Gadget of the Week - Polk Audio Command Sound Bar

Ready to take your Amazon Alexa experience once step further? The Polk Audio Command Sound Bar
 aims to maximize your experience when it comes to the world of home audio, integrating Alexa voice control with top-quality sound specs and a sleek, minimalist design.

With the help of the Command Sound Bar, you’ll no longer have to worry about hooking up your Alexa device to a separate sound system as you set up your home theater or music room.

The Polk Audio Command Sound Bar is equipped with performance-tuned driver array, a wireless subwoofer, and Dolby/DTS surround sound decoding - all features designed to greatly enhance your audio listening experience as you stream music or audiobooks, control your smart home devices, or watch movies and TV via compatibility with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

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App of the Week - FoodSwitch

What’s in those prepackaged foods - and are there healthier, easily accessible alternatives? For anyone looking to start making the switch, but unsure where to start, there’s an app to help you figure out these types of snacktime dilemmas.

For all your packaged food needs and questions, FoodSwitch has got you covered.

After you’ve downloaded the app you’ll be able to, as the app’s developer puts it:  

use FoodSwitch for healthy grocery shopping and to make better food choices for you and your family.”

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Gadget of the Week - Cobra DashCam 2208

Sometimes we could all use a little help for those unexpected interruptions we face while driving. The Cobra Dash Cam 2208 is an exciting gadget, one that even the most experienced drivers will find useful in those unexpected moments.

The cam is meant to keep you safe from surprise obstacles on the road, and to act as a form of protection from “accidents, insurance fraud, distracted drivers, and road rage,” according to their website.

The camera itself has a max video resolution of 1296P which is sure to capture crystal clear videos of the road in front of you. You’ll be able to watch the footage on the cam’s two-inch screen while you drive, or review the footage after you’re done. According to NBCNews, even in the event of a crash, the dashcam is programmed to not allow the footage to be overwritten.

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App of the Week - Driving Detective

There are so many distractions we face while driving, both within our cars and coming from the outside world. The
Driving Detective app aims to help eliminate the ones that come from your phone.

Driving Detective will automatically disable various notifications to your phone while you’re in motion. Users can customize within the app to determine which sounds and navigation tools they’d still like to hear when driving.

And it’s hard to overstate how important this can be! Distracted driving leads to countless accidents every year. Being able to eliminate some of those notifications competing for drivers’ attention spans can help drivers reduce their mobile phone usage while in transit - which truly could save lives.

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Gadget of the Week - Magic Leap One

We’ve talked about virtual reality and we’ve discussed augmented reality, but what’s up with their not-so-distant relative, mixed reality? According to Recode, mixed reality

“...lets the user see the real world (like AR) while also seeing believable, virtual objects (like VR). And then it anchors those virtual objects to a point in real space, making it possible to treat them as ‘real,’ at least from the perspective of the person who can see the MR experience.”

The Magic Leap One headset is a leading example of this exciting technology and how it can be used for app developers.  

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Optimizing Your Site for Lead Generation: Here's What It Takes

Is your website primed for lead generation and conversions? Let’s dive in and talk about what this important question really means - and how you can take concrete steps towards generating more leads right now.

Conversions: A Major Part of the Digital Marketing Puzzle

When all parts of your digital marketing strategy are working in harmony, something amazing happens. Your website is well-designed and responsive. It hosts stunning, informative content, which you amplify over email and on social media to extend your brand reach. Your on-page and off-page SEO are on-point, generating consistent, quality traffic to your site. Everything operating like clockwork - that’s a beautiful thing.

But even in cases like this, it’s still possible that you’re not seeing the conversion rate that you might be hoping for. And at this point, worry sets in.

After all, you may be thinking, what use is all of this traffic and brand engagement if people aren’t actually signing up or buying anything?

That’s a common worry - and the cause might not be as cut-and-dry as you (or your digital marketing team) would like it to be.

The reality is that a lot of inbound and outbound marketing strategies are about drawing eyes to your brand - and that’s where they end. For some marketing companies, their reasoning is that their job is done. They got eyes to your site - now it’s up to you to make the sale.

We take a different stance. Instead of adopting this walled-off approach, where your marketing efforts and the look, feel, and flow of your website are separate, we feel it’s important to think about content holistically - not just as a marketing mechanism, but also as a way to ease visitors down your conversion funnel, where they make the transition from being a curious lead to a hot prospect.

With that said, it’s important to recognize that getting users to your site is one thing; generating conversion is something else. But a lot of the same tactics that you use in your SEO-focused writing, social media campaigns, and other digital marketing efforts can also be put to work on your website, helping get new leads from call-to-action, to landing page, to that all-important email or form-fill.

Optimizing Your Website for Conversions

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App of the Week - Animatix

We all have art movements we’re drawn to, whether it’s abstract expressionism, realism, or cubism. And because some of us aren’t able to replicate some of these famous art styles with a physical paintbrush, there’s a new app that does the hard work for you.

Called Animatix, the app promises to bring your photos to life in a fun and exciting way. Basically, the app helps to turn your still photos into animations that can mimic a classic cartoon style, or replicate hand-drawn sketches and pieces of art.

Developer Code Organa describes the app as:

“us[ing] real-world animation techniques to breathe life into your still photos, adding motion that makes their edges and color come alive.”

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Why Pay for Website Maintenance?

It’s easy to think of a website as a work of art, like a sculpture or painting. A designer conceives its layout, as well as its look and feel. A developer translates this design into a usable form. And then it goes live on the world wide web, where it sits comfortably, waiting to be found and shared.

But that may not actually be the best way to think about your site. Because, frankly, it’s not just some item that just hangs on the wall of a museum. Instead, it’s a living, breathing thing, subject to change. It’s active and alive and engaging with users as part of the digital ecosystem. It’s not just some passive object sitting by itself!

And even then, think about this: The paintings in museums may look like they’re just sitting there, but there’s actually a lot of work that goes into preserving and protecting them. From hiring security guards, to installing protective features, to regularly restoring or refurbishing a piece of work, art isn’t stagnant either. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes effort that goes into making sure that an amazing piece of art and sculpture is safe, and always ready to display for new guests.

Your website works the exact same way! Developing a brand website is not just a one-time, “set it and forget it” proposition. Even after a site goes live, it’s important to take steps to maintain it, so that it’s safe, functional, and always primed to help your business generate new leads.

But just why is ongoing website maintenance so vital - and what goes into an effective maintenance strategy? Let’s dive in!

The Critical Importance of Website Maintenance

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How to Drive Sign-ups and Conversions from Instagram

Instagram, for a long time, was regarded as a repository for selfies and vacation photos and not much else. But today? It’s the fastest growing social media platform by a mile, inching towards a billion users. It beat Snapchat at its own game. And it’s become a powerful tool for businesses.

And for businesses, success on the platform in 2018 is all about how you use it.

For all its growth and changes, Instagram is still a visual-first platform, emphasizing photo and video sharing. As such, it’s a remarkably powerful tool for improving your brand reach and recognition, getting your messaging and branding in front of audiences. But what about referral traffic and conversions? Can this visual platform actually be used to drive warm leads directly to you?

While it may not be the easiest social media goal, it is certainly possible to use Instagram to drive traffic, form-fills, and conversions. All it takes is a plan - and a bit of digital marketing savvy.

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Digital Marketing for Digital Nomads

A digital nomad ponders marketing from a beautiful viewIf you’re reading this from a coffee shop - while you also have spreadsheets, sales reports, or your personal portfolio open in other tabs at the same time - you might just be a digital nomad.

Today, technology has made it easier than ever to get work done without having to tether yourself to a traditional office. Digital suites, Skype, task managers, messaging apps like Slack - all of these innovations have made it possible for people, and perhaps even entire businesses, to work without having to ground themselves in place.

For some people, this means getting to work from the comfort of home. For others, it means making stops at a shared office space, or the classic coffee shop. And for still more, embracing the life of a digital nomad means truly hitting the road, working and traveling all at the same time.

Our friends over at Hubspot have a great article spotlighting some digital nomads turning work into a vacation, available here. One big takeaway from that read, for us Geeks, was this: Embracing the traveling lifestyle and combining it with work can be an amazing opportunity, one that leads to increased productivity and more “moonshot” thinking. But it can also mean having to make sacrifices - when it comes to time and when it comes to budget.

But here’s one sacrifice you shouldn’t have to make: digital marketing.

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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).