Navigating the Unknown

Difficulties often come alongside making important decisions pertaining to business, profession, and life. While some choices can be made with ease and peace of mind due to their simplistic nature, others demand more time and attention, and rightly so. Every person has twenty four hours to spend each day, which is one of the most fascinating and terrifying aspects of constantly receiving new meaningful opportunities. We can say yes to good opportunities, even great ones… until we can’t.

These more complex decisions commonly occur when people exceed their presumed capacity to put more on their plate, because the resulting consequences inevitably alter day to day life. This is one of the reasons why I place such a high value on flexibility. In our humanity, we cannot fully know, understand, or control everything that will happen over the course of any given day, week, month, or year. As such, we need to readily make room for the unknown, carefully evaluating and reevaluating how we spend our time, energy, and resources.

If you find yourself in this position in life, don’t worry; you’re doing something right! Do everything in your power to hold on to the amazing things you have managed to accomplish, while remaining open to new opportunities that will help you continue to develop and grow.

On the other hand, if you still have plenty of room on your plate, don’t be afraid to pursue new endeavors. There are people out there who NEED your gifts. We can always accomplish more today than yesterday, and we can manage more tomorrow than we managed today… until we can’t.

Competent Investing

Regardless of social or economic status, as human beings we have the ability to invest our time, energy, and resources into a wide range of opportunities. Whether we invest in people, projects, or something else, there exists a responsibility and an importance in exercising reason and assessing our own competence beforehand. Using a bit of common sense, this should go without saying, though emotions can often cause people to overlook sound logic in many circumstances.

While this may seem obvious, people should address and assess competence when investing so that they can be prepared for various outcomes in light of uncertainty. Take cryptocurrency as an example. About a year ago, cryptocurrency news stories were finally flooding the mass media. Everyday people heard stories of investors who gloated a twenty fold (or more) return on their initial investment. Without understanding much of the history of cryptocurrency or its benefits and flaws, people started investing their life savings, mortgaging homes, and other unthinkable decisions based simply on their fear of missing out. Absolute mania.

In all honesty, a case could be made that these same people backed out on their investments when the market took a rough turn. In most instances, our investments fluctuate, growing sometimes and shrinking others. The difference between investing in stocks versus cryptocurrency, however, is that cryptocurrency investing is much more volatile. An increase or decrease of ten percent in a matter of hours is fairly common, whereas with stocks, it generally would take months, even years to see a price change that significant.

The reason I write about this topic today is not to influence anyone to invest or pull their investments from cryptocurrency. Rather, I simply hope to help people sincerely think about why they choose to invest or not invest. What do we value most in life? Do our investments align with these values? If not, it begs the question of whether we are acting as good stewards our influence. On this Thanksgiving Day, we should consider what we’re truly grateful for. After we’ve done that, there’s only one thing left to do. Appreciate it.

Definition of Done

A few years ago, when the company I worked for at the time switched to agile development, I remember my boss saying how important it was to define ‘done’. I thought that sounded silly. Don’t we all know what done means? Do we really have to define it for the team? But as we discussed the idea, I realized it wasn’t as strange a question as it sounds. For instance, if I ask my wife if she’s done with the laundry, she might say she is. So, I assume that I can go to the closet and grab my favorite shirt. However, when I get there and don’t see it, I’m frustrated. Why did my wife tell me the laundry was done when it clearly wasn’t? Obviously, she and I had defined ‘done’ differently. To me, it means washed, folded, and put away. To my wife, it simply meant washed. We had both defined ‘done’ using a different criteria.

This same thing happens in software development. When we talk about software being done, we may mean that the development has been completed or that it’s been tested. Or, maybe we mean that it’s been deployed to a staging server or that it’s been through User Acceptance Testing. Maybe we mean that the source has been checked in to a branch or that it’s been merged to master. All of these things represent a drastically different definition of done.

As a customer of software services, you need to be able to define what you mean by done. If you don’t, you run the risk that your development team does not perform to your expectations since you were both defining the endgame differently.

Progress, Reflection, and Refocus

Over a year has passed since I started working with Talixa. When I look at how far the company has come, I feel a need to take a step back and reflect on the progress and positive change taking place. From the outset, I have maintained a bold confidence in Tom’s ability, both as owner and chief engineer, to consistently deliver top-notch service and capitalize on key relationships. These have helped to build a foundation upon which the company will develop and grow, though we only continue to grow after helping our clients do the same.

At the beginning of this year, I transitioned to take on a new role as business strategist for the company. While I won’t get into the specifics regarding our goals and ambitions, we quickly realized that Talixa was growing much faster than anticipated. I can’t stress enough how Tom’s hard work and dedication to the Talixa team contributed to the company’s continued success. With work pouring in, the company went from part-time to full-time, and “Team Talixa” has since tripled.

With that being said, we did suspect that businesses in our community had an unmet demand for quality software (and other tech-related) services. One of the challenges, however, has been keeping up with all of the opportunities that arise. I am personally blown away by how often I hear about good news and new projects when getting company updates from Tom. With exciting week after exciting week, the need to refocus and set the bar higher became apparent much earlier than expected. This resulted in redefining roles and goals, since along with meeting goals come new challenges for new endeavors.

A year has come and gone along with its challenges, and a new year is approaching with a new set of mountains to climb. For those of you who read these articles through the end, thanks for being a part of our journey. As you look back, refocus, and look forward, please don’t forget to think of us. After all, we’ll be thinking of you.

Exponential Growth

For entrepreneurs and business owners, trying to build something bigger than the individual poses one of the most challenging initial struggles a company can face. A brand is often represented by a figurehead, whether that be the owner, CEO, or majority shareholder. When the growth of the company is contingent on the amount of time an individual in this capacity can offer at an hourly rate, growth will by nature follow a specific linear pattern, before ultimately reaching a plateau.

In an effort to scale beyond this point, businesses can plan ahead to position and prepare themselves for the anticipated changes and challenges. Structuring the business model in such a way that money naturally flows into the business through multiple streams can create an ecosystem where each specific element supports other elements in different ways. In doing so, the business network can expand well beyond the individual, and the company can scale up to meet the goals necessary to attain sustainable growth and success.

While all of this sounds fantastic generally speaking, the task of specifically applying these principles to a business could seem daunting. Often, small business owners can fairly easily grasp the linear aspects of business growth. However, the road block often comes when the businesses are forced to think differently and realign their goals and focus. Sometimes the solution is both simple and effective. If your business has been struggling through a similar situation, I would strongly encourage you to take a look at your people. The people who are passionate about the work and mission of your company are the strongest agent of change for scalability. Take some time and consider their interests and skills, and invest in helping them find their best work!