Join Us For CodeLaunch!

CodeLaunch produced by Improving, is back on its home turf on November 15th for its 11th consecutive annual startup showcase event in DFW, and you can join in the fun as our guest with this free GA ticket. And for the first time this year, Harmonic is in the house!

CodeLaunch DFW 2023 presented by Cyrannus will be unlike any startup event you’ve ever attended, and we are proud to be a professional hackathon sponsor working with Baru! During this unique traveling startup accelerator, our team will help to lift the trajectory of one of the six startup finalist. We will work with them during the professional hackathon to accelerate their technical product and propel them toward seed funding. Guests will enjoy an experience similar to a live-audience and highly interactive “Shark Tank” episode with an attached tradeshow of ecosystem supporters and local startups. CodeLaunch is where the startup community, software developers, and the investor community collide in a space where ventures are launched, and deals are made!

CodeLaunch started in Frisco in 2013 and since 2019 has been accelerated by Improving. CodeLaunch now travels to cities across North America, injecting rocket fuel into startup ecosystems like ours.

Please RSVP for yourself and others (via this LINK HERE) and join us at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom in Dallas, TX on November 15th from 4pm to 9pm!

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Why software development companies choose mastery—and you should too

A business case for mastery.

Everyone has heard the expression “jack of all trades, master of none.” But there’s a second part to this famous 16th-century quote most haven’t heard. Here’s the full expression:

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Referring to someone as a “jack of all trades and master of none” isn’t necessarily an insult, more often it’s a suggestion that a person has no real expertise. But the original saying is more complimentary. It refers to those with a more varied skillset as being more valuable in some situations than those who master a single focus..

Many career paths are better suited to the “jack of all trades.” For example, Virtual Assistants who balance a variety of tasks at once and adapt quickly as the situation changes. Or teachers who apply administrative, classroom management, and emotional intelligence skills, along with mastery of their subject matter.

However, note the words oftentimes as opposed to “always” in the quote above. In many situations, there is simply no substitute for true, focused mastery.

Mastery stands out.

Masters make their mark in virtually every field:

  • Danielle Steel rarely writes anything other than romance novels, and she’s sold over 800 million copies of them.
  • Amaury Guichon is a pastry chef whose obsession with chocolate sculpting made him a viral internet sensation and landed him his own Netflix show at 30 years old.
  • Undoubtedly, the best athletes could perform well in just about any athletic activity—some experts even believe James could have had an equally successful career in the NFL—but they have become legends by focusing on their sport of choice.

This same principle applies to software development mastery. There’s always a need for the jack-of-all-trades developers who happily take on just about any project. And many of these companies do great work. Some might argue that it’s less risky to say yes to a variety of opportunities.

But the truly great software developers—the ones that change the face of the industry—are the masters of their craft. They are the thought leaders, the experts, and the headline makers who don’t get distracted by shiny, new moneymakers—they stay the course.

Two paths to software development mastery

One path to mastering software development is focusing on a particular platform or technology. For example, a developer who focuses on mastering a platform like Filemaker can become the go-to resource for those solutions.

There are advantages to learning the platform’s ins and outs and optimizing its features to create effective solutions. This can lead to higher quality work, faster delivery times, and a reputation as a go-to expert for that particular platform.

Another path to software development mastery is to develop expertise with a specific solution type, like healthcare field record management. In this case, the developer may or may not use a specific platform such as Filemaker. Their advantage is the deep understanding of the industry and the specific problems that need to be solved and the ability to create custom solutions from scratch.

Both paths can lead to software development mastery, but each requires a different approach.

Your path should be based on market demand, long-term prospects, and your strengths and interests. Consider what kind of company you need to become to serve your ideal customers.

How to leverage mastery to grow your business.

Of course, the first step to mastery is to draw on a body of masterful work. That means years of under-the-radar work before anyone knows who you are. You don’t get to claim the title until you’re the best. But once you’ve done the work, you can position yourself or your company as a leader.

Some may discover you by chance, but if you want to rise above the competition, you must market your wares.

Think about ways you can showcase your expertise. How can you get your company in front of the right people and show them what you can do?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Submit papers and articles to magazines and publications.
  • Give presentations and join panels at conferences.
  • Lead free webinars.

Remember, basic marketing isn’t enough to establish yourself as a thought leader. You need to be delivering value based on what you’ve mastered. Pay attention to where your target customers are and who they’re listening to. Find a way to insert yourself into that space and be present. Seek to understand what’s on their mind, what worries them, and what they dream about. You can use that knowledge to craft a message—and a product—that speaks to them directly.


At Harmonic, we’re not content to do decent work. We choose mastery, so if you’re weary of mediocre software and ready to invest in something exceptional, let’s talk.

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Three perspectives on a people first software development culture.

People first software development businesses know their value proposal is about much more than code.

No matter what business you’re in, a half-baked approach to talent management and product development gets you nowhere.

This wisdom comes from a surprising source: software developers. Many people associate software development with banks of computers and line after line of code. But software exists to serve people. And great software development teams are built around an appreciation for people.

So if you want to truly stand out, think like a software developer: Put people at the center of everything you do.

Start with the customer perspective.

We’ve all had that awkward moment of repeatedly and fruitlessly pushing a door, only to be told, “Pull” This is called a Norman door: It’s a “pull” door that looks like a “push” door, or vice versa. According to design experts, you, as the user, aren’t the one who should be embarrassed for getting it wrong. It’s the designer’s fault.

After all, humans design doors for humans, and designers shouldn’t be creating simple products that people don’t readily understand how to use. Prioritizing aesthetics, for example, over functionality simply misses the point of a door.

This same principle applies to software—great developers know writing good code isn’t good enough. Having a basic understanding of basic human psychology is essential to developing killer software. A user-friendly interface is more important than the very best bells and whistles ever devised.

Never sacrifice the user experience in favor of virtual party tricks.

No matter what you’re creating, never forget who it’s for. If you don’t keep the human in mind, you’re going to end up with a product they can’t use.

Strike a balanced talent perspective.

It’s easy to understand the allure of recruiting fresh college grads. They’re young, eager to prove themselves, and know just enough to get started. Plus, they’re much cheaper—and arguably easier—to hire than experienced, senior-level employees.

In fact, most software developers have a deep bench of recent grads working for them. After all,
nearly 20% of software developers are under 25 years old. But relying too heavily on junior talent is unsustainable.

Leaders know they need a blend of experience, wisdom, and fresh energy to set themselves apart. Highly strategic, custom work that solves unique problems is the path to profitability. And it’s the kind of work that requires experience. So developers are mindful about developing senior experts for challenging projects and for development of juniors.

One of your most important strategic levers is to develop the optimal ratio of senior and junior

The happy employee/happy customer perspective.

This philosophy is simple: If you treat your employees well, they’ll treat customers well. As a result, your company will grow. Pro tip: it also happens to be the basis for an extraordinary marketing strategy.

Look no further than the world of kibble and catnip for the perfect case study. Chewy, the e-commerce pet supply giant, has a reputation for providing incredible customer service. It’s no coincidence that it’s also ranked #12 among big companies with the happiest employees.

Chewy treats its employees with respect and compassion, which motivates them to extend that same kindness to every customer. Their strategy has paid off: The company has seen dramatic growth since its inception in 2011.

Even with Chewy’s roaring success on the national stage, many leaders refuse to follow in their footsteps. There are plenty of companies who still use fear and draconian tactics to motivate their workers. It’s a sad reality for those beleaguered employees. And it gives you a clear shot at a competitive edge.

Create a people first software development culture

The best technology in the world won’t help produce happy, satisfied, motivated employees without the right company culture. Effective software development leadership places high priority on creating an environment where team members are encouraged to contribute ideas.

And a lackluster response to suggestions can quickly derail the brainstorming process.

Show them you’re always open to ideas. Forgive failure quickly and inspire their people to dust
themselves off and try again.

In this type of environment, employees don’t make choices based on fear or self preservation. They can bring their best selves to the table. The result is truly high-quality software—and highly satisfied customers.

No matter what business you’re in, you can emulate this same approach. Fearful employees will simply fly under the radar. Employees who feel trusted and respected soar higher than you could imagine.

Software excellence begins with excellent people.

At Harmonic, we understand that when a company hires us for a software development project it’s an act of trust. It means trusting us to prioritize needs, think about the client’s customers, and put our best people on the job.

We’re incredibly proud of the people working here. We put a lot of energy into hiring the best and creating a space where they can flourish. The result is excellent software that makes your life easier and helps you fulfill your mission.

If you’re looking for a people-centered software developer, look no further.

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Obstacles to Opportunities: The Software
Developer Problem-Solving Mindset

Reframing problems as opportunities can open doors to incredible breakthroughs and better software.

The word “problem” has negative connotations. We see problems as obstacles, setbacks, or
annoyances. A problem child is a source of worry. A problem area is a source of insecurity. And
we’re quick to excuse ourselves from responsibility for anything that is “not my

But there is a growing number of companies who are casting problems in a new light. Rather
than resisting or running away from problems, these companies are embracing them—even
cherishing them.

Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, once said, “Every defect is a treasure,
if the company can uncover its cause and work to prevent it across the corporation.” In his
worldview, problems were worth celebrating if they led to large-scale improvements.

Solving even a minor hiccup could reap significant rewards when compounded across a
massive company like Toyota.

Software: a problem solver’s problem solver

Claris, formerly FileMaker, once famously branded itself as “the problem solver’s problem solver.” They reflect appreciation for the term in the naming of products like a software bundle called the Claris Problem Solvers Circle.

Even Marie Kondo, whose signature approach to clutter-busting led to massive commercial
success, has said, “I love a mess!” She embraces the very thing her method promises to
vanquish, because she sees potential rather than pain.

This attitude is exactly what makes excellent software development companies stand out in a
sea of mediocre ones. Great software engineers and developers love investigating the nuances
and puzzles of a problem—and designing a solution that exceeds the client’s wildest dreams.

They see every problem as an opportunity, a way to do things better.

You don’t have to be a software developer, Marie Kondo, or the CEO of a massive car company
to be a problem optimist. Here are three good problem-solving skills you can start practicing
today in your mission to become a master problem solver.

Gather anecdotal data (from humans).

Software developers understand that people are at the center of everything they do. That’s why
the problem-solving process always starts there. After all, the computer is not their client. The
people are. Discovering and understanding their wants and needs is the first and most important

Talk directly to the people involved in the problem. Ask them lots of questions about their
processes, what they’re experiencing, what’s frustrating them, and what they need. If possible,
ask them to walk you through every step, so you can see it with your own eyes.

Your goal here is to understand the many nuances of the problem. Human beings can reveal
important details that can’t be found in the raw data. One of those details might be the key to
finding a solution.

Software developers don’t stop after talking to just one or two people. They understand that the
real magic happens when they can connect with every single person whose work is connected
to the problem. Each person gives them a few more puzzle pieces—and a much broader

Understanding the problem from many viewpoints gives you a unique perspective
that your client may not have. When you understand the entire process, you can think more
holistically about a working solution.

Gather objective data.

This skill will look a little different depending on the context, but the gist is the same: This is
where you dig into the numbers. For software developers, this means pulling user records, bug
reports, and other reports from the program to search for anomalies. By matching this
information to what they’re hearing from the client, they can pinpoint the exact cause of a

The data may reveal an easy solution, such a poorly configured setting or simple user error. It
may uncover a large-scale issue—or prove that the program being used simply isn’t the right fit.
Regardless, this step backs up your anecdotal evidence with hard data. You
need both to develop a complete understanding of what’s going on.

Think bigger.

So, there are times when all you need is a quick fix or an easy swap. The software developer problem-solving mindset is wide open to the possibility of bugs and simple issues. But they’re also open to the possibility of a much bigger problem: That the program their client truly needs doesn’t even exist .

Although software developers love building that perfect bespoke solution themselves, they must temper their zeal knowing that the best solution is always what’s best for the client. And this could mean a low code solution that optimizes an existing software package.

If you want to soar past your competition and be truly great, you need to think beyond band-aid
solutions and simple fixes. You need a sharp eye for the bigger picture, the greater opportunity,
the solution that everyone else dismissed as impossible.

Our interview questions for hiring a software development company will help you figure out
the right fit, but remember…

Good enough isn’t good enough.

Good software developers solve business process problems. For the great software developer problem-solving is a way of forging new paths by discovering new opportunities.

Harmonic is fueled by an insatiable desire to create software experiences that people genuinely
love. We deliver programs that make every process easier and every day better for our clients.
We never settle for half-baked solutions, and we’re always looking for innovative ways to keep
you moving forward.

Got a thorny business problem? We’d love to hear about it.

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A Solution That Delights

For over two decades, Nations Home Warranty has provided residential warranties for unexpected home appliance repairs to home buyers and sellers. In 2016, Nations launched a new marketing strategy offering home warranty contracts to listing agents at no cost, positioning Nations to continue the coverage with the new homeowner when the house sells.

When a search that normally takes 10 minutes is turned into a click of a button, the time it saves is worth its weight in gold.

The Problem

To effect their strategy, Nations receives daily emails from the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS) containing listings across 48,000 square miles, over 6,000 real estate offices, and 30,000 Multiple Listing Subscribers (MLS) in North Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area.

In the beginning, this immense amount of continual information had to be manually, painfully processed. Every listing in every email was checked against Nations’s database to determine if the listing was in the database, and if it wasn’t, each new listing was added manually, requiring the entry of 19 individual, critical datapoints.

The Solution

Veronica Anzaldua, Nations’s database manager, needed help to alleviate this agonizing process. For each email, four things had to be done: 1) extract relevant data from the email, 2) identify data to be updated, 3) update the existing listings in the database, and 4) create new records when needed.

Using PHP and FileMaker, Harmonic Software Production Studios created a tool to sift incoming emails, even when those emails contain more than one listing.

The Future

Today, the automated handling of inbound NTREIS emails has enabled Nations to expand their free warranty program for listing agents. What was once an extremely labor-intensive, multi-hour undertaking is now effectively effortless. 

Veronica said it best: “When a search that normally takes 10 minutes is turned into a click of a button, the time it saves is worth its weight in gold.”

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Lynette’s Magic Shake Machine

Creativity is not an ever-flowing river of ideas and inspiration. As an undergraduate art student at Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, Lynette Sykora, 22, began each painting assignment with an empty canvas devoid of color, texture and a story to tell. When challenged to create a collection of four, relatively large oil paintings, however, she was confident that her creativity would not be stifled by artist’s block — not this time.

Synesthesia: Cross-wired for Creativity

Why the creative confidence? In 2017, Lynette had been diagnosed with synesthesia, a neurological condition that affects approximately 13 million Americans. When stimulated by sound, her sensory “hearing” pathway leads to the involuntary stimulation of her sensory “vision” pathway. Lynette hears music and simultaneously sees the sound as colors and texture.

Priming the Pump with Music and Images

It takes time to prime the pump of creativity and stimulate the sensory pathways of a synesthete. It takes the random combination of music and images. 

“My father heads a software production studio in Dallas,” Lynette explains. “I told him what I needed and he asked a few questions.” Using FileMaker Pro 17, the Magic Shake Machine was ready in only a day. More importantly, it worked.

Music, Images and Aspect Ratios

The Magic Shake Machine selects random and uneditable recipes from libraries of music, images and aspect ratios.  Each unique combination would invade Lynette’s sensory pathways. The inspirational recipe for Lynette’s “Balloon Industry” included Chopin’s “Nocturne in E- flat Major, OP. 9 NO.2”, images of a cliff, whales and balloons, and a 1 x 6 aspect ratio. The rest was magic.

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