Our blog

How to Go Off the Grid for Two Weeks. For Real.

In modern agency life, it seems impossible to take a vacation without taking work with you, but it can be done. Here’s how I did it.

Meghan Gardner

Flexbox

As a back-end developer, it can be hard to style a web page. CSS is not very intuitive and around every corner there’s a “gotcha.” Flexbox is a fairly new CSS technology that once mastered, can be much easier to use.

Dan Sudenfield

How to (Successfully) Lead Your First Tech Meetup

There are a number of reasons you might want to start a technology meetup. In order to narrow the focus a bit, we’re going to approach this from the standpoint that you work for (or run) a company that is interested in the idea of hosting a meetup.

Brendan Butts

How Do You Fix a $75,000 Mistake?

As a new marketing manager for a practice group within a consulting firm, I had a lot to learn. And a few of those things, I had to learn the hard way, like making an error that cost the company many tens of thousands of dollars.

Meghan Gardner

Reimagined At Work

When done right, something reimagined is almost magical. It’s not just about integrating a product with another one or allowing for internet connectivity, it’s about taking an existing solution and changing the experience that individuals have, ultimately creating a new kind of experience.

Torrey Fazen

Snapchat

Snapchat launched its first ever TV ad campaign to reposition the app as a camera, which begs the question

Kayla King

The Digital Agency is Dead. Long Live the Digital Agency.

The coming wave of digital de-specialization.

Colin Alsheimer

Tomorrow Comes Today

The coming wave of digital de-specialization.

Dan Zarzycki

Your Next Programming Language (Part 1 of 2)

People often ask “what is the best programming language” to the reply “depends on what you’re doing” – an answer which is paradoxically as true as it is unhelpful.

Ryan Taylor

Making Social Media Politics Great Again

Your uncle will probably never stop posting about his crazy conspiracy theories, but at least now you can rest assured that you won’t be bombarded with sponsored content from illegitimate advertisers.

Nasreen Salem

Six Seconds to Advertise

Whether consumers like it or not, the six second commercial format is here to stay.

Dustin McCormick

Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts for a Windows User

There’s a lot of keyboard shortcuts available to a Mac user. As a primarily Windows user, I’ve found a few shortcuts that are extremely helpful as a programmer and may be useful to you too.

Sonya Chen

Animation Trends

When you think of the word “loop,” different definitions might come to mind. You might think of a simple circle, or a rope that’s made into a circle. Maybe it’s a pattern you make while driving, or something else entirely.

Michael Callahan

Stumbling Upon a Twitter Vulnerability

Reading privacy policies on websites and other legal documents are important. I have read Twitter’s privacy policy before but I wanted to make sure nothing had changed. GDPR was coming and seeing how they structured their page and spelled out the details seemed interesting. Starting on help.twitter.com, I went right to the footer. Mouse over the Privacy link and NO click. It looked funny.

Keith Koslowsky

The Alipes Team Vibe

The Alipes team structure and way of working is the most important aspect of how we deliver great solutions to clients. We thrive, believe, and deliver in team. Our norms are about outspoken creativity, inherent curiosity, and effective listening across departments.

Torrey Fazen

From Maryland to Chicago, Alipes is Boston Strong

Boston Strong represents different meanings for different people. Five years after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Alipes reflects on what it means to us.

Kayla King

None of Their Business

There’s an old expression about how good people staying silent is all it takes for evil to triumph. Burger King made a single video that captured the power of a modern distribution channel to spark mainstream conversation about bullying. It’s a corporation using the tools of an upstart movement to deliver a powerful message that staying silent is destructive.

Meghan Gardner

Alipes Opinions

We polled the majority of Alipians and asked them what their favorite social networks were, and why. Most results fell within the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) but the most interesting thing about the results were the reasons why folks preferred their favorite social network.

Brendan Butts

Blockchain 101

The first in a series of posts covering the Blockchain, key players, trends and how the technology can be applied to a variety of industries, including digital media and marketing.

Colin Alsheimer

#DeleteFacebook – Why it Matters for Brands

Facebook is in trouble. As the social media platform deals with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, #DeleteFacebook has gained steam, prompting many to reexamine the role that social media plays in their lives. But what does this mean for brands?

Colin Alsheimer

Don’t Wait, Learn How to Code Now

Anyone can learn how to code, but often people go about it the wrong way. As an accomplished web developer, here are my suggestions on the best ways to learn how to code.

Dan Sudenfield

Limitations Can Drive Innovations

Limitation of the design systems of yesterday gave rise to the internet technologies of today.

Jason Tennis

Networking

If you’re a Resistant Prisoner like me, but you see the value of networking, rest assured that you’re not the only one. In fact, you’re already taking steps toward improving, just by reading this.

Sonya Chen

A Trick to Clearly Communicate with Developers and in Teams

Communication is key, and software development is no exception. Anyone who has worked with developers knows how tricky communication can be, whether they are talking about bugs, new features or even layout.

Ryan Taylor

Audience Centric Advertising

The best digital advertising remembers who the audience is.

Michael Callahan

One Less App

However, how do you know if program that you just put on your computer is safe? It may be sending information about you out to an unsafe location. The developer may tell you they are collecting this information in their privacy policy. Although, I’m willing to bet you haven’t actually read the privacy policy. Go ahead, admit it.

Keith Koslowsky

When Brands Sell Culture

Advertising is an unavoidable part of life for most people. It’s been with us since we were born, surrounding us on TV, magazines, and billboards—burrowing into our memories. Speaking as an American thirty-something who remembers a time before the internet, ads have always been around.

Dustin McCormick

We’re Honored to be Honored

We believe our work is the hero of our story—and we’re honored to have captured two Davey Awards, awards named for the legendary hero of small stature and big thinking.

Meghan Gardner

Internet Memes

There’s millions of Internet memes, but only the best make it viral. Learn how the concept of natural selection comes into play in the world of memes.

Kayla King

Glad to Meet You

Alipes, the boutique agency reinventing digital for clients large and small, announced today that it has inked new client relationships and established a presence in Chicago.

Meghan Gardner

Pitching Your Employer, Include the Doodles

It’s a random Tuesday and you have a new business idea. It’s just that, an idea. It needs to be fleshed out, nurtured, developed, but it’s a place to start and you are getting excited about the possibilities. Where do you go next? To friends and family for advice? To your business mentor for a brainstorm? What if the next step is even easier, what if you need to look no further than your current employer?

Torrey Fazen

A Coming Change in Traditional Websites

Over the horizon, there is a significant change coming to your web browsing experience. A change that, once it’s pervasive, will seem necessary.

Nathan Lamont

How Not to Make Friends and Influence People

Influencing the people right next to you may be even harder than trying to capture the attention of someone with 500,000 followers. Here’s why.

Meghan Gardner

Developing as a Developer

There are so many solutions that developers accumulate over their careers. Each one of these solutions can be abstracted and potentially applied to a number of situations. The more solutions a developer has come across, the more solutions they have available to them when they encounter a particularly tough problem.

Brendan Butts

Now Hear This

Check out 37 of the best podcasts to help you become a smarter and more informed digital marketer.

Colin Alsheimer

Blockchain 101

Despite rapid price fluctuations and bubble cries, it’s clear that Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology that powers them are once again dominating financial and tech news cycles. Many pundits have been quick to write off the currency as a fad and a bubble fueled by pure speculation and greed––and while the fears aren’t unfounded, the coverage tends to generally gloss over what makes Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space so exciting in the first place. Bitcoin isn’t exciting because of the potential for financial gain, it’s exciting because of the underlying Blockchain technology which makes Bitcoin possible in the first place.

In an effort to clear up confusion over Blockchain, Bitcoin and other more-confusing-than-they-need-to-be terms like Ethereum, ICOs, mining, hashrates, sharding and cryptography—this will be the first in a series of posts covering the Blockchain, key players, trends and how the technology can be applied to a variety of industries, including digital media and marketing. Article one begins with the foundation of Blockchain.

What is the Blockchain?

In very simple terms, the Blockchain is simply a distributed database of transaction data. Information is grouped and stored within blocks. These blocks can only hold a limited amount of data, so when one block fills up and more data needs to be stored, another block is created and associated with the block that preceded it to form a chain of data. In order for data to be saved and committed to the master chain, the contents of that block has to be verified by multiple independent entities, a process known as “reaching consensus” (there are several ways to reach consensus—Bitcoin uses the Proof of Work model, while Ethereum uses the Proof of Stake model). This verification process involves solving complex mathematical problems, which require computers with large amounts of processing power. Operators of those computers compete to solve these problems (transaction processing) and are rewarded for their work, typically via some form of digital asset. These computer operators are referred to as miners, and Bitcoin is an example of a digital asset reward for helping to process the transactions that are forming the chain.

This transactional process forms the very essence of the Blockchain ecosystem. In essence, the Blockchain is facilitating the creation of a decentralized super-computer by combining the processing power of individual miners in order to keep the Blockchain process running. These miners are incentivised to participate in the network by the digital assets they receive as rewards. Without this economic model, Blockchain as we know it would not work.

Because Blockchain is a distributed system—meaning there is no central point of control, and because all data is cryptographically encrypted (a much more secure form of the traditional username / password combination), and because the functioning of the Blockchain is dependent on showing proof-of-work and regular verification of all preceding transactions, Blockchain applications have the benefit of being extra secure and extra stable.

Hypothetical Blockchain Use Cases

Take, for example, the current problems with cloud hosting and storage. When Amazon’s AWS service experiences an outage, and takes half of the Internet down with it, it’s because Amazon is the central point of control. When the central point of control experiences a catastrophic failure, everything goes dark. Now, let’s say that AWS transitions to a Blockchain system, and users of the Amazon AWS Blockchain offer up unused hard drive space in exchange for Amazon coins each month (see Storj or Filecoin). In this environment, instead of Amazon selling space on their server farm, they are selling space on a distributed, decentralized network of computers. Each computer in the network only stores a small piece of the overall data load, and each of those small pieces is replicated across many different machines. This way, if one machine goes offline, Amazon simply re-routes traffic through the machines that are still online and have the necessary piece of data. No more wide Internet outages.

This same line of thinking can be applied to other industries where security and reliability are important to daily business functions. For example, if Equifax stored their data on a Blockchain instead of in a traditional self-hosted or cloud database, there would not have been a central point for hackers to attack. The data would have been too spread out and hard to hack to exploit.

Current Blockchain Applications

Ethereum has built on the success of Bitcoin to introduce the idea of Smart Contracts and the Proof-of-Stake methodology. In essence, Ethereum has created an operating system layer on top of Blockchain technology which enables the development of applications (called Dapps or decentralized applications) which execute certain tasks. Ethereum uses Blockchain economics to create a distributed supercomputer which helps to run these applications. Miners in the Ethereum chain are rewarded with Ethereum coins.

Ripple takes the Blockchain and applies it to the banking and finance sector for facilitating faster and cheaper transactions, among other use cases.

Litecoin is a digital currency like Bitcoin but cheaper and faster.

Monero is Bitcoin, but anonymous.

Power Ledger is a distributed marketplace for buying and selling energy. Earn Power Tokens for selling your excess energy.

Storj lets you earn Storj tokens for sharing your unused hard drive space.

Civic uses the Blockchain to provide secure identity management and verification.

As we’ve covered here, Blockchain is so much more than Bitcoin. While Bitcoin price speculation receives all the headlines, it’s simply one application of many that Blockhain enables. In future posts, we will go more in depth in the Blockchain space, covering Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.

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