March 24, 2015

Book Review: Better and Faster

Filed under: Book Review,SXSW,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I experienced Jeremy Gutsche at SXSW this year. I say experienced because he was a performer and I was pleased to have been on the first row of this performance. I walked straight from his session to the SXSW bookstore to purchase his Better and Faster book. I read it cover-to-cover in one day.

Rather than espousing theory and principles for building businesses from ideas, Gutsche provides real examples that are not the overused Apple, Google and Facebook stories of success. Those brands are included, of course. But there are more stories about individuals with a solution to a problem that grew into a business than there are big brands that everyday people can’t identify with as a real opportunity.

The theme throughout the book is that change will happen and spotting trends on the horizon will keep you or your business relevant. The book provides charts, diagrams and steps for identifying business opportunity. I was inspired and making notes as I went along. And Gutsche’s Trend Hunter website is going to be a new regular read for me.

March 22, 2015

Virtual Reality

Filed under: Culture,That's Just Cool,Video — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I am not ashamed to embarrass myself, apparently. At the office on Friday, our digital team came together to experience Google Cardboard’s virtual reality for the first time. I never thought I would enjoy the experience, or really even understand it. I was wrong. Though still not perfect, the experience was pretty cool. And fun. While most of our digital team members were reticent to get too into it for fear of embarrassment (especially since we were livestreaming through Meerkat), I went all in.

Virtual Reality Dance from Emily Reeves on Vimeo.

July 29, 2014

Working Girl: Modern Day Trapper Keeper

Filed under: Business,Girl Gets Geeky,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 7:40 pm

I come with a lot of baggage. My daily tote bag. My travels. And even to meetings. I say that I am high maintenance, but that I can maintain myself. And usually can maintain all the people around me with all the stuff that I carry with me. Over the last several years I have tried to lighten my loads, but that each attempt barely lasts: I start gradually adding the things that I might need. Or have needed in the past and don’t want to be without.

In a 40-hour work week, I spend, on average, 15+ hours sitting in meetings. In meetings, pens run out of ink, tablets run out of power, my lips get dry, I realize I need my glasses, notebooks run out of paper. Any number of things can happen. Since my motto is “always be prepared,” I want to be prepared for these situations. This means I don’t have to leave the meeting to find a pen, or paper or a charger. I like to believe that it makes the meetings more focused and productive.

Walking into a meeting with a stack of stuff balanced in my hands is distracting and makes me feel (and look) unorganized. Walking in with a tote  bag is overkill and embarrassing. I found a couple of pouches that worked for my purposes, but my stuff wasn’t organized inside making it hard to find the things I needed when I needed them.

After a friends posted a picture of the Mod Mini from This Is Ground on Instagram, tagging it as a “modern take on the Trapper Keeper,” I knew I had to have one of these. Sophisticated and stylish. A variety of inserts to fit my specific needs. Organized and easy to carry. Everything contained and just as I need it.

I have only had my silver Mod Mini for a week, but I believe I have found my perfect meeting companion.


July 21, 2014

Favorite App of the Week: BarkCam by BarkBox

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 12:59 pm

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Rarely do I download an app and use it more than a few days or a couple of times before its novelty expires. I thought that BarkCam by BarkBox would be one of those apps. But given the fact that I take many, many pictures of my three dogs, BarkCam has become one of my favorite apps.

First a bit about BarkBox: it is a monthly subscription box with toys and treats for your dog. I have been a subscriber now for a while for my Labs and recently added a second box for my small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel addition to the family. I have never been disappointed in the box goodies, and neither have my dogs.

BarkBox also has a blog called BarkPost. It is a compilation of all news dog-related, the heartwarming and the entertaining. It is one of my favorite updates to see in my Facebook news stream.

Then last week, BarkBox introduced the BarkCam app. This camera app makes sounds just before the shutter clicks. The noises get the attention of your pup and the perfect look-at-the-camera face that is so hard to capture. You can select from several different sound effects, including a duck quack, a doorbell and a dinosaur. Once you’ve captured the image, the app has tools for adding filters, thought bubbles and icons like bow ties and sunglasses.

The app is free and only available for iPhones currently. If you have cute dogs and tend to take photos of them, this app is worth the download.

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April 8, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: @LittleRockSW = Life-Changing Experience

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Personal,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 10:22 pm

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Last weekend, I participated in the first Startup Weekend Little Rock, and my first Startup Weekend ever. I joined this event with some trepidation: I am a bit of an introvert and I knew this was going to be a weekend that would require me to meet new people and form instant rapport to be able to work together for 54 hours. I also worried I wouldn’t have much to contribute to a group since I am not a designer or a developer. However, I am intensely curious and am passionate about technology, innovation and learning from people smarter than me. And I do know marketing and communications, can create order from chaos and problem-solve pretty efficiently. So I entered the event on Friday night, still not sure how or if I would participate for the rest of the weekend. I ended up staying all weekend, working on a fantastic project, making new friends, learning a ton and claiming second place with my team for the project we built.

Startup Weekend Little Rock was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I might even go so far as to say it was life-changing. Let me tell you why.

I learned to think differently. So often, we get into our comfort zones and routines. We work with the same people every day. And I work with a lot of talented people every single day and we produce amazingly creative communications for our clients. But because we have our routines and know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, we tend to not push each other as far as we could, or learn new things as often as we could. It happens to the best of us. An event like Startup Weekend removes all of that knowledge and forces its participants to fill gaps by learning on the spot and get even more creative because resources are scarce and time is scarcer. The outcome is not a perfectly polished product or idea. The outcome is a better version of yourself.

I made new friends. Had I not been brave enough to enter the room and participate in this event, I likely would have never crossed paths with 75-percent of the people that were in attendance. And everyone I met this weekend has added value to my life in some way. By learning their personal stories, learning about their skills, learning from their knowledge, being inspired by their passion: everyone had something to contribute and we bonded over the experience. I know for sure that I will stay connected to my new friends.

I stumbled into a really great business idea. And if that business idea becomes a real product, one day I’ll be able to say, “I was there and I got to help!” Our team leader had a great idea. I loved his idea. But he had no team. For a while on Friday night, the team was just the two of us. And we both shrugged and said, “let’s try to do this.” By Saturday afternoon, our team was seven people because the idea really was a great one. It just took longer for others to realize it. I am super proud that Jody had a great idea and we were able to help him take it to the next level. I believe he has the passion and the energy to take it and make it. His energy inspired me and if he needs my help, he has a friend in me that he can call any time. And I’ll be able to say “that’s my friend and I got to help!”

Yes, it is a bold statement, but Startup Weekend LIttle Rock changed my life in a great way.

March 13, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: Wearable Technology is Cool, but Not Stylish Enough

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Style,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 6:08 pm

The idea of tracking how much I move and sleep, keeping up with my heart rate and blood pressure, and being able to share that info if I choose, is appealing to my inner geek.  Though I don’t know what I will do with the data, I like collecting it, reviewing it and comparing it day-over-day.

Last year at SXSW, I purchased my first Nike FuelBand. I was excited about this technology because I was already a Nike+ user, so I would be building on that account and activity. Then, several weeks ago I was reading about the Jawbone UP and liked what it had to offer for tracking sleep patterns, too. So I bought one of those to try out.  And then, an iPhone app called Moves started getting some attention for tracking your steps while running in the background of your phone. So I turned that on, too. This means that I have had three devices tracking my movements for the last several weeks. I wondered how they would compare to each other.

Both the wristband products are rubber. The Nike FuelBand comes in three colors (Black, White Ice and Black Ice) and the Jawbone UP comes in eight colors (Onyx, Mint Green, Light Grey, Blue, Navy Blue, Red, Orange, and Hunter Green). Both of the bands that I purchased are black.

My technology laden wrists.

My technology laden wrists.

The Nike FuelBand works “through a sports-tested accelerometer” to track daily activity including running, walking, basketball, dancing and dozens of everyday activities. It tracks each step taken and calorie burned.

The Jawbone UP “uses a precision motion sensor and powerful algorithms to passively track and quantify your steps, distance, calories, active time, and idle time. It calculates calories burned based on your age, gender, height and weight, along with activity intensity and duration. UP uses Actigraphy to track your sleep, monitoring your micro movements to determine whether you are awake, in light sleep, or in deep sleep. [The] band uses cutting-edge MotionX technology to track activity, giving it superior accuracy.”

Moves uses the iPhone’s built in sensor and location information to recognize activities, routes and places. The data is uploaded to their servers, which do most of the complex processing to produce daily stats and storyline. The app is always on, running in the background.

All the devices/apps have different features and sharing abilities. I am not doing a full review of all the functionalities here.

The perfect time to compare the three was during my days at SXSW over the last week: I was walking around a lot and always had my phone with me. Because the common denominator across all three technologies is number of steps, that is the number that I tracked for comparison. Here are the results:

Friday

  • Jawbone UP: 7,969 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 6,376 steps
  • Moves: 5,974 steps

 Saturday

  • Jawbone UP: 5,658 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,416 steps
  • Moves: 3,986 steps

Sunday

  • Jawbone UP: 3,813 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 3,409 steps
  • Moves: 3,203 steps

Monday

  • Jawbone UP: 5,915 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,837 steps
  • Moves: 4,705 steps

Tuesday

  • Jawbone UP: 4,833 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,011 steps
  • Moves: 4,086 steps

Other than the fact that I am not moving the recommended 10,000 steps per day, or even close to that, it is interesting that there is a pretty significant difference between the step counts  of each device. I wanted to like Moves best because it is on my phone and doesn’t hinder my style. But in reality, I don’t have my phone in my pocket every minute of the day and that likely explains it being on the low end of the step numbers each day.  As for the difference between the Jawbone UP and the Nike FuelBand, I take the FuelBand off each night to sleep and I keep the UP on since it tracks sleep. This could explain some of the difference in the numbers.

Behind Moves, I wanted to like the FuelBand best because it completes/complements my existing Nike+ profile. But in the end, I like the UP the best because it is (1) a little less obvious than the FuelBand on my wrist and (2) I think the sleep data is the most fascinating.

Regardless of performance, I hate wearing both devices. I much prefer to have more fashionable items around my wrists:

How I prefer my wrists be dressed.

How I prefer my wrists be dressed.

And these rubber bands just aren’t pretty enough for the girl in me. I want someone to design a band that can blend in as part of my jewelry or be wrapped with a customizable cuff or is thinner in some way. Until then, my wearing of the bands might be hit or miss going forward.

February 16, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: My New Pebble Watch

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 6:11 pm

The idea of the Pebble watch was launched on Kickstarter in April 2012 with a goal to reach funding of $100,000. Thirty days later, they had raised over $10 million dollars given by almost 70,000 people. I was one of those people. And my reward for backing the Pebble watch almost a year ago arrived in my mail last Saturday: my very own Pebble watch. It had been so long since I thought about this watch, I’ll admit I was a bit ambivalent about its arrival. But I opened the box and saw how easy it was to set up, so I took five minutes, set it up and almost immediately fell in love with my new watch.

The Pebble is lightweight and comfortable on my small wrist. I am the girl that feels naked without a watch and constantly looks at my wrist for the time, even when I have just noted the time on my phone. I have a classic Timex that I love dearly, but this Pebble feels at home on my wrist. It even told me so:

Beyond being a timepiece, out of the box the Pebble syncs with my iPhone through a Bluetooth connection. This connections delivers a vibration to wrist and sends text messages and phone calls to the watch screen. This let’s me know if it is vital for me to pick up my phone, or if it is a communication that can be delayed until I am off the road, out of meeting or done with a particular task. It actually allows for additional focus rather than acting as an added distraction. Additionally, I can control music on my iPhone from the watch, which has been pretty fun to demo to everyone who has asked about the watch over the last week.

Which brings me to its appearance: I thought the watch was subtle and unnoticeable, given its lightweight and comfort on my wrist. But it looks cool and everyone I’ve encountered over the last week has noticed it and asked it about. So be prepared to show it off if you decide to buy one.

The company is working on apps that will work with the watch to increase its features and functionalities. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I am a geeky girl who loves her gadgets.

August 10, 2012

Video: Talking Starbucks & Square

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,That's Just Cool,Video — Emily Reeves @ 10:57 am

I visited with KATV this morning about the new Starbucks/Square mobile payments partnership. You can check out the interview here:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports