Category Archives: technology

Maximizing Your Startup’s Potential: How to Choose the Right Accelerator Program

Maximizing Your Startup’s Potential: How to Choose the Right Accelerator Program

Are you a startup founder who’s considering joining an accelerator program, but not sure which one to choose? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Recently, I had an older colleague reach out to me with the same question, and it inspired me to write this blog to help others in a similar situation.

When choosing the right accelerator program, there are many factors to consider. One of the key factors is the industry focus. Some accelerators specialize in specific industries, which may be a better fit for your company. Another important factor is the accelerator’s network of mentors, investors, and alumni. Having a strong network can be a valuable resource for a founder.

Funding is another factor to consider, as most accelerators provide funding to participating companies in exchange for equity. It’s important to evaluate the amount of funding offered and the terms of the investment. Additionally, the length of the accelerator program and the location of the accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to access resources, talent, and investors.

Reputation is also an important consideration. The reputation of an accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to attract investors and customers. Finally, the curriculum and resources offered by an accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to grow and scale their company.

For example, when I was choosing an accelerator program for my ex-startup, SellGone, we found that StartupNV was a great fit for us. They specialized in helping tech-based startups in Nevada, had a strong network of mentors, investors, and alumni, and provided funding to Nevada-based startups who participated in their program. We also appreciated their curriculum and resources, which helped us grow and scale our company.

So, if you’re considering joining an accelerator program, be sure to evaluate these factors and choose the one that’s the best fit for your company. Good luck on your startup journey!


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Navigating a Layoff: 9 Steps to Take for Your Next Career Move?

Navigating a Layoff: 9 Steps to Take for Your Next Career Move?

With the current economic situation, many companies have begun downsizing their workforce in preparation for the future. This means that many people may know someone who has lost their job or been impacted by the economic downturn. To help navigate this difficult situation, I want to offer some guidance on what steps to take if you are affected by a layoff at your company.

Review company’s severance package: Understand what benefits and compensation are being offered and if it’s sufficient or not. I have often seen multiple people who didn’t reach out to their ex-employer to ask for their COBRA benefits, rehabilitation services, and much more. Thus, you should take advantage of these benefits by closely reviewing your severance package.

Apply for unemployment benefits: Many people who are laid off are eligible for unemployment benefits, which can provide financial assistance while they are looking for a new job. You shouldn’t be shy to take advantage of this benefit, after all you have paid into the system for this specific situation.

Create a budget: With no salary coming in, it is essential that you control your expenses, so that you can manage your lifestyle within your means. Thus, I highly recommend you to make a budget to manage your expenses, and prioritize bills and necessary spending while looking for new opportunities.

Create a plan: After being laid off, your natural instinct is to look for another job right away or take a small break before starting to look again. Regardless of your end goal, I encourage you to create a plan and make a schedule for your break, searching and applying for new jobs, networking, and updating your resume and online presence.

Network: So far, I have been very fortunate to find a job on referral, and hence, I never had to actively look for a job. Thus, I recommend you to reach out to your friends, family, and professional contacts to let them know you are looking for a new job and to ask for leads or references.

Update your resume: While applying for the new opportunities, you should remember to tailor your resume to specific job positions and industries, and make sure it is error-free and easy to read, so that it doesn’t get stuck in the application tracking system (ATS) and has a better chance of getting viewed by an actual human.

Take care of yourself: Obviously, this is going to be a difficult journey, if you haven’t been laid off before. But don’t let the stress and uncertainty of a layoff get you down. Eat well, exercise, and take care of your mental and emotional health more than anything else. If you are physically and mentally fit, then you will be able to conquer anything.

Learn new skills: Even though learning new skills might be at the bottom of your list, since you must be focusing on finding a new opportunity as soon as possible, I still recommend you to invest some time in either learning new skills or refining your existing skills. This investment will pay off while you are interviewing for your next opportunity or in the future when you are solving different problems.

Look for job retraining programs: Many governments and private organizations offer job retraining programs to help laid-off workers acquire new skills and find new jobs. I highly encourage you to take advantage of these programs to seek professional help if needed. If the layoff caused significant financial and emotional distress, don’t hesitate to reach out to a financial advisor or mental health professional for help.

I hope these steps help you to cope with the situation and begin planning for your next career move. 

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on February 16, 2023 in 21st Century, Leadership, technology


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How to increase the velocity of your Agile Teams?

How to increase the velocity of your Agile Teams?

A year ago, I got an opportunity to lead an agile team for the Electronic Table Games vertical at IGT. This team was made up of very smart individuals, who put IGT’s name in the electronic table game’s market space within just couple of years. IGT was an underdog in this market, but this team’s hard work and dedication had allowed IGT to bring two successful titles to the market. Even though this team was successful in making this vertical profitable over time, their velocity was not sufficient to keep up with the already competitive market pressure. Thus, I was called to help the team.

Over the year, I have made many tweaks to this already successful team. And hence, I would like to share some of success stories from my experience that have worked for us. I am hoping that you could use these pointers to increase the velocity of your own agile team.

Co-locate your team: After joining the team, I quickly realize that the team could improve their face-to-face communication. Even though the engineering team talked to each other daily, the communication between the QA and Product Management team was infrequent and rare due to their physical proximity to the engineering team. Thus, we went ahead and relocated all of our QA and Product Management resources with the engineering team. This change promoted the face to face communication between the teams and improved our velocity by reducing communication time between the developers and the QA engineers. Obviously, this change was challenging, given my team was located all over the US. But we were lucky to have multiple clusters of the team where more than 4 people were together in the same building. Thus, co-location was practical and beneficial in our case.

Reuse common components: At IGT, we were creating different games, and hence, all the developers were making customized software for each game. Even though we were required to make customized interfaces for each game, given the vertical that we work in, I looked for some common components that we could reuse. To my surprise, I was able to find many communication APIs and other architectural components that were common between each game titles. By making some minor modifications to those components, we were able to reuse them for other games that we were making. Thus, I believe that you should invest some time during your Sprint to look for common software components, which you can reuse to significantly decrease effort spent on building the same functionality. Developing a strong process around this mentality will help you in decreasing product development time.

Increase test automation: You might argue that this is compulsory for increasing the velocity of any software product team, but you would be surprised to see how many agile teams follow this practice. Since the focus of any agile team is on delivering minimum viable products, they often underestimate the investment that they need to make in testing. Thus, most of their testers perform some basic manual tests before releasing the product. In our case, we were able to increase our automation test footprint by providing engineering tools to our testers and investing heavily in test automation as compared to the manual testing. As a result of this change, we were able to improve the quality of our games and expand our testing footprint, which in turn increased our velocity.

Do you agree with my recommendations? Do you have any other ideas through which we can improve the velocity of our Agile Teams?

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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Schedule the best virtual meeting by following these rules

VideoConferenceIn my last blog, I have talked about some ways through which you can schedule a perfect virtual meeting. Thus, I will continue my discussion in this blog, and provide you with some more tips to make your next virtual meeting perfect.

Allow extra time: If you are scheduling a virtual meeting for the first time, then please schedule some extra time for dealing with the technical challenges that you might face during the meeting startup. Use this extra time to work out glitches that often occur with new technology. Over time, when your team members are familiar with login or startup procedures, you can then reduce the meeting duration by the amount of time that you might have otherwise spent on connection issues. If you have a new member joining your team, then you should arrange a trial meeting to check connections and ensure that the new member is up to speed before a larger group meeting.

Provide more lead time: The lead time required for virtual meetings might be longer than for in-person meetings, since in addition to the virtual space, you need to ensure that all participants have the necessary information about the meeting before they join in. It is your responsibility, as an organizer of the meeting, to ensure that every team member understands the goals of the meeting and has sufficient time in order to prepare for it. After all, if critical decision makers or technical experts are not prepared in the meeting due to short notice given to them, then you will end up scheduling a second meeting for the same agenda.

Provide detailed information: If you are going to organize a virtual meeting with multiple people joining in from multiple locations and through multiple means of communication (phone, video, etc.), then you need to be more detailed in your meeting requests. Meeting agenda should at least specify this information: name and contact information of the person calling the meeting, meeting purpose, meeting start time and expected duration, names of invited attendees, meeting location including connection information, phone numbers, URLs, connection passwords or login IDs, or any other information attendees need in order to participate, and list of the topics to be discussed and time limits for each topic. If you do your homework in creating your meeting agenda beforehand, then you won’t have many issues during the meeting itself.

Invite limited people: Virtual meetings are often encountered with various challenges from time differences to technology difficulties, and hence, you shouldn’t try to complicate things by inviting people who are not needed in the meeting. Make sure that you have everyone in the meeting who needs to be there, but don’t over crowd the meeting with the people who are not needed there. By inviting limited people in the meeting, you will be able to keep everyone focused on the task at hand, and there will be less of a chance for any confusion due to people talking over each other on the phone or video conference.

This is the end of my two part blog about scheduling a perfect virtual meeting. I hope, these advises can help you in scheduling your ideal meetings. If you have any recommendations from your side, then please feel free to share it here through your comments. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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How to schedule a perfect virtual meeting?

VideoConferenceOther day, I was attending this virtual meeting, and within 5 minutes in the meeting, I realized that some of the key stakeholders wouldn’t be able to make this meeting due to their time zone difference. Within 10 minutes into the meeting, I also realized that other participants were not well prepared, and we might have to convene some other day to discuss these same action items.

Obviously, scheduling a perfect in-person meeting also requires some level of preparation, but to schedule a perfect virtual meeting is a challenge in itself. You don’t just need to make sure that the meeting agenda is well defined and thought out, but you also need to handle logistics challenges imposed by difference in time zones and technology limitations. Thus, in this blog, I will provide you with few tips through which you can schedule your perfect virtual meeting.

Be agenda ready: Whether your meeting is virtual or in person, you should always have a well-defined agenda for your meeting, which should be clearly stated in the meeting request itself. If, for whatever reason, you can’t explicitly mention your agenda in the meeting request, you should send out an email to all the participants with this information beforehand. This approach will not only help your participants to set some basic expectations about the output of this meeting, but it will also help you to make sure that your participants are prepared beforehand with the desired information, so that they can respond to your questions and come up to some kind of an agreement.

Keep time in mind: Whenever you are scheduling a virtual meeting, you need to always be aware of different time zones from which your attendees will attend this meeting. After all, you won’t be attending a meeting at 3am in the morning, unless it is very important, right? Same goes for your meeting attendees. They are not going to put an extra effort to attend your meeting at 3am in the morning, just because it is convenient for you. Thus, before scheduling the meeting search for your attendee’s time zones and schedule the meeting at appropriate time.

Share the pain: Sometimes, due to the vast time difference between two virtual teams, it is impossible to schedule these meetings within the regular working hours (8am to 5pm) of both the teams. And hence, it is very important to share the inconvenience across your team rather than always have the same person/team meeting before breakfast or late in the evening. If you have to schedule regular meetings across multiple time zones, then you should rotate the pain across the board by changing the team each week that has to stay late to attend the meeting.

I hope, this blog can help you in scheduling a perfect virtual meeting for your team. In my next blog, I will provide you with some more insight into how to schedule your virtual meetings better, but in the meanwhile if you have any recommendations from your side, then please feel free to share it here through your comments. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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Software or Tool selection strategy that you should be using in your organization


Recently I was called upon to help one of our local business to fix their existing ERP System, which they had outsourced couple of years ago. After some initial investigation, I quickly realized that this was not the right tool for their business. They were using an all purpose ERP system, which was made for bigger organizations, and they were trying to use it for a very specific purpose. Due to the complexity of the entire software suite, no one really knew how to use this tool completely, and they always ended up hiring some help to fix even a minor issue. Thus, through this blog, I am trying to provide you with some pointers that can help you select the right tool/software for your organization.

Finalize your requirements: Let’s assume that you own a Gas Station and a Convenience Store, and now you are thinking about streamlining your inventory through an automated system. Since you are a small and locally owned business, and you don’t have much knowledge of IT, you decide to hire a third party to help you with your IT needs. Stop right there. Before you even hire someone for helping you with your software needs, you need to have some rough idea of your technical and non-technical requirements. Maybe it is difficult for you to come up with your technical requirements, like – How many servers will we need? What kind of back-up system will we need? etc.; but you should at least jot down your functional requirements, like – What are we trying to achieve? How this new system will help you with your day-to-day business? Etc. Once you have the list of these requirements handy, you can then use this list as your checklist while selecting any software/tool for your needs.

Don’t go overboard: Even though there are many latest and greatest tools available out there, you shouldn’t be choosing your ‘tool of need’ just on the basis of how new and powerful it is. Sometimes most powerful tools might not suffice your actual needs, while some not-so-latest tool will do. Obviously, this is a very difficult decision to make, and hence, you should be evaluating your options based on selected attributes along with their respective weightage. This approach will take out all the human emotions from the tool selection process, and it will help you get the right tool for your specific needs. You should use license cost, training cost, user friendliness, and tool’s features as your attributes; while giving the higher weightage (a high number) to the most relevant attributes during tool selection process. Once that is done, you can then make your final selection based on the final score calculated for the tool(s).

Start small: Most of the executives and small business owners that I have met, try to implement everything at once. After all, they are buying a software/tool to help them out in making their current process efficient. Unfortunately, not everything works right out of the box. Thus, as a business owner, you need to go back to your requirements and identify your top 20% of requirements that you absolutely want to have, and then start it from there. Make sure that the consultant or the company that you have hired shows you incremental deliverables of the product that you are buying. With a pilot run, you will have the opportunity to provide your feedback in real time, and you won’t waste lot of your money before you realize that this software doesn’t meet your requirements. If the pilot run is successful, you can purchase the license or acquire the tool.

I hope, my blog can help you select the right tool/software for your business. If you have any other recommendations, then please feel free to share it here. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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