September 27, 2018

How We Got Here: An Interview with Squirrels Leadership

Squirrels partners Shoaf, Stanfill, Gould, Keith
Squirrels partners (L-R) Cory Shoaf, David Stanfill, Andrew Gould and Sidney Keith

2008 to 2018: How We Got Here

To cap off celebrating our 10-year company anniversary, we sat down with the Squirrels leadership to discuss guiding our team through a decade of work. Meet partners David Stanfill, Andrew Gould, Cory Shoaf and Sidney Keith.

What does Squirrels mean to you?

Shoaf: Squirrels is my family. I get to work with skilled and passionate people in a fun, collaborative environment every day. I really believe there’s nothing quite like Squirrels anywhere else.

Keith: Squirrels is an adventure. It’s an opportunity to learn more, to do more, to experience more and to grow. This company opened my eyes to a world beyond Northeast Ohio and introduced me to people and places I never would have thought of otherwise.

Gould: Squirrels means so many things to me. It's been the subject of 10 years of intense focus, long hours and endless stress. I've poured everything I have into it and it's so amazing to see what's grown out of that. When we're able to step back and look at what we've accomplished, it makes all the focus, effort and stress worth it.

Stanfill: We all came from a background where we knew we wouldn’t do well working for anyone else. When I was younger I always had the goal to start my own company, but I never knew exactly what it would be. Now I know Squirrels is it. We truly love what we do here, and that’s reflected in our employees, too.

1

We’ve heard you talk a lot about growth recently. What’s the big deal?

Stanfill: Well, we’re hiring.

Keith: We’ve traditionally been involved in software, but we’ve always kept an ear to the ground for other needs. Now we’re producing hardware, too, and that’s a completely different ball game.

Stanfill: We’re always pushing the envelope with new ideas, and as technology grows, we continue to grow as well.

Is that the secret to your success?

Gould: I’d say so. Being able to adapt, learn on the fly and move quickly to take advantage of opportunities is what makes Squirrels so unique. I learn something new every day from the people around me and I hope they learn from me every day as well.

Shoaf: Definitely the ability to adapt and pinpoint successes and failures has been an important part of our growth.

2

When people talk about Squirrels, there’s always an emphasis on investing in employees and growth. Why is that?

Gould: I’ve watched Squirrels grow from David and I working in a tiny basement office to the size we are today. It’s incredibly rewarding. We’re continually adding unique, talented, hardworking people. It's awesome (and sometimes terrifying) to think about how every day Squirrels supports 45 employees, their spouses and their children. Our employees are the hardest working and most passionate people around.

Keith: Watching everyone here grow has been meaningful. We’ve been around for 10 years and really started hiring about six years ago. The number of names on our “Five-Year Plaque” grows every few months.

4

Shoaf: We set out to create a company ecosystem that allows employees to grow and expand their skill sets. That’s been important to our success.

Keith: Exactly – investment in employees is extremely important to us. I’ve seen people go from entry-level positions to manager all on their own will – by asking questions, taking classes and having the drive to do more. There’s nothing we can’t do as a company, and it’s because of our employees.

3

What gets you excited about the future of Squirrels?

Keith: Opportunity. We have room to do so much more, and we have so many fresh ideas we can act on. We’re in a position to hire many more employees and be a leading employer in our area. Squirrels isn’t afraid to take risks and try new things.

Gould: The future of Squirrels can be anything we want it to be. We've proven time after time that if we set our eyes on a goal, rally the team and work quickly, we can do anything we want. In 10 years, we've tackled so many markets like entertainment, social networking, healthcare, K-12, higher education, screen mirroring, remote meetings and blockchain hardware. Imagine what we can do in the next 10 years if we continue to build off of our previous successes.

Find more Squirrels snapshots and facts with #SquirrelsTurns10 on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Partners 2

September 21, 2018

By the Numbers: Squirrels Turns 10 [Infographic]

Squirrels Turns 10 infographic

Software, hardware and more: all in a decade’s work.

To think, 10 years ago we were just a couple of friends with a strong work ethic and an idea. We’ve grown immensely since then, maintaining our private status and accepting no outside funding.

It’s all thanks to our leaders who guide us and our skilled team members who give it their all. We couldn’t have done it without them.

To celebrate turning 10, we created an infographic with some facts and numbers, then vs. now. Learn a little more about Squirrels while you’re here!

Read the press release.

10-Year-Infographic

SquirrelsFind more Squirrels snapshots and facts with #SquirrelsTurns10 on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

September 10, 2018

Squirrels Turns 10! 🎉

10 Birthday Candles

Squirrels is now 10 years old!

In the business world, that’s pretty darn successful – and in the technology world, that’s ancient.

We’re celebrating the entire month of September with #SquirrelsTurns10 around the web, so look out for more festivities here on our blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!

A lot happens in 10 years. Squirrels has been at the forefront of creating digital spaces to share ideas and information from our humble beginnings as a basement startup in 2008.

ConfettiOur community

The community support of our products is inspiring, from the teachers and students who use our classroom tech daily, to businesses presenting their screens in meetings around the world, to the blockchain champions who mine efficiently, to the media consumers who kick back, relax and enjoy content across any device.

Our team

But the heart and soul of our company is our team. A company is only as successful as the people who make it that way. Squirrels is a group of ridiculously talented people who give it their all, take care of each other and build amazing things. Double-digit years in business wouldn’t be possible without them – and they’ll take us far into the future.

Squirrels president and co-founder David Stanfill said it best:

“Squirrels has always been about our team. We have a collective of people who embrace our mission and each other’s talents. Not only do they champion our amazing team culture, they can create just about anything.”

Quotation

David Stanfill
Squirrels President and Co-founder

Squirrels company photoOur Alpha Squirrels

Along the way, we’ve been inspired by our amazing scurry of Alpha Squirrels, experts in EdTech who love what we do and tell the world. They’re training a generation and shaping the way education surges into the future. Thank you, Alphas, for being there for our schools, our students and for us.

Birthday gift

After a decade, this much is clear: It’s in our DNA to always be rolling up our sleeves, diving into the next wave of technology and creating the future.

Look out, world. Double digits are just the start.

Birthday cake with acorns underneath 

 

July 16, 2018

Summer Reading Recommendations from Squirrels

Whether you choose to do your reading poolside or in a frosty air-conditioned room, lazy summer days are the perfect time for catching up on some reading. Once again, the Squirrels team has compiled a list of its favorite summer reading recommendations. This eclectic list of books (and podcasts) is sure to have something for everyone.

Happy Summer!

Summer Reading Twitter Cards

Becky Shiring, Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning

“A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness and a Trove of Letters Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression” by Ted Gup

This book shows how the smallest acts can counteract some of the greatest problems. This true story takes place in Canton, Ohio, and includes a ton of historical information about my new town!


Emily Carle Hafer, Alpha Squirrels Program Manager

“Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling

It's never a bad time to read the Harry Potter series. You can read it in tandem with Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the mobile role-playing game. 

“Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom” by Monica Burns

Monica creates amazing resources for educators implementing technology in their work. She includes personal experiences from her work in education as well as her travels around the world. This book allows educators to start with a strong foundation and build up to effective technology integration. 

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

A powerful message to provoke meaningful conversations in and out of the classroom. It's been a must-read for over a year now, but this fall you'll see the book come to life as a movie.


Erica Betz, Admin/HR Rep

“Anya's Ghost” by Vera Brosgol

This graphic novel is a sweet and spooky coming-of-age story. I got the digital version and read it on my phone in just a few hours. Great for traveling and car rides!

“The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot” by Kathy Hester

This book is full of really simple, healthy and DELICIOUS recipes. I love the lentils and rice recipe, but there are a variety to try!

“When You Are Engulfed In Flames” by David Sedaris

This collection of essays will have you lost in thought and laughing aloud as you read. Sedaris is famous for witty, dark humor and anecdotes that leave readers wanting more. I loved all his books, but this one is my favorite. Perfect to pick up and read one essay at a time or all in one sitting!


Matt Elsey, Director of Web Technologies

“The World According To Mister Rogers: Important Things To Remember” by Fred Rogers

Few people have the ability to encourage and uplift like Fred Rogers. This book is a great collection of quotes, thoughts and reminders of what's important. It's a quick and easy way to get perspective in your daily life.


Jon Zelasko, Senior Developer

“The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

Though brief, this book is meant to be consumed leisurely like a fine whiskey. Its plain language disguises deeper meaning that changes over time. And like all classics, it tells a story that somehow captures a moment in time perfectly. I recommend enjoying it by an ocean as a way to escape a world filled with too many distractions.


Mike Bruin, Junior Developer

“Locke And Key, Vol. 1” by Joe Hill

This is a great graphic novel that combines horror, interesting art and a story that you can't help but follow. If you aren't familiar with graphic novels, this is a good one to start!


Jon Bishop, Creative Director of Marketing

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

A book that'll make you think twice before playing Candy Crush or tuning in to 24-hour news.

“1984: New Classic Edition” by George Orwell

This book is full of eerie correlations to current affairs: demagoguery, authoritarianism, information control, deletion of government records, the list goes on. I deleted my Facebook!


Nate Wendell, ClassHub Support Specialist

“One Second After” by William R. Forstchen

An extremely grim look into life after a catastrophic failure of the power grid. You will cry at several points, but you won't be able to put it down either. 


Christina Lamanna, Implementation Specialist

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly

The book was inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine. The story revolves around three women who experience life in unimaginable ways. It's one of those books you feel bounded with after reading.


Joseph McCulty, Business Analyst

“Frasier: A Cultural History” by Joseph and Kate Darowski

This book provides an excellent overview of the greatest sitcom of all time. Whether you are looking for a guide as you watch Frasier for the first time, or you’ve already watched it in its entirety five-plus times like I have, it offers a lot of great insight.


Alissa McGill, Developer Relations Engineer

“Limited Resources” (Podcast) by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis Scott-Vargas

I love this podcast because it is the perfect combination of funny and deep strategy for the best trading card game to ever exist - Magic the Gathering.


Alisha Pero, Sales Administrator

“Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where The Hell Are My Keys?” by Billy Crystal

I love hearing about his life. He is hilarious, thoughtful and keeps you engaged throughout the whole book. I like the audible version because he actually reads it himself! Try it. It is fantastic!


Connal Kelly, Account Executive 

“In the Dark” (Podcast) by Madeleine Baran

A true crime podcast about the failures and cover-ups of two county sheriffs' offices. The first season investigates a well-known child abduction case. The second involves a man who has been tried six times for the same crime and has remained in prison for the past 21 years even after winning appeals. So mysterious and engaging!


Aaron Rinier, Director of Support

“They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock'n'roll” by Shep Gordon

Shep Gordon is an amazing storyteller and a very interesting man. Pretty easy, fun read.

 

Those are just a few of our favorites we’re taking to the beach. What are your favorite summer reads? Comment below or tweet us @Squirrels with your own recommended page-turners.

February 9, 2018

#SquirrelsChat Recap: Creating Startup Culture in the Classroom

Ping pong tables in the lounge. Free sushi and Red Bull in the fridge. The latest toys and gadgets littering the office.

You’ve likely heard these nauseating clichés about tech startups more times than you can count.

While those amenities may appear in startup culture, it’s critical to understand that the success of your team, colleagues or students does not derive from pool tables and free snacks. A true startup culture embodies growth, innovation, openness, experimentation, positivity and most of all, collaboration.

The February #SquirrelsChat laid the groundwork for developing a startup culture. Participants brainstormed ways to apply that cultural framework to educational environments.

What elements of startup culture can be found in education?

Start by looking at the physical attributes of modern classrooms. You’ll notice the parallels between innovation and education. Teachers and schools are becoming more intentional about creating environments that are conducive to collaboration and creativity.

What does a people-first mentality look like in classrooms & schools?

Simply put: a people-first mentality is looking at people beyond data, requirements and to-do lists. Focus on building relationships with your colleagues, students, admins, parents, etc. because ultimately, people are the foundation of any organization or culture.

What are ways to encourage collaboration in your environment

When we place value on collaboration, we need to find a way to cultivate it and make it part of the active culture.  

What impact does a culture of innovation have on student learning & achievement?

The term “future-ready skills” can be found across education today. It is difficult, if not impossible, for students to acquire future-ready skills with an educational mindset stuck in the 20th century.

What can you do to shift towards a culture of innovation?

In the words of Sir Ken Robinson, change happens from the ground up. Movements do not occur because someone in charge says it should happen. We should all feel empowered to make change happen, regardless of where we are.

Join #SquirrelsChat for the best education tips, strategies and ideas
Join #SquirrelsChat every first and third Thursday of the month at 8 p.m ET. You can stay up to date on chat topics and moderators by following us on Twitter (@Squirrels). 

Don’t miss the next #SquirrelsChat on February 15: Student Engagement with host Billy Spicer.

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. We create high-quality, budget-friendly screen mirroring and device management software that’s compatible with today’s most popular devices. To date, our software can be found in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, businesses and homes. Follow our blog for all the latest product updates, Squirrels news and technology insight!