Top 3 MVPs from Aztek Hack Day

MVP

Most Valuable Player? Minimum Viable Product? In this case it kind of applies to both. We worked on some pretty great projects during our most recent hack day at Aztek and we wanted to share the results.

What is "Hack Day" anyway?

You know that idea that you had for a cool app or project, but you couldn’t find the time or resources to get it done? Our company gave us a few hours to get creative and work together on some of these “what-if” projects.

With Target gift cards for the best idea at stake, we got started. 

The top three projects share summaries of the experience creating their minimum viable product (MVP) below, at times in very technical detail (hey developers!).

1. Metal Detector App - Find Metal Concerts Near You: by Josh, Justin, and Frank 

You know what really grinds our gears? Not being able to find all of the doom metal or grindcore shows in our town in one place.

With this frustration, we set off on a valiant quest to slay the concert genre-searching beast.

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How to Write for the Web: 7 Beginner Tips

Wall of text. Do not use.

Oh, the Internet. It's a place full of hilarious memes, amazing YouTube videos and really long articles that no one has time to read. Have I lost you yet? No?

Let me introduce myself. My name is Evan Skorepa. I’m a high school senior, and currently an intern at Aztek.

Next year I’ll be studying Interactive and Social Media at DePaul University and I wanted to get some exposure to the web/technology industry before heading off to school in the fall.

Search and Skim

I grew up with the Internet, and it has affected the way I search for and acquire information. I'm used to having hundreds of search results at my fingertips in seconds without having to step foot in a library. Even when I go to the library, I search Google instead of searching a library catalog (@ Google Scholar).

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What to Expect During Your First Year as a Web Developer

Looking for a job as a .NET developer?

So was I about a year ago. Same thing with Alex Yosa. We're here to give you an idea of what it was like during our first year working at Aztek. Apologies in advance for the non-techy audience; we talk about programming languages and other terms you might not be familiar with. And there definitely aren't enough cat references.

TL;DR: Two of our web developers share highlights and challenges from their first year at Aztek.

Image of a cat typing on a computer. Hear from our newer web developers about their first year working at Aztek.

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What Monty Python Can Teach You About Web Marketing

The other day, I was thinking about a conversation I had with one of our newer web marketing clients. I was disappointed because the client wanted to stop their web marketing efforts...just as the site was about to start generating serious revenue.

Then, and maybe because the dark humor of Monty Python always cheers me up,  I started thinking about a scene from The Holy Grail. Specifically, this one:

Note: This video is slightly NSFW. If you have YouTube safety mode on, you can change your safety mode settings by following these instructions

If you choose not to watch, here's some background: The movie takes place during the reign of King Arthur. The scene involves a son carrying his older (but still fully alive) father over his shoulder as the town Dead Collector walks by collecting bodies during the latest plague. The son convinces the Dead Collector to "get rid" of the father, even though the father feels fine and wants to live.

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6 Tips for First-Time Conference Presenters

“So just make it up!”

That’s the advice it seemed everyone had for me as I approached my first conference presentation at Stir Trek (a one-day conference focused on software development and new technologies) and had to turn a 15-second abstract into a one-hour talk. 

To be fair to “everyone,” I was giving a talk on using improv skills to improve communication, and I have a performance background in improvisation, so it wasn’t just being cruel. However, after the thirteenth person, the cleverness rubbed off.

 

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Speed is Perception: Why Your Website Speed Matters

Last week the Aztek team attended the Stir Trek conference in Columbus, Ohio. Among the many great talks Chris Love’s “10 Things to Make Your Site Faster” presentation stuck out and got us thinking we should share a few of the ideas we use when designing websites and applications. 

So, Why Does Speed Matter?

Image of a blurred train speeding by. Learn more about how you can increase site speed in this post.

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Stir Trek 2015- Ultron Edition Recap

It’s true— there was a private screening of the new Avengers movie on opening night. But we went to Columbus to hang out in movie theaters for an even more compelling reason, our second year at Stir Trek! 

Stir Trek is a one-day conference in Columbus, Ohio focused on teaching software developers the best in new technologies, techniques, and tools. Last year we came back with tons of inspirational ideas and helpful tips. And this year didn’t disappoint. 

TL;DR: Another year of great sessions, but one of our favorites was by our colleague, Mike Hagesfeld, about how improv comedy can improve your communication skills and help your career.

 

Swag bag arrived for next week! #swag #stirtrek

A photo posted by Dustin Graves (@digraves) on Apr 22, 2015 at 9:01am PDT

Some of Our Favorite Sessions

Or get all the slides and code examples from Github.

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You Need a Mobile-Friendly Site. Seriously.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably already knew that more and more people are browsing the web from smartphones and tablets. What you may not have realized is that mobile internet usage - both in terms of total users and time spent -  now exceeds PC internet usage.

So it comes as no surprise that Google recently announced that mobile-friendly websites will get a rankings boost for searches on mobile devices starting on April 21, 2015.

Home sweet home.

How Does this Impact My Business?

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How to Give Design Assets To Your Web Designer

If you ever hire a web designer (firm or freelancer), you will need to give them the image and graphic assets to use in your design. And if you are not a designer yourself, you may be a little unsure about what formats and sizes to give them. Here're a few simple guidelines to help you give them what they need.

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Our favorite ideas from "Agile Explained" with LeanDog

Our team had the recent good fortune to attend "Agile Explained" on the very cool boat/office of the good folks @LeanDog

The two-day course is a fire-hose of information about the agile process and will leave you exhausted with your head spinning; but in the best way possible. Our team left positively buzzing with all the ideas we want to learn more about and implement into our own workflow.

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Who are these guys anyway?

Aztek is a web design, web application development, web marketing, and hosting firm in Cleveland Ohio. We’ve been around for more than 16 years, and we’ve worked with more than 600 clients. Aztek is not affiliated with the unfortunate car of the same name, nor are we descended from a fifteenth century Mesoamerican civilization. At least, not that we know of.