We love to eat. Jeff, Will, Dave, and Sara talk about some of their favorite places to eat in Detroit. What’s the best place to take a first date? How did Will end up falling in love with the city? What food do we need downtown? And once and for all: who makes the best Coney Island?
Design has to start somewhere. Henry asks three designers (David Klawitter, Sara Daguanno, and special guest Loui Vongphrachanh) about mocking up designs for software. What tools would they take to a desert island? Are paper and pencils still valid? Sometimes you just need to get the ideas out of your head.
Henry is jealous of Jeff Kelley and Tom Zaworowski for getting tickets to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, the place for iOS developers to “return to the mothership and refuel”. What’s the best strategy for getting a ticket? Should you pull a Crazy Ivan? Can you stay calm on the Odwalla Front? Where is the napping area?
Nathan Hughes is responsible for recruiting for Detroit Labs. He takes the business of bringing people in here very seriously and looks for more than just resume keywords. Here he reports his findings after a recent trip out in the field.
I was on a panel recently. Folks from other larger tech and contract companies were there, plus the chair for placement at LTU. It was hosted by Matt Roush. A question came from the audience about the skills gap that is talked about as it relates to Detroit. Companies can’t find people to hire in Detroit because of this skills gap, and what do we think?
I thought it was an interesting question. There was talk about specific technologies and emerging technologies and east coast and west coast and all the regular things that show up when we talk about skills gaps. I think that worse than a skills gap, we’ve got a culture gap at companies that are looking for specific skills (i.e. resume keywords) and not finding them. I believe (know?) there are enough smart, talented, driven professionals in Michigan to fill all the jobs. But there’s not a culture in enough companies to identify and select people based on their potential, hire them, and then allow and help them learn/train/experiment/make mistakes to get them proficient in the skills.
We solve it in reverse. Instead, we try and identify and select people based on their skills, then spend enormous amounts of time and money training them to be smart, talented, and driven (team building… management… process… collaboration exercises… procedures… quotas… expectation management… quality control… on and on)
What if we spent all our time finding the people that want our companies to succeed as much or more than we do and then trusted that drive to propel them into learning the specific fiddly bits necessary for them to succeed?
Then the problem is building a company that everyone, not just the founders and execs, want to be wildly successful in all ways, shapes, and forms.
But that sounds more difficult than efficient resume scraping. Not every company wants to be great. Most just want to be profitable. So… nevermind?
Can a company be successful when its employees work from home? Nathan Hughes, Brian Munzenberger, and Mark Schall share their thoughts with Henry about how working from home has worked for Detroit Labs. What makes an office a good place to be? What tools help support this? Is the workplace the worst place to get things done?
It’s a brave new world in app development and Josh Diskin, Mark Schall, and Mary Beth Snyder tell Jeff Kelley what they’ve found in the wilds of Windows Phone development. Hear what they’ve encountered in design specifications, colors, maps, and using lower case letters.
Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race. - H.G. Wells
Detroit Labs recently took a tour of the Shinola Bike Workshop and Watch Factory. They’ve received a lot of press lately. We feel there’s a kinship with them in making high-end products to the highest standards proudly in Detroit. Hardware? Software? The goals are the same: making world-class stuff that people want.
Emochi is a game developed at Detroit Labs during our labtime. Henry talks to the team (Josh, Nate, Jeff, and Sara) behind it. What happens during labtime? What happens when Detroit Labs is the client? Turns out the secret behind making a great game is having talented people. Here are some of them.
Nathan Hughes, Jeff Kelley, and Chris Trevarthen talk with Henry about the inaugural edition of Detroit’s Nerd Nite. Described by Nathan as an opportunity to “drink and listen to people talk about things they love”, most major American cities have a Nerd Nite and now it’s Detroit’s turn. What tools do you use to organize an event? What special secret announcement is made during this podcast? Do you like spiders?
Detroit Labs’ own Amber Conville, Josh Diskin, and Nathan Hughes (along with Liz Lamoste) are co-organizers of the Detroit edition of Nerd Nite, an evening of informal lectures in a casual atmosphere. Or, as the website calls it, “The Discovery Channel with beer”.
After first hearing about the San Francisco Nerd Nite, Amber wanted to bring one to Michigan. An Ann Arbor chapter was in the embryonic state and she decided to join in to help get it started. Since then, both Amber and Liz have helped make the Ann Arbor Nerd Nite a runaway success. So why not bring it to Detroit? “It’s a global thing that lots of cities have. Detroit should have it.” Nathan says. “Detroit has a community that builds, learns, and creates here that is growing and getting more attention.” He describes it as “a low key TEDx talk. Something that happens more often, with greater participation, and where the stakes aren’t so high. And you can find yourself saying ‘I didn’t know that there was a circus school in Detroit’ or ‘There are 150 people who show up to learn about Detroit history?’”
This inaugural Detroit NerdNite features Micha Adams and Matt Buss from the Detroit Flyhouse, a circus school located in Eastern Market; Charles Gibson and his spiders; and Detroit history lover Amy Elliott Bragg talking about Detroit under Prohibition.
And in the future? Nathan would like something similar to The Moth: a regular small-scale event that’s intimate with a less-regular larger version in a larger venue. In the meantime, there are numerous dream guests and topics to bring in: people from the DSO or DIA or the Fisher Theater or 3D organ printing or….
The first Detroit Nerd Nite is Thursday, March 28th at 7p.m. at the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company. $5 at the door. Doors open at 6:30.