Next week, join us for the City of Broad Shoulders, a three-night event coinciding with RailsConf that will highlight Chicago's enduring entrepreneurial spirit. Along with partners in crime Dev Bootcamp, 8th Light, and DevMynd, Table XI will be co-sponsoring a Speakeasy Night, a Maker Night, and a Windy City Night, where attendees will get to play games, build cool stuff, and learn how to tell a good story.
Speakeasy Night (April 22): Chicago's history from the 20th century is steeped in tales of the Roaring '20s, Al Capone, and other prohibition-era lore. Slip into this speakeasy-themed saloon for rousing games of blackjack, dice, Werewolf, and Munchkin—no secret password required.
Truth time: how much of the day do you spend on Facebook instead of doing your work? This was a question our own Steve Puiszis asked himself once he learned that certain friends of his were wasting five to six hours a day on social media, and he wanted to see how he stacked up (thankfully, not as high). But the effort led him to discover a nifty tool called RescueTime, which tracks the time you spend on different websites and applications.
“Content Marketing” is the buzzy phrase on everyone’s lips these days. But, what is it, really, and how can you do it well? Many of us know that there’s a link between good, current content and search engine results, but is there more to it than that? Table XI partner and Think Glink Media president Ilyce Glink walked us through the benefits of creating good content and how strong content marketing can yield real results.
What do you do when you want to share specific information with your company, or solicit feedback on a certain project, or ask a question of your colleagues? You could email your entire company, but these days, people are pretty sensitive about extra emails cluttering their inboxes and interrupting productivity (and if you work with developers, you know that can be annoying and costly). Depending on the topic, it might even feel spammy.
Last month, Life Itself, a documentary based on movie critic Roger Ebert's memoir, premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. The latest collaboration from Chicago's Kartemquin Films and acclaimed documentary director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters), the film chronicles Roger's life as a world renowned critic, author, and humanitarian, until his death in 2013 from complications due to cancer. Roger was our friend and partner, and I cherish the time we got to spend with him over the last few years, helping him bring RoberEbert.com to life and continue his substantial legacy.
Polar vortexes aside, it’s no secret that we love our hometown of Chicago, and we love it even more when people want to visit. So we were excited to team up with new client Hop the Pond, a young company that helps students with J1 visas find temporary work, housing, and fun things to do in Chicago over the summer.
Hop the Pond was started by Chicago native Mark Reiter and Irishman Kevin Egan. Both had tough experiences as students traveling abroad, where they had trouble getting part-time jobs and affordable places to live, as well as knowing where to go or what to do for entertainment.
This week we launched the brand new M2057.com, the e-commerce site for fashion designer Maria Pinto’s new collection, M2057 by Maria Pinto, and the follow-up to her groundbreaking Kickstarter project. The successful campaign, which raised more than $270,000 this past fall, proved there was a market for Maria’s designs, so she decided to build an e-commerce site to make them more widely available.
This was a fun and interesting project for us, both since we were excited to continue working with Maria, and because it was our first time using the e-commerce platform, Shopify.
Building an e-commerce site from scratch is a long and expensive process, so for retailers who want to get their stores up quickly and affordably, Shopify presents a good option. The platform offers online retailers a cost-effective, off-the-shelf solution which includes hosting, customizable templates, and software to manage backend processes like order fulfilment and shipping.
It’s been seven months since Roger Ebert passed away. A few of us had the honor to attend his funeral, which happened to be the very same day we were scheduled to launch his new website, RogerEbert.com. Out of respect to what Roger would have wanted, we went ahead with the launch as planned.
It’s a testament to Roger and his work that, as we expected, users are spending a lot of time exploring and searching his archived content—something they previously couldn’t do very easily. It’s also exciting that users are seeking out new reviews: Traffic is up 9% year-over-year with a unique visitor increase of more than 44%. I think Roger would be proud of that.
We were full of ideas around here this past fall, in no small part thanks to October's annual Chicago Ideas Week (CIW). This year we served as the organization's technology partner, helping the nonprofit launch its new website, enhance its online ticketing system, and develop a ticket scanning mobile app.
In the development world we hear a lot about the term “Agile.” In software this refers to an iterative approach to development that relies heavily on collaboration between cross-functional teams, feedback, testing, and continuous improvement. It's the approach that Table XI uses to design and build websites and mobile applications.