March Jumpstart Event – Part Two

Brett Hewitt presents on CxORE
Brett Hewitt presents on CxORE

The March Jumpstart Davis event featured four new presentations, including Bret Hewitt from CxORE, Paul Katsch from Rezku, Gavin Cosgrave from and Terry Toy from Zebra Code. Thursday’s article covered Gavin Cosgrave and Paul Katsch.

Bret Hewitt from CxORE returns to Davis after 29 years on the East Coast. “We are not a technology or software company, we’re a people company,” he explained.

They aid companies that have problems at the top, whether it’s deficiencies in leadership, the leader has to go or has gone, or a position needs to be filled. He said, “Every organization has a lifestyle, many times the leadership and management can’t keep up with the lifestyle changes.”

“The organization might have a tough time finding the type of seasoned leadership to take it to the next stage,” he said. “An organization or CEO may need some advisory work.”

“All of those are possible,” he said. Every organization has seen that. The question is, what is the solution?

“We are in the business of providing interim, fractional leadership to organizations,” Mr. Hewitt stated. “Interim, that is a discrete period of time. Three months. Six months. Nine months. We’re not a permanent fix.”

“Fractional, not every organization needs a full-time CXO,” he continued. He said, with the kind of talent they bring to bear, a 25 to 50 percent FTE (full-time employee) “will be more important to you than the incumbent that has left.”

“We have the capability of utilizing our talent to bring an organization a blend of a CXO,” he continued. “This is really about leader to leader advisory.”

The process starts with a discovery process with the organization, to determine what’s right and what’s wrong, what can be fixed and what is real. Then they identify the type of people that they can bring to the organization and agree with the organization about the level of engagement and the time.

For example, if the organization has begun a recruiting process, they talk to the recruiting firm as to the length of time it will take to find a replacement.

Finally, during the course of that engagement, they will adjust the needs. It may be after they bring in, for instance, a temporary CEO, that they discover what they really need is a 25 percent marketing officer. “We can make those adjustments on site,” Mr. Hewitt stated.

Even after they hire their new permanent CEO, CxORE offers advisor work to help transition from the temporary to the permanent leadership that has been put in place.

“This is about flexibility, there is no right answer, permanent answer for every organization,” he said.

They just launched this quarter, this year. They have one client. “Right now it’s about awareness,” he said. He expects once they have success, they will gain broader traction.

Terry Toy talks about coding
Terry Toy talks about coding

Terry Toy talked about his work at Zebra Code. He is a software developer and a teacher who has been coding for over 15 years. “I’m very excited to be launching Zebra Code school because I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. It’s a really valuable skill.”

The first class starts in two weeks.

“Why code? Coding is really transforming the digital economy,” he explained. “Three of the largest companies are software companies in the world.”

Everyone carries around a computer in their phone and computing has become completely integrated into people’s lives. Digital data doubles every two years. “The only way to understand this data, the only way to interpret it, is with code. Code is the language of the digital economy.”

We have web developers, SEO (search engine optimization) developers and data scientists.

“We really need a lot of coding,” he said. “We have heard about STEM [science, technology, engineering, math education], all of the development of coding happens on the computing side.”

Full stacked web development is the first course offered by Zebra Code. “What that is connecting a website to a database. Every website that you go to uses this.”

“News content like the Vanguard, Enterprise, New York Times – they all manage their content with a data,” he said. “This is a good skill to know and you can apply it to a wide variety of problem solvings.”

“What is full stack web development, it is database, server code and front end,” he said. “It runs on your browser, so it runs everywhere.”

He said it used to be very complicated but, with new innovation, it is quite easy with a new open source tool developed by a professor.

“It is assessable everywhere,” he said. It runs on the cloud with very low startup costs, people can get right on it, right away without the expense of setting up their own servers.

“Web apps have a way of making your business – big or small – run more smoothly,” he said.

Mr. Toy talked about the app he is working on with the Davis Downtown and Chamber of Commerce – The Daily Special. “Very simple idea where you have the administrator – the downtown network – and they authorize merchants, merchants that publish and postings,” he said. It’s a simple app where merchants can post their daily specials.

The class starts in two weeks – four hours on Thursday. Small classes, only 14 students. He said, it’s less than $10 per hour, very affordable and a worthy investment.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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