Erika Ramberg shares Substantial’s creative experiment in partnership with Electric Coffin.

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We are technologists. At Substantial, we imagine, build and design mobile and web apps. We collaborate on connected devices, consult on digital product strategy and build our own digital products.

We are also creators. Creators who spend a considerable amount of time on screens each day. It’s hard not to wonder — as technology creators, is this our reality? Is the screen the new artistic medium? Is this a future that all creatives should be prepared to accept?

Or (and this was the hypothesis shared by my CEO Carey Jenkins and myself) — would stepping away from technology provide fresh inspiration for how we vision, collaborate and build digital products? …


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moren hsu

This summer, Substantial traveled to Philadelphia to join educators from around the world at ISTE’s 2019 Conference & Expo, now in its 40th year. Each year, over 24,000 educators, technologists, CEOs, creatives, and students come together to imagine the future of learning.

Kicked off by the adorable, YouTube-famous 12-year-old DJing twins Kayla & Amira, the conference gave a platform to visionary panelists to discuss emerging trends, best practices, and educational innovations in a landscape facing complex changes like the rise of AI and automation. …


We built a product for ourselves — and we’re thrilled by the demand for it

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Substantial is known for dreaming up products for clients, like the virtual workspace that connects teams across continents, or the digital adaptation of the card game where kittens explode. We’re also known by our clients for our philosophy of design and process: a clear vision supported by scalable long-term success strategies.

As we built out client products year after year — we’ve been at it for twelve now — our developers longed for a feature that would make their work a lot easier: Trello cards with the ability to group cards into larger pieces of work, like epics.


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Design Sprint Process

At Amazon, developers push new code to the site every 11.6 seconds. And on average, 60% of all code is written after a product launches.

And airlines no longer sell a seat on an airplane, but every piece of interaction you have along the way.

The definition of product is changing.

So why does corporate innovation often fail to create meaningful products?

At Substantial, we help people make choices about how they go about building digital products in a rapidly changing landscape. …


Substantial strives to be an active member of its many communities, whether it’s related to the work we do or the world in which we live, working with a number of partners to do so. We want to let our audience know more about these organizations as all of them are open to support from individuals and companies alike.

For this partner profile we introduce Seattle-based nonprofit Entre Hermanos, as presented by Development Manager Owen David.

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What is Entre Hermanos and what problem(s) is it trying to address? How is it doing that

Entre Hermanos has been building a healthier Latino and LGBTQ community since 1991. Today, we promote the well-being of our communities through: Spanish language sexual health education, HIV testing, support groups and case management for Latinos living with HIV, advocacy for trans and gender nonconforming individuals, advocacy for workers’ rights, civic engagement (now with a focus on voter registration and the 2020 Census), and legal services and clinics for immigrants, asylum seekers, and families. …


Development at Substantial

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📸@dmotif

Meet Kai Curtis, Senior Developer and improv actor extraordinaire.

When we asked Kai to to tell us a bit about himself he said:

“I’ve spent almost 40 years now around computers, my first love being computer games (which is what I have my degree in), but I was seduced away from that world by the instant gratification and low bar to entry of web development, which I’ve made my home for two decades now, on and off, including these last six at Substantial. (Well, the instant gratification and low bar that characterized the web in the late 90s. …


Marketing at Substantial

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📸@dmotif

Sarah works on Marketing and Business Development, and has been with Substantial since 2015.

When we asked Sarah to tell us a bit about herself she told us:

“I was born in Southern California and relocated to the Pacific Northwest to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media studies at Seattle University. After interning for The Seattle Art Museum in the Communication Department and working with local wine aficionado Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste, I forged a career in technology after a short stint with a startup.

I wear many hats working at Substantial whether it is engaging in initial conversations with potential clients and partners or storytelling about our craft. I deeply believe in the power of conversation, community and authentic connection to drive modern businesses forward.


Substantial strives to be an active member of its many communities, whether it’s related to the work we do or the world in which we live, working with a number of partners to do so. We want to let our audience know more about these organizations as all of them are open to support from individuals and companies alike.

For the first of these partner profiles, we introduce Seattle- based nonprofit Unloop, as presented by its Executive Director, Gina Castillo.

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Photo of Gina Castillo by Brit Zerbo

1) What is Unloop and what problem(s) is it trying to address? How is it doing that?

The majority of people leaving prison cannot get a living wage job because they never had, and cannot access training for, in-demand professions; and, they carry the stigma of having a criminal record. Meanwhile, there is a tremendous opportunity in the tech industry with more than 6,000 open software developer jobs in Washington state alone, and demand for these roles continues to outpace supply. At Unloop we are working to bridge these two problems by providing an end-to-end pathway to jobs in software development for people with criminal records. Folks who, by and large for the majority of their lives, have been marginalized from the formal economy and opportunities. …


Development at Substantial

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Elsa is a developer who we’ve been lucky to have on our team for the past 3.5 years. A bit more about Elsa: “I’m a member of the Minneapolis -> Pacific Northwest migration pipeline. I originally studied Chinese but made my way into tech through the magic of networking and Ada Developers Academy . In my personal time I’m primarily a competitive strength athlete in Olympic weightlifting with some powerlifting thrown in, but I balance it out with being a film nerd and gamer.”


Development at Substantial

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📸@dmotif

Aaron first learned to program in the 8th grade and hasn’t stopped since. He’s worked at large companies, startups, and has spent the last 8 years at Substantial to help our clients launch their big ideas. We’re incredibly lucky to have Aaron as part of our team. In addition to leading and advising on client projects, Aaron also oversees one of our internal products, Hello Epics, a Power-Up we built for Trello.

We asked Aaron, “What was your favorite project at Substantial?”

“My first project at Substantial was Teaching Channel, which will always hold a special place in my heart. …

About

Substantial

An innovation + build studio in Seattle, WA.

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