iPad for Business at WCTC


▪ iPad owners

▪ Business leaders ready to embrace the social enterprise


The iPad is a cutting-edge tool for business, but most owners of these devices are not harnessing their full potential. Whether you're a current iPad owner or thinking about purchasing one, you'll learn the best practices and the best apps for using it in your work.


▪ Business applications of the iPad (in operations, customer service, sales, etc.)

▪ Best practices and demonstrations

New Apps covered to help you with:

• Faster and simpler text entry

• Easier management of a cloud-based document library

• Creating flowcharts and drawings

• Bringing in remote professionals

• Working with Google Hangouts


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To register, contact Chellee Siewart
iPad-for-Business-22.pdf1.02 MB

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO: Understanding the Risks and Opportunities of Social Media: Workshops

Featured speaker is our own, James Carlson. This event was so popular last year that we decided to run it again! HNI Risk has been an amazing partner, and we're pleased to offer this workshop in collaboration.

What's it all about?

Communication. Social technology makes communication a changing landscape for businesses. Embracing social technology elicits as many yay's as it does nay's but the bottom line is that it has the potential to increase employee engagement and participation both inside and outside of your business. But... does this expose your organization to risk?

Join us, July 13th at HNI's FOCUS Center, located at 16805 W Cleveland Avenue in New Berlin, WI as we explore and discuss possbilities, potential, risk, cultural change and more!



So many wanted to attend the morning session that we created a Second Session in the afternoon. Register here.

Drupal Camp Twin Cities: Day 1

DrupalCamp Twin Cities
After initially hearing about DrupalCamp Twin Cities I was happy to hear that our neighbors to the north had finally ;) put together a Drupal camp.  I intended to head up with Ashe, my partner in various Drupal crimes, but she was not feeling well this week and bailed. It's OK I thought, I have a bunch of stuff to do around the house and could also skip the 6 hour road trip.

Then Jonathan pinged me on Gchat. He had a car, the will, and already bought his ticket to DCTC.  I worked with Jonathan on an early iteration of the Bucket Brigade and have not had quality time in quite some time. So that was it; a quick visit to and a hotel was acquired and we were good to go.

Keynote: Getting Started in the Drupal Community: Webchick
Angie ByronI’ve followed Angie in the Drupal community for a bunch of years, have had the chance to see her talk, but always missed it or found another speaker that I thought I wanted to see more.  Well that won't happen again. Angie's passion, commitment, and comedy made for an amazing talk and although I knew most of what she was presenting, never has it been presented with such passion and levity. Starting the camp with such a community and participation driven keynote was wonderful and needs to happen more in every camp.  She focused on what an amazing community Drupal is and the more people that participate and help the better it will be.  It was full of down to earth little things to do like documentation, helping on IRC, presenting at Camps, and reporting issues in a nice respectful way.  It set the tone that everyone in the room has something to contribute no matter skill or coding ability. If you thought making it to the camp was important, then giving back online or in IRC is easier and needed even more.

Drupal and Node.js: Joe Turgeon
Obviously node.js is incredibly hot right now. Well anything *.js makes it on techmeme these days.  Node.js is a server side javascript implementation using the Google V8 javascript engine to execute non-blocking code with web-scale performance.  If that was too much jargon, think 10,000 simultaneous connections in real-time on 1 server, it's that fast. Right now it is so new that mostly it's being used as proof of concept for various chat and notification applications.  I see a future where a Google docs like collaborative editing experience will be capable using node.js with almost no overhead.  The presentation, which was Prezi,  also had a fun demo of a tic tac toe game.  While right now the Bucket Brigade does not need the scalability of 10,000 chat sessions, there is a major possibility that in the future we will be looking for that kind of functionality.. It's still wild wild west for node.js, but man the possibilities are pretty cool.

Make It Live, Set It Free, See It Prosper: Managing Complex Projects In Planning, Launch, and Production: Bill Fitzgerald
This was a good session that focused on planning and execution of Drupal projects, but absolutely not limited to only Drupal.  One thing that is a struggle in a democratic flat organization, like the Bucket Brigade, is accountability and execution.  The main point that can be said about this talk is planning, planning, planning. I am going to make this the major focus of my own professional and team development over the coming months.  Enough cannot be said for careful planning. It mitigates scope creep, timeline SNAFU's, resource conflicts, cashflow, and overall satisfaction on both sides.  I know a client will be more than understanding delaying the start of a project if they were even 10% more confident that the project would be on time and on budget.  Oh, and going from development, staging, and production in Drupal is not great, FYI. At least this problem is a core initiative for Drupal 8, whenever we see that :)

Objectifying PHP and Drupal: Larry Garfield
Larry Garfield is a amazing gem of the Drupal community both in his code contributions and devotion to teaching and bringing his expertise down to the Camp level.  This session was basically a 101 onLarry Garfield object orientated PHP patterns.  His excellent code examples with obligatory Star Trek references provided a very fun allegory involving the God class smiting kittens via the thunderbolt method, which you had to be there to find funny. I'm not a coder and found his explanation of the separation of logic and data very compelling and the obvious direction for the Drupal project.  Here’s the rub, besides Views, almost all of Drupal is procedural PHP. This means changes in one part of the Drupal system can cascade with horrible consequences in almost all other parts of Drupal with the fixes and patches being on a Tim Burton nightmare-like scale.  There was progress in D7 to introduce more OOP code, but for Drupal to perform more like an API a total re-write/factor is needed of Drupal core.  Sure sounded a lot like smallcore to me.

Developing for Views: Aaron Couch
This was the most technical of the sessions I attended. Aaron is getting married and he created come php that stores fields in the database as data, not nodes(gasp).  Why he did it this way was to show basically what you can do in views with external data sources or say a module you were developing.  Views is amazing if you did not know. In about 250 lines of code he took a table in the database and made it views aware and made a view with filters, relationships, and fields inside the Views UI.  This kind of stuff is what makes Drupal the most extensible CMS on the planet for the least amount of effort.

Minnesota Public Radio Gala: MPR
We got there about an hour late and missed the food. Booo. There was plenty of beer and wine to hold us over.  When we walked in there was basically a show and tell ignite style where the campers showed off the cool sites they were working on.  From a student that created a site from PSD to Drupal in 100 minutes, to a School Lunch Lady Social Network for sharing and scaling recipes to food service levels. None of them looked like "Drupal" they were highly customized and beautiful sites.  A perfume marketing site for David Beckham and Posh Spice fragrance line was shown off.  It was the nightmare of an advertising agency bringing you a concept for a flash site and wanting to use Drupal. The Nerdery pulled it off big time, even eliciting a response from the crowd demanding a right click to prove it was not flash, high praise indeed. Sprinkle in people logging in to sites and admin and leaving the podium without logging out and I'm sure MPR had some sweet cookies after the event.

Photos Courtsey of bmadore

Should I hire somebody to do the social media for me?

You hear the buzz about social media and collaboration, but don’t know where to start. You probably would not trust your employees to speak on your behalf, even if they could find the time in their day to do it. Even if you told them to get engaged in social media, they would not know where to start.

You could pay someone else to do it for you, but listening and participating in conversations that will create new opportunities for your business is a job you can ill afford to hand over. You don’t hire people to eat for you, to sleep for you, or work out for you, why than does it make sense to hire people who don’t really understand you or your company to speak, and perhaps more importantly, listen on your behalf.

The Bucket Brigade insists that there is only one route to becoming a collaborative company: by first developing collaboration skills in-house. Once your team is clicking inside, it shows on the outside.

We are convinced that much of the value of effective collaboration lies inside your organization and is lost when you pay an external agency to do the work for you.

Do you have enough communication at your company?

“We don’t communicate enough” is a statement that bothers me almost as much as the two traditional standbys in many companies: “We’ve always done it that way” and “See; we are unique in the way we do business”.

Most organizations communicate way too much. They just communicate all the wrong things. In business, like in marriage, the quality of communication is far more important than quantity. We spend so much time keeping everyone informed, that we forget that information is only relevant if it will cause a decision to be made or behavior to alter. As it is, too many organizations communicate just because they feel that there is a need. Too much communication is both a source of confusion and a guarantied, sure fire way to hide the relevant information in plain sight. Overwhelming people with data does nothing for their understanding of the business.

Instead, a better solution is to create an environment where everyone can get the information they need by just looking it up or asking, as they need it. Pull vs. push, the basic premise of lean manufacturing. Communicating too much, is actually worse than communicating too little, since it still fails to communicate what’s important and takes up lots of time to do so.

Developing a way to communicate all key business indicators quickly and easily is at the heart of the Bucket Brigade Offerings. And it doesn't require email. 

Let’s stop communicating and get the conversation started.

Your move.

Join Startup Accelerator "unconference" at WCTC on Sept. 25

This weekend, 90-plus entreprenuers are planning to gather at WCTC for Startup Accelerator 3.

Many members of the Bucket Brigade will be there, including James Carlson, who will facilitate the event, and Oleg Tumarkin, who will be one of the presenters.

The goal of this unconference is to help seed new ventures at the local level by sharing education and resources among participants. It’s a powerful learning and networking opportunity. Our non-profit organization, Bucketworks, is co-hosting this event with BizStarts Milwaukee and the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI). This interactive event seeks to engage participants to take their ideas to the next level.

The event is free--we ask that participants bring a food donation for the Waukesha Food Pantry. Please join us!

HNI Invitation to speak

We got excited when HNI Risk Services, Inc. proposed that we speak at their Executive Series event about Understanding the Risk and Opportunities of Social Media

Speaking to executives about more effective approaches to social media is becoming one of our most sought-after services. People--executives in particular--are hungry for good information and practical uses for these tools in a business setting.

Chances are if, you are reading our blog you already know why it is crucial to rewrite the rules of communication, but just in case we will reiterate: E-mails and meetings drain productivity and sap morale across organizations. The time wasted on attaching documents and trying to revision control them is, well, time wasted. There is a better way.

We want to change the way companies talk. This is hard. It takes time. In a day, all we can do is tell the executives what makes it important to change --what’s important to consider about how meetings, emails, Word docs, phone calls, sales, planning, check-ins and other things that are affected by social media and the opportunity presented by social technology. We’ll question the notion that your marketing department should be the only group that should benefit from the potential of new collaboration technologies.  And we will touch on how these solutions can help accounting, HR, and all the other parts of your business practice.

Yes, we are excited about what we do, and we get excited every time we get a chance to speak about our work. But why are we even more excited about speaking at HNI? Is it because we are preparing to unveil by far the most comprehensive product offering in the industry? Is it because we will have a chance to show off our newly upgraded website? Is it because we will be announcing the plans for development of new online learning communities to the world?

You will just have to make a point of coming to find out.


The Brigade heads to DrupalCampCHI 2010!

The Bucket Brigade is going to Chicago for the weekend!  While we are down there we are enjoying DrupalCampCHI2010.  Andrew, Ashe, Kevin, and Matt are heading down for a fun filled weekend of Drupal, DruPAL, DRUAPL!

I have made my agenda and am ready for a brain exploding experience.

If anyone else is going down from Milwaukee (I know of at least 10) we'll see you there.

Expect many brain dump blogs (no video of brain dump, I promise) in the future, maybe some live blogging, and for sure some tweets.

DrupalCamp Chicago: June 26-27, 2010

Interview with a Cloud Tool: Wordpress

 The decision to bring a new technology into your company isn't easy. What is it? How do you tell people about it? How can it help? In this series, we interview a few key cloud applications we like a lot. What would Wordpress say if you could talk to it?

What is your mission?

My mission is to make it a snap for you to speak to the world.

How do you make my life easier?

I make it easy to quickly and easily create a small site without having to think about the mechanics underneath. My strength is that I can let you start sharing writing, images, and video quickly and with little training. I do have the power to be transformed (with a little help) into a more powerful website with customization and flexibility.

Do you save my company money or time?

If your aim is to be able to easily create a website mostly focused on media (blogs, photos, and video) using default themes than you can create and maintain your own the content and save money.

 Are there other similar tools I could use?

You can create similar websites using Google, Yahoo, or PMWiki. While I have thousands of siblings, I am quite popular. There are more powerful tools such as two of my open source siblings: Drupal and Joomla. Drupal is great at giving you a lot of flexibility and handles things like e-Commerce and community-building features far better than I do. Joomla is our middle sister and unfortunately for her I am learning to do most of what she can do with less complexity, while my brother Drupal is becoming ever easier to use.

What makes you so awesome?

 I am awesome because everybody loves me. I am great in the places where there is little desire for commerce, community or customization, but lots of need for fresh content. I rock as a small but talkative business tool that allows a single person, or a group to communicate out and share feedback on their communication with the world.

How does the Bucket Brigade use you?

They don't use me much either internally or for clients, because they are fans of my more powerful, scalable brother Drupal. But a few of them, for instance Oleg, have used me regularly to quickly create blogs about business and the world. He has set me up a number of times. He loves that I make it easy for him to have a fresh, small website with very little work.

In 140 characters or less tell me why I should use you.

I make it simple for you to share your thoughts with the world, one blog post at a time.