Designing for the User: Differences Between a Good and a Great Designer

Differences Between a Good and a Great Designer

When it comes to design, creating something that is visually pleasing is important, but it’s equally important to keep the user in mind. After all, the purpose of any design is to communicate a message or serve a function, and if it doesn’t do that effectively, it’s not really successful. So what are the differences between a good and a great designer?


A good designer not only knows the basics of design but also understands how to make the design intuitive for the user. This means taking into consideration the user’s needs, preferences, and behavior to create an experience that is easy to use and enjoyable. For instance, choosing the right font size and color contrast can make a huge difference in how easily a user can read and navigate through the design.

But what sets a great designer apart is the ability to not only give the client what they asked for, but also to provide something unexpected, something that the client might not have thought of. This requires taking the client’s needs and wants into consideration, but then elevating the design to a new level, creating something that is not just functional but also inspiring and delightful.

 

We asked FYC Labs Head of Design Brianne Fortier:

What makes a good designer and what makes a great designer?

 

“To be a competent designer, one must possess a solid grasp of design fundamentals and apply them in an intuitive manner that considers the end user’s needs. A good designer is capable of producing visually appealing designs while maintaining proper font sizes and color contrast.

However, being a great designer requires going beyond meeting the client’s expectations and delivering something that exceeds their initial vision. A great designer takes the client’s desires into account and elevates them to the next level by incorporating unexpected elements. This is accomplished while still prioritizing user needs and maintaining a balance between form and function.

Ultimately, a great designer is one who can successfully achieve these objectives while creating a visually stunning final product that serves the client’s goals and the user’s needs.”

Brianne Fortier


At the heart of all great design is a focus on the user. A great designer doesn’t design for themselves or even for the client alone; they design for the end user, with the client’s goals and objectives in mind. By doing so, they create designs that not only look beautiful but also work well and engage the user in a meaningful way.

 

What are the three things to keep in mind when designing for the user?

 

“One important consideration is to ensure ease of navigation, as it’s crucial not to confuse or lose the user. Additionally, users typically don’t want to read lengthy paragraphs when visiting a site, so it’s essential to be concise and present information in an easy-to-read manner.

Regarding color selection, it’s crucial to choose a pleasing color scheme that does not strain the user’s eyes. The goal is for users to be able to browse the website without experiencing any discomfort or eye strain.”

Brianne Fortier


Designing for the user is about understanding their needs and behavior, and creating designs that are intuitive and easy to use. But being a great designer requires taking it a step further, by giving the client something unexpected and delightful, while still keeping the user at the forefront of the design process. Ultimately, great design is about achieving a balance between aesthetics, functionality, and user experience, and creating designs that not only meet the client’s objectives but also delight and engage the user.

 

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Connect with Bri on LinkedIn!

Strategies for Boosting Motivation and Engagement in Your Team

Boosting Motivation and Engagement

Motivation and engagement are key components of building a successful team. Motivation refers to the drive, energy, and enthusiasm that individuals bring to their work. Engagement refers to their level of involvement and commitment to the team’s goals. Leaders must focus on fostering a motivated and engaged team. This leads to higher productivity, better performance, and increased job satisfaction.

Let’s discuss some effective strategies for boosting motivation and engagement in your team.

 

We asked FYC Labs COO Phillip Lorenzo:

How would you drive employee engagement across the entire organization?

 

To drive employee engagement across an organization, the first step is to ensure that the team chemistry is strong and collaborative. It’s important to understand the purpose of the engagement, whether it’s team building, improving work efficiency, or fulfilling a specific goal. A sense of purpose is more important than happiness in the workplace. To persuade employees to engage, if the team chemistry is strong, it should be easy. If it’s not, then you need to work on a more individual level and understand each employee’s characteristics. The key is to make sure that the engagement has a purpose and that everyone feels fulfilled.

Phillip Lorenzo


Understanding Motivation and Engagement

 

Motivation and engagement are closely linked to employee performance. When employees are motivated and engaged, they are more likely to perform at their best, be more productive, and contribute to the success of the team. On the other hand, when motivation and engagement are lacking, performance can suffer.

Unfortunately, there are several common barriers to motivation and engagement in the workplace. Lack of clear goals, poor communication, and limited opportunities for growth and development can be some of them. Overcoming these barriers is crucial to boosting motivation and engagement within your team.

 

Strategies for Boosting Motivation and Engagement

 

Creating a Positive Work Environment – Creating a positive work environment involves several factors, including good communication, positive relationships, recognition and appreciation, and work-life balance. Leaders can foster a positive work environment by encouraging open communication, promoting teamwork, recognizing employee achievements, providing opportunities for growth and development, and prioritizing employee well-being.

 

Providing Clear Expectations and Goals – Clear expectations and goals are essential to keeping your team motivated and engaged. As a leader, it is important to communicate these expectations and goals effectively. This means setting clear and achievable goals, providing regular feedback on progress, and ensuring that employees have the necessary resources and support to meet these goals. Additionally, taking the time to listen to your team and understand their individual strengths and development areas can help you tailor your communication and support to their specific needs.

 

Encouraging Growth and Development – Employees want to feel like they are continuously learning and advancing in their careers. Offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, and career development plans can help employees feel invested in their roles. It can also motivate them to achieve their goals. Employers can also encourage growth and development by providing stretch assignments, cross-functional projects, and opportunities to attend industry conferences or events. By investing in their employee’s growth and development, employers can foster a culture of learning and engagement. That ultimately benefits the entire organization.

 

Recognizing and Rewarding Achievements – Effective ways to recognize and reward achievements include verbal recognition, bonuses or incentives, promotions, and opportunities for professional growth and development. It is important to tailor the recognition and rewards to each individual’s preferences and needs. Different people are motivated by different things. By implementing a thoughtful and personalized recognition and rewards system, employers can create a positive and motivating work environment that encourages employees to strive for excellence.

 

Fostering a Collaborative Culture – By promoting collaboration, team members can share ideas, learn from one another, and achieve shared goals. When team members work together, they can tackle complex projects more effectively, and they feel more invested in their work. A collaborative culture can also create a sense of community and belonging within the team. This can boost employee morale and motivation. To foster collaboration in the team, it’s important to create a supportive and inclusive work environment, encourage communication and feedback, provide opportunities for team building and group problem-solving, and recognize and reward teamwork and collaboration.


We asked FYC Labs COO Phillip Lorenzo:

What is the best way to keep your team motivated?

 

To me, purpose is the driving force that keeps us going. We often seek comfort, but when we avoid challenging ourselves, taking risks, and stepping out of our comfort zones, we lose sight of our purpose. The key question we should always ask ourselves is, how can we find our purpose? The ideal job is one that provides us with purpose and challenge every day. It’s forcing us to constantly rethink and push ourselves.

As a C-level executive or manager, it’s our job to help our team members find purpose by setting achievable milestones and providing guidance and support. We should also encourage and embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than punishing or belittling our team members.
Motivation comes from purpose and the challenges that come with it. When we have a clear purpose and a goal to strive for, we are motivated to work towards it. In a supportive and encouraging work environment like FYC, where mistakes are accepted and questions are welcomed, team members can feel motivated and confident in their work.

However, when a company lacks support and encouragement for its team members, motivation suffers. People cannot feel motivated when they feel like the company is not backing them up or rooting for their success. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to create a culture that fosters motivation and purpose. This way the team members can feel supported and driven to achieve their goals.

Phillip Lorenzo


Putting Strategies into Action

 

  • Assessing Your Team’s Needs is an important first step in boosting motivation and engagement levels. There are several ways to assess your team’s current state, such as conducting surveys, holding one-on-one meetings, and analyzing performance metrics. Once you have a clear understanding of your team’s needs, you can move on to Implementing Strategies. It’s important to choose strategies that align with your team’s specific needs and preferences.

 

  • Some tips for implementing strategies effectively include setting clear goals, providing the necessary resources, and ensuring consistent communication. Finally, Monitoring and Adjusting is crucial to ensure that the strategies are effective. Regularly check in with your team and analyze performance metrics to assess the impact of the strategies. Based on the results, make adjustments as necessary to continue fueling your team’s success.

 

  • Boosting motivation and engagement in your team can have a significant impact on their performance and the overall success of the organization. By creating a positive work environment, setting clear expectations and goals, offering growth and development opportunities, providing recognition and rewards, and fostering a collaborative culture, you can effectively motivate and engage your team.

 

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Connect with Phil on LinkedIn!

Introducing Our Partner – Mixte

Our partner Mixte

FYC Labs proudly introduces our partner Mixte Communications- a renowned social justice communications agency committed to creating positive change. Mixte’s innovative approach to strategic communications emphasizes equity and community empowerment.

 

About Mixte:

Life is short — our choices matter.

That’s the truth that guides all of us at Mixte Communications, an immigrant-owned, woman-owned and values-run agency. It’s why we’ve chosen to build our business around helping social change agents to define their space — from strategic partnerships, to insightful media stories and thoughtful strategies across digital channels.

 

Our clients are grassroots organizations striving for change and the businesses who see they can build a better way. We’re honored to support them with digital marketing, public relations and strategic communications, and we bring an intentional approach to our work. We’re especially proud of our Mixte Momentum Model — a proprietary communications framework to achieve justice.

 

Of course, you don’t have to just take it from us! 2023 marked our second year being recognized with excellence for Best Boutique Agency for our commitment to equity. This award joins several others we’ve received for projects with incredible changemakers like Earthjustice, the American Council on ExerciseLeague of Women Voters of California and more.

Mixte is full of powerful storytellers and creative minds. Here, all of us choose to use our power to fight for equity and justice.

 

Curious for more? Let’s stay connected:


Check out more of the FYC partners!

Strategies for Small Business Persistence and Growth in Challenging Times

Strategies for Small Business

Small businesses face a unique set of challenges that can make it difficult to survive and thrive. For starters, they often lack the resources and economies of scale that larger businesses enjoy. This can make it harder to compete on price and marketing efforts. Small businesses may also struggle to access capital, as they may not have the track record or collateral needed to secure loans or investments. Additionally, they may face regulatory hurdles, labor shortages, and other operational challenges. All this can make it tough to keep the doors open. Despite these obstacles, small business owners continue to find creative ways to innovate and succeed, often by tapping into their unique strengths and entrepreneurial spirit. Let’s discuss some small business strategies for persistence and growth in challenging times.

 

Know Your Customer

 

Understanding your target audience and their needs is critical for the success of any business. Without this understanding, it can be difficult to create products or services that meet their expectations and preferences. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts, product development, and customer service to their specific needs and desires. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher sales, and a more positive reputation for your business. By gathering customer feedback and using it to inform your decisions, you can create a customer-focused culture within your business that prioritizes meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations. Ultimately, understanding your target audience is a key component of building a successful and sustainable business.

 

We asked FYC LABS’s CFO Graham Peck:

What is the best way for small businesses to keep their existing customers?

 

“Retaining existing customers is easier than acquiring new ones, though both are critical for business success. Ensuring fairness and transparency in all your dealings, such as contracts and invoicing, is essential to maintaining good client relationships. Another important factor is having a great team. At FYC, our high customer satisfaction is largely due to our talented and dedicated team members who go above and beyond to meet our clients’ needs. To keep both existing and potential customers satisfied, it’s crucial to have exceptional people on your team and as clients. Clear and open communication between your team and clients is also crucial to building a culture of transparency and trust.”

Graham Peck


Build a Strong Brand

 

You brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and creates a unique identity for your products or services. For small businesses, building a strong brand is especially important, as it can help establish credibility and trust with potential customers. A strong brand can also create a loyal customer base that is more likely to return to your business and recommend it to others. Additionally, a well-defined brand can help you differentiate your business from competitors and attract new customers. By investing in your brand and ensuring that it is consistent across all touchpoints, you can build a strong foundation for your business and increase your chances of long-term success.

 

Develop a Solid Business Plan

 

Having a clear vision and plan for your business is essential for success, as it provides a roadmap for achieving your goals and ensures that everyone in your organization is working towards a common objective. A clear vision can help you define your purpose, values, and long-term objectives, while a well-crafted plan can help you break those objectives down into actionable steps. Without a clear plan in place, it can be difficult to prioritize tasks, allocate resources, and make informed decisions about your business. Additionally, having a solid plan can help you anticipate potential challenges and identify opportunities for growth. By creating a clear vision and plan for your business, you can ensure that you are working towards a specific goal and increase your chances of achieving sustainable success.

 

Manage Your Finances Effectively

 

Small businesses face a variety of financial challenges that can make it difficult to maintain profitability and growth. One major challenge is cash flow, which refers to the timing of when money flows into and out of the business. Small businesses may struggle with cash flow due to slow-paying customers, seasonal fluctuations, or unexpected expenses. Taxes are also a significant financial burden for small businesses, as they may be subject to a complex array of federal, state, and local taxes, as well as payroll taxes for employees.

Additionally, small businesses may have difficulty accessing funding, as traditional lenders may be hesitant to lend to businesses without a track record of success or substantial collateral. Alternative funding options such as crowdfunding or microloans may be available, but they often come with higher interest rates or stricter terms. By understanding these financial challenges and seeking out resources to address them, small business owners can better position themselves for success.

 

Cultivate a Strong Team

 

Having a strong team allows you to leverage the collective skills, knowledge, and experience of your employees. A strong team can help you achieve better results, meet deadlines, and tackle complex projects more effectively. It can also create a positive work culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, and innovation. By hiring the right people, training them effectively, and providing ongoing support and feedback, you can create a team that is invested in your business’s success and committed to achieving your goals. Ultimately, a strong team can help your business stay competitive, adapt to changes in the market, and achieve sustainable growth over time.

 


 

Small businesses play a significant role in driving economic activity and creating jobs in the United States. However, they also face unique challenges such as limited resources, financial constraints, and regulatory hurdles that can hinder their growth and success. By understanding their target audience, building a strong brand, developing a solid business plan, managing their finances effectively, and cultivating a strong team, small business owners can increase their chances of long-term success. Despite the obstacles they face, small business owners continue to demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit and resilience, finding innovative ways to succeed and thrive in an ever-changing market. With the right strategies and mindset, small businesses can continue to play a vital role in driving economic growth and creating opportunities for individuals and communities alike.

 

You May Also Like:

 

Launching a Successful Small Business: Insights and Strategies

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Connect with Graham on LinkedIn!

How Technology Will Revolutionize Our World in the Next 5 Years

Upcoming technology revolution

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, it’s exciting to consider what the world might look like in five years. From the way we live, work, and interact, technology is sure to play a major role in shaping our future. Here are some predictions for what the tech landscape might look like in 2029.

Over the next five years, we can expect significant technological breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. From cutting-edge advancements in AI, blockchain, and quantum computing to the rise of 5G networks, IoT, and edge computing, we will see a wide range of digital transformation predictions becoming a reality. Additionally, emerging technologies like nanotechnology and biotechnology will transform the way we approach healthcare and other industries. The integration of virtual and augmented reality in various sectors is also expected to redefine how we interact with technology and each other. These breakthroughs will not only impact the tech industry. They will also have a significant impact on other industries, changing the way we approach and solve problems.

Let’s explore the upcoming technology revolution that will reshape our world over the next five years.

 

  • 5G Networks Will Be Ubiquitous

 

While 5G networks are already available in some areas, they’re still being rolled out across the world. By 2029, it’s likely that 5G will be the norm, providing faster speeds, lower latency, and more reliable connections. This will enable a whole host of new applications and services, from autonomous vehicles to remote surgery to augmented and virtual reality experiences.

 

  • Artificial Intelligence Will Be More Advanced

 

Artificial intelligence is already making a big impact in industries like healthcare, finance, and transportation. In the next five years, we can expect AI to become even more advanced, with more sophisticated algorithms and neural networks that can process and analyze larger amounts of data. This will enable AI to do things like recognize emotions, understand natural language, and perform more complex tasks.

 

Digital transformation is a continuous process that will undoubtedly see significant advancements in the next five years. One of the key predictions is the widespread adoption of edge computing. Edge computing involves the decentralization of computing power and storage to the edge of the network, closer to where data is generated. This shift will result in faster and more efficient data processing, allowing for real-time decision-making and analysis. We can also expect to see more automation and AI implementation in various industries. This will definitely lead to increased productivity and cost savings. The use of AI in areas such as customer service, supply chain management, and healthcare will revolutionize how businesses operate and how we interact with technology.

 

  • The Internet of Things Will Be Everywhere

 

Another digital transformation prediction for the next five years is the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices. IoT refers to the connection of various devices and objects to the internet, enabling them to send and receive data. This technology has the potential to transform how we live, work, and interact with our surroundings. From smart homes to connected cars and cities, the possibilities for IoT are endless. However, with the rise of connected devices comes the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures to protect against potential threats. As such, we can also expect to see advancements in cybersecurity technology to keep pace with the rapid developments in IoT and other digital technologies.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already transforming the way we live and work. In the next five years, we can expect IoT devices to become even more ubiquitous, with more and more objects connected to the internet. This will enable new applications and services, from smart homes and cities to personalized healthcare and education.

 

  • Quantum Computing Will Become More Practical

 

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize computing by enabling us to solve problems that are currently impossible to solve with classical computers. While quantum computing is still in its early stages, it’s likely that we’ll see more practical applications of the technology in the next five years. This could lead to breakthroughs in fields like materials science, drug discovery, and cryptography.

 

 

  • Blockchain Will Be Widely Adopted

 

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform industries like finance, healthcare, and supply chain management. In the next five years, we can expect to see more widespread adoption of blockchain, as more organizations recognize its potential to improve efficiency, security, and transparency. This could lead to a more decentralized and democratic economy, with fewer intermediaries and greater trust between parties.

 

Of course, these predictions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other technological advances that could emerge in the next five years. Biotechnology, nanotechnology, and space exploration are just some of them. The future is uncertain, but one thing is clear: technology will continue to shape our world in ways we can’t even imagine.


We asked our CEO/CTO Justin Fortier:

Where will technology be in five years, and how will FYC adopt?

“I think in five years, AI and automation will play a significant role in our industry. Especially in creating startup applications, SaaS products, and small business tools. AI will automate the menial tasks, giving us more time to focus on high-level architecture-type projects. This will not decrease jobs but rather change the way we write code. FYC is keeping an eye on these changes and adapting accordingly. We increase our competency in flutter to build a single code base for multiple platforms. Additionally, cybersecurity has become a top priority as threats continue to grow. We are working to stay ahead of the demand for secure applications.”

Justin Fortier


 

The technologies mentioned above have the potential to reshape how we live and work in numerous ways. Edge computing, for example, will enable faster and more efficient data processing, allowing for real-time decision-making in various industries. This will result in improved customer experiences and increased productivity. The rise of automation and AI will also transform how we work, enabling businesses to streamline processes and cut costs. The use of AI in healthcare will revolutionize the way we approach medical diagnoses and treatment. The Internet of Things will transform how we live, allowing for greater connectivity and convenience in our homes, cars, and cities. Overall, these technologies will have a significant impact on our daily lives, making them more efficient, convenient, and connected.

 

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Small Businesses and AI: Increasing Efficiency and Addressing Misconceptions

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Connect with Justin on LinkedIn!

Introducing Our Partner – Blush

Blush Design

Blush is a design tool that allows anyone to mix and match a diverse library of illustrations for projects of any type: keynotes, websites, social media posts, apps, books- anything! The coolest part? They are royalty-free, so you can use them on personal and commercial projects! Their mission is to empower creators of all backgrounds to tell their stories with the power of illustrations.

What sets Blush apart is a massive library of customizable illustrations crafted by top artists from around the globe. With Blush, you can effortlessly modify these illustrations to fit your project’s unique style and needs, giving you the freedom to express your creativity without boundaries. How? You can change the color palette with a click and even play around with the different components of each illustration (like eyes, mouth, and head shape) until you get the perfect doodle!

Another defining feature of Blush is that it’s easy to use for creatives of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros. It’s incredibly user-friendly, ensuring that anyone can tap into its potential. On the plus side, Blush has plugins that work directly on the tools you love and know, like Figma & Sketch.

In short, it’s all about putting the power into the hands of designers, makers, marketers, engineers, and creatives of all types and skill levels. For the Blush team, there’s nothing better than seeing projects come to life with the help of our customizable illustrations.


Connect with Blush on LinkedIn!

Check out our parter San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence

Metrics that Matter: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Work Processes

Effectiveness of Your Work Processes

Evaluating the effectiveness of work processes helps organizations strive to optimize their operations and achieve their goals. Understanding which work processes are working well and which ones need improvement can help teams identify areas for growth and increase productivity. 

Let’s explore some key metrics that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your work processes. From time management and quality control to efficiency and cost-effectiveness, we’ll discuss the most important metrics to keep in mind when evaluating work processes.


We asked FYC Labs COO Phil Lorenzo:

How do you measure the effectiveness of a work process?

 

“Knowing how much time and resources are being used to complete the work is crucial. This can be measured by looking at metrics such as the average completion time, resource utilization, and the number of rework or corrections required.

It’s also important to track and measure the process performance over time and compare it to the established goals and standards. This will give a clear picture of the areas that need improvement and help make data-driven decisions.

Measuring the effectiveness of a work process involves evaluating multiple factors such as customer satisfaction, efficiency, budget, delivery time, and process performance. The key is to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics to get a comprehensive view of the process’s effectiveness.”

Phillip Lorenzo

 

Identifying Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

 

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are measurable values that indicate how effectively a company is achieving its objectives. Selecting the right KPIs is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of work processes. Depending on the industry and work process, KPIs may vary. For example, a manufacturing company may use KPIs such as production volume, defect rate, and on-time delivery, while a customer service department may use KPIs such as first-call resolution rate, customer satisfaction score, and average response time.

 

Measuring Efficiency

 

One common tool for measuring efficiency is through time tracking, which can help identify where time is being spent and where improvements can be made. Other methods for measuring efficiency include process mapping and productivity analysis. By using these tools and methods, businesses can gain a better understanding of how efficiently their work processes are functioning and where there is room for improvement.

 

 

Tracking Quality

 

To measure the quality of work processes, metrics such as defect rates, error rates, and customer feedback can be used. Different tools can be implemented to improve quality and reduce defects. By regularly measuring quality metrics, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to ensure continuous improvement.

 

Assessing Customer Satisfaction

 

Customer satisfaction is a critical metric for evaluating the effectiveness of work processes. It directly reflects how well the organization is meeting the needs and expectations of its customers. To measure customer satisfaction, organizations can use surveys, feedback forms, or social media monitoring tools to gather feedback from their customers. These metrics can provide valuable insights into customer sentiment, identify areas for improvement, and help organizations prioritize their efforts to enhance the customer experience.

 

Analyzing Data and Making Improvements

 

Once you have collected data on KPIs, efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction, it is important to properly analyze and interpret that data to identify areas for improvement. This may involve identifying patterns, trends, or anomalies in the data. Once you have identified areas for improvement, it is important to develop a plan of action for making improvements. This may involve implementing process changes, providing additional training to team members, or investing in new technology or equipment. The key is to use data insights to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

 

 

Common Challenges and Solutions

 

When it comes to evaluating work processes, there are some common challenges that organizations may face. One of the biggest challenges is getting accurate data that reflects the actual performance of the process. Another challenge is identifying the root cause of any issues that are identified during the evaluation. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning and execution of the evaluation process. It’s important to involve all relevant stakeholders and to use data-driven approaches. Organizations should also be open to making changes and adjustments to the process based on the findings of the evaluation. By addressing these challenges head-on, organizations can gain valuable insights into their work processes. This way they can make meaningful improvements to increase efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.

 

Using the right metrics can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your work processes and drive improvements. It’s important to select relevant metrics, establish a baseline, and track progress over time while regularly communicating results to stakeholders.


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Building a Strong Team: Strategies for Retaining Top Talent

Meet FYC Labs COO – Phillip Lorenzo

Launching a Successful Small Business: Insights and Strategies

Launching a successful small business

Launching a small business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. From developing the initial business idea to securing funding, navigating legal requirements, and building a customer base, there’s a lot to consider when starting a new venture. In this article, we’ll explore expert advice and tips for turning your vision into a successful reality. Whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur or an experienced business owner, you’ll find valuable insights and strategies for building a thriving small business.


Understanding key insights allows businesses to be proactive rather than reactive, as they can anticipate potential challenges and adapt their strategies accordingly. By keeping up with key insights, small business owners can stay relevant and sustainable in a constantly evolving market.

 

Cash flow management

 

Cash flow management is crucial for small businesses to maintain a healthy financial position. It involves tracking the inflow and outflow of cash in the business and ensuring that there is always enough cash on hand to cover expenses and debts. A solid understanding of cash flow management can help small business owners make informed decisions about their financial future, such as investing in growth opportunities or avoiding excessive debt. It also helps them to identify potential cash shortages before they become major problems, allowing them to take proactive measures to mitigate the impact. Without effective cash flow management, small businesses may struggle to pay bills, make payroll, and ultimately stay afloat. Therefore, small business owners need to prioritize cash flow management and seek professional advice if needed.

FYC Labs’ CFO Graham Peck shares some insights:

What are some of the biggest challenges small businesses encounter?

 

“As a CFO, I have observed that one of the biggest challenges for small businesses is maintaining discipline in various aspects of their operations, particularly in managing cash flow. Whether it’s controlling expenses or ensuring timely collections from customers, losing focus on these processes can be detrimental to the health of the business. At FYC Labs, we are developing a new product called Accru to help small businesses streamline their invoicing and payment processes, particularly those with complex collection cycles. In addition to cash flow management, small businesses face challenges in recruiting and maintaining a steady flow of work. These challenges have become more pronounced due to recent economic turmoil, making it all the more crucial for small business owners to remain disciplined and focused on these key areas.”

Graham Peck

 

Embracing Technology for Growth

 

Technology plays an important role in helping small businesses achieve sustainable growth and remain competitive in the ever-evolving marketplace. With advancements in technology, small businesses can streamline their operations, automate processes, and improve overall efficiency, leading to increased productivity and profitability. The implementation of technology also provides businesses with valuable insights into their customers’ behaviors and preferences, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to enhance their offerings and improve customer experience. Furthermore, embracing technology can expand a business’s reach and allow them to connect with customers worldwide, thus increasing sales and revenue. In today’s digital age, embracing technology is no longer a choice for small businesses, but rather a necessity for success.

Building Strong Customer Relationships

 

Developing strong relationships with customers not only enhances customer satisfaction but also drives business growth through referrals and repeat business. Small businesses can build strong relationships by focusing on understanding their customer’s needs and preferences while delivering excellent customer service. Additionally, they should communicate regularly with their customers through various channels like social media, email marketing, etc., to keep them informed of new products, services, or promotions. Finally, small businesses should aim to resolve any issues or complaints promptly and effectively as this can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and help build trust over time.

 

FYC Labs’ CFO Graham Peck shares some insights:

What is the best way for small businesses to keep their existing customers?

 

“Retaining existing customers can be more important than acquiring new ones, though both are critical for business success. At FYC, we are proud of our high customer satisfaction, which is largely due to our talented and dedicated team members who always go the extra mile.  Additionally, fostering a culture of transparency and trust relies heavily on clear and open communication between your team and clients. Ensuring fairness and transparency in all your dealings, be it contracts or invoicing, plays a vital role in maintaining strong client relationships. Our commitment to these core principles is what sets us apart as a company and allows us to provide exceptional value to our customers. “

Graham Peck

Running a small business can be challenging, but these important insights highlighted above can help you navigate those challenges and increase your chances of success. Firstly, managing cash flow effectively is crucial. This means keeping a disciplined approach to your expenses and ensuring that your customers pay on time (stay tuned for the release of Accru). Also, embracing technology can help you streamline your processes and reach out to new customers. Finally, building strong relationships with your customers is vital and it requires you to focus on delivering exceptional service, listening to feedback, and building trust. By understanding and prioritizing these key insights, you can set yourself up for long-term success in your small business.


You may also like:

 

Meet FYC Labs CFO – Graham Peck

5 Insider Tips for Small Business Success with FYC Labs’ CFO Graham Peck

Maximizing Productivity: Evaluating the Impact of Your Technology Stack

Maximizing Productivity

Productivity is a main factor for success. It enables us to achieve our goals, meet deadlines, and ultimately make the most of our time. Technology can play a significant role in either enhancing or hindering productivity. This is where the concept of a “technology stack” comes in.

A technology stack refers to the collection of hardware, software, services, and applications that an individual or organization uses to achieve their goals. The right technology stack can help increase productivity, while the wrong one can have the opposite effect. In this post, we will explore the impact of technology stacks on productivity and provide readers with tips on how to evaluate their technology stack to ensure they are maximizing productivity.

 

“As a business owner and entrepreneur, one of the key considerations when building or revamping your technology stack is cost. You want to ensure that your technology solutions are both scalable and cost-effective.

Our current stack is designed to be both quick and easy to maintain, which helps to keep business costs down. We’ve created several reusable templates and scripts that allow us to spin up new solutions with minimal human intervention. Additionally, we use a serverless architecture, meaning that we have auto-scaling servers, rather than one single server that could eventually fill up.”

Justin Fortier


1. Assessing the Effectiveness of Your Technology Stack

 

There are several criteria that you can use to evaluate the impact of your technology stack on productivity:

  • Ease of use refers to how easy it is to operate and navigate through the different components of your technology stack. 
  • Efficiency refers to how quickly and effectively you can achieve your tasks using your technology stack.
  • Compatibility which assesses how well the different components of your technology stack work together
  • Reliability is also an essential criterion, which evaluates how often your technology stack encounters issues such as crashes or errors. By evaluating your technology stack based on these criteria, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your technology stack to enhance productivity.

 

To assess the effectiveness of your technology stack, there are several tools and methods that you can use:

  • Surveys can be an effective tool for gathering feedback from users about their experience with your technology stack.
  • User testing involves observing users as they perform tasks using your technology stack and collecting data on their interactions and feedback.
  • Performance metrics, such as page load times or processing speeds, can also be used to measure the efficiency of your technology stack.

These tools and methods can provide valuable insights into how your technology stack is working for you. It can also help you make data-driven decisions about optimizing your technology stack for maximum productivity.

2. Optimizing Your Technology Stack for Productivity

 

To optimize your technology stack for productivity, there are several strategies that you can implement:

  • Upgrade your hardware, such as purchasing faster computers or more powerful smartphones. This can help you work more efficiently and complete tasks more quickly. 
  • Streamlining workflows is another effective strategy, which involves analyzing your work processes and identifying areas for improvement. This may involve removing unnecessary steps or automating certain tasks.
  • Integrating apps and services is another way to optimize your technology stack, as it can help you work more seamlessly between different tools and avoid the need for manual data entry.

 

It is important to regularly review and update your technology stack to ensure maximum productivity. Technology is constantly evolving, and new tools and services are continually being developed. By regularly reviewing your technology stack and assessing its effectiveness, you can identify areas for improvement and ensure that you are using the most up-to-date tools and services available. Regular updates and maintenance can also help to prevent issues such as security breaches or software failures, which can disrupt productivity. By staying on top of your technology stack and making continuous improvements, you can ensure that your technology is working for you and not against you, ultimately helping you achieve your goals and increase productivity.

The value of evaluating and optimizing your technology stack for productivity cannot be overstated. Regularly reviewing and updating your technology stack can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you are using the most up-to-date tools and services available. By taking these steps above, you can maximize your productivity and achieve your goals more efficiently and effectively.


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Building Your Tech Stack: Essential Software Tools for a Startup’s Success

Connect with Justin on LinkedIn!

Partner Spotlight: ConnectivTech

ConnectivTech

ConnectivTech is comprised of high-end business technology advisors who specialize in vetting companies/vendors and matching them with the businesses they help. ConnectivTech has emulated a model that all the Fortune 500 to the Fortune 5 have in-house. They have dedicated departments for vendor selection and procurement while understanding the value of outsourcing to the right professionals/organizations.

ConnecitivTech has taken an enterprise-level solution and has brought that to all businesses. To maximize the value they bring to the client, they proactively vet organizations to create an approved vendor list. They are here to help your business find vendors you would otherwise have not found on your own.

Businesses these days have no choice but to outsource some aspects of their company. Whether it is something as simple as your Microsoft subscription for emails or Excel sheets for something more complicated like cyber security, your business relies on other organizations to function. Outsourcing to the right vendors can make or break a business. To ensure they make strong matches, ConnectivTech doesn’t get paid until their clients select the right vendor.

ConnectivTech is your advisor, advocate, and trusted partner to ensure your business is surrounded by the right people.


Check out more of our partners!

Design Lab: Designing Your Vision and Bringing Your Ideas to Life

Design Lab

Brand identity is an essential part of any successful business. It is the unique personality, values, and characteristics that make a brand distinct and recognizable to its target audience. Graphic design plays a significant role in creating and conveying brand identity. From logos and color schemes to typography and visual elements, everything matters. In this blog post, we will discuss some key strategies for putting a brand into graphic design.


  • Understand the brand

The first step in putting a brand into graphic design is to understand the brand. This means gaining a thorough understanding of the brand’s identity, values, and target audience. By understanding the brand, you can ensure that your design choices accurately reflect the brand’s personality. Resonating with its audience is crucial.

 

  • Use consistent branding elements

Consistency is key in branding. It is essential to use consistent branding elements across all of the brand’s visual communications, including graphic design. This includes using consistent colors, fonts, and visual elements in all designs, as well as incorporating the brand’s logo and other identifying marks. By maintaining consistency, you help to reinforce the brand’s identity and make it more memorable to its audience.

 

  • Choose the right color scheme

Color is an essential part of graphic design and is closely tied to brand identity. Choosing the right color scheme can help to reinforce the brand’s personality and values, while also creating a memorable and recognizable visual identity. For example, a brand that wants to convey a sense of professionalism and authority might choose a color scheme of black, white, and grey, while a brand that wants to convey a sense of energy and excitement might choose bright and vibrant colors.

 

  • Use typography effectively

Typography is another crucial element of graphic design that can help to convey brand identity. Choosing the right fonts can help to reinforce the brand’s personality and values. This also creates a consistent and recognizable visual identity. For example, a brand that wants to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication might use a serif font, while a brand that wants to convey a sense of modernity and innovation might use a sans-serif font.

 

  • Use imagery that resonates with the brand

Using imagery that resonates with the brand can help to reinforce its identity and create a memorable and engaging visual identity. For example, a brand that wants to convey a sense of environmental responsibility might use imagery of nature and sustainable practices, while a brand that wants to convey a sense of luxury might use imagery of high-end products and lifestyles.

 

 

FYC Labs’ Head of Design, Brianne Fortier, gives her insights:

What more can you tell us about color contrast and visual hierarchy?

 

“Color contrast and visual hierarchy play a crucial role in creating an effective and accessible user interface. Good color contrast ensures that text and other elements are easily readable by all users, including those with visual impairments. In contrast, poor color contrast can strain the eyes and make it difficult for users to navigate and interact with a website.

 

Visual hierarchy refers to the arrangement of elements on a page based on their importance. This helps users quickly scan and understand the content and navigate to the information they are looking for. For example, a designer may choose to use a brighter or more contrasting color for buttons to make them stand out and draw the user’s attention to them. Similarly, text can be arranged in a hierarchical way, with headers being larger and bolder and subheads being smaller. This would make it easier for users to quickly scan and understand the content.

 

Both color contrast and visual hierarchy are critical considerations for designers and developers to create a user-friendly and accessible interface. By ensuring that colors are well contrasted and elements are arranged in a logical and intuitive way, designers can create interfaces that are easy to use and navigate, even for users with visual impairments.”


Putting a brand into graphic design requires a thorough understanding of the brand’s identity and target audience. It also requires the use of consistent branding elements, the right color scheme, effective typography, and imagery that resonates with the brand. By incorporating these strategies into your graphic design work, you can help to create a memorable and engaging visual identity that accurately reflects the brand’s personality and values.

 

Follow us on LinkedIn!

 

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Winning Culture: Key Components for Building a Strong Company Culture

Strong Company Culture

A winning culture refers to the collective mindset, values, and practices that shape a company’s behavior and outcomes. It’s a culture that fosters innovation, high performance, and excellence. A winning culture is built on a foundation of strong leadership, a clear and shared vision, and a set of core values that guide decision-making and behavior across the organization. It prioritizes employee engagement, continuous learning and development, and recognition and reward, all of which help to create a positive work environment and inspire employees to achieve their full potential. Building a strong company culture is a challenging task but with the right approach, it is a rewarding journey.

 

FYC Labs’ COO Phillip Lorenzo shares some insights:

 

What are the most important aspects of company culture?

 

The most important aspects of company culture are participation and empathy. People should feel like they can contribute to the culture and have a say in shaping it. Additionally, empathy is crucial for building an inclusive and emotionally supportive environment. When people feel like they are valued, heard, and understood, they are more likely to bring their best selves to work and contribute to the company’s success. A culture that fosters these values will create a positive work experience for employees and improve overall morale.

I truly believe that the pivotal element of company culture lies in ensuring that people within it feel empowered to shape that culture. Often, specific figures like the CEO, CFO, or COO play a significant role in steering a company’s culture. They can influence it, but it is equally essential for the workforce to sense their ability to make meaningful contributions. Everyone should have a voice in shaping the culture. Take, for instance, the pursuit of diversity within a company’s culture. It’s great when diversity is sought as an integral part of the company’s image or to enhance different perspectives. However, employees must be able to actively participate and define what the culture represents collectively.

The nature of participation largely depends on the type of culture a company aims to foster, which is a significant factor in how individuals perceive their ability to contribute. If no one feels they have a say in the culture, motivation to engage diminishes.

Moreover, empathy is paramount. You can make an effort to understand someone’s perspective and background, but without genuine empathy, without taking the time to truly comprehend their experiences, it’s challenging to create an inclusive company culture. It’s essential to put yourself in their shoes and strive to appreciate the reasons of their feelings. In the absence of empathy, achieving a company culture that acknowledges the emotional aspect of work becomes nearly impossible.

Work is an inherently emotional place for people. While there is a theoretical separation between professional and personal life, it’s undeniable that personal elements are woven into every decision, critique, and feedback at work.


To build a winning culture, a deliberate and strategic approach is needed. Key components for building a winning culture include:

 

  • Clear and shared vision to inspire and motivate employees
  • Strong core values to guide decision-making and behavior
  • Focus on employee engagement to create a positive work environment
  • Continuous learning and development opportunities to help employees grow and develop their skills
  • Recognition and reward program to celebrate and incentivize high performance

 

Each of these components contributes to building a culture of excellence, innovation, and high performance that sets a company apart from its competitors and drives sustainable success over the long term.

 

Clear and shared vision

 

Having a clear and shared vision is a key component of building a winning culture. A clear vision sets out the company’s purpose, direction, and goals, providing employees with a sense of purpose and direction in their work. A shared vision means that everyone in the organization is aligned around the same goals and working towards the same objectives. When employees understand and buy into the company’s vision, they are more motivated to work towards achieving it. By inspiring and motivating employees, a clear and shared vision helps to create a culture of innovation, high performance, and excellence that drives sustainable success over the long term.

 

Strong Core Values

 

Core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide decision-making, behavior, and actions in a company. They represent the organization’s culture and identity, and define what the company stands for and how it operates. Core values are a set of guiding principles that determine how employees interact with one another, customers, and stakeholders. They are the foundation of a company’s culture and help to create a sense of purpose and direction for employees. Strong core values are essential for building a winning culture as they help to create a shared sense of identity and purpose across the organization, and guide decision-making and behavior in a way that supports the company’s goals and objectives.

 

Focus on Employee Engagement

 

Employee engagement refers to the extent to which employees feel invested in and committed to their work, their colleagues, and the organization as a whole. It’s a measure of how motivated, satisfied, and connected employees are to their job and the company they work for. Employee engagement goes beyond job satisfaction and includes factors such as enthusiasm, dedication, and passion for the work being done. Engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond their job requirements, take ownership of their work, and contribute to the success of the organization. A focus on employee engagement is crucial for building a winning culture. It helps to create a positive work environment, foster collaboration and teamwork, and inspire employees to achieve their full potential.


“To drive employee engagement across an organization, the first step is to ensure that the team chemistry is strong and collaborative. It’s important to understand the purpose of the engagement, whether it’s team building, improving work efficiency, or fulfilling a specific goal. A sense of purpose is more important than happiness in the workplace. To persuade employees to engage, if the team chemistry is strong, it should be easy, but if it’s not, then you need to work on a more individual level and understand each employee’s characteristics. The key is to make sure that the engagement has a purpose and that everyone feels fulfilled.”


Continuous Learning and Development

 

Continuous learning and development refers to the ongoing process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, and abilities to enhance performance and achieve personal and professional growth. It involves investing in employee development through training, coaching, mentoring, and other forms of learning opportunities. Continuous learning and development is critical for building a winning culture. It helps employees to stay up-to-date with industry trends, develop new skills and expertise, and improve job performance. It also helps employees to stay motivated and engaged in their work, and promotes a culture of innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement. A focus on continuous learning and development is essential for companies to remain competitive and drive sustainable success over the long term.

 

Recognition and Reward

 

Another essential component of building a winning culture is recognition and reward programs. They involve acknowledging and celebrating the achievements and contributions of employees, and providing incentives for high performance. Recognition and rewards can take many forms, including bonuses, promotions, public praise, and other forms of acknowledgement. They help to create a positive work environment and foster a culture of excellence, innovation, and high performance. Recognition and reward programs also play a crucial role in retaining top talent. They provide employees with a sense of appreciation and fulfillment. By recognizing and rewarding high performers, companies can motivate employees to continue striving for excellence. That helps to build a winning culture that drives sustainable success over the long term.

 

Each of these components contributes to building a culture of excellence, innovation, and high performance. This sets a company apart from its competitors and drives sustainable success over the long term.


 

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Bridging Nonprofit Gaps for Transformative Change: Mackenzie Langley’s Journey with Lighthouse

Mackenzie Langley Lighthouse

Mackenzie Langley, founder of Lighthouse, spearheads a mission-driven endeavor revolutionizing the nonprofit landscape. Lighthouse serves as a collaborative social network empowering nonprofit leaders to forge strategic partnerships and leverage untapped resources, enriching impact and efficiency. Inspired by personal challenges post-accident and driven by a vision to bridge gaps in the nonprofit sector, Mackenzie reimagined connectivity, aiming to propel nonprofits toward transformative change.

The mission of Lighthouse is to eliminate the disconnect between available resources and those in need. Mackenzie’s journey, ignited by personal struggles in accessing nonprofit support, highlighted the sector’s archaic connectivity, prompting a quest for innovative change. Recognizing inefficiencies in resource allocation and organizational practices, Mackenzie envisioned Lighthouse as a technological solution, empowering nonprofits to unlock their full potential and create sustainable solutions for their communities.


Mackenzie Langley, founder of Lighthouse, shares transformative insights and visionary perspectives in this interview with FYC, offering a compelling narrative of innovation in the nonprofit sector.

What is the mission and purpose of Lighthouse?

 

Lighthouse is revolutionizing the nonprofit sector by building a collaborative social network that makes it easy for nonprofit leaders to develop strategic partnerships and share resources to enhance their impact and efficiency. At Lighthouse, we believe that there is no reason available resources should be left unused solely because people in need are unable to access them. By making it easy for nonprofit leaders, who already possess the skills to build sustainable solutions, with the necessary tools to address the challenges in their communities we are ensuring that public need and public good can always find each other at the intersection of opportunity.

 

What inspired the creation of Lighthouse, and how did the idea for this organization come about?

 

At 16 years old I was a passenger in a car accident that left me paralyzed. In a moment, I went from a healthy and active teenager to needing help and support in a way I could have never imagined. After my accident, I needed specific support, and finding nonprofits online was challenging. 

What I would come to realize is that the nonprofit sector is stuck in the “Yellow Pages” era. It remains hard to connect online. As a result, whether you are looking for help or are eager to connect with new opportunities to give back through volunteering and donating, Google is entirely unhelpful. 

My early career in the nonprofit space also taught me that organizations don’t always work as efficiently as they could be. The outdated practices for allocating resources often result in organizations not having as great an impact as they could be.

Living in the technological revolution we are in, I realized that this problem doesn’t need to persist. By revolutionizing this sector we are setting up nonprofits and the communities they serve for success against the challenges that they face. 

In what ways do you see technology, particularly AI, playing a role in shaping the future of social impact and charitable initiatives, based on your experience with Lighthouse?

 

The nonprofit and social impact space is notably technologically delayed. There are so many opportunities to use innovative technology tools, such as AI, to increase the impact and efficiency of the sector. At Lighthouse we want to be intentional about any implementation of tech we include in our products. We want to ensure we are not simply adding tech because it is “buzzworthy”. We want it to truly add value to the community we are fostering. I am excited to share that in collaboration with FYC Labs we identified a truly valuable opportunity to add AI components to the platform that are in line with our vision and values. More on this to come!

 

Community engagement is crucial for platforms like Lighthouse. How do you plan to foster and grow the community around your platform in the long term?

 

At Lighthouse, the community is at the center of everything we do. We are intentional about building Lighthouse alongside our nonprofit partners rather than for them, fostering a community that nonprofit leaders take ownership and pride in.

We’ve implemented strategic approaches to ensure a collaborative community:

  • Launching by location- we hyperfocus on the unique needs of every community, building meaningful connections and opportunities for joining nonprofits.
  • Being reachable- nonprofits can share their experiences with us on Lighthouse and in their day-to-day work. This strengthens our understanding and community bonds.
  • Meetups- developing Lighthouse to encourage both on-screen and off-screen connections. In-person opportunities facilitate relationship-building, a key factor in the nonprofit space, and provide educational value.

In the long term, our intentional foundation is set to support nonprofits in fostering a thriving community as we scale. It’s not just about growth; it’s about building a sustainable and impactful collaborative environment.

 

Lighthouse aims to connect people with nonprofits. Can you share a success story or a memorable instance where your platform facilitated a meaningful connection between a user and a nonprofit organization?

 

At Lighthouse, our vision is to create a vibrant marketplace connecting nonprofits and individuals. We want to ensure that no available resources go unused. One impactful example showcases the power of collaboration within our community.

Decade2Connect, a nonprofit on Lighthouse, found themselves with 23 surplus bed frames following a transition from residential to outpatient care post-COVID. Uncertain about the next steps, they reached out for assistance. Through Lighthouse, we orchestrated the transfer of these bed frames to CASA, another nonprofit furnishing homes for those aging out of foster care.

This story vividly illustrates the tangible benefits of uniting nonprofits. Decade2Connect saved resources previously allocated to storage. Then CASA could redirect time and effort from grant applications for funding the furniture to focusing their efforts on serving their community.

This success story mirrors numerous instances on our platform, from clothing and hygiene products to baby formula and worker safety gear. It exemplifies our core belief: when nonprofits collaborate, the community does better.

What challenges has Lighthouse faced, and how have you overcome them?

 

At Lighthouse, navigating challenges is inherent to our journey as an early-stage startup. Our commitment to solving a crucial problem in the nonprofit space has fueled our resilience in overcoming obstacles. Passion is our driving force, propelling us to delve deep into the intricacies of the nonprofit sector. It also makes us remain open to refining our solution to better align with their evolving needs. This dedication has not only shaped our adaptive approach. It has also fortified our resolve to create meaningful impact through innovative solutions.

 

What’s next for Lighthouse?


To say I am so excited about what’s next for Lighthouse would be an understatement. First thing on the agenda is finishing up the build-out for Lighthouse 2.0. Then getting into the market in Denver. We are eager to fine-tune the product as needed. This way we can establish product market fit and set our sights on the second launch location. After such an incredible response from CodeLaunch and the DFW, we may very well find ourselves there next!

Right now, we’re putting the final functionality features on Lighthouse 2.0 and gearing up for its launch in Denver. After so much incredible feedback from the local nonprofits there, we are excited to get it out there and into the hands of the nonprofits. We’re confident that this product is tuned to their needs. After the buzz at CodeLaunch and the warm welcome in DFW, who knows? The next geographic stop might be closer than we think

 

How can people support your mission? 

 

Even as we are gearing up to launch in Denver, we’re excited to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations everywhere, regardless of where you are. If you’re passionate about our mission and are outside Denver, join our waitlist at lhsocial.co/waitlist. Your input guides us on where to launch next and ensures we’re building something meaningful together, one community at a time.


Mackenzie Langley Lighthouse

Connect with Mackenzie and Lighthouse on LinkedIn!

Check out our nonprofit page!

Celebrate GivingTuesday with our Nonprofit Clients!

Nonprofit organizations

GivingTuesday is a worldwide initiative promoting the profound impact of radical generosity. Established back in 2012, the concept of the day was pretty modest- fostering goodwill and celebrating giving. At FYC Labs, we are committed to helping nonprofits thrive. Over the years, we’ve partnered with various nonprofit organizations, leaving a lasting impact on their communities. Through collaborative efforts, FYC Labs assists nonprofits in leveraging technology to maximize their outreach.

Today, we would like to ask you to embrace the movement and check out some of our nonprofit clients. Every contribution and donation will be greatly appreciated!

FYC Labs Attends Inc. 5000 Conference: A Recap

Inc. 5000 Conference

At FYC Labs, we understand that recognition in the business world is a significant achievement and we were honored to rank number 791 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. This recognition is a testament to our hard work, dedication, and innovation. Last week, FYC Labs Partner and CFO Graham Peck, embarked on an inspiring 3-day journey to join other honorees at the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala in San Antonio, Texas. This event provided us with the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the brightest minds in the business world.

 

The grand finale of the Inc. 5000 event was the Black Tie Gala, hosted by the multi-talented actor, author, and activist Terry Crews. This extravagant event featured live entertainment, networking opportunities, and the chance for honorees to come together, providing an ideal atmosphere for forging new partnerships and friendships.

 

The Inc. 5000 event also served as a fantastic networking opportunity for all attendees, allowing the exchange of ideas and experiences. In particular, we were thrilled to see FYC Labs’ partner, Doe Media, as an honoree at the event. It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate the achievements of fellow entrepreneurs and innovators, creating a sense of camaraderie and inspiration.

Key Speaker Sessions

 

The event featured a diverse range of speaker sessions, each offering valuable insights into various facets of entrepreneurship and business growth including:

 

Building the Future of Fast Growth

Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder and CEO of Gorgie; David Regn, co-founder and CEO of Stream; Curtis Hite, chairman and CEO of Improving, shared insights into strategies for rapid business growth.

 

Building the Future of Transparency

Experts discussed the next-gen 2-D barcode’s impact, featuring Carrie Wilke, SVP, standards and technology at GS1 US; Michael Walters, founder and president of studio503; Psyche Terry, co-founder and CEO of UI Global Brands and Urban.

 

The Future of Mental and Physical Health

Deepak Chopra, founder of The Chopra Foundation, delved into the well-being of entrepreneurs, focusing on mental and physical health.

 

Building the Future of Marketing and Branding

Industry leaders, including Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, co-founders of Glow Recipe; Rohit Bhargava, founder of Non-Obvious Company; Andrew Benin, co-founder and CEO of Graza, discussed innovative strategies for brand success.

 

Your Next Move- Disruption for a Healthier Future: Improving and Expanding Nutritious Options for All Ages

Jennifer Garner, co-founder and chief brand officer of Once Upon a Farm, shared her insights on improving and expanding nutritious options for all ages, disrupting the industry for a healthier future.


In conclusion, the Inc. 5000 Conference and Gala provided valuable insights and inspiration for all attendees, reinforcing our dedication and innovation at FYC Labs. As we continue to grow and innovate, the experiences gained from this event will undoubtedly serve as a source of motivation and guidance.

We are also thrilled to announce that we were recently recognized as a leading IT Services provider by Inc. Magazine’s Power Partners list! 

Small Businesses and AI: Increasing Efficiency and Addressing Misconceptions

Small Businesses and AI

Integrating AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants into your small business operations is no longer just a futuristic notion- it’s a strategic move that can lead to substantial cost-saving advantages. These digital entities, often built upon the foundation of OpenAI’s LLM Chat GPT, have evolved beyond mere text-based interactions. As we delve into the possibilities of expanding these language model tech stacks, small businesses stand to gain a powerful tool capable of infusing their unique voice, context, and domain-specific knowledge. This evolution represents a pivotal moment, allowing businesses to extract and integrate their own expertise seamlessly into these chatbots, resulting in truly personalized and efficient customer support.

In this post, Founder and CEO/CTO of FYC Labs Justin Fortier talks about the potential benefits and addresses a common misconception about AI that has gained undue prominence in recent discussions.


What cost-saving advantages can small businesses potentially gain by implementing AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants to manage customer inquiries and support?

 

Chatbots essentially are white-labeling and repurposing OpenAI’s LLM Chat GPT. Looking ahead, as these LLM tech stacks expand, small businesses will gain the capability to infuse their unique voice, context, and domain-specific knowledge.

We can begin extracting your domain-specific expertise and integrating it with the chatbot, and that’s when everything will change. So, this aligns with the experiment I’m conducting- merging these elements to craft exclusive, tailored chatbots that truly understand your business and your clients.

 

What is the most significant misconception regarding AI?

 

The truth is that most discussions revolve around ChatGPT, but AI has been around for decades. A considerable amount of machine learning expertise remains highly valuable – predictive analytics, comprehending trends, and making predictions. All of this remains incredibly useful, and you should still be seeking out data scientists to tackle your statistical challenges.

However, with the wide fascination of Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI, we tend to overlook all of this. OpenAI is one prominent example of LLMs and ChatGPT is what most people are discussing.

But the misconception is that all AI is encapsulated within ChatGPT, which isn’t accurate. There are still numerous other developers and data scientists diligently working. I think the biggest myth is equating OpenAI with all of AI. There are countless other language models out there.

You have the freedom to explore a number of open-source models that individuals have trained. Currently, BERT stands out as the most popular one, along with object detection and style transfer models. The world of AI offers a treasure of fascinating possibilities.

What’s particularly exciting, in my opinion, is how GPT has democratized our access to these models. It kind of opened our eyes up that with pre-trained models, we don’t need to put as much effort as we once did. Previously, a significant struggle was collecting data. You’d be working with a small dataset, attempting to apply AI and machine learning. However, the limited data wouldn’t be enough for meaningful predictions.

However, with the availability of these large open-source models, the game has changed. For instance, take object detection – I can simply download that model and run it through TensorFlow to make my own predictions, without only relying on OpenAI’s version. There are also alternatives from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. I can run these models independently. This marks a revolution for developers venturing into AI because there used to be a substantial barrier to entry.

         

 

What are the primary ethical concerns associated with AI?

When it comes to the labor aspect, for me AI isn’t so much about replacing jobs as it is about enhancing our overall productivity. This will inspire us to set higher goals. People will still play a crucial role in this journey. Either through refining AI prompts to use the technology more effectively or reviewing AI-generated output, which isn’t always completely accurate. It doesn’t encompass all tasks, it isn’t flawless, and it’s not magic.

We’ve come to realize that we must validate what AI produces, so there’s a growing need for individuals to handle this task. I’m not overly concerned about job displacement in the short term. Instead, I believe AI will make many of us more efficient. Moreover, it will be a significant learning tool to second language learners who maybe are insecure and encounter communication challenges in their roles. Being a second language speaker can trigger feelings of impostor syndrome, and AI can provide substantial support in such cases. 

This is one aspect that I believe will level the playing field. It enables new minds, experiences, and talents to rise and compete effectively.

 

What is the most critical aspect that small businesses should be aware of regarding AI?

There are numerous methods available nowadays for spamming, spoofing, and impersonating others, and I must admit, my biggest concern lies with deep fakes. I approach messages like this with caution. Small businesses are vulnerable to these types of attacks. This issue can’t be solved just through traditional cybersecurity methods like improving passwords. It’s about training individuals to recognize social engineering attacks and establishing clear protocols within the company for responding to them. In my view, that’s the most unsettling aspect of it all.


Small businesses should approach AI with a blend of enthusiasm and caution. They should recognizing the opportunities AI presents while remaining vigilant about potential risks. By staying informed, adapting to evolving technologies, and prioritizing ethical considerations, small businesses can harness the transformative power of AI to thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

 

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5 Insider Tips for Small Business Success with FYC Labs’ CFO Graham Peck

Tips for Small Business Success

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to grow your small business, insights from experts in these areas can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of running a small business. By providing guidance on everything from developing a business plan to managing cash flow and building a strong team, small business insights can be an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs looking to achieve long-term success. With the right insights and strategies in place, small business owners can overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and achieve their goals in the ever-evolving landscape of modern business.

Today we talk with our CFO Graham Peck about the challenges, benefits, and responsibilities of a small business. Read the 5 insights for small business we discussed!


How can small businesses manage their employees better?

At FYC, we specialize in utilizing various systems to help in different aspects of business management. One significant area that has helped us immensely is having a payroll system that streamlines payments to both employees and contractors. We utilize the platform GUSTO, as well as other platforms to manage benefits and retirement plans. The highly specialized nature of modern technology emphasizes the need for businesses to have diverse tools for managing HR benefits, payroll, and other aspects of employee and contractor management to effectively care for their workforce.

 

What are the benefits of owning a small business?

In my view, owning a small business offers the benefit of providing people with meaningful job opportunities. It is gratifying to sell work and then recruit a team that finds the work engaging and rewarding. By providing jobs, you are enabling employees to achieve their personal goals, such as supporting their families, buying a home, or furthering their education. As a partner in the company, I take great pride in watching our employees grow both personally and professionally. It can be challenging to balance various business demands while also being transparent with employees about these challenges. However, the satisfaction of using technology to solve real-world problems and deliver meaningful outcomes is what motivates me to keep building and developing our products. Sometimes, our employees have even left our company for more lucrative offers, having acquired valuable skills and knowledge during their time with us.

 

What makes small businesses better than big businesses?

Small businesses have a significant advantage in their ability to be nimble. Unlike large corporations, small businesses can move quickly without the need for complex spending approvals, management organizations, legal teams, and multiple levels of decision-making. This flexibility enables small businesses to capitalize on industry changes and seize opportunities much faster than larger organizations.

Another advantage of being a small business is the ability to tailor policies to the specific needs of your employees. Unlike big corporations, small businesses have the ability to craft personalized policies and benefits that cater to the unique preferences of individual employees. This is due to the absence of cumbersome HR policies and the need to standardize benefits across thousands of employees. This makes small businesses more responsive to the needs and desires of their teams, both in terms of job satisfaction and benefits.

 

                                                 

What’s the main reason for a small business to fail?

Businesses often fail due to a lack of attention to detail when it comes to managing their cash flow. It’s easy to become complacent and assume that the business will always have enough money to keep running. This is a common pitfall that even larger businesses can fall victim to. When attention is diverted from being diligent about managing expenses and ensuring appropriate lines of credit or borrowing facilities, cash flow problems can arise. This is a problem that almost every failing business encounters at some point.

To run a business profitably, it is essential to have a deep understanding of your economics and pay close attention to the cash flow. If the economics of your business are unsustainable or not working, you will likely face cash flow problems, regardless of the size of your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain a careful eye on the details and always ensure that you are managing your cash flow effectively.

 

What are the top small business owners’ responsibilities?

What are the primary duties of small business owners? They need to establish the company’s vision and ensure that someone in the ownership or leadership team stays abreast of the day-to-day market trends to adjust their product or service offerings accordingly. They should ensure that their offerings meet the current and future demands of clients, respond to employee requirements, assess team members’ skills and attitudes to ensure they align with the company culture.


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The Art of Collaborative Creation in Client-Centered Design

Collaboration in design

Collaboration is key in the design process. It allows designers to work together to produce the best possible outcome. When working with a team, designers can bounce ideas off each other, which leads to new perspectives and creative solutions. Collaboration also helps to ensure that the design aligns with the goals and vision of the project. It allows for open communication and feedback, which can be incredibly helpful in refining the design.

It’s essential to involve the client in the design process because they know their business better than anyone else. By collaborating with them, you can better understand their needs, preferences, and goals, and you can create designs that align with their vision. Involving clients in the design process helps to build trust, establish clear communication, and avoid any misunderstandings that may arise along the way.

 

What does a great collaboration with a client look like?

 

“The level of client’s direction may vary depending on their location and level of knowledge regarding their desired outcome. To ensure a successful collaboration with a client, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the specific web pages they require. In cases where they are unsure, we can work together to create a clear plan. Furthermore, having a defined idea of their content can help with the design process.

It is crucial to work with the client in a way that allows them to consider our advice on potential issues and solutions while also being receptive to our suggestions. We collaborate with clients to optimize site speed and minimize potential problems. We listen carefully to their requirements and provide expert guidance to enhance user experience.

The most productive collaboration with a client occurs when there is mutual respect for each other’s expertise. We value the client’s business goals and ideas, while they trust and value our suggestions and experience.

In the end, a superior designer is someone who can accomplish these aims by producing a visually striking end product that fulfills both the client’s objectives and user requirements.”


Benefits of Collaborating with Clients

 

Collaborating with clients in the design process has many benefits. Understanding the client’s needs is crucial to creating a successful design that meets their requirements. By working together, designers can gain insight into the client’s goals and preferences, which can help them tailor their design approach to meet those needs.

 

  • Collaborating with clients can help designers better understand their needs and expectations for the project.
  • It can also help avoid misunderstandings by ensuring that both the client and designer are on the same page throughout the design process.
  • Working together can also build trust between the client and designer, leading to a more positive and productive working relationship.
  • Ultimately, collaborating with clients can enhance the final product by incorporating their feedback and ensuring that the design meets their goals and objectives.

 

     

 

Strategies for Successful Collaboration

 

Success is dependent on effective teamwork. To achieve this, some strategies come in place. By employing them strategies, designers and clients can work collaboratively towards a successful outcome.

 

  • Clear communication ensures that all team members understand the objectives and expectations of the project.
  • Defining roles and responsibilities allows team members to focus on their strengths and work towards a common goal.
  • Setting realistic goals and timelines ensures that the project stays on track and avoids delays. 
  • Encouraging feedback fosters open communication and allows for the integration of diverse perspectives, leading to a better final product.
  • Being flexible and adaptable allows the team to pivot when necessary and respond to unexpected challenges.

 

Tools for Collaboration

 

With the advancement of technology, there are numerous tools available to help designers and clients work together seamlessly.

  • Project management software, such as Trello and Asana, can be used to assign tasks, track progress, and set deadlines.
  • Communication tools like Slack and Zoom facilitate real-time conversations and video conferencing.
  • Sharing tools, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, allow for easy sharing of files and documents.
  • File-sharing platforms like InVision and Figma enable designers to create interactive prototypes and share designs for feedback in real-time.

 

Challenges of Collaboration

 

Collaboration between designers and clients can be a rewarding and productive experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Communication barriers can arise when both parties are not on the same page or when there are language or cultural differences. Creative differences can lead to misunderstandings and misaligned expectations. Limited resources can also impact the quality of work and timelines. Conflicting schedules can make it difficult to coordinate and prioritize work effectively. However, by being aware of these challenges and finding ways to address them, designers and clients can still work together successfully to achieve their goals.

 

While there may be challenges in successful collaboration, by using the right tools and strategies, designers and clients can work together to enhance the final product and achieve their desired outcomes. Embracing collaboration can lead to better understanding of client needs, avoidance of misunderstandings, building trust, and ultimately, creating a successful project. So, don’t be afraid to collaborate and bring the best out of your design projects.

 

“In the design industry, collaboration is key. It’s not just about the designer creating something on their own, but rather it’s about working together with the client and other team members to achieve the best possible outcome. A great designer is always open to feedback and willing to make changes to their design based on the client’s input.”

Brianne Fortier


Connect with Bri on LinkedIn!

 

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FYC Labs’ Commitment to Honesty, Integrity, Transparency, and the Importance of Choosing Reputable Agencies

FYC Labs

In the realm of agency services, organizations rely on partners for a wide range of crucial needs. These needs include having a trusted partner to lead marketing efforts, building out complex digital products, and addressing fractional requirements such as a fractional CTO. Additionally, organizations often seek dedicated services, such as engineers, to provide crucial support when projects ramp up and they lack internal bandwidth.

 

However, not all agencies are created equal, and some have earned themselves a bad reputation. In this blog post, we will explore why agencies can get a bad reputation and emphasize the importance of FYC Labs managing clients with honesty, integrity, and transparency. We will also highlight the broader reasons organizations should choose their agency partners wisely. The actions of a few bad agencies can unfairly tarnish the reputation of the entire industry.

 

The Pitfalls of Agencies with a Bad Reputation and Their Impact on the Industry

 

Overpromising and Underdelivering

One of the most common ways agencies tarnish their reputation is by making extravagant promises to clients without the ability to fulfill them. When agencies overpromise and underdeliver, it leads to disappointed clients who feel misled and unsatisfied with the results. This not only damages the client-agency relationship but also the agency’s overall reputation, contributing to the perception that agencies are prone to overhyping their capabilities.

Lack of Transparency

Transparency is essential in any business relationship. Unfortunately, some agencies operate in a shroud of secrecy, leaving clients in the dark about their strategies, progress, and fees. This lack of transparency not only harms individual agency-client relationships but also contributes to the general distrust in the industry as a whole. Potential clients may become hesitant to engage with agencies, fearing a lack of transparency that can harm the entire industry.

Unethical Practices

Agencies engaging in unethical practices such as subpar work quality or missing deadlines can quickly acquire a bad reputation. These practices harm clients and damage the industry as a whole. Clients rightfully expect their agency partners to act ethically and in their best interest. The actions of unethical agencies can cast a shadow over the entire agency sector, making it challenging for trustworthy agencies to maintain a positive image.

Poor Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful agency-client relationship. When agencies fail to keep clients informed about project progress, setbacks, or changes in strategy, it can create frustration and mistrust, portraying the entire industry as unreliable. When agencies as a whole are seen as poor communicators, it can deter potential clients from seeking agency partnerships, adversely affecting the industry.

Inflexibility and Resistance to Change

Agencies that refuse to adapt to new trends, technologies, or client needs risk falling behind, resulting in client dissatisfaction and a negative reputation. This rigidity also contributes to the perception that agencies are slow to innovate, further damaging the industry’s name. A reputation for inflexibility and resistance to change can affect agencies collectively, making it essential for agencies to demonstrate their adaptability.

Inflated Hours

Some agencies may overstate the number of hours required for a project, leading to inflated bills. This unethical practice can strain your budget and damage your trust. Ensure that the agency’s billing practices are fair and transparent. Inflated billing practices not only harm individual clients but also feed the perception that agencies are money-driven and untrustworthy. When a few agencies are perceived as prioritizing profits over honesty, the entire industry can suffer as potential clients question the billing practices of agencies as a whole.

Addressing these pitfalls and their potential harm to the industry is not just a matter of individual agency concern. It’s also one that collectively affects the reputation and credibility of the agency sector. Agencies committed to ethical practices, transparency, and client-centric service play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the industry and reassuring potential clients of its reliability and trustworthiness.

Why FYC Labs Prioritizes Honesty, Integrity, and Transparency

 

Setting Realistic Expectations

At FYC Labs, we understand the importance of setting achievable goals and expectations. We believe in honesty from the outset, ensuring that our clients have a clear understanding of what we can realistically accomplish for their projects. By managing expectations, we aim to avoid the pitfall of overpromising and underdelivering.

 

Open and Transparent Communication

At FYC Labs, transparency is ingrained in our agency’s values. We maintain open lines of communication with our clients, offering regular updates on project progress, milestones, and strategy adjustments. We also provide our clients with access to our FYC portal. This portal enables them to review time entries, statements, and project management details. We firmly believe that well-informed clients are the most satisfied clients.

 

Ethical Practices

FYC Labs operates with the highest ethical standards. We never engage in subpar work quality or miss project deadlines that could harm our clients or the industry’s reputation. Our commitment to ethical project management ensures that our clients can trust us with their projects and their reputation.

 

Adaptability and Innovation

In the fast-paced world of agency services, FYC Labs stays ahead by embracing change and innovation. We continually evaluate and adjust our strategies to remain effective in a dynamic environment, ensuring that our client’s projects stay relevant and successful.

 


Agencies can get a bad reputation for a variety of reasons, including overpromising, lack of transparency, unethical practices, poor communication, and resistance to change. Unfortunately, these actions can give the entire industry a bad name. However, FYC Labs, with its commitment to honesty, integrity, and transparency, strives to build strong, trusting relationships. Together with our clients we want to contribute to a positive perception of the industry as a whole. In today’s competitive business landscape, a good reputation and adherence to ethical standards are invaluable. FYC Labs is dedicated to upholding the highest standards to maintain ours while supporting organizations in achieving their goals.

 

Find us on LinkedIn!

Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO – Justin Fortier

Meet FYC Labs CFO – Graham Peck

Partner Spotlight: San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence

San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence

For the second consecutive year, FYC Labs is proud to announce its continued membership in the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration between businesses, academia, and government to enhance the regional cyber economy and ensure a safer digital community for all.

About CCOE: 
San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) is a nonprofit that mobilizes businesses, academia and government to grow the regional cyber economy and create a more secure digital community for all.

Our Programs and Initiatives focus on:

  • Increasing regional cyber resiliency
  • Seeding and diversifying the talent pipeline
  • Driving collaborative cyber innovation

Based on these pillars, CCOE develops best practices and templates that can be piloted industry-by-industry or scaled to the city, state or federal level to seed the talent pipeline, drive innovation, and protect our nation’s infrastructure.

While founded by a collection of world-class cyber organizations with operations in San Diego, CCOE is open to any entity with a stake in our regional cyber economy. Representative CCOE members and partners include: Biocom California, Booz Allen Hamilton, California Governor’s Office of Planning & Research and Military Council, City of Carlsbad, City of San Diego, City of Vista, Deloitte, ESET North America, FBI, FICO, FYC, Girl Scouts, Lockton, National Defense Industry Association, National Foundation for Autism Research, National University, NICE, Mastercard RiskRecon, Port of San Diego, Qualcomm, Raices Cyber, Scripps Health, Sharp Healthcare, U.S Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (CISA and Homeland Security Investigations), U.S. Navy’s Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), U.S. Secret Service, WiCyS and many more.

Together we move the needle on challenges and opportunities facing our region and the cyber industry. Please see our Q2 Newsletter, Annual Report and Cyber Insiders Podcast for an overview of our collective efforts and join us!

AI-Powered Data Transformation: The Power of Embeddings Endpoint and Vector Store

Embeddings Endpoint and Vector Store

In today’s data-driven world, where technology advances at an unprecedented pace, one thing remains constant: the crucial importance of efficient data management and accessibility. Whether you’re a seasoned data scientist crunching numbers, a forward-thinking machine learning engineer shaping AI models, or a tech-savvy IT professional overseeing data infrastructure, you’re well aware that the way you store, retrieve, and interact with data can make or break your success.

 

In this blog, we’re about to embark on an exciting journey that promises to reshape your data storage landscape. Imagine a groundbreaking approach that not only simplifies the management of extensive datasets but also accelerates data processing and enhances accessibility, all while preserving the natural format of your valuable information. Enter the world of Embeddings Endpoint and Vector Store, a revolutionary architecture poised to change the way we perceive data storage.

 

Unlocking the Potential of Embeddings

 

At the heart of this innovative architecture is its ability to directly store raw embeddings, eliminating the need for complex conversions into structured formats. With this approach, data retains its natural form, resulting in faster processing and more efficient data retrieval. This simplifies data management and may even reduce the volume of data requiring processing during the training and inference phases.

 

“Our journey begins with the integration of Large Language Model (LLM) statistics into our workflow. People across various industries have turned to OpenAI for answers to their questions. But what’s next? Our partnership with OpenGrants has taken AI deployment in a unique direction, focusing on natural language processing rather than traditional machine learning and predictive analytics. We’re in the process of constructing these tech stacks that seamlessly incorporate your domain expertise, also known as domain-specific knowledge.”

The new stack includes four core components:

  • Data preprocessing pipeline
  • Embeddings endpoint + vector store
  • LLM endpoints
  • LLM programming framework

 

Key differences from the older tech stack:

  • Reduced dependence on structured data stored in knowledge graphs due to enhanced information encoded in LLMs
  • Adoption of a ready-made LLM endpoint as the model, instead of an in-house custom-built ML pipeline, particularly in the initial stages.
  • Substantial reduction in developers’ investment of time for training specialized information extraction models, resulting in faster and more cost-efficient solution development.

 

Here some key elements to this new approach: 

 

A Unique Fusion of Domain Expertise and AI

 

This innovative path forward involves blending domain-specific knowledge with OpenAI or another LLM, giving rise to a new approach. This approach empowers us to curate chat interactions and experiences that goes beyond the repetitive responses often encountered when working just with OpenAI. It’s about crafting responses that bear the specific touch your business needs.

 

With this tech stack, you gain the ability to infuse your domain-specific expertise, effectively merging your business expertise with OpenAI. The outcome? Responses that reflect your business’s specialized knowledge, unrestricted by predefined prompts. These responses draw influence from your context, evaluated through a mathematical representation known as a vector database.

 

From Theory to Practice: Crafting Engaging, SEO-Optimized Landing Pages

 

Our practical implementation of this technology takes place on the WordPress side. Here, we harness OpenAI’s natural language generation capabilities and blend them with domain-specific knowledge to craft engaging, search engine-optimized landing pages. Imagine the possibilities of accumulating a vast amount of information within a vector database- a resource that empowers you to engage with OpenAI and provide highly specific answers.

 

Our Ongoing Journey

 

We’re not stopping here. We’re actively experimenting with the development of our NLP tech stack, anticipating our upcoming implementation with Founder Shield and eager to collaborate further with our key clients. Stay tuned for more exciting developments on the horizon.

 


Connect with Justin on LinkedIn!

 

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Leading with Empathy: Why It’s Essential for Effective Leadership in Today’s Business World

Effective Leadership in Business

The Benefits of Empathetic Leadership

 

Leading with empathy has numerous benefits for both employees and leaders. Philip Lorenzo, FYC Labs COO, highlights:

 

“The crucial aspect to consider when dealing with employees facing performance challenges is understanding their perspective. It’s not just about labeling them as underperforming but rather delving into the root causes behind their performance issues. We should ask questions like: Is it related to client issues? Are they encountering frequent obstacles? Identifying the underlying causes and approaching it with empathy is the key.”

 

One of the primary benefits of an empathetic leadership style is that it can positively impact employee motivation and productivity. When employees feel seen, heard, and valued by their leaders, they are more likely to feel invested in their work and be motivated to perform their best.

 

It’s also important to distinguish between chronic underperformance and temporary setbacks,” says Philip Lorenzo. “For short-term underperformance, a candid conversation to understand the situation can be immensely helpful. By taking this approach, we can humanely address the issue and offer support. We can also provide necessary resources to help the employee improve or even provide them with a break if needed. We have a flexible approach, including an unlimited PTO policy for full-time employees, to ensure our team members have the time and space to address personal matters.”

 

Empathetic leaders can also improve workplace communication and collaboration by creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. This fosters a sense of trust and openness, leading to better teamwork and increased creativity. However, if underperformance persists over an extended period, Philip Lorenzo suggests:

 

“We adhere to our standard protocol of progressive discipline, which may lead to termination. However, given our size and flexibility, we also explore alternative solutions for chronic issues. Our quarterly reviews provide opportunities for employees and contractors to receive feedback and adjust their work to enhance performance. If someone is genuinely trying to improve but struggling due to a steep learning curve, we consider repositioning them to areas where they excel. This allows them to regain their confidence before attempting the challenge again. Our goal is to support and uplift our team members. This means helping them return to their strengths and perform at their best.”

 

Additionally, empathetic leaders can help identify and address potential conflicts before they escalate, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and workplace tension. Overall, leading with empathy can help create a positive work culture that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.

 

Navigating Challenges with Compassion

 

One of the challenges is balancing empathy with decision-making. Leaders must make tough decisions that may not always align with the needs or desires of their employees. In these situations, an empathetic leader must balance their compassion for their employees with the needs of the organization. Another challenge is dealing with conflict and difficult situations.

 

“Empathetic leaders must navigate conflict in a way that shows compassion for all parties involved while finding a resolution that works for everyone,” advises Philip Lorenzo. “This requires active listening, emotional intelligence, and the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes. Empathetic leaders must also be willing to have difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable, to address and resolve issues in a productive and empathetic manner.”

 

Empathetic leaders must also be willing to have difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable, to address and resolve issues in a productive and empathetic manner.

 

The Power of Self-Awareness and Active Listening

 

Developing empathy in leadership requires intentional effort and practice. One way to cultivate empathy is by developing self-awareness. Leaders who are self-aware understand their own thoughts, feelings, and biases, which can help them understand others better. They can recognize when their own emotions or experiences may be clouding their judgment, which allows them to approach situations with a more open mind.

Philip Lorenzo emphasizes:

 

“Another important skill for developing empathy is improving active listening skills. Active listening involves being fully present in a conversation, paying attention to nonverbal cues, and asking thoughtful questions. When leaders actively listen to their employees, they are better able to understand their perspectives and concerns. This can help build trust and create a more empathetic work culture.”

 

By intentionally practicing self-awareness and active listening, leaders can develop their empathetic leadership skills and create a more positive work environment.

 

Building a Supportive and Inclusive Workplace Culture

 

Incorporating empathy into workplace culture involves creating an environment where employees feel supported and valued. One way to do this is by encouraging open communication. Leaders can create opportunities for employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns in a safe and supportive space. This can be done through regular one-on-one meetings, team-building activities, or employee feedback surveys. When employees feel like their voices are heard and their contributions are valued. They are more likely to feel invested in their work and motivated to perform their best.

Philip Lorenzo’s insights conclude:

 

“Additionally, leaders can incorporate empathy into workplace culture by modeling empathetic behavior themselves. When leaders show compassion for their employees and make an effort to understand their perspectives, it sets the tone for the rest of the organization to follow. By creating a culture of empathy and open communication, leaders can foster a positive and productive work environment that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.”

 


Empathy can also positively impact employee motivation and productivity. Improved workplace communication and collaboration are other positives that come with it. Empathetic leaders can manage conflict and difficult situations better. By intentionally practicing empathy and incorporating it into workplace culture, leaders can create a positive work environment. That benefits both employees and the organization as a whole. Ultimately, empathetic leadership can improve organizational performance, enhance employee well-being, and promote long-term success.

Connect with Phil on LinkedIn.

Unlocking AI’s Potential for Small Businesses: A Guide for CTOs

Proprietary data and embeddings

In the dynamic world of technology that is constantly evolving, small businesses are increasingly looking to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive innovation, efficiency, and growth. If you’re a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a small business, you’re in a pivotal position to steer your company toward success by strategically implementing AI. This blog explores the myriad opportunities AI offers and how it can revolutionize your business operations. From leveraging proprietary data and embeddings to simplifying complex forms and using code completion tools, we’ll dive deep into the practical applications of AI that can make a substantial impact on your organization. Join us on this journey as we unravel the dynamic thread of AI in the grand tapestry of business evolution.


In this post, Founder and CEO/CTO of FYC Labs Justin Fortier talks about five concrete steps you can immediately take to leverage AI effectively and bring your business to the next level.

The Dynamic Duo of Proprietary Data and AI

 

In the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, a game-changing trend is taking center stage: the fusion of domain-specific knowledge with Chat GPT. If you’ve previously collected precious proprietary data through your application or you have crafted a data aggregator, this data can be reused for content creation purposes. Think dozens super super-optimized landing pages that take your domain knowledge to the next level created in minutes, not months.

The powerful new approach comes with using AI to add depth and character to your content beyond mere statistics and data dumps. It’s no longer sufficient to merely present the data. Now, we’re diving deeper by combining your proprietary data with a touch of AI magic. That crafts content that’s richer and more valuable for your users. The ultimate goal? Gaining a competitive edge in the ever-important SEO landscape, all while sticking to the best practices that drive you forward.

The goal is not just to produce new pages. To truly thrive, you should master the art of proper SEO structures and ensure seamless indexing, along with employing the right tagging techniques. By adopting these invaluable practices, you can set your business on a trajectory toward success.

 

Embeddings and String Matching

 

AI and Chat GPT are more than just tools for creating chatbots. They go far beyond simple prompt and response interactions. Diving into the world of vectors and embeddings can open up many possibilities. Think of embeddings as mathematical representations of content, phrases, quotes, summaries, etc.

By understanding embeddings, you can venture into the realm of content comparison, offering exciting opportunities for matchmaking applications. Utilizing OpenAI’s open API to create these embeddings empowers your application to perform captivating matchmaking tasks, especially for two-sided marketplaces seeking to connect buyers and sellers. It presents a powerful opportunity to harness the full potential of AI’s capabilities.

           

Embrace the Diverse Opportunities

 

OpenAI is undoubtedly the prominent language model, widely known for its convenience and ubiquity, making it highly accessible. However, it’s essential to recognize that other platforms have also made significant strides in the field of language models. If you are looking to browse over language models, check out Tensor Hub. It serves as an open-source AI model repository, offering a plethora of language models for anyone to access and utilize.

OpenAI’s achievements have sparked curiosity among many about these large language models. The best part? You don’t need to feel overwhelmed to collect vast amounts of data to train your custom models. With these pre-trained models readily available, your journey becomes smoother and more efficient.

Tensor Hub houses a rich collection of models, just waiting for you to experiment and delve into their capabilities. So, consider venturing beyond OpenAI and embrace the diverse opportunities awaiting you in the realm of accessible language models.

 

Leveraging AI Completions to Simplify Cumbersome Forms

 

One valuable aspect of our approach involves helping your users within the app through completions. Integrating completions is easy and can significantly enhance your application’s functionality. By leveraging pre-existing context data, we assist users in generating descriptions and swiftly navigating through complex forms. Imagine effortlessly inputting your company’s name, industry, and years in business, and watch as a description for your business is automatically generated, simplifying the process for filling out cumbersome forms.

With AI, we can reduce the friction associated with numerous long-form entries. By analyzing previous answers, the AI predicts and pre-fills subsequent form fields, creating a seamless flow for users to complete the required information. This innovative approach has proven to be incredibly beneficial for our clients, especially those with substantial projects or business descriptions to detail.

Navigating surveys can often lead to survey fatigue. However, with the help of completions powered by OpenAI, using their OpenAI SDK, JavaScript SDK, or any of their APIs, users go through the completion process so easily. This implementation has been remarkably successful, enhancing overall user experience. We’ve witnessed firsthand how this simple integration of AI can make a world of difference in creating a better user experience for everyone involved.

 

Utilizing a Variety of Code Completion Tools

 

Back when we were all budding programmers, Stack Overflow was our daily go-to. Learning alongside fellow boot campers, we often resorted to copy-pasting code snippets from Stack Overflow during our early learning days.

As a developer, it’s easy to spot when someone has taken that approach because suddenly their coding style and variable naming conventions differ from their usual practices – a clear sign of copy-pasting.

Even now, as we utilize OpenAI or any other powerful tools, we must retain the same level of awareness we had while learning on Stack Overflow. It’s essential to verify the code we receive and not blindly accept it. We can’t just rely on AI to produce flawless code; understanding what we’re doing is still essential.

However, these AI tools do offer significant shortcuts. Take, for instance, the task of writing an algorithm to calculate compound interest. You could try to recall the formula from a finance class or search for it on Google and attempt to implement it yourself. Or you can leverage OpenAI to efficiently generate a compound interest calculator in JavaScript, saving you valuable time and effort.

The biggest advantage is that AI tools minimize the time spent on menial tasks in a quickly implemented simple algorithm. It proves a highly effective solution that shortens the overall working time on a product. However, it won’t revolutionize your architecture or offer business solutions. Understanding the problem at hand remains our task.

We’ve been benefiting from various productivity tools, such as code auto-completion and TypeScript’s ability to look up types, for quite some time. These advancements continue to make us more efficient and productive.

Over-reliance on AI can lead to errors since it’s not flawless. Human error is always a factor. There’s a risk of developing an overconfidence in the tool’s capabilities and blindly trusting it without truly comprehending what’s happening. This fear of AI centers around the concern that we might become overly dependent on its power without fully understanding its limits.

Some developers used Stack Overflow to copy-paste solutions, thinking they were proficient engineers. They ended up creating unmaintainable and unsustainable projects, which is a parallel risk with AI. If not used wisely, it can lead us to venture beyond our expertise, potentially leading to broken or malfunctioning outcomes. When employing AI to read code, caution is essential.


In the grand tapestry of business evolution, AI emerges as a dynamic thread, weaving innovation, efficiency, and growth. As you navigate this transformative landscape, embracing AI’s potential while staying grounded in your understanding will undoubtedly shape a successful path forward.

 

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Meet FYC Labs CFO – Graham Peck

FYC Labs Chief Financial Officer

Graham Peck, FYC Labs Chief Financial Officer, is a technology investor and operator. He has Co-Founded or is a partner in multiple companies in the marketing, recruiting, software development, and cybersecurity industries.

In addition, Graham works as a Venture Partner with Cultivation Capital since 2019. He has helped to shape his family office’s investment committee since its inception over a decade ago. In doing this he has reviewed thousands of potential investments in the Angel/Venture Capital space including funds as well as the Real Estate sector.

Graham volunteers his time to teach the principles of government at a summer youth program sponsored by the American Legion called Illinois Premier Boys State.

Graham and his wife Mariia reside in Chicago and enjoy spending time outdoors and traveling.


Tell us a little bit more about your story with FYC. How did you meet the CEO & CTO Justin Fortier and how did you guys decide to be partners?

 

Justin and I met through a mutual friend. I expressed my interest in acquiring or investing in a custom technology development company, similar to FYC, and my friend mentioned that Justin was considering selling his company. This perfectly aligned with my interests. Justin was involved with a few startups that eventually became clients of FYC. He visited me in Chicago and during his visit, we worked together and also had a great time, solidifying our partnership.

After our first meeting, we worked on finalizing the transaction details. The process took about seven months, slightly delayed by the pandemic. I wanted to evaluate the pandemic’s impact before investing, and fortunately, it turned out to benefit FYC, leading to substantial growth.

 

Did you always aspire to have a career as CFO, or did it happen unexpectedly?

 

I have always liked technology and understood that it would play a significant role in my career. Additionally, I’ve always had a natural affinity for numbers, although I didn’t necessarily assume it would be a constant factor. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that my career has unfolded in the way it has. I have always envisioned myself as either an entrepreneur or a partner in a business, and I currently fulfill both roles. Technology has been an integral part of every company I’ve been involved with as a partner in different ways.

While my family’s business is highly technical from an engineering standpoint rather than software-related, it still involves advanced technical knowledge. I expected technology to be a substantial component, if not the predominant aspect, of my career, and it has proven to be true. As for finance, I didn’t always anticipate it being part of the equation, but considering my natural preference towards numbers, it’s not surprising that it has become a significant element. 

Being a partner responsible for overseeing the financial operations of a technology company perfectly merges these three aspects that have always been prominent in my mind.

 

What do you consider a measure of success for a small business?

 

It depends on what your definition of success is. Some small businesses dream of not being small businesses anymore. Some small businesses, depending upon the owner or partner’s desire, may be just trying to stay small for a long time. Do you want to grow your company? Or you want to grow your profits? Do you want to have a better work life balance? Some companies’ goal may be to shrink, if the owner doesn’t want to work as hard. Most of the time you’d probably sell your company or hire a general manager, CFO or CEO, to outsource that work and then take more time off, if that’s your life goal. Generally, it’s what the ownership and executive team want out of the business and then- are you headed in that direction?

What makes us successful at FYC, is the growth of our company in the past two and a half years. We provide meaningful jobs to more people now and that’s important to us. We want to keep growing and moving forward. Obviously, our partners want also our growth to be profitable. This year we took on a lot more projects where we’re joining a team basically as the co-founders.

We have joined a few companies as co-founders and we’re providing technical support and resources through the FYC team. It’s really cool to see all of that actually transforming into reality, to see that happen. I see that as a sign of success, because we identified early on that we wanted to do it. Our recipe for success is growth.

Profitability is always a struggle. But profitable growth, providing more meaningful jobs to our employees, contractors, and team members, being able to do work in exchange for equity or co-founding, to seat at the table for multiple different other client projects- that I see as a sign of success, because it was on our roadmap or goals to do that.

 

Looking back on your journey as a CFO, what is the one business tip or piece of advice you wish you had received before taking on the role?

 

There are a lot of things that I wish I knew. It’s kind of a “be careful what you wish for” to some extent. But I wish I had a little deeper understanding of how important paying attention to constant cash flow and collection was before I became a CFO. Still to this day, although I know more than I’ve ever known before, I wish I knew a little bit more about or thought a little bit more about tax-optimized business structures.

 

What sets FYC apart from other web development shops?

 

We have a fantastic team all throughout the company. Our dedicated employees excel at responding to our clients’ needs. Starting from our leadership down, we’ve always prioritized client delivery. Our team does an exceptional job of being empathetic and thoroughly understanding our clients’ needs. This empathetic view and approach are instrumental in delivering what our clients are looking for.

 

Can you give us some insights about the phrase “This was the best week of my life” written on your hands?

 

As part of the “Dear World” project, I had my picture taken at an after-party for Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2016. The project involves writing a word or phrase on your body to encourage conversations. My picture captures the incredible experience of my first international trip.

In September 2016, I took my first international trip to Kazan, Russia with a layover in Helsinki, Finland. The purpose of the trip was to conduct due diligence on a US company that had an office in Kazan, as a potential acquisition. Although the deal ultimately didn’t go through, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Until today, I still keep in touch with them. This trip sparked my love for international travel, which has only continued to grow since then.


Connect with Graham on LinkedIn!

Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO Justin Fortier!

Meet FYC Labs Chief Operations Officer Phillip Lorenzo!

Building Your Tech Stack: Essential Software Tools for a Startup’s Success

Tech Stack - Software Tools

In today’s digital age, technology plays an essential role in the success of any startup. As a result, building a strong and effective tech stack is crucial for a company’s growth and sustainability. The right combination of software tools can streamline business operations, increase productivity, and improve communication and collaboration within a team. However, with the abundance of options available in the market, choosing the right tools can be overwhelming. In this article, we will discuss the essential software tools that startups should consider incorporating into their tech stack to enhance their chances of success.

In order to successfully run a business, you need to rely on a tailored set of software tools that are specific to the size and stage of your company. While there is no universal stack that can be applied across all businesses, it is essential to identify the appropriate software for each phase of the business. In this post we are going to talk about the essential software tools for a startup’s success.

FYC Labs’ Founder and CEO/CTO Justin Fortier shares his preferred tech stack for a small business:

When it comes to running a business, I have a tailored stack for businesses of different sizes. One software cannot fit all, so it’s crucial to use the right tools for each business phase.


 

In the startup phase

For a team of one or two, the essential tools are Trello, Asana for basic to-do lists, and Notion for organizing content and writing. Notion is also great for sharing notes and memos with potential investors and incorporating charts, tables, and surveys.

As the business matures

With enough capital, organization, and employees, it’s time to bring in more sophisticated project management tools like ClickUp or Asana. Remote teams can incorporate Slack or Telegram, while Mac users can use Mac Messenger. Spark is a useful email tool for keeping all your emails in one place. Figma and Proto IO are excellent for prototyping, and Canva is great for creating marketing materials.

For a full-blown project management system

ClickUp or Jira is ideal, while Toggle is useful for time tracking. Quickbooks is an excellent choice for accounting, with a robust ecosystem of accountants, bookkeepers, and freelancers available for help. Solo entrepreneurs can opt for Fresh Books, and Air Table is perfect for keeping track of data, cataloging employees, and creating organization charts.

 

WordPress is still the king of website tech stacks, with many excellent plugins available. Bootstrap is an ideal CSS framework for coding faster, with responsive predefined classes. Bootstrap is also ADA compliant, making it easy to find developers who use it. React is perfect for front-end development, for both mobile and web applications, while GraphQL and Expres are popular choices for back-ends. Typescript is a great option, as it prevents type errors.

Javascript is an ideal language for front and back-end coding, with the same language working for both. A full-stack developer is one who can do front-end and back-end coding, and some infrastructure work like cloud setup and low-level Linux in shell scripting. A full-stack developer who can do everything across the board is highly sought after in the industry.”

Here’s a breakdown of different types of software stack:

 

1. Project Management Software

Firstly, startups should consider investing in project management tools to ensure efficient workflow and task delegation. These tools provide a centralized platform for team members to collaborate, assign tasks, and monitor project progress. They also enable teams to work remotely, stay on track with deadlines, and eliminate the need for endless email threads or in-person meetings. By integrating a CRM tool, startups can enhance customer satisfaction, track sales activities, and gain valuable insights into customer behavior to improve their products or services. Check out:

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Miro
  • Notion
  • Monday
  • Wrike
  • Jira
  • ClickUp
  • Celoxis
  • Airtable
  • Toggle (time tracking)
2. Customer Relationship Management Software

Another essential software tool that startups should consider incorporating into their tech stack is customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software helps companies manage their interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects, enabling them to better understand their needs and preferences.
Popular CRM software options include:

  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • Zoho
  • Oracle Netsuite
  • Customer.io
  • Monday
  • Pipedrive
3. Communication and Collaboration Software

Communication and collaboration software is an important component of any startup’s tech stack. This software is designed to facilitate teamwork, enabling team members to work together seamlessly and efficiently, regardless of their location. Communication and collaboration software allows team members to share files, send messages, and host virtual meetings, improving productivity and communication. Popular communication and collaboration tools include:

  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • Telegram
  • Spark
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Miro
  • Wrike
  • Jira

To select the right communication and collaboration software, startups should consider their team’s size and location, the features they need, and their budget. Choosing the right software can enhance a startup’s ability to collaborate effectively, leading to improved performance and growth.

4. Accounting and Finance Software

Another crucial part of a startup’s tech stack is an accounting and finance software, enabling the management of financial transactions, budgeting, and forecasting. This software can help startups monitor their cash flow, automate financial processes, and generate financial reports for analysis. Check out:

  • QuickBooks
  • Xero
  • FreshBooks
  • QuickBooks
  • Netsuite

Think again of your financial needs, the size of your team, and your budget. All hose platforms help startups streamline financial processes, but to reduce the risk of errors and make informed decisions based on accurate financial data, you need to pick the right fit for your company.

5. Marketing and Sales Software

Marketing and sales software is a crucial component of a startup’s tech stack, enabling the automation of marketing and sales processes. This software can help startups generate leads, manage customer relationships, and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Popular marketing and sales tools include:

  • Cus
  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • Pardot
  • Figma (prototyping)
  • Canva (marketing materials)

By using a similar tools you save time and resources, improve your customer engagement, and increase revenue growth.

Building a strong tech stack is crucial for any startup’s success. By choosing the right software tools, startups can streamline their operations, increase productivity, and improve communication and collaboration within their teams. By investing in project management and CRM tools, startups can better manage their tasks and customer relationships, respectively, leading to better business outcomes and long-term sustainability.


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Navigating AI for Businesses: Expert Insights from FYC Labs

Introducing Our Partner – OpenGrants

Opengrants

OpenGrants is a venture-backed startup that provides a grant search engine and expert marketplace for non-profit organizations, foundations, startups, and government agencies who are looking for grant funding. Their mission is to simplify the grant search and application process and increase efficiency and transparency in the granting industry.

One of the key features of the OpenGrants platform is its ability to facilitate AI-powered grant matches to enable a searchless experience for grant seekers. This is important because of how challenging the grant search process can be due to the varied names and descriptions of grant programs.

OpenGrants has also recently added several new features to its platform. That includes an advanced search functionality that enables organizations to search for grants based on specific criteria such as funding level, geographic location, and grant type. They have also launched automated billing for the grant writer marketplace.

 

OpenGrants is run by an experienced and passionate team of entrepreneurs and technologists. We believe that, if done right, a business can be an effective catalyst for lasting change. Our past experiences exposed major challenges with grant funding, so we’re building the tools and community to solve them. Our mission—build modern infrastructure for public funding to massively improve the efficiency and equity of those funds—is what drives us every day. The team includes Sedale Turbovsky, founder and CEO; Cody Hanson, co-founder and COO; and Pachia Cha, co-founder and full stack developer. OpenGrants leverages FYC to scale up its technical talent as needed, and has secured FYC founder Justin Fortier as a fractional CTO.

With their recent updates and features, OpenGrants is continuing to improve and innovate in the grant-making space, making it easier for organizations to do good in the world.


See More Of Our Partners Here!

Meet FYC Labs Head of Design – Brianne Fortier

FYC Labs Head of Design - Brianne Fortier

Meet FYC Labs Head of Design – Brianne Fortier. Head of UI/UX at FYC Labs since 2016, Brianne is a passionate and empathetic designer. With expertise in creating beautiful and intuitive user interfaces, she has played a crucial role in establishing FYC Labs as a leading web design agency. Brianne emphasizes the importance of designing with the user and client in mind, prioritizing accessibility and effective communication throughout the design process. Her commitment to collaboration and constant growth drives the success of her design team at FYC Labs. Collaborating with the team at FYC brings her joy, and she values a culture where communication and transparency are key to avoiding issues. Brianne believes in constant growth and effective collaborations that can really unleash her creativity. As a proud mother of two, she values family time and enjoys exploring new places and cultures.

 

 

Did you always want to be a designer or did it happen unexpectedly?

 

I’ve always had this passion for diving into the arts. But I have to admit, I was discouraged by others who told me that it wouldn’t be a profitable career and would remain nothing more than a hobby. I stumbled upon this perfect fit for me, almost by accident. I took all my life experiences, all the things I’ve learned throughout my life, and combined them with my artistic skills into a career that truly fulfilled me.

 

Tell us more about your first year with FYC.

 

I began my career at FYC Labs as a Project Manager after years of working as an art teacher. During my first year as a Project Manager, I also dabbled in design. For me, it was a great learning opportunity to be able to apply my teaching experience to the field of project management. I gained valuable insight into the various types of projects we undertook, while also observing the skilled designers at FYC. Along the way, I took on small projects to enhance my design skills.

 

What is your favorite thing about working at FYC?

 

I absolutely love what I do, especially when it comes to designing. But what really makes my job fulfilling is getting to work with such amazing people. The design team at FYC are my favorite people to collaborate with, and I always have fun working alongside other designers and developers too. From day one, I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with Kevin Love, our Head of Development, and it’s been so inspiring to watch us both grow together. The teamwork, variety of projects, and diversity of experiences here are what make it all worthwhile. I’m grateful for the chance to work with all sorts of different folks and businesses- it’s always a learning experience!

 

What sets FYC apart from other web development shops?

 

One thing that sets us apart is we really consider the client throughout the entire process. At every stage of our projects, our approach centers around putting the client first. As a design team, we recognize that our focus should be on designing for the client and their customers, rather than for ourselves. We listen intently to our clients and work to create solutions that cater to their needs. Above all, we make it our mission to deliver a final product that meets our client’s expectations and leaves them satisfied.

 

What is the most memorable moment from your FYC journey so far?

 

As UI/UX designers, our primary focus is on UI/UX design, and we are seldom tasked with creating logos. Personally, I find creating logos to be one of the most challenging tasks. However, when I created my first logo for GPG (Glenn Price Group), and they loved it with minimal changes, it was a memorable moment for me. I took their requirements and created a logo that matched their vision. It was a great feeling to have a happy client. While design comes naturally to me and I can do it quickly, creating logos and branding requires more thought processes.

Another very special moment in my career at FYC was my promotion to Head of Design. Becoming the Head of Design was a bit scary at first, but it ended up being a great opportunity for me to get better at what I do. When I started training new designers, it was really cool to see how much I had learned. I got to share some of my favorite techniques with them and also help them see where they could improve their own designs.

 

Tell us what you are passionate about in your career.

 

As a designer, I’m passionate about my work. I love creating designs that are visually appealing and functional. Making sure my clients feel appreciated and listened to every step of the way is something I truly care about. It’s a part of my job that I’m really passionate about.

 

What are your passions outside of work?

 

I am a mother to two adorable little girls who are my absolute joy. In addition to being a dedicated mom, I have a deep passion for interior design and fashion. I love exploring various possibilities for my home and imagining endless creative options. Being a highly visual person, I thoroughly enjoy working with colors and experimenting with different combinations. It’s one of those activities that can captivate me for hours on end, as I lose track of time while immersing myself in this delightful process.

 

Do you ever find yourself stuck when you’re in the creative zone? And if so, how do you deal with it?

 

Whenever I’m feeling stuck in a creative rut, I like to visit my favorite websites like Pinterest and Dribbble to get inspired. If I come across a design that’s not quite hitting the mark, I challenge myself to come up with something new and exciting. And when I need a break, I step away from my desk, grab a cup of coffee, or check out other sites that can help me get my imagination flowing again.

 

Can you share a project that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of that made you go “wow”?

 

FYC is developing a new product called Accru which is designed to get people paid on time. The project was personal to me as it was created to solve our own cash flow problems. The product has been designed keeping in mind the end user, which is me. Accru is going to make life easier for many service provider businesses, including construction companies, accounting firms, and agencies like FYC Labs. I am really proud of the UI/UX design work that has been put into Accru and I love the colors and branding that we have incorporated. I can’t wait to release Accru and help good people get paid on time. 

 

What’s next for your team at FYC? 

 

I am excited about expanding our design team and improving our skills. Although we are not perfect, we are constantly learning and utilizing our knowledge on new projects.

 

What do you consider the most challenging aspect of design?

 

Starting a new project can be intimidating. Each client has their own unique preferences and style, so it can be nerve-wracking to ensure that you fully understand their vision and can deliver the best work possible. However, once you dive in and start creating, things tend to fall into place. After a few pages or designs, you start to get a better feel for the client’s desired aesthetic, including colors, fonts, and assets. At that point, it becomes easier to design within their parameters. To provide the best options for the client, we always create several design choices. This gives them a wider selection to choose from and makes me feel more confident in our ability to deliver exactly what they want.

Also, I’m constantly challenging myself to learn and do better. I’d like to gain a deeper understanding of Figma, the design software used here at FYC, and learn more about creating animations. I’m even considering picking up some coding skills because I believe it could greatly enhance my design approach. 

 

What is your favorite part of the design process?

 

My favorite part of the design process is when I get past that first challenge and can now freely run with the project. Once I have a full understanding of the client’s vision, I feel like I can really dive in and start creating something truly special. There’s a certain energy and momentum that comes with this realization and it’s like, “Now I get it, let’s have fun with this!”

 

If we were to walk around your work workspace, what would we see?

 

I try to create a really nice and comfortable work environment for myself. You will see candles because they affect my mood, my water, and of course my coffee.


Connect with Bri on LinkedIn.

Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO Justin Fortier!

Meet FYC Labs Chief Operations Officer Phillip Lorenzo!

Navigating AI for Businesses: Expert Insights from FYC Labs

AI for Businesses

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and business, artificial intelligence (AI) stands as a transformative force. That force can shape the future of industries both large and small. To shed light on the practical applications of AI for small businesses and the potential pitfalls to avoid, CEO & CTO Justin Fortier shares his insights below.


 

Q: What are some ways that small businesses can start implementing AI to drive their business forward?

A: Of course, the implementation of AI depends on the nature of the business, but most small business owners can benefit from back-office support provided by ChatGPT/OpenAI and the ecosystem of plugins and apps that are leveraging their open SDKs. While going straight to OpenAI is a no-brainer for most, exploring plugins developed by industry leaders like Expedia and Kayak can also be invaluable. GPT is quickly becoming the executive assistant we all thought we could never afford.

 

Q: What are some mistakes that you see businesses make with AI?

A: The biggest mistake is not educating yourself on the features and impacts AI, particularly GPT, will have on your market. Believing you’re immune to its effects is a misconception; AI will impact your business sooner or later. On the other hand, some small business owners tend to overestimate its impact. The idea that AI can automate everything and lead to drastic layoffs is exaggerated. Striking a balance is key – while there are exciting possibilities, not all processes require automation or will yield significant ROI.

 

Q: How can FYC Labs help businesses thrive with AI?

A: FYC Labs specializes in blending domain-specific knowledge and generative AI to yield results, especially in the realm of SEO. Our unique approach has led to remarkable outcomes for our clients, demonstrated by an annual organic search traffic increased by 717%, for our client OpenGrants. Additionally, our quick adoption of widely available vector database solutions empowers us to provide low-cost and practical tools for storing, searching, and comparing vector embeddings. This enables us to develop products with algorithmic string-matching capabilities for improved user experiences. You can see read more about our dynamic landing pages and SEO strategies here.

 

Q: What are some trends that you are seeing with AI and business growth?

A: GPT-generated landing pages are rapidly becoming a staple in any business’ SEO strategy. At FYC Labs, we’ve harnessed this trend to develop proprietary tools that expedite SEO growth for businesses, as evidenced by our work with OpenGrants. While AI boasts a multitude of applications, GPT-generated landing pages stand out as a practical approach to boosting sales and overall growth.

 

Q: How can AI help businesses implement SEO?

A: AI is reshaping the landscape of SEO, and FYC Labs is at the forefront of this transformation. Beyond GPT-generated landing pages, AI-driven SEO encompasses much more. Imagine the ability to navigate through vast amounts of data to identify keywords and trends that resonate with your target audience. This is the power of AI. Our proprietary tools go beyond landing pages, optimizing content, predicting user behaviors, and positioning businesses as SEO frontrunners. AI is the driving force behind the next big thing in SEO strategies.

 

Q: Do businesses need a technology partner to help keep up with the changing landscape and AI?

A: Absolutely, having a technology partner isn’t just advantageous- it’s nearly a necessity. The rapid shifts in AI and tech, exemplified by game-changers like GPT-generated landing pages revolutionizing SEO, require businesses to stay ahead. Based on our experience, a reliable tech partner can mean the difference between merely adapting and genuinely leading the industry. They offer expertise, tools, and foresight that propel businesses forward. In today’s landscape, it’s about pioneering the future, not just keeping up. Partnering with experts is the strategic path to harnessing AI’s potential and staying ahead of the curve.


In the dynamic intersection of technology and business, the profound impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is unmistakable. As AI reshapes industries, FYC Labs stands as a guiding light. The transformative power of AI, as witnessed through predictive analytics, optimized content, and enhanced user experiences, solidifies FYC Labs as a technology partner that propels businesses beyond adaptation to true industry leadership. In an era of innovation, partnering with experts becomes the compass navigating businesses toward harnessing AI’s potential and maintaining a pioneering edge.

 

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FYC Labs Makes The 2023 INC. 5000 Annual List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

FYC Labs Makes The 2023 INC. 5000 Annual List

Folsom, California, August 15, 2023 – FYC Labs, a leading design and development agency dedicated to empowering businesses, makes the 2023 Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America, ranking at No. 791. This is the first year that FYC Labs has been recognized on the prestigious list.

Each year, Inc. magazine determines America’s most successful and rapidly growing organizations to be recognized on the list. Businesses are ranked according to percentage revenue growth between 2019 and 2022. Additionally, the companies must be privately owned and based in the United States.

With a three-year revenue growth of 748%,  FYC Labs ranked No. 39 in IT Services, No. 116 in California, No. 3 in Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA, and No. 791 overall on the Inc. 5000 list. Many leading companies such as Facebook, Chobani, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized on the Inc. 5000 list for the first time among so many leading companies,” said Justin Fortier CEO of FYC Labs. “Our growth is a testament to our dedicated team who always works one step ahead of the curve for our clients. FYC Labs has been an innovative technology partner providing businesses with top-notch solutions for the past decade, and we’re proud to continue to serve this mission.”

Continuing the momentum of business growth, FYC Labs recently acquired SpellBox AI, a versatile AI coding assistant. This tech will be available to all users on the FYC Labs website for a quick and easy solution to coding. In addition to being recognized on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list, Fortier was also honored earlier this year by San Diego Business Journal as one of the “40 under 40” next top business leaders.

“Running a business has only gotten harder since the end of the pandemic,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “To make the Inc. 5000- with the fast growth that requires- is truly an accomplishment. Inc. is thrilled to honor the companies that are building our future.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found here.

About FYC:
For over a decade, FYC Labs has been a leading design and development agency dedicated to empowering businesses. We offer a range of services including engineering expertise, UI/UX web and product design, and strategic guidance. Our team is committed to understanding the unique needs of our clients and consistently delivering exceptional results that surpass expectations. As a nationally recognized and award-winning studio, partnering with FYC Labs is the solution to achieving new levels of success and realizing business goals.


Check the full list here!

Read more about FYC Labs in the news here!

Meet FYC Labs COO – Phillip Lorenzo

FYC Labs Chief Financial Officer

Phil Lorenzo is the accomplished and dedicated Chief Operating Officer at FYC Labs. With a multifaceted skill set and a passion for technology, Phil has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s success. As a self-taught software engineer, he brings expertise in various tech domains, including Web3 applications, DevOps, developer learning, and product management. 

Phil’s impactful contributions, effective communication, and technical prowess extend beyond his professional pursuits. He is an esteemed author of technical documentation and articles for organizations like Chainstarters, Oracle, and Fixate, solidifying his authority in the field. Outside of work, Phil is an aspiring author and finds joy in personal relationships and embracing the joys of life, calling Portland, Oregon home, where he enjoys the company of his loyal pup, Harley.


How does your role play a crucial part in achieving the goals of FYC?

 

As the COO at FYC, my primary objective is to ensure the smooth operations of the company. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that the key to our success lies in the hands of our people. It is my responsibility to hire the best talent, provide them with the necessary resources, and manage their projects and time effectively. Our employees are the backbone of our company, and their hard work generates over 90% of our revenue. Therefore, it is important to me to ensure that they are content and efficient. A happy and motivated workforce is essential for the growth and sustainability of our business.

 

What’s your favorite part of working at FYC?

 

What I appreciate most about working at FYC are the people. My priority is always people-first. Each day presents a new challenge, with unique problems that require fresh solutions. However, the real challenge comes from working with the people on those problems. If you don’t enjoy working with your team, then what’s the point of being challenged at all? In a team dynamic, it’s essential to like and care about the people I work with. Ultimately, I want to feel a genuine connection with the people I work with.

 

Tell us about a company policy or approach you have formulated. What prompted it?

 

One of the company approaches I helped formulate was our revamped interview process. In the past, we only had one interview before making hiring decisions. However, now we have implemented a comprehensive interview process, which includes an introductory interview, a technical screen, and a meeting with the CTO or design team, if applicable, followed by the final hiring phase. This company policy has been instrumental in enhancing our hiring process.

On the client side, we have prioritized the credit scoring system. We took steps to ensure that our credit lines strike the right balance – ensuring that we are diligent in our collection process while maintaining a positive working relationship with our clients and ensuring timely payment for completed work.

 

What makes FYC different from other companies?

 

At FYC, we prioritize creating a culture where individuals are encouraged to make mistakes and ask questions, and where everyone is invested in each other’s success. By fostering an environment of support and collaboration, we create a sense of motivation and drive to deliver quality work, even under pressure. Our team members feel empowered to take risks and learn from their experiences, leading to continuous growth and improvement for both the individuals and the organization as a whole.

We believe in taking chances on talented individuals who may have been overlooked by traditional work pipelines. A diverse range of life experiences and identities is another value for us. We look for “diamonds in the rough” and empower them to succeed in our industry.

 

What are the three words you would use to describe your managing style?

 

Empathy, practical, and progressive. 

The first one would be empathy. It is a natural state for me to be empathetic with people, to understand where they are and to feel what it is like to be in their shoes. It’s essential to be able to grasp and genuinely experience the feelings of another person, whether it involves a professional decision, a personal matter, or the performance of an individual, be it struggling or excelling. Having empathy and truly appreciating each person’s perspective is a powerful quality for any leader. I’m constantly aware of it, and if I find myself getting frustrated or losing that connection, I make a conscious effort to pause and re-center myself.

The second one would be practical because, for me, I enjoy envisioning the future, contemplating day-to-day choices, and taking decisive actions. I’ve always been someone who prefers to approach situations in a practical manner.

Lastly, as someone who constantly seeks positive changes, I consider myself progressive, and I consistently challenge myself with questions like: “Are you constantly thinking ahead? Are you open to change? Are you making progress throughout the day?” I believe that being forward-thinking is a crucial quality for a leader. If you become too conservative in your thinking, it can hinder your ability to make impactful decisions, and you might find yourself stuck in the status quo.

 

How has your experience in the industry prepared you to be a COO?

 

My years of experience working with people through customer service have prepared me well for my current position. In my opinion, having a background in customer service is crucial for any executive role. Dealing with customers is an excellent training ground for anyone who aspires to be a C-suite executive. The majority of the work done by CEOs, CFOs, and COOs involves interacting with people – there’s no getting around that fact.

 

Tell me the top 5 reasons to join the FYC team.

 

  1. Challenging work every
  2. An environment that welcomes mistakes
  3. Culture of learning
  4. Great people
  5. No office politics

We’re completely performance driven company and we do not have office politics.

 

What’s your guiding principle on measuring and accomplishing individual and organizational goals?

 

My guiding principle is centered around the idea of leaving things in a better state than I found them. Additionally, I strongly believe in the importance of personal growth, striving to be a better version of oneself each day without overcomplicating the process. This mindset of continuous improvement applies to all aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional endeavors. By prioritizing what truly matters and having a clear direction, we can maintain our progress and move forward with purpose.

 

If we were to walk around your work, work around your workspace, what would we see?

 

You would see my dog Harley, chewing gum wrappers, you would see random receipts underneath the laptop tray. Also a local coffee shop card reward cards stamped insanely. I love putting stickers on my desk, so you would find random stickers. Pens, pencils, and a book. There’s gotta be one notebook on my desk, something where I could write really quickly. The tactile and quick nature of the pen and paper is still supreme to me. I do use an iPad to take notes, but only if the conscious effort is prior to a meeting. I have the iPad ready to go and I’m taking notes digitally. When I have a tactile book with paper in it that I can quickly open up and jot notes in, for me is more helpful than click open the app, go into notes, and start writing.


Connect with Phil on LinkedIn.

Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO – Justin Fortier

Building a Strong Team: Strategies for Retaining Top Talent

Effective team building strategies

Why Retaining Talent Matters

 

Retaining exceptional talent is a critical factor in achieving success for any team or organization. These are the employees who bring exceptional skills, knowledge, and experience to the table and are highly motivated to contribute to the success of the team. Losing such talent can be costly both in terms of the resources spent on recruiting, training, and onboarding new employees, as well as in terms of the impact on team performance and productivity. Additionally, the loss of top talent can have a demoralizing effect on the remaining team members, leading to a further decline in performance and retention. It is essential to prioritize the retention of the top talent in a team to maintain a high level of performance and productivity and to create a positive work environment that fosters growth and development.

In the article below, Justin Fortier, FYC Labs’ Founder and CEO/CTO, offers valuable insights on retaining employees along with effective team-building strategies for retaining top talent. He highlights the importance of creating a positive work environment that encourages empowerment, growth, and open communication.


Nurturing Employee Growth: FYC Labs’ CEO/CTO Shares a Culture of Valuing Contributions

 

To keep our great employees at FYC Labs, we prioritize self-awareness and authenticity and eliminate artificial cultures. For me, authenticity is really important. I’ve seen organizations promote specific values because they believe it makes a nice poster for their office wall or because they’ve heard that approach retains employees. However, if they can’t authentically live that same culture and they’re not genuine, it will be noticed by the employees, and they’ll sense the lack of authenticity. It comes across as a contrived culture, and despite offering more money and better benefits, the employees don’t feel like they’re experiencing authenticity in their job, so they leave.

 

As CEO, I have made a conscious effort to avoid making exaggerated promises and refrain from incorporating any systems or programs into the company that do not align with my personal values. It is essential for the CEO to wholeheartedly support initiatives; otherwise, they are likely to encounter obstacles and possibly result in the departure of valuable team members.

 

To retain your employees effectively, it’s essential to allow them room to make mistakes, recognizing that people have a genuine desire to contribute meaningfully. Authenticity fosters an environment where learning is encouraged, and questions are welcomed.

 

Fostering Purpose-Driven Employee Engagement and Role Flexibility

 

Employees highly value a sense of purpose; they want to feel that their work matters. Each employee’s role at our company is carefully designed to align with our genuine needs, not just to fill checkboxes. If the initial role isn’t adding value to the business, we support them in transitioning to a more impactful role and potentially move them back later. We’ve learned that most people are eager to contribute in ways that might not precisely align with their original job description, rather than remaining idle and not utilizing their skills for their intended purpose.

 

 

Promoting a Supportive Culture: Embracing Imposter Syndrome and Encouraging Curiosity

 

Imposter syndrome is common in our industry and many others; it never truly goes away. Acknowledging this shared experience helps our employees feel more comfortable, knowing they aren’t alone. As a result, they feel at ease asking questions, aware that the person next to them might feel uncomfortable asking the same question too. So again, create a culture where asking questions is acceptable.  

 

When a junior engineer joins our team, I make it a point to communicate the following message: “I am aware of your current skill level, and there’s no need for you to pretend to know everything because I am fully aware of your capabilities and deliberately hired you with that understanding. Your hiring was not based on deception but rather on a clear assessment of your skills. We have placed you in a position where you can thrive and succeed. Acknowledging that there may be mistakes along the way is what ties back to the importance of authenticity. We recognize your potential for growth and development, and we are genuinely invested in witnessing your learning journey within our organization.”

 

At FYC Labs, we firmly believe that authenticity, open communication, and growth are the pillars of a positive working culture. Exploiting people is not only unjust but also against our principles; we are committed to avoiding such practices. Our approach doesn’t involve simply throwing money at the situation to attract talent. Instead, we focus on fostering an environment where individuals who value integrity and seek meaningful experiences can thrive. We believe that by prioritizing these values, we can create a fulfilling and lasting work environment for our team members.

 

Effective Team-building Strategies for Retaining Top Talent

 

1. Emphasize Authenticity and Self-Awareness:

 

  • Prioritize authenticity over contrived cultures.
  • Ensure that company values align with genuine beliefs and actions.
  • Encourage open communication and honest feedback from all levels.

 

2. Create a Sense of Purpose:

 

  • Help employees understand the significance of their roles within the company.
  • Avoid hiring individuals just to fill checkboxes; ensure their work adds real value.
  • Support employees in pivoting to roles where they can contribute meaningfully.

 

3. Foster a Culture of Learning and Growth:

 

  • Give employees space to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Encourage a comfortable environment for asking questions and seeking help.
  • Share the common experience of imposter syndrome to make employees feel supported and not alone.

 

4. Provide Transparent Expectations:

 

  • Set clear expectations during the hiring process regarding skill levels.
  • Encourage junior employees to embrace their learning curve without fear of judgment.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to helping employees succeed and grow in their roles.

 

5. Align Values with Company Culture:

 

  • Continuously align company values with actions and decisions.
  • Reward and recognize behaviors that exemplify the core values of the organization.
  • Develop a strong sense of community and belonging among team members.

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FYC Labs Unveils New Branding 

FYC Labs

FYC Labs is excited and proud to reveal our new branding, which represents a journey of growth and development. We have grown tremendously over the past decade, evolving from a small design shop into a multifaceted company in the constantly changing digital landscape. Today, we are a trusted partner for hundreds of clients, offering top-quality web, product, design, and strategic services.

 

“It is with great pride that we unveil FYC Labs’ new branding, which represents a decade of growth and innovation. Our journey has been quite remarkable, having evolved from a small design shop to a team of over 50 experts. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to our clients, partners, and team members for their unwavering support. Moving forward, we remain dedicated to providing excellent user-centric design and look forward to shaping the future of digital experiences together.

Justin Fortier. Founder and CEO/CTO of FYC Labs


A Small Design Shop to an Empowered Team:

What began as a humble design shop has blossomed into a powerhouse team of talented individuals. We started with a shared vision and a commitment to delivering exceptional design solutions. Today, our team of over 50 dedicated experts brings together a wealth of expertise, innovation, and creativity. Through continuous learning and collaboration, we have cultivated a dynamic environment where ideas flourish and breakthrough solutions are born.

 

Decade of Growth:

We recently marked our tenth anniversary in November, and it gave us a chance to look back on our journey. We are proud of the progress we have made, adapting to the changes in the industry and perfecting our skills. Our work has expanded beyond basic design to include web and product development, UI/UX design, and strategic partnerships, and we continue to challenge ourselves to innovate and raise the bar.

 

Web, Product, Design, and Strategic Partnership:

We have expanded our services to cover a wide range of domains, making us a one-stop shop for our clients. At FYC Labs, we specialize in web development and creating captivating digital experiences that prioritize user-centric design. Our team works closely with clients to understand their vision and objectives and provide technical expertise and guidance to bring their ideas to life. We have formed strategic partnerships with numerous clients, becoming an extension of their organization to help them achieve success and reach new heights.

 

Unveiling Our New Branding:

Our new branding reflects the culmination of our journey- a fusion of our growth, values, and future aspirations. It embodies our commitment to excellence, innovation, and fostering strong client relationships. The revamped brand identity symbolizes our evolution while staying true to our core principles of creativity, collaboration, and delivering tangible results.

 

Looking Ahead:

We are excited to continue our journey and explore new possibilities. Our dedication to keeping up with emerging technologies and adapting to changing trends allows us to stay ahead of the curve. With our extensive skills, industry knowledge, and a customer-focused mindset, we are confident that we will continue to make a positive impact in the future.

 

We express our heartfelt gratitude to our clients, partners, and team members for their unwavering support and trust. Together, we look forward to shaping the future of digital experiences, driving success, and creating lasting impact.

 

Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO – Justin Fortier

FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO Justin Fortier

Justin Fortier, the Founder and CEO/CTO of FYC Labs, is a visionary leader who has been at the forefront of web and product development for years. He is also currently serving as a CTO, VP of engineering, and Advisor for several companies. With his strong background in these fields and his passion for innovation and growth, Justin has created a company where people truly are the best product to offer.

As the CEO and CTO of FYC Labs, Justin is responsible for guiding the company’s overall strategy and direction. He is dedicated to ensuring that the company continues to grow and evolve, and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to innovate and make a positive impact in the world of web development and graphic design.

With a mission to create high-level products and web platforms that take businesses to a whole new level, FYC Labs has grown internationally over the last few years, working with a wide range of clients, from small start-ups to large corporations.


Tell us a little bit about the beginning of FYC.

 

The company was founded in 2012 when I was working at a cocktail lounge in San Diego called El Dorado. I saw how successful the owners were and wanted to start my own business. Pablo, who was doing comics and memes at a company in San Francisco, came back and asked for a job as a busboy. But I couldn’t give him that role as he was the most talented designer I knew. So I asked him to join me in starting a business, and he agreed.

We had a third partner, Athena, who joined us later. With just $1500, we rented a tiny office in East Village, San Diego, and started doing flyers and menus for El Dorado. We gradually built our network in the restaurant industry and hosted small music or art events. The turning point was when Paola joined us and introduced us to a new network of people. She replaced Athena as the third owner and brought in an investor from Mexico City. This led to us working with American companies pivoting into Mexico, including Remax, which catapulted us into becoming a software development company. The first year was tough as some clients didn’t pay, leaving us broke. But we survived and had a lot of fun.

 

How would you define the leadership style of FYC?

 

We leverage a “systems approach”, meaning we use as much automation and technology as we can for traceability and accountability. Rather than us having to constantly monitor our employees with conversations and check-ins or micromanaging, we just use our project management tools- our time tracking, some custom build software to send reminders to our team, to hold people accountable for missed or overdue tasks.

Running FYC is like conducting an orchestra- you don’t need to sit there and play the individual parts, you just need to make sure everything’s in concert. All the different pieces, all kinds of work, just like in a concert. And that’s because we have written a lot of automation and it feels like there are many people doing things, but there really aren’t. Our leadership and management team is pretty small- it’s about one manager to every 10 people.

 

What makes a company successful and what are the signs in FYC that you see of being successful?

 

Success comes from the people that you surround yourself with, whether it’s the clients that you have, the employees that you hire, the contractors and vendors you use, or the network you create. I’m lucky that I’ve been surrounded by a lot of great people who have been really supportive and you know really carried the company over the years. Once you’ve found your tribe and the people who will help you through and support you, then you start working on systems. Systems are more important than your product, ideas, or creativity. The ultimate foundation lies within well-structured systems.

What we really strive for it’s for our systems to be on point. If I was in a manufacturing environment, I could try to control everything and set up process, run by machines. But in a services business trying to keep people on systems is a full-time gig. Businesses are successful when systems are on point. You can survive whatever market elements are out there as long as you have a solid system. It’s not always about having the best product, or the best marketing. The best systems attract the best people. If you come to a place where the systems are chaos and you don’t feel like you’re respected by the team enough to build an infrastructure and a system for you to work in, you’re going to want to quit. 

When you talk about attracting and retaining talent, having good systems is probably more important than perks and pay. Our systems will never be perfect, but we strive for incremental improvement every day so we can deliver the best possible results for our clients. 

 

What is your favorite thing about working at FYC?

 

One of the things I really love about working at FYC is seeing the transformation of people from the moment they join us. They didn’t know they could have a life in technology, engineering or design, or marketing. They didn’t even know this was something for them, because they didn’t go to school for that or they didn’t know enough people. It’s incredibly fulfilling to watch them grow in their careers, develop their competencies, build their confidence, and improve their overall quality of life. It’s kind of like a parent feeling when your kids are successful, I get a lot of pride in seeing that. And I know that we’ve facilitated those life-changing events for many of those people, so that to me is the best part.

 

What motivates you?

 

Our employees are also our customers- we provide them with opportunities. That’s what motivates me- giving them more opportunities. I look at where many of them came from and that they didn’t know they would have an opportunity to work at a place like this, or on the technology side. 

It’s important to remember that employees are looking for more than just a salary and benefits. They want to be a part of a company that aligns with their values and allows them to grow and make a meaningful contribution. Throwing money at the problem will only retain employees for a short time. It’s important to have integrity and create a work environment that provides a sense of purpose.

Another thing that motivates me is seeing how my work in creating technical architecture or rewriting reusable code can benefit others, as well as contribute to sales. When I think about a sale, I’m not thinking about “Oh, this is great for the bottom line and the money”. It’s like “Oh cool, this gives person X a job now”. Or this gives someone else a really cool project to work on. 

 

What is your biggest achievement during your journey with FYC?

 

A career milestone for me is to see the lives we’ve touched, and the opportunities we’ve given. I am proud to say that we’ve provided opportunities for many individuals who were previously overlooked. Our 10-year anniversary was a culmination of the immense impact we’ve had on so many people’s lives over the years. It was amazing to have everybody in San Diego together and make it to that milestone, to see the lives we’ve touched, and the opportunities we’ve given. 

 

What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on?

 

One of our most difficult projects was with Remax Mexico, our first major client. It was a challenge because we were a small team at the time and we didn’t have much support. Additionally, the project was in Spanish, which was not our native language. We had to build and integrate everything under high pressure, as we wanted to exceed the client’s expectations. Meeting the client’s urgent timeline and user expectations proved to be difficult. We also faced limitations as many of the current frameworks weren’t as developed at that time.

That was probably the most challenging time of my life, but it was well worth it.  Even today, when we discuss our achievements, the first thing we mention is the successful creation of the Remax site.

 

If you could describe your professional journey in three words, what would they be?

 

Courage. That has always been a big one for me. Courage is something that I’ve always had- the courage to start a new business, the courage to take on a new project, the courage to work until 4 in the morning, and to get something done.

Perseverance. I learned that I can endure and persevere through really tough times. I put every penny I had in my name into a festival and I lost it all. But it was a great party, everybody loved me and they thought “Oh, this is amazing, you must have made so much money”. No, I lost everything. But I got up the next day and I started working again and persevered. People think that hard work means that someone just likes to work a lot, but it’s actually someone who perseveres through really hard times and keeps going.

Courage, perseverance, and fun. I think we’ve had fun doing a lot of the stuff we do, we make things a lot of fun. Funky!


Connect with Justin on LinkedIn.

Meet FYC Labs COO – Phillip Lorenzo

 

FYC Celebrates 10 year Anniversary

FYC Labs 10 Year Anniversary

2022 was not only a year of growth for FYC Labs but also the company’s 10th anniversary. In November, we celebrated FYC Labs 10 Year Anniversary- a decade of dedication, perseverance, and hard work. Since 2012, FYC has helped our amazing clients achieve their goals, and we look forward to what the future holds.

The company was founded in San Diego in 2012 by a small group of engineers and designers with an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. It has grown to become a multi-million dollar design and development studio with offices in San Diego, Folsom, Chicago, and Philadelphia. With the support of our clients and partners over the years, we have developed a fantastic portfolio.

As we have grown and prospered, our philosophy has remained the same – to deliver high-quality work in a team-oriented environment. At the core of our organization, we value collaboration, learning, and empathy. We are proud that we have maintained that focus while we have grown.


FYC Labs 10 Year Anniversary Key FYC Highlights:

 

  • Launching hundreds of websites and apps for our valued clients.
  • FYC was recognized as one of the Top Software Development Companies in the US in 2022 by Techreviewer.
  • Winning awards in Branding and Graphic Design categories by TechBehemoths in 2022.
  • Supporting Remax since 2014.
  • Making our first angel investment in 2019.
  • Supporting small businesses, startups, and local events.
  • Joining the Cyber Center Of Excellence SMB Advisory Board to contribute to improving cybersecurity.

“In our 10 years of service, we have been committed to our people, our clients, and problem-solving. Thank you for your support!”

Justin Fortier

Preparing for the Sunset of Standard Universal Analytics with GA4

Standard Universal Analytics and GA4

Preparing for the sunset of Standard Universal Analytics with GA4 is a critical topic for businesses that rely on web analytics to measure their online performance. As Google phases out Standard Universal Analytics, it is essential for businesses to transition to GA4 to continue receiving accurate data insights. Failing to prepare for this transition can result in data loss and missed opportunities for growth.

 

In the next few paragraphs, we will provide businesses with the necessary information and guidance to prepare for a smooth transition to GA4. By understanding the importance of preparing for the sunset of Standard Universal Analytics and taking proactive steps to transition to GA4, businesses can continue to leverage web analytics to optimize their online performance and stay ahead of the competition.

 

What Standard Universal Analytics and GA4 are

Standard Universal Analytics is a widely-used web analytics platform that has been available for over a decade. It allows businesses to collect and analyze data about user behavior on their websites, such as page views, click-through rates, and conversion rates. However, Google has announced that Standard Universal Analytics will be sunsetted in the near future. Before that happens, businesses will need to transition to GA4 to continue receiving accurate data insights.

GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, which is designed to provide a more user-centric and privacy-focused approach to web analytics. It introduces new features such as cross-device tracking, machine learning, and event-driven data collection. These features enable businesses to gain a deeper understanding of user behavior and create more personalized experiences.

Understanding the key differences between Standard Universal Analytics and GA4 is crucial for businesses. This way they can prepare for a smooth transition and continue making data-driven decisions.

 

What are the differences between Standard Universal Analytics and GA4?

There are several key differences between Standard Universal Analytics and GA4.

  • Standard Universal Analytics relies on cookies to track user behavior. GA4 uses a combination of cookies and user IDs to provide a more accurate picture of user activity across multiple devices. This means that GA4 can track user behavior more effectively even when users switch between devices or clear their cookies.
  • GA4 is designed to be more privacy-centric, with a stronger focus on user consent and data protection. It introduces new privacy controls such as restricted data processing and data deletion requests, which allow businesses to manage user data more effectively and meet data protection regulations.
  • GA4 introduces new machine learning capabilities that can provide insights into user behavior and make predictions about future actions. This enables businesses to create more personalized experiences and optimize their marketing campaigns more effectively.

 

Why Standard Universal Analytics is being phased out

Standard Universal Analytics is being phased out because it is an older technology that was designed for a different era of the web. When it was first introduced, the primary method of accessing the internet was through desktop and laptop computers. Mobile devices were still relatively uncommon at the time. However, in recent years, the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices has fundamentally changed the way that people access the web. This has led to new challenges in tracking user behavior across multiple devices and has made it harder for businesses to get a complete picture of their customers’ interactions with their websites.

 

What are the benefits of switching to GA4?

In response to these challenges, Google has developed GA4, which is designed to provide a more accurate and comprehensive view of user behavior across all devices. Along with that, GA4 is offering new privacy controls and machine learning capabilities. As a result, Standard Universal Analytics is being phased out to make way for this new and improved technology.

 

When will Standard Universal Analytics be available until?

As of July 1st 2023, Google will no longer provide new features or enhancements to Standard Universal Analytics. This also means it will stop processing data. Businesses are strongly encouraged to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.

 

Preparing for the Transition to GA4

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing for the transition from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4:

  • Familiarize yourself with GA4 and its capabilities.
  • Review your current tracking setup and identify what needs to be updated for GA4.
  • Create a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account.
  • Determine how you will implement GA4 tracking, whether it be through Google Tag Manager or through code updates on your website or app.
  • Develop a plan to migrate historical data from your Standard Universal Analytics property to GA4, if necessary.
  • Update any existing reports or dashboards to use GA4 data instead of Standard Universal Analytics data.
  • Test your new GA4 tracking to ensure that it is working properly.
  • Train your team on how to use GA4 and its new features.
  • Monitor your data to ensure that you are capturing all relevant user behavior and that the data is accurate.
  • Finally, once you are confident that everything is working as expected, make the switch and sunset your Standard Universal Analytics property.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition to GA4 and take advantage of its advanced tracking capabilities.

 

What to avoid during the transition

During the transition from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4, it is important to be aware of common pitfalls that can hinder the process.

One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that GA4 is simply an upgraded version of Standard Universal Analytics and that the data will automatically transfer over. However, the two platforms have significant differences that require careful planning and consideration.

Another common pitfall is not properly configuring events, goals, and conversion tracking in GA4. This can result in missing or inaccurate data, which defeats the purpose of making the switch. It is also essential to ensure that all stakeholders are properly trained and informed about the new platform to avoid confusion and errors.

By being mindful of these common pitfalls, you can make a smoother and more successful transition to GA4.

 

Explanation of the migration process

Migrating from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4 requires a strategic approach to ensure a smooth transition. The migration process involves setting up a new GA4 property and configuring data streams for web and mobile apps. Once this is done, the next step is to map the data from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4. This is essential to ensure a seamless data transfer. It is also essential to make sure that tracking codes and events are updated to the new GA4 version. All customizations or integrations should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly. Finally, it’s important to monitor data during and after the migration to ensure that everything is working as expected. With careful planning and execution, the migration process from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4 can be completed successfully.

 

Post-Migration: What to Expect

After the migration from Standard Universal Analytics to GA4, users can expect to see changes in data collection and analysis. GA4 uses an event-based model that allows more granular tracking of user interactions across multiple platforms, such as mobile apps and websites. New features available in GA4 include enhanced data visualization tools, predictive analytics capabilities, and machine learning-powered insights. With these new features, users can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their audience’s behavior. They can make data-driven decisions to improve their marketing efforts. However, users should keep in mind that while some of the reports and features from Standard Universal Analytics are available in GA4, there may be a learning curve in adapting to the new platform.

Preparing for the sunset of Standard Universal Analytics and migrating to GA4 can seem like a daunting task. However, it is necessary to ensure that your website or application continues to collect accurate data and provides useful insights. It’s also important to take the time to learn about the new features available in GA4. They can help you make data-driven decisions for your business. Lastly, be patient during the transition process as it may take some time to fully understand and utilize the new platform.

 

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