We recently had the privilege of co-hosting two sessions of the 10th Baltimore Innovation Week 2021 (BIW21) with TruState. Tara Faquir (COO, Trustate) and Sebastian Walker (CEO, MethodData) hosted “Work-Life Harmony during a Pandemic and Beyond.” Leah Del Percio (CEO, TruState) and Antonio Piraino (CTO, MethodData) hosted “I’m not a CTO, now what?”
So what exactly is BIW21?
Baltimore Innovation Week (BIW21) is an opportunity to showcase the city’s people and organizations that are part of the thriving innovation community in Baltimore. This year featured 3 packed days. (18 – 20 May 2021) With 40 sessions, more than 100 speakers, 27 hours of content, 45 partners including us at MethodData and 8 sponsors, you knew it was bound to be amazing. #BIW21
Who is TruState?
MethodData have worked closely with TruState over the last 12 months to build a world class IT Application for their flourishing Estate Administration business. TruState combines technology and automation with care, compassion, and support to ease the burden of estate administration.
TruState are innovators in the estate administration world, turning the industry on its head, by eliminating much of the difficulty and heavy burden on those responsible for administering estate’s on behalf of deceased family members, by making tasks intuitive and easy to understand, and providing new tools for users. We’ve had the privilege of working with their CEO, Leah Del Percio and COO, Tara Faquir as well as the rest of their wonderful team.
Work-life Harmony During A Pandemic and Beyond
First up from MethodData at BIW21 was Sebastian alongside Tara from TruState. They hosted an amazing session on Work-life Harmony which has been especially relevant during COVID-19 with all the changes we’ve had to make over the past year of intensive working from home. Here’s a quick recap of our key takeaways from their session:
Redefining Work-Life Harmony
- Harmony instead of Balance; because trying to balance your day can cause you even more stress.
- Not every day needs to be “balanced”, but rather focus on harmony, making your day flow better.
- Be forgiving of yourself, your team and your family – Forgiveness and Empathy
- One of the listeners, Courtney, mentioned “Work-life Integration” as everything needs to work together; and with flexibility from your employer is key to that outcome.
- Taking time off is important. Figure out what works best for you. Take it before you need it.
Covid has forced us to think differently about:
- Mental health
- Physical Space
- Physical Health
- Communication – Zoom fatigue is real
Maintaining a Post-Covid Company Culture that Puts Your People First
- Continue to be 100% remote as it works for our business
- Be intentional about creating social opportunities where appropriate
- Find innovative ways to collaborate
- Encourage uplifting work locations
- Continue to invest in employees
Top 3 Recommendations for a Healthy Work-Life Going Forward
- COVID merged personal and professional life – rather than resist…..embrace
- Build in appropriate daily wind down time
- Embrace people’s personal choices, even when it doesn’t align with your own
An extremely relative and informative session dealing with something we never knew we would need to deal with but over a year later, we’re still adapting.
I am not a CTO, what now?
Sebastian and Tara were followed by MethodData’s CTO, Antonio and Trustate’s CEO, Leah’s session: I’m not a CTO, what now? They focused on the start-up technology dilemma. Leah shared her story of how she started Trustate from a technology standpoint and what shaped her decision to approach MethodData to help with her technological needs.
The session aimed to provide guidelines to startups in need of a technical strategy, but without enough technological leadership to know where to begin.
Become Technical Enough to be Dangerous
Although she lacked a technical background, Leah was able to stitch together 3rd party application software. Sometimes through intuition, and sometimes, when she didn’t know something, she simply sat down, newborn on lap, and taught it to herself. She developed her prototype using these skills but eventually discovered that she needed more alignment to her customers feedback for greater intuitive interface and functionality, and needed someone with more technological skills and knowledge.
Leah was then able to get her clients to give her feedback and develop her prototype so that when she started working with MethodData, she was able to be a better product manager because she knew what she wanted and needed. She stressed the point that you should build a prototype to test your hypothesis before spending a lot of time and money on a professionally built application.
Antonio spoke about how your product development needs to be business led and not technologically led. Technologists will use technology to solve your problems and this might not be what you need. You need to work through your plan with a direction and vision in mind. Understand what the needs are of your business and your clients. Often just throwing money at a problem can make it worse. He also explained the value of responsive design and why MethodData uses sprints to implement this.
Overall it was a great session with great thought provoking ideas on how to take your startup business idea and make it into a great IT Application.
Want to Watch BIW21?
You can watch the sessions here:
Don’t forget to join us next year at the next Baltimore Innovation Week. We can’t wait to see everyone there and holding thumbs, it will be in person next year. #BWI2022