Ask An Indie: Ellen Burns-Johnson

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Ellen Burns-Johnson, Instructional Designer, Allen Interactions.

What inspired you to start making games?

I’ve loved games since forever, but my professional interests have taken me down a path more aligned with learning psychology and human behavior. Several years ago I realized that good learning experiences felt very similar to my favorite games—challenging, evolving, complex, and emotionally engaging.

At what age did you create your first game?

When I was 30! I made a Twine game at the Midwest Game Jam.

What formal training do you have that has helped you?

My background as a learning experience designer has helped me quite a lot in thinking about game dynamics and working with development teams.

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Senior AWS Infrastructure Engineer at International Decision Systems Minneapolis, MN

Local Startup Kaleidoscope Creates Scholarship Platform For Students And Brands

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By Anne Field , Forbes Contributor

“Struggling to make ends meet after his father was diagnosed with ALS, Greg Dehn’s family couldn’t afford to pay for his college tuition. So he applied to over 100 scholarship programs, eventually landing eight different ones that allowed him to attend and graduate from Colorado College in 1998. He later got an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Last year, Dehn started a company to return the favor. Called Kaleidoscope Group, the Minneapolis-based startup has a platform on which students can find and apply for private scholarships offered by companies and other organizations.”

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Stella Stakes Into NLP HealthTech Firm Talix

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Via News Release

“EAGAN, Minn., May 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Stella today announced that its business development group has acquired a minority ownership stake in Talix, Inc., the premier provider of natural language processing (NLP)-enabled healthcare risk adjustment and quality analytics solutions for payers and providers.”

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Meet A Minnesota Tech CFO: Kent Lillemoe, Field Nation

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Thanks to local commercial real estate pros CBRE for sponsoring the Meet A Minnesota Tech CFO series.

The CFO: Kent Lillemoe, Field Nation

When and how did you get started in your finance career, specifically within the tech industry?

I started with a CPA firm out of college and quickly realized that career was not for me. I was introduced to the founder of CyberOptics in 1985 when it was a start-up. I loved the early-stage, entrepreneurial, high technology culture.

What is unique about your role with the technology industry, compared to other industries?

The pace of change is challenging. Some companies resist change. Technology companies create and thrive on change.

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WeWork, Beta.MN Team On Free Workspace For Twin Cities Tech Startups

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By Evan Ramstad, Star Tribune

“WeWork, the well-heeled shared-workspace company, is aiming to land more Twin Cities tech startups as clients by offering free space in the Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis.

The New York-based company on Thursday will announce an initiative with Beta.MN, a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports local tech firms, to identify and sort companies to establish a temporary office in some of the workspaces that WeWork offers at its Capella site.”

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Know This Nerd? Meet Tenzin Chosang

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Tenzin Chosang is Software Development Student at Prime Digital Academy and an aspiring game developer.

 
He is among hundreds of local freelancers for hire.

What initially sparked your interest in technology?

Initially it was from playing video games as a kid. The idea that someone could create a virtual story and allow others to dive into that world seemed so mind-blowing as a young teen.

While programming wasn’t something I expected it did lead me into building my first PC and studying more about hardware parts and maximize my performance. This lead me to forums and groups dedicated to similar hobbies who were also developers and created amazings maps for private servers on games like CounterStrike.

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Minnesota Ecommerce Captains: Frank Jackman, Local Crate

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Thanks you Irish Titan for underwriting our Minnesota Ecommerce Captains series focused on local leadership in the ecommerce industry.

 
Frank Jackman is the cofounder & CEO of Local Crate, which recently raised $1.4m and expanded its service into multiple major markets.

He is a featured speaker at the Twin Cities Ecommerce Meetup next Wednesday, where he shares the story of bootstrapping a million+ dollar e-commerce platform in 3 months.

When and why did Local Crate start?

Local Crate delivered the first Crate in November 2015. While working at Schwan’s Food Company, Mike (Stalbaum) and I saw the future of food…and it was fresh and local. Our desire to making local food accessible launched Local Crate.

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