Joe Schram's Picture

Joe Schram

Designer, technologist, humanist, product leader. Solo @bstwrk, formerly Principal @sparktivity; Advisor @aigaraleigh; former Chapter Advisory Council @AIGAdesign

Raleigh, NC

10 posts

You Can Automate! An Introduction to Zapier and IFTTT

If you're like most people, you find yourself doing the same things day after day. Here are some things that I used to do on a regular basis: Turn down the thermostat when I leave my house Check Facebook and save any new photos in which I'm tagged Get status updates from my colleagues throughout the day Check Craigslist for new postings for washing machines Now, I get these things done with without even having to think about it. More on how in a minute. Communication is key You talk to coworkers on a regular basis. You have to communicate…

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Intro to Personal Automation: Stop Wasting Time with Paper Forms

I'm confident that you're wasting time in your daily technology interactions. Between manually adding things to your calendar, sending status updates ("Leaving now, home in 15 min"), checking to see if that client paid your invoice yet... ...you might be spending an extra hour per day on things that could be automated. If you have a basic idea of how things need to work (I want THIS information to end up HERE, then get changed like THIS), you can likely figure out a solution using what I call “Personal Automation”. Two tools have become wildly popular in the…

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Always Choose the Right Business Software Using These Five Criteria

Take a look in your toolbox. I don’t mean hammers and screwdrivers. I mean your digital tools — those apps and programs that help your day-to-day business process. Do they work really well or are they a bit rusty? Even the most beloved tools (email) get worn out or become overburdened. Every once in a while, it’s necessary to inventory and upgrade your tools. Sometimes you’re driven by a need to replace some awful legacy tool that seems inescapable. Or you look around and see that everyone else is using something better. Maybe you suspect that the grass…

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A View of The New Frontier

Sometimes, in the face of a challenge, we end up in the right place, at the right time, with the exact things we need to succeed. It can come down to luck, or preparedness, or sheer stubbornness and determination. But more than anything, our chances of landing in this perfect spot increase when we detect signs of change in advance. Sometimes change starts as a low hum — that feeling that things are different. I first heard a hum about seven years ago. Today, in 2015, all I can hear is a roar. I founded Sparktivity, an interdisciplinary team of technologists,…

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WomanCare Global

Field Data Capture & Reporting Platform for a Global Health Nonprofit With a new digital field data collection and reporting platform that requires no Internet connectivity in remote parts of Kenya and South Africa, this global women's health nonprofit was able to cut their time-to-decision by as much as 85%—and my team and I built and shipped it in less than three months. The Client WomanCare Global (WCG) is a nonprofit that provides reproductive health resources to women and girls in the developing world. WCG offers low-cost medical devices, training for doctors and healthcare professionals, and their MAX program…

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