee:
  1. Truly understanding the pain of the clients. Being empathetic. Above all else, being helpful.
  2. Creating an environment where employees want to come to work every day. 
  3. Empowering people to change the world through technology.
Embrace and anticipate change
For our business, it’s essential to diversify the customer base to maintain consistent revenue. At one time our business was predominantly Microsoft. When the recession hit and Microsoft cut their budgets by 40% and our business fell off by, you guessed it, 40%. Today we manage our business so that no one company represents more than 20% of our revenue in any given quarter.
 
It’s essential to be really clear on our core competencies. If you can’t replicate it, and if you can’t do it as well or better than anyone else in the market, then you shouldn’t be doing it.
 
Keeping pace with innovation and modern marketing is a process. The industry moves quickly in many ways. Some of our customers want to try the latest marketing tactics and others want to stick with what’s worked for them. We need to serve both the innovators and the old school. It’s important to stay fresh while being considerate of our customers’ needs.
 
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Growth can be exciting, but it can also take on a life of its own. I’ve learned that growth for the sake of growth won’t necessarily benefit our clients, nor will our employees be happier–or will we be more profitable. And personally, the larger we get the less involved I can be with clients, employees, and my family.
 
In a small company great people managers are GOLD. Small companies need managers who do more than just manage their teams. They need people who spend a lot of time with clients, but are also excited to roll up their sleeves and get work done.
 
Setting a simple, strong and well-articulated vision and mission serves a small company well. Can employees rally around it? Can clients connect to it? The key here is keeping it simple
 
Well there you have it. I hope this is useful and perhaps even helps guide you in making some of the decisions that all small business owners in this industry will have to make. It’s been a fantastic journey for all of us at BuzzBee. Thanks for being part of it, and for continuing to make it possible.
 
Happy holidays,
Michele Bourdon Keeffe

Don't be late to the party

Michele Bourdon Keeffe wrote this on Oct 29 / 0 comments

Michele Bourdon Keeffe sees the possibility in everyone, which is why she encourages both clients and employees to go past their comfort zone and push well beyond their own perceived limits.


As marketing evolves, so do the buzzwords.
For instance, modern marketers love talking about storytelling like it’s the key to unlocking customer engagement. But what is "storytelling"? What we really mean – and want to master – is persuasion, the ability to compel people. To change perception using words. To meet your objectives through story. 
 
Whether you’re chasing leads, revenue, downloads or impressions, you have an end game beyond telling stories. 
Are you doing the right things right to reach that end? Or are you just doing things? 
Are you practicing storytelling? Or story selling?
 
There’s only one way to know for sure: start at the beginning.
Sales, by nature, has been social forever – and a lot of modern marketers are late to the party. The first step to recovery is admitting it, but the second step is attending my party at Seattle Interactive Conference.
 
Late to the Party: Bridging the Gap in Modern Marketing
Wednesday November 4th | 1:30 - 2:20 pm
Room 101 (Washington State Convention Center)
 
See you at SIC,
Michele

The Top Reasons Why Modern Marketers Don't Sleep Much

Dave Hollander wrote this on Oct 22 / 0 comments

Dave is a stubbornly collaborative storyteller and technology marketer who believes in power in simplicity, impact through alignment, a target audience of one and a mix of 73% measurement, 19% emotion and 8% grins/giggles. He's also an accomplished napper and fried cheese addict too often guilty of wearing plaid and finishing other people’s s---andwiches.


Two things became abundantly apparent at Oracle’s Modern Marketing Mashup last month in Seattle:
 
1. Modern marketers like a good drink.
 
Despite all our innovations and evolution, we haven’t outgrown an old-fashioned, Don Draper-ish, any-hour-is-happy-hour cocktail. Fortunately Oracle gets this. They even gave a prize to one lucky attendee for drinking an actual Old Fashioned. Stay classy, Oracle.
 
2. Modern marketers don't sleep much.
 
Modern moderator Adam Lavelle of Merkle launched his line of questioning with a simple prompt: 
 
'What keeps you up at night?'
 
The panel couldn't answer fast enough. Expedia's Global Head of Loyalty and Rewards Jarvis Bowers offered a string of sleep-staving angsts, from the increased codependence between marketing and our internal partners (ie Customer Service & IT), to the ever-foreboding reality that we're held accountable for what's said about our company, but helpless against controlling it.
 
Wendy White, Head of Global Business Campaigns for CenturyLink Technology Solutions, answered with an issue that's had marketers tossing and turning forever.
 
Alignment. With. Sales.
 
Oh yeah. That. 
 
As Wendy explained, for most marketers it's hard enough to convince many of our sales partners that MQLs are even real, and harder still to persuade them to take action when one falls in their lap. Sales’ treatment of marketing leads can sometimes be akin to using the Holy Grail as a spittoon. That alone is enough to keep us all up.
 
Still Sleepless in Seattle
 
Adam then tried to turn the conversation towards other topics around what he likes to call context (what we know about consumers), content (what we put in front of them) and connectivity (how we put it in front of them). But no matter what the subject was, the discussion kept drifting back to sleep. Or the lack thereof. 
 
When asked about personas, Jarvis made a statement that would make any devoted targeter jolt awake in a cold sweat. Personas, he said, are quickly becoming passé. 
 
“Consumers’ expectations are that you know them. Not in the abstract,” Jarvis explained. “We need to get beyond the notion of broad segments.”  
 
Personas still have a place when it comes to tailoring messaging and targeting communications.  But once you’ve connected with a customer, Jarvis is right. It’s time to get personal.  Easy, right? Not exactly. Just ask Cortney Wright, VP Marketing for Artbeads.com. Cortney knows what she’s doing. Artbeads.com has one of the rarest ‘problems’ in marketing. Get this. Artbeads has to be careful to avoid promoting their content too much. A product demo Cortney’s team created once helped sell 6 months’ worth of product the first day it was published. Let’s just say that demand outpaced supply that day. 
 
So when Cortney talks content marketing, I listen. And according to her, the gap between the vision of 1:1 marketing and the reality is “so big I can’t see across it.” She credited disparate data sources, a lack of resources to help interpret data and the inability to act on it in the moment with causing the chasm. Any one of these challenges is hard enough to conquer. Let alone all three. So it’s no wonder marketers today have a serious case of the content creeps at night. 
 
Wendy may have put our collective insomnia in perspective best. She reminded everyone in attendance that, “content is your permission to have a conversation with a customer.” 
 
With multiple stakeholders involved in B2B purchases, Wendy confessed that it’s more than a challenge to track which content is hitting which phase of which buyer’s journey. And if you are able to identify the gaps, it’s no scroll above the fold to find the resources and inspiration to fill them. Yet our success bridging those gaps with relevance and value can mean the difference between permission granted and permission denied.
 
When you put it that way, maybe sleeplessness is inevitable. But Cortney offered a ray of hope to close the conversation. When asked how her team manages to stay afloat and on course in a sea of data discrepancies and deficiencies, Cortney’s answer was simple: Sometimes it’s OK to go with your gut. Throw the compass overboard. Because, rested or not, your gut is smart.
 
Always Up
 
Apparently, the consumer isn't the only one who's always on. There's a new brand of sleeplessness in Seattle. But even though the odds seem to be stacked against our marketing stacks, it’s clear that sometimes it's not counting problems but counting possibilities that keeps modern marketers up. If you ask me, that's sleep worth losing. But maybe I’m just overtired.
 
Whether problems or possibilities are keeping you up, sleep counseling is coming to a city near you. Go to a mashup. There’ll be drinks. And there’ll be some ridiculously good marketers to connect and commiserate with.  
 
And locally, the Seattle Interactive Conference is just weeks away. It’s easily one of the best events of the year. There’ll be some truly sick presenters, including BuzzBee CEO, Michele Keeffe. Get registered today, and come check out her session on the secrets to selling through storytelling. 
 
Now tell me… what keeps you up at night?

Are treats allowed in the server room?

BuzzBee Staff wrote this on Aug 7 / 0 comments

2:30pm. Back-to-back meetings. Empty stomach.

We all know the feeling. And on a beautiful summer day, it’s easy for the mind to wander. One moment we’re discussing data flow diagrams, the next we’re seeing tasty treats in unexpected places…

Did we mention today is National S'mores Day? In the same way on-prem and cloud infrastructure can align for amazing results, graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate are best served together around a campfire.

But we haven’t just been sitting around singing Kumbaya all summer. Once you’ve enjoyed a S’more or two, see what we’ve been doing to help our technology clients capitalize on cloud, mobile, social and big data innovation.

Cheers!

Related Links

Rather drink your dessert? Try a S'moretini.

Why I Don’t Hide in the Bathroom and Look at Jobs on Craigslist

Joey Ellis wrote this on Jul 30 / 0 comments

As our Digital Engineer, Joey is a mixture of designer, developer, and all around geek. Joey loves tackling problems, telling stories with technology, and in his off-hours, brewing beer.


In your life, you will spend 90,000 hours at work. OK, stop crying. No, I’m not trying to shock you into buying a fetal position desk. I merely want to spark your curiosity. Considering how much time you will spend at work, are you happy there? Are the people around you happy there?

Too many companies don’t recognize the importance of their work environment. After all, employees’ happiness isn’t entirely up to them. Who can be happy in a situation where they’re treated like commodities, their surroundings are cold and soul-dampening, goals are spongy and undefined, and happy hour never arrives? Dealing with all of that can make a self-inflicted-workplace-injury-turned-vacation seem worth the price of no one ever trusting you with the paper cutter again.

BuzzBee was recently named one of Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”, and I can testify to the impact of our workplace culture. Mondays don’t feel like being tossed into Dr. Evil’s pit of laser sharks, and Friday happy hour gets transformed from beer-to-forget, to beer-to-… well, beer because beer is delicious.

If your company feels like a disconnected, forehead-in-hand, desk-jockey corral, I have a few tips. I may be a young man, but damn it, I’m a vibeology expert.

Nurture Friendships

When someone accepts a job offer at BuzzBee, they don’t just join a team, they join a group of friends. I know this sounds horribly cheesy, but it’s true. People care about each other at BuzzBee. From the top down and from the bottom up. When people care about each other, mutually beneficial decisions are made, and selfishness and power grabbing are unthinkable. Still skeptical that nurturing friendships at work is worth a damn? Read this eye-opening study from Kansas State University.



Recognize Hard Work

Everyone likes to be recognized differently. Personally, I like hugs, but maybe it’s a quick verbal “atta boy,” maybe an email, or maybe you even implement an online tool like TINYpulse to help you facilitate these interactions. Recognition helps breed contentment and happiness. And according to fancy studies by people much smarter than me, recognition can even help reduce employee turnover rates.



Treat Your Team

Whether it’s food or cocktails, karaoke or Smash Putt, we all appreciate being treated to a good time. When a company treats its employees, it can show employees their hard work is valued, it also creates opportunities for teams to strengthen relationships beyond the usual “thanks for finishing that TPS report”. At BuzzBee, we recently adopted an office kegerator and it boosted office morale—a lot. Even if your budget is tight, inexpensive perks can make employees feel more satisfied.



So, what does this all come down to? Whatever your role, think about what you can do to improve your work culture. As a best-case scenario, you can revolutionize your company culture, improve your team’s morale, boost productivity, receive a high five from the CEO, get a raise or even earn a chocolate chip cookie. And if the cookie doesn’t work out, at least you made the world a better place.


To whoever said “great work inspires great work”…

wrote this on May 26 / 1 comment

We firmly believe it. We’re constantly discovering and sharing great writing, visual experiences and campaigns across the agency. Because we’re storytellers at heart and we love to see unconventional, unapologetic underdog marketing succeed.

We tend to blog about innovations and insights at the intersection of technology and marketing, but today we’re going rogue. Today is all about our favorite campaigns, the ones that make us laugh or cry or do a double take. These are the campaigns that inspire us to think bigger, bolder and weirder.

Lance Blanchard, Creative Director

What makes a campaign great?

A really great campaign has the ability to take a brand or product's unique selling point, make it culturally relevant and then find a unique way to introduce the message to the target audience. Wrapping that message in humor, popular culture or trends can create enormous interest and bring a campaign to life. 

Favorite campaigns

Direct TV -  Get Rid of Cable

Budweiser -  True

E*Trade -  Baby

VW -  The Force


Courtney Hill, Sr. Account Manager

What makes a campaign great?

Great campaigns start with knowing your audience and being inclusive so the most people “get it”. Pemco does this well. They pinpointed very common personas in the Seattle area and created hilariously real situations around them—funny if you know the persona and still funny if you don’t.  

Favorite campaigns

Pemco – Northwest Types

Dominos – Our Pizza Sucks

Dos Equis – The World’s Most Interesting Man


Joey Ellis, Designer

What makes a campaign great?

A great campaign reveals itself when people start thinking, laughing, or caring, and get excited to share those thoughts and feelings with others. At that point, the campaign makes the leap from the head to the heart, and then makes the leap to the hearts of others.

Favorite campaigns

Chipotle – Back to the Start

Apple – Get a Mac

Metro Trains - Dumb Ways to Die

American Express – Small Business Saturday


Earl Siamundo, Content Strategist

What makes a campaign great? 

A great campaign connects with you, moves you, means something to you, therefore compelling you.

Favorite campaigns

Nike – Bo Knows

Apple – iPhone Launch

Intel – Intel Inside

Mercedes Benz – The Best or Nothing

Beats by Dre – Hear What You Want


Morgan Avis, Sr. Project Manager

What makes a campaign great?

I lean towards inventive story telling. An ad can be serious, or funny, but if it gets the story across in a novel way I’m interested.

Favorite campaigns

Humane Society Silicon Valley - Eddie the Terrible

Orphea - Billboard Trap

5 Ways the Eco-Movement is Driving Innovation

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Apr 21 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.


Nationally recognized on April 22nd, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the impact sustainability has on modern technological innovation. It’s no surprise that brands have been leveraging this eco-movement more than ever, from eco-friendly cleaning supplies to reusable coffee filters. And yet I’m consistently surprised by new innovations that support sustainability.

With Earth Day around the corner, I’m counting five big ways technology is helping us live sustainably. Which of these technologies do you use? Better yet, what do you think will be the next green innovation in technology?

1) Smartphone Apps

Don’t know whether that bottle cap is recyclable? There’s an app for that. The majority of cell-phone users own a smartphone, and apps are enhancing our daily lives more than ever. Apps can help people recognize what can be recycled or composted, recommend how to optimize your gas mileage, and even keep track of and change the heating and cooling settings at home. Check out the EPA’s top-rated apps to help you live greener this year.

2.) Electric Cars

Believe it or not, but electric cars have been around since 1880’s. Aside from saving on gas money, electric cars are popular because they emit no tailpipe pollutants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions of oil drilling and gas usage, and some are even becoming integrated with renewable solar technology. As technology has advanced rapidly over the last 10 years, electric cars have been becoming more affordable for the manufacturer and thus the consumer, while performing as well, if not better, than standard gas engines.

3.) Cloud Technology

Every year, more and more businesses have been adopting cloud technology with the primary incentive to save money, increase productivity, and ultimately stay ahead in the modern economy. In addition to traditional monetary benefits, integrating cloud technology in both the workplace and for personal use can significantly reduce one’s ecological footprint. Some research claims businesses can save up to 78% in energy costs. Specific eco-friendly benefits include decreased transportation costs, up to 80% less of physical server space, and a significant decrease in the amount of paper documents being used.

4.) Solar Panels

Solar panels and solar cells work by storing solar energy and converting it to electrical energy usable in applications such as powering electronic devices or heating your home. Today, a growing number of homeowners are investing in solar panels to heat their homes, saving both energy and money in the long-run. Additionally, many brands are now investing in research to integrate solar chargers and solar panels into portable technology including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

5.) Smart Homes

If you haven’t heard, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is becoming big business, especially for homeowners looking to save money and energy with smart technology. Current innovations in IoT are expected to impact the energy efficiency in both residential and corporate buildings. Smarter thermostats, lighting, and kitchen appliances are among technologies that are becoming connected to the Internet, helping us optimize energy consumption via smartphones and computers.

Music pushes me forward, so what is pushing music forward?

Nick Louie wrote this on Apr 7 / 0 comments

Nick Louie loves exploring the art of storytelling to turn complex ideas and elusive values into a palpable, compelling message.


Stretch limbs. Pour coffee. Play music. My workday routine is simple, yet crucial for me to get in a productive mindset. And I’d argue it’s the music that most jumpstarts my creative thinking.

After all, music is a universal language. Fast Company, Forbes and countless other publications have written about how music can support productivity in and outside the workplace. As more people listen to music to support inspiration and productivity, the business opportunities around accessing and supporting music have become more intriguing.

Since Thomas Edison’s first cylindrical audio recording in 1877, audio technology has evolved to bring us radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM record players, eight-track tape players, the Walkman and the MP3 player. Thanks to these innovations, region-specific music styles from blues and jazz to reggae and hip hop were able to spread across oceans and countries.

Where being a music industry disrupter once depended on pioneering innovative recording methods or playing devices, today’s disruptors are pioneering unique services to entice audiophiles across genres, devices, geographies and cultures. Remember Napster? Whether you consider them a villain, hero or something in between, they challenged the Recording Industry Association of America’s carefully crafted profit system and the paradigm that individuals must pay for their own music. Napster changed consumer attitudes toward music sharing, opening the door for the music services we use today. YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and so many more services owe their cultural relevance and longevity to Napster.

So what’s next? Jay-Z is leading the revamp of music streaming service Tidal, which plans to sign first-window deals with high-profile artists before other services can stream their tracks. Sony and Spotify are teaming up to enable PlayStation owners to stream their tunes while gaming. And YouTube is working to launch its Music Key service of ad-free music and, yes, even background playing and offline access in the near future.

Still, none of these are groundbreaking like Edison’s cylinder or Napster’s sharing model. I believe the next paradigm shift and big market disruption will occur as negotiations between music streaming services and songwriters, artists and the RIAA become more mutually beneficial or disintegrate under profiteering. Then there’s the possibility investing in artists in new ways—perhaps helping artists publish music as an investment? If we value new music, we must value the ones who create it.

Is technology helping or inhibiting music? It’s hard to say sometimes, but I think technology is forcing all of us to get creative in how we experience music—not just at work or at home, but everywhere.

What are you doing to push music forward?

Pi Day: Inspiring the Future of Math and Technology

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Mar 13 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.


After much anticipation, digit-memorization practice sessions, and pie recipe hunting, Pi Day is finally around the corner. This year, Pi Day falls on 3/14/15, a rare occasion where the first five digits of pi (also expressed as π) in are in standard American date format. While millions of mathematicians, scientists, and pie lovers will celebrate the day with pi digit competitions, pi-themed clothing, and of course, millions of pies, I find the holiday significant in other ways.

Let’s start with the facts. It’s just wrong to approximate the irrational number pi with a date. For one, countries like France and England would be missing out on Pi Day – many countries express days in day/month format. Unfortunately, there’s no such day given by the 3rd day in the 14th month. Furthermore, there has been a proposal with growing following to replace pi altogether with “tau”, or 2π, due to the fact that most fundamental equations in math and science include 2 as a coefficient with π. Personally, I’m just not hooked into Pi Day because pi’s marvel comes from the fact that it cannot be expressed as a finite number. Simplifying it to a three digit, five digit, even 12 digit number, if you want to go down to seconds, is like changing its identity entirely.

Now that I’ve poked holes in the premise of Pi Day, I’ll admit that the annual celebration has a profound influence in inspiring people to pursue science and technology. Of all the “magic” irrational numbers, pi, or approximately 3.14, is the one most often introduced in education at the earliest age. I remember coming across the oddly curved “n” in 5th grade, during my first Pi Day celebration thinking the two-letter word was a typo on the class calendar. Amidst sharing dozens of pies with my fellow classmates, this was the first introduction I had to pi. We had several activities learning how to write the symbol, wrapping strings around circular objects and cutting them in pieces to calculate pi, and having a competition to memorize as many digits of pi as possible.

As a passionate math and technology enthusiast, my early discovery of pi significantly fueled my interest in mathematics. Here is this little three-stroked symbol in my textbook, and it holds the irreplaceable ratio of every circle to its diameter, laying the foundation to hundreds of formulae in mathematics, science, and technology. What’s profound about pi is not only its important application in mathematics and technology, but its role in sparking worldwide interest in these fields.

Pi Day is the only official holiday recognizing a mathematical constant. Whether or not you agree with its generalized approximation on March 14th, it gets people thinking and excited about math. Students (and passionate mathematicians, engineers, and scientists of all kinds) will be celebrating the undeniable importance and beauty of pi this year.

Yes, I admit, Pi Day used to be my favorite day of the year. Maybe my calculus courses in college turned me a little too much into a mathematical purist today. But the important takeaway is that Pi Day holds a special place in the heart of many fellow math-and-technology enthusiasts (it’s also the birthday of Albert Einstein), and is a unique opportunity to inspire future mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and technological innovators all around the world. So, enjoy this upcoming once-in-a-century 3/14/15 Pi Day with your favorite pie, and perhaps enjoy two for the celebration of Tau Day on June 28th.

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