September 26, 2019

Calvin Carter Opens SMU Digital Summit Discussing The Connected Lifestyle

Bottle Rocket’s Founder & CEO was invited to give the opening keynote at his alma mater, Southern Methodist University (SMU), during their 2019 Digital Summit. Here’s a synopsis of his talk along with a video recording from the event.

The Connected Lifestyle Is Here! Are You Ready?

We all know that the digital revolution is in full swing. Both emerging and existing engagement technologies can unlock tremendous value for your business and for the customers you serve.

But are you truly ready to embrace this new normal we’ve come to know? Which technologies are “must haves” and which experiences will garner deep loyalty? How do all of your digital experiences fit together into a cohesive ecosystem that exceed the ever-changing wants and expectations of your customers?

At the intersection of business and the connected user’s goals lies opportunity. We call this intersection the Connected Lifestyle and those companies that embrace it will thrive while others will be left behind. The digital experiences that your company creates are already being compared to the likes of Starbucks, Uber, Netflix, and Facebook, among others. These brands are your competition whether you realize it or not. This is the new normal. For Connected Consumers (or for employees,) digital experiences are as important, if not more so, than the product or service your company makes or sells. And they expect these experiences to be seamless across all digital touchpoints from websites to apps to voice skills, chat bots, virtual reality, augmented reality, and beyond. No matter the industry, no matter the company, the implications of not paying attention could mean huge things for your business.

Join Calvin Carter, Founder & CEO of Dallas-based Bottle Rocket, as he highlights his experience building an award-winning experience-based technology company in North Texas that is leading many of the world’s most distinguished brands head on into the Connected Lifestyle. Carter will take a deeper dive into the Connected Lifestyle and share how companies can overcome the challenges that they will face as they move toward success in this turbulent, and ever-changing world of technology.

Watch the full session here:

November 19, 2018

How Bottle Rocket is Defining and Serving the Connected Lifestyle

An interview with Calvin Carter, Founder & CEO of Bottle Rocket

If you live and work in the technology space in Dallas, I’m guessing you might have heard of Bottle Rocket. But I’ll also wager a guess that you might not really know us. Officially born in 2008, the day after Steve Jobs opened up the App Store to third-party developers, we quickly became a leader in the world of mobile application development. Ten years later, just as the industry has continued to evolve at a mind-numbing pace, so has Bottle Rocket. And if you are still looking for the Bottle Rocket you might have once met, you may not even recognize us.

Today, more than ever, customers are in control. And digitally enabled experiences have created a new normal for all industries. Digital technology is a double-edged sword….the threat of potential disruption by competitors is only slightly as scary as the need to spark innovation and create a path for your company’s future. It’s no secret that digital native companies have generated 80% of the growth in market capitalization in the last 10 years (source: World Economic Forum, September 2018). Change is hard. But it’s only going to get harder. And that’s where we can help.

At Bottle Rocket, we are in the business of transformation. As experts at the intersection of people and technology, we create powerful, preeminent connected experiences that enable today’s Connected Lifestyle. What exactly do we mean by that? Let’s ask our own Founder and CEO, Calvin Carter.

So Calvin, how do you define the Connected Lifestyle?

If you look back at our first decade, it was about apps, new devices and form factors and new uses for mobile technology such as mobile OS’s being used for streaming players like Apple TV or Android TV. This impacted how we did everything. It was an important foundational time for us and our industry, but it’s over now.

The word “mobile” has failed us. Yes, it’s true, much of what we build is based on technology born from the mobile revolution, the world has gotten much more complicated than that.  So, a couple of years ago I started trying to define a new word to replace mobile. One that better described the new complexity and multi-platform, multi-experience, multi-use, multi-skilled and multi-everything reality in front of us. I couldn’t find one word, but I found two “Connected Lifestyle.”

The Connected Lifestyle is an ecosystem. It’s the way you deposit your checks. The way you get reservations at a restaurant, get a ride, board your plane, track your health, manage your finances, teach your children, spend money and make money. It’s no longer a collection of a few devices that I use for specific things. This is now an ecosystem with a full spectrum of devices, technologies and interactions that include what was formerly known as mobile, with in-home streaming players, AR and VR, AI and ML, voice, touch and click. All of it together. Everything you see in front of you as a human in this time. That’s the Connected Lifestyle.

And it’s complicated. Very complicated. I often say that it’s easy to make things hard and hard to make things easy. We’re in the business of ideating, designing, building and evolving preeminent experiences that are dead simple to use. Dead simple.

We were successful in our first decade because we knew everything about mobile. Now we must open ourselves to doing things differently as we follow our user and learn everything we can about the Connected Lifestyle. This is our company’s digital transformation. Just as every other company out there, we too must evolve.

What are the factors causing companies to start investing in Digital Transformation and the Connected Lifestyle?

It’s different for the early adopters, wait and see and wait and dies in each industry. For example, some QSR’s jumped in early to experiment, then later invested big time to get way out ahead and benefitted greatly from this move.

In every disruption, there are winners and losers. The early adopters moved and proved there is an ROI. The “wait and see’s” are following in mass right now in almost every industry. Unfortunately, the wait and die’s will likely do just that.

But the reason I think there has been such as a big uptick in investments in Digital Transformation and the Connected Lifestyle is 1) it’s no longer an experiment, it’s the new normal, and 2) C-suite executives are users too and they now have personal experiences as they entered the Connected Lifestyle.

People don’t compare their banking experience to another banking experience. They compare it to every other super amazing digital experience that they use on a daily basis. Their Starbucks, Uber, Hotel Tonight, Instagram and Slack experiences. C-suite execs are waking up realizing how hard it is to do business with them. If you can’t engage a brand through YOUR Connected Lifestyle, that brand could very quickly become obsolete.

For mobile, Bottle Rocket has an unprecedented four Apple Hall of fame awards to demonstrate unbelievable success. What will Bottle Rocket use as measures of success in Digital Transformation and The Connected Lifestyle?

Oh boy, I could go on for an hour on this one, but a few key examples come to mind. I’ve removed the client names to protect the innocent.

One of our largest accounts is posting 30% year over year growth in their Connected Lifestyle experiences. That’s a huge number, but it’s a REALLY huge number when I tell you that they have users have made billions of dollars’ worth of purchases on the platform. But this isn’t easy. The business is super complicated, and there are always setbacks. But our collective teams have been able to show demonstrable value in spite of any holdups.

For another Bottle Rocket client, our teams ideated, designed, and are developing a paradigm-shifting Connected Experience in an industry that isn’t known for being disruptive. This experience puts the control in the hands of the user, allows them to move faster, and control their own destiny. This literally would not be possible if it weren’t for the uber-connectedness of today’s consumers and our ability to tackle complex problems and create simple solutions.

Finally, I’ll mention yet another Bottle Rocket client that is on the verge of really shaking up an industry. This client, with a modest budget, came to us to find a completely new way to do an old, time-consuming, and highly involved and risky task. A once manual task that with the help technology has the potential to actually save lives. I know I’m being purposefully vague, but for this client, we had to come up with a Connected Experience that had never before been imagined. And one that would literally change how an age-old industry handles a very common task.

Thank you to Calvin for sharing his insights, wisdom, and thoughts about where Bottle Rocket and the Connected Lifestyle is headed. Stay tuned for more on this ever-changing topic.

February 23, 2017

Bottle Rocket CEO to Judge 2017 Appy Awards

This February, Bottle Rocket’s CEO, Calvin Carter, will once again judge for the Appy Awards.

The Appy Awards celebrate and acknowledge creativity and excellence in app design in 39 categories:

  • Branded Content
  • Restaurants/Food/Beverage
  • Health and Fitness
  • Travel and Tourism
  • and a lot more!

Calvin will serve on a jury with five other members, whose results will be announced on May 17, in New York City. For more information, check out the Appy Awards website.

June 3, 2016

Calvin Carter Nominated for Favorite CEO by Addison Magazine

We’re eager to announce that Calvin Carter has been nominated for Addison Magazine’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards Favorite CEO. The Addison Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards works to highlight the best that Addison has to offer whether it’s fine dining, shopping, or excellence in running a successful business. Calvin joins 6 other CEOs in the category for Favorite CEO.

Addison Magazine 2016 Reader's Choice Awards logo

Since Bottle Rocket’s founding in 2008, Calvin prides himself on connecting users with information, brands, and entertainment. Under Calvin, Bottle Rocket has grown to over 200 Rocketeers and completed more than 250 (and counting) iOS and Android apps. Bottle Rocket wouldn’t be the company it is today without his leadership and guidance and we’re proud of this nomination.

Show your support by voting in the Reader’s Choice Awards. You can vote once per day, per e-mail, and the voting deadline is June 20th.


November 2, 2015

3 Things Future Rocketeers Should Know

Recently, our Founder and CEO Calvin Carter appeared on the PlayMakers Talk Show. During the interview, Steve A Klein interviewed Carter about Bottle Rocket’s culture and what he is passionate about. These values reflect every Rocketeer that joins us in pioneering the future.


Focus on your one thing

"The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing." — Donald P. Coduto

(Now say that five times fast.)

This tongue twister ignites Bottle Rocket’s purpose in our daily routines. Carter believes that it keeps an individual on track and reminds them of their reason for doing anything from following a career path to starting a small business.

Carter suggests to pick one thing you want to be good at and always walk towards it in everything you do. When you focus on minor things versus one major thing, people tend to get distracted and lose track of their goals. In the example of a small business, sales opportunities may arise that go against your main objectives. Concentrate on recruiting employees and clients that mesh well with your values instead of molding your beliefs to someone else’s standards.

In short, communicate what your vision is and stick to it.


Same desks, same computers – we’re all equal

At Bottle Rocket, we concentrate on bringing groups and projects together. Instead of separating groups and placing them in different corners of the building, we place teams together in an environment where they can communicate with each other and thrive at what they’re working on.

On top of that, there are no offices. Everyone owns the same desks and computer – even Carter himself. This allows Rocketeers to focus on what they’re doing, connect with others, communicate better and build better products.

As Carter states: “When you don’t have a door, you don’t need an open door policy.”


Lean communication and lo-fi approach

If you ever visit our office, the first thing you’ll notice about our walls is the abundance of doodles and app sketches that cover them. Instead of putting ideas in a private space like a computer, Rocketeers place their designs on a giant collaborative whiteboard that opens that design up to debate, challenge, and growth.

We believe in a lo-fi approach to our projects. Even high fidelity executions begin with pen and paper or dry erase markers. When you start with low fidelity ideation, you’re more willing to scrap an idea because you spent less time developing it. This allows us to move faster, iterate much quicker and eventually build an excellent product for our clients.

Bottle Rocket attracts a lot of creative people. Everyone from our developers to our strategists are here to make and create something. No matter what their title says, the core of every Rocketeer is that they are builders. This creates a sense of trust and respect and allows us to make right choices and move forward with great ideas.

If these explanations and working for a top places to work company interest you, maybe you should work for us. We’re excited to meet other passionate people that want to do the best work of their lives as well as build amazing things with amazing people.


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