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Atomic Thinking

Get the Door

Get the DoorOne of Atomic’s greatest strengths is its five foundational value mantras. As Atomic’s Office Coordinator, one who is not involved with the technical side of Atomic’s software development, I have the unique perspective of seeing these values played out, outside of the software development. I see these values lived out in the everyday, even in an event as simple as installing a doorbell.

Recently, at AO Headquarters, we made the decision to start keeping the ground floor entrance doors locked. It has taken some getting used to, as Atoms must now carry a key card to gain access into the building. Since we coincidentally made this decision in the middle of one of the snowiest winters on record, more than one Atom was locked, nearly frozen and buried, outside, with no where to turn for help. When the locked door, additionally, led to an important, missed delivery, the decision was made to install a doorbell.

I made the trip to our favorite local hardware store and asked Patrick to pair with me on wireless doorbell installation (Value #1: Teach and Learn). After a couple failed attempts, we had it installed and ringing in the main office, upstairs. With all of the technical knowledge around here, I am looking forward to the day that someone decides to change the ringer and adjust the sound! Read more on Get the Door…

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Developing Business in Detroit, the Atomic Way

One of my responsibilities as the managing partner of Atomic’s Detroit office is business development. At first it sounds like a new-age word for “sales,” but while there is a sales component to this responsibility, at Atomic it encompasses more than being focused on a single sales transaction.

Don’t misunderstand me — we’re working hard on bringing work to our growing Detroit office. Our ability to remain in the Detroit market depends on it. But “business development” means taking a longer approach, becoming an active, contributing member of the business community and building relationships with other people in it.

Here are four ways we’re developing business and growing in Detroit. Read more on Developing Business in Detroit, the Atomic Way…

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GLSEC 2014 Focuses on Craftsmanship & Teams – Register Today

The annual Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference (GLSEC) will be held at The Prince Center at Calvin College on May 5, 2014.

GLSEC is the premier software conference in West Michigan. This year’s keynote speaker is Rich Sheridan, the CEO of Ann Arbor-based Menlo Innovations. He will be kicking the conference off by discussing the business value of joy. Rich is an amazing storyteller, and I am looking forward to his presentation. Read more on GLSEC 2014 Focuses on Craftsmanship & Teams – Register Today…

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Words Worth Working For


Carl Erickson wrote back in 2009 about his practice of distributing “nice words” from clients to the company at large. It is a practice that continues, and something that I personally love about working at Atomic. It lifts my spirits and makes me proud to be a part of such a highly-praised group. I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for this practice.

Nice words mean so much to all of us in part because they result from hard work. To us, these words are like a flag flying triumphantly atop a newly-constructed castle. Weeks or months of time has often gone into erecting the solid, stone walls. Thoughtful, sometimes difficult, decisions have shaped it for its intended purpose. Throughout the process we’ve sweated the details, pursued knowledge and empathy, and as a team brought a vision to life.

These are words worth working for. Read more on Words Worth Working For…

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Saying Goodbye to Maja


We lost a member of the Atomic family recently. Maja, my 11-year-old Siberian Husky, reached the end of her long, happy dog life.

We got Maja as a puppy, and though we tried numerous crates and outdoor kennels, she was not a dog to be away from her pack. So from a very early age, Maja came to the office with us. She must have met hundreds of customers, guests, and other office visitors over the years. I can only think of one she didn’t like, and only a couple of people who didn’t like her (they were allergic to dogs).

Maja had a big personality. She was an integral part of my family’s life, and she’s the dog my kids will always remember. She was a dog I’ll never forget. Read more on Saying Goodbye to Maja…

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Wanted: New Atoms

Getting Hired at Atomic

At Atomic, we have a lot of pride in the software that our development teams build. So naturally, when considering potential future Atoms, we want to be sure that they can contribute to the success of those teams. We evaluate three areas to accomplish this: technical ability, communication skills, and cultural fit. If you were to apply, we would ask you for writing samples, invite you to a technical interview, ask you to perform a programming or design challenge, and, of course, have you in for an in-person interview.

Many companies will determine if a candidate can do the job by diving deep on very specific topics that are immediately relevant to the position. At Atomic, we measure technical ability not on what we need right now, but on the candidates’ understanding of the tools they claim to know now. We measure this by asking questions about the tools and technology that candidates use day to day, as well as presenting them with situations that are clearly outside their comfort zone.

Read more on Wanted: New Atoms…

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5 Characteristics of a Thriving Design Culture

Atomic Object is hiring software designers to add to our teams in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. We’re a great company to work for, with competitive pay and benefits. Here’s how to apply.

I’ve been a designer at Atomic Object for almost three years now, and I love what I do. My colleagues and I are continuously working to build, grow, and improve a thriving design culture at our company.

Design culture is a tricky thing. It doesn’t just happen, especially when you’re trying to build it within an existing company. Whether that company is a software development company like ours, a startup, or an established business looking to enhance their offering through good design, you need to be purposeful about creating an environment where all facets of design — from divergent thinking, user research, and concept investigation, through visual design, user experience, and implementation — are supported and valued. Adding a few Nerf guns and trendy posters won’t cut it — a company that’s truly supportive of design will experience a culture shift from the inside out. Read more on 5 Characteristics of a Thriving Design Culture…

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Profile of an Atom


When you’re looking for a home for your career, one really important consideration is who you’ll be working with. What’s the culture like? What kind of people will you spend your time with?

I’ve worked at Atomic Object for a few years now — long enough to have observed and identified some characteristics that most, if not all, of the other Atoms have in common. In no particular order: Read more on Profile of an Atom…

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Atomic Object Looking to Hire 2 Designers in Grand Rapids


Atomic is looking to add two talented designers to our Grand Rapids team. We are interested in talented junior or senior designers who take a user-centered design approach to their craft and are excited to participate in the entire product lifecycle from concept through implementation. Read more on Atomic Object Looking to Hire 2 Designers in Grand Rapids…

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Maintaining a Unified Culture at a Consultancy


When you think of tech companies with great cultures, your mind probably jumps to the usual suspects — Google, Facebook, or some swanky new Silicon Valley startup. It’s easy to see why (whether it’s a mini-city of a campus or a small, tight-knit group looking to change the world together) these companies have a lot that makes them unique and appealing. But Atomic has a great culture too.

Keeping such a strong, awesome culture at a consultancy can be a challenge, though. Most Atoms are working on different projects for different client companies. On top of that, each company we work with is (to some degree) asserting its culture onto its associated Atoms. This is great in many ways, because it gives us perspective into different ways of doing things and can give us an influx of new ideas. But the challenging part is keeping our culture unified when we are all subjected to such a diverse range of environments.

So what do we do as Atoms to keep our identity and strong culture alive with each other? The answer is a lot of things. Read more on Maintaining a Unified Culture at a Consultancy…

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