AWH
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Better is subjective, but we often hear that second time Founders are better, more investable, and more successful than first time Founders.

A big factor is if a Founder succeeds or fails with their first company. A second time Founder who already has a successful company under their belt is a completely different scenario than a Founder who’s first company failed. I’m going to focus on the Founders who failed and are giving it another go.

Hopefully, a second time Founder is better — through having learned about themselves and the process of starting and growing a company. Presumably, a second time Founder should be better at sales, product management, recruiting, raising investment, and telling their story. Even improvements across all of these areas aren’t enough to make the second company outcome different from the first. The incremental improvements across so many different areas of the Founder role and company can add up to larger aggregate improvement, but probably not significant enough in any single area to make the difference between success and failure. …


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Digital presence and services are becoming more integral in business and society. So, when an essential website (let alone many websites) has unexpected and prolonged downtime, it becomes more newsworthy. There are few scenarios where a large portion of the internet can become inaccessible, and one way is when a Domain Name System (DNS) service provider, that many websites rely on, becomes crippled.

A Case Study

Tim Greene writes about one significant instance on October 21, 2016, when a newsworthy event occurred where most sites became unavailable to users. The cause was one of the few DNS services, Oracle (formerly Dyn), became inaccessible by a denial-of-service attack (DDOS). So, while the sites were active, users could not access the websites without knowing their internet protocol (IP) address. …


When designing digital user interfaces, we’ve got to make sure that a user can easily intuit what they can do and how to do it — all through visual cues. Digital spaces are limited to just two dimensions and can get tricky when trying to communicate actions to users.

I’d bet that all of us have used a piece of software, a mobile app, or website that left us confused about where to go or what to do next. A lot of the time this is caused by interface elements that are not apparent to the user as being interactions at all. We need to show that there is an interaction through a signifier, and how the user might complete that interaction — this is known as affordance. …


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2020 was a roller-coaster ride for nearly every industry as we all adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. I have been working as a QA Analyst in IT for almost a decade and one of the perks of my job is the ability to work from home (WFH). Although IT/technology roles are probably the most well equipped for something like WFH, before 2020 it was still regarded as a negative impact on productivity. So, what really changed this perspective in 2020? Let’s look at some major points that flipped this challenge into an opportunity.

· Managing Schedule: In a traditional office environment, team members would start their day when they arrived in the office and end it when they left, usually about 8 hours later. You had a set arrival time and set end time. In a WFH setting you have greater ability to manage and prioritize your workday and optimize your schedule for your individual motivation and energy levels. Working remotely which once was thought to hamper productivity has actually helped meet deadlines. The added flexibility and increased prioritization offsets the many distractions of being at home. Following structured schedules help team members to achieve their deliverables. Starting the day with a list of action items and sorting out priorities is a great way to measure productivity. As a result, organizations are seeing projects being delivered before schedule, which once was an unrealistic expectation. I had a Q&A session with some of my peers to see how they met their daily goals and pretty much got the same sentiment — they never expected for productivity to increase substantially while everyone is working remote. …


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The Original Problem

Hearing loss is one of the only reversible risk factors tied to stopping the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, but more often than not, hearing loss goes undiagnosed and untreated. Patients who suffer with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, four times more likely to have a cardiovascular event, and have an increased risk of diabetes. Sara Sable-Antry is a founder and entrepreneur with extensive experience within the healthcare industry, and more specifically, the hearing industry. …


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Community is hot right now as companies attempt to differentiate and build competitive advantage through the community around their companies and products. Community isn’t important just for big companies and product companies. In fact, community may be more important for small companies and services firms.

So why are companies so intentional about building communities? Communities engender loyalty among customers, and they are the hardest thing for competitors to copy. The combination makes it far more likely a company will be able to hang onto a customer for a longer period of time, increasing a customer’s lifetime value.

Communities are fragile and difficult to build around a company and a product. Most customers don’t start using a product and become a customer of a company to be part of community. The community part happens as a result of the customers use. The deeper a customer gets with a product and company and the more the product becomes a critical piece of a customer’s operation, the more likely a customer is to become entrenched and active in the community around the product and company. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software companies like Oracle and SAP have had communities for many years as their products are instrumental to a customer operating their business. Communities around products and companies aren’t new, but community was mostly reserved for big companies like Oracle and SAP historically. Small companies didn’t necessarily see the value in building a community around their company and products. The return on investment wasn’t obvious so communities remained reserved for the biggest of big software companies. …


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Investors can be elusive and misunderstood by many Founders. There is a great mystery behind how some founders and startups manage to get access to investors and funding from them while others don’t. For many Founders and startups, working the normal process, if there even is one, doesn’t get them access and awareness with investors, let alone the funding they are seeking. The truth is, investors are just like everyone else and they don’t want to miss out on a good thing. …


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It’s easy for Founders to think that getting investment for their startup is just about the money, but it is so much more than that.

Founders learn and validate a lot about themselves, the product, the team, the problem, the market, the competition, and yes, the business, while raising capital. I know some repeat Founders who didn’t need outside investment in their company from a purely monetary perspective, who still actively raised money because of the other benefits that are a part of the process. It’s worth the enormous benefits founders derive from the conversations and fundraising process.

Founders who raise investment learn very quickly whether their narrative and ability to tell the company’s story is compelling or ineffective. A Founder’s story to investors will vary from that to potential customers, team members, and partners but the core and essence will stay consistent. If a Founder can’t effectively tell their story and the company’s story effectively to investors the chances of them doing it well with others is low. Founders might even want to have slightly different stories and pitches for different types of investors. The end goal of raising money for a startup is, of course, about securing the capital for the company to realize and fulfill its potential. But, more often than not, the process of raising money helps Founders to become better storytellers which is a critical skill for them to have. In fact, an argument can be made that storytelling is the most important skill for Founders as it helps them to raise money, sell customers, and recruit a team among other things. Much of the storytelling skill for Founders begins and evolves as part of the raising money for the company. …


Your team won’t just believe in your company’s mission or the work that comes with it overnight. As a leader, it is your responsibility to inspire and instill belief. If a leader is going to help their team to perform at their best, the team must evolve to believe in the leader, their teammates, the company and the work.

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People guard against believing in things they can’t see, touch or personally experience, and their professional beliefs are no different. Professional belief comes with more complexity than other types of beliefs. …


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Refactoring code is an essential part of the software development process. Sometimes though, it’s difficult to determine what should be refactored and why. One measure for determining what is in need of some refactoring is Cognitive Complexity.

Cognitive Complexity is a metric developed by SonarSource, the makers of a code quality tool we use at AWH called SonarQube. SonarQube hooks into a CI pipeline for a project and performs code quality analysis on it. The types of issues that SonarQube can find range from simple things (this variable is never used, remove it) to more complex refactoring (this method is too complex, refactor it). …

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