American Made Disruptive Tech

shutterstock_74394589In 1893, The World’s Columbian Exposition (otherwise known as the ‘Wold’s Fair’) was held in Chicago, IL. At the time, it was the largest assembling of people outside of combat. In other words, it was the largest peaceful gathering of human beings in history. This event was a momentous occasion for many reasons. In retrospect, it was a particularly vivid indicator of the vital role the United States was to play in the century to come.

The U.S. was about to become the world’s headquarters for disruptive technologies. It was home to countless innovations that would define the 20th century and shape civilization indefinitely.

The World’s Fair featured attractions such as Nikolas Tesla’s electrical grid. His display was the fair’s defining feature. It was no less than the world’s first functional example of an artificially lit street. And though it wasn’t built to last, it was absolutely built to scale. Indeed, to say that this display of alternating-current electrical power was awe-inspiring would be underselling the display. It’s hard to imagine a more revolutionary and distinctly visible moment in the history of man-made infrastructure. Tesla (a Serbian born immigrant to the USA) accomplished no less than to give the world a sneak preview at its future.

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Millions flocked to see Tesla’s work and countless other displays of a disruptive technology. The United States was open for innovative new business and we wanted the whole world to know it.

In the decades following the Wold’s Fair, the greatest minds in the world flocked stateside. Home grown innovators, working in hand with the great many who immigrated to this country in pursuit of lucrative intellectual opportunity, accomplished feats that were previously unimaginable. Their affecting influence on the world has been as qualitative as it was quantitive.

10836546_1Here’s one famous example of the nation’s rapid innovation that I still find staggering:

In 1903 the Ohio and Indiana-born Wright Brothers were credited with the first maned flight. Less than a lifetime later, American astronauts landed on the moon.

As a comparison, it was some 10,000+ years between the world’s first canoe and the first steam ship.

In short: American innovations played an incalculable role in shaping the 20th century world. 

But what about the 21st century?

There’s a narrative today that suggests that America’s role as a central innovator in the world is coming to a close. It’s a pervasive message. We’ve all been led to ponder the validity of this claim and its nebulous indications.

To be clear, I believe that there’s no doubt that the world’s geopolitical landscape is evolving. Hegemonic influences are evolving as always, and perhaps at a distinctly accelerated rate. But the only influence that concerns this particular July 4th post is innovation. And it is of my opinion that too many focus on a nation’s role as a world ‘power’ when he considers the position of world ‘innovator’ to be far more interesting.

The question I posit today:

Is the U.S. no longer the leader in world-shaping (and by extension, business-shaping) innovation?

My answer:

If the early 21st century is to be an indication, American-made innovations are to shape the world as much or more than those of the 20th century.

Im talking, of course, about web-based infrastructure and new technologies built to scale, two highly-integrated fields in which the U.S. continues to decidedly lead the charge. In 2015, the world looks to the United States in awe as disruptive web-based technology forms the very infrastructure that the future is being built upon.

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This weekend, as we celebrate this truly-revolutionary nation, we should all take a minute to reflect on not just our past, but the great innovations that will ensure our seat at the table of greatness in the years and decades to come.

Here’s to looking towards the unlimited possibilities ahead.

Gulo is on the Move

Amoving-pictures-of-cartoons-7fter over a decade at our office in the heart of Wicker Park, Gulo’s main office is moving to some new digs.

We’ve outgrown our headquarters atop Reckless Records’s original Wicker Park store. A part of us will always miss the steady thump of music beneath our feet.

There’s a funny thing about moving: you expect it to be a stressful exercise, and yet the stress of the move usually somehow surpasses even your loftiest expectations. So you can imagine our surprise when the transition to our new (far more spacious!) HQ has been remarkably seamless. Vital information for Gulo operations and that of our clients are all hosted outside the office.

Heck, our staff’s only down time is during their drive a mile down the road!

So, as we enter the next phase of Gulo’s growth, it’s hard not to marvel at the mobile agility of the Gulo team and our services. Even if a crisis had occurred in the brief hours between offices, our hardware remained online, and our 8×8 telephony ap directed calls directly to our cell phones. For all intents and purposes, there was zero downtime as our entire office moved.

I guess we’ll just have to find something else to stress out about?

How about you or your firm’s digital needs? The stress of developing tools for the web space is what Gulo is built to handle. Believe it or not, we’re not professional movers! Nope. We’re builders. And just like always, we’re standing by to build out your web presence. Websites, apps, and everything in-between.

Our team is always ready, now more than ever.

On that note, stay tuned. We have some exciting announcements to come!

Is Android’s Material Design a Game Changer?

colorA shift in UX trends for Android can lead to big changes in IOS design standards, and vice versa. In 2015, Google is setting the pace with their all-in approach towards Material Design.

This design language, developed by Google, offers an intuitive layout inspired by pen and paper and ‘real world’ stacked documents. Material design is one more major step in the trend of maximizing space. Its end function is more efficient mobile browsing. If you’re an android app user, you’ve already experienced material design. If you have Android 5.0 or greater, your interface is built entirely from material design standards.

Google searching may even soon utilize a new material design interface.

Material design has fans beyond the Android faithful. Indeed, its ‘flat design’ principles are largely inspired by those developed by an organization not typically associated with elegant designMicrosoft. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Google is refining and capitalizing on these design standards with far more impact. (I’ll refrain from asking Microsoft how it feels to be on the other side of that exchange…)

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And what, exactly, is material design? Google breaks it down best. But the general idea behind material design is that it offers a sleak, flat surface with useful depth effects. It all amounts to an extremely efficient means of visually organizing information. Cards of distinct data are stacked and organized appropriately, with visual cues like shading and color balance that remain consistent with all apps built with material design. Once you quickly learn to navigate one material design, you’ve effectively mastered them all.

Material design built apps are fast, efficient, and easy to build or customize–even the graphic elements are highly malleable and mostly ‘idiot-proof’.

Perhaps such a standardized offering is a game changer for Android?

Google is certainly banking on it. This is going to be interesting to watch.