Fun, Gaming Dev, Tech Events / December 10, 2019 Check Out The EMU & U-M Student Video Game Showcase Wednesday

Hands down, our most popular posts in Cronicle's first 6 months have been the feature on indie game design studios in Michigan from University of Michigan professor Austin Yarger, plus all the followup interviews of game designers from Finji Games to Heart Shaped Games to Dreaming Door. We caught up with Yarger again recently to ask when his popular student gaming showcase was taking place. Turns out, we were just in time.

Fun, Multimedia Arts / December 6, 2019 Finding Joy In Music & Tech with Ki5 Looping Artist and Menlo Engineer Kyler Wilkins

"I began working at Menlo Innovations in February 2018 as a Software Developer, though recently I've shifted to Quality Advocate (QA) as my main role," says Kyler Wilkins, or Ki5 as he's known in the local music scene. Kyler is a hip hop artist, beatboxer, singer/songwriter, and looping artist. His music sounds like a combo between hiphop and EDM, and he's good. He does a lot of covers, but the music he put together on the night we saw him in Ann Arbor was original, complex, and intriguing. He's been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered, and says it was a natural progression for him to step up in his role at Menlo, which is now famous for its founders "joy-based" software and culture design process for engaging work environments, to combine tech and music.

Networking, Tech Events / December 5, 2019 New “Bloom In Tech” Meetup Helps People Succeed In The #3 Tech Hub Ann Arbor

There's a new tech meetup in Ann Arbor, organized by engineers. Web app developer Mohammed Abouzahr of ITHAKA, Soar Technology software engineer Dana Foley, and front-end web developer Jacquelyn Aimee Olson have organized a new meetup in Ann Arbor for people getting into tech when they don't have a background in the industry, or even a degree. It's called Bloom In Tech, and the first one is 6 pm tonight Thursday December 5th in northeast Ann Arbor.

News, User Experience / December 4, 2019 Sam Pierce Lolla’s Shuffleboard Hacks Product Development Collaboration From Ann Arbor To Silicon Valley

Sam Lolla is one of the creators of and the founder and director of Directed Works, a company focused on product development and user experience design for startups. Lolla taught product design at the University of Michigan, and these days works independently with clients from Ann Arbor to the San Francisco Bay area to create products using a new app he put together to make collaborative design more efficient, called Shuffleboard. Recently, Lolla put together a video series on his journey designing and building a startup and documenting every step on Youtube.

Fun, Funding / December 3, 2019 MVCA’s Executive Director Ara Topouzian Balances Economic Development with Award-Winning “Side Hobby” in Armenian Music

We met him at the TechCity Jam early this fall. The local jam session for tech workers who have music careers or hobbies on the side included everything from pop songs to electronica to incredible traditional Armenian music. We wanted to know who was playing in this award-winning band that came seemingly out of nowhere to the stage and played a brilliant set that would be inadequate to just call foot-tapping. Ara Topouzian, pictured right above, plays the qanun (kanoon), an Armenian 80-string harp that goes back to the 5th century and is still played today. The music sounds traditional, and yet it's still extremely catchy.

DevOps, Leadership / November 29, 2019 Red Hat’s Chris Short on Redirecting A War Vet’s Energy To Lifelong Learning & Technical Leadership

It's a common story in startup culture: people comfortable with the risks of starting a new business often have a background in which they became comfortable with chaos, whether that experience was a difficult early start in life or work in the military. Red Hat's Chris Short is a disabled veteran whose service-connected injuries have taken years to manage. Short is a DevOps professional turned marketer and community advocate as Principal Technical Marketing Manager for Cloud Platforms at Red Hat. He is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation Ambassador, Kubernetes SIG-ContribEx member, a public speaker and blogger, founder of DevOps’ish, and believer in open source principles bettering interactions and promoting conversations.

Tech Events / November 27, 2019 Ann Arbor-Detroit & Michigan Tech Events for December 2019

Can't believe it's already the end of 2019, but we've still got some great tech events to end the year. This month, since everyone is busy with the holidays, we're highlighting some special events and foregoing our usual meetup coverage. We have included some public or semi-public events below that require registration but are open to new members.

DevOps / November 26, 2019 Overcoming Organizational Resistance with PagerDuty’s George Miranda

"I get to do non product-specific things for my company," says George Miranda, who recently spoke at DevOps Days Detroit on handling disasters in devops. "That often boils down to creating a how-to for organizations." We met with him backstage to talk more in depth about the work Miranda has put into outlining best practices for devops professionals--or anyone in business, really--who wants to learn more about how to manage operations. He recently launched several protocols PagerDuty is sharing with the public to this end.

Networking, Recruiting, Tech News / November 22, 2019 re:purpose Connects The High-Growth Tech Ecosystem in Detroit

Did you ever wonder how candidates land jobs at hot tech companies like Duo out of Ann Arbor and StockX in Detroit? It's a high-growth space, but operates mostly through back channels--or at least it seems that way in a landscape that is still frequently underrepresented in media coverage of business and local news. Ryan Landau is founder of re:purpose, a tech-focused startup recruiting firm that works with fast-moving companies. Startups and tech firms including Duo, StockX, WeWork, Bloomscape, Atomic Object, Detroit Venture Partners and the like come to Landau to source talent in an environment that still has trouble holding talent from leaving for the coasts.

Multimedia Arts / November 19, 2019 #1 Rated Ann Arbor Film Festival Now Features High-Tech and Multimedia Art of Ann Arbor

"It's unusual, experimental, and avante garde," says Ann Arbor Film Festival Director Leslie Raymond of her historic film festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently rated #1 in the country by USA Today in its 57th year. The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the fourth oldest film festival in the United States and the oldest experimental film festival. What makes Ann Arbor consistently rated one of the best places to raise a family (CBS Local, Livability, Niche, Money) is the cultural events like this, particularly with a long and storied history like the Ann Arbor Film Festival. It's one of the reasons people with Michigan roots come back to raise kids here, or stay to found startups. From software to security to life sciences to mobility tech, SE Michigan is now an increasingly attractive option for tech workers who love a balanced livable lifestyle and the cultural events that make any community a great place to live and work.

DevOps / November 18, 2019 Full Videos of DevOps Days Detroit 2019 Now Available

The full video coverage of DevOps Days Detroit 2019 is now available online. You can find the playlist here, to check out keynotes from a variety of speakers from across the U.S. who came to Detroit a couple of weeks ago to talk all things DevOps. Here's a link to veteran Chris Short's talk, DevOps Is Not War:

Networking, Tech Events / November 15, 2019 Tech Leaders from Barracuda Networks, SkySpecs & More Talk Startup Leadership @ Rising Leaders

Today we caught up with the new Phimation Strategy Group and Ann Arbor SPARK sponsored Rising Leaders program, which piloted this year to mentor business leaders in the Ann Arbor area. At the Circ Bar in Ann Arbor, we heard speeches from several tech, talent, and business leaders to hear their best career advice and leadership lessons.

Tech News / November 14, 2019 Stock Exchange Meets Commercial Real Estate with ProjectFRED

Heather Martel is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of ProjectFRED, a new fintech, blockchain-powered commercial real estate startup launching this month out of Ann Arbor that allows the individual small investor to get into the world of commercial real estate investing through a fractional investing app. ProjectFRED was founded by a neurosurgeon turned blockchain coder, a marketer, and a real estate broker, who wanted to make it easier for commercial real estate listings to meet their investment goals and for people just starting investing or wanting a portfolio across the United States through smaller investments to jump in to real estate using only an app. Investors are alerted to new properties coming on the market and can swipe through investment properties as they are available, which creates a targeted way to help $100 million in commercial real estate in Ann Arbor move more quickly.

Medical Tech, Software / November 12, 2019 Lansing LEAP’s New PROTO Accelerator Supports The Growth of InsurTech Startups in Mid-Michigan

There are now more than 20 SmartZones across the state of Michigan, which means incubators in dozens of locations to support local startups. Right in the center of Michigan, Lansing's LEAP program rungs the PROTO Accelerator, supporting local startups in tech-related industries. Besides geographical location, what distinguishes one startup incubator or tech accelerator program from another is often the prevailing industry in that city that supports new ventures. In the case of Lansing, that industry is insurance tech.

Fun, News / November 6, 2019 Tinkertech Is A 3D Printing Laser Cutter Sewing Machine Electronics Controllers Santa’s Workshop

216 W. Michigan Ave. Michael Ploof of Tinkertech in downtown Ypsi, right across from SPARK East headquarters, has a unique space. Sewing machines line the room that looks out of a storefront on the main drag packed with antique tin-ceiling shops. Events here at Tinkertech focus on everything from Arduino controller programming for automatic garden watering to 3D printing and laser cutting to electronics.

Funding, Medical Tech, Software / November 5, 2019 6 Detroit Tech Startups & Orgs Rocking Detroit’s Tech Revolution

As of 2019, Detroit now has 4 unicorns--Duo, Stockx, Rivian, and OneStream--tech companies valued at more than 1 billion dollars. Detroit is home to a growing number of startups that are slowly revolutionizing the city's economy and the economy of the Midwest, which is attracting back talent from the coasts due to balanced work-life culture, affordable cost of living, and growing tech-related industries. It's still a work in progress, but Michigan appears to have finally stemmed the tide of talent leaving for jobs elsewhere.

Mentors of Michigan: Executive Coach Dr. Rob Pasick, PhD
Leadership, Networking

Mentors of Michigan: Executive Coach Dr. Rob Pasick, PhD

It’s a monthly networking breakfast at Zingerman’s Roadhouse frequented by speakers including Michigan entrepreneurs, local business leaders, Governor Snyder, and more. Dr. Robert Pasick, PhD, known affectionately to many around the University of Michigan as “Dr. Rob,” has been running Leaders Connect events monthly for over two decades. Leaders Connect brings together Ann Arbor leaders…

Mentors of Michigan Tech: Gerry Roston
Engineering, Mobility Tech, Networking

Mentors of Michigan Tech: Gerry Roston

Even undergrad students at the University of Michigan now have access to amazing mentorship from experienced tech leadership in Ann Arbor and Detroit. One such mentor working with student Scarlett Ong Rui Chern, whose startup Peerstachio we just featured on Cronicle Press was interviewed in Newsweek last week, is Gerry Roston. Gerry Roston served as…

Falling Into Fame with David Adrian of Censys
Security, Software

Falling Into Fame with David Adrian of Censys

It’s not every undergraduate student who falls into a research project in order to avoid a machine learning class, and shortly has 30,000 customers, but that’s what happened to David Adrian of Censys. Which isn’t to say he isn’t brilliant and hard-working. He definitely has that whiz kid mannerism about him, and he knows his…

Mike Beasley of Amazon on the Growth of UX in Michigan
Software, User Experience

Mike Beasley of Amazon on the Growth of UX in Michigan

Mike Beasley of Amazon is the co-chair of UX Ignite MI with his colleague Andrea Neuhoff of Thompson-Reuters. Together they represent a cohort of user experience and product design professionals that are a growing pool of talent in the Michigan area. “Amazon has found Detroit a rewarding place to hire,” Beasley says. “Until Amazon moved in, there was a lot of talent not being tapped.”

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech
Software, University of Michigan

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech

In our recent two-part series on the student entrepreneurs of the University of Michigan at the TechArb accelerator and Innovation in Action program, we profiled a young entrepreneur named Scarlett Ong Rui Chern and her venture called Peerstachio. One of the things that struck me as I interviewed Chern was the sheer number of grants she had managed to wrangle to keep her venture afloat, and the amount of support she had received from TechTown and the University of Michigan programs and departments dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurs. “There are so many resources at U of M,” Chern tells me, “we really have the upper hand.”

Innovate Blue: Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan

Innovate Blue: Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan

Jeni Olney’s role at the University of Michigan is to get students excited and interested in entrepreneurship, to be exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship as a useful skill set and a valuable degree. “Then, once I get them into classes, my job is to connect them to resources,” Olney says. This is Innovate Blue, the University of Michigan’s program for connecting any and all undergraduate students with the option of a minor in entrepreneurship.

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