How to Feed 422 Nerds a Thanksgiving Feast [Infographic]

Every year, the families of our executive committee team up to put together a homemade Thanksgiving feast for our staff. My first Nerdery Thanksgiving was back in 2007. I was amazed that they could put together a meal for 40 people and still have leftovers. Seven years later, they managed to feed 400+ people and still had leftovers. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, your grocery list would look something like this.
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Why $10K Websites Work for Everyone… But You.

As a custom web and interactive development company, it’s not uncommon for customers to come to us asking to help select or implement a pre-built website theme for their business. When we start asking questions, however, we often find that a from-the-box website solution won’t deliver the value clients think it will.

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Quick CMS Comparison [Infographic]

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your website – and your budget – is one of the most important decisions in the web development process. To help illustrate the differences, we’ve put together this visual guide examining what makes some of our favorite affordable CMS options unique.

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Lumbersexual Fashion Trend Sweeps The Nerdery

We were recently called out in Gear Junkie’s article on the Lumbersexual fashion trend and we embraced it. We asked the Nerds to sport their best lumberjack gear and they showed up in droves. I’d bet that everyone had what they wore in their own closet – no shopping required.

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Why is Website Development So Darn Expensive?

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We hear the question, “Why is website development so darn expensive?” a lot. So we rummaged around The Nerdery for three different perspectives (from a Software Developer, a Project Manager and a Solutions Engineer) on the true value of developing software and why you ultimately get what you pay for.

“Getting everyone on the same page is important to create an accurate estimate, scope and timeline.”

-Kurt Schmidt, Director of Project Management

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Outsourced Web Development

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The question that all organizations face when building a new website is especially challenging to small businesses on a tight budget – “who can we trust to create our website?” And while a small business, nonprofit or startup may have limited resources, their users have real needs to address.

Outsourcing is a great option when you don’t have the technical skills required internally, though it’s hard to know which kind of outsourcing is right: offshore, freelance, an agency or even your friend’s tech-wiz nephew.

I’ve had to make these tough calls before myself when co-founding startups and have learned that the right answer depends on a combination of your knowledge-level and what you’re willing to risk.

Cheap Has Its Price

It’s easy for someone to promise you that with the budget or constraints you have, you can get exactly what you’re asking for. They want your money, and will say “yes” if that’s what it takes to get it. Then when you get your finished product, surprise! You don’t get what you want after all.

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Core Values Week 2014 – day-by-day diaries

Here are excerpts of some of the messages and stories shared by Nerdery leadership throughout 2014 Core Values Week, starting with a Friday-before preview:

Friday, Oct 17 from Tom O’Neill, President:

My fellow Nerds – I am writing from the Inc. 5000 conference where we are being honored for the amazing growth you all have contributed to. As I packed up to leave for the airport I got a text from Mike Derheim asking to me to grab a book from his office. I didn’t recognize the book but there was an impressive list of leaders on the cover. As I skimmed the list my internal voice read “Ken Blanchard, Warren Buffet, Ira Flatow, Mike Derheim, Bill Gates… wait… what the, MIKE DERHEIM?” I quickly texted Mike back with some thoughts on how I felt about him not sharing this tiny little detail with me yet.

Always humble, Mike thought it was not important to share that he contributed to a book of essays along with some of the world’s most influential leaders. As I read his passage I went from shocked to moved pretty darn quickly. In Mike’s essay, he wrote a personal story about having faith in decisions that are grounded in core values. Now I want to share this edited-down excerpt with Mike’s permission from Marcia McMullen’s new book, “Because You Believed in Me, Vol 2; Contemporary Mentoring Stories”:

“Everyone should be so fortunate to have someone walk into their life and change it forever – someone who challenges them to see things differently. To think big but stay humble. Lucky for me I met Luke Bucklin. Luke believed in empowering people – and in our case, Nerds. He always said if you do the right thing, trust people and spread the leadership, the right things would happen. I could spend hours explaining things Luke taught me. I’ll always come back to one word, one which I believe defined Luke. That word is ‘faith.’ Echoing in my memory’s ear, I hear Luke saying things like, ‘Mike, don’t worry so much. We did the right thing.’ It took me a long time to realize what he meant and how revolutionary an idea it is to just believe – blindly, completely, totally – in your decisions and core values. I could’ve easily spent all my energy trying to figure out what the worst case scenario was, and how to avoid it. Luke dismissed the worst case immediately because he knew whatever we did was based on what we felt was right. That Luke could so gracefully navigate complex times by following relatively simple ideas – and faith – well, it gives me peace and always will.” - Mike Derheim

I love Mike’s reference to “relatively simple ideas” in his essay. Our core values are relatively simple ideas. Ultimately we all want to do the best we can to serve our customers and make this place great. We are more effective as a team when we all agree on what “the right thing” is. For us it is:

  • Integrity in All Circumstances
  • Solve Problems Pragmatically
  • Win by Empowering People
  • Be Humble
  • Constantly Push Boundaries

I am very proud of how far we have come and incredibly excited about the next few years of our journey. We have a long, tough, exhilarating road ahead – many roads, really. Audacious goals. Lots more changes. Awesome challenges. We’ll confront challenges we don’t yet know exist and may not see coming, but on we go, armed with a vision we know by heart, and guided by core values that point a true direction. I for one, have faith that we all will do our best to do the right thing. Enjoy your weekend ladies and gentlemen, more to come.

– Tom O’Neill, President

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Digital PM Summit preview w/speakers Megan Wilker and Kurt Schmidt

This podcast is a conversation about digital project management with two leaders in the field: Clockwork COO Megan Wilker and Kurt Schmidt, Director of Project Management here at The Nerdery – both invited to speak at today’s Digital PM Summit in Austin, Texas – no spoilers in this preview. Kurt also talks with Megan about the growing community-of-peers she founded called the Twin Cities Interactive Project Management Meetup.

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How big data can help your business, big or small

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In recent years, you’ve probably heard a lot about “big data” or Apache Hadoop but little of it  has been enlightening or inspiring (maybe a bit mysterious like a good twist to a movie). Big data is really just a buzz  word for now, but it’s what we use when we’re talking about a collection of large and complex data sets that are analyzed to reveal patterns. Some say it’s solving big problems for big businesses like Google, US Bank, and other large enterprises out there. Some say it’s too complicated for “an ordinary developer” to do. We’ll try to answer some of these questions, dispel some of these myths, and most importantly, show you how you and your business can use big data to solve your problems… big or small.

“Try turning what you used to see as a trash can into real money for your business.”

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Why most thoughts of emerging tech are wrong – a MindSurf Conference preview

bell curve with adoption gap right after the early adopters and before mass adoptionWhen most people think of emerging technology they either thinking of flashy tech demos powered by smoke-and-mirrors or a rough pre-production prototype not quite ready for primetime. But emerging technology is past the prototype stage and at the tail end of the early adopter curve. The reason why we don’t see it everywhere is because it’s sitting on the edge of what analysts call the adoption gap.

My favorite example of emerging technology is Lasik corrective eye surgery and how for many years I heard people say, “Sure, I know it’s safe – but I’ll let some other people get lasers shot into their eyes for a few more years… because, well… lasers in the eye!” Even though it had over a decade of medical research, FDA approval, and a lot of success stories, it took years before Lasik crossed the adoption gap into being a mainstream procedure.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.01.10 AMYou can catch my presentation about emerging technology at the upcoming MindSurf Conference on October 9th at the Benchmark Learning Center.

I’ve given variations of this talk a few times – my presentation about looking forward to the emerging technology of tomorrow always opens peoples’ eyes once we start talking about current-day applications. Thinking about technology that we have access to today and giving people a chance to dream about possibilities is my favorite part. We’re moving into a world driven by contextual-awareness, and new technologies at our disposal can help create new meaningful experiences.






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