At the beginning of 2019, my startup, CUE, was experiencing the same customer adoption challenges that most startups face. We had been at it three years and still had not gotten enough traction to open up venture conversations. I started thinking about what could be the next chapter in my career journey. First, I wanted to narrow down the things I’m most passionate about at this stage in my career.

Coding

One of my first true passions was coding. Since I started teaching myself BASIC on my TI-99 computer in 1983, I’ve loved solving technical problems, building algorithms, and learning new…


Photo by Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash

At CUE Marketplace, as we grew, we relied more on SEO. We have worked hard on our blog and we wanted to get all the search engine credit we could with that content. We decided to move our blog from Medium with a custom domain to a hosted WordPress site served up as a sub directory of our website. Our website hosted in AWS utilizing Route53, CloudFront, and S3. Here are the steps we took to accomplish this task.

Build WordPress instance on AWS EC2

We chose to build the hosted WordPress instance in AWS since the rest of our architecture is hosted there. We also…


Hiring technical talent has always been one of my most difficult tasks as a startup CTO. Development talent is in short supply for all company sizes, and we’ll see an estimated 30% increase in the number of development positions by 2026. Salaries have increased 15% in the last five years with a 2017 median salary of just over $103K, and salaries will continue to rise at a faster pace as the number of positions increases.

For these reasons, we had to look outside our established hiring channels when building our development team at CUE Marketplace. We needed reasonably-priced talent that…


Estimation is one of the most difficult aspects of the Agile process. The natural tendency of team members is to include only the time it will take to complete the actual work for the item they are estimating. I have a process where I break each work item down into 4 parts to help me get a more accurate estimate.

Understanding the Big Picture Estimate

I want to know every aspect of the work item that I’ll be completing, so I add any time it would take for me to fully understand it. It’s a huge time saver if my product owner has written the…


My family recently moved to Boulder, Colorado from Atlanta. I’d lived in Atlanta for 21 years and built a solid professional network in my time there. I was starting fresh in Boulder so I needed some juice to jumpstart my professional search. I’ve compiled some suggestions that helped me get connected.

  1. Follow leaders and the media in your new city. I bookmarked the local paper and followed all the local leaders’ blogs and on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This gave me a great understanding of the professional environment in town.
  2. Look at all related job postings in the new location…


Over 90% of startups fail. Even good ideas surrounded by good teams fail. Customer discovery is critical to improving your chances for long term success. Here are a few suggestions to help your startup with customer discovery. Most of these have their roots in Steve Blank’s Customer Development Methodology. I will also discuss some exciting new research in the field from Dr. Merrick Furst from Georgia Tech.

Ask customers about the problem

You may think you have a solution to their problem, but it is important to ask the customers about the problems they are experiencing. …


I recently wanted to prototype application deployment on a few PaaS platforms to see what would be best for a future startup. Ruby on Rails is my go-to language right now, so I wanted to test a Rails application on those platforms. I reviewed Rails Tutorial codebase and it was a perfect fit for the test. If you are new to Ruby, Rails, or want to see how to deploy a professional Rails application today, it’s a great resource and only takes a few hours to complete the entire course. By default, the tutorial deploys the application to Heroku. I…


2015 was a huge year for my family. I learned a lot of life and work things this year. Here are the top 10 life and work things I learned:

Life Stuff

  • I’m not the most important person in my world, new daughter and wife are now.
  • I didn’t understand how wonderful it is to see a baby grow and change every day. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it.
  • Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I could handle it.
  • Daycare is a place where germs congregate.


The Agile Manifesto is 15 years old. By some estimates, 90% of software development organizations are practicing Agile in some form. So, if you are reading this, you probably have some experience with Agile. I’ve been using Agile for the last 8 years in various forms and companies. I’ve been a part of productive and fun Agile teams and I’ve also been on a few that had serious issues. Those experiences have taught me three important things about Agile.

[1] There is no such thing as “Agile by the Book”

Agile is a toolkit of great methods to help teams respond to change and to help them quickly and consistently release…


Do you want to help your company come up with fresh features, products or even enhance internal processes without slowing customer delivery? Starting an innovation lab can be a step in the right direction for your company. As with many things, I’ve had some successes and some failures while being part of innovation labs. Here are three strategies I’ve used that can help contribute to successful innovation labs.

[1] Promote Innovation

Great bands would never be discovered if they only played their music in a dark garage. Promoters encourage people to attend shows to see the bands play. It’s the same with ideas…

Jovi Jovanelly

Papa, husband, CEO/CTO @ Adattivo, CTO @ CUE, entrepreneur, software artisan

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