iStrategyBlabs

The Mobileys: Now Accepting Applications!

Announcing The Mobileys


Attention, attention, The Mobileys are here
Calling all mobile app entrepreneurs far and near
Apps that benefit our nation will compete
And be judged by some of the industry’s elite
For the chance to win $10,000 dollars in seed money
No… I swear… we’re not being funny
So tell all the developers and app creators you know
themobileys.com is where they should go.

 

But actually tell everyone you know. Thanks.

 

For the 2nd year in a row, Mobile Future is working with the team at iStrategyLabs to run The Mobileys, a mobile app competition that gives out $20,000 in seed money and the opportunity to work with an experienced and influential judging panel to a mobile app, service or other product that makes our world a better place. If you or someone you know has an app, service or product that fits the build, we’d HIGHLY recommend applying or telling them to apply to The Mobileys.

 

And while you’re here, check out this Venture Beat post about it!

 

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AM/PM, Recap of Our First Digital PM Event

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Last week our Strategy team hosted AM/PM, our first ever coffee chat for digital Project Managers to discuss tools, tips, and challenges facing our community. We had a great turnout, with about thirty attendees from top DC agencies such as Viget, AKQA, and RepEquity. It was amazing to be around so many talented individuals, and hear their insights on project management tools, team structure, and project scope.

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With all of the meet-ups for designers and developers, it’s a rare treat for digital PM’s to have their own space to exchange ideas and foster relationships. We’re hoping that AM/PM can serve that purpose!

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Thanks to everyone that participated! With all the positive feedback we’ve received, we’re looking at hosting our second AM/PM chat later this summer. Stay tuned and join the conversation on the AM/PM twitter account!

 

 

#IntroFriday Will Change Your Life, And Someone Else’s Too

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Perhaps it’s because I can toss a business card across the table with the accuracy of Peyton Manning that I often get asked to speak about the idea of “networking” or how to become a “super-connector.”  That said, the word “networking” often connotes the transactional, disingenuous side of relationship building. At the end of the day, one of the best ways to build & strengthen relationships is to provide selfless value to others. Here’s what you’re doing wrong and what you should be doing instead:

You are Doing it Wrong:  im-late-for-business-roller-blades The business card collecting, name-dropping, sales-driven types might be good at filling out a rolodex, but they’re too quick to ask for value (or simply to try and sell you something) instead of seeking to provide value (an idea, a connection, an opportunity, etc.). Too often are they demanding value in an email exchange (like calendar spamming), rather than simply creating it.

The Right Way: Many have written up great advice on this front, from the likes of Steve Blank on “How To Get Meetings With People Too Busy To See You” , and some even offer actionable recommendations and exercises such as James Altucher — who has a simple list of skills required to become a superconnector. The main message is to  provide real value to build real relationships. Here’s a dead simple way to get started: introduce two people you know to each other via email (two people who you know would both enjoy or find value in connecting with one another). Instead of #FollowFriday, let’s call this approach #IntroFriday.  Here’s an example:

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If you’re 100% confident that both parties will indeed be interested in meeting the other, then go ahead and let it rip. If you’re not, send them  individual notes to see if they would in fact be interested in the connection. Through practice, you will sharpen your radar and develop better intuition for future intros.

If you don’t have an intro to make, email someone you know and ask what types of intros would be beneficial to them (an investor? a designer? a plumber?), and remember it for the future. That’s it. I guarantee if you practice this, something positive will come from it… and sooner than you might think.

If it doesn’t, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.  :)

iStrategyLabs To Take Over Wonder Bread Factory Floor

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TL;DR: We’re moving to Wonder Bread Factory and we’re growing a lot (read about our thoughts on diversity, our culture, and apply here).

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Almost 7 years ago, I started iStrategyLabs in my apartment in Logan circle with a few months of living expenses in the bank. It was just me and a whole lot hustle propelling this thing forward. By year 2 I got a small shared office in Dupont and hired our first 2 employees. It was perfect. A place to kick your feet up, grab a bite on the roof and get some work done by the fire.

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Anticipating more growth, we moved to a full 6,200 square foot floor overlooking Dupont and felt like we’d finally become a ‘real company.’ I figured we’d have a long time to enjoy the view.

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Last year we started off with about 20 full time designers, developers, strategists and makers inventing things we thought might be interesting and valuable to our clients and communities. 18 months later we’ve leapt up to 50 people and can foresee a 100 person company within the next couple years.

That means we have to move. We have to leave the epic sunsets we’ve had the pleasure to share together in this wonderful lab.

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But as with any truly valuable creation, when your project has spent enough time in the lab, perhaps it should make its way to a factory so it can be shared more widely with the world.

I’m happy to announce that iStrategyLabs will be take over the historic first floor of the Wonder Bread Factory and embedding itself in the budding, historic neighborhood of Shaw (details).

At nearly 3x the size of our old space, we’ve got a lot of room to grow here.

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We have a lot of flexibility too. We’re considering including:

  • A full production/manufacturing studio to accommodate our growing creative technology and hardware development work
  • A conference facility to host up to 500 people for talks on design, dev, strategy and entrepreneurship
  • A pop-up retail or speakeasy experience just for the hell of it
  • A mini-incubator for startups we believe in to use for free

We don’t yet know what we’ll do. Our build-out plans are kicking off in the next couple weeks. I do know however that iStrategyLabs at Wonder Bread will be unlike anything you’ve seen in DC and…perhaps the world.

What do you think we should do?

Diversity at iStrategyLabs by the Numbers

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Both gender and ethnic diversity are hot topics in the tech and agency world for good reason – because these industries need to pay more attention to the compositions and culture of the companies they’re creating. Early on, I chose to set the tone at iStrategyLabs on this accordingly:

  • We must have a CEO & Executive Team lead a focus on diversity
  • We must be proactive w/ recruiting a diverse team (apply here)
  • We must abhor “bro/brogrammer culture” in all its forms

To date we’ve done a “good job” – but not great. I’ve shared the numbers below. Perhaps we get a B for this report card – we’re hoping to get an A one day. What do you think? N = 50.
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This final chart tells and interesting story. ISL is composed of 35% white guys and 65% women or minorities. I think we’ve got some work to do on the minority front – perhaps that should be 50%? 65%? Our weakest area is on the Engineering and Executive Teams.

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For comparison sake, Google just posted “Getting to Work on Diversity” which shows ISL out in front on gender and with a lower White Guys composition.

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