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Great week for office hours

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

This week, I’ve gone to two of the events under the new “office hours” movement: at Alphabet Arm Design and Fresh Tilled Soil. Both were free, had founder-level executives sitting down with visitors, and generous with their time.

Alphabet Arm is a Boston graphic design firm that made logos for popular Boston startups like BzzAgent and DailyGrommet among many others. I met with Aaron Belya, the firm’s owner who educated me on the process of working with a designer, the pros and cons of freelancers vs. agencies. vs crowdsourcing, and provided a couple of useful contacts to graphic designers he knows. One particularly interesting point he brought up was on crowdsourcing: the main disadvantage of it, in his opinion, is not that it allegedly devalues work of designers as some have stated, but that most designers who work though mass internet channels work from templates, which limits the uniqueness of your logo. Alphabet Arm’s official time allotments for office hours were 10 mins per person, but they were open to continuing the conversation beyond that as necessary.

Today morning, Fresh Tilled Soil, a Waltham web dev/SEO company with a very impressive roster of clients, also opened its doors for office hours. I met with CEO Richard Banfield and Biz Dev manager Matt Boynton. We spoke about the earliest-stage SEO efforts a startup can take, and the consensus was inbound link-building, mainly through interaction with bloggers and basic html optimization such as matching up the page title with the keywords of every particular page on your site. Having a lot of static content is of course a key to being indexed well, which is going to be a challenge for us at WaySavvy since our application is written mostly Flex (Google’s indexing of Flash files is just not as deep at this point). A cool idea Richard sounded was to build an entire website on the WordPress¬† platform – and take advantage of its automatic SEO benefits.

All in all, big thanks to both companies, and for those of you looking to get in on the office hours before the end of the year – Scott Kirsner will be holding his Coffee For No Reason hangout at Cosi in Kendall Sqaure on Dec 23.

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