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Archive for May 2013

Second Screen Tablet Apps: Hits, Misses and What You Need to Know for Success



Bottle Rocket’s Scott Maddux, the general manager of AWE, recently moderated a panel at the Digital Hollywood Content Summit, with panelist representation from Fox Sports, WatchWith, Megaphone TV, Get*This and Shazam Entertainment.

During their presentation, the panel explored successes, failures and trends in the quickly evolving second screen space.

Scott shared the following takeaways from the event with TabTimes:

  • Consumers are ready and willing.
  • Hardware platforms (mobile, STB, TV, game consoles) are in place.
  • App stores are up and running at full speed.
  • Producers, distributors, content owners, advertisers and agencies are all engaged.

According to Scott, all elements necessary to fuel a thriving second screen app market exist today. For more of Scott’s insight, please click here to visit the TabTimes blog.

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Rocketeer Charity: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was selected as our first charity of the month. The nonprofit is unique because they fund more cystic fibrosis research than any other organization. Nearly every treatment available today was made possible by the foundation’s support.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. In the 1950s, few children with the disease lived to attend elementary school; however, thanks to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s pursuit for a cure, the future is looking brighter.

Rocketeer Adrienne Thomas nominated the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because the disease has affected her friends, the Scott family. JJ and Jorde Scott recently moved from Texas to Colorado to be close to a research center for their daughter Sloan, a one-year-old living with cystic fibrosis. To hear more about their story, or to make a donation on behalf of Sloan, click here

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is completely donor-supported and does not receive government funding for research. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar of their revenue goes directly to support research, care and education. To learn more, click here.

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Calvin Carter to Judge the Emmys!

Head Rocketeer, Calvin Carter, is now officially a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences! He joined the Interactive Media Peer Group which consists of Academy members who judge the Primetime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. Calvin was selected based on his achievements in mobile which include creating brand experiences for some of cable's top networks such as Showtime, A&E and Bravo.

The interactive awards are judged based on four categories: Multiplatform Storytelling, Original Interactive Program, Social TV Experience and User Experience and Visual Design. Calvin joins fellow Rocketeer Scott Maddux, GM of our AWE division, as an Academy member. Click here to read more!

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Rocket Science: 24 Hour Hackathon, Fueled by Nothing but Red Bull and Passion



Rocketeers spent the weekend recovering from Rocket Science, our second annual company-wide hackathon.

Rocket Science brings together our individual talents for 24 hours to make something amazing. The goal is to stretch our minds, sharpen our skills and work on things we’re passionate about. It is also a competition, where we self-organize into teams without management intervention, work intensely on our idea together and pitch the result to the rest of the company. At the end, everyone votes for the team they believe was a magnificent success, brilliant failure or had the best presentation.

This year’s magnificent success award went to Team Lunchbox, made up of Rocketeers Andrew Hulsizer, Evan Davis, Ryan Gant and Jon Harvell, who created an app to streamline making lunch plans.

Lunchbox allows Bottle Rocket employees to create a lunch bucket, a place to eat, and fellow Rocketeers can opt in or suggest somewhere new. The app uses geolocation to find lunch spots nearby and even irons out who is driving in advance.

“I am not sure what else is out there like this, which makes it pretty pure from a creative process,” Andrew said.

Andrew also credits the win to the app’s clean and simple UI; however, many Rocketeers just cannot wait to start using Lunchbox. The team is currently getting the server ready to deploy the app, so Lunchbox will be available at Bottle Rocket soon.

The brilliant failure award went to Team Positive Reinforcement, comprised of Jordan Sindelar, Justin Seabourn and Ian Slinker, who created a gaming app where you cannot lose.

In the app, the player is constantly barraged with positive reinforcement – complete with cheesy voiceovers, shooting confetti and coins.

“We wanted to create a mockery of the current state of mobile video games by creating the ultimate embodiment of shallow, no challenge, high-reward gaming,” Jordan said. “Luckily, the people at Bottle Rocket got it. Then again, it could have been a combination of kazoo noises and confetti squares that got us the win.” 

Jordan said the Positive Reinforcement App will be online and available soon for iOS. The team is considering creating an Android version too. 

This year’s new award, best presentation, went to Team BR10, which included Lyndsay Wright, Christopher Bess, Randall Mitchell, Julian Placino, Kirby Sander and Brooks Grigson. The project was to predict the future of Bottle Rocket between now and 2018, our company’s 10th anniversary. The team investigated current trends and emerging technologies and then brainstormed how these will shape Bottle Rocket’s future.

Predictions included Bottle Rocket offices spanning multiple continents, divisions of the company devoted to new surfaces outside of mobile and even the construction of the Calvin W. Carter Expressway in Tampa, our president and founder’s hometown.

“My favorite predictions were the ones involving new surfaces and what Bottle Rocket would be creating for those,” Kirby said. “Watching videos of what Corning is envisioning with their glass technology got me so giddy about possibilities for the future and I can't wait for Bottle Rocket to be a part of that.”

The team believes they won because their presentation was about Bottle Rocket, a company that Rocketeers love being part of. The team’s presentation also provided inspiration and laughter to some very sleepy Rocketeers.

Now that we’ve cleared all the Red Bull cans, our office dove back into our projects with renewed respect for our Rocketeer family and what we do together. We feel that events like Rocket Science are what set Bottle Rocket apart, ultimately cultivating ideas that will benefit our users, employees and clients.

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What Rocketeers Are Reading: Design For Hackers Recap

Rocketeers shelved Design For Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy, the most recent read for our Rocketeer Book Club. The book taught color, typography, proportions and design principles, while offering actionable advice to developers.

Andrew Hulsizer, an iOS developer and leader of book club discussions, said the book will directly impact his work at Bottle Rocket.

“The book helped me understand the language that designers use,” Andrew said. “By learning their keywords, we can convert ours to theirs and get on the same page early on, improving the entire project.”

Mark Jones, an iOS developer and book club member, said these seem like subtle things, but they are important.

The book club invited fellow Rocketeer and art director, Connor Hill, to a meeting to discuss these principles between developers and a designer.

Connor was able to provide valuable perspective on design and how designers think. The group also discussed specific issues that developers at Bottle Rocket face, using apps we’ve worked on as examples.

While we do not expect our developers to start designing apps any time soon, the developers feel like these discussions are critical to communication and project success.

“Designers are learning how to program and we need to do our part to be on the same page,” Andrew said.

Rocketeers started the book club for continued education, meeting weekly during lunch. Prior reads include Learning OpenGL ES for iOS: A Hands-On Guide to Modern 3D Graphics Programming by Erik M. Buck and Pro Objective-C Design Patterns for iOS by Carlo Chung.

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