Member of the month: KidsAppBox

It’s not a surprise that most children would rather play video games than read a book.

As technology advances, it can consume a lot of our time. KidsAppBox, an educational game developing company is fully aware of the distraction technology may have on children. As parents themselves, they were determined to find a way to make learning fun. KidsAppBox reached 30 million downloads in four years.

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Event: Learn about the Murmur App

“There are murmurs around you” reads the notification on your iPhone: an alert that you just walked into a space with personality. You swipe to open the app – five of the latest tweets from everybody in the coworking space: a few new articles they retweeted, an Instagram photo from Jessica’s last trip to Tahoe, news about the deal that Dave from upstairs just closed with his largest client since December #success.

Pumping personality into space is Murmur’s mission.

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10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

Whether you’re a corporate giant towering over the masses or a new startup barely crawling, you communicate every single day. With your spouse as you leave for work, with commuters on the train, with the guy you buy your hot dog from. But mostly, you communicate with your employees.

Here is a list of tips for interacting with all employees, both in your building and out in the world.

Working Together

In the Office

– Pay attention to body language. Take note of a person’s equilibrium state (at lunch or just hanging out) and when they’re working. Learn to recognize stress levels and reactions so you know when you should approach them and when you might want to hold off.

– Schedule ‘non-transactional’ meeting time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make it clear to your employees that they are more to you than request-granting machines. We don’t recommend becoming best friends, but business has a better chance of thriving when employees know they can talk to you as a person, not just a boss.

– Communicate in writing. Email, text message, Post-It, whatever- write it out and include dates and times that the request was made. This is important so that the employee knows what’s expected and you know what was said. It also allows you to send messages without pulling them away from their work stations.

Working Solo

Online

– Use voice and video calls occasionally to establish a more personal connection. Meaning can often be misconstrued in the written word, and what may seem to you as the writer might be interpreted as all hell about to break loose to your reader.

– Don’t be afraid to use emojis or gifs to get your point across. Though you might think it feels silly at first, some people are just bad at wording in emails. A well-placed emoji (in reasonable quantities) can completely shoot the conversation over to the other side of the emotional spectrum.

– Utilize systems like Slack, HipChat, Viber, Flowdock, Campfire, or Skype to keep in contact. Some bosses fear the outlet for wandering minds, but these chat platforms allow employees to talk to each other in real time. Not only can it address emergency issues immediately, but the fluidity can foster better relationships than the turtle-pace of emails. Establish a codeword that exclusively means: “please don’t get offended, but I need to focus my undivided attention on this task right now.” Suggestions: ‘pirate ship,’ ‘hammer time,’ or ‘magnifying glass.’

*Sandbox Suites recently started using Slack as our main means of off-site communication. We can categorize our discussions into groups such as ‘marketing’ or ‘general’ and easily search all conversations for that one line from last Tuesday morning. (Their emoji selection is also pretty fantastic.)

– Limit industry jargon. Using acronyms and slang may make things more efficient for you, but for the employee, it may put a drag on productivity if they’re trying to figure out what the heck “Supes in the weeds this mrn, get TAJR report on M’s ASAP” means.

Blog, both
Both

– Make sure everyone knows the lines of communication are open. Employees who are afraid to disappoint or anger their bosses are less likely to communicate information. Reward them for good ideas and encourage them to ask questions. Projects take a lot less time when a wrong direction gets nipped in the bud.

– Use simple words and avoid unnecessary repetition. Nobody likes a dead horse, and nobody likes to hear it beaten.

Ultimate Networking Tips Entrepreneurs Can Use


Ultimate Networking Tips for Enterpreneurs

Helpful networking tips for startups, job seekers, entrepreneurs and small businesses from Sandbox Suites, the coworking space for everyone.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 5.08.11 PM

1. Take it online

When you meet someone and receive a business card, unless you are building an impressive business card collection, take it online. Find the person on LinkedIn; if they don’t have LinkedIn, send them an invite! Find them on Twitter and respond to one of their tweets- even if it’s personal and not professional. Follow them on Instagram, or Pinterest. Personally, I’d draw the line at Facebook friend request until after you’ve logged a few real time hours. (However, if they have a company Facebook page, DO like that.)

Protip: if you are lurking a few years deep on their Instagram, try not to like their photos. There’s a thin line between ‘cool new connection from networking event!’ and ‘I think this person is online stalking me.’ Invite them to another similar meetup or event instead where you can take new pictures!

Networking for entrepreneurs

2. Make Authentic Connections

Unless you are the host or an extreme extrovert with the attention span of a toddler (and if you are, you do you) DO NOT work the room. If you are having a great conversation with someone who matches or complements both your personality and your professional interests, stick with it. If you start chatting and realize that this person is your mortal enemy, or simply the most annoying person you’ve ever had the displeasure of making small talk with, then politely excuse yourself and move on. If you look around and realize you’ve only made one solid connection, that’s okay! With a really authentic connection, you’ll feel much more comfortable following up and connecting with them in the future.

 

3. Follow Up

When you tell a potential colleague, ‘let’s get coffee!’ follow up and actually invite them to coffee. Offer to make an intro email?  Do it! If you find a meetup, networking event or class similar to the one where you met, ping that person and ask if they’d like to meet you there. At minimum, refer to step 1 and connect online after your real life connection. The new contact will remain current and viable.

meetup_logo[1]Eventbrite-logo

4. Host Your Own Event

Are you an expert in a field? Strangely good at knitting? Always wanted to make your own zine? Interested in starting a podcast or teaching people the basics of digital photography? Search for meetups or events in that category and in your area through networking websites like meetup.com. If you find an existing event, offer to host, teach, volunteer or just go!

No upcoming events? Be proactive and message the event organizer and submit your idea, or ask to host the next event. If you are a member of a coworking space, many times meeting rooms and common areas are available on evenings and weekends at no cost to members. Coworking spaces are also a great way to learn about events and classes!

networking tips for entrepreneurs

5. Quality Over Quantity 

I cannot emphasize this point enough: one authentic connection can be infinitely more valuable than a stack of random business cards. If you click with someone right away, don’t feel guilty cultivating that conversation all night. It will be much more rewarding in the long run.

And keep in mind that you may not hit a networking home run at every event you attend. Sometimes you’ll get nothing more than a drink and a good meal. But meeting a new investor, a valuable business resource or your new boss only needs to happen once!

If you’re having a great chat, but don’t want to seem too exclusive, introduce yourself and your new found connection to someone nearby. Make sure to connect online and follow up with your new colleagues and friends.

 

Put your newfound networking skills to work at our Grand Opening Party for our brand new Palo Alto Sandbox!

Register HERE

Good luck out there! Networking can be rewarding and fun.

WatchKit Workshops: Learn to build apps for WATCH

WatchKit Workshops at Sandbox-Learn to build apps for WATCH- December 16

RSVP here!

Like the iPhone and iPad that came before it, the Apple Watch is a whole new platform for users, which will hit the market in the spring of 2015.

On Thanksgiving, Apple released WatchKit, the software development kit (SDK) that will allow developers to build apps for the Watch. That same week, our meetup group held a hackathon where 33 teams built and presented their ideas. A few fun ones: an app that shows you when it will stop raining outside and an app that changes the speed of the music based on how hard you’re exercising. The developers who are there early have the most to gain should their app catch on.

However, in true iStyle, there are currently several limitations on what we as developers can do. We don’t have access to the hardware sensors yet, and a Watch app isn’t standalone — the code actually lives on the iPhone.

But I see these limitations as a form of focus. In the words of  interactive designer and front end developer, Jason Weaver, it is a bit like giving an artist three crayons and seeing what they can create. For one thing, when Apple announced the Watch on stage, the company showcased several partners that are using the SDK to do awesome things. The popular website Pinterest is a good example. Their app will tap you on the wrist you when you’re near a spot you’ve favorited and give you walking directions to get there. So imagine you’re in San Francisco and you’re near the Painted Ladies; one subtle tap and you’re on your way to see the picture in real life.

Another great use is an airplane app that you can use mid-flight to ask, “Where am I?” The dictation feature of the Watch will convert your voice into text and send a signal to an API. Because the airline knows your flight number, they can then send back the result to the watch —“30,000 feet.” So cool!

Everybody’s a beginner at this stuff, but through the meetup group we’re working to become a resource so that anyone can learn. We have a couple of events coming up at Sandbox Suites, including December 16th when we’ll be in Sunnyvale for Hello WatchKit. This event will provide an overview of the concepts and then cover the nitty-gritty details like working with API data. There will also be a more in-depth Bootcamp in both Sandbox Silicon Valley and Sandbox Union Square in San Francisco in January.

Ben Morrow is a developer, author, and hackathon organizer. With the Apple Watch community, he’s been teaching tools and techniques for the past six months and is ready to launch apps when the new device is released. Find more video and code at http://happy.watch­ →

Top 5 Reasons for Coworking in San Francisco

Top 5 Reasons for Coworking in San Francisco (or anywhere really)

Coworking Flexibility

Coworking in San Francisco offers flexibility.

1. Flexibility

As writer and theologian Adam Tosko said, “We ask 18-year-olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future, when a month ago they had to ask to go to the bathroom.” Just like recent high school grads, those new to the startup world are suddenly faced with a LOT of freedom, a LOT of questions, and a LOT of possible options. Maybe you’re the kind of person who still likes to come in 9-5 M-F. Maybe you’re actually a night owl but never knew. Coworking spaces provide the ability to swing the full spectrum of productivity. Take the time to find what works best for YOU.

 

Work/life balance

2. Separation of space

Our brains pair particular settings with certain mental reactions. Sleep is to bed as hunger is to kitchen. The same is true of your work space. Offices were made for productivity and homes were made for relaxation.

 

coworking in san francisco

The effect of environment.

3. The effect of environment

Almost everything you like, you probably keep at home. That’s where your family is, that’s where your Netflix is, that’s where all your favorite foods are stored. No one wants to write a business proposal when the next episode of “The Walking Dead” is about to start, when your kid wants to play or when your roommate starts making the day’s third smoothie.

On the other hand, when you see everyone else around you quietly working, making progress on their goals, it stirs a sense of solidarity. Other cursors are moving rapidly toward the triumph of completion. No distractions, no excuses.

 

Network, socialize

Coworking offers an eclectic mix.

4. An eclectic mix

Sandbox is unique in that each of our locations is a collaboration of many diverse backgrounds. The hands that reach into the pizza box at networking events are those of tech companies, nonprofits, lawyers, freelancers, telecommuters, and countless more. And that’s not even what they do in their spare time. Who knows what mutual interests you might have?

Meeting Rooms

On-Demand meeting rooms

5. Dedicated meeting space

Don’t even bother struggling to find the quiet spot in a coffee shop to meet with a potential client. When you’re worried about making a good impression, you don’t need to be thinking about snatching up parking, waiting in long service lines, and paying too much for a latte. Your focus should be on the future of your business.  

 

Check out our membership options or book a free trial to see if coworking is right for you.

Why Try Coworking?

Why Try Coworking?

The couch is no place to build an empire.

It is said to be the working man’s ultimate goal- no cubicle, no dress code, no authority, no schedule. You are the boss and the employee combined. You can spend your day perched on a park bench with your laptop or tucked up in the corner of a cafe. You can wear nothing but your favorite pajamas and claim the couch as your new domain.

Yet the couch is no place to build an empire. Working for yourself can be liberating and satisfying- but without the right facility, it can also be unproductive and lonely.

With its three locations in San Francisco as well as Downtown Berkeley and Silicon Valley, Sandbox Suites provides full-service coworking, shared offices and meetings spaces for freelancers, software developers, nonprofits, consultants, small business owners, and more. Interact with like-minded individuals in a laid back and effective co working environment designed for all types of progress.

And in case you miss your couch, we have those too.

We offer free trial days if you are new to coworking, the Bay Area or want to test out what coworking and shared office space is really about. We also offer virtual office plans in SOMA, Union Square, Berkeley and Palo Alto.

Intel Ultracode Hits The ‘Suites

Join us for the first Intel code&tell meetup at Sandbox Suites South Park! Come with your programming appetite and bring your hacks. We’ll have a few short code demonstrations, raffle and of course pizza and beer; if you are up to plug your computer and give a technical demo to the rest of the group let us know – we have a few more spots left.

*Update – we’ve filled all demo spots for our December meetup, however we’re already planning our January event so there’ll be more opportunities to present.

Raffle prizes:

1 high speed high capacity Intel SSD http://amzn.to/SnmRRw

1 mid capacity Intel SSD http://amzn.to/TkUId4

2 Perceptual Computing cameras

3 Intel swag bundles

Tentative Agenda:

7PM | Opening

7:30PM | Code Demos:

1. Bob Duffy will be doing a quick demo of his HTML5 vector based game and show how he added device touch, tilt and rotation input controls via WinRT APIs.

2. Gilles de Bordeaux will demo his new windows 8 app and show the power of the standard Windows 8 templates in Visual Studio 2012.

3. Raimo Tuisku will give a presentation, demo and architectural description of a real-time ball in a maze game Velomazecontrolled with an accelerometer API of modern HTML5 browsers

4. Eugene Chuvyrov will demonstrate the power of sharing and searching contracts in Windows 8 applications. Little talk, just code in both JavaScript and C# showing how easy it is to implement these powerful and valuable features of Windows 8 apps.

5. Giorgio Zamparelli will be demoing his Android app Famenu(work in progress) and talk about the open source frameworks he used to put it together

6. Gayathri will demo a photo app showcasing pinch, zoom and swipe gestures. Ambient light sensor, orientation sensor and accelerometer. She will also talk about a good UI design for touch interfaces. *We will also get to see a Perceptual Computing demoby Gayathri at the Ultrabooks sandbox during the break.

8:30PM | Pizza break and time to play with the new Ultrabooks!

9PM | More Code Demos:

1. Bruno Terkaly will present two projects: an Azure back-end webservice that made calls into Google maps to retrieve geo-location information. The second project is a Windows 8 application that calls into the Azure cloud service, passing in GPS coordinates.When the cloud service received the coordinates, it used Google maps to give more details about the location to the Windows 8 application.

2. Chris Skaggs (Soma Games) will demo their Wind Up Footballgame using all the bells and whistles of the Ultrabook. He could speak to anyone wanting to use Unity as tool for development on Win 8 and the Ultrabook.

3. Giacomo Balli will be demoing his Coin Toss Extreme gamebuilt entirely in HTML5 he’ll go through all aspects of it and share code snippets.

4. James Edwards will be showing a practical use for variadic templates with a safe printf example. Also touches on type traits.

9:45PM | Raffle and Giveaways

10PM | Closing

Feel free to use #ultracode on twitter.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Flurry TechHub SF – Hosting Monthly Developer meetups at SBS!


Sandbox has partnered with Flurry TechHub to bring the SBS some valuable tech centric events. 

Flurry TechHub is a free-to-attend event that brings together high-caliber developers, founders, entrepreneurs and investors in the technology community. Group Meetups include both technical and market-oriented sessions and meet on a monthly basis. Their primary objective is to educate the market and help expand and inspire the developer base in creating and monetizing mobile applications. Flurry TechHub Meetups are held across the world’s top tech centers including San Francisco, New York, and London.

Meet the smartest, most innovative tech entrepreneurs in your community. Build relationships and share ideas in a relaxed setting over free drinks, free food and free knowledge.

Flurry TechHub’s first SBS hosted event will be TOMORROW evening Tuesday August 28th at 6pm at our South Park space. Tomorrow evening’s meetup will focus on “making some killer android apps!”  Details below. Please RSVP on eventbrite.

Making money on Android can be hard.  Many developers devote countless hours to building, testing, and marketing their apps only to fall short.  In this meetup, we’ll go over everything you need to know to get started including tips, tricks and benchmarks to reach optimal performance.  We’ll look at continuous integration and automated android builds, and testing of android devices out in the wild.  We’ve pulled together a panel of developer experts from across the app industry to describe their testing Dos and Don’ts. 

 

Join us: Tuesday, August 28 at Sandbox Suites for pizza, beer, networking and hear some success stories from developers who dedicate their time and efforts towards making some killer android apps.
Moderator: Bisera Ferrero, Sr. Solutions Architect @ Flurry
Panelists:
  • Nicholas Talarico, Founder & CEO of 12Gigs
  • David Zhang, Lead Developer, SideCar

Girl Power Comes to South Park

Believe in girl power? Come see it for yourself on February 22nd!

We’re partnering with Girls in Tech to bring you a conversation between Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and startup advisor, and Leah Busque, founder of TaskRabbit and prominent woman leader in the technology sector.

 

Ben will be interviewing Leah about her wildly successful startup TaskRabbit, the explosion of service networking, and what it’s like to be a “girl in tech.”

You won’t want to miss this much entrepreneurial star power in one place!

When: February 22, 2012

Where: Sandbox Suites in South Park

Tickets: $15 for public, free admission for Sandbox members

RSVP on Eventbrite.

Creative design from the South

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