Creative Artwork provided by Finley MacDonald-Bora bonepencil.com

This year, the year of years, 2020, really by pure coincidence, saw a growing complexity of projects at Eight Bit Studios. We’ve been very fortunate to work with some great clients over the span of many years. Some of their products have well thought-out multi-year development and roll-out plans. I love a well thought-out, multi-year plan. It shows future thinking, investment in a long term idea, and these are often riddled with complex issues to solve. It’s my professional jam.

I’ve been building software for over 30 years as of this writing. I’ve started 8 companies and advised countless others…


Empathy Driven Development: you can’t build great products without empathy

When it comes down to it, you can’t create great products without empathy. Empathy must be at the heart of everything you do. Design aligns the vision with the company identity using brand consistancy. User Experience ensures the product behaves within the users’ expectations. Development putting all the pieces together, using all the ingredients, honoring the spirit of the product with a watchful eye toward usability.

A lot of design and UX isn’t fully realized until the software developers pull everything together and view it on a mobile device or in a web browser. …


On episode 2 season 5 of Bytes Over Bagels Mary Brown and I sat down with Rod Levy the founder and CEO of the indomitable coding bootcamp for our military veterans, Code Platoon.

As a bootcamp grad himself, Rob was inspired when he learned — via his 13 year old son — about the Call of Duty Endowment. Rod found his calling: he poured his energy into combining something he was passionate about — helping Vets — with the familiar bootcamp model. In my experience running my own coding bootcamp, military students always displayed the a lot of grit; even…


For those who know me, I’ve been a pretty cantankerous and vocal critic of AR/VR. As a builder, I get excited when creative people blend existing technologies into something I’ve never thought of before. I think the big plays for XR integration are in the manufacturing, education, and corporate training spaces. The latest industry scuttle vindicates this conjecture. Boeing and Lockheed Martin utilize AR and VR for pilot training and real-time time feedback during plane assembly. Ford Motor Company and Bentley Motors use virtual reality labs, using Microsoft’s HoloLens for design. …


Photo by Sean Patrick Murphy on Unsplash

What is a mobile strategy?

User-centric mobile computing truly hit its stride when the iPhone was released in 2007. Prior mobile technology had been limited to rudimentary communication and stripped-down, crippled web content. A mobile presence was cumbersome — as it required drastically different content considerations — and often not worthwhile.

Yet the breakthrough of the iPhone created a whole new opportunity, and expectation, for smartphone platforms to have robust user-centric experiences backed by the processing power rivaling desktop and laptop computers. Those of us in the mobile app development field are still trying to wrap our heads around the…


For our first 7 years, we ran Eight Bit Studios as an hourly consultancy. We had no full-time employees, everyone was 1099 and billed hourly. In a sense, everyone was responsible for their own time, if they didn’t work, they didn’t get paid. This made bookkeeping easy and utilization was self-metered. It was convenient and made sense but this system obviously lacks predictability and severely limited our ability to scale and provide benefits to our people.

When we made the switch to bring everyone over to a full-time, salaried, W2 employee, we were very conscious of the culture we created…


In 2002, as a newly single parent of a 4 years old, I decided not to install cable-tv when I moved into my new apartment. My soon to be ex-wife at the time had reasoned that having the television on as background noise cut into a growing toddler’s ability to develop an inner voice. Research was showing this voice to be necessary for imaginative play and essential for executive functions as an adult. …


This year, we hired a People and Operations (PoPs) Manager (we think we’re cute). Our PoPs Manager oversees all things HR and most things Operational. It’s a great role and we’re learning so much, having a dedicated professional paying attention and being pro-active. Armed with Google surveys, she set out to take the temperature of the people on a wide range of topics: culture, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and hiring standards. These are all topics I hope to explore but for now I would like to talk about how we changed our hiring processes in 2018.

65% of the Eight Bit Studios Technology Team

My interviewing techniques have served…


Once again the national conversation is drifting toward regulations around restricting the hiring of offshore talent. I used to be all for this: limit a company's ability to hire offshore engineering talent and force those companies to hire locally. After nearly three decades as a software developer and many years as an entrepreneur, I now understand this is a nuanced topic and my initial thinking was all wrong and it started with Brad Keywell.

Kiwi Internet Group, RIP, was my first company. We started Kiwi during the U.S. economic recession of 2000, when tech outsourcing started to gain significant traction…


Unintentional bias is in the news a lot lately. Our unconscious need to seek out familiar patterns leaks into our decision making process, soiling our ability to make balanced choices. It comes as no surprise that hiring biases are rampant in the tech world.

Years ago, I read a great article by Mark Suster, author of the blog Both Sides of the Table wherein he advocates talking to pretty much anyone who reaches out. His reasoning: You never know where your next great hire is going to come from. I love talking to people and I will usually take a…

Don Bora

Don is the co-founder of Eight Bit Studios. A rowdy bunch of pixel slingers located in River North, Chicago.

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