Our Visit from Hillary Clinton

Yesterday at about noon, our Grand Rapids office hosted a visit and Q&A with presidential candidate (and former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady) Hillary Clinton.

We have a broad spectrum of political affiliations at Atomic, so this may seem like a strange choice. But hosting this visit was not meant as an endorsement or other show of support. Atomic Object does not have a political opinion, nor do we (as a company) donate to political candidates.

Read more on Our Visit from Hillary Clinton…

Diversity for Diversity’s Sake? – 9 Reasons We Want to Be Gender Diverse

We’ve been working for several years to improve the gender balance at Atomic Object, largely because we held “diversity is good” to be self-evident.

But the last six to nine months, as we’ve been changing out benefits and practices in pursuit of this goal, I’ve been thinking about why diversity is good. Read more on Diversity for Diversity’s Sake? – 9 Reasons We Want to Be Gender Diverse…

Atomic HQ Plans New Home on Wealthy Street

You know what happens when a company grows? Well, lots of things actually, but the one on my mind for the last year or so is outgrowing our physical space. Our home in Grand Rapids at the corner of Wealthy & Diamond really isn’t big enough for us anymore.

We love the neighborhood we’ve worked in since 2003, and we’ve been a vital part of the revitalization that’s taken place on Wealthy Street. We’re deeply rooted in this community, and we’d prefer to keep it that way. Read more on Atomic HQ Plans New Home on Wealthy Street…

8 Questions to Ask before You Automate

This post is revised and republished from Carl’s blog at Crain’s Detroit Business.

Innovation is not exclusively about revolutionary new products or services. Extending an existing offering or improving an internal business process can be an important form of innovation, too.

When I talk with business owners about using software to automate an existing business process, the request usually goes something like this: “We have this clunky process to do X which uses an old buggy application (or spreadsheets or email). It drives the people who do the work crazy. We’re growing and really need to automate the whole thing. Can you help?”

Of course, custom software and even automation is not always the answer. Given the cost of software development, jumping into a project too quickly can doom the hoped-for return. I always start with a few crucial questions: Read more on 8 Questions to Ask before You Automate…

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…

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ask Us to Sign your NDA

Nondisclosure agreements are legal contracts that limit one or both parties from disclosing information covered by the NDA. They can be used to protect trade secrets, business plans, customer lists, sources — in short, pretty much any aspect of business. They tend to be short and are readily understandable by non-lawyers.

You may be surprised to find that Atomic Object usually doesn’t sign NDAs at the first stage of a potential relationship. We don’t do this entirely from our self-interest, we just think that you don’t really need one, and you’re better off without one. Read more on 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ask Us to Sign your NDA…

To In-source or to Out-source? 9 Questions to Ask Potential Teams

This post is revised and republished from Carl’s blog at Crain’s Detroit Business.

How should you build your next innovative product or service? One major consideration is whether to do the work inside your company or outsource it. I’ve identified some key dimensions of this problem to help you think through your choice. I’m assuming you have a project large enough to need at least a small team of people, that the stakes are high for you and your company, that time-to-market matters, but is not the overriding factor and that your company is large enough to have employees to consider using. Read more on To In-source or to Out-source? 9 Questions to Ask Potential Teams…

The First Tech Hire – Helping Clients Build their Software Company

Atomic’s success ultimately depends on our client’s success, and their success turns on much more than the quality of the software we build. This drives a lot of our business decisions:

  • We brought design practices and designers into Atomic back in 2007 to help our clients determine the right thing to build.
  • We start every project by digging into the business ecosystem and our client’s business goals — that understanding helps our teams contribute valuable new ideas and guides development priorities.
  • We’re as diligent with deployment and hosting as we are with programming and design.
  • We offer beneficial support agreements.

In short, we take a broad view of what’s necessary for market success and provide help well beyond programming. Read more on The First Tech Hire – Helping Clients Build their Software Company…

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…