Ideas, updates and observations.

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The Dark and Light Forces of Software Development

As software developers, certain actions we take cause transformative results that go beyond what we expect. It’s like THE FORCE. Now that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has released I can’t think of a better time to talk about the forces at work in software development.

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When simple is the only option

You may not be familiar with Sequoia but you’ve probably felt their impact. Based in Silicon Valley, Sequoia is a venture capital firm with a mission of helping daring founders build legendary companies. While they have had no trouble reaching that goal they needed a better way to display their work. We helped them build a site as grand as their vision and as powerful as the impact their partnerships have had on the world. This post focuses on the technical aspects of the site’s development.

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Becoming Better Humans - The New Yorker Festival

The New Yorker Festival is a weekend-long celebration wherein New Yorker writers, editors, and artists talk with leading thinkers about politics, pop culture, science and literature. This year, the festival introduced Tech@Fest, a series of events focused on the radical implications of technological advancement and the potential of innovation to reshape society.

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Goodbye Outpost, hello One North

Four years ago, a fire convinced us to move into an industrial building we have called the Outpost. This former WWII ship-building hangar taught us a lot about collaboration and making a little go a long way. It also helped shape the vision for our ideal permanent workspace.

This November, we’re moving into our new North Portland home. We designed the 30,000-sq.ft. space with an eye on one big concept: collaboration—between employees and with our clients.

In our new studio, a wide variety of spaces support a diverse range of working styles. We created an environment where people can move seamlessly between solo and collaborative work. Large stand-up tables and lounge areas let groups break away from their desks. Bar seating and cubbies give individuals places to focus, while enclosed meeting rooms are designed for group video conferencing and whiteboarding. Lastly, our photo and video production studio allows us to have full control over the content that we create for our clients, every day. 

We infused our passion for innovation and technology into a space that is smart and that allows us to be smarter about how we work. The new Instrument office also exemplifies our dedication to design and our emphasis on form and function. If that weren't enough, it’s the city’s first timber-framed office building constructed in the last century, and we think that’s pretty neat.

The Boise-Eliot community we’re moving into has changed a lot in past years. And we will work to be good neighbors. Working with local organizers and businesses, we’re going to open our doors to the community for cultural and creative events in the new space. And since most of us at Instrument live in east Portland and know that parking can be a pain, we have tons of bike storage to keep some cars off the road.

This project has taken a village, from the architects and developers to the artists and fabricators, to carry it out. But there’s a common thread: we’re all dedicated to smashing together ideas and working hard to make the impossible possible. We're confident that our new home, outfitted for collaboration on the highest level, is going to help us build our best work yet. 

Partners: Karuna Properties II, Holst Architecture, Hammer & Hand Construction, Osmose Design, R&H Construction, Froelich Engineers, McKinstry, Pingree Northwest, Kartini Clinic, Eliot Neighborhood, New Seasons Market, Life Change Christian Center, Metro

Sometimes to save a river, you have to buy it.

Western Rivers Conservancy buys land to save rivers and protect the landscapes around them. They came to us for something they'd never done, a crowdfunding campaign and video to purchase the final piece of their biggest conservation effort so far: Save Blue Creek.

Blue Creek is the beating heart of a rare and wild place. Located deep in the heart of the California redwoods, saving Blue Creek will ensure the survival of one of the West’s greatest salmon runs, and protect vital wildlife habitat in one of the world’s most biologically rich areas. 

For the next two months, alongside acclaimed photographers Morgan Phillips, Andy Best, Anna Ehrgott and Nathaniel Martin, we get to reveal to you the beauty of this place. A place meant to stay wild. 

Because we love the work our clients do, and we care about rare and wild places, we’re asking you to join us to help Save Blue Creek. 

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Follow Western Rivers Conservancy on Instagram

The 1-2 punch every creative agency needs

Two of boxing’s most fundamental punches are the left jab and the right cross—together known as the 1-2 punch. 

In my case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, I compare inclusion to 1, left jab, and diversity to 2, the right cross. The jab sets up the cross, and the impact of the cross (widely known as the power punch) is its ability to make it more challenging for an opponent to recover, therefore setting the fighter up to land more punches. To this point, I believe that inclusion sets up diversity to deliver more superior team performance. With a strategy for inclusion, diversity can bridge varying perspectives that help teams and individuals arrive at solutions more efficiently. This enhances business growth and innovation. 

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For daring founders and legendary companies

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” —Steve Jobs

Apple. Google. Airbnb. These companies were mere startups before they partnered with Sequoia. This Silicon Valley venture capital firm has a mission of helping daring founders build legendary companies. They asked us to build them a site worthy of their vision and the impact their partnerships have had on the world.

We refreshed Sequoia’s digital presence, delivering a new CMS, brand photography and illustration. The result is a site that inspires as well as prepares prospective entrepreneurs by telling the provocative stories behind the companies they’ve worked with as well as showcasing what a partnership with Sequoia really means.

Visit Sequoia

Photo: Larry Page of Google / Illustration by Mike McQuade for Sequoia

Beware of easy work

Do you know an art or design student? You might see them hauling pads of newsprint on the train or sleep-deprived and toting bags overloaded with art supplies. 

Associate Creative Director Matt Sundstrom shares advice he wishes someone told him when he was an art student at Rhode Island School of Design. 

Read the article on Medium

S'more work for Google

On Tuesday, Google announced two Nexus phones and their newest, and sweetest, Android OS yet—Marshmallow. We supported the big ol’ gooey updates with freshly designed and coded pages for Android and Nexus. Check them out below.

You can pre-order the new phones today and they will ship late October. As sweet as they look, please do not attempt to eat the phones or any device running Android Marshmallow. 

Visit Nexus
    See the new Nexus 6P
    See the new Nexus 5X
Visit Android Marshmallow

The Wonderful World of Creatures & Code

Code is arguably the most important language of the 21st century and kids should learn it early, like their ABCs and 1-2-3s.

That’s why Amie Pascal (Executive Producer at Instrument) and her wife, Heather Petrocelli, wrote ”The Wonderful World of Creatures & Code.” It's a fun, relevant children’s book that introduces kids to a diverse world of code through quirky creatures, memorable rhymes, fun illustrations and cute kids. The book colorfully illustrates 26 essential HTML tags and fundamental code elements used in making websites—and is full of “insider” references that developers and engineers will appreciate.

Help fund ”The Wonderful World of Creatures & Code” so it can be printed, and play a part in diversifying the tech industry by making code accessible to all kids, and even adults. 

Take me to the Kickstarter campaign