Augusto Digital Insights with Brian Anderson

Augusto Digital

Designed for anyone interested in software development and cloud technology, this podcast combines tech, business, and education. Featuring industry leaders sharing valuable insights and predictions for the future. read less

Featuring Mike Belsito, founder of INDUSTRY Conference
Feb 11 2021
Featuring Mike Belsito, founder of INDUSTRY Conference
In the first episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brian Anderson interviews Mike Belsito, founder of the INDUSTRY conference in Cleveland, Ohio and co-host of Rocketship.fm. Mike considers himself a product person that just so happens to manage a totally different type of product: a community and a conference. He explains that his journey into product management started before he even knew it. When his start-up failed, several companies approached him—one for a director of product strategy role. Mike remembers Googling “what does a director of product strategy do?”. He hadn’t gone to school for it, so he felt he wasn’t qualified. But the company laughed and said, "Oh no, Mike, nobody went to school for product management. You'll be fine." As he began reading books, listening to podcasts and talking to other product people, he realized there was a potential niche for a community centered on product management. That idea sparked the launch of INDUSTRY and the Product Collective. 2021 will be the seventh edition. Mike goes on to explain that a product person doesn’t sell solutions but rather pulls out the problems customers are experiencing and guiding them to new solutions. He defines the product mindset as a hypothesis that needs to be validated by getting as close to customers as possible. He shares that the best relationships between product managers and engineers are when there’s an immense level of trust. The product manager has to demonstrate that they deserve trust by being able to speak the engineers’ language, ask enough questions, and understand what tech stack they’re operating. On the flip side, engineers need to have a natural level of curiosity about what needs to be built and the business implications of it all. We thank Mike Belsito for his time on the Augusto Digital Insights podcast and wish him the best with Rocketship.fm and the INDUSTRY conference! Augusto Digital focuses on custom software design and development, cloud computing, and support solutions to enable our clients to realize their digital vision in Healthcare, financial services, logistics, and manufacturing.
Featuring Rich Mironov, 35-year Silicon Valley Veteran
Mar 4 2021
Featuring Rich Mironov, 35-year Silicon Valley Veteran
Discover why it’s so important to meet with real users when building digital products. Featuring Rich Mironov, 35-year Silicon Valley veteran.  In this episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brian Anderson interviews Rich Mironov, a 35-year Silicon Valley veteran—of mostly B2B enterprise software. He published a book called The Art of Product Management, Lessons from a Silicon Valley Innovator and has 19 years’ worth of blog posts on his website about trends in product management. Brian and Rich sat down to explore more about Rich’s career, and the insights he’s gained. Today, Rich primarily does two things: serves as the interim head of product or coach product executives on how to do their job better. He considers it a matter of pride that he never gives advice he wouldn’t take himself. Rich describes the product mindset as a mix between the customer-facing and engineering-facing parts of the job. He notes that he expects both his product managers and himself to spend half their time with real users, discovering what’s important, needed, and going to move the needle. The other half is inward facing, communicating with development and engineering teams to collectively figure out how to fix the problem. He goes on to explain the importance in having multiple people from different perspectives at the table when beginning a project—at minimum, a product person, a designer, and a developer—so they can notice unique issues, fallacies, and solutions. Rich continues to highlight the importance of meeting with real users, providing an example of a company that makes cancer therapy machines. Each year, the organization brings in cancer survivors to share their stories and, according to Rich, “You’ve never seen a bunch of software specialists and physicists work harder for the next three months than when they’re coming to work to save lives.” We thank Rich for his time on the Augusto Podcast and wish him the best of luck in all his future roles! Augusto Digital focuses on custom software design and development, cloud computing, and support solutions to enable our clients to realize their digital vision in Healthcare, financial services, logistics, and manufacturing.
Featuring Michael Sacca, founder of Rocketship.fm
Mar 4 2021
Featuring Michael Sacca, founder of Rocketship.fm
In this episode, Brian Anderson interviews Michael Sacca, founder of Rocketship.fm—the very popular digital product management podcast—and vice president of product at Dribbble, the leading destination to find and showcase creative work for design professionals. Michael had an interesting introduction to the industry. About 20 years ago, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the music business. While struggling to find a job, his roommate taught him PHP coding. Michael began taking his roommate’s freelance scraps, and found that design was where he had the most natural inclination. He built up a small agency that worked for Scholastic, GE, and Kobe Bryant. From there, Michael joined Crew, working on experimental products as the company developed the highly successful Unsplash—which later was acquired by Dribbble. Along the way, the holistic insight Michael gained built him into a great product leader. Michael thinks of the product mindset as solving the problems of businesses, becoming the focal point of companies’ revenue generation. He sees product teams quickly becoming the foundation of organizations and product leaders as the people who have to balance the needs of the board, customers, CEO, marketing and sales teams, and much more. The two then dive into the main players in a solid product team before analyzing the importance of scaling appropriately for growth and discussing product management frameworks. Michael shares several examples when the product and engineering relationship has gone wrong—typically because one team doesn’t feel bought into the solution or when people want to build stuff just because they think it’s cool. Finally, Michael provides advice on how he sources product engineers and designers via contractor networks and freelance agencies. We thank Michael for his time on the Augusto Podcast and wish him the best of luck in all his future projects! Augusto Digital focuses on custom software design and development, cloud computing, and support solutions to enable our clients to realize their digital vision in Healthcare, financial services, logistics, and manufacturing.
Featuring April Dunford, Positioning Expert
Apr 13 2021
Featuring April Dunford, Positioning Expert
Discover how to position a B2B tech start-up, from April Dunford’s quirky life story and excellent advice. In this episode, Brian Anderson interviews April Dunford, a marketing and positioning guru and consultant who has managed large marketing teams at dozens of B2B tech start-ups in her career. April shares all about her unique entry into the world of product positioning. She studied systems design and engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada. After graduation, she landed a job at a small startup in product marketing—making compilers and database products. The two requirements were that she be comfortable with SQL and public speaking—which she was. Eventually April’s company was acquired by a large Silicon-Valley organization and, as she claims, she was “standing in the right place at the right time” when she was made Vice President of Marketing—in charge of more than 30 team members. However, April’s story is much more nuanced than she jokingly gives herself credit for. One of the first tasks she was assigned in her first job was to talk to 100 customers to determine whether or not to kill a database product. As she began making phone calls, she discovered something incredibly interesting. One out of every 20 people she spoke with simply raved about the product—but they were using it completely differently than her company’s intention. Instead of using the software for personal productivity, this small sample of people were equipping their field salesmen with it for mobile use. Because of her intimate connections with customers, April was in a position to speak up to her superiors and make a case for re-positioning and re-launching the product, complete with new pricing and packaging strategies. From there, April embarked on a long journey to discovery exactly what the real formula for product positioning looks like—and wrote a book about her findings! You can find out more about April’s extraordinary career at aprildunford.com or order her book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love it. We thank April for her time on the Augusto Podcast and wish her the best of luck in all her consulting engagements!
Featuring Joel Ross, co-founder of Augusto
May 25 2021
Featuring Joel Ross, co-founder of Augusto
Joel Ross, co-founder of Augusto, shares the history behind Augusto and the many entrepreneurial efforts he and Brian Anderson have led. In this episode, Brian Anderson converses with Joel Ross, Augusto Digital’s co-founder and CFO and Integrator. Joel has a 20-year career focused on consulting, computer science, product development, team leadership, and financial management. This is one part of a series focused on the people and relationships that guide Augusto’s vision for the future.  Brian and Joel start by sharing how they met—right out of college at Crowe. They laugh about their first experiences in the development world, writing programs on a TI-85 calculator. The two worked together on several projects at Crowe, before Brian left for Sagestone—and eventually recruited Joel to join him there. At Sagestone, the two thrived in the more technical business. And that’s when they built their first business together: a March madness tool that eventually morphed into TourneyTopia. This tool has served many large customers, including Microsoft, Time Warner Cable, Aerosmith, and the Tennis Channel. Over the next several years, the two continued doing development and consulting work by day, and squeezing in various entrepreneurial efforts whenever they had free time. PayIt2 is one lasting product that Brian and Joel created as a way to collect money. One day, Brian invited Joel and Jim Becher to his cottage on Little Whitefish Lake. He took the guys for a boat ride, dropped the anchor, and wouldn’t let them go back to shore until they formed a deal to start their own company. As of late 2016, Augusto was formed—with Brian, Marty Balkema, and one or two contractors. By 2018, Joel joined on full-time, and Jim joined in early 2019. From there, Augusto quickly began to grow, adding marketing and sales staff and a real business plan. Listen to the podcast to discover where Augusto is heading now. We thank Joel for his time on the Augusto Digital Podcast, as he helped us uncover the beginnings and growth of our company!
Featuring Jim Becher co-founder of Augusto
Jun 16 2021
Featuring Jim Becher co-founder of Augusto
Jim Becher, co-founder of Augusto shares how he accidentally found his way into software, systems architecture and, now, building strategic partnerships. In this episode of the Augusto Health IT Podcast, Brian Anderson connects with Jim Becher, Director of Strategic Partnerships and co-founder of Augusto. Jim has a 20-year career focused on consulting, computer science, IT management, enterprise-scale systems architecture, and team leadership. The two travel through their careers, exploring different points when they both worked with each other and reflecting on their early interest in computers. Jim initially intended to be an accountant and, in fact, studied it for over a year in college. When Jim attended a job fair for summer internships, he noticed how long the lines were for the local accounting firms’ tables. Tired of waiting, he walked toward the table with a really short line, which happened to be Crowe Chizek. Their team was offering a paid IT intern, and Jim took it. He never looked back from computer science. It was at Crowe that Jim and Brian first met, and quickly became friends as they played competitive soccer together for years. Somewhere along the way, Jim transitioned out of IT and into software. After a brief stint at an automotive company, Brian recruited Jim back to Crowe to build a data center. Later, Jim worked as an enterprise architect for Meijer, where he learned a ton about software development, security, deployment, and training teams, as well as managing data at scale. The two then shift into a discussion about Augusto’s growth in cloud services and how Jim led Augusto in earning its AWS Select Partner Certification. By training, certifying, and documenting, Augusto’s team members now speak the same language around AWS — and will build opportunities for their clients. Jim also has played an influential role in Augusto’s recruiting and onboarding growth. He looks forward to continued opportunities to blend the things he loves — technology, relationships, and partnerships — to make something great. We thank Jim for his time on the podcast, and for everything he does to help delight our clients.
Featuring Marty Balkema, Augusto co-founder
Jun 23 2021
Featuring Marty Balkema, Augusto co-founder
Marty Balkema, co-founder of Augusto, shares his theory behind building a client roster and positive reputation by banking on trust and hiring great people. In this episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brian Anderson interviews Marty Balkema—a 20-year software development veteran and the COO and co-founder of Augusto. As a leader on the executive team, Marty has been instrumental in helping to shape the company's operations and culture. This is one part of a series focused on the people and relationships that guide Augusto’s vision for the future. Marty and Brian first met when Marty was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, working for a company called Rapidparts—a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Association (MCFA). Marty was responsible for the development of their Lift Truck Solutions platform, and he hired Brian’s team at the time to help. Because of the way Brian handled the unintentional budget overage on that original project, the two men maintained a long relationship—and, eventually, friendship. Marty shares about his unique educational experience at what was then called GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University). As a fully cooperative school, the pattern of education was that students worked for 12 weeks in the field then attended school for 12 weeks. He quickly began to love solving problems around technology. When Brian was considering starting a consulting business, Marty’s family was looking for an opportunity that would allow them the freedom to live wherever they wanted. That paired with the opportunity to consult on software development led Marty to jump on board. Marty shares how they built a client roster and positive reputation by banking on trust and by performing solid jobs. He also talks about the importance of hiring great people who want to pursue client wins—then setting them free to do their jobs. As part of his job, Marty creates a culture and environment at Augusto that sets talented people up to thrive. We thank Marty for his time on the Augusto Digital Podcast and for the way he creates a team of amazing workers!
The Chime SDK and Real-Time Communication with John Hathaway
Nov 8 2021
The Chime SDK and Real-Time Communication with John Hathaway
In this episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brain Anderson sat down for a conversation with John Hathaway, Senior Specialist for AWS’ Amazon Chime SDK, to discuss his career journey and the implications of real-time communications for business. Even as technology has changed and evolved, there is one thing that remains constant: our need to communicate. In this episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brain Anderson sits down for a conversation with John Hathaway, Senior Specialist for AWS’ Amazon Chime SDK, to discuss his career journey and the implications of real-time communications for business. John says telecommunications run in the family. He started his career, after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Computer Telephony Integration, by selling hardware for AT&T. From there, he held positions at Lucent, Avaya, Plantronics, and Sennheiser, where he developed the knowledge and connections that led him to the team at Amazon Chime SDK. Chime SDK allows companies to build communication primitives into their own platforms and applications for a seamless end-user experience. As Brian and John discuss the business uses of Chime SDK and the quickly-expanding landscape of Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) and sentiment analysis, John explains the widespread implications of AIML. AIML’s ability to analyze, report on, and make real-time decisions based on things like tone and body language is filling the gap in virtual communication and allowing businesses to enhance customer interactions and experiences like never before. This integrated technology became especially important during COVID. John indicates that, while the fastest growing vertical for AWS Chime SDK over the last year and a half has been telehealth, they’ve also seen immense growth in the realms of distance learning, virtual events, and wellness and fitness. It’s clear that the sky is the limit on where this technology will take us in the future. Thanks for tuning into this conversation on the Augusto Digital Insights podcast. For more information on AWS’ Amazon Chime SDK, visit their website. And to learn more about how our custom software design and development can help create integrated solutions for your business goals, contact us here.