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InMobi interviewed me as part of their series on mobile trends...

What surprised you about the mobile advertising industry in the past year?
My biggest surprise was seeing the CW promotion in Entertainment Weekly that involved putting an actual 3G cell phone in a print ad to show real-time tweets from the network.

What do you think will be the biggest mobile trend for 2013?
The proliferation of cheap Android devices will continue. While a minority will continue to use the latest and greatest, inexpensive smartphones will entirely replace feature phones. Our devices will increasingly talk to each other. Right now I can control my Xbox, Apple TV, and satellite box from different iPads. This trend will continue and will see more smart, connected devices throughout our lives enabling interactive advertising everywhere.

What is another 2013 mobile trend that you feel is being overlooked and not given enough attention?
Actionable analytics. We have more data than we know what to do with, we'll see more applications focusing on putting that data to work to generate relevant insights and actionable decisions.

Source: InMobi

We help donate 900 toys to needy kids.

The Amlings Cycle Holiday Toy Ride is an annual charity bike ride event that raises toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. The ride was started in 2003 by local bike shop owner Joe Reichert.

For the tenth anniversary of the Holiday Toy Ride, we updated toyridechicago.com to work with smart phones, combined with a guerrilla print campaign, and QR codes, we achieved record registrations. In fact, 24 percent of registrations occurred on mobile devices, an increase of 44.7 percent over the previous year.

The ride joined 116 riders together who collectively donated over 900 toys to Toys for Toys.

Operating System

  1. iOS 78.33%
  2. Android 19.62%
  3. BlackBerry 1.27%
  4. Windows Phone 0.67%
  5. SymbianOS 0.04%

Mobile Device

  1. Apple iPhone 59.55%
  2. Apple iPad 15.84%
  3. Apple iPod 2.93%
  4. Motorola Droid Razr 0.97%
  5. Samsung Galaxy Nexus 0.25%
  6. Samsung Galaxy SII 0.19%
  7. Samsung Galaxy SIII 0.18%
  8. Google Nexus 7 0.16%

Screen Resolution

  1. 320x480 55.54%
  2. 768x1024 15.57%
  3. 320x568 6.66%
  4. 720x1280 3.13%
  5. 480x800 2.39%
  6. Other 16.71%

Based on 778,516 impressions on CalmingManatee.com. Percentages are based on unique visitors. Compared with the overall internet population, the site's users tend to be under the age of 35, and they are disproportionately childless women browsing from school and work who have incomes between $30,000 and $60,000.

Photos taken from Instagram around our office, at client meetings, and sometimes in between.


Status board PC prototype


Christmas lights up around our building


Experimenting with Intel's Next Unit of Computing


Seeing what's new in the Chicago startup community at Rockit


Client swag

From a 2011 issue of Fortune:

At Apple there's never confusion as to who is responsible for what. In Apple's parlance, a DRI's name (directly responsible individual) always appear on the agenda for a meeting, so that everyone knows who's the right contact for a project.
We need one of those from every client. In our kick-off meetings, we establish a key point of contact who is designated to handle all communication. Not only does this streamline discussions, it also reduces confusion or conflicts in design decisions.

It's a simple thing that goes a long way toward a smooth web design process.

Source: How Apple works: Inside the world's biggest startup

In the last 30 days, I have received an average of 56 emails per day.How do I keep up? I use three simple but powerful features in Gmail.

Stop distracting automated emails

I do this by filtering emails containing the word "unsubscribe," and emails from "from:donotreply." A real live person would never have "donotreply" as their email address, and the majority of automated emails will contain an unsubscribe link. By marking them as read, I can see at a glance that they're not important, and they won't increment my unread counter.

Scheduled Email Reminders

Boomerang lets you temporarily remove emails from your inbox. This serves two important functions for me. First, since I use my inbox as a to-do list, I can get non-priority emails out of my inbox temporarily. The second is as a reminder. The "only if nobody responds" is a great feature to remind me to follow-up with people.

Auto Responders

If you need a break from your email, set an auto-responder informing people of how often you check your email and when they can expect a reply. This sets their expectations, and creates a schedule for you to follow. Tim Ferris' blog has some sample emails to get you started.

Email can be a productivity-killer. It's tough to get away from it because it feels work, but if you can manage your Pavlovian response to the "Ding!" of your inbox, you'll be happier and more productive.

Photos taken from Instagram around our office, at client meetings, and sometimes in between.




Early to a meeting, we snapped this shot out of the Bean (not Cloudgate) before the tourists arrived.


20x30 print of the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day hung up in our lobby


Prototyping a status board using Geckoboard and a spare computer. Successful, this should be moved to an HDTV next month.


We toured the Obama for America headquarters where several of our tech friends work.



Client swag from our Kraut Rocks project in September.


Custom blended coffee brewed for our client on-boarding program.


Tech offices aren't complete until they have antlers.


We live streamed the Apple in our conference room... and placed gentlemans' bets on product specs announced.




Mobile audience demographics for US females, ages 18-24, college educated.

What are the top smartphones and mobile devices in the US?

Top 10 Mobile Devices*
Apple iPhone - 60.8%
Apple iPad - 15.5%
SonyEricsson LT15i - 2.2%
Apple iPod Touch - 2.7%
Samsung Galaxy S II - 0.76%
Samsung Galaxy Nexus - 0.72%
Motorola DroidX - 0.71%
HTC Droid Incredible 2 - 0.69%
Motorola xt875 Droid Bionic - 0.56%
Motorola Droid Razr 4G - 0.53%

*Though these 10 represent most of the landscape, there were 271 unique devices, most of them Android.


What is smartphone marketshare in the US?

Mobile Operating Systems:
iOS - 78.99%
Android - 22.33%
Windows Phone - 0.71%
BlackBerry - 0.68%
SymbianOS - 0.07%

Data based on 92,386 new US visitors to calmingmanatee.com
We attended (and sponsored) BarCamp Milwaukee 7, a participatory “un-conference” event, where the attendees are in charge of what happens. For the third year in a row, the event was hosted at BucketWorks, a sprawling co-working and hacker space.

We love the event because it brings together people interested in teaching and learning in an open environment to share their knowledge and experience. While BarCamps are typically technology focused, some other sessions included rolling your own sushi, and beekeeping.


Artemis, a starship simulator, where "the captain" (seen standing) must direct his "officers" without ever using a computer.


Demonstration of a reprap 3D printer. This one looks like it's printing a phone booth, or more likely a Tardis. Melted plastic cable is extruded via a CNC head on top a heated bed. By layering the plastic cable, 3D objects are rapidly "printed."


A DIY 3D scanner, used here in conjunction with a 3D printer. A Dell mini projector (mounted top) projects a variety of geometric patterns on to an object. The camera below captures it, and software is able to create an impressive 3D model.


The owner of BeePods teaches us about beekeeping.


Learn more:
BarCamp [Wikipedia]