Team member profile: Kim Weber, product manager

by Jess on April 16, 2014

weber family

Kim with her husband, Brad, and daughters, Marlo and Cora

Kim has been a member of the InspiringApps team since April 2010. She grew up in Littleton, Colorado, where she loved playing Cabbage Patch Dolls with her two sisters and practicing piano. After she graduated from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in Computer Science and English, Kim worked in systems consulting in Washington, D.C. and New York City. She also spent some time as a developer for the United Nations in New York. Kim loved all the unique experiences she had in one of her favorite cities: “Coming from Littleton and going to school in South Bend, I was enamored with the size of NYC, the opportunities there for fun and culture, and trying a sheep’s head as a delicacy with colleagues from the UN.”

While she was working with the UN, Kim was able to learn more about the development process as a whole: “They had us go through everything from concept to delivery, which gave me a little taste of training, since we had to show the customer how to use the product.” Even though she loved NYC, Kim wanted to move back to Colorado, where she took a job in training. “I really liked the experience of helping people learn how to use software,” she said. That passion led her to get her Master’s in Instructional Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado at Denver.

At InspiringApps, Kim primarily works with our product, ePCR for iPad. She appreciates the opportunity to provide a great experience for our customers: “Part of product management is working with our customers and helping them use our apps in the best way possible,” she said. “I also support our customers, work with them on their requests for enhancements and address their concerns.” Outside of product management, Kim recruits developers and other people to join our team. “It’s exciting to talk to talented people who want to work with us,” she said.

Being part of an excellent team is what Kim loves the most about working at InspiringApps. “I like that when you walk through the doors, you can feel the friendly atmosphere,” she said. “Our coworkers are happy to be here, respectful of each other and ready to laugh. I love that our team is always up for getting lunch, coffee, or a beer with one another. I also like that I feel like I’m working with smart people who take their job seriously and are committed to excellence in their work.”

Kim loves all that Boulder has to offer: “It seems so cliché but I really do love the outdoor opportunities and the awesome restaurants in town,” she said. (Her favorite Boulder restaurants are Carelli’s and Sushi Zanmai.) Kim also has two cousins who moved to Boulder from Chicago and NYC, which has made living and working in the area an even better experience. “Having family in Boulder makes it feel more like a hometown, even though it’s not where my family’s from,” she said. “Growing up, all of my relatives lived on the east coast, so I didn’t get to see them very often. Now that some of them – and especially the ones who are my age – live out here, it feels more like home.”

In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her family. She especially likes riding bikes around Broomfield open space with 5-year-old Cora in her Trail-A-Bike and cooking, usually trying new brownie recipes with Marlo, 10.

A chat with Brent Weaver from uGurus

by Jess on April 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, Brad got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brent Weaver from uGurus, a Denver company that uses the power of online communities to help Web professionals find success in their businesses. We’ve loved checking out other videos from this series – it’s always great learning about what other companies are up to, and it’s exciting to see our peers talk about their work. Brad and Brent discussed everything from the size of our team to company culture, and Brad shared a bit about InspiringApps’ history – as well as our future.

We’re honored to have been profiled as part of uGurus’ video series! Check out the video below:


InspiringPeople: applying principles to become extraordinary

by Jess on April 4, 2014


Earlier this week executive coach and author Joseph Logan joined us as part of our ongoing InspiringPeople series. Joseph shared stories from his forthcoming book, Heretic: How Extraordinary Misfits Change the Rules and Change the World, and taught us how ordinary people can become extraordinary leaders through the principles of courage, insight and tenacity.

Joseph said he’s always been drawn to people who do the impossible – to people who are extraordinary. Even from a young age, he admired “people who found something in themselves and took a journey to become something more.”

Having extraordinary people in his life inspired Joseph to start helping other people find that certain something within themselves. “I believe every person has the seed of something extraordinary in them,” he said. “I also believe not everyone will nurture and grow that seed. But the people who do? They’re the ones who change the world.” For local examples, Joseph listed Ashoka U, the Unreasonable Institute, and even Avery Brewing as groups of extraordinary people who have changed the world.

During an interactive portion of the talk, Joseph had a few people share a time they did something they thought was impossible. From major lifestyle changes to overcoming huge challenges at work, the people who shared their stories revealed how ordinary people can do extraordinary things every single day. “Extraordinary can be large-scale, or it can be personal,” Joseph said. “What matters is taking the journey to change your world.” As one attendee said, an extraordinary act “changes not only your perspective but that of those around you.”

It’s no secret people in Boulder are doing extraordinary things every day. But what is it about Boulder that’s different? Is someone’s ability to be extraordinary tied to where they live?

While resources like a vibrant, helpful and powerful community certainly play a part in nurturing extraordinary people, Joseph believes the most important keys to being extraordinary are a person’s principles and how they’re applied: “Extraordinary people all follow the principles of courage, insight and tenacity,” he explained.

InspiringPeople crowd

Joseph told us the story of Ian Ayres, a law professor at Yale who had the courage to speak up. Ayres did a study on 401(k) plans and discovered many employers offer high-fee plans that would end up producing negative interest over time. He sent letters to more than six thousand employers letting them know what he found and informed them he’d soon release the results of his study.

In Joseph’s words, “all hell broke loose.” Ayres received death threats, countless people called Yale to demand his termination… people were furious. When Joseph spoke with Ayres, he said “You don’t seem like one to stir the pot… how’d you find the courage to do this?”

Ayres laughed. “I’ve always stirred the pot,” he said. “And I had no idea so many people would be this upset.” Joseph said Ayres didn’t think anyone cared about their 401(k), that he didn’t initially act out of courage. “He doubled down when he felt threatened, though,” Joseph explained. “He got energized from the fallout and had the courage to take it further.”

At its core, the principle of courage is embodied by people who say, “Why does it have to be that way?” Extraordinary people see a fundamental injustice or challenge somewhere – whether it’s in their personal lives or on a grand scale – and they have the courage to overcome it.

Once you’ve found the courage to make a change, it’s important to examine the situation to see what you can leave alone and what you need to do in order to make things different.

When gathering insight, the first step is to determine where there are implicit rules and opportunities for change. Joseph identified five areas that come into play in forming extraordinary insight:

  • Strategy – What plan is currently being followed? Why was it created?
  • Politics – What power structures currently exist? Who are the key players?
  • Affinities – What role do relationships play?
  • Culture – How do values and norms shape the situation?
  • Economics – How does money affect the situation?

Joseph ensured the areas to examine were memorable – the first letters of each area become SPACE (he knows it’s corny, but it works.)

The principle of insight is basically determining what the change you want to make is really about, and what factors are at play that will either help or challenge you as you work to accomplish it. Joseph said insight starts with the self – where are you strong, and where could you grow?

What would it take to get you to quit something you’re happily engaged in and passionate about?

Probably a lot, right? What if everything you’ve worked for literally burned to the ground, right at what you considered the peak of your success? Would you give up then?

Bryan Dayton, co-owner of OAK at fourteenth, refused to give up after a devastating fire at the upscale Boulder restaurant shortly after its critically acclaimed opening in 2010. Even though OAK’s investors argued it’d be better to cut their losses and accept the insurance money – or at least move to a new space – Dayton made the choice to rebuild the restaurant in its original location. OAK is now one of Boulder’s most renowned restaurants, and Dayton was featured on a cover of GQ Magazine’s 2011 “Men of the Year” issue.

Joseph explained how tenacity is essential to becoming extraordinary. Even after gathering the courage and insight necessary to make a change, challenges will still arise. Major complications and derailments will still occur, and giving up will become an increasingly appealing option.

But the extraordinary person, the one who has the tenacity to hold on a little bit longer than anyone else, is the one who can eke out a win.

The Process
So, how do we become extraordinary people? Are these principles learned, or are they limited to the lucky few who were born with them? To Joseph, becoming extraordinary is all about the process – it’s about finding that seed within us, and cultivating it so it can grow. These principles aren’t limited to bestowment upon birth; they are all things we learn. Joseph said he believes insight can be taught in a classroom, but courage and tenacity are learned through experience – good experiences and bad. “Success is a lousy teacher,” he said. “Failure is the teacher; success is the lesson.”

Joseph’s presentation was engaging and inspiring, giving us the opportunity to examine which aspects of our lives can become extraordinary. To close, he read from the final chapter of Heretic, due for release in early 2015. To learn more about Joseph, visit his website at

InspiringPeople is InspiringApps’ speaker series featuring people we think are, well… inspiring! These informal lunch gatherings allow members of the Boulder community to hear from their peers about their work, hobbies and passions. Interested in speaking or attending? Email to be added to the list!

RSVP to InspiringPeople, featuring Joseph Logan

by Jess on March 24, 2014

Our InspiringPeople series continues with Joseph Logan, author of the forthcoming Heretic: How Extraordinary Misfits Change the Rules and Change the World. Logan will share his story and discuss how ordinary people can become extraordinary leaders. Join us at this brown-bag lunch to discuss transformation, innovation, leadership and more.

Learn more about this event and RSVP on its Eventbrite page. We look forward to seeing you next week!


Now available: InspiringBusiness – March 2014

by Jess on March 10, 2014

InspiringBusiness header

We recently published the latest issue of our InspiringBusiness newsletter, where we discussed how we optimized server-app data sync for the iPad, our work with the N-FORS project and introduced the education plan for ePCR for iPad, one of our products.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive InspiringBusiness in your email.

InspiringPeople: using agile practices to found a non-tech startup

by Jess on February 28, 2014

Alicia Benjamin

Earlier this week, we welcomed Alicia Benjamin of RUNspiration and RIZE as part of our InspiringPeople series. Alicia chatted with us about her career path, fitness experiences, and how she used agile principles in the development of her newest project, rizebox. Alicia said she never intended to become a runner or start a business, but her passions have led her to a point of clarity. “I’m on a mission to inspire women and change the way we treat each other,” she said. “We focus so much on competing with each other instead of motivating and inspiring one another.”

With a background in marketing and PR, Alicia was the first non-technical hire of a startup in Boston called MeYouHealth. Immersing herself in the company’s agile practices helped her understand how agile works, and how it could be beneficial to her work as a marketer. She was able to apply what she learned from the startup to RedPint, an app she co-created that allowed people to “check in” and let people know what beers they were drinking. It was hyper-focused on Boston and came from her experiences with the Craft Beer Crew, a Meetup community of beer lovers she created and grew to hundreds of members.

As Alicia and her partner worked to improve the app, she was able to learn about the craft beer production chain – from brewers to consumers – and their pain points. She learned that brand representatives needed data about what beers users were drinking in order to compete with big names, and that RedPint could provide that data. Alicia used her Craft Beer Crew friends as a test market, demonstrating the value of the app. But with no in-house tech help, RedPint wasn’t able to iterate fast enough. They were acquired by Untappd, which has become the leading social beer app. The timing was right, though; since she was working for a health-focused company, Alicia decided to leave the beer scene and focus on her health.

Alicia later moved to Boulder, working for a tech company that ran on agile principles. She wondered what would happen if the marketing team were agile, just like the product team. After trying it out, everyone found that it helped them be more productive in the small-scale projects, making the large-scale projects easier to address. Alicia said this discovery was the highlight of her career.

 But Alicia’s self-proclaimed “accidental” foray into running led her to leave the tech company and turn her hobby into something so much more.



Back in Boston, Alicia was tired of constantly making excuses not to run: “you either get rid of your excuses, or they define you,” she said. She had seen people running and thought, “Why not try that?” Shortly after getting started, Alicia caught the “Boston running bug” and decided to sign up for a half marathon, an incredibly daunting task for her at the time.

She started RUNspiration, a blog and Facebook community, to inspire herself. Alicia found that sharing inspirational words – as well as just what she was up to – with other people deepened her motivation. By the time her half marathon came around, she had six thousand likes on Facebook, and she decided to post updates as she went along. The community has since grown to over 96,000 likes and has become a “passionate, supportive and positive community” for women who are interested in running. One of the most successful features of RUNspiration is the section where community members can share their own stories. Alicia said sharing your story can bring self-empowerment and acceptance – and when other users support and encourage each other, the inspiration increases tenfold.

As running – and RUNspiration – became a bigger part of her life, Alicia had a moment of clarity. She realized so many women make themselves sick off of all the different running-nutrition products on the market today, and she wanted to curate a healthy alternative – single purchase boxes (inspired by subscription boxes like Glossybox) made by women who run, for women who run. It was something she’d wanted to do for a long time, but after her moment of clarity she decided to actually take the plunge and start doing it – after all, she said, “ideas are meaningless without action.” She decided to call the company RIZE, and the first product, the rizebox.

Even though Alicia is a non-technical founder, her previous successes led her to decide to apply agile principles to the project. Alicia needed to validate her assumptions, measure the project’s possibilities, and evaluate the viability of continuing the project.

Alicia used the RUNspiration page as a laboratory, asking community members market research questions about things like the importance of gluten-free or organic options in their nutrition choices. Perhaps not surprisingly, she found most respondents weren’t concerned with whether something was particularly healthy: “We’ve all seen those people who finish a race and then go eat three bagels,” she said. The feedback from the RUNspiration community told Alicia that the thing runners cared about the most when it came to nutrition was energy.

Even though she’s never been a designer, Alicia has always been passionate about branding and positioning. Since her original concept of a “Boulder-style” nutrition model wasn’t playing out among the members of her existing community, she needed to reposition the brand. Taking the early steps to test the validity of her assumptions regarding the brand’s position allowed Alicia to easily pivot and adapt the brand to a new position. Rizebox became “Running essentials to keep you energized, prepared, and inspired to run.”

Rizebox Photo

Alicia also had to measure possibilities and see if she could monetize the project. Before she even had products secured from brands, Alicia created a rizebox website with a wait list sign-up. Over 300 people joined the wait list, making it clear to her there were people who would pay for the product. Then, she needed to convince brands to donate products to be included in the box. She demonstrated user interest by holding a virtual 5k and asked for donations for a charity raffle to benefit Girls on the Run. Around 100 people participated in the virtual 5k, and Alicia was able to secure product from brands to be included in raffle prizes. She also used the RUNspiration website as an advertising platform, creating sponsorship packages for brands that participated in rizebox. Alicia was able to secure partnerships with a number of brands and now includes around 10 products in every rizebox – other “box” companies usually only include four or five products.

After validating her assumptions (as well as adapting her strategy when her assumptions were wrong) and ensuring the project could make money, Alicia needed to set goals that weren’t attached to a specific outcome. She developed a minimum viable product – using an unbranded USPS flat rate box for shipping – which allowed her to be lean in the first iteration of her project.

Next week, Alicia is headed to the Natural Products Expo West conference to truly put rizebox to the test. She hopes to make new brand partners so she can offer a variety of boxes for customers to choose from. Among her ideas for themed boxes is one exclusively using products made in Colorado: “I’ve never been more invested in a state than I have been in Colorado,” she said.

Alicia has set out to make an impact in the world of women’s running. RIZE’s name is derived from what she hopes the company will bring to its customers – that they’ll be ready, inspired, energized and extraordinary. “I want to encourage women for what they can do, instead of focusing on what they aren’t able to achieve,” she said.

Alicia has already affected and inspired thousands of women through RUNspiration, and with rizebox – which officially launched today – she is poised to play an even bigger role in women’s lives. We were all truly inspired by her story, and we look forward to seeing where rizebox goes from here.

InspiringPeople is InspiringApps’ speaker series featuring people we think are, well… inspiring! These informal lunch gatherings allow members of the Boulder community to hear from their peers about their work, hobbies and passions. Interested in speaking or attending? Email to be added to the list!

Team Member Profile: Aaron Gerber, Software Engineer

by Jess on February 21, 2014

Aaron Gerber

Aaron has been a member of the InspiringApps team for six years. He grew up on a farm in Iowa, and he goes back every autumn to help his family with the harvest. Aaron attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota, earning a degree in psychology with a minor in computer science.

During and after his time in college, Aaron worked in desktop support. However, he didn’t feel fulfilled in his work or school: “I was successful in what I did, but I wasn’t satisfied,” He explained. “I was going with the flow – I went to college, because that’s just what you do. I got good grades, not because I was particularly interested in what I was studying, but because that’s just what people do.”

So, Aaron did the only thing that made sense: he joined the Peace Corps. “I was ready for an adventure and really wanted something new,” he said. In his time with the Peace Corps, Aaron spent two years in Niger. He originally went as an agriculture volunteer, but the varied needs of his community and the Peace Corps structure gave him the independence to develop and implement his own projects. Aaron helped his community with things like education, setting up a micro loan system with women, building a grain bank with the men in his community and creating a veterinary clinic. Since coming back to the United States, Aaron has been an active member in the Peace Corps returnee community.

Aaron came to Boulder roughly a year after returning from the Peace Corps. He had spent some time working for InspiringApps remotely, having never met Brad in real life. It was a brave career move, and fortunately he had supportive friends here as well as a handle on what Colorado had to offer. “Growing up, my family would take vacations – usually west from Iowa – as the crops were left to grow in the late summer,” he said. “I’d also come out to Boulder a couple of times to visit friends. After the Peace Corps, I didn’t have a stake anywhere, and I knew Boulder would be a fun place to live, thanks to all the outdoor activities.”

At InspiringApps, Aaron is a software engineer with a focus on backend web development – essentially, he makes stuff work behind the scenes. His favorite thing about being a software engineer is that he gets to solve problems. He said, “I like building things, but I could build things as a carpenter or in a ton of other trades. Software provides a variety of problems that are flexible in nature.”

Since the basic technology required from project-to-project is the same, Aaron said projects can blend from time to time. “But there’s still some variety with projects,” he said. “They can be big or small, have a range of iterations and the people that you work with change.” The variety is enough of a challenge to keep things interesting for Aaron, providing new problems for him to solve. He also appreciates the chances he gets to collaborate. “I really enjoy our team, personally and professionally,” he said. Aaron’s amount of experience, coupled with a trust-based environment helps him thrive here: “I’ve been around long enough to have a handle on our systems, so when a challenge arises I know what to do.”

Aaron loves how Boulder supports his active lifestyle. “My favorite thing about living in Boulder is being able to bike everywhere,” he said. And he truly does bike everywhere – no matter the weather: “Uncomfortable weather makes you pay attention to the world around you. When it’s nice out, you sort of just go with the flow.” Aaron has grown in the local active communities and enjoys making friends while running or cycling in his spare time.

RSVP to InspiringPeople, featuring Alicia Benjamin

by Jess on February 19, 2014

Alicia Benjamin

Our InspiringPeople series continues with Alicia Benjamin of RUNspiration and RIZE. Benjamin will share her story and discuss how her “social media project” RUNspiration became a fitness media company… and how she, as a non-technical founder, used agile principles to launch her business in Boulder. Join us at this brown bag lunch event to learn about fitness, media, startups and more.

Learn more about this event and RSVP on its Eventbrite page. We look forward to seeing you next week!

Team Member Profile: Stacy Griffin, Project Manager

by Jess on January 29, 2014

Stacy Griffin 2

Stacy has been with InspiringApps for almost four years. She grew up in Salina, Kansas, and moved to Colorado six years ago after living all over the country, including Chicago, San Francisco and New York.

To Stacy, project management is about maintaining relationships. “A lot of it is customer relationship management,” she said. “I also do some problem definition and resource planning. The bottom line is making the clients and the development team happy and ensuring everyone has what they need.” In addition to client projects, Stacy enjoys the work she does with our own products, like ePCR for iPad. “Client work is great because we can take their vision and make it a reality, and products are fun because the scope is something we define,” she said.

Stacy enjoys having the chance to play various roles here at InspiringApps. “I like the autonomy everyone’s given and the level of respect we have for each other,” she explained. “It’s a fun environment. InspiringApps is a small company, so we get the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and do different things.”

Stacy spends most of time with her family; she has a son in first grade and a 4-year-old daughter. She also loves going to the mountains and is active outdoors, including hiking, biking, running and skiing. Stacy recently competed in the Frost Giant trail race in Estes Park, where she came in second among women and seventh overall. Boulder is the smallest town she’s lived in aside from Salina, but Stacy appreciates what the city has to offer: “It’s easy to get around, and there are a lot of great shops and restaurants. The people are open minded and have lived a lot of other places, so you get a lot of diversity of thought here. And it’s a great place to raise a family.”

InspiringPeople: staying mindful in the tech community

by Jess on January 20, 2014

InspiringPeople Paul

Last week, we held the latest installment of our InspiringPeople series with Paul Agostinelli of FindMyAudience. Paul told us about how he came to be involved in the tech world, as well as his path to becoming a teacher in Zen Buddhism.

Paul’s experiences allowed him to share with us “Zen and the art of starting up,” how mindfulness techniques can be applied to our lives and our experiences in the tech workplace.

In both our personal and professional lives, we are constantly answering “the call of two bells:” the bell of our responsibilities – whether that’s a phone ringing, the ping of a new email, or kids crying out in the other room – and the bell of our goal of a mindful presence. Paul broke down the differences between the bells’ various callings as such:

Responsibilities Mindful presence
Problem solving
Not Knowing

The first bell (that of our responsibilities) calls us to a problem-solving mindset, and rightfully so; much of tech is based on problem-solving. Solving a problem gives us a definite indication we’re doing the right thing, instead of accepting the discomfort that can come with not knowing what the solution is. But this mindset can go overboard and limit us to thinking exclusively about the solution instead of the problem itself… put simply, we get “fixated on fixing.”

The second bell – mindfulness – calls us to embody our problems. This can mean meditating on a problem, or looking at it as a riddle with multiple parts. Ultimately, in embodying our problems we don’t solve them; we resolve them. This allows us to switch our mindsets from a series of limited problems to a limitless process of being and opens up the possibilities our actions can take. Fixating on the solutions to our problems distorts the execution of those solutions, but putting ourselves in a constant mode of intention allows us to look collectively at our problems as an experience to embody.

In the startup world, we often find ourselves “wearing many hats” – working in a small company means people have multiple roles, which can change day-to-day. Paul said it’s okay to have multiple roles, but when you focus so much on figuring out which hat you’re wearing at any given moment, it can take up a lot of your time. Instead, it’s better just to do what needs to be done – thinking this way gives you the opportunity to be free from the limitations of having a defined role.


Paul questioned the adage of “knowledge is power” and the first bell’s call to information. The bell of mindfulness calls us to the opposite, not knowing. Without the preconceptions afforded by knowledge, Paul said, you’re more in touch with what’s going on. Our biases can blind us to the reality of a situation – whether it’s what we think the client wants, the ways teams should work together, or even our own skills and abilities. Being okay with not knowing allows us to see the nuances, examine the grey areas that put our accepted positions into question, and to truly question the assumptions we’ve made – whether we made them consciously or unconsciously.

Even though they seem to be disparate concepts, Paul used mindfulness to draw a connection between discipline and freedom. The discipline of training oneself to become mindful allows for freedom in action. He reminded us that a violinist is only free to let the music flow through him if he has the discipline to practice every day. Fixating on the dimensions of discipline, however, can be dangerous; it’s important to have a sense of where you’re headed, but fixating on it will drive you crazy. Paul pointed out there’s a difference between discipline and control.

When working on tech projects, we often find ourselves facing the time – cost – quality/scope equation, where we try to make sure all three elements play well with each other. Paul asked, “Is this equation realistic? What if it isn’t?” Often, these elements aren’t fixed – there are nuances, grey areas, and a lot of give-and-take involved in completing a project while staying within the parameters of the equation. Fear of failure is a common motivator in these situations, but discipline is what really gets the job done.

The call of the two bells can sometimes be overwhelming, but mindfulness can help with answering the bell of your responsibilities. So when your phone is ringing, or your email pings… take a deep breath and make yourself present before answering.


After Paul’s presentation we had a great group discussion that included some practical tips for applying mindfulness in everyday life:
• Having a bell or other physical reminders can bring you back to your awareness. Whenever you’re aware you’re distracted, you have a decision to make: either you can become mindful or you can continue to live in distraction. These reminders can help you make that choice.
• To promote mindfulness in a work or family environment, Paul suggested offering meditation in a space with a shared intention, sitting in silence. Even 10 minutes of meditation can help a group become more mindful. He also warned against fixating on roles in group dynamics and encouraged us to look beyond each other’s titles.
• Sometimes our to-do lists are overwhelming. Paul suggested we deal with what’s calling to us at the moment – which might primarily be the anxiety over what we have to do – and not to kick ourselves if our list changes.

InspiringPeople is InspiringApps’ speaker series featuring people we think are, well… inspiring! These informal lunch gatherings allow members of the Boulder community to hear from their peers about their work, hobbies and passions. Interested in speaking or attending? Email to be added to the list!