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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Getting to FileMaker

I had just graduated from college. A friend and I were running a recruiting startup out of our living room. We had a good working relationship and an effective division of labor: he handled sales and most of marketing so the company would have money. I tackled our backend systems so we could deliver on what he sold. There was a variety of data we had to track: relationships with customers, relationships with universities, relationships with and statuses of applicants, etc., and it was up to me to figure out how to make it all work.

There was, however, one small problem: I had no formal background in technology, software, or information systems management. I had a music degree. But when you’re working in a two-person startup, “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer. The solution: “I’ll figure it out.”

We settled on using the Airtable platform. Airtable is about as basic a relational database platform as can be found: it looks like a spreadsheet but functions like a database. It allowed us to create robust (enough) relational databases for our needs. With a pre-built UI, cross-platform support, and the paucity of prerequisite knowledge about primary and foreign keys, ERDs, join tables, SQL or any other coding language—even knowing what the word schema means—it fit the bill, enabling me to put something together quickly without embarking on a lengthy expedition up a steep learning curve. 

A few years later I found myself at another growing company in desperate need of a systems overhaul. Once again, the answer was a relational database. But this time I knew what I was doing. I had been around the block a few times. So I thought. I was soon to discover that this block I had been around was a very small one.

FileMaker was the platform I hoped existed but wasn’t sure did.

Airtable is great for what it is and for what it claims to be, but proved inadequate for this new set of needs. We needed a solution not for a company of two people sitting in their living room, but for a team of nearly twenty people out in the field, some of whom were decently computer-literate, and several of whom struggled with anything that, to quote Captain America, “seems to run on some form of electricity.” We needed a system that provided six key features: 1) the ability to organize and relate our data, 2) the ability to control access to data on a per-user basis, 3) the ability to embed business logic within the system rather than in the brains of individual users, 4) the ability to automate workflows, 5) the ability to present only relevant data to the user in an easily-digestible format for each type of record, and 6) the ability to run reports on that data. 

Airtable was able to meet only the first of those requirements.

Despite how much I may personally enjoy the discovery process, I do not advocate reinventing the wheel, and so I began looking for a piece of existing software that could meet our needs. However, like many businesses, that piece of software did not exist, leaving me with two options: build a custom solution myself, or let the company flounder in its current disorganization. Realizing the later was not a viable option, I committed to building something myself. But I had never built a piece of software before. I didn’t know there was a difference between Java and JavaScript, how to pronounce “SQL”, and had never even heard the phrase relational database. I didn’t know what SQL or HTML stood for, and had never heard of CSS. (I did, however, know how to use the <body> and <p> tags in HTML, though that didn’t help much.)

That’s when I found FileMaker.

…I had actually found an ocean.

FileMaker was the platform I hoped existed but wasn’t sure did. Here, in FileMaker, I found a platform that would enable and equip me—someone with zero coding experience—to develop a custom app that solved our unique business problems, have it work on a variety of operating systems, and allow me to deploy it to a team of people without any prerequisite knowledge of setting up a server.

FileMaker transformed how we work. The process of invoicing clients, for example, used to take four full days each month. It now takes fifteen minutes. Processing payroll used to take one to two days every two weeks. It now takes five minutes. Putting together a list of our current clients used to take an hour. It now takes ten seconds. Calculating our net revenue over a given time period used to take hours. FileMaker gives us that report in less than thirty seconds. The inefficiency of some of our previous processes meant that our team oftentimes didn’t even record certain types of data. FileMaker not only provides us easy access to data, but has allowed us access to data we previously weren’t even collecting. It has freed up our time, allowing us to better serve our customers and to expand the number of services we offer.

Discovering FileMaker was like discovering a kiddy pool—easily navigable with water no higher than my knees—only to realize later that I had actually found an ocean. The barriers to entry were low. The learning curve to get an initial workable solution up and running was minimal. I didn’t drown. In fact, even after deploying my first solution, I still thought I was in the kiddy pool. But the longer I was in the FileMaker world, the more I realized what was in my hands. After about a year of self-taught development, I attended my first FileMaker DevCon. 

A game changer. 

It was here that I discovered businesses who weren’t just getting their feet wet with FileMaker. They were scuba diving. The power and potential of FileMaker were far broader and significantly deeper than I ever realized. I had seen FileMaker as a fun set of tinker toys. This was no set of tinker toys. This was real, powerful stuff. 

And that, I think, is the beauty of FileMaker. It doesn’t require you to know how to swim to get started. You can make something meaningful and useful, even as a novice. But when you’re ready to go deeper, to do more, to expand your toolkit, FileMaker is there to deliver. There are great depths out there, and FileMaker allows you to explore them along the way—without being stuck with an unworkable solution in the meantime.

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