As March Madness wrapped up, another basketball competition took the spotlight. Last week, we hosted Raise the Rim: a three-on-three charity basketball tournament in which dozens of startup and innovation companies went head-to-head, raising over $10,500 for local charities in Boston, Chicago, and New York.
If you build it, they will come.
Much to the dismay of entrepreneurs and web developers everywhere, Field of Dreams wisdom doesn’t apply to the world of digital products.
Think back to your most frustrating experiences with technology. Slow-loading webpages, complex, multi-step processes, hidden (or missing) information and buttons. Chances are, you don’t remember the sites where you had these terrible user experiences. You’ve blocked them out and filed them away into a dusty compartment in the back of your brain labeled “avoid at all costs.”
When a site has a bad user experience, it can totally turn people off from using that site at all. Unintuitive, misleading, overly complex, or an insult to the eye, if users aren’t excited to engage with a product, they won’t come back for more– no matter how awesome or useful the product is.
On the other hand, great UX design delights users, giving them incredible experiences and more positive associations with your brand. The best way to learn UX design is to source inspiration from the great UX that’s already out there in the world. I get a lot of my own design inspiration from Googling simple queries like “great UX” and gleaning new takeaways from results. Of course, it’s also important to remember that what works for one product and user base does not a rule make. Never stop talking and testing with users to make sure that your designs are fulfilling their needs.
We asked some of star web designers from the startup community to share their go-to examples of great UX. Check out their picks below and lessons-learned about UX best practices (not sure what UX design is? This video does a great job of explaining).
Who doesn’t love a good whiteboard video animation? This video sketches out the goals, challenges, and rewards of building easy and intuitive experience that hit the “sweet spot,” where user needs and business needs overlap.
There’s been a shift in the mindset of hiring managers and entrepreneurial leaders. Where once technical skills, educational background and work experience were considered the top priorities, now culture skills are considered a better indication of a candidate’s potential.
So how does the 21st century job applicant go about preparing for an interview? Relax — you don’t need to rip up your college diploma and deactivate your LinkedIn profile! Instead, in addition to technical assessments, the modern-day interview will also assess your culture-fit within a company.
Companies can get quite creative when assessing culture fit. Unlike technical skills (which can be more objectively evaluated), trying to unveil culture skills such as a desire to learn or an ability to thrive amidst ambiguity, is difficult. After all, any applicant can spout off a list of examples in which they’ve previously displayed these attributes, only to prove otherwise when push comes to shove.
So how can you start preparing for an interview? First of all, you should know that everything you do in an interview – from what you say, to how you present yourself – is part of the assessment of culture fit. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways people might try to unpack your culture fit.
Startup Institute alumni and tech folks are generally curious, passionate, and driven. These three characteristics keep us going and help create an amazing tech ecosystem that continues to solve problems. Additionally, there is a collective belief that we should be happy at our jobs and follow our passions.
I was once told that every individual has the responsibility to use their skills and curiosity to better the world. If you are lucky enough to be in the position to focus on your “why,” you’ll not only be helping yourself, but helping the world.
Once we graduate college, there are no majors or concentrations for you to focus on. There are no graduation requirements to help you know whether you are on the “right track.” Instead, you have to figure out on your own what you want to “major in” in your life.
We will spend the majority of our lifetimes working. So, why not think of your job as someone paying you to learn? Whether you are making a career transition or are a recent graduate trying to figure out what you want to do, remember that any experience– whether good or bad– will lead you closer to figuring out your purpose.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs
Figuring out what you’re passion about is not as simple as it sounds. Some people are able to discover it very quickly, but most of us are still trying to find what gives us that sense purpose. While each individual’s process to discovering passion is very different, here are some things that helped me reach mine:
Last Saturday, when you called your uberX to take you home from a late night downtown, reluctantly accepting the 1.5x surge price (because, who likes trying to hail a cab in the city, anyway?), did you realize that you were buckling yourself into some serious industry disruption?
Startup founders love to refers to their new shiny products and services as “disruptive,” but this term often gets thrown around– a sexier way of saying “we’ve made a widget thats stronger, cheaper, faster” than what existed on the market already. But disruptive? Only certain innovations are truly deserving of the descriptor.
Let’s be honest– public speaking is terrifying. Most people rank a fear of public speaking right up there with a fear of spiders and death. That’s serious stuff! What’s more, most of us are likely to be put in a position of public speaking at some point in our professional lives. It’s not all bad news though; there are some things you can do to make this process easier on yourself.
Next Thursday is our signature Talent Expo. In honor of our courageous and amazing students who will be taking the stage for 90 seconds to pitch their stories, I have compiled some tips and clips for great public speaking.
I can’t promise to make speaking in public less scary, but I can help prepare you to face your fear head-on.
If you want to learn to code, you really have a few options: you can go to a full-time programming school, you can take a part-time coding course (in-person or online), or you can be a self-study. Computer science degrees are hot and in-demand, but the truth is that most universities focus their computer science coursework on theory over practice (and most STEM professors are lacking in day-to-day industry experience). While you may dabble in code, you won’t graduate ready to take on a full-fledged programming role. It’s up to you to take your dev-ed into your own hands by either teaching yourself how to code or signing up for a web development course (or, preferably, a combination of the two).
Learning computer programming is no easy task, but once you become proficient in one language, it becomes worlds easier to pick up others. At Startup Institute, we work with students to master Ruby on Rails because it is in high-demand in the tech community right now, promising that our students will be highly employable. RoR enables developers to get products to market relatively quickly compared to other languages, so in the fast-paced startup world it can give young companies an edge.
We asked some of the top mentors and instructors from our full and part-time Ruby courses to share their top resources for learning Ruby (and Rails). Whether you’re ramping up your skills for programming school or you’re more of a self-study wondering how to learn ruby, use these tools for support and to have a little bit of fun with your code:
If you want to make it in Berlin, you need moments of luck, plenty of them.
This was confessed between two schnapps at the 9th Startup Grind event in Berlin. Moderated by Christoph Raethke, digital industry veteran and founder of the Berlin Startup Academy, Startup Grind Berlin founder and director Florian Krumb hosted an intimate fireside chat with Jens Begemann, CEO & Co-founder Wooga. Wooga is one of the most popular mobile game developers worldwide, responsible for hit games like Jelly Splash, Pearl’s Peril and Diamond Dash with 50 million active players per month. So, Jens definitely has career advice worth spreading.