Your friends at Viget present Flourish, a Viget News & Culture Blog

Relaunching Pointless Corp., the Innovation Lab at Viget

Today, we've relaunched Pointless Corp. -- the innovation lab at Viget.  It's more than a site refresh.  It's a chance to revisit the point of Pointless Corp., which dates back to the founding of Viget itself.

In 1999 we incorporated Viget Labs, LLC intent on changing the way digital products were created.  Pop came up with the company name, which was intended to be a temporary code word, until it stuck.  He pulled "Viget," which means "flourishing," from the Princeton University motto (where he'd graduated 30 years earlier).  More notably, he added "Labs" to reflect the culture we hoped to create.  One of innovation and experimentation with lots of little failures and important lessons adding up to great success for our clients and ourselves.

At the time, "Labs" seemed a fairly uncommon part of a company name.  As our industry grew, we found more and more of our peers launching "Labs" divisions where innovation could happen and internal products could be developed.  Our perspective was a bit different: our whole company was an innovation center.  Soon enough, we found our name creating some confusion, as clients didn't want to just work with the Viget "Labs" division, they wanted the whole company.  To alleviate that confusion and strengthen and simplify our brand, we dropped "Labs" from our public name in favor of simply "Viget".

By 2009, we were a decade into delivering innovative work for hundreds of clients and loving it.  We weren't a services company longing to pivot to products, begrudgingly funding our internal ventures with otherwise unwanted external clients.  We sincerely loved the variety, insight, and challenge that client work provided.  That said, we did have a natural desire to "scratch our own itches" and build stuff on our own now and then, but thanks to Pop's vision we couldn't just tack "Labs" on to the end of our name (it was technically always there).  We were also mindful of our commitment to clients and wanted Viget to be known for great service, so we created a whole new brand: Pointless Corp.

As I wrote at the time, Pointless Corp. is neither pointless, nor a corporation.  It's our way of thinking, talking, organizing, and delivering projects conceived and created by Viget teams without outside clients.  It's our way of harnessing the creativity and drive of our talented team to make real stuff.  Put simply, it's our innovation lab.

We relaunched with the goal of telling this story more accurately and increasing recognition of the relationship between the two brands. If you look closely, you can see that even our beloved pointless bear logo evolved out of the Viget logo.  The redesign also better showcases the projects themselves, in three categories:

  1. Tools like Shorter Order and PowWow that are useful products that we expect to last for years to come.

  2. Stunts like Boom! Carded and OmahaThat that are fun and usually quick to put together.

  3. Experiments like CanScanCans and Tracktor that may be incomplete or in-process but are worth sharing with the world.

Finally, we provided a place for you to learn about archived pointless projects, such as Tincan'd, a super simple group video service we used vigorously for a couple of years before Google Hangouts came along and made it obsolete.

In the coming months, you'll see a lot of good stuff coming out of Pointless Corp. including new projects and major updates to some of our most popular ones.  Keep an eye on @pointlesscorp or join Viget's email list (below) for all the latest.

Refresh Boulder September 2014 - Show & Tell

Working on fun side project? Just launched a client site you're particularly proud of? Interested in getting quick feedback on something that's in progress? At the upcoming Refresh Boulder event, you'll have the opportunity to share your recent work during our community Show & Tell.  

Join us for this event at the Viget office on Thursday September 25th. The evening kicks off at 6:00 PM with pizza, beer, and some good old fashioned mingling.  At 6:30 PM, we'll start sharing work. If you're interested in sharing, you'll have about 5 minutes to present what you've been working on, as well as some additional time for discussion and questions from the audience.

All of the official details

What: Refresh Boulder

When: Thursday, September 25th at 6:00PM

Where: Viget Boulder, 1360 Walnut Street, Suite 100 

Why: To come together and refresh the creative, technical, and professional aspects of our trades.  

RSVP: Please RSVP on our Meetup Page

We look forward to seeing you there and hearing about your awesome work!

Viget Internship Applicant Volume and Sourcing

Since starting our internship program three years ago, we’ve made a point of tracking data along the way. We’ve been especially interested in applicant volume and sourcing since those issues are especially pertinent to launching a new program. And, three years in, we have more points of comparison than ever.

We’re less interested in drawing hard and fast conclusions than in getting a sense for trends and finding ways to improve. At this point, it seems safe to say that Viget can expect a few hundred internship applicants every year. We’ve also learned how much difference the official title of a role can make. And, finally, a lesson that comes as no surprise: our best source of top interns is our own work, culture, and people.

*Infographics by Janice Pang, 2014 Design Intern at Viget.

As the below graphic shows, volume roughly doubled between 2012 and 2013. Then volume fell by about 25%, in 2014.

However, this year’s dip in applicant volume is not a bad thing, as the next graphic helps show.

To understand the decrease, we need to consider the history of our Marketing internship role. In 2013, the “Marketing” internship received 127 applicants, with many of those applicants also expressing interest in the Project Manager internship. We found the majority of those applicants were unqualified for the role. That’s because they were interested in traditional marketing rather than in Google Analytics and working with data, which had increasingly become the internship’s focus.

So, this year, we decided to swap out the word “Marketing” for the more accurate title of “Digital Analyst.” The nature of the internship itself—and our complete description of it in the body of our posting—has not significantly changed. We also decided not to offer the PM Internship at all, for unrelated reasons. We received twenty-four reasonably qualified DA applicants compared to last year’s 125 Marketing applicants. And it seems safe to say that the roughly one-hundred-applicant difference in this category probably accounts for this year’s dip in overall application volume.

From the start, we’ve asked applicants how they find out about Viget and our internship program. This information helps us understand how to recruit for the following year’s crop.

By “Viget Stuff,” we mean anything generated by our people here at Viget: our client work, events we attend or speak at, our blog posts, and word-of-mouth leads. More and more, I find, our top internship applicants hear about us via “word-of-mouth” in particular. When we first started our summer program three years ago, “word-of-mouth” was an infrequent applicant source. Now, I regularly hear, “my friend told me to apply” or “my professor mentioned it.” That’s a great sign that, as our internship program becomes more effective and cohesive each year, so does our broader community of former interns, professors, and friends spreading the word.

Making the Most of Your Internship

As the 2014 summer internship program at Viget winds down, and we get close to saying our sad goodbyes, I’ve been focusing on how the past 10 weeks have gone. I am so grateful for how much I’ve learned and been able to do here. For some of my classmates, a summer internship was little more than résumé padding, which is a sad way to spend all that time. While obviously the first step to having a successful internship is finding a great one (ahem), you should also take advantage of everything that’s available around that internship as well. I’d like to share a few suggestions from my experiences to help you make the most of your internship.

Enjoy the Work

Get excited about the work! The 2014 Viget interns in each lab had a personal project to develop their personal skillsets. You can learn a lot if you take your work seriously.

Do your best to get to know your fellow interns. I was the lone intern in Boulder this summer, but through all the collaboration (and an awesome chat room), I made some great friends. We were lucky to have such a phenomenal intern group, and it’s been a blast getting to work together on Winsome this summer.