Christine Mortensen

09/13/2011

Coordinate Your Marketing Channels with the Pre_Scribed Webinar Series

Christine Mortensen // in Strategy

Join us

On Wednesday September 14, 2011 for the next dose of the Pre_Scribed webinar series on channel coordination.

This webinar will discuss the need for sophisticated coordination and integration of your online program’s promotional strategy with other marketing channels such as social media, corporate intra- and internet sites, and offline sales and marketing materials.

This discussion will include:

  • How to select your channels
  • Determine promotion timing
  • Tailor messages by channel
  • Incorporate metrics to measure your success

Once you register a webinar link will be provided via email prior to the event. Presentation slides and webinar recording will available here after the event.

 

Additional Pre_Scribed Doses:

> Learn More about the series

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

08/30/2011

Twitter Tip: @Replies

Christine Mortensen // in Strategy

Here’s a quick Twitter tip…

If you tweet something that starts with an “@” symbol, only those who are following you as well as the person you mentioned will actually see the tweet. To ensure your tweet is seen by all of your followers, add any character directly in front of the Twitter handle (i.e., period, dash, asterisk, etc.).

For example, if Nathan (@nathankurtyka) were to tweet something to me and wanted all of his followers to also see it he should type:

.@cmortensen Hey, nice haircut!
NOT
@cmortensen Hey, nice haircut!

If he did the latter, only those following Nathan AND myself would see his lovely compliment.*

One thing to note though, is that by using this tip you will break the reply chain and it could make a conversation harder to follow for others. So why use this tip? Sometimes there's information that you're sharing that's relevant to more than just the person it was originally intented for. Remember: sharing is caring.

More on @Replies and mentions can be found in the Twitter help center.

Happy Tweeting!

*I did not get a haircut, but I do need one :)

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

08/21/2011

Peace Care and Recapping the Overnight Website Challenge

Christine Mortensen // in Vodori Culture

Last weekend nine of us, a few Vodorians and some very good friends, came together to form a team that would work for 24-hours straight with the goal of creating a brand new website from scratch for a to-be-determined non-profit organization. We were one of 10 teams who signed up for the Chicago debut of an event known as the Overnight Website Challenge hosted by The Nerdery.

Team Chamois Butter for Lunch | The Overnight Website Challenge
 Team Chamois Butter for Lunch — Good thing we're all friends...and shower

 

Our team, Chamois Butter for Lunch, arrived at Resolution Digital shortly before 8am Saturday morning to get situated: check-in, find our set of 3 folding tables and chairs, fire up our laptops, connect second monitors, struggle for an internet connection, and settle in to what would be our home for the next day.

Anticipation builds

Shortly after 9am it was revealed to the teams which non-profit we’d be collaborating with. To our delight we were paired up with Dr. Andrew Dykens, President and founder of Peace Care. Peace Care is a collaborative between the U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. health care training institutions, U.S. schools of public health, and developing global communities to improve and facilitate health awareness and education. Peace Care believes that to sustainably address global health issues and adequately reduce disparity, solutions need to originate and be developed within the community, through existing health systems, with the help of appropriate technology.

As Peace Care’s mission was revealed to us a Chinese Proverb came to our minds: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We aimed to mimic this approach in creating Peace Care’s new website in not only building it, but teaching Andrew how to manage it himself along the way.

Let the brogramming begin

Immediately we went to work, learning about how Peace Care had completed a collaborative in Senegal to teach the community how to screen for cervical cancer using, to our amazement, vinegar! We learned that while there, they were able to teach screening techniques to 40 people in that community, all within merely 4 weeks.

Identifying Key Targets | The Overnight Website Challenge
Identifying Key Targets

 

We spent these first few hours absorbing as much as we could, as quickly as we could so we could get the work started. These first 2-3 hours were spent in strategy mode, understanding Peace Care’s mission, goals, and audience. From there we were able to examine the existing content, tweak the site map that Andrew had already prepared, and make recommendations for the new site. An updated site map and wireframes came quickly on the heels of that effort and finally design could commence.

Brogrammers not brogramming yet
 The Strategy, Content, UI, and Design components of team Chamois Butter for Lunch get cracking

 

In the meantime, the development team was struggling to get a stable internet connection, which The Nerdery was finally able to fix for all of the teams about an hour into the event.

While connectivity issues were getting resolved, the developers set the groundwork for the rest of the night such as: stubbing out basic CMS functionality and preparing to code for things we knew we would need, like a contact us form, blog, etc.

Now we're getting somewhere

By 5pm we’d put in the first full days worth of work and Andrew was busy blogging away, keeping a record of our progress along the way. “It is quite unbelievable how quickly this team is working. It is a very professional group— focused and flexible…My ability to describe what is occurring was surpassed about 7.5 hours ago, but I am seeing photos of our team and a terrific interface that looks friendly and professional.” — Andrew Dykens

Now we're brogramming...no not really
Brett and Zernyu hard at work on the front-end development

 

The rest of our time there was extremely focused although we stopped a few times for a laugh at YouTube videos, eat junk food, and take the occasional and much needed walk away from our desks. We were even surprised by not only one, but TWO visits from fellow Vodorian Grant Gochnauer. This show of support really lifted the team, as did the amazing cookies he brought us! What was his impression? “For me, it was awesome to see a bunch of Vodorians self-organize into a team that by leveraging their skills were able to create something of high value and high impact. I thought the whole concept was very cool. What better way than to use your talents in order to help someone else.”

These guys make magic happen!
These guys make CMS magic happen!

 

I asked my teammates what they thought of the event: What was your biggest take-away?

Greg Lyon— “The biggest take-away of the event for me was witnessing first hand the profound impact that something as simple as a new website can have in the lives of not only the non-profits but also those whose lives they impact. The foundation of many non-profits is their ability to fundraise, and a professional and elegant digital face can make a monumental impact in their ability to do this. The look on Andrew's face when he pushed "enter" on Zernyu's keyboard to push the new website live coalesced 24 hours of hard work, passion, and desire to improve the lives of developing communities everywhere into one incredible memory that I will always cherish.”

Jesse Krantzler— “The event was really cool, we had a great time, and it was so great to see Andrew happy with a site that looked the way he wanted and could make some of his daily tasks related to the site a bit easier.”

Brett Phillips— “When you get a great group of people together with the desire to help an organization that can use some web help, it is easy to deliver a great solution in a short amount of time”

Zernyu Chou — “My biggest take away was the look on Andrew's face after we launched. It was a great feeling. My favorite part was crunch time, desperately trying to get the site working before time was up. And the soda fountain.”

Watching the clock
Always keeping an eye on the clock— 16.5 hours left!

 

3...2...1...

Through the course of the evening we even enhanced some of the CMS functionality all while still being able to have Andrew push the site live when the clock counted down to zero. As of this writing (Tuesday, August 23, 2011) only one other team had pushed their site live and to our knowledge, Peace Care was the only non-profit to have a fully functional, CMS-driven site live at the end of the 24 hours. There was a great deal accomplished that day, night, and morning. We even pulled together a user-guide for Andrew so he’d know how to update the site without us as needed, as well as a presentation for the judging.

In Awe

At various times throughout the event Andrew commented that he was amazed at what we were doing but it was us who were, and continue to be, amazed.

On behalf of all of team Chamois Butter for Lunch, Andrew, we are humbled by your work with Peace Care and we are honored to help you help those who need it most.


From: Andrew Dykens MD, MPH
President: Peace Care

Thanks Vodori!

Peace Care (www.peacecare.org) is now the proud new owner of a very professional web site. Our expectations have been —by far— exceeded, and then some.  Our young organization seeks to link together communities in low income countries with academic resources in order to support sustainable capacity building projects. We work through community level development agencies, such as the Peace Corps, so that the interests and priorities of the community can be emphasized.

Over the last two years we had been working toward our pilot project in Saraya, Senegal. We completed our initial project last winter and now that we have a good portion of the outcomes data from the project we are in an excellent position to begin reaching out to potential funders and volunteer supporters.

Imagine our elation when we were selected to receive a free website through the Nerdery Overnight Websight Challenge. This 24 hour event would provide us with a key component of our professional face through which we would soon be able to promote our model of global health collaboration. Fortunately, we were matched with the most competent and dedicated group at this famed event, Chamois Butter for Lunch. You all provided us with an easily manageable and very sharp portal, rich with functionality.

Now the world will be able to follow us in our upcoming projects in Senegal, El Salvador, and Ethiopia. Thanks, all, your volunteerism is appreciated more than you might realize. Team Vodori is comprised of Mike, Greg, Christine, Brian, Jeremy, Jesse, Raph, Bret, and their fearless captain, Zernyu.


— Photography courtesy of the Nerdery

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

08/18/2011

Mission Possible: the Overnight Website Challenge

Christine Mortensen // in Vodori Culture

10 teams of web professionals, each paired with one of 10 non-profits to create one website within 24 hours— that is our mission. And we gladly accept it. 

Our crack team of volunteers is busy preparing for the 24-hour event this weekend called the Overnight Website Challenge where each team is paired with a non-profit organization desperately in need of a new website. We won’t know which non-profit we’ll be working with until the morning of August 28th, but once we find out, we’ll have a mere 24 hours to work with them to concept, wireframe, design, develop and test a fully-functional, content managed site. Certainly no small task, but like I said, we’re up for it.

Eight others and myself make up the team— a motley crew of seasoned developers, strategists, and designers. Considering that the majority of us are also avid cyclists we thought our name should reflect that. Yes, Chamois Butter for Lunch— that’s us. Not sure what chamois butter is? Go ahead and Google it…I’ll wait.

Right now we’re in full-fledged preparation mode, trying to get as many things ready as we can without knowing the project parameters. The team has met a few times to define roles, share ideas, and get our to-do lists started so we can hit the ground running come Saturday morning.

This event, organized by The Nerdery, has existed in years past in the Twin Cities but this is the first year that they’re bringing the fun to Chicago. From the Challenge website:

“Previously at The Nerdery’s nonprofit nerdathon, volunteers have freely given over $1.5 million worth of professional web development services to 57 nonprofit organizations. The Nerdery considers this a good start, but as long as there are good nonprofits with bad (or no) websites we will rally our nerds and community to deliver nerdy deeds done dirt-cheap.”  

We’re ecstatic about the opportunity to help out a local non-profit and test our mettle. Besides, who needs sleep anyway?

--UPDATE--
Now that the event is over, check out our recap and see how our team helped Peace Care go live with a brand new site.

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

06/17/2011

Recapping the Ragnar Relay

Christine Mortensen // in Vodori Culture

Last weekend, two fellow Vodorians, seven others, and myself set out on 197-mile long journey known as the Ragnar Relay which took us from Madison, Wisconsin back to sweet home Chicago. Couple the distance with a team name like "Wait...Where's the Finish Line?" and one knows you're in for a heck of an experience.

 The Finish
Looks like we found that finish line after all


In case you're unfamiliar with relay races such as the Ragnar Series (or the one I've run twice before from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, California) here's a quick breakdown:

  • Each team consists of 12 runners (or 6 if you're crazy an ultra team).
  • Team members are usually split into 2 or 3 vehicles.
  • Each team member runs 3 legs (parts) of the race; more if your team is short-footed.
  • Distances vary between 2.5 miles to 9.9 miles. But don't be fooled by that 2.5 miler; it could be the hilliest or steepest run you've ever done. So, be sure check the elevation charts.
  • Until you cross that finish line there is always someone on the team running. When you are not running but someone in your car is, it's your job to support and cheer him or her along their route and finding spots in which you can get them water and check in on them. When no one in your vehicle is lined up to run CONGRATULATIONS! This is when you get to eat, sleep, and if you're lucky...shower.
  • You are probably sleeping in you car, van, or a gym floor so be prepared for low quality sleep/naps. And bring a pillow!
  • You will likely have a leg that requires running in pitch dark. Headlamps, reflective vests, and LED lights are mandatory for safety. While running with these accoutrements is something you're probably not used to, these are perhaps some of the best legs as everything is so quite and all you can really see in the distance is the blinking light from the runner ahead of you (in my case, far ahead of you).

Runner Chart

Luckily for us, the route from Madison to Chicago is relatively flat so our challenge was the long runs and having to pick up additional legs since we had 10 runners rather than 12. So on average, we each ran about 20 miles over the course of 31 hours.

Crazy as I know this all sounds I HIGHLY recommend doing a race like this at some point in your life. The experience is like no other and the memories and sense of accomplishment will last a lifetime.

Our average pace was: 9:39:29
Our total time to run 197 miles: 31:42:54

Congratulations to my teammates and thank you for crossing the finish line with me!

From Mike Sullivan:

When I first heard about a 200-mile relay from Madison to Chicago, the uniqueness of it really struck me. I'm in a phase of my running life where I'm looking for non-traditional races - triathlons were a start, but Urbanathlon's and Tough Mudders now. Instead of just adding distances, I want to find other ways to push myself both mentally and physically. A 36-hour race with an average distance of 17 miles per runner fits that bill. The race turned out to be tougher than I imagined, though. I only got a few hours sleep, and that was in the front seat of a car. When I was outside of the car it was cold and wet. But the spirit of the 2000 plus runners on the course and my teammates was amazing. Every person you saw was having fun; every runner exchange was a celebration. We all pushed and supported each other, even when we could barely stay awake. We were able to run farther and faster than we expected. After we finished, showered and slept for 13 hours - I started looking for another one!

Mike's Ninja fast! Mike at night
Mike takes off like a Ninja for his last leg of 9.9 miles Posing for pictures after his second leg, Mike makes night running look good.

 

From Jon Greene:

Running a long-distance relay race is a fun twist on normal distance events. It allows you to participate with others in a really supporting environment at the same time that you are accomplishing a goal (getting the "baton" from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL). The aspect of the relay that I enjoyed the most was running through the night. Waiting at a handoff spot for your teammate while surrounded by around 100 others who are doing the same thing is fun; doing it at 3AM is unique. After the handoff, you can hear the cheering behind you for the first quarter-mile or so. From that point on, it is you running through the night, interrupted only by other runners passing you. (As a quick aside, I think that I'm the only person on the team who didn't pass a single runner on any of my legs.) During my leg, a constant mist filled the air, muffling other sounds- creating my own little world. I don't really know what others think about while they are running, but I found my mind clear of any other thoughts except the action I was currently engaged in. Although it obviously isn't necessary to participate in such an event to achieve mindfulness, I would have found it hard to avoid being completely in the present moment. My night stretch was only 4.7 miles but it was the most peaceful run I've ever had. Once I was about a quarter-mile from the next transfer, I began to hear the cheering crowd and sped up to hand off to the next runner. While I enjoyed the whole experience of the relay, my night run really sticks out as the most unique aspect of the race.

 Jon sprinting to the finish
 Jon sprinting to the finish
 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

06/08/2011

Vodori’s Favorite Apps for Business and Productivity

Christine Mortensen // in Technology

With the 306k+ iPhone apps and nearly 200k Android apps how can you choose which are the best? We can help you with that. Even if you've had an iPhone or Android phone for years you may discover something new.

Just got a shiny new smartphone? Well welcome to the age of instant access, where a quick Google search can squelch a dispute faster than Quick Draw McGraw. You now have the world-wide-webs at your fingertips, can access email and perhaps most importantly you can download apps!

Whichever camp you fall into let us know what YOUR favorite apps are in the comments below.

 

In this post we focus on business and productivity apps:

Evernote

EvernoteLets you create notes, to-do lists, screen captures and more. It’s a really handy app that helps us capture all of those random great ideas we have throughout the day (ok, so maybe not the great ideas we have while we’re in the shower but we bet they’re working on that). Most of all, we love having access to all of our notes on the go.

Cost: Free
Available for: Desktop, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PalmPre, Windows Mobile

Dragon Dictation

Dragon DictationTurns speech into text so we can remember useful or clever thoughts walking down the street and share them via SMS, email, Facebook or Twitter.

Cost: free
Available for:
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Instapaper

InstapaperThis app allows you to save the web pages you want to read later. This desktop site might not look like much but we really like the mobile interface for accessing Instapaper, with it’s adjustable font sizing, choice of light or dark background, tilt scrolling and more. There’s even a dictionary that’s accessible when you happen to be offline. Instapaper also lets you share your content across multiple social networks/other apps.

Cost: $4.99
Available for:
iPhone, iPad, and Kindle

Google Search

Google SearchSearch will never be the same with this this souped-up version of the Google search interface that includes search by voice, camera picture, location and more.  Access to other Google applications like Maps and Gmail is also a breeze.

Cost: free
Available for:
Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, NokiaS60, and more

JotNot Pro

JotNot ProTake pictures of things like documents, receipts, whiteboards, business cards, and notes and turn them into PDF documents. Even better is that all of the information stays with your phone so your information is confidential (JotNot does not store our data).

Cost: $0.99
Available for: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

GeeTasks

GeeTasksThis native app for Google Tasks is frills-free but that’s probably part of it’s charm. It does just what it says it should do, “View and update your Google Tasks, even when there is no network connection.” And that’s why we like it.

 Cost: $2.99
Available for: iPhone, iPad

iTeleport

iTeleportWith this ‘magical’ app you can control your computer straight from your iPhone or iPad. Access your files and run your applications (even Photoshop). ZDNet even called the iPad version of this app a “killer VC client.”

Cost: $24.99
Available for: iPhone, iPad

Prompt

Originally a proof-of-concept Prompt has turned into a, “clean, crisp, and cheerful, “ SSH/Terminal client. We think it’s great for those on-the-go server maintenance needs. Oh, those clever apes at Panic…what will they come up with next?

Cost: $4.99
Available for: iPhone, iPad

Terra

TerraIf you’d like an alternative to Safari then give Terra a spin. With it’s more traditional tabs and the ability to save web pages for offline viewing you may never go back to Safari again.

Cost: Free
Available for: iPad

RealCalc

Finally! Another non-iOS app. Have some hefty calculations to do on the go? This app is like having a scientific and engineering calculator in your pocket. Ah…it takes us back to Calculus II…the good ‘ole days. There are 2 versions available a free one and a ‘donate’ version for $3.25. If you like it as much as we do consider getting the donate version as a sign of your appreciation. You do get a few extras like, customizable unit conversions.

Cost: free or $3.25
Available for: Android

 

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

11/09/2010

Why Bigger is Not Always Better

Christine Mortensen // in Creative
Bigger Logo

Choice in coffee mug says a lot about a person. Several years ago, a former co-worker gave me a mug from the American Marketing Association with the question, “Can you make the logo bigger?”

It’s a common question, one that Designers everywhere cringe upon hearing. In fact, I’m pretty sure a puppy dies every time a client makes the request.

Another puppy just died.

We like your logo. We made it that size for a reason. Most of the time, it’s because your logo should neither overpower your website’s content nor be the first thing someone notices on your site. Chances are, they already typed your URL using your company name or found you via a search. If the user is interested in your site, they will look for your logo.

I do understand why clients want bigger logos. Your company spent a lot of money on that logo, developed your brand image around that mark, and it helped achieve where you are today. You want to ensure your brand is seen (as well you should)!

A brand is more than a logo

But a brand is more than a logo. It is more than a color palette, more than all of the things that great design can give you. A brand is also content, tone-of-voice, user experience (or Ux), and all of those offline components like customer service, how awesome your actual product or service is… I could go on and on. All of those things and more make up your collective brand.

So please, next time you’re about to ask to make the logo bigger, think about whether it will detract from everything around it. And don’t forget the poor puppies.

 

Share Article

Christine Mortensen

11/02/2010

Are Google and Microsoft Word Taking Design Cues from Each Other?

Christine Mortensen // in Creative

The other day, Mac users at Vodori got a little treat: an upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011. While I’m neither a master of the spreadsheet nor the power presenter, I do appreciate the Office suite, especially Word. It’s my go-to word processor, like Google is my go-to search engine. And now they have an eerie similarity.

When I opened Word for the first time, I noticed Microsoft already placed the suite application icons in my dock (thanks?). Not only were the icons for Word, Power Point, Excel, and Outlook (yes! no more Entourage, folks) now in my dock, they’re sporting a bright, new look.

Microsoft Office Logos

The Microsoft Office suite icons for Mac.

Microsoft Word smacks of Google Wave

I couldn’t help but notice that the Word icon in particular reminded me of something. But what was it? Google Wave? Really? Microsoft took design cues from Google?! I don’t think they did as the ribbon/wave design style is something of a trend. Even so, I couldn’t help but bust open Photoshop to have a little fun.

What do you think?

Microsoft Word Plus Google Wave Equals Worve

Word or Wave? Worve?

 

Share Article