When startups reach the key milestone of securing Angel or Venture Capital, their new partners are looking both for a series of deliverables but also a great return on their investment. One of the many questions they ask during the pitch process is generally ‘how long before you’ll need another infusion of capital?’ They love it when the response is … “a long time.”

Once that infusion is safely secured, how do smart entrepreneurs make the most of it? STRETCH. Find the best value for the money on every project. And that includes custom developed software.

In the early 2000s, the key to this savings was to off-shore development. Fast and inexpensive services sprung up across Asia and Eastern Europe, putting hundreds of thousands of software engineers to work… outside of the US.

“Americans are just too expensive,” was the cry.



What we learned, however, was that it’s not really American developers that are so untouchably expensive, but the US major cities that pushed up the prices. The developers in rural areas and small cities are actually quite affordable. Plus – they speak your language, understand your culture, and live somewhat near your time zone (if not in your time zone).

The Whole

Entrepreneurs often judge the viability of outsourcing based on hourly rates they are paying. This can be misleading. When you pay for the least expensive person to do the job, you seldom get the best. Then you wind up paying more for senior team members to work through the problems created by the less-experienced.

Here are three other ways that the whole can end up bigger than the sum of its parts (ie: it’s more expensive to offshore than it looks):

The Where

Where you are does make a difference. If your developers are in major cities with high cost of living, you’ll simply spend more than you will when the teams live in places where the cost of living is lower. It’s just logical. And it’s been proven out time and time again on projects we’ve delivered.

But it’s not just the cost of the developer. It’s the cost of your time. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of our US-based developers, and keep from going:

  • Time Zone Zany: I’ve never met an entrepreneur that wasn’t exhausted. Burning candles at both ends, they manage their business, their product, their employees… they have a hard time managing developers who live 12 hours away.
  • Partner Panicked: I’ve also never met an investor who preferred that the code she just invested in be developed or stored over seas in a distant land, subject to different law and different court system.

    Just because you need to stretch your investment dollars, don’t cheap out on software development. Be responsible. Keep development in the US by working with rural and small city teams. Consider the whole of your investment, and give us a call.

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    Trade shows, County fairs. Film festivals. Street fairs. Flea Markets. Job fairs.

    Events like these are a compendium of thousands of details. Vendors, payments, marketing, invoicing… keeping it all organized and easily accessible can be exhausting.

    PS Solutions to the rescue! We’ve recently released our own vendor management system, and we call it Chute – as in, parachute – because it eases your entry into the event. We were working with a Pennsylvania County Fair which faced problems when volunteers left the organization. The result was increased difficulty tracking and managing billings. The team at PS Solutions saw an opportunity to help event managers across the country easily organize, communicate about and manage their interaction with vendors.

    Here are just a few things we took into consideration when creating our event management system for festivals:

    A Bird’s Eye View: Event maps

    Chute Festival provides you with a computerized interactive version of your festival or fairground layout. It’s easier than ever to determine which spaces are still are rented and quickly pinpoint where each vendor will reside. Of course, it’s also easier to show which spaces are open and left to be sold, allowing you to quickly close the deal. Vendor reservations are laid out in color, making it a snap to identify who’s where.

    Better Communication: Email Systems

    Keep up communications with potential, current and even former vendors through our simple email management system that ties directly to the data in your system.

    Get Paid Faster: Cloud-based Invoicing

    Let Chute Festival take the stress out of billing. Generate customized Invoices on the fly to track and manage payments and accounts. With a few clicks, you can generate all invoices for a given event. And all the information is tied back to each vendor, giving you greater insight into where you stand financially.

    And if you use a different accounting – or event database — package, that’s no problem either. Chute provides easy export into PDF, .xls and CSV. With only a few clicks you can export an entire section of data in a pain-free process.

    Always On: Cloud-based Software

    There are so many advantages to having a cloud-hosted software solution. For example:

    No Limits: Host Scores of Events

    We don’t believe in capping your creativity or your success. So, go ahead. Host two events this year. Or three. Even if you want to expand your mapping footprint or layout, the costs for new maps are available at extremely low rates, allowing you to expand or reorganize without worrying about excessive costs. Whether you host one event or a dozen there are no caps when you use Chute Festival to manage your projects.

    Feel confident. As you grow, Chute Festival will grow with you.

    Want to learn more about how Chute can help you? Connect with us at info@chutefestival.com

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    When you own a software development company and you lead a foundation that encourages young
    girls to learn to code, you’re often asked about how we can get enough coders among our population. In
    fact, it seems that at most dinner parties we attend there’s at least one parent in the room that asks
    about how to help teach their children to develop technology skills. One team at Carnegie Mellon
    University (CMU) must have been asked the same thing, as they’ve come up with one option. They call it
    Alice.




    According to their website, Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills,
    fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming. It’s
    used by teachers but can easily be led by parents-as-teachers as well. Most start at middle school level,
    although it has regularly been used with younger children – and even those at university level.




    Designed to provide the basics coding and software design, it includes game development but is also
    used to expand understanding of both logical and creative thinking. Studies done at CMU found proven
    benefits in engaging and retaining diverse and under-served groups in computer science education.




    In and of itself, Alice is a fabulous teaching environment. The Alice Project as a whole, however, also
    provides supplemental tools and materials for teaching using Alice across a spectrum of ages and
    subject matter. They have established an active community, wherein teachers of all sorts interact to
    provide ideas and applications and talk through concerns or questions.


    Alice starts with a simple drag-and-drop approach, to make the concept of programming less daunting.
    Students (and teachers!) progress quickly to develop stories through animation and sound, and
    ultimately even build games.

    Why is it called Alice?

    If you’ve ever had to name a product or a company in the past 20 years, you know how difficult it is to
    settle on something that’s not already taken. While many girls could be Alice Smith, there’s only one
    alicesmith.com, and acquiring the registered trademark is a complex process.
    As the creative folk at CMU tried to express this program, they thought, of course, of storytelling. Who
    better to embody the idea of Alice in Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Carroll, a
    mathematician, novelist, and photographer, could do intellectually difficult things but also realized the
    most powerful thing was to be able to communicate clearly and in an entertaining way. This inspired
    CMU’s efforts to make something complex (programming) easy and fun.
    As they describe on their site, the name is also a very practical choice. The artwork associated with the
    Alice books is now in the public domain, its copyright having lapsed. Also, the name “Alice” has several
    other advantages: easy to spell and pronounce, it shows up at the top of alphabetized lists. Great
    marketing forethought!



    What does it cost?

    It’s so important to offer programming as a key still today that CMU has found a way to make this
    project a gift. In other words, it may cost you in time and energy, but there is no financial outlay. It’s
    free.

    So, no matter the age of your children, go take a look at Alice. There may be a great storyteller inside
    your child’s mind, once they have the tools. You’ll find a link to it on our Foundation website, under
    Classroom Materials.



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    Cucalorus, PS Solutions reached 90 students, mostly girls, ages 8-14.

    The Cucalorus Festival brought a digital literacy program to local elementary and middle school students with a mobile Kids Coding Workshop. Students at Snipes Academy, Wrightsboro Elementary and GLOW Academy were given an opportunity to write simple codes that programmed and controlled super-small computers, or Arduinos. The program was sponsored by the PS Solutions Foundation.

    “Coding is the language of computers,” explained Rob Hill, a filmmaker and Cucalorus outreach educator, as he led students at Snipes to engage in the programming exercise. “A computer program, or code, is a set of instructions that a computer follows to complete a task.” Leading the students through the coding program, Hill provided guidance to connect a circuit board to the computer and then program the computer to tell the circuit board to light up.

    The workshops were scheduled over three days reaching some 90 students, mostly girls, ages 8 to 14. According to Wayne Hippo, managing partner of PS Solutions, “the girls tend to flourish and engage more readily without boys in the room. We want girls to see that computer science is a fun and gratifying field of study, and workshops such as these give them a good hands-on opportunity to learn and grow confident with new skills.”

    Indeed, the girls showed immediate delight when lights flashed as a result of their coding exercise.

     

    There is urgency to drawing more girls into fields of computer science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. A tech talent vacuum means many of the jobs go unfilled, so broadening the pool of candidates is critical to U.S. competitiveness.

    “Ultimately, we hope by providing young girls with experiences such as the Cucalorus Kids Coding Workshop, they might later consider studying for a career in computer science or programming,” Hippo said. “You never know when you are opening a door to possibilities that might otherwise never have been considered,” he says.

    PS Solutions’ Foundation is a nonprofit committed to developing young girls’ interest in software engineering.

    The coding workshops were part of Cucalorus Connect, an interactive convergence of technology entrepreneurship and creative arts. Expanding the festival’s media literacy programming, the digital literacy outreach works to draw people into the world of digital sciences, arts and communications.

    PS Solutions is a software development firm that recently expanded to Wilmington from its Pennsylvania headquarters.

    Team hosts computer workshops in schools


    For years your team has developed hypertext-based solutions. For both internal and client applications, you guys can rock you some PHP.

    But the challenge has changed – and now you need to develop for Windows. You look into a framework that will support a series of different languages – you need access to a huge library that can share with multiple applications.

    You need .NET.

    But you don’t know .NET, and neither does your team. You can learn it… it’s not rocket science and your team knows C# and VB… besides, they’re really keen. But, you don’t have an extra month.

    You need a .NET expert. Someone that will know how to get the Framework right, how to apply the appropriate tools.
    What you don’t need? To go through a hiring process. To sign someone on who has the skills you need for a short-term project. To get the project clearly laid out.

    One of the great things about having PS Solutions as a partner is that we’re ready to help. We have a hefty team that’s facile with:

    • Java

    • .NET

    • Python

    • C#

    • Android

    … and a whole lot more.

    We’ve worked in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, retail, transit, HR… you name the industry, we’ve likely coded for it.

    So don’t stress. Just call PS.


  • At PS Solutions, we believe that software and technology are important in our day-to-day lives. Our goal is to ensure that the computer code running everything from banking to healthcare to national security is written, protected and stored right here in the USA. We hire top-flight software developers who creatively solve problems and we put them to work here in the USA. Let’s tackle your software projects together, using American creativity and “know how”.

    FIND OUT MORE


    Altoona Development Center
    1601 Eleventh Avenue
    Ste. 201
    Altoona, PA, 16601
    814-942-7888

    Pittsburgh Development Center
    1500 Ardmore Boulevard
    Ste. 500
    Pittsburgh, PA, 15221
    412-731-2123

    Wilmington Development Center
    2109 Capital Drive
    Ste. 170
    Wilmington, NC, 28405
    910-399-6820