Industry Article

When it comes to health, does senior leadership matter?

You know the answer. Yes!

Senior leadership is vital. You set the tone. You lead by example.

April’s Million Mile Month

The same is true for community leadership. In that spirit, HealthCode is honored to have the support of Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Jr. for April’s Million Mile Month – a fun community-wide global challenge supporting healthier people, companies, and more connected communities.

Plus, we’re excited that employees from the City of Austin, Travis and Williamson Counties, Austin ISD, CapMetro, Keller Williams, American Campus Communities and many more are joining us in the community challenge to embrace healthy lifestyles.

Please see their community challenge, which supports employees locally and globally, full or part-time.

Is your company up for the challenge?

For more information check out the corporate wellness page.

Interested in a CEO Challenge?

Let me know – Steve Amos 512-970-7443 Steve@HealthCode.Org.

These April activity workouts leading up to MS150, a two-day fundraising bike ride organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Cap 10K all count. Get creative with your ramp up workouts; activities like swimming, yoga and crossfit can also get you ready for these events.

Thinking of leaders?

Put Tuesday February 26th at 7PM on your calendars at Book People. Jill Griffin talks about her new book “Follow These Leaders”.

As always, I welcome and encourage you to reach out with questions, suggestions or collaboration requests.

-Steve Amos
HealthCode Executive Director
512 970 7443

Back to the Grind: Pressure, Stress, Anxiety and Depression in the Tech Community

Tips for De-Stressing and Recognizing Mental Health Issues in Your Employees

A recent Forbes article discusses why depression increases during the holidays and can be summed up in three words: stress, family, and expectations. The holidays are over, new year resolutions have been made and everyone is back to the grind. In talking with several startup tech founders in the tech community, the expectations and stress sound like a year-round issue.

I recently read a telling article from the San Francisco Times about Joseph Thomas, an African-American Uber engineer. Though he seemed to be living the ‘American Dream’, he ultimately took his life after battling with stress, anxiety and depression. It was a tragic story highlighting the importance of mental health and linking it to the workplace environment. Unfortunately, Joseph Thomas is not alone. In research conducted by Stanford business professors, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefanos A. Zenios, workplace stress contributes to at least 120,000 deaths each year. The biggest factor in this calculation is lack of health insurance (leading to lack of treatment), which contributes to 49,000 deaths; followed by unemployment, which contributes to 34,000 deaths; and job insecurity and high work demands, which each contribute to about 30,000 deaths. This spurred me to do a little digging on mental health awareness and depression prevention to help prevent tragedies like these from happening.

How to Identify the Warning Signs

Most early stage tech companies operate in a full throttle environment, making anxiety and burnout common. In the Harvard Business Review article, Why We Need To Talk About Burnout In The Tech Industry, a survey by Kronos found three top-cited factors for workplace burnout: unfair compensation (41%), an unreasonable workload (32%), and too much overtime work (32%). Does that sound like a typical tech startup? Since 1 in 5 suffer from a mental illness according the National Alliance of Mental Health, it is important for managers and leaders to understand the warning signs of someone who is close to burnout or could be suffering from a mental illness.

Here are some warning signs of mental illness from an article:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale issues
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Safety problems and accidents
  • Absenteeism
  • Frequent complaints of being tired all of the time
  • Complaints of unexplained aches and pain
  • Alcohol and drug use

The best way to recognize these factors is to have a pulse on your culture and know your people. This will help you identify drastic changes in behavior and react accordingly.

How to Handle the Situation. Patton’s Approach Was a Little Too Much.

Though Patton did a lot to help win WWII, but he was not a role model when it came handling a mental illness, then referred to as ‘battle fatigue’ and now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In short, he publicly humiliated them through verbal and physical abuse for not getting back into the battle. Fortunately, we have learned a lot when it comes to mental illness and how to react accordingly.

In the Inc article, What to Say (and Not Say) When an Employee Is Depressed, psychologist and therapist  Dr. Lori Whatley’s suggestions can be summarized by the following methodology for talking with potentially depressed employees:

  • Express your concern for the employee.
  • Comment on your observation of their behaviors
  • Offer to help or find help
  • Accommodate and be supportive
  • One way to find help is through your company Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP connects member employees to confidential, professional assistance to help with personal, family, and work issues. Often, these services come at no charge to the employee and are included with your employee benefit plan, even if you are with a PEO.

Prevention: General Tips to Manage Mental Health

Obviously, prevention is the best way to manage mental illness. Here are a few for starters:

– Take care of the body – just about every article I read regarding reducing mental health points back to a good diet and regular exercise. Other ways to take care of your body can include sleep, good posture, deep breathing, among many others. Know your physical state affects your mental state.
– Take care of the mind – pray, meditate, journal, read, practice gratitude, etc. There is a litany of ways to focus, be mindful, and be present, but these are the most common.
– Unplug – on a micro level, putting down the phone or closing the lap top from time to time throughout the day is a good way to take a mental break. Longer breaks can include getting out of the office to take a walk or eating your lunch outside. On a macro level this can also means respecting your evenings or weekends by leaving work behind. Perhaps, even a vacation might help recharge the batteries after a stressful season. Find a way to recharge.
– Manage expectations – Watch this TedTalk from Shawn Achor, best selling author and the world’s leading expert on happiness. His research on reprograming the success and happiness dynamic by increasing your positivity in the moment can help increase mental health. In short his message is to be happy before the success because every time we reach success we move the bar. We will never be happy if we keep moving the bar.

In summary, mental health is one of those topics most people operating at high levels do not want to discuss. Clearly the best medicine is prevention; however, as leaders and decent human beings, it is important to recognize when things are not right with your employees and friends. It helps to be aware of the warning signs and know how to handle the situation if it comes up.


About Lumen:

Lumen Insurance Technologies is a tech-focused commercial insurance agency based in Austin, Texas. Lumen is hyper-focused on providing the technology startup ecosystem with quality commercial insurance coverage (e.g. D&O, E&O, Cyber, etc.) following a funding event and beyond.

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MacroFab 2018 Year in Review

Manufacturing On-Demand Platform Experiences Record Growth

MacroFab is revolutionizing the electronics manufacturing industry by building a marketplace that will benefit both its customers and contract manufacturers (CMs). The company experienced a record-breaking year in 2018, marked by aggressive growth in bookings and revenue, an ever-increasing number of repeat customers, a new CEO, and expanded management team entering 2019.

MacroFab builds printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies and finished electronics products at both low and high volume quantities through its proprietary online platform. They provide these turnkey manufacturing services for a variety of industries including Industrial IoT, Digital Oilfield, Robotics/Drones, Industrial Automation and Consumer Electronics. The company has built a successful business model through its online platform and is now creating the first vertical manufacturing marketplace in the electronics industry.

By the Numbers

Since being founded in 2013, MacroFab’s easy-to-use online platform and outstanding level of customer service have helped hundreds of customers get their products to market. Through their turnkey services, customers can stay with MacroFab throughout their product’s creation lifecycle from prototype to production. This model has helped the company grow substantially in 2018:

  • 120% growth in sales.
  • 37% increase in repeat customers per quarter.
  • Expansion of the manufacturing network to US factories and capacity growth in Mexico.
  • 27x increase in manufacturing network production volume.
  • Industry-leading Net Promoter Score of 55% (industry standard is -3)
  • MacroFab weekly podcast has more than 300,000 total downloads

Growing Management Team

MacroFab made key personnel changes in 2018 that have strengthened its leadership team. In November the company announced that Misha Govshteyn joined the team as Chief Executive Officer. Founder and former CEO, Chris Church moved into a new role as Chief Product Officer. Scott Stearns has joined as Director of Supply Chain Management. Taylor Smith has been promoted to Director of Account Management and Sales. Lastly, Chris Mullins was hired in October to lead the partner development network as VP of Business Development.

Building the Electronics Manufacturing Marketplace

The $480B electronics manufacturing industry is largely operated by decades-old systems of emails, conference calls and large teams of people. The software engineering team at MacroFab has built a cloud-based, API-enabled platform that allows customers to upload design files to receive instant quotes and lead times driven by intelligent algorithms. MacroFab customers can get to market faster by accessing unlimited and on-demand capacity through a growing network of CMs in the US and Mexico.

“Our platform is transformational for both our customers and partners. We are making it easier than ever before to manufacture their PCBs at higher volumes in North America, through access to as much manufacturing capacity as they need, so they can get to market faster and rely on consistent quality,” said Misha Govshteyn, CEO of MacroFab.

Macrofab customers gain the ability to consume electronics manufacturing as a virtualized resource, which is a more convenient user experience and allows them to scale without looking for new suppliers as they grow. MacroFab partners gain a source of low overhead manufacturing jobs, allowing them to fully subscribe their factory capacity and eliminate idle time. The production process is driven by the company’s digital platform at every stage of production to ensure just-in-time logistics management and guaranteed quality of service.

“The dominant trend we’re seeing is a return to manufacturing in North America for most critical technologies, where electronics production is a growing $70B industry,” Govshteyn said. “Our fastest growth segments are in robotics, automotive and industrial IoT, and it’s not only due to trade conflicts and tariffs. We consistently hear that IP protection, supply chain security, digital-first experience and ability to work within the same continent is essential to rapid product iteration. We’re not talking about commodity electronics. These are highly complex industrial products with rapidly evolving designs” Govshteyn continued.

In what can take other CMs months to go from quoting to full production, MacroFab has found a way to shorten the manufacturing timeline, benefitting entrepreneurs and businesses around the world. The startup is effectively changing the way that the industry operates, by helping realize new innovations and by bringing new electronic devices into the market more affordably and easier than ever before.

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