FLIRTcasting: Online Resources for Learning Web Development & Design

by in Best of the Web, Big Ideas, FLIRTcasting 

We are stepping into December, which means we are not far from 2017! Have you had a chance to think of your new year resolutions? Well, learning something new is always a beneficial goal to set for a new year and for event professionals (or aspiring event professionals), web and design are always good topics to learn about. These areas are essential parts of events. I mean, can you imagine an event without a website or branding? You may not have direct interest in becoming a developer or designer, but having more knowledge on these subjects will make working with designers much more smooth. Plus, it’s always fun to learn!

Here are some online resources that provide fun and efficient ways to learn about web or graphic design:

Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization created by Salman Khan. It has a wide variety of subjects to learn such as math, science, economics, history, music and of course, web design! For learning about web design, Intro to HTML/CSS is the go to course. It has more than just videos, it also offers activities, and even games! The best part, it rewards you with badges upon completion.

Code Academy
In comparison to Khan Academy, Code Academy differs in that it is specifically for learning how to code. It offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages including HTML, CSS, Java, Python and more. For learning HTML & CSS, it provides step-by-step instructions and an online editor, so you can learn and practice at the same time.

Lynda.com
Lynda.com offers video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business. Compared to the two sites above, Lynda.com is more project-based, meaning you can watch videos on certain topics that you are interested in, while the above two sites offer more of a step-by-step process.

 

If you can’t find what you are looking for from the sites above, of course there are many other websites that provide lessons. For instance, YouTube can be a go to when looking for a quick/free video tutorial. The growing use of technology and the internet has made learning easier and much more accessible. So really, there are no excuses big enough to stand in the way of your new year’s learning goal!

FLIRT Stories: Part I

by in Big Ideas, FLIRT Goings On, What We're Thinking About 

The FLIRT staff is full of influential and creative minds, but sometimes we wonder…how did it all come to be? We decided to do a little field research of our own and interview the FLIRTies to discover motivation, career juncture, and ultimately, why FLIRT? Without further ado, we humbly introduce FLIRT Stories Part I:


kacie_reShh…Do you hear that faint shuffling through the cookie tin? Odds are it’s Kacie looking for her midday pick-me-up, a chocolate chip cookie of course! Kacie is a Project and Marketing Manager responsible for growing FLIRT’s social media and web presence and organizing client experiences. When she’s not at work, you can find this fitness-ista running to the gym, spending time exploring the great outdoors, or eating cookies (duh).

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“My sister works in the industry and her company often partners with FLIRT. So, she introduced me and I was fortunate enough to begin as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2015 and I have now been full time as a project manager since June of 2015.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“I would say be totally open minded. Know that every day is going to be different in this constantly changing environment. One day you could be sourcing 5,000 custom 3” buttons and one day you’re creating mobile sites.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

She smiles, “I’m a big fan of FLIRT’s Halloween trick-or-treating.” (On Halloween the FLIRTies parade around the office dressed in our best costumes “knocking” on the doors of each cubicle soliciting for candy.) It’s fun to see everyone dressed up, it really shows our personalities. But also…candy.”

  1. You were to move to Mars tomorrow and you could only bring one thing from Earth (other than food and clothes) What would you bring?

Kacie expresses with beaming excitement, “I’m going to move to Mars tomorrow?!” She continues, “Hm, is it coffee or is it ice cream? (thinking for a moment) Coffee Ice Cream! I’ll bring them both together.” – Good Job Kacie, the interns approve!


andy_flanagan_reAndy knows it all—Branding, Communications, Training Events, Media—You name it, he’s done it! As Business Development Manager, Andy uses his wealth of strategies and techniques to draw in new clients. However, don’t let his business front fool you, he’s a sweetheart! He’s a caretaker to everyone, whether you need help handling clients or just want to know how to make a mean FLIRTini.

 

  1. How did you become a FLIRTie?

“Well I guess I have always been one at heart, it was just a matter of coming to FLIRT to bring it out in me. I worked with Kari, Pete and Michael for many years before FLIRT, and then I joined later because I wanted to work with people I respect: old friends and colleagues who understand each other and can work together in a familiar manner. In short, we ‘get’ each other, we can speak in shorthand, and we get along really well.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Having a diverse background with many different types of experience is very helpful, and you gotta like people. Be prepared for anything. Be prepared to be busier than you can ever imagine being in one moment, and then be prepared to be bored and wondering if you will ever be busy again.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“It was my first day at FLIRT. My first assignment was to make a signature FLIRT cocktail.” Andy continues while smirking, “The FLIRTini is a special craft cocktail found only at the blue bar (aka FLIRT Communications.)”

  1. What is the best advantage to being “tall”?

“You can see the stage better at a crowded concert.”


fran-m-275Sweet Franny Girl holds FLIRT together – In other words, she’s our Italian Office Mama. Fran handles everything from financial management to enhancing our agency’s workflow and productivity. She’s all about meeting deadlines, “closing out the month,” and strongly believes in the power of a homemade dinner and strong cocktail. When she’s not at the office, you can almost always find her treating her puppy, Sauce, to hearty meatballs and lots of lovin’.

  1. How did you become a FLIRTie?

Fran lost her job as office manager for another agency at the peak of the 2008 stock market crash. She remembers, “I received a call from a recruiter who I used to hire administrative assistants through [informing me] that she was about to sublease her Michigan Avenue office space to a new startup company and they needed an office manager with an accounting background.” Fran interviewed and quickly rose to the top, chosen because of her administrative skills, account expertise, bachelor’s degree in business processes, self-developed invoicing process, and “good phone voice.” She was the first person FLIRT hired outside of their previous agency’s comfort zone.

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“We all [throw] the balls up in the air, we’re juggling all of the time – Constantly follow up on yourself.” Secondly: detail, detail, detail. You have to satisfy the client – You take the hit, even if you didn’t forget [a task or client need,] take the hit. Third: I know we’re pressured and clients want everything now, but if you give it to them fast and wrong, it’s a waste of time and not functional. Check everything when you’re sending something. Double, triple-check, and if it’s real important, have another person check it too.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

It was August 2008, a few months after Fran became a FLIRTie. Paul was eating lunch on a job across the country when he called Fran and asked her to read him an email. “I read it once [missing a few words,] and then Paul asked me to read it again. So I read it a second time correctly. While chewing Paul says, “You dyslexic *freak!*” He was reading it along with her on his computer the entire time, “without missing a beat I told him I was left handed so I naturally was dyslexic.” They laughed about it forever. “He was testing my loyalty or something,” Fran explains with tears in her eyes and a beautiful smile on her face.

  1. Fill in the blank: When I dance I look like…..?

 “Probably an old-school disco queen.”


brianna-275This jubilant newly-wed is the queen of Fro-Yo Fridays, a premiere stylist 11/10 times, and has got a laugh you can hear from over a mile away. Let’s give a warm welcome to Brianna, our Digital Engagement Specialist! Bri designs and manages digital campaigns, with a passion for figuring out how to use the latest technology to foster personal connections for our clients. When Bri isn’t busy working on projects or app developments, she’s bringing characters to life on stages all over Chicago, singing Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” with scary accuracy, all with a glass of red wine in hand! We hope you enjoy getting to know Brianna!

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I started two weeks after I graduated college, and have been here ever since. I knew I wanted to work at a small company because it would allow me to try out a lot of different roles and responsibilities to figure out where my skills and interests best aligned.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“My biggest piece of advice is to say “yes” to everything when you’re first starting out. Every project, every task, every coffee run. You’d be surprised at how the things you learn during the seemingly small tasks can be so applicable down the road. I’d also say you should find someone you admire in the workplace and use them as an example or mentor as you develop your professional skills. Pay attention to the way they carry themselves, how they talk to clients, present ideas, etc, and study them. I learned so much from Paul and often would write down notes on how he presented ideas and concepts to shape how I would carry future conversations. I think studying successful people is just as valuable as studying specific skills.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“I’ve had so many … I mean it’s been 7 years! I couldn’t possibly pick just one so here’s the first one that comes to mind: We do an annual baseball outing and one year at the Sox game the Sox spirit team picked me to go on the JumboTron for a competition where you had to bounce a whiffle ball on a plastic bat. It was so much harder than it looks! But as a lifelong Sox fan it was a total dream come true. The FLIRT team cheering me on the was absolute cherry on top.”

  1. If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

“Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc.”


We hope you enjoyed hearing straight from some of our brilliant FLIRTies—check back next time for the exciting second edition!

FLIRTcasting – Holiday Shopping Edition

by in Best of the Web, Big Ideas, FLIRTcasting, Get Mobile 

My good friend Mr. Frank Sinatra once sang, “Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside. Painted candy canes on the tree. Santa’s on his way. He’s filled his sleigh with things, things for you and for me…” but even Santa has a budget, am I right? To get the most out of your holiday shopping this year, you should consider taking a look at our compilation of apps and websites equipped with the best deals and holiday steals. So, you savvy shopper you, I invite you to read on and take some notes…without further ado, please enjoy FLIRT’s Holiday Shopping Edition!

Selling Made Easyraise

Don’t you just love discounted gift cards? It’s like finding that Christmas cash you stashed away 2 years ago in an envelope under your iHome Dock (*cough, cough* I found $200, winning). Raise is a mobile app and accompanying website that allows you to buy and sell retail gift cards. It’s free to list, and you set your own prices controlling how fast or slow your cards sell. So why not try it out and buy your male teen cousins gift cards to Subway and/or Chili’s, considering you most likely have no idea what to get them.

Never Miss a Deal

The Black Friday catalogue days are quickly coming to an end, so how else can you keep up with retailer’s savings? Well of course, my dear shopper, you use DealNews! DealNews is a website that emails you the best deals available from all across the Internet. The experts only list products that are at the lowest price and offered from reputable companies. It’s the thrill of the shopping chase, but you actually get good deals – shop smarter, not harder.
snipsnapCoupons in the 21st Century

Who remembers sitting at the kitchen table cutting out coupons from the Sunday paper insert? Or in my case, watching Nani snip away at the vitamins, popcorn, and frozen TV dinners, buy one, get one free deals. Save time and hand cramps with SnipSnap, the app that saves any printed coupon to your mobile phone. Simply snap a photo of a printed coupon and be amazed as SnipSnap recognizes the text and images while converting it to a digital, mobile-ready offer. In addition to uploading your own deals, you can browse the database to discover featured offers from select retailers. Discover it, snip it, redeem it!

The Simplest Way to Give

The holidays give an extra reason to be romantic (hint, hint: Peter, I want a puppy). So why not Spoil that special someone with beautiful gifts and same-day delivery from anywhere in the United States with just one click? Spoil is the simplest way to give; the app is available at the App store and with just a few taps, you can send anything from macarons and champagne to mystery boxes. Try it out and (*wink*) you’re welcome!spoil2

Long Live In-Store Shopping

Shopular is an app that finds daily and weekly deals based on your favorite stores. This app is special in that it uses location-based notifications to send relevant deals to your smart phone the second you walk into the store. Users choose which deals they want to see and can simply redeem their coupons right from a mobile device. Shopular also offers consumers a community to interact and share saving tips and tricks with to enrich the entire experience. I, for one, would like to see a Black Friday deal on Burberry coats…Nordstrom, I’m talking to you.

 

There you have it, savvy shopper – you made it to the end. I hope you gained a lot of relevant information that will help you maneuver the holidays. Check back next time for another edition of FLIRTcasting! Take it away Frank.

 

 

 

How Technology Enriches Our Lives

by in Best of the Web, Big Ideas, Corporate Communications, News, What We're Thinking About 

Did you check the weather this morning? Did you surf the Internet or listen to music on your morning commute? Are you currently texting your friend about your plans for the weekend? Do you plan to call your mom tonight? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions or if you even stepped outside your house today then technology has impacted your life. Let me break it down for you:techgraph3

All of that brings us to today.

Technology has come so far in so little time that it is easy to take all we have for granted. Just think: the first email was sent out only 45 years ago. The first cell phone was huge, blocky, and is just 32 years old. And the first tweet was made 10 years ago. Do you still feel unattached? The App Store is only 8 years old. I feel like I’ve been using the App Store since I could first walk, which mind you was 20 years ago! So there, have I convinced you? Technology plays an important role in our personal and professional lives. From one #EventProf (okay, aspiring intern) to another, we should all spend a little time recognizing its effects:

  1. Technology expands human interaction.

Long distance relationships would not be possible without the World Wide Web. To be clear, I’m not talking about romantic relationships, I’m referring to business partnerships. Think of all the clients you have, and now think of how many are next door to your office. Probably none of them are, and that’s okay! That’s the beauty of technology – it allows us to connect with other professionals nationwide and even globally!

  1. Technology tells us where to go.

Let’s all take a minute to really thank our smart phones for that nifty little map they provide us with using the Global Positioning System. Sure you could use a printed map, but your cell phone consistently updates with the satellites orbiting the Earth to tell you travel times, routes and traffic conditions.

  1. Technology makes the show more efficient.td

Imagine going to an event with no lighting, no audio direction, no headsets, and dare I say it, no Wi-Fi (ah, the horror!) It would be a complete catastrophe. A technical director or TD is in charge of the software, media, and technology behind the whole performance. A corporate event without technology is just like a library without any books.

  1. Technology enables you to learn.

If you’re like me, you have Google-searched anything from how to boil pasta to how to write a cover letter. Anything you could ever want to know is online, and it’s yours for the taking! A quick Internet search is your go-to for learning about the world today. We have access to 24-hour news reports, tweets, texts, and phone
calls; therefore, we’re always connected in some way, shape or form.

ipoddancer2Technology has been around, from the invention of the wheel to the first aqueduct, we’re just now delving into the digital landscape. Our tools are quickly advancing; just this year alone we have welcomed the Galaxy S7 Edge, Pokémon Go, the first augmented reality app of its kind, the Amazon Echo Dot, a smart home and smart speaker in one, and the nationwide shift to the EMV credit card chip.

It’s always been there, now the question is where will we go from here?

FLIRTcasting: Augmented Reality

by in Big Ideas, FLIRTcasting, News, What We're Thinking About 

Even though it has been almost four months since Pokemon Go was released, you can still find people of all ages playing. Everyone knows the concept but what people don’t know is that its main component utilizes a technology that the world is still trying to adapt to—Augmented Reality.

Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical environment in which the elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Pokemon Go wasn’t the first to showcase AR, but they brought it to a mass audience. One of the first functioning AR systems came out in 1992 when Louis Rosenberg developed Virtual Fixtures. These Fixtures allowed the military to work in remote areas. In 2004, see-through AR was brought to cell phones. Other than in mapping and gaming, there are many other uses of AR. Here are some applications of AR that you may not have realized before:

www.netminds.it

Archaeology
Imagine visiting all historical sites and seeing what they looked like hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Augmented Reality has made this a possibility. With your smart phone or tablet, you can now relive what these areas were like in the past.

Greeting Cards
We thought greeting cards that played music were exciting but now greeting cards can be implemented with digital content that users can view by scanning the card with their smart phones. The content can be pictures, videos, or 3D objects which the viewers can interact with. Mage and iGreet are some places where you can get AR greeting cards.

www.industrytap.com

Medical
Donating blood is not always the most pleasant experience. Now, with AR, giving blood has become a quicker and less painful process. Devices like VeinViewer can locate veins inside a person’s arm using harmless near-infrared light allowing for quick and painless entry.

Tourism/Translation
Traveling in foreign countries and figuring out directions can be very challenging and even nerve racking. With Augmented Reality, foreign text on signs and menus can be translated and re-displayed in the user’s language. In 2014, Google incorporated Word Lens into its Google Translate, so now it has the function of instant translation from your phone’s camera.

images.latinpost.com

 

AR is still developing and the potential uses are endless. Pokemon GO opened the door for other AR apps to flourish, but it’s only the beginning. We are eager to see how Augmented Reality grows and evolves in different aspects of our daily life over the next few years.

 

 

Works Cited:
Augmented Reality.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Nelson, Fritz. “The Past, Present, And Future Of VR And AR: The Pioneers Speak.” Tom’s Hardware. 30 Apr. 2014 Web. 04 Oct. 2016