Cainkade is hiring in New York and the Bay Area
We have been very fortunate this year to work on a diverse set of great projects, and our teams on the east and west coasts are growing. We’re continually on the lookout for great designers and developers who like working across mobile, tablet, TV and the Web. Culturally, we seek people that buy into the type of product-focused organization we are building, and love working with great clients.
Here’s what we are looking for:
User Experience designers – junior and senior. The ideal designer must be versatile enough to play multiple positions depending on the project. Part information architect, part visual designer. To be able to understand requirements and be able to bring a client’s vision to life. A portfolio and or live URLs are required.
Developers – junior, senior, backend, front end, iOS, Android. The emphasis right now is on front-end HTML, JS, CSS developers who are equally comfortable building solutions from the ground up or working with popular frameworks. But we’re interested in developers of all kinds. Click here for our latest listing.
From our start just a few years ago, we have sought to build a world-class product strategy, design and development studio. We’ve equally emphasized both design and development, making Cainkade a valuable partner for companies of all sizes. This year alone we’ve been behind the public launches of The Root’s social media tool Chatterati and the full offering of celeb-centric Upfront. And at this moment the team is busy in gaming, museum and exhibits, multi-screen premium video, patient-centered healthcare and enterprise software – yes, enterprise software needs to look great now as well.
We’ll be hiring on an ongoing basis, and would love to get to know you even if you are just beginning to think about your next move, whether it’s now, three or six months down the line.
Our main offices are in particularly fun and easy to access neighborhoods in their respective cities - near 29th and Broadway in New York near the Ace Hotel and Stumptown Coffee andin the burgeoning Uptown Oakland neighborhood, in the Bay Area, a few blocks from Duende, Flora and the Fox Theater.
Does Netflix binge viewing need a new water cooler?
The debut of Netflix’ House of Cards today raises a lot of great product and experience questions.
Thirteen near hour-long episodes have premiered today - or 13 chapters of a very long movie as showrunner Beau Willimon puts it. (Side note, imagine how Lars von Trier could abuse viewers with this sort of format).
I am excited for this experiment and can’t wait for the Arrested Development debut later this year. But I find myself wondering how the virtual water cooler is going to work for these shows. Even with asynchronous viewing on older shows, you could go back and see what the blogs had to say - in a fairly structured way - about a given episode. The episodic structure allowed the community to break down each show each week. What does a Ken Tucker do now? Review all episodes this weekend? Pace them out weekly? So far I see first-episode reviews and commentary, but no binge reviews.
I think Netflix, EW or the next Television Without Pity is in a great position to change how we talk about “TV”. I am glad Netflix has such laser focus on programming and quality of experience, but I think they could do more than 1990s style 5-star ratings and reviews. It doesn’t appear that Netflix is focused on this side of the experience. And the “second screen” apps that are out there seem to be focused either on discovery (a la the awesome NextGuide) or a light experience (such as Flingo).
I think the recipe would include a few of these ingredients:
- Community 3.0. A media-friendly experience that blurs the line between editor and commenter. Gawker’s Kinja platform is a good start. But I’d like to be able to follow reviewers/commenters that I like within a given show, and across the network as a whole.
- Social hubs. Aggregation of social sentiment and content across each episode.
- Spoiler prevention. Maybe just proper etiquette, and if you misbehave you get banned or blocked, but there would have to be a way to prevent an Episode 10 reveal showing up in Episode 1. Imagine reading the wrap-up on Episode 1 of The Wire and seeing a screenshot from Episode 12 (spoiler alert!).
- Clip sharing. Hulu-inspired clip sharing would be really nice.
Product strategy lessons from Hulu
What product decisions did Hulu avoid that kept it from being the next Veoh? Vee-who? Exactly.
I address that strategic question in my guest column on PBS MediaShift today, “Five Mistakes Hulu Avoided That Could Have Killed It”. Instead of following the competition with extraneous features, Hulu differentiated itself by focusing on vital innovations that were directly relevant to the viewing and sharing experience of the site. Here’s an excerpt:
“In 2007, while I worked at online video platform Brightcove, we launched its consumer-facing video site. We originally planned for the consumer site to be a showcase for finding and watching professional and premium content, but YouTube’s success influenced us heavily. We found it challenging to resist chasing some of YouTube’s features, and opened up the site to personal publishing. It was easy to get caught up in the hype around user-generated content at that time. Microsoft had just launched it’s ill-fated Soapbox, and there were a handful of other smaller sites that were compelling but ultimately failed. It’s impressive that Hulu kept the focus on premium content. User-generated content would have poisoned the site.”
One of the biggest challenges companies have is Focus - staying true to not just the vision of your company, but what will enable fulfillment of that vision. Often, deciding what not to do is more important than what you decide to do. This applies to design, development and product strategy.
With our clients, we usually start with an obvious but rarely asked question:
Six months from launch, how will you measure success?
That filter helps keep decision makers focused on what’s vital to the business. If your goal is traffic, make sure all of your high priority functionality is focused on traffic.
French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery is often quoted in design circles on the topic of minimalism.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Minimalism is as important as self-awareness and focus.
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Cainkade names Eric Elia president
Cainkade adds former Brightcove and Comcast exec to management team and expands lines of business with new video practice.
June 21, 2012 - New York, NY - Cainkade, a New York-based software design and development firm, today announced the appointment of Eric Elia as president of the company. Elia comes to Cainkade after more than seven years at Brightcove, a leading provider of cloud content services, where he held a variety of positions.
At Brightcove, Elia led the well-regarded user experience practice from the company founding through its first four years, including the look and feel of all backend and consumer-facing user interfaces. In addition, he founded and ran the in-house professional services team for several years, and most recently led the TV solutions practice. Previously, Elia led the design and development of the online service Comcast, where he worked with some of the Cainkade team; and before that, at @Home Network, led the creation of one of the first broadband video experiences.
“As the set-top box becomes an app, there is a great opportunity today to shape tomorrow’s viewer experiences. Eric brings a great track record of innovation to Cainkade. He’s been involved with pioneering work in digital media throughout his career, and will help Cainkade quickly expand our TV and video practices,” said Jeremy Landis, founder and Chief Technologist of Cainkade.
“We will see more innovation in TV and media in the next three years than we’ve seen in the previous twenty. The intersection of media and mobile, combined with new devices, opens up amazing opportunities for Cainkade to innovate around user experience.” said Elia. “On a personal note, I am delighted to reunite with Jeremy Landis and members of the Cainkade team. I’m very proud of the work we did together at Comcast.”
Cainkade will add a new video practice this year, with an emphasis on multi-screen viewer experiences and support for the most popular online video platforms. In particular, the company will focus on video experiences that span iPad, smart TV, game devices, and mobile.
Cainkade is a mobile, web and device design and development firm with offices in New York and San Francisco. The company specializes in beautiful and usable consumer experiences for leading media and healthcare companies. Clients include Comcast, The Daily Beast, Interview Magazine, and Showtime.
Showtime’s SHO Social for iPad Wins a Webby
Showtime took home a Webby award for Integrated Mobile Experience for their second screen technology Showtime Social app for iPad. The app allows viewers to interact with the shows they’re watching on TV. The viewer can participate in polls, quizzes, and predictive questions. If they connect via facebook, they can share reactions and see their friends reactions to the show in real time.