Nudity on Church Street

Nudity on Church Street

News

We spotted a nude man strolling on Church Street yesterday and posted it to Facebook, various media outlets stopped by the office today to get a comment.  Our leadership team has issued the following official statement…

Media Outlets,

Thank you for stopping by the Burlington Bytes office earlier today.  We apologize no one was in at the time to give an official statement on how the nude man on the street yesterday was impacting our Church Street business.  Upon your inquiry, we immediately formed an exploratory committee to determine how this situation could happen, and how we could prevent more au naturale pedestrians from wandering Church Street in the future.

 

The findings of our exploratory committee were striking.  While theories ranging from the man being an Emperor, to being the lost “UVM naked bike rider of 1969” were offered, we believe this was a case of an uninformed consumer.  Clearly this “in the buff” man had been searching online for clothes, and due to poor SEO, Google Adwords, and retargeting campaigns by local haberdasheries, he simply did not know where to buy clothes.  Our committee offered the following as a solution: If more local retailers had purchased Burlington Bytes’ digital marketing packages, consumers would be more informed, and we could reduce Church Street nudity by a staggering 76%.

 

Retailers interested in pursuing this noble option are encouraged to reach out to Pete Jewett at pete@burlingtonbytes.com for a free consultation

Employee Spotlight: Meet Jeff Simonds – Our New Digital Marketing Specialist

Employee Spotlight: Meet Jeff Simonds – Our New Digital Marketing Specialist

Blog News

The Burlington Bytes team just keeps on growing!

We are thrilled to share with you that we’ve recently hired Jeff Simonds, as our new Digital Marketing Specialist. Formerly a Senior Web Analytics Specialist at Terakeet out of Syracuse, NY, Simonds’ experience and skill set will bring a new, complementary perspective to the team.

Simonds has been noted for his success in SEO optimization and analysis, and more broadly in digital marketing branding and strategy. Simonds holds a Bachelor’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he studied Electronic Media, Arts & Communications. “Burlington Bytes is an awesome opportunity and fit for me on both professional and cultural levels”, remarked Simonds, “while the role is a part of a growing and increasingly important team and initiative for Burlington Bytes, I ultimately decided to join the company after experiencing the culture and cohesiveness of the team”.

“We couldn’t be more excited to add Jeff Simonds to our team ” added Burlington Bytes founder Peter Jewett, “our digital marketing team has been growing primarily due to the outcomes we’ve generated for clients, and Jeff will be an asset as we continue to grow the team”.

Here at Burlington Bytes, we like to get to know our new hires on a deeper level and want you to as well, so that’s why we do an “Employee Spotlight” interview, where we ask professional work questions and sprinkle in some silly & fun questions to mix it up!

So let’s get started…

Q: Where did you grow up? 

Jeff: Syracuse, NY

Q: Where do you currently reside?

Jeff: Winooski, VT

Q: How did you first learn about Burlington Bytes?

Jeff: I traveled to Vermont a lot over the last two years, and really liked the Burlington area, so I decided to look for some potential jobs. After searching for SEO companies in Vermont, I found Burlington Bytes at the top of the SERPs, which is always a good sign for a company that does SEO!

Q: What part of your job are you most excited about doing?

Jeff: My previous role was focused solely on organic search, so I’m really looking forward to broadening my skills and gaining more experience with paid search and other digital marketing channels.

Q: How would you describe the work environment?

Jeff: The office strikes a perfect balance between work and play. It’s clear that everyone knows when it’s time to get work done, but every day you can count on someone saying (or chatting) something that gives us all chance to laugh and relax for a few minutes.

Q: What are your interests & hobbies?

Jeff: I love golfing and try to get out fishing as much as I can. I’ve also been a homebrewer for about 6 years, and have been known to make a pretty solid batch of beer or cider from time to time.

Q: Have you ever sang karaoke? What’s your “go-to” song? 

Jeff: Nope, but if I was ever forced into doing it the only song I would sing is Here I Go Again, by Whitesnake.

Q: What would a perfect day look like for you?

Jeff: An 8am tee time to play a round of golf with my dad (and friends if they manage to wake up on time), followed by a late afternoon BBQ featuring Liehs & Steigerwald brats on the grill, and some craft beer in the cooler.

Q: If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?

Jeff: Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon, in Anderlecht, Brussels.

Q: If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Jeff: Pay off those pesky student loans, travel the world for a while, attend brewing school and finally open my own brewery.

Q: Being the newest hire, what are you contributing to your department?

Jeff: I definitely have a lot to learn from Mitch (our digital marketing manager), but early on I’ve been able to leverage my past experience with analysis and reporting for large e-commerce websites to bring a new perspective to the team.

Q: Last question, what was your all-time best Halloween costume?

Jeff: That’s tough, because my mom made some amazing costumes for me and my brother when we we younger (imagine a 6th grader dressed as Uncle Fester from the Addams Family), but I’m partial to that Halloween a few years ago, when I let the dogs out as Alan from The Hangover.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 4.22.52 PM

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the Hangover, do yourself a favor and check it out. Jeff could literally be a stunt double for Alan, he nailed it!

We are glad Jeff has joined the Burlington Bytes team, and we look forward to have him involved with all things digital marketing! Welcome Jeff!

Join Us For Web & Wine Night: Tuesday, June 14th!

Join Us For Web & Wine Night: Tuesday, June 14th!

News

We’re teaming up with EB Strong’s for an educational collaboration on Tuesday, June 14th from 5:30-8pm, for a night of learning and networking with local business leaders and community members. Come take part in this free special event designed for those who love the web, and love wine more!

This night will feature multiple educational web/wine learning sessions presented by members from the Burlington Bytes team, as well as local wine guru, Peter Kenseth. Learn about digitally marketing your business during informative “Tech Focused” discussions, while you sip and learn about the night’s featured wines provided by Baker Distributing. Light appetizers from EB Strong’s catering will also be served.

Topics for technology education will include: SEO, Design, Social Media, & Web Development followed by a Q&A session. Topics for wine education will be: the effects of terroir, and winemaker influence on wines, also followed by Q&A.

We hope you can make it to “Web & Wine” and enjoy a relaxed and informative gathering. This event will be taking place at 2 Church Street located at The Cellar at EB Strong’s.

Please RSVP & register for the event here. We’d like to thank the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this fun event.

We look forward to seeing you! 

 

We Love Burlington: Vote Now To Make Burlington, Vermont The Most Sustainable U.S. City!

We Love Burlington: Vote Now To Make Burlington, Vermont The Most Sustainable U.S. City!

News

Did you hear the big news? We Love Cities has nominated Burlington, Vermont as a finalist to become the most sustainable city in the United States!

We Love Cities “is a social media campaign that allows people to across the world to express support for sustainable urban development by voting on selected Earth Hour City Challenge cities and posting improvement suggestions for these cities.”  It is the main public facing element of the Earth Hour City Challenge initiative and aims to:

  • Inspire and raise awareness for the sustainability progress being made in cities
  • Give the general public an opportunity to celebrate, vote and upgrade their city through making suggestions to decision makers
  • Reward communities and strengthen the bond between the public and decision makers

So, are you ready to vote for Burlington, and make our lovable city more sustainable? Luckily, it’s super easy to vote and only requires three simple steps.

  1. Vote for Burlington online at: WeLoveCities.org/Burlington
  2. Share ideas online about how to make our city even better
  3. Use the Hashtag #WeLoveBurlington on Instagram & Twitter

The winning city will be announced June 22nd, so there’s still plenty of time to vote! And as an added bonus, every idea you submit on how to make our city better will also count as a vote for Burlington. “With over 3.5 billion people living in cities across the globe, cities have a big climate footprint. But they’ve got an even bigger opportunity to create better places to live and a healthier planet in the process. Through better transport, green buildings, harnessing the power of nature, wasting less and loving more, cities can lead the way to a climate-friendly future.”

So what are you waiting for? Together, let’s make our beloved BTV the U.S. Earth Hour City Capital!

To All LaunchVT Contestants: Good Luck At Tonight’s Final Competition!

To All LaunchVT Contestants: Good Luck At Tonight’s Final Competition!

Events News

This year, Burlington Bytes has been able to try something new.  We’re able to sponsor organizations that we are proud to be associated with, and who are doing incredible and necessary work for our communities.  After being in business for five years, we’re able to start giving back to the community that has given us so much.  

To that end, we’re both proud and excited to be sponsors of the 4th Annual LaunchVT business plan competition, and tonight, 7 incredibly deserving entrepreneurs will compete for a combined purse worth of $100k in cash and support.  If you’re inclined to see the next wave of Vermont entrepreneurs, please join us at the Main Street Landing this evening.

To the contestants: Congratulations, and good luck!

I have been mentoring and advising with this competition since Emily Piper & Nick Grimly launched it in 2012.  But I can honestly say I’ve never been more hopeful about the group of startups competing this year.  Why?  Because many of the contestants this year are tackling problems that affect millions of people at a time, many of whom are the most vulnerable.  This isn’t to say that the past year’s contestants weren’t excellent, (they were), but it is to say that looking at this years group (listed below) is cause for incredible hope and optimism.  

They impact Vermont’s economic future, while tackling difficult problems.  They are poised to create jobs, and they improve the quality of lives of their customers. And perhaps most importantly, they are advancing industries through their innovations, and they are making meaning, globally.

The Contestants:

Julie Lineberger – Wheelpad is a temporary, eco-friendly, handicapped-accessible bedroom and bathroom that can be attached to a home.

Andy Peters – Agewize is a social media platform which helps family members and caregivers coordinate the care of their loved one in need. It is easily navigable and allows the person in need to maintain independence.

Greg Kelly, James Mix, and Randy Rowland – Hortlabs is a cloud based technical system for monitoring and managing the growth of any kind of plant in indoor growing environments.

Ken Puzey – Solar Water Boiler is a portable unit which can be propped up and used anywhere to provide clean water. Each boiler can provide drinking water for a family of four.

Abbott Stark, Alex Stark, and Mark Rice – Ogee is an organic skincare line which consists of about 10 skin care items. Each item is based on jojoba seed oil (a product from the Arizona desert) which has a molecular structure similar to that of the human skin.

Chas Smith, Charles Smith, and Nikita Salmon – Sap! Maple Water is a carbonated drink made up of Vermont maple sap with about 40% of its water content boiled away.

Matt Giles and Cullen Jemison – Thermouse (LaunchVT Collegiate Winner) is a moldable computer-gaming mouse based on the qualities of thermoplasticity.

Please check out the descriptions of the businesses above, and if you haven’t already, go to their website, like their Facebook pages, follow them on twitter, and share them with your friends.  These teams have worked hard to build their companies, and we should support the incredible work they’re doing!  

See you tonight!

 

Employee Spotlight: Meet Jon Schwadron our Newest Team Member

Employee Spotlight: Meet Jon Schwadron our Newest Team Member

Careers News

We are excited to announce that Jon Schwadron has joined the Burlington Bytes team as a Technical Engineer and Developer. Formerly a Software Engineer at robotics firm Replica Labs out of Boulder, CO, Schwadron’s experience and skillset will add new depth to the development team as it grows. Jon’s programming languages include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node.js, Django, Ruby on Rails among others. He studied to be a Full Stack Developer at General Assembly in NY.

“This exciting opportunity with Burlington Bytes is the role & firm that attracted me to the area”, said Schwadron on his career move.  “Between the incredible culture of teamwork, growth, and improvement, coupled with everything the Vermont lifestyle has to offer, made moving here an easy decision.”

“We continue to add people at a rapid clip” said founder Peter Jewett, “and attracting talent like Jon from other states and firms is a huge win for Burlington Bytes and the Vermont technology ecosystem”.

Now that we’ve introduced Jon and his role at BBytes, let’s get to know him on a more personal level.

It’s “Employee Spotlight” time! Here’s our Q&A with him…

Q: How did you first learn about Burlington Bytes?

Jon: Craigslist! At first I was skeptical… but the post they made looked really professional for a craigslist post. I went ahead and emailed them my resume along with Linkedin. I got a quick response and got an interview!

Q: Where did you work before BBytes?

Jon: Replica Labs in Boulder, CO via remote from New York. It was a volunteer thing and their technology is fascinating; 3D scanning with your smartphone. Replica Labs is now acquired by another computer vision company, I wish them all the best!

Q: What is the favorite part about working here?

Jon: Humorous and friendly environment. Dogs everywhere. The smell of coffee brew all day long.

Q: What do you find the most challenging about working at Burlington Bytes?

Jon: Since I’m new to both Burlington Bytes and Vermont, I’m currently adapting to the environment. Vermont is a new experience for me, and I intend to fully explore the way things run here. It already feels different than NYC.

Q: Where are you originally from and where you live now?

Jon: My hometown is Maybrook, New York. I currently reside in Winooski.

Q: What are your interests & hobbies?

Jon: My biggest skill is photography, which I’ve enjoyed for 10 years now. I picked up snowboarding last year, self-taught through video lessons and today I’m doing eurocarves. Now looking to jump into the bicycling bandwagon.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Jon: On top of any mountain, above the clouds. It has to have a ton of snow and a ski lift. Just like this guy.

Q: What is one of the things on your bucket list?

Jon: The major one would be Esteem, which is a Middle-Ear Implant, that will basically boost my hearing capability and basically make my life easier by a million miles. Normal hearing levels with the option to power on or off.

Q: If you could take one physical item with you on a deserted island, what would it be?

Jon: Light Saber – It can make fire, it can cut things, it can protect you from danger, and they make great flashlights.

Q: If you could only eat one meal, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jon: Authentic Chinese Hot Pots from NYC! Tacos would be good too.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Jon. Everyone here at Burlington Bytes is really glad he joined the team as he is a talented, hard-working gentleman!

jon

 

Big welcome to our new CEO, Andrew Stickney

Big welcome to our new CEO, Andrew Stickney

News

When I jumped out of Dealer.com with three clients in late 2010, a lot of people thought I was crazy.  With a baby on the way, I really had to pitch my wife on the vision.  I more or less ignored the rest of the naysayers, set up a desk in my spare bedroom and started putting in work.

In 2012,  my business partner, Jason, also made his exit from Dealer.com. We set up shop in his garage in the Old North End with two desks, two dogs, and about a dozen clients. Topher came on board to help us manage our growing advertising product a few months later.  Then came our first “developer”, a Champlain College Computer Science major who worked as our intern.

Spring of 2014,  Jason and his wife were starting to get tired of us parking in their driveway, using their bathroom, and working in the garage until late at night.  So we got our office on Church St and started painting and decorating and trying to make it look like “a real business”.   Our growth has continued to accelerate and we’ve pretty much maxed out the amount of staff we can fit in this office.  We’re up to 15 full-time staff and just over 200 clients that we work with on a regular basis.  Business is booming.

Jason and I are both in total agreement that we want to keep our foot on the pedal here.  Sometime last fall I started to realize that Burlington Bytes had outgrown my business management capabilities.  I can sell and build websites all day long, but I definitely get bored and fall short when it comes to spreadsheets, income statements, projections, state programs, human resou…… yawn. I just can’t do it.

Deciding to hire a CEO was the biggest business decision I’ve made since founding Burlington Bytes, deciding who to hire was pretty simple. A big welcome to Andrew Stickney, our new CEO.   Andrew was the VP of VCET for 5 years, and we’d meet every year or so to chat about Burlington Bytes. He’s worked with countless startups and has a unique understanding of how startups become mature businesses.  I was thrilled when he was excited about the prospect of joining Burlington Bytes, and after a few months of conversations, he’s officially on board.

I was admittedly nervous about handing over business management responsibilities before Andrew’s first day .  Two weeks in, and its apparent that this is one of the best moves I could have made to invest in the future success of Burlington Bytes.   Enough blogging, back to work, let’s keep the numbers doubling.

~Pete

Burlington, Vermont Named “TechHire City” by The White House

Burlington, Vermont Named “TechHire City” by The White House

News

What a big week for Vermont…

On Wednesday, March 9th, at a press conference in Burlington, Vermont, Executive Director Michael Schirling, of BTV Ignite, announced that the City of Burlington has been named a White House “TechHire” city, which is part of an initiative to expand opportunities for young Americans to get trained and placed into well-paying tech jobs.

The city of Burlington and BTV Ignite “will partner with local educational institutions and employers to train and employ 75 tech workers in 2016 and 400 tech workers through 2020. Key employers, workforce intermediaries, and training partners include the Vermont HITEC Institute for American Apprenticeship at Burlington College, Champlain College, the University of Vermont (UVM), Vermont Technical College, Community College of Vermont, the UVM Medical Center, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Vermont Technology Alliance,” stated Schirling.

The TechHire initiative was launched in March of 2015, as a “bold multi-sector effort and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges, but also nontraditional approaches like ‘coding bootcamps’ and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job, often in just a few months,” stated President Obama. “The TechHire initiative will help connect employers with skilled workers, based on skills rather than résumés. It turns out, it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are in writing code, Obama said. If you can do the job, you should get the job.”

And that’s not the only good news for workers in Vermont…

Earlier in the week, Governor Shumlin’s signature ended a ten year campaign at the state house, to pass paid sick leave legislation. “Under the bill, Vermonters who work full time would be guaranteed at least three paid sick days from work each year, increasing to five days off starting in 2019,” stated WPTZ.com. It is said that an estimated 60,000 workers will get time paid off from work now. Beginning in January, most full-time and part-time employees will begin acquiring paid leave benefits, no matter the size of the workplace.

Lastly, to top it all off, Burlington was recently named “the third hippest mid-sized city in America!”

Looking to relocate? Maybe it’s time to move to Vermont!

How Does Burlington Bytes Track Time?

How Does Burlington Bytes Track Time?

News

Like many web development and design firms, Burlington Bytes lives and dies by time tracking.  We need accurate billable numbers to provide clients, as well as detailed breakdowns for accountability and internal data-analysis.  The problem is, time tracking can easily become a complex beast that takes more time to manage than it actually tracks.  So, how exactly do we keep track of time?

At the core of our time-tracking is a service called Harvest.  Harvest provides simple task and project based time tracking, with a clock that you start and stop with your tasks.  They also offer an excellent chrome extension to add integrated time tracking to your browser.  For a couple years, we’ve used Harvest exclusively for tracking, but alone, we found it lacking in depth of detail on tasks, and difficult to integrate into our workflow.

Harvest1

 

Early last year, we started using the Harvest Time Tracker chrome extension to integrate time tracking with Basecamp, providing a connection between time tracking and project management.  Now, every time entry can be tracked to a to-do list item, with full description and comments.  It has also simplified our tracking down to a single click at the start of a task.

Harvest2

Unfortunately, Harvest doesn’t always sync projects and clients properly from Basecamp, so sometimes we need to adjust the client attached to a timer, when we start a project.  The problem is, Harvest doesn’t clearly show the client name in its interface, without clicking the dropdown to choose a project.  This leads to a lot of manual corrections to timesheets, and wasted time.  So, in early October, we wrote a custom tampermonkey (greasemonkey for Chrome) script to modify how the interface displays, and show us, at a glance, what clients we are tracking time to.

Harvest3

Once we switched over to this new system, we had a final concern: team accountability and gamification.  We wanted to create a way to show everyone in our team how their week was going, and how they were contributing to the company, as a whole.

To accomplish this, I spent a couple days getting to know the Harvest API, and created a custom web app to read our timesheets and output a chart and ranking system.  We show these rankings on a tv in our office, so we can see, at a glance, how we’re doing.

harvest chart
Since implementing the chart system, our efficiency has increased over 15%, as a company.