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Atomic Thinking

3 Atoms Join Ann Arbor & Detroit Teams

In the past few months, three new Atoms have joined our molecule – one in Ann Arbor and two in Detroit. I asked each of them to tell me a little about themselves and to share their favorite thing about Atomic Object so far.

Matt Behrens

“I’ve been a software developer for many years, but almost always working on a team of one. Joining AO has been an opportunity for me to learn how to work together with other makers with a passion for quality like mine. I feel like I’ve only just got started, but I’ve learned so much already, and am looking forward to continuing to learn and grow on that front, thanks to my awesome co-makers.”

Matt is the newest developer in the Ann Arbor office, where he’s been working on a project for RouteOne. Read more on 3 Atoms Join Ann Arbor & Detroit Teams…

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Where Does Atomic Thrive?


In 2001, Atomic Object came to life in a small, rented workspace in an old red brick building in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood. In 2003, when Atomic was still young and very small, we moved west on Wealthy Street to the red brick building we now call AOHQ. We’ve grown a lot since then, so it was smart of us to invest in a bigger house than we needed at the time. Turns out, the Uptown neighborhood suits us just fine.

In July 2012, we opened our Detroit office in another old, red brick building. And in September 2013, we hung the Atomic shingle out in Ann Arbor — in, you guessed it, a red brick building.

Atomic has chosen to locate our offices on the fringe of downtown in two larger Michigan cities (Grand Rapids and Detroit) and the center of a smaller scale city (Ann Arbor), where older, red brick commercial buildings are more likely to be the workplace options in stock. Read more on Where Does Atomic Thrive?…

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My First Visit to a Contract Manufacturer – Flextronics


Over the past 8 months, I have been writing firmware for a consumer electronic device. If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout this project, it’s that taking a good idea and turning it into a sellable product is a lot of work! I used to think that coming up with a good idea was the hardest part. In reality, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Assuming everything goes according to plan, the product I’ve been working on will be in mass production in less than a year. Just recently we began the phase of early-manufacturing and Design Validation Testing (DVT). To help support the process, I booked a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the contract manufacturing facility, Flextronics. The reason for my visit was to help set up and prove out testing equipment that would be used to validate the functionality of devices that are manufactured. However, while I was there, I got to witness much more of what goes on during the early stages of developing a manufacturing process. It was quite an eye-opening experience.

Read more on My First Visit to a Contract Manufacturer – Flextronics…

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Local Orbit is Hiring an Atomic-Quality Software Engineer


Are you interested in working at a startup version of Atomic Object? Then apply to be a software engineer at Local Orbit.

What’s Local Orbit?

Local Orbit is an Ann Arbor startup with amazing, dedicated people who are building a platform that enables local farmers, food makers, and aggregators to efficiently sell to wholesale buyers — creating efficiency and a transparent, traceable supply chain. Local Orbit currently supports customers in 16 states and Canada who are transforming the food industry by running their business on Local Orbit.

What does this have to do with Atomic Object?

Recently, through a unique partnership, I joined Local Orbit as their CTO while remaining a full-time employee at Atomic Object. Over the past 12 years, I’ve learned more about software development at Atomic than I could have anywhere else. My mission is to bring the best parts of working as a software engineer at Atomic Object to Local Orbit by helping to build their engineering culture, practices, and processes. Read more on Local Orbit is Hiring an Atomic-Quality Software Engineer…

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2 Under 40


I nominated both of our managing partners in the Grand Rapids office this year for the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s “40 Under 40″ recognition. Atomic has always believed strongly in the power of pairs, and Mike Marsiglia and Shawn Crowley exemplify why that is.

Since 2009 when they left development positions and effectively apprenticed themselves to me, Shawn and Mike have grown significantly in the scope and depth of their responsibilities and made invaluable contributions to Atomic. In January of this year, we officially pulled the trigger on our succession plan, and they took the titles Managing Partner, Grand Rapids, in addition to their Vice President roles, which span our multiple offices. Read more on 2 Under 40…

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Atomic’s Micah Alles Joins Local Orbit as CTO


In a unique partnership between Atomic Object and Local Orbit, a thriving Ann Arbor startup, I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Local Orbit as their CTO!

Local Orbit’s small, brilliant, motivated team is dedicated to helping people build profitable businesses and healthier communities. They provide people who are building the New Food Economy the platform and tools they need to do their work. Local Orbit’s software platform connects buyers and sellers of local food with shorter, more transparent supply chains. By organically connecting multiple local food hubs, buyers, and sellers in an emerging market, we are supporting entrepreneurs who rely on Local Orbit to run their businesses. Real people, getting real value, from a cutting-edge platform.

Read more on Atomic’s Micah Alles Joins Local Orbit as CTO…

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Why You Should Never Use the Word “Obviously”


One of our core values at Atomic is Teach and Learn. This belief is evident in many different aspects at Atomic, from the external (presenting and attending conferences) to the internal (setting up brown bag presentations and weekly cross-team design reviews). It is also clear in the day-to-day work, like pairing and problem solving as a unit instead of as individuals.

As I’ve spent time learning and listening to the great teachers we have at Atomic, I’ve noticed one word missing from nearly everyone’s vocabulary: “obviously”. Read more on Why You Should Never Use the Word “Obviously”…

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My Atomic Experience

IMG_4534I recently accepted a position with a new company and was offered a compelling opportunity that balances my passion for designing software experiences with my love for high aesthetics.

Being at a point in life where a significant change is needed, this urge to start something new is very exciting. Over the past few years, I have spent a lot of time building my craft, testing with practices at many stages of the design process. Through this transition, I find this new opportunity to be unveiling new design challenges, which is exciting for me.

Life as an Atom

Starting a new job is always tough, but leaving a good job is always tougher.

Read more on My Atomic Experience…

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Nature Matters – Insights on Biomimicry


Image courtesy GreenWizard.

Biomimicry, biophic design, nature-based design — these are all terms that describe how natural systems offer powerful models that influence the built world (including architecture, workplace design, and technology). It’s all about finding design inspiration from nature to solve human problems.

Here are some insights on biomimicry and the potential it holds for long term sustainability in architecture, workplace design and software development. Read more on Nature Matters – Insights on Biomimicry…

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25 Reasons I Love Being an Atom!


I always find myself unintentionally bragging about my job to Facebook, my friends and family – and recently, I took a survey for the 2014 Crain’s Cool Places to Work in Michigan. It motivated me to give my perspective as to why I love my job and why working at Atomic Object is so flipping awesome!

Read more on 25 Reasons I Love Being an Atom!…

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