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!

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!

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.

Visit Our Career Opportunities Page!

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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