Decoding Technology Marketing

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.

You wouldn't want to live in a box, so why does your website?

Joey Ellis wrote this on Dec 12 / 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.

Since the origination of the Internet, designers have been working to translate their understanding of print design to the new digital medium. In recent years, things have shifted substantially. Web designers have started developing an entirely unique execution designed for the Internet.

Now that the Internet as a technology has outlived its ability to be called “new” we see more and more companies ditching their visual ties to print design, and embracing the idea that a website is its own world. Initially, content on the Internet was packed tightly into fixed-width rectangular shapes, similar to a piece of paper. Why? Because designers were used to designing things that were printed on sheets of paper, and everyone else was used to reading things printed on sheets of paper. This made sense at the time but the evolution of web design continues to redefine this notion. People are now more than comfortable with experiences that are tailored to device sizes rather than paper sizes.

This brings us to the topic of responsive design, which is probably the most important shift in web design in the past ten years, and yet is still unused by many companies. If you aren’t already familiar with the term, responsive web designs differ from their predecessors because the sections and sizing respond to the width of your browser.

For example, on your laptop, if you have a three column layout, it might shift on your tablet down to two columns, then on your mobile device shift down to one column. The website is adjusting the layout of the site to match your browser perfectly. I think we all remember the days before this. They were bad days, full of a solid 30 seconds of pinch-zooming to attempt to find what you needed, only to find that it was on another page.

Another carry-over from print design is the concept of the fold on a website. Keeping all important content above the fold continues to be a frequently debated issue between designers and stakeholders. In my opinion this is also an unnecessary leftover from print design. Newspapers were designed this way because the folded news stand view was the only view available to consumers before purchase. There was no opportunity to explore the inner contents without making the jump to purchase. Thankfully, your website does not have the same obstacle. Readers are more than free to explore, and providing a relative curation of the most important content is a far better method to encourage reading than cramming as much into your website as possible.

If you pull people in with an interesting top-portion of your website, your users won’t mind scrolling just a little bit, I promise. For example, take a look at how Apple’s minimalistic product pages draw you into deeper content due to the beauty and brevity of the content. A beautiful and engaging website should be about expression and communication. Much like person-to-person interactions, it’s often better to speak clearly in a well thought-out manner than to say too much. In the case of web design, you just might find that people naturally explore and enjoy beautiful, concise web design.

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples of great work that communicate clearly using layout based on your device, not the paper in your printer.


10 websites to revolutionize your view of interactive storytelling.

Joey Ellis wrote this on Aug 6 / 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.

As one of the website designer/developers here at BuzzBee, I have noticed a trend coming into place with our website clients. In 9 out of every ten discussions, the client will mention one of three magical words that sum up what they are looking for. Those three words are clean, simple, and energetic.

If these words are very familiar to you, you just might be a web designer. If these words sum up what you want for your site, you just might be a future client. Clean, simple, and energetic are all qualities that shine through in great websites, right?

Sadly, if I asked five clients what they mean by "clean and simple", I would likely get five different answers. If I dug a bit deeper into what each client meant by “clean and simple”, I’d be faced with a more complicated question: How do we infuse this website with energy?

The solution isn't that simple, and I can't hand out any one-size-fits-all answers in this short blog, but I can introduce you to a great option: a dynamic, interactive website.

Why opt for such a website? Because while you see all of the cutting edge technologies that exist behind your service, your clients ultimately seek practical solutions to their practical problems. A dynamic, interactive website can help them quickly realize your offerings are the answer.

With recent developments in mobile compatability, software support, hardware support, and JavaScript libraries to simplify implementation, the Internet is becoming more dynamic and interactive than ever. If your company isn't taking advantage of this new storytelling platform, you might be missing out on one of the most important portions of your marketing efforts. Interactive websites can tell your story in a much more attention-grabbing, informative manner than many other mediums, and with lower long-term maintenance costs.

You should know, however, that an interactive website is only as powerful as the story behind your website. That’s why BuzzBee addresses the challenge in a holistic manner. A fantastic presentation without a solid story won’t leave a lasting impression, and may actually weaken your marketing efforts.

Now for your homework, here is a collection of websites that do a fantastic job of just that. Using interactivity to tell stories, inform customers, and most importantly, emotionally compel. Take a look at what they have to offer. You might just find the solution to your biggest marketing frustrations.

1. Tinke

2. Oakley Airbrake MX

3. Sony: Be Moved

4. HTC One

5. Lexus LS

6. Make Your Money Matter

7. Why Your Brain Craves Infographics

8. Every Last Drop

9. Costa Coffee Experience

10. Conta ContextAd