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  • April 19, 2021

Happy Cogference: Spring 2021

Decorative Illustration Videoconferencing, Zoom calls, virtual events—whichever you prefer, they have been a major part of the new norm that offices, trade shows and conferences have all had to adapt to in 2020. The same was true for Happy Cog’s annual internal conference this year.

Shifted to a virtual environment, “Happy Cogference,” too, adapted. Our two-day gathering was presented in a new format, with new ways for our employees to connect and learn from each other. In the past, we've invited the whole team to New York twice a year to gather together and participate in shared experiences through learning sessions, presentations and social activities. While we all can’t be together physically, we still wanted to set aside time to bring our entire team together again.

What remained the same? Inspiring new content, the exchanging of ideas, and social activities for all of our staff to partake in. Read a recap of the Happy Cogference: Spring 2021 below.

Day 1: March 25th

Happy Cog’s 11 sessions covered much ground, and offered a complete picture of how every member of Happy Cog’s team can work together. The Cogference kicked off on Thursday, March 25th with “The Need for Speed: Site Performance + Web Vitals'' featuring Senior SEO Manager Faith Zaki and Developer Oka Tai-Lee. The two discussed what the impacts of a slow website are beyond just basic poor user experience and what you can do about it.

Next, Jason Studstill, Web Analytics Engineer, presented “Google Analytics 4 Life” where he shared the latest iteration of Google Analytics 4, stressed why it's amazing and why everyone should care. “In the next year or so, GA4 is going to be the platform, so you really need to start building your tracking for it,” he said.

Our third speakers of the day were EVP, Product Greg Schirripa and Technical Product Manager Keith Mancuso who presented “Product a Bridge to Everything.” The team got to learn how Product is defined here at Happy Cog, and how it helps our clients define and achieve success. Greg and Keith also discussed strategies and tactics the team employs, as well as how and why we structure engagements.

Following a brief intermission, Kyle Cotter, Author Experience Lead, and Tim Kelty, Developer, tag teamed to present “Tailwind as a Design Language,” which explored how Tailwind can be used as a common language between the design and development teams. “Tailwind is radically different in that it provides you with more tools to build fully customized, bespoke websites,” Kyle said. “Leveraging Tailwind and its design system makes collaborating with design and development a much more fluid process.”

Next up, the team listened in on “Early Project Planning: Process & TL/PM Partnership” with Project Manager Allison Hurley and Senior Application Developer Rob Sanchez. The duo revealed how they’ve successfully partnered for a launch, discussed the importance of relational intelligence, and talked about different communication styles in the workplace. “Making sure the line of communication between a PM and a technical lead is critical to project success, as it sets the stage for stronger project engagement while building trust,” Allison said.

Happy Cog Co-Founder and President, Development and Technology Matt Weinberg closed out the day with a Happy Cogference tradition: “Security Best Practices.” Matt walked us through how to stay safe online, as well as how to protect ours and our clients' data at all times. We then wound down the day with a virtual happy hour where we split up our team into breakout rooms for some fun activities led by our social hosts.

Day 2: March 26th

Kicking off the morning was Partner and President, Business Development Stuart Henry with “What Drives Happy Cog Success?” Stu walked us through our philosophy for achieving success at the agency and what drives it. “Stellar communication goes a long way in impressing clients and avoiding pitfalls,” he said. (I can’t reveal any more secrets.)

Following his presentation was “A People First Approach to Accessibility.” Dana Pavlichko, Senior Designer, and Greg Jenkins, Developer, provided a practical talk designed to equip Happy Cog team members across disciplines to proactively ask good Accessibility (a11y) questions, chase answers, and share solutions to common problems. They explained that while we may be experts in our own personal experiences, “we can’t speak for everyone without including everyone.”

Up next was Happy Cog Co-Founder and President, Digital Marketing Lee Goldberg who presented a “Digital Marketing Overview.” Lee gave us a rundown of the many digital marketing services that Happy Cog provides—from SEO and paid media to content marketing and everything in between. Elise Connors, Director of Client Marketing Services, followed that up with a talk about “Analytics & Testing 101.” Elise shared her expertise and talked about how Happy Cog utilizes analytics and testing to achieve success for client campaigns.

Last (but certainly not least), Kerri Connolly, Senior Digital Project Manager, presented a “Pod Update” where the team got a general understanding of Happy Cog’s Pod process, how it’s currently going, and what our Pod plans are moving forward. To note, last year Happy Cog piloted a new “Pod” program where a group of developers, designers and project managers distinctly work together across multiple projects rather than starting the team from scratch every time. Then, it was lunch on Happy Cog! We ended the Cogference with another round of team breakout rooms led by our social hosts.

Happy Cogference: Spring 2021 was one for the books. Our hope is to continue to build connections between remote team members from across the company, which will enable us to all work better together and have fun doing it. A big shout out to all of the presenters and hosts for making Happy Cogference a truly memorable experience—even when close physical proximity was not possible. We’re feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to take on the remainder of 2021.

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