Thatsawrap 600x600

That's a wrap.

business video production

With 7 great years of producing video under our belts, I have decided to shutdown the Video Production side of our company. BiteSite will now focus solely on Custom Software.

I am extremely proud of the team we built, the work that we’ve done, and the efforts we made to make a great video production company.

On behalf of the BiteSite Video Production team, I want to thank everybody who supported us - our partners, our volunteers, our interns, our clients, and everybody who helped make this possible.

I also want to take this time to personally thank my team. Brendan McNeill helped us produce and land some of our biggest contracts. Jason Connell helped us design, sell, and execute a great new offering. And last but not least, Tim Clark, the most senior employee at BiteSite, really helped me build the video production business to where it is today. I really couldn’t have done this without you guys.

As mentioned, BiteSite will continue on, focused solely on Custom Software - building websites, web applications, and mobile applications.

Thank you.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite

Why we didn't post this week...

marketing business video production

It had to happen...check out the video above.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite
Timclark

Thank you, Tim Clark

film company business

When I started BiteSite, I do what I always do when I start any project: I start to have grand visions of what the future would look like. I pictured a huge office with awesome furniture and gear, lots of employees, filming on big locations, and coding some of the best apps in the world. Now while some aspects of that have come true, we’re still a small startup with lots to achieve.

While we have hit some milestones we set out to hit, we still haven’t achieved others. For example, I pictured by now that we’d be in our own office or that we’d be shooting on RED cameras. But as time goes by, I start to realize more and more what’s truly important and I’ve learnt that the most important milestone we’ve hit is building the team and the most important resource we have is our people. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s completely true.

I’ve come to the realization that if we had to cut back on our rent or our film gear or the computers we use or the services we pay for - we’d figure it out. But if I lost my team and it was back to just me - that would be a lot harder to swallow. That’s why I feel it very important to talk about the amazing people that make up BiteSite.

Usually articles, blog posts, and news items center around people starting at BiteSite or moving on to their next opportunity which causes a lack of celebration for the people who do an amazing job day in and day out and stay with the team. So with that, today, I’d like to celebrate Tim Clark.

The other day I opened up LinkedIn on my phone and this came up

3 years at BiteSite makes Tim one of our longest-running employees and is definitely the most senior employee that’s still with us today.

Tim started out when I needed a motion graphic designer. I realized that my motion graphic skills were quite limited and I needed someone who could pull off some of the requests we were getting. So I put out a job posting for a motion graphic designer who could also be an all around filmmaker. I had a couple of great applicants, but Tim last minute submitted a video application. I was already impressed the effort he put in, but then was even happier to see he had the skills we needed. Today, Tim is a all around filmmaker handling everything from location scouts, to shooting, to lighting, to sound mixing, to editing, to colour grading, to motion graphics, and more.

I hired Tim based on our initial interviews because of his attitude and skill set. But it’s what I have observed over the past 3 years that really makes Tim stand out above the rest.

In corporate video, or any video work for that matter, your work can be incredibly unpredictable. You may show up to a shoot that you planned for 3 hours and end up staying for 6. You may show up to a shoot at 9am and not leave until midnight. Sometimes clients change their minds on the day, sometimes logistics change, and sometimes you just want to get that shot that’ll blow everyone away. Not to mention the physicality involved in filming. Whatever the reason, it can be a very tough job. While we pride ourselves on process and mitigating these issues, you just can’t control everything.

When I was a one-man team, I could always take care of myself, but when working with others - you never know how it’s going to go. But Tim does his job every day without a single complaint. He understands what it takes to make great productions, he understands the unpredictability of it all, and he understands what it means to go above and beyond for the customer to give them something they’ll truly be happy with. He comes in with a positive attitude, never complains, and always gives it his best.

This may sound like a lot of employees or co-workers you know, but I tell you - when you’re factoring in the physicality of some of these long shoot days - it’s not always easy to keep that attitude up. But Tim does it every day he comes to work.

There are a lot of other amazing things I can say about Tim. His technical skills, when it comes to shooting, editing, grading, animating, and more, are incredible and his willingness to constantly improve always impresses me. But it is his attitude in the face of a tough job that has really made him stand out and what I appreciate most. He is a team player in every sense of the word and delivers truly amazing work.

Since hiring Tim, our video productions have been on a steady incline in scale and quality. When I look at the productions we do today compared to when we started - I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. None of that would be possible without the skills, effort, and above all else, attitude that Tim Clark brings to BIteSite. Thank you, Tim, for being a part of our team.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite
Whatiscustomsoftware

What exactly is custom software?

software business

The world is full of software. Just take a moment to look around you and you’re probably surrounded with many examples. Whether it be the browser that you’re reading this in, the software you use at work, or the software that’s running inside your car, software is everywhere these days.

Most of the time, we are interacting with software built for the masses. We’ve got Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook for our social lives, we have Word, Excel, and Acrobat at work, and we have so much software behind so many devices we use everyday.

While these applications are incredible and improve our lives in so many ways, there are times where they aren’t quite what we’re looking for. Especially when it comes to work or running a business, sometimes the applications out there fall short in one way or another.

So what do you do?

You really have three options

  • Put up with existing software and live with its shortcomings
  • Wait for updates or a brand new application to come out that hits the mark
  • Build something yourself

Now when it comes to building it yourself, most of us don’t have the luxury of knowing how to program a piece of software.

That’s where custom software comes in.

Custom software is software that is built specifically for you, your business, your needs, and your wants rather than software that is built for the masses. It’s like the difference between getting a custom, bespoke suit made for you versus buying one off the shelf.

Typically, because a business doesn’t have the technical knowhow to build custom software themselves, they hire another company to build them a piece of software to solve a problem they are having. The company they hire is a custom software shop and the software they build is custom software.

The many forms of custom software

Custom software comes in many forms and is sold by many different types of companies. When it comes to the software itself, custom software shops analyze the problem and decide what’s the best technology to use. They may recommend a web application, a mobile application, a desktop application - or even recommend that custom software is not the way to go at all. While custom software is typically built from scratch, sometimes custom software solutions involve integrating existing applications.

If this is getting a little confusing, let’s look at an example of a good candidate for custom software. Let’s say you run a plumbing company. Today, you get appointments by having people call a phone number. The appointment leads to a service call that you fill out on paper and give to one of your plumbers. They complete the job, fill out the paper service call, come back to the office and file the final report.

You might think to yourself that it would be great if a lot of this was digitized and automated. You go to a custom software company, educate them about your workflow and they build you a custom mobile application for your plumbers who can receive service orders on their phones, fill out the reports on their phone, and have the data automatically sync to a back-end office application that you can view. They may even build you a web application that allows your customers to book online. That would be a great candidate for custom software.

Who sells custom software

When it comes to the companies that offer custom software services - there are a whole bunch and they call themselves all sorts of names. To make things more complicated, sometimes companies that are focused on other offerings may offer custom software solutions as a side service. For example, even though Marketing agencies are focused on marketing activities, they may still offer custom software services since that may play into their strategy. Below is a small list of types of companies that may offer custom software services:

  • Custom Software Shop
  • Custom Software Services Company
  • Software Firm
  • Software Consulting Agency
  • Software Consultant
  • Software Freelancer
  • Digital Agency
  • Marketing Agency
  • Web Design and Development Shop
  • Mobile Development Shop
  • Software Solution Firm

All these types of companies and more offer custom software.

When it comes to the service of custom software, typically companies do a lot. Among other things, they will analyze your problem, make recommendations, strategize with you, implement a robust development process, design the UX and UI, implement the code, and deliver the final product. In most cases, they will also maintain the software. By the end, if you’ve dealt with a good custom software shop, you’ll have a good sense of what it’s like to run your own software company.

Some great companies local to Ottawa that do custom software include Industrial, Netfore and BitHeads (Not to mention BiteSite :)). Outside of Ottawa, there are amazing companies like Thoughtbot and TWG.

So what?

Now that you know what custom software is - what is the big deal? We’ll be writing more and more articles on this subject, but custom software is all about solving a problem. By solving that problem, your company may get the edge on a competitor, your company may run more smoothly and efficiently, or your company just may experience more joy at work. Whatever it may be, it’s all about identifying problems that can be solved with software.

So are you a business owner? Spend 10 minutes thinking about your business and the challenges you face. Ask yourself could something be done better? Could you picture yourself using software to solve it?

If so, custom software might be the answer.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite
Ryanoconnor

Our first hire is moving on

company business

When I started BiteSite, I was really excited to see what I could do with the company. As a business owner, I found myself constantly looking for milestones that led me closer to running a 'real' business. I remember when I registered the business name, I remember when my friend got me a Freshbooks (http://www.freshbooks.com) trial for my birthday, and I remember purchasing the bitesite.ca domain. Each step along the way - I felt more legit.

But the ultimate was when I made my first hire.

Building the team was always a huge importance to me and still is. Even though it went against business sense, I was adamant about hiring an employee rather than a contractor. I wanted the sense that this person was really part of BiteSite and would help shape the company. That first hire was Ryan O'Connor.

I met Ryan at the University of Ottawa when I was teaching a Ruby on Rails course there. The first thing that struck me about Ryan was the way he helped others. Although becoming rarer these days, programmers can sometimes develop an ego and Ryan was the complete opposite. He clearly understood things better than others but never let that get in the way of helping someone out.

We were lucky to have Ryan say yes to working at BiteSite. He was taking a chance as the first employee of a new startup. But he did join us in 2015 and has been killing it ever since.

Ryan has brought so much to BiteSite. He brought strong development practices from automated tests to up-to-date frameworks, he helped create a welcoming mentoring atmosphere to new employees, he embraced our 20% Free Time Fridays and developed a lot of amazing stuff. On www.internationalsafety.com alone, he brought some stand-out features like e-Commerce, the Activity Feed, and real-time Task updates. He has become an incredibly strong developer in Ruby on Rails and React - but overall just an outstanding engineer, employee, and person.

The biggest thing an employer can ask for of his/her employees is trust - trust that they'll do the right thing, trust that they'll express themselves, trust that they'll do their best - and with Ryan, we had that in spades.

Today is Ryan's last day at BiteSite and it was amazing to have the chance to work alongside such a great individual. He starts his next adventure at one of our former clients, Splice (http://www.splice.co). I know he'll do amazing things there and wherever he ends up in life.

Thank you, Ryan, for all that you've done in helping me realize my dreams.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite