Minne Inno recognized 50 Minnesota innovators at its inaugural 50 On Fire event, and two of the 50 honorees have ties to The Nerdery: the philanthropic initiative NerdKind and Senior Software Engineer Joey Bertalan.
From Minne Inno:
“NerdKind: An expansion of The Nerdery’s Overnight Website challenge, which has provided more than $7 million in free services to around 200 nonprofits since the challenge’s initial launch. NerdKind debuted at Startup Week and is pairing local ‘nerds’ with nonprofits that need their services.”
“Joey Bertalan: Bertalan is a senior software engineer and team manager at The Nerdery. He’s a founding member of the Nerdery’s Innovation Lab, which recently built a Conference Tracker that displays attendee data captured throughout a conference in realtime. The software is used by local big data organization, MinneAnalytics.”
Bertalan’s aim for Conference Tracker was to help event planners better serve attendees by collecting and analyzing key datasets related to on-site attendee behavior. In making the tool, Bertalan utilized a system of RFID readers integrated with a back-end aggregator and visual interface. Bertalan acknowledged contributions to Conference Tracker and other Innovation Lab projects made by his Nerdery colleagues Paul Trandem, Jonathan Dexter, Kelvin Schutz and Stuart Burden.
“Our Innovation Lab has allowed Nerds with a curiosity to go the next step and actually learn how to create something then walk away with an output,” said Bertalan, who notes that the curious mastery of playthings has also helped the company with its actual work. “Due to a pretty capable set of tools in the Lab, we have been able to accomplish rapid minimum-viable-product device builds effectively. As we increased the collective experience using tools like the 3D printer, our Makers have been able to step in for hot deliverables and help get projects out the door. Having these additional people that know how it works with the ability to troubleshoot and problem solve has improved our responsiveness.”
Another Minne Inno 50 on Fire honoree, NerdKind was created with the intent to take tech philanthropy further than The Nerdery’s signature community service event, The Overnight Website Challenge – which debuted in 2008 and has been held in Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Phoenix. “Already, volunteers and nonprofits in 21 states have signed up for NerdKind,” said Ginger Sorvari Bucklin, NerdKind’s Executive Director.
“We’ve always known that not every potential nonprofit or project is a good fit for our time-boxed 24-hour, geo-specific event – some jobs were too small, some too big or outside of statewide eligibility per event – but none of these barriers matter to NerdKind (nerdkind.org). And we know there are more nonprofit needs to serve, and more technologists ready to engage.” More on NerdKind from Minne Inno.
In choosing NerdKind and Bertalan among their 50 on Fire, Minne Inno sought to highlight local individuals and businesses driving change in Minnesota across a variety of categories, including technology, agriculture, civic engagement and more.