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What is this coworking thing?

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coworking space

OK, here’s the dream – Have you ever wanted a cool place where you can share ideas, grab an awesome burger or wrap, have a beverage, learn, mentor, do yoga, eat yogurt, get some work done, invent the next great product, or just hang out? Well, we do to!

The HUB (codename) is a coworking space concept being created to inspire, energize, attract & retain awesome brain power, and to be a starting hub to explore all the great opportunities, businesses, and services that the Fond du Lac area has to offer.

The geeks & creatives at wisnet are always on the lookout for new and used ideas that can enhance our office culture. Culture is all the little things that make an environment enjoyable and productive and, of course, a strong and collaborative culture is important for all corporations and businesses and their teams.

We have some wild and crazy ideas for the space and for driving an engaging culture (some are even realistic)  (:

Here are just a few of the brainstorming ideas (in no particular order):

  • Food and Beverage available
  • High Speed WIFI
  • Sit / Stand office space desks
  • Large work surfaces for team projects
  • Stage for presentations, seminars, and bands
  • Shared office equipment (printers, drones, and a red stapler)
  • Private conference rooms
  • Bicycle friendly
  • Small commercial kitchen
  • Awesome HUB Burger and HUB Wrap
  • Coffee – AKA survival juice
  • Drive through
  • Lazy river
  • Micro Brewery (at least on tap – for now)
  • Locally sourced pizzas
  • Learn – Connect – Grow opportunities
  • Regular Educations venus – speakers, seminars, learning experiences
    • Starting point to get involved in other organizations in the area
  • Fitness / Yoga events

So, who can benefit from a coworking space? Glad you Asked.

  • Freelancers – this can be your home away from home, or your office away from office.
  • Corporations / Businesses – meeting spaces and an area where their team members can ‘get out of the office’ and still be productive
  • Startups – a great place to work and tap into the instant network of knowledge
  • Anyone – who wants an environment that has an extra kick of energy they can call their own

Our goal is to make this a place that we look forward to coming to.  And our hope is that we take ideas and conversation from the HUB and use them in other aspects of your life (both work and home).

Now you know what the dream is. Who wants to help make it real?

3 calls to action – I know it is a lot – but you can do it…  (:

  1. Check out our brainstorm page – https://www.thehubfdl.com/
  2. Be inspired and share through ideas at  https://www.facebook.com/hubfdl/
  3. Join us during Wisconsin Startup Week, Tuesday November 7th at Urban Fuel in Peebles as a test run of a coworking space and to help us brainstorm coworking for our community.  This is our next step in building the coworking community which will help us define and build our coworking space.

Commonwealth – Case Study

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The Challenge

The Commonwealth Companies’ desire to create a better and stronger connection with the people and communities they serve led them to wisnet.com to help create a strong brand identity that can be carried through all facets of the business, both internal and external.

Our Approach

Our goal was to educate their target audience about the goodwill they create through their projects. The company will be seen as a business full of entrepreneurial-spirited, positive difference-makers, and idealistic pragmatics. The brand personality will show it is not just about buildings; it is about people, all while being perceived and proven as a partner who will complete commitments and projects as promised.

Final Result

  • An updated brand identity that represents a friendlier, “people-focused” personality.
  • A website that not only showcases completed projects, but educates the public and raises awareness for the positive change they can make in neighborhoods and cities across the nation.
  • Printed collateral that supports their branding and message.

Completed Projects

Before Happiness … and after

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I like to have a good time. I’m a believer in work hard, play hard. I know myself and if I’m having a rough day there’s nothing that makes me feel better than getting together with friends and family (and maybe a drink). So when I came across Shawn Achors, “Before Happiness” I was excited to get started reading. I figured, you can never have too much happiness, can you?

In his book, Achor, a Harvard trained researcher, describes why happiness is the precursor to greater success. Before we can be happy and successful, we need to realize that happiness is possible. Once we learn to look at life with more positivity we can use that to reach our goals, be successful and bring others along for the ride.

Five strategies for becoming a “positive genius”


Finding your reality

Learning to look at work/life with new and different vantage points allows us to see more opportunities and new ways of achieving them

Mapping your success
Identify “meaning markers” or what matters most to you and use those meaning markers to achieve your goals. Learn to focus on successful outcomes instead of preparing for failure.

Accelerating your successes
When we know that goals are close, we have more energy to achieve them. Achor suggests accelerants that can help to reach our goals faster.

Eliminate the negative noise
Learn to identify negative noise and find ways to overcome it by changing the way you think.

Positive inception
Share you positive reality with others. There are small changes we can make that can lead to much more positive and successful outcomes.

Read it

This book is worth the read. Whether you’re looking to reach more goals in your personal or professional life, there are some great strategies on how to get there. Since reading, I’m much more aware of my thoughts and actions and hopefully I’ll be able to spread some of those good vibes onto others.

Other happy news

I recently “got to” attend an event where Aaron Sadoff, Superintendent at North Fond du Lac school district, spoke about Happiness – which he nailed. The school district has some really awesome strategies in place to infuse happiness and positive psychology into the staff, students and community. You can listen to Aaron’s TED Talk “Happiness is the greatest technology” and see what kind of positive energy is flowing over in North Fond du Lac.

 

 

 

LGarden – Case Study

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The Challenge
LGarden came to us looking to elevate their brand identity and web presence to appeal to a refined target market of upscale, trendy gardeners.

Our Approach
After completing the 5&5 process it was clear there was extraordinary opportunity to step up the personality and visual appeal while showcasing the range of benefits of their high-end product offerings. Beauty & inspiration meets healthy lifestyle & innovative thinking.

Visit
https://www.elevatedgardening.com/

Final Result
An aspirational website experience with a vibrant/natural color palette. The primary communication is on the lifestyle perks of the products with a secondary, but essential focus on the unparalleled features and benefits of their gardening products.

Multi-Tasking with Multi-Monitors

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Do you work in an office? Do you use a computer? If so, how many computer monitors are on your desk? One? Two? THREE? Or do you just work off of a laptop?

Here at wisnet, almost no one works with just one monitor, even if he or she uses a laptop. We just find that having the extra screen real estate makes for a much more efficient workspace. Less squinting, less clicking on the taskbar to change windows, more programs and information visible with just a twist of the head. And hey, my chiropractor tells me that twisting your head back and forth is good for my neck, so… BONUS.

Personally, I use three monitors. In front of me is my “main” monitor with my email, my code editor, and a general browser window with several tabs open. My left monitor is my file management area with windows showing my local folders and an FTP program that I use to upload files to our servers. In the right side monitor are a couple of browser windows that I glance at now and then for various alerts and other info.

Oh, and if you’ve never experienced a multiple monitor workspace, you can drag things from screen to screen as if it was one large display.

Nice.

How good is this idea? Earlier this year we heard that someone is developing a laptop with three monitors. That caught our attention! It’s still just a concept, but it could happen. For now, it’s being marketed to gamers, but we can totally see it being a great work computer for the reasons mentioned above. Want to see it?

Here you go. Enjoy!

Project Valerie

Decluttering Your House – 3 Easy Questions to Ask

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Clutter. We all have it, whether it’s possessions tossed aside out of complacency or neglect, or items left out with well-meaning intentions of getting to them later. It can exist on our workday desks, in our cars, in our heads and, of course, in our homes. Many agree it is best to declutter where we can, to keep as many parts of our lives as healthy and organized as possible. Let’s look at some declutter ideas, and let’s focus on the most likely culprit for attracting life’s clutter – the home.

At wisnet, we put a focus on keeping a decluttered mind and work environment to help everyone stay fresh and energized for our clients and team members. However, it’s not enough to be decluttered at work and then cluttered at home. By taking a more holistic approach to a decluttered life, it’s important to look at work and at home.

A good first step is to identify any problem spots or “clutter jams.” Since they are problem spots, that means you are probably spending too much time each week tidying them up or you are ignoring them completely and ultimately can never find what you are looking for. Either way, these problem areas cause stress. It’s not uncommon for the home to have several problem spots. Just start with one. No need to cause more stress by thinking you have to do it all at once.

Analyze the problem area. There are 3 basic questions to consider.

1. What is causing the clutter to appear?

sewmanyways.blogspot.com

Identifying the problem can lead to some creative solutions – Is this just a “dump area?” The items lying on the table or counter or floor have a home somewhere else in the house, but they simply are not getting to their proper location. Rectifying this seems easy, but definitely requires all household members to be responsible for their belongings. And many times even you don’t know where these items should go. Does your husband’s screwdriver go in the toolbox in the garage or is it the one from the basement workshop? The one thing you do know is that your husband is in charge of its proper storage. The shoes lying on the floor belong to your son and the necklace on the coffee table is your daughter’s. Random items scattered as if washed ashore without purpose or destination.

A creative solution for this is the “crap basket” – decorative baskets that hold all that “crap” you find around the house that needs to be put away. Each basket is labeled with a household member’s name and they are responsible for putting the contents where they belong. When you find an item lying around the house cluttering things up, you simply drop the item into the basket. No need to hunt down that person or get frustrated. Add a rule that the baskets need to be empty by Monday morning so they don’t get too full.

2. Is the area too small for the items stored there?

whoseideawasit
tobuythishouse.com

Whether it’s recycling products, toys, or clothing, sometimes the designated area is just not large enough to accommodate all of the items. Now you need to get creative. If you’re keeping the recycling bin in the house, it’s probably a smaller size bin that you have located under the sink or in the closet. Maybe it’s time to move the bin into the garage or outside near the back door. You can get a much larger bin that will hold more and if you must store it outside, the “pelican” style garbage bin is perfect. It’s easy to open and close and will keep water out.

When it comes to toys, clothing, or other types of “collectible” item, it’s probably time to go through your collection and thin it out. You know the general rule about clothing – if you didn’t wear it all last season, you probably won’t next year either. And if your child didn’t play with that toy in the past couple of months they may have either outgrown it or lost interest. Either way, it’s time to donate. Analyze your storage areas. Could you add shelves to your closet that would allow you to store more items? If you’re not utilizing the area from top to bottom, then you’re missing out on precious storage space.

If shelves aren’t an option, try storage crates or stacking baskets. Both are great for clothing and toys. Adding storage containers for non-seasonal clothing and hiding them under the bed is a great method for storing clothing that you don’t need until next season.

3. Is this the best area to store these items?

allgloriousblog.com

Sometimes clutter simply appears in an area because it’s convenient; for instance, dropping the mail onto the kitchen counter or dining table. After all, you have to put it down somewhere and there is this big flat surface just waiting for it. If mail and papers clutter up your surfaces and never seem to get cleared away, then you need to decide where you’d like to store these items on a more permanent basis. If you have an office area, designate a place in that room for mail. If you have limited space, try adding a bin, basket or box that you can purchase (or create yourself) to your decor. It can be decorative enough that you don’t mind it sitting on your kitchen counter or stuck to the side of your refrigerator. Mail can be stored here where it is convenient to locate and yet your tabletop and counters are free of clutter.

No matter which creative solution you decide on, you must communicate your decluttering practices to all members of the household. Everyone needs to participate to help keep your home clutter-free.

Decluttering your house may seem daunting at first, but remember to just tackle it one spot at a time. At this point in the article it seems kind of cheesy to tack on a plug for wisnet, but the analogy fits nicely. If things seem a bit cluttered at your place of business, maybe we can help. With our expertise, we can help you declutter your website, your branding message, and even some of your daily routines. Check out all of our services or send an email to customercare@wisnet.com. We’re always happy to answer your questions.

Fear Forward – especially in the creative & design process

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Ask any artist, designer, writer, creator and they’ll likely confirm that staring at a blank page or canvas can be scary. The pressure to create something from nothing can be crippling, if you let it. However, being a part of TEDxFondduLac’s very first event – especially the process of brainstorming the theme possibilities and then designing for it – was quite the rewarding process. Any fear or anxiety experienced was pushed to the side and replaced with excitement for what could be. The energy of the team definitely helped too.

Final TEDxFondduLac #FearForward logo

“Good in, good out,” I say.

And that includes making time to ensure there are good ideas as a foundational part of any event, brand, and website – but also references the design process. It’s easy to jump right to a blank canvas in Illustrator, our logo design program of choice, but I’m intentional on starting on a sketchpad first. It’s not easy or pretty, but it’s instrumental to the end product.
Here’s a little bit of an overview and some insight into how my design brain works…

 

  1. It all starts out with some research…

    I start out looking at other ideas, designs, etc. for inspiration. Then dive into any other reading & research surrounding the topic, industry, audience, etc. In this case, I spent some time reading up on fears – specifically the top one’s inflicting our society. It was super interesting to read about the very tangible fears that top the list … heights, spiders & insects, public speaking, money, death, dentists, flying, snakes, enclosed spaces, mice, dogs, thunder & lightening, terrorism, pain, losing freedom…. But, then dive into another level of fear – the intangible, sometimes hard to name and explain kind. The unknown – no control or darkness, disappointment, misery, loneliness, ridicule, rejection, and failure.

    A little dark & gloomy – sorry about that. But after that exploration, I focused on what the theme needed to say and corresponding logo to represent. I found some great motivational lines – “Admit when you are scared.” “Deal with the heat.” “Develop a new frame of mind.”, as well as a fantastic quote to inspire the next steps even though I had no idea where we would end up…

    Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

     

  2. Then sketches…

     

    What’s the other side of fear look like? It would be backwards, right?

    It’s a little too expected, but I had to explore if/how it would work to feature the “x” of TEDx…

    Fearing forward means a shift or change in perspective… what does that look like visually? Here’s a rough sketch exploring that:

    Moving forward despite fear is a turning point… an individual is turning a corner. Could I make that work visually?

     

  3. Take it digital

    The sketch below is one of the two or three I decided to take into the digial creation stage. In the numerous sketches I did, I realized both “fear” and “forward” had similar characters – “A” and “R” … so I played around with NUMEROUS variations where letterforms overlapped and completed one another. The truth is fear is always a part of actions and moving forward –and I loved how this conceptually conveyed that.

    A new frame of mind around fear is needed!

  4. Refine the final artwork

    A lot of nitty gritty details here, but the gist is that we presented 2-3 variations of the sketch above.

  5. Walk it out

    In addition to the website update, social media graphics, day of programming and other collateral featuring the logo, we also had some fun bringing some fears to life within the context of the theme logo. Its not a common opportunity or challenge to create graphics that evoke an emotional response, so I had to go there.

    What do you think?

 

At the end of the day, the “Fear Forward” theme provided an opportunity to go bold with the design and we all truly enjoyed the creation and design process. We hope you can tell!

Interested in fearing forward with us on your next logo project, brand or event marketing, get in touch with our geeks & creatives.

#BikeBreak – Smarter, Healthier, Happier

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People are designed to move not sit – a #BikeBreak might just be the missing link in your daily grind. Breakaway from the pack for a bit. Just 15 minutes of physical activity and fresh air can increase productivity (both before, during, and after the break). Did you know biking makes you smarter, happier, and oh ya – healthier?

At wisnet, we make a point to get out and ride or walk each day. This encourages team members to wrap up projects efficiently before the ride and we come back refreshed to attack projects after the ride. One of the nice side effects is that we also have great conversations and breakthrough ideas during the ride. It is also a great time to get to know the team outside the office environment. It is an important part of our day that we look forward to. We will see what winter brings… 🙂

‘It’s not about the bike,’ get on your klunker, kruiser, banana seat single gear, mountain bike, or road bike, put on your brain bucket (helmet) and get some fresh air on those trails! It is a great time to break away, socialize, and clear your mind. There’s science behind it!

Join us on the FDL Loop and get 15 minutes of biking (or walking) in 2x a day and / or commute to work.

Need that bike tuned up? We have 2 awesome local bike shops that are ready to get you on the trails:

Attitude Sports
Fond du Lac Cyclery

Get those wheels rolling – see you on the trails!

P.S.  If you are on STRAVA, join the #BikeBreak ‘club’: https://www.strava.com/clubs/bikebreak

3 Super Cool Time Saving G-Suite Inbox Tips

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Inbox management is a constant struggle. All too often, emails come in from all fronts throughout the entire day. Whether it’s clients, team members, family or that pesky sales person who just wants to “connect” and get lunch every other day. How can you stay focused on the messages that matter most when your Inbox stacks up higher than a Man VS Food episode?

We’ve got your back! Using the power of G-Suite (fancy name for Gmail for business), here are some killer tips to keep your Inbox looking svelte and efficient.

Empty it out!

Moving from Outlook is a big jump for many people. There is a comforting feeling seeing all 23,543 messages in your inbox. However comforting, it is very distracting and very slow. One of the simplest features of Google’s email service is the ‘archive’ feature. What is the archive feature you ask? Great question! Archive simply gets that message out of your Inbox. But where does it go? Only Google knows that. Ok, not really. There is a ‘label’ in the left column called ‘All Mail’. If you click this, you see all your mail again – both archived and the messages you left in your inbox. Pretty cool.

Being efficient involves ‘touching mail’ as few times as possible. I like to follow the Triple D rule – Do it. Delegate it. Ditch it.

When you are ready to jump into your email tasks (do this when you have set aside time to answer emails – not as a distraction to your ‘real’ tasks), open each email and take one of the following actions:

1) Do It – replying to the email (doing the request / answering questions)

2) Delegate / Forward It – to someone else that will assist, or

3) Ditch It – unsubscribe if it is junk you don’t need, or just delete it

Your inbox will be empty in no time!

My goal is to have an empty Inbox task at the end of each day, which usually does not happen. I am pretty excited though when it drops below 25!

Search: The Final Frontier

The G-Suite Archive feature is one of those uncomfortable features for some people. If you don’t see it in your Inbox, is it still available? You bet! This is where Google really shines – they are the masters of all search. The G-Suite search function is fast and powerful. If you even need a message that you have archived, just start typing the person’s name, subject, or body keyword and you will see your matches. If you need something more specific, use the search dropdown for more advanced search functions. All your archived emails will be a mouse click away.

G Suite tips and tricks

Send and Archive (the secret weapon)

One of my favorite time saving features of G-Suite is a function called ‘Send and Archive’. This feature adds another button next to the ‘Send’ button (when you reply to a message) called ‘Send and Archive’.

G Suite send and archive

When you reply to a message and hit ‘Save and Archive’, the message is sent and moved out of our Inbox all in one step. (Don’t worry – it is still available in the ‘All Mail’ folder or via a search). It is a quick way to Do It or Delegate It and get it out of your Inbox.

If you are not seeing this super cool time saving button, here is how you can activate the ‘Send and Archive’ button:

To enable Send & Archive in Gmail:

  1. Click the Settings gear near Gmail’s top right corner
  2. Select Settings from the menu that has appeared
  3. Make sure Show “Send & Archive” button in reply is selected under Send and Archive
  4. Click Save Changes

Now, to send a message and archive its conversation in one go:

  1. Compose your reply
  2. Click Send and archive (instead of Send)

If you have questions or would like to try G-Suite for your business, give us a call. The geeks & creatives of wisnet.com are Google partners (among other things), and we would love to help you out!

Is your mobile menu harder to access than you think?

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We’ve all been on websites where the menu is on top. Heck, the site you’re on right now has the menu at the top (at least at the time of writing this article)! But there’s a good chance we might start seeing menus leave the comforts of the top and bear more weight on their shoulders.

Our team recently read and discussed an article from UX Movement suggesting mobile menus be moved to the bottom of the screen. The article provided research stating that most users hold their phone with one hand and really only use their thumb to interact with the screen. Knowing that, along with the common practice to have the mobile menu at the top of the screen, is it the most functional and efficient placement?

UX Movement builds a strong case for bringing the navigation down to the bottom on mobile.

  • Phones give thumbs a limited range of motion
  • Depending which hand is dominant, you can reach one side of the screen better than the other
  • As screen sizes get larger, the top areas of the screen become harder to reach
  • Larger screens also have lower reach-ability in the corner opposite the users thumb
  • The hardest to reach places for the thumb are at the top of the screen
  • The easiest to reach area for the thumb is the bottom of the screen
  • Placing the navigation menu at the bottom of the screen allows users to select options much faster
  • Placing the menu icon (what we affectionately call the “hamburger” menu) in the center instead of the left or right side, will make it more universal for left and right-handed users

By moving the mobile navigation to the bottom of the screen, UX Movement believes there’s a good chance you will increase user engagement and the user experience. Which, let’s face it, is the ultimate reason to make any change on your site.

After reading the article, our team of geeks & creatives agreed it’s something to consider when designing for mobile and we’re excited to try it out and see for ourselves! If you’re looking for a new website, an upgrade to your current site or just want to chat about last night’s Game of Thrones premiere, hit us up and we’ll find a time to talk!