The last 12 months have brought huge opportunities and complex challenges to the Technology team here at Odopod. We have produced some amazing work and our development services seem to be more in demand than ever. Staffing to meet this demand is one of my biggest challenges. I spend roughly 25% of my time recruiting developers with the necessary skills, work habits and personality to match our culture. The competition is fierce for developers in this job market. What's more, we insist on some unique qualities in our programmers that add to the recruitment challenge.
I don't know if every Director of Technology thinks their developers are special, but I certainly do. Very few resumes make it past our talent scout and into to my inbox. Fewer still are invited to interview. This isn't because we're looking for particular schooling or insist that candidates have experience working with big name clients or companies. However, we look for candidates with qualities that you might not associate with developers. There isn't an exact formula, but here is a bit more about these qualities beyond technical aptitude that exemplify the typical Odopod developer.
More than anything, I look for developers who are passionate about technology and the work they do. For these folks, technology was a hobby long before it became a profession. They are voracious learners who tap the online community for information on tools and methodologies. They follow thought-leaders on Twitter, read blogs, and spend time looking at relevant websites to stay in touch with the community. They attend conferences, take classes, and usually have a personal project happening on the side. They share these learnings with other developers and the rest of the company, contributing insights from their experiences and code they think others can use.
You are not here merely to make a living.
At least that's what Woodrow Wilson said. And I bought it.
Volunteering has been a recent topic of discussion at Odopod – what we're doing individually, and how we might make it a larger part of our culture. To some, the mere thought conjures up images of ladling soup and picking up litter. Such duties are vital and good, but there are plenty of ways to apply specialized skills in fields you're excited about.
I've rounded up some volunteer opportunities that are, for the most part, relevant to those working in digital – storytellers, designers, developers, et. al. These are specific to San Francisco, but I bet you'd find no shortage of options upon digging in your own backyard.
826 Valencia is a free writing and tutoring lab founded by author/publisher/philanthropist Dave Eggers and veteran educator Nínive Calegari. Beyond tutoring, 826 assists with in-classroom projects, hosts bookmaking, screenwriting, and poetry field trips, and empowers kids to become creative writers – with a good possibility of getting published. (If that's not enough, it's also a pirate supply store.) There are lots of ways to help out, mainly during or right after school. 826 also has chapters in Brooklyn, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Boston, and DC.
Good for: Storytellers, writers, illustrators, educators, natural born tutors, fans of kids.
We're thrilled to work with world's biggest brands and the Bay Area's most innovative startups. Fitbit is one such company. Over the last several months we've been collaborating closely with their team to refine the company’s positioning, website and product interfaces.
Fitbit enables people to lead healthier lives with technologically advanced fitness devices that track health and nutrition. Users achieve badges for their progress and can connect with friends to see who's ranked highest and taking the most steps each day.
Alongside the launch of two new trackers, the Zip and the One, Fitbit launched a fresh new website and dashboard with a bold, bright, and more approachable new visual language designed by the team at Odopod.
Let us know what you think! www.fitbit.com »
Our friends at the Awwwards asked some questions to Jason Hardy, one of the Creative Directors here at Odopod. He's on the panel of judges this year, so treat him right. Here's the interview, republished in full, for your viewing pleasure.
Odopod is one of the best and most awarded agencies around, It’s based in San Francisco and is formed by top designers, developers, strategists and in general very inventive people. They’re responsible for works like: IWC, Sony Tablet S and many more amazing works. We’ve had the pleasure of talking to their creative director, Jason Hardy.
Awwwards: Please tell us a little bit about yourself: who are you, where do you come from and where are you going?
JH: My name is Jason Hardy, I am a Creative Director at Odopod in San Francisco. I originally come from Nebraska. I’m not really sure where I’m going, probably to get a sandwich or some coffee.
Awww: What did you do before becoming a designer / developer?
JH: I went to school for Journalism and intended to be a writer. When I graduated there were no writing jobs where I lived (surprise!) so I took a basic design job instead. I had always been interested in design, mostly through skateboard magazines and album art, the typical influences, but never really thought of it as an option for making a living. Once I went down that path, I became pretty driven to learn as much as I could and never really looked back.
We've got a busy next few months, packed with projects launching, a growing studio space, and some amazing new clients coming on board. In the midst of all that good stuff, we're also sending some Odopod thought leaders out into the world to participate in some talks and some panels in some amazing places. Come meet us!
April 30 - May 1, San Francisco
Join Albert Poon, Odopod's Director of Interaction Design in his talk, Welcome to the Post-PC Era.
About this talk: The age of desktop being the primary platform for digital experiences is over. Yes, there are hundreds of millions of traditional PCs with web browsers. They will not disappear. But even the most cursory look at the sales numbers should make it clear that the era of the big screen-keyboard-mouse digital experience is waning.
May 17 - 18, Santa Monica
Join Guthrie Dolin, Director of Brand and Strategy and David Bliss, Founder and Executive Technical Director in Connected Personal Objects: Getting Intimate with the Internet of Things.
About this talk: The Internet of Things is a vast and rapidly expanding landscape that encompasses complex infrastructural systems to the everyday objects found in our homes and even on our person. At its core is a network of uniquely identifiable “things” with the ability to sense their environment then communicate with one another and us. In our presentation we will breakdown the key attributes and technologies that define these connected “things” as well as demonstrate how some of the most progressive connected personal objects may be shaping our future.
May 22 - 25, Montreal
Join Odopod Founder and Executive Creative Director, Tim Barber in The Eureka! Moment, a discussion lead by Dr. Rex Jung, assistant research professor in the department of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who is exploring the structural and biochemical correlates of intelligence, creativity and positive affect.
DMI Design/Management Thinking 24
June 19-20, Portland
Guthrie Dolin will be doing a talk on Little "i" Innovation: The Practice of Continual Incremental Improvement
About this talk: When it comes to design-led innovation, we love the big idea—those breakthrough inventions that signal a disruptive change. But these big ideas are rarely the result of a single moment of genius. Instead, it comes from the culmination of smaller ideas, developed over time, from the minds of many. The ideas that really stick in our fast-paced digital world are the ones that “live in beta”—embracing a culture of learning, adapting and improving every day. In Little “i” Innovation, we will explore how the process of continual, incremental improvement has been used to develop some of the world’s most innovative and dominant consumer brands.
If you're headed to any of these events, please be sure to join us or just stop by and say hello. We'd love to meet you!
2011 was a huge year for Odopod. The biggest news of all was our merger with Nurun, the largest independent digital agency in the world. Together, Odopod and Nurun have an impressive combination of reach, depth, and talent that will enable us to do even more innovative work for our clients around the world. For more on the merger, read Tim Barber's article, Odopod and Nurun: Our Next Big Move.
Last year, we launched some of our most exciting work to date. Among the highlights, we redefined luxury online for IWC, establishing direct relationships with its fans. We helped EA revolutionize the way people buy, play and share games with Origin. With Tesla Motors, we created a series of interactive kiosks for their innovative new retail strategy. We also continued producing great work for Sony Electronics, Google, Plum Organics, and more.
Of course, we had some fun too. On Hack Days, we shut down our office and prototyped our own ideas. With the FWATV, we experimented with live video and Processing to give people a fun look inside our office. We shared some inside details about the culture of Odopod, we played a bit of dodgeball, and we won Advertising Age's Small Agency of the Year, West - what a year!
All in all, we couldn't be more proud of the people we've hired (and we're hiring more), the things we've done, and the projects we've launched (including the ones we can't share) during this amazing year.
Here's a round up of this year's work:
International Watch Company (IWC) :: Origin from EA :: EA.com :: Sony PIIQ
Ford Sync :: Plum Organics Quest for Yum! :: Tesla Retail Kiosks
Sony Tablet S :: Google for Veterans :: Plum Organics Contest :: Sony Personal 3D Viewer
Hack Days at Odopod is an incredible time of year. For 48 hours, we shut down the office, turn inward and focus on our own ideas. It’s a chance for us to build the kind of things that our clients don't ask for every day and just invent.
It starts off with an open call for ideas. Eight are picked and small teams are formed to produce the projects over two days. Everybody takes part - designers, developers, producers and strategists - all racing toward the same intense deadline, with a heightened sense of focus, creative energy and collaboration.
The culmination of Hack Days is a series of prototypes and proofs-of-concept.
Here are the results...
Big thanks to our friends at Adobe for calling on Tim to chat about HTML, Flash and our work at Odopod. This video was featured during Adobe MAX October 1-5, 2011. Check it out.
Ten years ago we created a new agency. The idea was pretty simple. We wanted to marry the culture and practices of Silicon Valley startups with those of creative agencies.
Our first assignments and clients were incredibly diverse — from designing software for startups to creating digital campaigns for big brands.
Back then, this made Odopod an anomaly.
It took about nine years longer than we expected but the landscape has changed around us. Now clients seek us out for our unique combination of expertise with software design and brand thinking. Increasingly, they see it as essential for everything from product innovation to marketing.
As a result, we're enjoying the best years in the company's history and producing our best work ever.
Now it's time for us to make our next big move.
For the next ten years, we want to charge ourselves with a new ambition. We want to raise the bar even higher — for the work we do and for the clients we engage.
And we're not doing it alone.
Today, we're officially announcing that Odopod is merging with Nurun, the largest independent digital agency in the world.
This merger gives us the platform we've been looking for — one that enables us to do even more innovative work and to deliver that work anywhere in the world.
Nurun's outstanding technology pedigree will help us innovate across even more platforms. Their international presence and leadership will help us expand into new markets alongside our clients.
Together, Odopod and Nurun have an impressive combination of reach, depth and talent.
We're genuinely excited about the next ten years and are looking forward to starting this new chapter with the Odopod team as well as all of our clients, partners and friends.