I’m just over a year into my San Francisco dream job after a tumultuous year of unemployment, soul-searching, and a cross-continental move (described in this post). Now feels like a good time to resurface and share the framework I developed to make it happen.

This framework helped me come up with a compelling mission which now serves as my guiding light.

Why to use it

I believe that people are motivated to find a sense of belonging, meaning, and to truly contribute at work. …


Everything is never going well at the same time, and that’s ok.

Over the past year, I learned to be grateful for the upside of unemployment. I had time to think about what matters to me and how to get closer to where I want to be. I began reflecting while hiking the Camino de Santiago with my mom in Spain, and sought inspiration from sources including Tim Urban’s post Religion for the Nonreligious and Designing Your Life, a book that accompanies the popular Stanford course on personal and professional development.

In this post I will share the framework I developed to track and actively influence the areas of my life that…


This summer, I published some key content takeaways from three conferences; CultureFest, Collision, and C2 Montréal. In this follow up piece, I’ll share lessons learned from these conferences that fall into two categories; making the most of your conference-going plans, and what it takes to host a world-class conference.

1. As a conference attendee, come equipped with a personalized networking strategy.

When you’ve booked a conference far enough in advance, you have time to research the speakers and attendees, to come up with a list of interesting people you’d like to meet. So do it. Start with a goal, for instance “learn how to advance as a designer from people who’ve been…


This spring was a busy conference season for Dynamo. Montrealers are always eager to embrace the first signs of life peeking out from melted snowbanks, and this year our yearning for sunnier days was driven by more than the desire to stow away our Sorels and break out the prosecco for wine o’clock on the terrace, we also had plenty of networking and learning to do.

We kicked off the season with CultureFest, the first event in the province of Quebec to be fully dedicated to improving workplace culture, flew to New Orleans for America’s fastest growing tech conference, Collision


We’re comparing two popular online store approaches : Shopify Plus and Custom-built, to help you decide which one is best for you.

At Dynamo, we do a lot of custom work in branded eCommerce, and love helping startups and other innovative companies create outstanding customer experiences. Over the years, we’ve built award-winning branded eCommerce products for companies like Glossier, Blue Bottle Coffee, and LOLA, to name a few. Most of our work in this domain is built on Spree/Solidus, a scalable, dependable, and highly customizable open-source framework built with Ruby on Rails.

Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant…


Finding the right digital partner for your project can be a lengthy and nuanced process. Spoiler alert: it’s not always Dynamo. Based on the emails and calls that we field, it seems that founders looking for a digital studio often lead with the wrong questions, or approach the search ineffectively. Throughout our seventeen years in the business, we’ve identified some key mistakes that we see companies make again and again:

1. Starting at the wrong time

2. Overlooking process and approach

3. Underplaying budget

4. Soliciting competition based on RFPs

5. Prioritizing industry-specific experience over adaptability

Below, we’ll outline how…


Startup Fest from the Old Port

This year was my much-anticipated first year participating in the full lineup of Startupfest festivities. Over the past few years, I have expanded my network in Montreal’s entrepreneurship community through my work promoting cross-border trade at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal. This is where I caught my first glimpse of Montreal’s innovative and supportive startup ecosystem and decided I wanted to be a part of it. When I was hired as a new member of the Dynamo team whose focus is all about building relationships, I knew this event would be the perfect place to get started.

As the biggest…

Alyson McPhee

Aspiring minimalist | humble Canadian | workplace design enthusiast

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