The World is a Big Place: We’ve Gone Virtual!

Two years in the making, November 2014 marked the launch of our initiative to be a virtually enabled team!

We have moved out of our corporate office space in Houston’s Energy Corridor and are now stretching our wings in the boundless space of working in the virtual world – any time, any place.

With employees and partners situated all over our lovely planet Earth, it only made sense to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace the flexibility that comes with working without walls. A lot of planning went in to setting the company up for this change, altering our processes and finding new systems that increased communication and tracking. Here are some of the things we have changed.

1. Using HipChat for internal communication.

hipchat

Our employees are online during corporate business hours and we have a running chat going for constant communication. By linking to client sites or helpdesk tickets, we can share information, collaborate on projects and retain our water cooler discussions. We also hold daily standup meetings via HipChat to make sure everyone has the information they need for the day ahead.

2. Implementing HelpDesk for client communication.

Helpdesk

Our new ticketing system at helpdesk.tendenci.com allows our clients to submit a request directly into the queue where any member of the team can grab the ticket and begin the dialogue. By having all requests in one place, tickets don’t get lost in one employee’s email, assistance can be shared among the team and we can spot trends that indicate where a systemic solution may be needed. Screenshots and other files can be uploaded to the tickets, too, for better communication.

3. Switching to a VoIP-based phone system.

If you are still reading, this is where we could really use your help! We are using a national VoIP vendor but have had calls dropped or not ring through. Very embarrassing. Can anyone recommend a good option for a virtual phone system? We love to talk to our clients! In the meantime, if you are having trouble reaching us over the phone, please use helpdesk.tendenci.com to ask your question so that we can reach you!

And while working in your slippers does have its advantages, sometimes you just need to meet up in person to review a project. Those of us in the Houston area still meet to collaborate as teams a couple of days a week at one of the many co-working facilities in town, such as the space at Houston Technology Center in Midtown and ShareSpace out on the East Side.

So if you drive by the old office, you won’t see our name out front as we are no longer rooted in one place. We have set up a mailbox for written correspondence at this address:

Tendenci, Inc.
14027 Memorial Drive #177
Houston, Texas 77079-6826

And our dropbox for payments remains:

Tendenci, Inc.
P.O. BOX 301750
Dallas, Texas 75303-1750

But as to where we are physically located, well… spread out a world map, close your eyes and point. There we are!

(This is the first of three blog posts that discusses the tools we are using as the brain can only process so much in one day. Talking about mine, not yours! We welcome any feedback on tools you have used in your virtual work environment to increase communication – the biggest hurdle we are facing a dispersed team.)

Server Reboots Today Jan 14, 2014 for Security Patches

First – it is Wednesday and Microsoft pushes out patches on Tuesday evenings. So in an overabundance of caution we will be rebooting the Tendenci 4 Microsoft Servers between 4 and 4:30 PM today (10 minutes from now or sooner as I type this.)

Newsletter Generator Coming Soon!

We are excited to be in the testing phase of our Tendenci Newsletter Generator on alpha sites!

This feature will be available for our general community when individual sites are upgraded to Tendenci 6 from Tendenci 5.2. But just to give you some eye candy, and to save Executive Directors HOURS of work building newsletters, here are some screen shots of what is coming.

Tendenci Newsletter Generator

 

Which results in a newsletter similar to the quick test below. Forgive the graphics – but you get the concept of aggregating the content so you can use it in the email provider of your choice with a simple copy paste with fully qualified URLs for the images so they work via email.

test-newsletter

There is a slight catch that only sites using the new navigation will be able to use it as the old navigation (blue bar) causes issues with mobile and we are trying to make these frameworks coexist as we have settled on Bootstrap3 for the core, but a front end designer can override this.

In other words, there are a few strings attached but it truly saves our webmasters hours and hours of work.

Next up is to allow you to put in an account for mailgun or SES if you don’t need full reporting from higher end tools, and many of us don’t given we can derive similar information on open rates from mailgun and use google analytics for AB testing etc….

Have general questions about Tendenci? Check out our community forum! https://community.tendenci.com/

possible tendenci.com company email outage during migration

We are moving our Google apps primary domain from schipul.com to tendenci.com. It doesn’t affect clients email. But a support request may be delayed or kicked back during the 24 to 48 hour transition. Send again if that happens. This only applies to our company, Tendenci, formerly Schipul, and does NOT apply to any client email servers.

Longer version: Clients, friends, employees, former employees, friends of the tribe, et al….. we are using the Christmas lull to migrate our primary google apps account from schipul.com with an alias of Tendenci, to be Tendenci.com with an alias of Schipul – The Web Marketing Company. This reflects our new corporate name and aligns our brand and just simplifies things.

christmas2013Alas Google apps for domains isn’t as simple as we would like and overlaps and time delays are involved. To make the move takes 24 hours just to set up the new Google apps account. And you can’t have a domain associated with two different Google app accounts requiring us to remove tendenci.com as an alias so we can set it up as a new Google Apps primary domain.

Thus, temporarily while the migration is in progress, our @tendenci.com aliases may or may not arrive in our inboxes at the speed of light as usual. In theory it should be ONLY a delay and the Internet mail servers should catch all of the email and retry until success.

Then we will have a similar window of time for the schipul.com domain emails, although that should be much shorter if I get all of this right. (this is Ed typing.)

Former employees: We still love you guys. And we have always been very generous keeping former employees accounts active to prevent any possible disruption in your lives. However, the migration utilities charge us by licensed user and unless we download an encrypted archive and then delete the mostly unused forwarding accounts, it increases costs and lengthens the migration. If you need me to set up a forward again once the migration is over – email me at eschipul at my personal gmail.com address. Sorry for any inconvenience! And it is possible to restore the encrypted archive to a new account as it is all in compressed files. Bottom line – even if you have moved on to new adventures, we still want to be sure you are taken care of and this is just temporary. Thanks! – Ed

The Decision to Change Our Company’s Name to Tendenci

Tendenci Name Change

Yesterday, we announced that Schipul–The Web Marketing Company will now operate under the name of our open source CMS software, Tendenci.

Tendenci Sign

Since the company was established 16 years ago, our vision has been “To connect and organize the world’s people. Do good.” Since 2004, our Tendenci software has enabled all types of organizations to achieve this greater vision. We have provided a platform for developing high value websites at a cost-effective price through the ongoing development of Tendenci’s baked-in capabilities that catered to the unique needs of organizations, such as membership management, event management and online fundraising.

It struck us a few years ago that Tendenci could be much more than our in-house proprietary software.  It could be the WordPress or Drupal for cause-related organizations. While writing it from scratch in ASP originally, a liability, rewriting it we had the chance to make a leap forward past PHP in technology and rewrote Tendenci in Python and Postgres on Linux. Tendenci lives in the cloud and is the future.

Removing Obstacles

Why do people start cause-related organizations? To affect some change in society, of course. Yet, if you search the internet for advice on starting a non-profit, instead of basic steps towards establishing your group, experts from all sides of the table will tell you not to do it. Besides the headache of running a thankless organization, they claim, it’s also expensive. Not only do you need to have funds in place to pay for lawyers, accountants, and bookkeepers to keep your records and file paperwork for you, there are numerous other expenses associated with incorporating your NPO. Add website development and hosting costs on top, and your average American’s dream of starting an NPO to honor the loss of her baby or to save circus elephants is damn-near unattainable.

This is where Tendenci’s vision comes in. We still want to connect and organize the world’s people, ethically. But we also want to change the world and Tendenci is the software that will take us there. This movement isn’t about me — I’m not in this for the glory or recognition. Hell, it wasn’t even my idea to put my name on the door.

My goal is for Tendenci the software to be bigger than we are as Schipul the agency. Hence the decision to change the name of the company. Tendenci is our future and we want to align our name with our company’s future.

Tendenci will be the #1 software for NPOs and NGOs globally. I want Tendenci to live on long after I’m gone. I believe in this software and I believe in what it can do.

What does this mean for our current clients?

Tendenci  Sign Caitlin and Becky
Becky and Caitlin Holding the New Tendenci Sign

We will continue to serve you and take care of you in the best way. One of our company’s values is a Win/Win mentality, as described in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We don’t want to just come to a compromise that vaguely works for both parties — we want everyone to come out on top. There is always a third option, a better alternative.

By serving you as Tendenci, you will actually have more options available to you due to its open source nature. You will have the benefit of a community of programmers from all over the world working to make your software better. Tendenci will grow and mature, and as more developers start to use the software, there will be a larger pool of developers you can access to keep your Tendenci sites up to date. Your developer in your hometown can upgrade your site to the latest technology. By being open source, we give you freedom — freedom from vendor lock-in, freedom to develop, and freedom to impact a global community.

Operating as Tendenci, we get to focus on what’s truly important to us — connecting and organizing the world’s people and doing good! By focusing on these goals, we will be more efficient and we can provide better customer service to our clients. We are keeping the knowledge of a 12 year old brand, learning from all of those years listening to our clients and prospects. You can still expect the superior customer service and expertise you’ve come to expect from Schipul — it will just be packaged in Tendenci colors.

The transition has already begun. We haven’t changed locations, but instead have begun outfitting our office in Tendenci aqua and blue. We’ve said goodbye to some staff members and welcomed others. We have renewed our commitment to our Tendenci clients and users to focus all of our efforts on making the software great.

We understand that the Tendenci platform exists to help you do good. It takes people to make change happen – we have chosen modern, agile software as our foundation to serve you in your objectives. Tendenci exists to serve YOU.

I am truly excited to embark on this new phase for our business, our clients and the community. And I am humbly grateful to the clients and programmers who have given us so much valuable feedback to improve Tendenci.

I look forward to working with you to change the world.

Peace & Love – CP

It’s not goodbye…it’s see you later

It is difficult to sum up into words what an incredible ride it has been these past [almost] 5 years at Schipul. It is even more difficult to express the impact each one of you has had on my life walking in these doors every day. You all have become my second [crazy] family which is why my decision to start a new adventure in my life has not come easy…

At the end of August, I will be moving to Austin, TX to start a new chapter and of course, keep things extremely weird. But no matter where life takes me, I will always be a Schipulite and remember everyone that has made my Houston world absolutely amazing. So with that…here’s a little gem [highlight reel] of some of my favorite Schipulite moments…queue Phillip Phillips….

Peace & Love,

-CP

Behind the Scenes Photos of the Tendenci Guinea Pig Video Shoot!

Yesterday we released our new Tendenci video ad featuring the adorable guinea pig Carl!

Today for some Friday Fun, we’re sharing behind the scenes photos of the video shoot. Thank you to Casey Kokoska for being our on set photographer!

Below are a few on set photos – and be sure to check out the whole photo album of adorable guinea pig photos on Tendenci.com!

 

While Carl is “editing” his website, Caitlin is helping out maneuvering the mouse

Tendenci Behind the Scenes Guinea Pig

 

Enjoying a snack between takes

Tendenci Guinea Pig Photos

 

Carl on his Tendenci website – The Guinea Pig Appreciation SocietyTendenci Guinea Pig Behind the Scenes

 

Carl taking blocking cues from Director Chris MinorTendenci Guinea Pig Video Shoot

 

Congrats to our star Carl the guinea pig on his great acting work! See you in Hollywood, Carl!

Hollywood Carl

Want more guinea pig photos? View all the behind the scenes shots in our photo album!

Tendenci’s Adorable New Video Ad: The Guinea Pig Appreciation Society!

Tendenci Powers Websites for Organizations of All Sizes!

Our latest video ad follows a particularly web savvy guinea pig (played by our own Tabby Kokoska‘s pet guinea pig Carl Sagan) as he, unbeknownst to his owner, endeavors out of his cage to make updates to his Tendenci website – The Guinea Pig Appreciation Society.

Check out Carl’s adventures with Tendenci in the video spot below and on Tendenci’s YouTube channel!

Big thanks to Chris Minor, Brian Potter, Tabby Kokoska, and Carl the multitalented guinea pig for your work and creativity to bring this video to life!

Bonus – visit the “real” Guinea Pig Appreciation Society website at guineapigs.tendenci.me

Check back here for behind the scenes photos of the video shoot, coming soon!

Update! New LockBox Address for Sending Checks

Schipul Orange Square LogoHello clients!

We have recently updated our LockBox address for inbound invoice payments. Our LockBox is the address that processes payments from our monthly client invoices. All other communication should still come to our main offices.

To send a payment by check for an invoice to Schipul or Tendenci, please send your check to:

Schipul Technologies, Inc.
P.O. Box 301750
Dallas, TX 75303-1750

To contact our Headquarters, send correspondence to:

Schipul – The Web Marketing Company
11757 Katy Fwy Ste 930
Houston, TX 77079-1762

Thanks so much!
The Schipul Team

Facebook Like Button Rolling Out to the Tendenci Photos Module!

Facebook Like ButtonWe Love Facebook!

We’re big fans of Facebook – and we’re not alone. Over ONE BILLION people are active on Facebook each month. Facebook is particularly powerful when it comes to photos, with over 350 million photos uploaded each and every day!

 

Integrating the Facebook Like Button with the Tendenci Photos Module

Starting today, we are rolling out more social sharing options within the Tendenci Photos Module. You will soon see the Facebook Like Button automatically displayed on each of your Tendenci Photo Albums and individual Photo Page to make sharing your Tendenci website content on Facebook easy and simple!

The update will roll out to all Tendenci 5.1 sites in the next few days.

 

Check Out the Facebook Like Button in Action!

Check out the Facebook Like Button in action on Tendenci.com/photos

Facebook Like Button on a Tendenci Photo Set

Facebook Like Integration with Tendenci Photos Module

Facebook Like Button on an Individual Photo

Facebook Like Integration with Tendenci Photo Albums

Have Questions? Concerns? Let us know! Email support at schipul.com or call (281) 497-6567 ext 411 to speak to our Support Team!

 

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