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People often come to F.E.M usually when they have exhausted other options and are frustrated with large agencies and wasted overhead. If you have a new project all the better, you can save yourself the frustration by choosing us first.

Find out why.

Reach out and get an assessment now to see the most efficient approach to take on your project. We specialize in, iOS, Android, Drupal, WordPress, REST APIs, HTML5 and the latest Javascript frameworks. Your friendly neighborhood digital agency for NYC.

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I have been building apps recently that integrate a REST API which subscribes users to a Drupal web app via SMS, they are simultaneously subscribed in the telecom operators database. Conditions must be checked to keep the users status in sync with Drupal and the operator. Other conditions that I won’t cover here include recurring billing or the free trial period.

This is a practical example of how using the REST protocol allows technologies that are completely different to communicate with each other. The technologies in our stack include SMS, mobile billing and a Drupal web app.

First create the URL endpoint with a callback function by using hook_menu

function my_module_menu() {
$items['my_url/send'] = array(
'title' => 'send',
'page callback' => 'my_module_send_page',
'access callback' => TRUE
);
return $items;
}

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  1. Quality: At a large agency you are often at least one step removed from the brains behind the work, the client never knows exactly what is going on behind the scenes. Because the managers are not technical themselves they have little idea of what exactly is going on with the actual development. The digital agency of today speaks a different language than agencies past.  Managers usually depend on and trust a few developers, often brought on via contract through a recruiter and have no way of checking the quality of their code. At a boutique agile development firm the client has direct access to the hands on technical lead.  Agile methodologies and startup mentality apply.   Managers review the code because they are helping to write it.  They have better insight into more intuitive UX/UI because they are more closely involved with the buildout.

  2. Responsiveness: At an agile digital agency when a client needs an urgent fix the problem gets relayed to the right people instantly rather than having to be passed down a chain of command through a non technical project manager. Quite often in a large agency the people that completed the work were temporary, leaving behind code no one understands resulting in a grave situation.   The client is most often kept in the dark during these situations.  At a agile agency the manager actually understands the code, and understands the commit history in GIT (version control).  The immediate attention that an agile agency can bring to bear  can solve many an emergency when it comes to hotfixes and downtime during peak traffic times.  

  3. Cost:  Big agencies come with big expenses, you have executives and creative directors who command high pay for little tangible output, other than winning bids, the client should not really care how charismatic a creative director is, but how capable. There is also a lot of other overhead at big agencies such as expensive offices.  What the client needs for their digital product is a talented designer, developer and possibly a project manager to organize the deliverables. At a large agency “the talent” make up a small fraction of the actual project budget. If a project costs 100k for five months you can be certain only 20% of that will be utilized effectively towards building your product. The talent often work remotely on contract or are brought in through a recruiter just for one project.  Just as startups are bootstrapping some of the best apps with lean teams, upstart boutique agencies are doing the same thing. Being able to use the latest tools and to adopt the latest and best technologies is  much easier for an agile agency than large operations.

  4. Loyalty:  When you choose a smaller agency you choose a dedicated person or group of people, often as an extension of your in house team. You and the success of your business are important to them. This means you get more personal attention and responsiveness. They are invested in your project and in your growth, your success means more potential work for them in the future.  Developing a trusting relationship with the client is critical. At a large agency you may be one of hundreds of projects. They may not feel it very much, if they lose you or retain you. This gives them less incentive to develop sustainable long term solutions and more motivation to try to extract as much money as possible for as little work.  The loyalty goes both ways too, large agencies may seemingly have more access to creative and technical resources but this is often not the case, the culture treats talent as disposable and often searches last minute via recruiters to get contractors to plug the holes. A a startup agency that is led by the developers and designers has a network of talented colleagues to call upon to tackle large projects.It is often worth choosing a smaller agency with less experience but just as much capability that will give 100% of their effort and attention than a bigger agency with more experience who will only give you a fraction of that effort.  

  5. Efficiency: See “Cost.”  Less time means less effort, better efficiency comes from less time communicating ideas from non-technical to technical and vice versa. When everyone involved is getting their hands dirty time can be saved and everyone knows the details of the project.  The misconception that developers can not communicate to the client and are not “people persons” is a thing of the past, agile development methodologies prove that the best developers are articulate and multi-talented. Project Managers at most large agencies spend the bulk of their time passing on requests from the client and asking the developer “is it done yet?”  rather than helping to solve problems.

Small companies that follow this model are very similar to an in  house team particularly when working locally with a client and when the client does not have an in house development team of their own. Some agencies I have worked with that deserve a mention are Big Couch Media and Digipowers.

finalrest
The future of the web is inarguably mobile. Mobile use is clearly increasing as people spend more time on their phones, and the rate that people are using dedicated mobile apps rather than their mobile browser is also increasing. But with web services, mobile apps can integrate popular web-based content management systems and in the process save hundreds of development hours while providing enhanced user experience for both the end user and web editors. This also creates tremendous, largely untapped business opportunity for agencies.

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PROJECTS

My passion is solving tough problems by thinking outside of the box.  We hold ourselves to the highest standards of creative and technical excellence. Every client, regardless of the size or scope of project, can expect nothing but the best customer service and professionalism.

We use strategy, design and technology to create value and reach your goals. Our experience, track record, and clear focus ensures a high quality solution each and every time.

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ChangeCorp
drupal / iOS / android / branding
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ISOC
drupal
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Goldman Sachs
html5 / branding / javascript
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StarTalk Radio
javascript / streaming / branding
Basic RGB
Wanderlust Festival
html5 / drupal
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Lands End
html5 / javascript / iOS / android
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Rway
wordpress / branding
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Pratt Center
drupal / wordpress
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The Deli Magazine
drupal
  • Alex was a great asset to help finish our Drupal development project. He was knowledgeable, flexible and always tried to find a solution that would work in our current environment. He delivered on time and was always open to making additional modifications when needed. Because of his skills we were able to launch on time and within budget. I would recommend him to any company as he is easy to work with and gets the job done. Thanks Alex! ~Internet Society

  • Alex handles all of the back office details of our somewhat complex website system. He is able to manage the sites as well as help out when we need to develop something new. He’s willing and able to teach staff how to do things we need to understand to handle our content management systems in both WordPress and Drupal. He also is on call pretty much round the clock should any system have trouble. So happy to have him on our team. ~Pratt Center

  • Alex is Drupal master with top notch skills and seasoned experience. He is focused, dedicated and is a great team player. A huge asset to any dev team. And a mean banjo player. ~Wanderlust Festival

 

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