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Well, Well, Well

benjamincgeorge.jpg no absolutes, a framework for life

Well, Well, Well

A Beginning

benjamincgeorge.jpg no absolutes, a framework for life
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I went from traveling in Central and South America for 6 years of digital nomading, entrepreneuring, and exploring to years of R&D, small business, a book, a couple of startups, and this is all underpinned by a continual state of learning to now. Now is an interesting time.

I’ve found myself as a man of reason.

Deep down like everyone the desire was always to be heard, but along the path, I realized how one is heard is important as well.

How do I want to be heard?

Or do I?

For the past few years, the ‘Or do I?” has dominated my journey.

If you are reading this then the choice was made.

Well…

Who am I?

I am persistent, fierce when I need to be, and mostly calm, I’ve been a performer, a traveler, an entrepreneur, a fisherman, a singer, a partier, an artist, a programmer, a leader, a failure, a success, a realist, a skeptic, a scientist, a philosopher, a researcher, an inventor, a jester, a teacher, a creator, a writer, an asshole, a lover, an observer, a runner, a fighter, and certainly not least importantly – a friend.

I reserve the right to invoke any of these hats at my leisure.

Well…

What’s the intent of this?

I’m closer than I’ve ever been, yet feel further away – while apparently contradictory, let me explain so obtusely to only inspire questions. I’ve spent the past 15 years of my life on a very specific type of journey – looking under, at first, every rock, then understanding rocks and being a bit more deliberate in my choices. Foregoing traditional paths in my own pursuits I have found myself… here.

Well…

What now?

A bit of a good time, some different perspectives, trials & tribulations, success, failure, a fair bit of fuckery, a good deal of kindness, and authenticity to foundationalize it all.

This is a bit of an open book. I’m in the midst of many projects, trying to train for some ultra running, and deciding to broadcast my journey. There is a wide sea from automation to anthropology (wrapping the alphabet). I will also be open to any reasonable debates (not interested in topics in which common ground and logic can’t be found). Above all the intent here is to establish a reasonable dialogue – or monologue as it stands now ūüôā and through that conversation establish a reference point, build resources, and bring reason back to the table.

 

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Well, Well, Well

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New York Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars Announces Class of 2021

New York Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars Announces Class of 2021

South Dakota startup, LittleNewt, selected among nine Fintech startups to join the accelerator program
New York Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, announces class of 2021 South Dakota startup, LittleNewt, selected among nine Fintech startups to join the¬†accelerator program   RAPID CITY, South Dakota ‚Äď January 28, 2021 ‚ÄstThe New York Barclays Accelerator,¬†powered by¬†Techstars, the FinTech startup program that helps entrepreneurs succeed,¬†today announced their accelerator class of 2021. The program offers startups unprecedented access to the networks of Barclays and Techstars, and, over 13 weeks,¬†provides mentorship, advice and expertise to help the companies develop their solutions. LittleNewt¬†was selected as one of nine FinTech startups to join the 2021 program out of¬†hundreds of applicants. Each of these companies went through a rigorous screening and¬†selection process that lasted several months before coming out on top. LittleNewt will be¬†only the second South Dakota-based startup to join the Techstars program. LittleNewt is a tax preparation and practice management software for CPA firms that¬†integrates in real-time with their clients‚Äô accounting systems, utilizes AI and automation to¬†instantly create tax returns, and provides year-round, accurate tax information. The software¬†is designed to automate 90% of the tax compliance process at a speed that is ten times¬†faster, while maintaining the same quality standards. The startup began its operations in¬†Rapid City, South Dakota, hometown of LittleNewt CEO, U.S. Army Veteran and¬†experienced tax professional,¬†Christopher Mundon. ‚ÄúMy team and I are incredibly excited and humbled to not only be accepted into the¬†accelerator program, but also be only the second startup out of South Dakota. The Barclays¬†Techstars program and network will be invaluable in our mission to bring an AI solution to a¬†workflow issue that‚Äôs plagued the CPA industry for its entire existence,‚ÄĚ said Mundon. South Dakota is also home of Co-Founder and COO,¬†Yumin Chung. Co-Founder and CTO,¬†Benjamin George, currently works out of his home in Colorado Springs. LittleNewt is actively feature testing its software and looking for qualified tax professionals to¬†join their pilot program. To learn more about LittleNewt‚Äôs services and how to get involved,¬†visit¬†www.littlenewt.com/features. ‚ÄĒ About Barclays Barclays is a British universal bank.¬† We are diversified by business, by different types of¬†customer and client, and geography.¬† Our businesses include consumer banking and¬†payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate¬†and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides¬†technology, operations and functional services across the Group. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website¬†home.barclays About Techstars The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006,¬†Techstars began with three simple ideas‚ÄĒentrepreneurs create a better future for¬†everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now¬†we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture¬†capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help¬†build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,300 companies¬†and has a portfolio valued at more than $185B.¬†www.techstars.com About LittleNewt LittleNewt, a Fintech startup that began operations in March 2020, was initially founded by Christopher Mundon, CEO and Yumin Chung, COO. Co-founder and CTO, Benjamin George, joined the team in June. Mundon is an experienced tax professional with an extensive background in Private Equity tax compliance from E&Y and PwC. As an experienced tax professional trained at the best accounting firms in the world, Mundon is extremely qualified to lead the development of an automated tax product. LittleNewt is a Tax preparation and practice management software for CPA firms that utilizes AI and automation to instantly create tax returns and accurate, real-time estimates. LittleNewt allows CPAs to add data only once and then let the software do the work. Their commitment is to give tax professionals more time to serve as advisors and consultants to their clients. With LittleNewt, tax compliance is just reviewing, editing, approving, and e-filing. For more information on LittleNewt, visit¬†www.littlenewt.com¬†or the official¬†LinkedIn,¬†Twitter¬†or¬†Facebook¬†pages. To find out more about the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars program, go to¬†www.barclaysaccelerator.com.  
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That Startup Life: The Covid Special – Musings of a Technical Co-Founder

That Startup Life: The Covid Special A Technical Co-Founders Journey

For the past few months now I have been working deeply on an incredible opportunity called LittleNewt (https://littlenewt.com) Now on the surface, Automating tax stuff for CPA’s, it may not sound the most thrilling, but building a fully automated system from scratch to do this is a bit more so. A startup is challenging to begin with and we decided to make it a bit harder by throwing a dash of covid into the equation, not by choice certainly, but it is what it is and a covid startup does have some advantages, namely – focus. When there isn’t anything else to do it becomes pretty easy to focus on building something.

In 3 short months, we took a product from an idea and a few notes into an automated platform that does some pretty nifty things from a few different perspectives and stands to be rather disruptive to a market that still looks like the world runs on windows 98. Now that I am coming up for a little air I thought I’d detail a bit about the process, startup life during covid, and general tips, tricks, hacks, ideas, philosophies, and reasonings that lead from an idea to a working product and some of the steps to get there.

When I design systems I like to begin with the idea – what are we trying to accomplish. I have to view the project from as many perspectives of the user as I can muster both internal and external. The idea should be something simple “Automate Tax work” a building block to build out of. If your system is comprised entirely of tiny blocks dedicated to automating tax work then when you finish building something those same properties (and others) should emerge from the finished system. This is how nature operates and how our perception of reality is formed so the benchmarks out there indicate the method works!

After the idea is clear and simple the process is to set the scope – what sort of rules are going to confine our system – what sort of software do we have to use, what sort of interface are customers used to, what other products are doing, does the market place any bounds, regulations, etc. You likely won’t know them all, but having an idea of what sort of barriers you are going to encounter during the process allows for better planning, fewer revisions, and a faster product development cycle.

So now the stage is set we’ve defined the terrain and we know the destination now to walk the path – but wait, we’re making the path as we go.

This step of the process I find will define a product, what is our process?

For me, this decision is always easy – I have 20+ years of a litany of skills and know I can develop an MVP solo – it won’t be some work of gorgeous elegance, but it won’t crap out at the first sign of mud either. If you are a technical co-founder or aspiring to be, this is the wheelhouse you want to inhabit. Why? Even if you can put the spit and polish on something your job as the technical co-founder is blazing the trail, not making it look pretty for people to follow you. This process when viewed from above will look like a river moving through the land moving this way and that with thousands of little tributaries branching out (dead ends, not right nows, maybe laters) with the overall path of the river itself representing the system being developed.

Using natural systems as inspiration isn’t exactly new hat, but I find it often overlooked for the flavor of the month acronym, some holy grail 1 stop language, and endless wireframes. Why is there often a disconnect between your technical people and non – especially in startup land? Because there is often a disconnect from reality – we focus so much on the esoteric ideas of our roles that we forget they aren’t so complex – perhaps there is an onus in society that drives this behavior, but as trailblazers, it becomes part of our job description to find the path of least resistance and remove what clutter we can so the waters flow (that’s cash for those of you who have had too much metaphor).

At this stage, the mind will churn and stacks, implementations, off-the-shelf, open-source, and proprietary solutions will begin to mingle and a solution to the problem we just created begins to take shape. Time to do some work and begin building the foundations of your system. Start broad, use off the shelf, and open source as much as possible even if a future iteration will re-write the functionality. Aim to be custom coding as little as possible in the beginning – even if your meta power is super coding you will still bend the knee to the almighty copy & paste find & replace. There is a saturation limit here that will vary depending on your project. Plugging in 120 different libraries may be fine for a prototype, but you should probably refactor the idea for an MVP.

Solving this equation efficiently and elegantly is what defines a technical co-founder and can often directly impact the success of any startup.

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Well, Well, Well

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