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App of the Week - Curious: The Game of Learning

Are you looking to learn something new every day? Why not turn education into a fun, immersive game?

All it takes to get started is downloading the Curious app!

Billing itself as “the game of lifelong learning,” Curious allows you to engage with bite size lessons and take on fun, brain-stimulating challenges, all at your own pace and on your own schedule. Even if you have as little as five minutes a day to commit to Curious, there’s still value to be had in this amazing app.

Here’s how it works: Once you download the app, you’ll complete a brief interview. This will allow the service to customize your settings, based on your experience levels and interests with a variety of different topics, broken down into categories ranging from “STEM” to “Aesthetics.”

With these steps out of the way, you’ll be all set with your own, totally personalized “CQ Wheel.” Every day, Curious will use your Wheel to send you a unique “CQ workout,” a multimedia regimen that help you “learn interesting facts, view bite-sized lessons, take in-depth courses, and even watch fascinating conversations with curious people.”

Grounded in decades of learning science and boasting some remarkable partnerships and content – including access to a variety of TED Talks and NPR shows – there’s a reason why Curious has been called “the Netflix of learning!”

Want to get started training your brain, spicing up your daily routine, or even just collecting fun facts for your next cocktail party conversation? You can get started with Curious for iOS and Android devices. Users can pay by the month for $9.99, or buy a year’s subscription for $69.99 (both offers come with a free trial period).

Think there are any other geeky, learning-centric apps our team should try? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line today on Facebook or Twitter to keep the conversation going!

How to Rekindle Your Audience's Passion for Your Brand

Maybe you’ve been at a fancy restaurant, only to look over at the corner booth and see a young couple who can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other. They’re canoodling, they’re sharing food, and they’re generally showing to the world that they’re, like, so totally in love.

And then your gaze glides over to another table, and you see, perhaps, an older couple. They’re sitting in silence and swapping bites. For them, the passion seems to be missing, that spark just burned out with time.

In a lot of ways, gaining and retaining clients for your business can be a little like entering into a long-term relationship. At first, it’s all about the thrill of meeting each other, and seeing all the amazing, novel things you can do together. But over time, familiar patterns settle in, and the old tricks just don’t seem to be working as well as they used to.

This is particularly the case when it comes to digital marketing, centered on high-quality content creation. While some things, like blog posts primed for SEO success, only get sweeter with time, the fact is that other elements slow down or stop working on audiences altogether the longer they’re in play.

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Want to Close More Sales? Great Content Is Your Secret Weapon

According to recent studies, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than an advertisement. 68% report feeling more positive about a brand after consuming content from it.

What’s more, research shows that B2B decision makers tend to engage with at least five pieces of content before they buy. And yet, in spite of all of this, there is still a common perception that content marketing is only about bringing in prospects, rather than generating real, substantive conversions.

While content is a vital tool for inbound marketing, it can also be put to work turning leads into customers – at every step along the buyer’s journey, and in a variety of creative ways.

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Gadget of the Week - Vinci 2.0 Smart Wireless Headphones

Have you ever been working out when, suddenly, you get hit by a brainwave?

Maybe you were banging out crunches when you remembered that you need to stock up on Cap’n Crunch cereal. Maybe you were in the middle of biking to work when you realized you’d rather be listening to a motivational TED Talk than German death metal.

It happens! And until now, it could be majorly annoying to deal with issues like these, even with a set of voice-controlled or truly wireless earbuds.

The problem? Your headphones weren’t smart enough. Enter the Vinci 2.0 system, which promises to be “the world’s first standalone smart wireless headphones.”

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How Long Should My Content Marketing Elements Be?

Maybe you’ve head the famous Shakespeare quote that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

Maybe you’ve heard that, and then responded with “cram it, English major, just tell me how many characters I can put in this blog headline!”

We get it. When it comes to creating content for your digital marketing channels, including blogs and social media, finding the perfect length seems hugely important – and yet it’s also one of the trickiest things to get right.

That’s where the Geek team would love to help! Below, we’ve got your go-to guide for making sure that your content marketing elements measure up. Curious about character limits on social media? Looking for the ideal length for an SEO-focused blog post? Read on…

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The Secret to a Great SEO Headline

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your brand to rank highly on Google results pages – and a successful strategy is equal parts art and science.

If you pull off the tricky balancing act, you may hit gold. Brands who have implemented SEO strategies successfully boast higher rates of organic traffic, better conversion rates, and greater brand reach than those that have no such strategy in place.

On the other hand, getting SEO to take off can take time and patience – and if you’re not getting it right, your investment could amount to less of a result than you may have hoped for.

Here at Geek Chicago, we believe that the key to any great SEO campaign is a thoughtful and well-executed content marketing strategy. Creating your own branded website content - including blog posts, images, and other multimedia – is a surefire way to lure new audience members to your site, where they can become valuable leads with just a little bit of guidance.

And successful content starts at the top – with a great headline.

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App of the Week - Hitlist

Looking to travel to the greatest destinations in the world – for the cheapest prices imaginable? Then you’ll want to join the Hitlist!

There’s a reason why this app has become a go-to for budget friendly flyers – and why it’s been featured in outlets ranging from the New York Times to TechCrunch to LifeHacker.

Put simply, Hitlist is your one-stop shop for all things cheap airfare. Users can put the handy app to work to comb through millions of flights in seconds, pulling out the best options for you. No more clicking around to countless travel sites at all hours, hoping for a good deal. 

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How Much Do People Actually Like Social Media?

In many ways, social media has become an essential part of day-to-day life.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are an easy, efficient way to keep in touch with friends and family; to digest news and entertainment; and even to get your online shopping done.

But do these social networks have a dark side? Increasingly, people seem to believe that the answer is "yes." And this could have major repercussions as we look ahead to the future.

Social Media Is Still Hugely Popular...

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SEO Rankings Falling for a Great Piece of Content? Here Are Five Questions to Ask

If you’re interested in content marketing, then it’s important to keep track of your successes – and consistently determine where your marketing efforts are coming up short.

This is particularly true when it comes to SEO, where victories can require plenty of time and patience, and a lot of small gains or losses can translate into a pretty dramatic difference for your bottom line.

We’ve discussed our favorite methods for evaluating the SEO success of your website and blog content before; generally, we evaluate based on three criteria:

  • Overall organic traffic
  • Keyword ranking
  • Conversion rates

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).