Fargo INC! May 2023

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Conveniently located along Veterans Blvd in southwest Fargo in a lively mixed-use neighborhood, The Lane o ers opportunities to accommodate both small and mid-size retailers with a strong on-site customer base for businesses. Surrounded by residential neighborhoods, two new multifamily communities and some of the area’s largest employers, The Lane puts tenants and visitors in the middle of the fastest-growing area in Fargo with convenient access to I-94.

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20 MAY 2023




The Story of Nexus Innovations

Sometimes opportunities come in unlikely ways. Twenty-three years ago, a phone call from Bob’s corporate boss broke the news that the North Dakota operation was shutting down in 30 days.

Rather than starting the job hunt, Bob and Lorie Pope prayed for wisdom and courage and decided to go after their dream by starting a new business.

That dream consisted of building a strategic consulting firm that met the needs of clients in the regional area. A business that had a purpose and strategic mission reaching beyond just "doing business.” Bob and Lorie wanted to provide services that genuinely helped organizations become empowered, successful, and able to attain the next level. They determined the heart of the

business would need to be built on trust relationships, high value to the customer, great culture, and serving the community.

That dream was planted when Nexus Innovations, Inc. began operations providing long-term, strategic planning on July 1, 2000, in Bismarck, North Dakota. The start was rocky, but they persevered as Bob and Lorie began building something that could last. Three years into operation, it became clear that Nexus needed to shift its focus from long-term, strategic planning to providing software solutions. Soon, the realization that

22 MAY 2023

the shift was going to take longer than anticipated set in.

Their defining moment came in 2005 as they faced a "make or break" challenge. An advisory board member met with Bob and Lorie to decide whether to keep on going or close the doors. His words were, "I believe you need to go for broke. Many times, people give up right before the big breakthrough." Well, the Popes were already broke, so they gave it their all and continued pushing the dream forward. A breakthrough came in the form of a big opportunity three weeks later, and the dream started to become a reality.

As Nexus' focus shifted into the software development space, they began to build momentum and success. Clients took notice that they could trust Nexus Innovations to deliver high-quality strategic software consulting and services. In 2008, an additional office was opened in Fargo, North Dakota to better serve clients in the regional area.


Fast forwarding to today, Nexus continues to grow and thrive as a regional strategic software consulting firm, working on enterprise-level projects in both government and private sector markets such as energy, healthcare, finance, and engineering. Their team of twentyfive consultants are in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

The core purpose of Nexus Innovations is to Empower Organizations for Success through Vision, Leadership, and Strategic Solutions. As Bob says, "We want to create a long-term, trusted partnership with clients that have that same desire. It's not about gaining as many clients or projects as we can. Lots of companies can develop software. What sets us apart is the customer experience."

Nexus Innovations has always focused on their "why"—building strong and lasting relationships with the people they serve. As Lorie states, "One of the reasons for our success is that Nexus goes beyond delivering an outstanding service—the difference is our people and the trust we build with clients."

The culture Nexus nurtures is one of empowering their team members to

be leaders. Son and COO Jordan Pope said: "What drives us every day is the opportunity to invest into people—inside our organization and outside of the organization. While our expertise is software consulting, we are in the service business; we strive to provide exceptional service to go with high quality technology consulting. Our team understands that each one of us is our best salesperson—our next project is dependent upon how well we serve our current customers."

The way Nexus has grown is also remarkable, as word of mouth is their primary source of marketing. This further emphasizes how organizations love working with the Nexus team and how they, in turn, build a strong level of trust. "We also feel a deep gratefulness to the many people who have mentored us along the journey. Therefore, we have made it a priority to be available and helpful to others in this journey.", Lorie stated

A Powerhouse of IT Solutions

With a focused range of services and solutions, Nexus is a proud Microsoft Gold Partner, offering game-changing solutions that enhance productivity, information management, collaboration, business analytics, and communication within organizations.

Nexus offers strategic software development consulting services stretching across the software development lifecycle, from Business Process Analysis and Improvement, Software Design and Architecture, Software Development Services, and Quality Assurance. Additional value-add services Nexus provides is Project Management Services and Organizational Consulting.

This means Nexus clients have a powerhouse of solutions for essentially every business need, with relationship-driven team members who are passionate about serving their community. That's really the essence of North Dakota businesses as a whole—the heart of it all goes back to serving the local community and treating clients like family.

As client, Erik Holmberg, from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota said, "The level of collaboration and thought leadership from Nexus are the biggest drivers of value within our organization."


A forRecipe Success: THE NEXUS CULTURE

As Nexus continues to grow and empower its team members, their culture has developed and grown with it. Nexus is excited to share its vision with new team members who are looking for a meaningful, impactful career. Lorie invests into the team on a weekly basis through leadership development and training, personal mentorship, and soft skills growth to add another layer of value on top of technical expertise to customer projects.

Nexus' goal is to be known as the go-to firm that delivers practical and innovative solutions with effective results—one of their ways to do that is by hiring people with the same vision.

"We have found team members who are most successful are those who want to be 'In the Arena', have a growth mindset, and who care most about the success of the team and client," Jordan said. "We have a lot of employees who formerly participated in team-based sports and activities who like being here. They are challenged every day, get to be part

of that team format, and can work towards a winning result for everyone involved. That's fun for them."

With that said, all Nexus leadership emphasized that building a healthy culture is never finished; it's growing and building upon the good foundation as we continuously learn and adjust.

At the end of the day, Nexus wants to instill the "servant leader" mindset into their team members.

The Nexus spirit really embodies the "Man in the Arena" quote by President Theodore Roosevelt, who spent time in the North Dakota Badlands. In fact, for nearly 20 years, one of the Nexus traditions is to take the employees and their families to the Medora Badlands each summer for two days of fun team-building.

24 MAY 2023



Many businesses may think they can solve all of their challenges internally and they don't need external consultants like Nexus. Why would an organization need consulting from Nexus Innovations?


Being an expert in all the different areas of software development is a big challenge for any organization. We are intentionally laser-focused and strong in our offering areas so that we provide extremely high value to our clients. Because of this focus, we bring experience, expertise, and insights that only come with doing the work every day, year after year. If we say yes to a project, it is because we believe the client will receive value above and beyond what they can do internally. Along with providing and delivering high quality work, our team is evaluating how to best empower the customer for success long term so that they can be successful and call us only when they want to call us—not because they are dependent on us.

BOB Pope

Our objective is to help the clients' IT team continually advance their abilities, and then utilize Nexus for the work above that level.


Nexus has been going strong for 23 years—what are a few keys to that success?

We are always looking to set the customer up for success with the best path and long-term solution; we are able to solve specific problems in very strategic creative ways. That said, that really does set us apart because we look at them as a partner with their best plan and growth through strategic lenses.

How does Nexus plan to keep growing?


We’ve found our niche market and have more opportunities than we can say yes to today. Our focus is adding additional depth and expertise to our team so that we can provide even greater value to our customers.


Nexus has had solid steady growth over the past 23 years. We plan on continuing to go along that path—capitalize on steady growth and adding new markets strategically. In many ways, our story is like the Tortoise and the Hare. Another way to look at this growth is illustrated in this quote by Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A: “If we get better, our clients will demand we get bigger.”

Next Page > FARGOINC.COM 25

Why I Love Working for Nexus


The three most rewarding aspects of working with Nexus for me are hearing a customer's satisfaction after a successful project, being able to challenge myself on a daily basis and working through those challenges to put together a top-notch solution, and being there for and being supported by teammates that are part of the Nexus family.

With those foundations in leadership and building trusting relationships at Nexus' forefront, it has challenged my leadership skills at a much deeper level. This has resulted in stronger, long-term relationships with our clients that are built on trust.

When you work for Nexus, they are investing in much more than what you can bring to the table from a skillset perspective. They are investing in who you are as a person, your family, and the values that matter the most to you.

Every day I get to work with a group of people that challenge and empower me to do my best in the work which I have grown to love.

Because the Nexus team is a smaller group, you feel motivated to always put your best work forward as it is a reflection of everyone at Nexus and the reputation that comes along with it.

There is never the feeling of your voice not being heard simply because of how experienced you may be. Everyone is valued so highly and considered a key member of the team.

The three most rewarding aspects of working with Nexus for me are helping clients find solutions that positively impact their business, having opportunities to discover my sweet spot, and working with other great teammates who are all equally invested in providing quality service, maintaining our culture, continuous learning, and having some fun along the way.

Nexus has helped me become a better teammate and leader as I’ve learned and embraced my leadership style, learned and practiced having critical conversations, gained an understanding of my teammates, learned and practiced interacting with people who think and approach things differently from me, and focused on healthy relationships.

Overall, Nexus is a great place to work because their values are lived out daily, practiced, reinforced, and celebrated. They aren’t just something nice on the wall—it’s the real deal.

Fun fact: We regularly have “Sausage Friday” where a teammate shares one or more types of sausage with the team.

The three most rewarding aspects of working with Nexus for me are working with a high-trust team, investing significantly in my personal and professional growth both technically and non-technically, and having high-challenge and innovative work with a variety of customers across several industries.

We approach things differently, with a true relationship-based customer focus. At Nexus, I am encouraged and empowered to pursue and develop lasting, trustbased relationships with our customers by focusing on long-term, big-picture benefits.

Nexus provides the right environment and resources to identify each person's sweet spot—the intersection of skillset, passion, and value-add—and strives to have that be what we actually do in our day job.

In many ways, Nexus has its priorities in the right place. Few organizations I've run across dedicate as much time, energy, and effort to personal growth and internal leadership development.

26 MAY 2023


At the turn of 2023, Collective rebranded from their previous Alliance Management Group name, utilizing the new name as a way to better represent their mission in creating communities and serving their residents.


In providing dwelling places for people, the industry of property management is naturally an intimate business—that's why the team at Collective approaches every situation with a service mindset that helps them build a collective community of people. Meet Nate Nelson and Quinne Meslow, two team members at Collective who are passionate about serving the community by providing beautiful living spaces.

"Our approach at Collective is different from the mainstream way in that we focus on doing the right thing and working with our residents based off their feedback to find the best solution," Meslow said. "We do our best to let them know that we care and understand that our

28 MAY 2023

communities are their homes—they’re more than just a rent payment to us."

As a Community Manager at Collective, Meslow works to build lasting relationships with residents, helping build a sense of belonging and community. One of the ways she is able to do this is through hosting resident appreciation events, focusing on property upkeep, and frequently visiting properties, ensuring every resident's needs are met. Through that, she has been successful in creating trustful relationships with Collective's residents.

The team at Collective has been in the resident's shoes before; they understand how overwhelming finding the perfect home can be. That's why as a Maintenance Technician, Nelson strives to ease any anxieties around moving and settling into a new home, ensuring everything in the home is running smoothly and no needs are left unmet or unanswered.

"All of our team members have rented a home at one point—we take our personal experiences and use them as tools to relate to potential residents," Nelson said. Collective's wide variety of homes helps a wide range of needs and they want to give potential residents options that best suit their desires.

An inside look at the Whispering Creek Apartments in South Fargo, one of Collective's newest community additions.



We want to get to know you and help you find a place to call home that fits your needs.


We want to build relationships with our residents.


We deliver proactive customer service while making an impact in all the communities that we serve.


We genuinely care about our residents’ concerns and wellbeing, and we make that known from the start.


We welcome any kind of feedback from our residents, vendors, and team members within Collective to conduct ourselves in the best way possible.


Negative emotions and bad communication from many large rental companies can leave residents feeling overwhelmed and frustrated—what positive emotions are you aiming to deliver to each of your clients?

Nate: We are building an organization that focuses on trust, belonging, and doing what’s right. Our values drive every interaction we have with customers, vendors, and other leaders in our community.

Quinne: Without [our residents], and the leaders within our community, there would be no Collective. Our sole purpose is to serve them as best as we can. They deserve to live in a community they can be proud of, and with a management company that treats them like family.

How do the values and mission of Collective enhance your role?

Quinne: As someone who has worked for another property management company in our area, joining the team at Collective has been a breath of fresh air. Here at Collective, we are a tight-knit organization that educates and empowers our team members, along with hearing out any new ideas that may be presented to us. We’re open to doing property management differently, and I believe that’s one of the many characteristics that set us apart.

What are a couple of ways you’re building relationships/community with clients?

Nate: We recently had a resident appreciation event at our Southport Heights office where residents could come in and help themselves to snacks, had drawings for gift cards, and could come in and meet the team. This was such a wonderful experience and I look forward to continuing to serve our residents in the future.

30 MAY 2023


I was honored to serve as this year's first Vice President, which yielded the opportunity to serve alongside our volunteer-led board of directors in executing a number of events including opportunities for education, volunteerism, and a celebration of the year's best advertising contributions. I would also like to give a big thank you to this year's sponsors—we couldn't have done any of this without you.

2022-2023 Board of Directors

32 MAY 2023


These events give sponsors an opportunity to host our members (or those interested in becoming a member) to visit their locations and network with fellow members in the advertising and communication fields. Here is a look at some of the networking events AAF-ND held this year:


As Vice President of AAF-ND, I had the distinct honor of leading our annual American Advertising Awards alongside co-chair Lexi Hovland. We celebrated achievements in design, videography, digital marketing, and print. This event was made possible by partnerships with The Avalon, Office Sign Company, Livewire, and our awesome emcee Patrick Kirby. We are excited to report that a number of winners from our local event advanced to the district competition and yielded three Gold winners that will advance to the national American Advertising Award competition along with 14 Silver award


Preparing for the Rising Wave of an Aging Workforce

A generation ago, it was expected: Employees worked until they qualified for Social Security and Medicare and then left the workforce.

That’s no longer the case.

For a variety of reasons—longer lifespan, changes in retirement and pension plans, plus pure enjoyment of work—more Americans are working longer. And the trend is growing. In North Dakota, 25.2% of people 65 and over are contributing to the workforce.1

That’s a good thing for employers. This group of workers contribute to workplace diversity and generally bring wisdom, a good work ethic and confidence in their abilities. Author and management professor Peter Cappelli says every aspect of job performance gets better as we age.

This trend has very few downsides for employers, except one: the cost of health care.

Coverage Options for Medicare-Eligible

As a business, you have options that help you retain this valuable demographic without the risk of escalating medical costs.

Workforce Age In ND 65+

Consider these four approaches to keeping senior workers covered.

1 Status quo: An employee can keep their current coverage.

2 An employee can take their Medicare benefits by way of an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan—a plan that operates more like the group coverage they’re used to.

3 As an employer, you can offer group Medicare Advantage coverage for those age 65+. You can choose to pay the premium for the employee or have the employee pay.

4 An employee can pursue traditional Medicare coverage while still working and either drop their workplace coverage or use it as secondary coverage.

The best choice for you and your employees depends on many factors, so it’s important to seek advice and information specific to your unique circumstances.

Questions? 800-280-2583

1 https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/employment-earnings/cps-lf-characteristics.html

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and NextBlue of North Dakota Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. NextBlue of North Dakota is a PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in NextBlue of North Dakota depends on contract renewal.
Help transition employees to Medicare with the Quick Start Guide. H6202_IGMagAd65_C FVNR 0423 SPONSORED CONTENT 34 MAY 2023
36 MAY 2023

Technology is advancing faster and faster every year, creating more and more options for improving business processes. However, you probably don't know where to start. That's why we talked to local tech companies in town and asked them what technology they were using within their businesses!



Peter Chamberlain is the Founder & CEO of WalkWise, a company providing a remote patient monitoring solution to protect senior citizens. With WalkWise, Chamberlain has received numerous awards, including the 2019 1 Million Thanks Rookie of the Year award.

Prior to founding WalkWise, Chamberlain was the Co-Founder of the MIT Hyperloop team which won the inaugural SpaceX Hyperloop Design Challenge.


WalkWise is a company that created a device that attaches to walkers to monitor a user's activity.

"We learned how to monitor activity at night to screen for urinary tract infections. We designed a notification system that warned families and caregivers about a lack of motion and walker tips. We helped reduce falls by making walker use 'fun' and allowing care providers to address walker noncompliance. We provided my own family and others with a mobile app to have peace of mind throughout the day."

Photo by Gary Ussery
38 MAY 2023
-Peter Chamberlain on the WalkWise website


According to the CDC, there are about 36 million falls reported by older adults each year and about 32,000 deaths resulting from those falls.


"We use Pipedrive to manage our sales efforts and the resulting data from customer engagement. For each customer profile, the software tracks all email communication automatically and makes it easy to record other outreach, such as phone calls. The 'Pipeline' view is a great way to see which prospects are at which stage in the sales funnel. When you close a deal, we gather around the computer to see the congratulatory GIF. It is definitely not as robust and powerful as Salesforce and other pricy CRMs, but it's an affordable solution for startups and it gets the job done."

"ClickUp is a highly versatile and configurable data platform that houses our workflows for project management and customer support tickets, among other functions. You can create customized workflows that assign tasks to the right team members, and duplicate these workflows as needed. Data fields are completely customizable, making it easy to structure data the way we want."


"Shoobx is a highly rigid corporate, HR, and equity management platform that keeps your company doing things the right way. You can issue convertible notes and stock options, generate board consents for e-signatures, and keep a clean data room for potential investors. You can even make job offers and include your standard confidentiality and IP assignment terms. Shoobx saves us money on legal fees, but our lawyers also like that information is wellorganized and digitized."



"This is the most versatile Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that I've used. It is built by Microsoft, but the huge value is the opensource plugins for virtually every language and third-party solution that exists. One can lament all the other IDEs that have come and gone over the years, but from an 'ecosystem' standpoint, nothing has ever been as good as Visual Studio Code. If you're not programming in VS Code, check it out."


"This is a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) software that assists with the design, modeling, and manufacturing of 3D objects. Essentially all products in our physical world have been designed with CAD, and Fusion360 is a decent package for beginners and startups that doesn't break the bank. It has the capability to design anything that you can imagine, and though there are a few unwelcome quirks compared to expensive solutions like Solidworks, it has been exactly what we've needed as a startup."

40 MAY 2023


"Payroll is a pain, but Gusto makes it really easy and inexpensive. Most everything just runs automatically, but you can easily add hours, reimbursement, and even offer benefits directly from the portal. Come tax season, they issue everyone their necessary documents and help you pay the necessary taxes."


"PeopleKeep is a benefits management platform that we use for our HRA and our commuter benefit. Employees upload their receipts and documents through their portal, and PeopleKeep just lets us know what to add back into the next payroll cycle. It's convenient for employers and employees alike, though it can be frustrating to reach customer service when needed."

walkwise.com /WalkWiseTech /company/walkwise @walkwisefamily



"Andrew Paulsen has been a key technical leader, developing new products and technology for Packet Digital. Andrew has extensive research, testing and product development expertise with power management technologies. Andrew also leads the embedded software team and works closely with the engineering teams on services projects and unmanned aircraft and solar products."


PacketDigital is an engineering company based out of Fargo that focuses on battery and power system development for autonomous systems with an emphasis on UAS.

-The PacketDigital Website Photo by Josiah Kopp
42 MAY 2023



"This is a versatile program that our hardware engineers use essentially to design PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), however, it integrates an appreciable number of development tools from different disciplines into a single environment. The primary two tools are schematic development—the symbolic creation of electronic circuits from a functional perspective, and PCB layout—the physical implementation of the schematic in the form of component placement and copper traces. Other important tools in the environment include BOM (Bill of Materials) management, a component database, finite element analysis for thermal and current density calculations, 3D modeling, importing, exporting, and collision reporting, and numerous other application-specific plugins."


"This is a free and well-documented; well supported; circuit simulation software. SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) has been used in the industry for 50 years and is a key tool engineers can use to simulate circuit functionality before committing to ordering fabrication of PCB—which aren’t as easily modified."


"This hardware from Texas Instruments is an essential suite of tools that assist in the design and configuration of the fuel gauging and monitoring elements within a BMS (Battery Management System). It is compatible with a wide range of TI-manufactured components and equips the design engineer with features that include real-time monitoring of the fuel gauge, calibration, data logging, and generating useful files for taking the device to production."




"Creo is a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program used by our mechanical design engineers to design the mechanical components (enclosures, battery cell holders, PCBA brackets, heatsinks) for our different battery designs and other products. Creo is a powerful tool that allows us to design parts for different manufacturing processes and allows our engineers to collaborate with each other and review each other’s designs. It also helps our production team in creating standard assembly processes to build our products to exact specifications."


"This is an application we use inside Creo to simulate and analyze how natural phenomena such as forces, temperatures, and heat generation can affect our battery designs and other product designs. CSL uses Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to set up simulations, apply constraints on our model, and then solve for an estimated value (temperature, stress, strain, etc.). With CSL we are able to quickly verify our designs and make needed adjustments based on simulation results without the need to build a physical copy of our design to test. This software has allowed our mechanical engineers to optimize designs more efficiently and effectively."


"PreForm is a software that allows our mechanical engineers to 3D print designs for prototyping and production with our Formlabs 3D printer. PreForm allows our engineers to set up CAD models to be 3D printed and optimizes the part setup to ensure successful prints. Using PreForm and our 3D printer, we can quickly iterate and optimize our designs for our batteries and other products."

44 MAY 2023



"Github is a popular distributed revision control system and Microsoft's Github is one of the most popular servers for git repositories. Most of our source code is stored in private repositories on Github."

"An integrated development environment is a text editor with additional features to make programming and debugging more convenient. IDEs often facilitate line-by-line debugging, include autocomplete based on the names of variables, classes, and functions in the project, and provide shortcuts to build the application without leaving the editor."

Developers choose their own IDEs, but VSCode, VIM, and Emacs are popular choices."




"Python is a versatile language popular in the scientific community. We use it internally for graphing large datasets and designing digital filters. Our firmware developers use Python for design validation and prototyping some of the devices our embedded processors might talk to. For example, rather than connecting the CAN bus on one of our BMSs to a drone, we might use a Python script on a PC along with a USB CAN adapter during development instead. Python has also found a home on our end of line testing, where it's used quite similarly to its use in design validation."

"On the API and UI front, we've recently started to standardize on Javascript. For web applications, Single Page Web apps written in Javascript using a framework like React or VueJS have become the standard for front-end work. Additionally, we use tools like Electron and Cordova to build desktop (PC and Mac) and mobile (Android and iOS) apps using web technologies."


"NodeJS allows the use of Javascript outside of web browsers, and we use Javascript running on NodeJS for the majority of our webserver APIs."

packetdigital.com /PacketDigitalLLC @PacketDigital
46 MAY 2023


48 MAY 2023


"After ChatGPT launched at the end of 2022, our team has been exploring ways it can help us be more productive—from helping craft an email to writing SQL queries."

"Bushel has heavily adopted Azure DevOps for code repositories (managing our code and continued changes) and deployment pipelines (pushing that code to our servers or deploying applications to app stores), otherwise known as continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD)."


"Rather than hosting and maintaining our own servers, Bushel chose Google Cloud Platform to quickly scale up, scale down, or add new servers for our running applications. It also provides significant security protection and redundancy capabilities."

"Bushel heavily relies on Google’s Business Suite (Docs, Sheets, Gmail, etc.) for communication and collaboration. Bushel was even spotlighted at Google I/O in 2021 for the way we have adopted their tools within the company."




'If there isn’t a Jira ticket, it’s not going to get done.'

"Jira is a very popular task management solution, particularly in the software space. Jira is our source of truth for what needs to be done and the current status of an initiative or project."


"How much do we use Slack, the popular messaging platform?

We have awards for the smartest, wittiest conversations. Are there lengthy threads debating the best way to make a peanut butter sandwich? Absolutely. But there are thousands of other conversations happening to help us check in and communicate asynchronously both internally and externally."


"When the world came to a halt in 2020, Bushel’s use of Zoom for video conferencing skyrocketed like most organizations. Now we have a hybrid workspace to make both remote and in-office team members feel connected during meetings. It’s been a critical tool to help us maintain our company culture and connection with employees around the country."


"Miro is an online whiteboard tool that allows local and remote employees or customers to interact with one another in real time. It is a great tool for brainstorming sessions, collaboration on process definition, and prioritization discussions."

50 MAY 2023


"Postman is an API platform that allows Bushel employees to test our internal or thirdparty APIs. This allows developers to quickly verify required request parameters, response structure, and other important information needed to communicate across software systems. It is also useful in making requests to APIs in a more usable format than accessing the APIs through a customerfacing application."





What they said: "Jenkins is a continuous integration (CI) tool utilized by multiple development teams at Bushel. It provides us with a way to automate compilation, test running, and, in some cases, deployment of our software. Jenkins alone saves us thousands of developer hours every year."


What they said: "Harvest is the time track app we use at Bushel. It serves many purposes such as illustrating employee effort, billing the client, and tracking cost vs. estimates for projects."


What they said: "Jira is a proprietary issue tracking product developed by Atlassian. It provides bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management functions. Jira serves as a progress-tracking platform for the company, making sure that each project has a clear definition of what has been accomplished, what is remaining to be accomplished, and the status of each of the items that are currently in progress."

52 MAY 2023



What they said: "Our development and operations teams package web applications into Docker containers to ensure consistent deployments across environments and provide an additional layer of isolation. We use Kubernetes to orchestrate the deployment of the containers, providing high-availability, self-healing, and automated traffic routing."


What they said: "Bushel’s development team utilizes a variety of IDEs and tools for their software development. Among these are IntelliJ IDEA, PhpStorm, Xcode, Android Studio, and Visual Studio. We utilize a wide variety of languages and frameworks as well, including PHP with Laravel, Java/Kotlin with Spring/Spring Boot or Karaf, Javascript/Typescript with React, C# with ASP.NET, among others. As should be clear, our development team is using a lot of different tools/resources to make sure that our software solutions are effective and efficient."



What they said: "Slack is the messaging platform we use in order to communicate amongst team members and other members of the company. Slack enables us to be more efficient in our communication than trying to do so through email."



What they said: "Officevibe is a web-based employee engagement platform to conduct employee surveys and receive feedback to measure employee satisfaction and generate business inputs. The platform anonymously collects employee feedback and shares automated notifications of the feedback generated with managers. The reports feature of the software provides real-time analysis of the surveys and feedback based on geography, team, and department. The platform also assists human resource teams to conduct onboarding surveys."

What they said: "Figma is a cloud-based design tool used by our design and development teams that shows real-time work within design projects. Teammates collaborate on the same file at the same time. This helps our teams maintain transparency of what is to be built, efficiency in communication, and changes in real-time."


What they said: "HubSpot is a platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. We use Hubspot to consolidate our tools to create team efficiency and total unification of data across multiple teams."







54 MAY 2023



Principal, Salesforce

Johnathon Rademacher is the Principal for Perficient’s Salesforce practice. He is responsible for the quality delivery of all the Salesforce engagements and works to continuously evolve their scrum-based delivery methodology. Prior to Perficient, Johnathon was the CTO at Sundog, a Salesforce consulting partner. Sundog was recognized by Salesforce as a leading consulting partner before being acquired by Perficient in 2019. Johnathon has a broad range of technical consulting experience and holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from


Perficient is a global digital consultancy with thousands of skilled strategists and technologists in the U.S., Latin America, and India. Perficient’s Fargo location is the company’s North America Salesforce hub, focused on Salesforce consulting and implementation projects.

"We’re making a difference by transforming how the world’s biggest brands connect with customers and grow their business. With Perficient, you get experience, expertise, speed, and agility to drive your business forward."

St. Thomas. Photo by Geneva Nodland
56 MAY 2023


Perficient was featured one-year ago in the April 2022 issue of Fargo INC!


"Perficient transforms business processes by leveraging software. To communicate changes to processes, architecture, and systems, we use Lucidchart. Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming and visual communication tool that allows users to create diagrams, flowcharts, mind maps, and other visual representations of complex ideas and processes. It is designed for collaboration and can be integrated with a wide range of applications and systems."


"A picture is worth a thousand words and a clickable prototype is even better. To best convey a proposed user experience, we leverage Adobe XD. Adobe XD is a cloud-based user experience design tool that allows designers to create and prototype digital user experiences for websites, mobile apps, and other digital products. It provides a range of tools and features for designing and testing user interfaces, including interactive prototypes, wireframes, and design specs.


"To keep our teams on track and collaborating with clients, we leverage Jira and Confluence. Jira and Confluence are cloud-based project management and collaboration tools developed by Atlassian. Jira is a project management tool designed for software development teams, providing features such as bug tracking, issue tracking, and agile project management. Confluence is a collaboration tool that allows teams to create and share content, such as documents, knowledge bases, and project plans."



"Instant communication is critical for software development. To connect with our colleagues, we use Microsoft Teams and Slack. Slack is a cloudbased team communication and collaboration platform that allows users to communicate and collaborate in real time. It provides a range of features for messaging, file sharing, and video and voice calls, as well as integrations with a wide range of applications and systems."


"My group's primary development platform is Salesforce. Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud are cloud-based customer relationship management and marketing automation tools designed to help businesses manage their customer interactions and marketing campaigns. Salesforce CRM provides features such as lead management, opportunity management, and customer service management, while Marketing Cloud provides features such as email marketing, social media marketing, and marketing analytics."


"A recent, and powerful, addition to Salesforce is Einstein GPT. Einstein GPT leverages the power of Chat GPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI that uses deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to natural language inputs. It can be used for a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, code generation, and content creation."

"Often our clients need robust search capabilities that span multiple systems. For this, we leverage Coveo, a cloud-based, AI-powered search and relevance platform designed for businesses of all sizes. It provides a range of tools and features for improving search experiences, increasing productivity, and driving better business outcomes."

COVEO 58 MAY 2023


Founded in 1997, Perficient has:

• 40+ Global Locations

• $905 Million in Revenue (2022)

• 300 Fortune 1000 Client Relationships

"Testing and deployment of systems (DevOps) can be complicated. To streamline our DevOps process, we leverage Copado. Copado is a cloudbased DevOps platform designed specifically for Salesforce. It provides a range of tools and features for managing the entire Salesforce development life cycle, from planning and development to testing, deployment, and release management."


"Most of the software solutions that Perficient builds are integrated into multiple systems like Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). We often leverage MuleSoft as middleware for these types of integrations. MuleSoft is a cloud-based integration platform that enables businesses to connect different applications, systems, and data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud. It provides a range of tools and features for building, managing, and monitoring integrations, as well as for designing and implementing APIs."


"When forms, document generation, and electronic signatures are needed, we leverage Conga. Conga is a cloud-based digital document transformation platform that allows businesses to streamline their document processes and create, manage, and deliver digital documents at scale. It provides a range of tools and features for automating document creation, management, and delivery, as well as for data management and analysis."



• Allentown, PA

• Ann Arbor, MI

• Atlanta, GA

• Boston, MA

• Bozeman, MT

• Cedar Rapids, IA

• Chicago, IL

• Columbus, OH


• Medellín, Colombia

• Bogotá, Colombia

• Cali, Colombia

• Dallas, TX

• Denver, CO

• Detroit, MI

• Fairfax, VA

• Fargo, ND

• Houston, TX

• Irvine, CA

• Lafayette, LA


• Oxford


• Bangalore, India

• Chennai, India

• Nagpur, MS, India


• Cordoba, Argentina

• Montevideo, Uruguay

• Santiago, Chile

• Novi Sad, Serbia

• Milwaukee, WI

• Minneapolis, MN

• New York, NY

• Oakland, CA

• St. Louis, MO

• Toronto, ON

• Washington, D.C.


• Hangzhou, China

perficient.com /perficient @perficient @perficientlife /company/perficient @perficient CONTACT PERFICIENT 60 MAY 2023


62 MAY 2023



Sycorr is a company focused on automating backoffice operations for the financial industry. Their clients include: Bank of North Dakota, Cornerstone Bank, Howard Bank, Gate City Bank, and Pinnacle Bank among others.


"Zoho One is an all-in-one cloud-based business software suite. With over 45 individual applications, Zoho One covers many of our business needs across departments. Features include: email, calendar, CRM, project management, accounting, human resources management, marketing automation, and business intelligence."

Why they like it: "By consolidating multiple applications and services into a single platform, we reduce the need for multiple logins, transfer data between different applications more easily, and work with only one vendor which saves us time."


"Grammarly checks for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style errors across browsers and many popular applications. It goes beyond a basic spell check to include more advanced corrections and improvements such as sentence structure, word choice, and even tone. As a bonus— with so much interest in artificial intelligence nowadays, they have even developed their own AI solution called GrammarlyGO."

Why they like it: "We maintain professionalism and have more time to focus on what we want to say instead of hunting for spelling and grammar mistakes."



"Perimeter81 is the next evolution of VPNs (virtual private networks), which encrypt network traffic from your computer to other systems. With the concept of the office changing, it is vital to have a solution that is flexible enough to work no matter where employees work. A software-defined network or modern VPN tool provides a secure tunnel to protect traffic. If a more advanced solution like Perimeter81 is over the top for your business, solutions like Surfshark or NordVPN are great alternatives to ensure someone is not monitoring you on public Wi-Fi or some other unknown connection that team members may need to use while on the go."

Why they like it: "The Internet is the backbone of our business processes; therefore, we must proactively protect that critical infrastructure. The old days of having various solutions independently configured in the world of SaaS tools and remote offices are not manageable anymore. Perimeter81 protects our traffic from prying eyes and helps us sleep at night."


"Bitwarden is a password management tool that allows users to store, manage, and secure their passwords across different devices and platforms. Beyond protecting some of your most sensitive information in an encrypted format, there are various time-saving features such as automatic password generation, reports to enhance your security profile, autofill for online forms, easy-to-understand secure password sharing, and two-factor authentication."

Why they like it: "When selecting a trustworthy vendor to keep your secrets, you want someone dedicated to security. Third-party audits, public bug bounty programs, and zero-knowledge encryption show their dedication to ensuring they do their best to protect your data."

64 MAY 2023

"RingCentral might have started as a business phone system, but it has expanded into an easy-to-manage external communication platform. It includes business text, video meetings, voicemail to text, softphones, screen sharing, and mobile apps to easily take business calls on the road. With a little configuration, you can unlock advanced features such as call queues, CRM caller ID pops, or even automatic ticket creation in your helpdesk."

Why they like it: "Reliability and professionalism are priorities when it comes to interacting with our clients. RingCentral allows us to route calls to the right person, whether working in the office, at home, or on the road."


"SimplyMeet is an online scheduling tool that allows people to schedule meetings, support sessions, and other events in real-time. Integrating with popular calendar tools such as Google or Exchange, you can share your free/busy status to avoid double bookings without giving people total access to your calendar. It’s full of helpful features like a friendly email reminder of an upcoming meeting to help ensure everyone shows up."

Why they like it: "Wasting time going back and forth in email trying to find an available time for a meeting is so yesterday. SimplyMeet allows our clients to book an appointment via a web page, saving us time, and elevating their experience with our staff."




"A popular project management and issues tracking tool, JIRA can track what is going on with bugs, feature requests, and tasks—all within a centralized location. JIRA quickly becomes an excellent tool for those who wish to manage Scrum, Kanban, or other popular agile project management methodologies."

What they like it: "JIRA helps us ensure projects get done and find what is holding up progress. JIRA is our source of truth to see what’s happening so we don’t drop the ball."


"An internal communication and collaboration tool, Slack provides the ability to chat, share files, organize conversations, fire up instant video calls, and interact with loads of third-party integrations to bring context to discussions."

Why they like it: "Slack is easy to use, keeps our team members connected, and it just works."


"Although most people know LinkedIn is a professional social media platform, Sales Navigator takes the experience to the next level for sales professionals, marketers, or recruiters looking to find and engage with targeted leads, prospects, or clients on LinkedIn."

Why they like it: "For a business-to-business company like ours, being able to zero in on our potential client base is priceless. Unlocking the ability to view nearly all LinkedIn profiles combined with advanced search tools is worth the price of admission any day."

/company/sycorr @sycorr
sycorr.com /sycorr
66 MAY 2023
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President/CE, Amity Technology, LLC. and Owner, FarmQA

Howard Dahl is a giant in agriculture. His career in the ag space started in 1977 with Concord Inc., a company that was eventually sold to Case Corporation in 1996. Since then, Dahl has made it his mission to improve the world through Amity Technology, which is the world's top pulltype sugar beet equipment company.


FarmQA is a software solution provider that specializes in digital tools for agronomy. As a Microsoft engineering shop, the company utilizes a wide range of Microsoft tools and services to develop and deliver high-quality software solutions to its customers.

Photo by Josiah Kopp
68 MAY 2023


"One of the primary methods that FarmQA uses to deliver software is through Microsoft Azure, which provides a robust cloud computing platform that enables the company to build scalable solutions that are both reliable and efficient. By leveraging many of Azure's capabilities, FarmQA ensures that its solutions meet the unique needs of its customers."


"This is a versatile program that our hardware engineers use essentially to design PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), however, it integrates an appreciable number of development tools from different disciplines into a single environment. The primary two tools are schematic development—the symbolic creation of electronic circuits from a functional perspective, and PCB layout—the physical implementation of the schematic in the form of component placement and copper traces. Other important tools in the environment include BOM (Bill of Materials) management, a component database, finite element analysis for thermal and current density calculations, 3D modeling, importing, exporting, and collision reporting, and numerous other application-specific plugins."



"FarmQA utilizes a variety of programming languages and frameworks to develop its solutions, including Microsoft's C#, Python, and JavaScript."


"One critical framework that the company relies on is Mapbox. This powerful mapping tool enables customers to locate their fields, display data about their fields, provide directions to drivers, and more. With its flexible mapping and custom styling capabilities, Mapbox is a vital component of FarmQA's software solutions."


"To facilitate effective communication and collaboration, FarmQA uses Microsoft Teams as its primary platform. This versatile tool enables the company's development and engineering teams to work seamlessly together, no matter where they are located. During the lockdowns in 2020, FarmQA was able to continue working without any interruptions, thanks in part to the reliable and efficient communication capabilities of Microsoft Teams."

70 MAY 2023


"For user experience design, FarmQA relies on a variety of tools, including Sketch, Pixelmator, and OmniGraffle. By using these modern and stable applications, the company can create high-quality designs without relying on Adobe products, saving costs while maintaining a high level of quality."

72 MAY 2023


"On the marketing side, FarmQA utilizes a range of services, including Google Analytics, Google Ads, Twitter Ads, and others. These tools enable the company to send direct marketing and informational articles to its customers and leads, ensuring that they are always up-to-date with the latest news and developments."


"Finally, FarmQA's support organization relies on ZenDesk to create customer trouble tickets and provide documentation on the FarmQA solution. This platform enables the company to provide fast and efficient support to its customers, ensuring that they are always satisfied with the products and services that they receive."




/company/farmqa @farm_qa

74 MAY 2023


JOSH CHRISTY Founder, Codelation

"Codelation began full-time back on April 1, 2009. It started out with me doing design and development, trying to do it all out of our spare bedroom. Through the years, we’ve fostered Codelation into the dynamic team it is today. While I’ve stepped away from coding myself, I still enjoy helping people with big ideas become entrepreneurs like me. I love working with startups because every day is different and you’ll never know what’s next."

-From the Codelation website

Photo provided by Codelation


Codelation helps turn big ideas into reality through web development, app building, marketing, startup consulting, and more!

76 MAY 2023

"A headless CMS that allows developers to easily create and manage content for their applications. It has a user-friendly interface and can be customized to fit specific needs. We love it because it removes a very large amount of overhead that you would need to implement otherwise, while also allowing very granular control over how data is stored and maintained."


"A platform for building web applications that combines the best parts of client-side and server-side rendering. This allows developers to create fast, dynamic applications that are also SEO-friendly. We love it because it has fantastic developer experience built in, as well as directly integrating with our design system Chakra-UI."


"A modern static site generator that allows developers to build websites with modern web technologies like React, Vue, and Svelte. It offers a great developer experience and generates performant sites. We love Astro because it allows for extremely rapid development and very responsive websites."

"A cloud platform that offers a wide range of services for developers, including cloud computing, storage, and databases. It is highly scalable and reliable, making it a great choice for applications of all sizes. We love AWS for the ease of deploying projects, keeping them running, and the security controls it provides."


"A tool for testing APIs that allows developers to create and send requests, view responses, and debug issues. It offers a great user interface and is essential for building and testing APIs. We love it because it makes testing APIs incredibly easy, and allows us to perfect our API calls and responses, without needing to have a full working front end to trigger those requests."

"A set of customizable UI components for React that help developers quickly create beautiful and accessible interfaces. It offers great documentation and is easy to use. We love it because it allows us to ideate quickly and forego all of the tedious styling that comes with writing CSS manually."

"A productivity tool that allows developers to organize their work and collaborate with others. It offers a wide range of features, including note-taking, project management, and knowledge management, all in one place. We love it because it makes taking and sharing notes a breeze by providing shared team access and fully searchable documents."




"At Codelation we use Slack, a messaging software, for a lot of different communication between team members. We use it for instant messaging between team members and for communication with some of our customers.

Why they like it: Most software engineers are pretty introverted and prefer to communicate with gifs instead of conversation. Plus, it really helps save on the emails back and forth because you can organize projects by conversations. Open workspaces can be too noisy to be productive. This keeps the office volume at a workable level. One of the nicer aspects of it in our field is that it allows us to screen share to show each other what we’re working on without having to get up and stand over the other person’s shoulder."


"Our customers aren’t always local. Zoom allows us to conference in customers as well by just sending them a web link. It works with office phones, cell phones, and computers. Zoom also sends automated meeting links to everyone’s calendars.

Why they like it: It helps us talk to potential customers, and we’ve found that sometimes a 15-minute phone call can save three hours of emails."

80 MAY 2023



"There are many different Customer Relationship Manager softwares, or CRMs, out there. The CRM we use at Codelation Is the Gmail-based Copper. Our sales team uses it to track contacts, leads, and sales."

Why they like it: It helps with automated meeting settings. We can send customers a link to a synced calendar and they pick a time they want to meet.

"After a solid morning of coding, sometimes you need a break. One of the hardest questions coworkers deal with is where should we go to lunch? For this, we use Push Save. Push Save was developed out of Fargo, and this app offers a variety of coupons to various restaurants that the purchaser gets to pick from. When it’s time to go to lunch, users can just look for one of the deals from a restaurant they picked when signing up.

Why they like it: Not only is it a locally-founded software, but a portion of the proceeds from each coupon package purchased goes to a local organization the buyer gets to choose as well. It’s a great way to save money, give back to organizations, and lift up our development community."




"This is a subscription-based creative software we use for basically all of our marketing material creation. All graphic and video work is made in one of the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite. We also partner with on-demand creative partners of Many Pixels, Penji, and Fiverr.

Why they like it: The Adobe suite helps us with graphic art, audio, and video production, as well as a variety of different services if we have too much on our plate."


"Sometimes you just keep it simple. We use Garage Band to edit sound together for our podcasts.

Why they like it: It’s pretty easy to use, and was on the desktop of my Mac when we started recording our podcast last summer. It has worked well for what we are using it for. There are a lot more uses for it in music production."


"Apple TV is a little extension box that plugs into any screen with HDMI outputs, then it wirelessly displays laptop screens to basically any TV. This has a lot of different applications as well.

Why they like it: We like to sync my computer to our “trade show only” display TV. Once a month, we will have a team-building pizza party where we watch funny YouTube videos we all collect and save in a Google spreadsheet. This screen sharing is nice for actual trade shows, as well as client presentations in different locations and meeting rooms."

codelation.com /Codelation @codelation /company/codelation @codelation
82 MAY 2023


GARRETT MOON CEO & Co-Founder, CoSchedule

Garrett Moon is the co-Founder of CoSchedule, one of the most successful tech startups ever in North Dakota. Today, the company provides marketing solutions for over 200,000 users globally.


"Co-Founders, Garrett Moon and Justin Walsh, started CoSchedule as a side project at their web design and custom app development agency, TodayMade. In the last decade, their idea for a blog and social media calendar has grown into a Marketing Calendar solution trusted by over 200,000+ marketers around the world. Since 2013, CoSchedule has added 50+ employees, countless features, new products, and thousands of free marketing resources. With solutions for marketers at every level from solopreneurs to enterprise-level marketing teams, we’ll continue to strive toward our vision of CoSchedule products & training in every marketers’ toolkit."

-From the CoSchedule website

Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
84 MAY 2023

"Every team at CoSchedule uses Guru as a knowledge base for internal process documentation, onboarding checklists, and more. This keeps everyone on the same page and speeds up training for new team members. Each topic card has a verifier that ensures the information is always up-to-date."

"This intuitive email marketing and automation platform helps us share relevant messages with the right people at the right time. This is our primary email marketing system, which uses the data from Salesforce to personalize the content we share with our email subscribers, sales leads, and customers."


"ChurnZero is a Customer Success Platform that helps our Customer Success Managers increase product adoption and success for their customers. This tool helps CSMs better understand our customers, improve customer experience, and personalize support based on customer activity and engagement."



"BambooHR is CoSchedule’s HR software. Human Resources and Leadership use this tool to execute hiring, employee reviews, and employee surveys. All employees have access to sign HR-specific documents, request time-off, review benefits, and more."


"This SEO software has tools for link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, and rank tracking. We use AHREFs to see which keywords we want to try to rank for, as well as ranking on our existing pieces to find opportunities to improve content and grow traffic."


"ContentKing is a real-time SEO auditing and monitoring platform that detects if anything is broken across our thousands of blog posts and website pages. It helps us prioritize fixes we need to make to improve our overall website performance."





What they said: "WordPress is our content management system for our popular blog that attracts half a million visitors each month. As a marketing team, this helps us publish content efficiently for many purposes such as attracting new email subscribers, nurturing leads, and educating existing customers. It’s easy to use and helps us scale."


What they said: "This customer resource management system helps us personalize experiences for each of our email subscribers, leads, and customers. We use this to communicate with leads, keep track of their progress, and ultimately keep our customers happy and successful with our product."

What they said: "This marketing automation system helps us share relevant messages with the right person at the right time. This is primarily our email marketing system, which uses the information from Salesforce to personalize the content we share with our email subscribers, sales leads, and customers. It helps us organize how we communicate with nearly 1 million unique individuals at scale."


What they said: "This customer success software helps us communicate with prospective customers and support existing users of our own platform. Zendesk helps us track trends so we can communicate users’ needs with our product development team to ultimately improve their experience with our product."

88 MAY 2023



What they said: "We use Github to log snags we (or our users) encounter when using our software so that our product development team can collect and prioritize enhancements very quickly and efficiently."


What they said: "Aha! serves as a backlog 'wish list' of functionality we could add into our platform, making sure no good ideas are lost, while helping our team vote on upcoming functionality to add to our product roadmap."


What they said: "Highfive is our internal video call system, which keeps us connected between our Fargo and Bismarck offices."


What they said: "We use 15Five for a performance management tool. It allows us to have weekly pulse checks, structured bi-weekly/ month one-on-one’s as well as formalized quarterly reviews with all of our employees to ensure they’re growing personally and professionally."



What they said: "From the business side, we write content with Google Docs, use Google Sheets to interpret data, present to prospects and customers with Google Slides, and even maintain internal team websites with Google Sites."

What they said: "As a marketing team, we use the tool our product team creates to organize all of our marketing in one place. As a technology company, this helps us understand the market needs and strengths our product offers to solve problems, and presents opportunities for us to help the company improve the platform we offer."

What they said: "We use Zoom to video call sales leads and customers. We also use it as our internal video call system, which keeps us connected between our Fargo and Bismarck offices."


What they said: "It may come as a surprise, but we don’t use email for internal communication at all at CoSchedule. Slack helps us instant message each other to collaborate quickly and efficiently."

coschedule.com /coschedule @coschedule /company/coschedule @CoSchedule
ZOOM 90 MAY 2023

We asked ChatGPT

he cat is out of the bag, Pandora's box has been opened, and there's no returning the artificial intelligence back into the bag/box of nonexistence.

To some people this is frightening. They wonder, 'Does this change mean I'll lose my job?' Others wonder if it's the beginning of the end of human existence. I'm not here to tell you if either of these things are true or untrue, but I can tell you that I think your best chance of facing impending doom is to embrace the use of this technology for whatever profession you are in.

Except perhaps if you are a magazine writer. Now, I'm not saying that I am anything special, but I am saying that ChatGPT isn't quite pumping out passable content just yet. However, that didn't keep us from playing with it. In this article, you will find a number of prompts that we provided to ChatGPT and its responses to those prompts. Some responses were better than others, but we will let you be the judges!

Write a step-by-step guide on how to start a business in Fargo, ND.

Technically it's called the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, ChatGPT.

Certainly! Here's a step-by-step guide on how to start a business in Fargo, North Dakota:

1. Conduct market research: Start by researching the market and identifying the demand for the products or services you plan to offer. You can use resources such as the Fargo Moorhead Economic Development

Corporation or the Small Business Administration to find data and statistics about your industry.

2. Create a business plan: Once you've completed your market research, develop a business plan that outlines your goals, objectives, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections. This plan will help you secure financing and attract investors.

94 MAY 2023

3. Choose a business structure: Decide whether you want to set up your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs.

4. Register your business: Register your business with the North Dakota Secretary of State's Office. You will need to file the appropriate paperwork and pay a fee.

5. Obtain any necessary permits and licenses: Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, you may need to obtain specific permits and licenses from the city or state. Contact the City of Fargo's Business Licensing Division for more information.

6. Secure financing: If you need financing to start your business, research your options and apply for loans or grants. The Small Business Administration, local banks, and other organizations offer funding opportunities.

7. Set up your business operations: Once you have secured financing and obtained all necessary permits and licenses, set up your business operations. This may involve leasing a space, purchasing equipment, and hiring employees.

8. Register for taxes: You will need to register your business for federal, state, and local taxes. You can obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and register for North Dakota taxes through the North Dakota Tax Department.

9. Open a business bank account: Set up a separate bank account for your business to keep your personal finances separate from your business finances.

10. Start marketing your business: Develop a marketing plan and start promoting your business through social media, local advertising, and other channels.

By following these steps, you can start a successful business in Fargo, North Dakota. Good luck!

What are the best Artificial Intelligence apps on the market right now that businesses should be using?

As an AI language model, I don't have a subjective opinion and can't endorse specific products. However, I can provide some examples of artificial intelligence applications that businesses can use to improve their operations and productivity:

1. Chatbots: These AI-powered software applications can interact with customers in natural language to provide assistance, answer queries, and handle requests, thereby improving customer satisfaction and reducing operational costs.

2. Virtual assistants: Similar to chatbots, virtual assistants are AI-powered applications that can perform tasks like scheduling appointments, setting reminders, and sending emails, thus helping businesses automate administrative tasks and free up employees' time.

3. Predictive analytics: These AIpowered tools can analyze vast amounts of data to predict trends, forecast

outcomes, and identify patterns, thereby enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and improve their operations.

4. Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools: These applications can analyze and interpret natural language to extract insights and sentiments, thereby helping businesses understand customer feedback, conduct market research, and optimize their marketing strategies.

5. Intelligent document processing: This technology combines optical character recognition (OCR), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) to automate document processing tasks like data extraction, classification, and validation.

Overall, the best AI apps for businesses depend on the industry, size, and specific needs of each organization. It's recommended to research and evaluate various options and choose the ones that best fit your business goals and objectives.

Ugh, these are just types of apps. We need recommendations.

This list is pretty good, but lacks a lot of specifics.

Can you give specific app recommendations for each of those sections?

Sure, here are some examples of specific AI-powered apps or tools for each of the categories I mentioned earlier:


Predictive Analytics

Zendesk Chat: a platform that allows businesses to set up a chatbot to assist customers and improve response times.

Google Analytics: a free web analytics service that provides insights into website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates.

Amazon Comprehend: a natural language processing service that can extract insights and relationships from unstructured text data.

Intelligent Document Processing

ManyChat: a chatbot builder that enables businesses to create customized chatbots on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps.

IBM Watson Analytics: a cloudbased analytics platform that uses AI to help businesses discover patterns and trends in their data.

UiPath Document Understanding: an AI-powered document processing tool that automates data extraction and classification from structured and unstructured documents.

Tars: a conversational AI tool that enables businesses to create chatbots for their websites and landing pages.

Virtual Assistants

X.AI: a virtual scheduling assistant that uses natural language processing to schedule meetings and appointments.

Amy by x.ai: an AI-powered assistant that helps with scheduling and coordinating meetings.

Salesforce Einstein Analytics: a tool that uses machine learning to provide predictive insights and analytics for sales, service, and marketing.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) Tools

Parascript FormXtra.AI: an OCR and intelligent document processing platform that can extract data from invoices, receipts, and other documents.

Hugging Face: an open-source NLP library that provides pre-trained models for text classification, sentiment analysis, and question answering.

AWS Textract: a cloud-based service that uses OCR and machine learning to extract text and data from scanned documents and images.

ZoHo CRM: a customer relationship management tool with built-in virtual assistant capabilities that can handle routine tasks like data entry and appointment scheduling.

Google Cloud Natural Language API: a cloud-based service that provides NLP capabilities for analyzing text, identifying entities, and classifying content.

Note that these are just a few examples, and there are many other AI-powered apps and tools available in each category. It's important to evaluate each app or tool based on its features, pricing, and suitability for your business needs before making a decision.

Now that's more like it!

96 MAY 2023

What are your top tips for starting a business with limited funding?

Starting a business with limited funding can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Here are some top tips for starting a business with limited funding:

1. Start with a clear business plan: Having a well-thought-out business plan is crucial, as it will help you to define your business objectives, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections. This will help you to identify your funding needs and create a roadmap for your business.

2. Keep your expenses low: When starting a business with limited funding, it's important to keep your expenses as low as possible. This means finding ways to reduce your overhead costs, such as working from home, using free or low-cost software tools, and outsourcing tasks to freelancers.

3. Focus on revenue generation: Instead of relying on outside funding, focus on generating revenue as soon as possible.

This means finding ways to monetize your business, such as selling products or services, and finding new customers.

4. Utilize crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be a great way to raise funds for your business. These platforms allow you to raise money from a large number of people who are interested in your product or service.

5. Consider alternative funding sources: If you need to raise additional funds, consider alternative funding sources such as small business loans, grants, or angel investors. Be sure to research these options carefully and choose the ones that are best suited to your business needs.

Starting a business with limited funding requires creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence. By following these tips, you can launch a successful business even with limited funding.

Seems reasonable.

What is the best business magazine in North Dakota?

There are a few business magazines available in North Dakota, but it ultimately depends on your interests and preferences. Here are a few options that you may want to consider:

1. Fargo INC!: Fargo INC! is a business magazine and digital platform based in Fargo, North Dakota. It covers a wide range of topics related to business, including finance, marketing, technology, leadership, and innovation, with a focus on the FargoMoorhead area.

2. Prairie Business: Prairie Business is a regional business magazine that covers North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Minnesota. It provides news and insights on a wide range of topics related to business and entrepreneurship in the region.

3. Northern Plains Commerce Centre: The Northern Plains Commerce Centre is a bi-monthly publication that covers

business news and insights in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. It focuses on industry trends, business development, and economic growth in the region.

4. Bismarck-Mandan Chamber Connection: The Bismarck-Mandan Chamber Connection is a monthly publication that covers business news and events in the Bismarck-Mandan area. It features articles on industry trends, leadership, and economic development in the region.

Overall, Fargo INC! is a widely respected business magazine in North Dakota that provides valuable insights and information on business and entrepreneurship in the state. However, it's always a good idea to explore different options and choose the magazine that best fits your interests and needs.

That's very nice of you ChatGPT. ��

98 MAY 2023

Hosting Your Visiting Clients & Employees Has Never Been Easier

These event ideas will fill your whole itinerary!

Fun Daytime Activities

If you and your guests have some free time during the day, you may want to show them some of the highlights of the Fargo-Moorhead area. Here are some of the best daytime activities in FargoMoorhead.

Clay Your Way

Clay Your Way is a pottery and art studio that offers kits to help you make your own pottery piece.

4600 17th Ave S, Fargo clayyourway.com

Fargo Air Museum

The Fargo Air Museum’s variety of old and new aircraft and flight-related educational tools is impressive even if you’ve been there many times!

1609 19th Ave N, Fargo fargoairmuseum.org

Hjemkomst Center

Home of the Viking replica ship

The Hjemkomst, the Hjemkomst Center houses amazing pieces of history throughout its building.

202 1st Ave N, Moorhead hcscconline.org

Plains Art Museum

Show your guests a piece of Fargo's art scene with a day at the Plains Art Museum, full of art from many talented local, regional, and national artists.

704 1st Ave N, Fargo plainsart.org

The Woodchipper in Fargo

If your guests are movie buffs or have a morbid sense of humor, taking them to visit the famous woodchipper from the film “Fargo” might impress them!

2001 44th St S, Fargo fargomoorhead.org/plan-atrip/fargo-moorhead-visitorscenter

When you invite out-of-town employees or clients to town, you want to make sure that not everything is about work—that gets tiresome! When they get to town, try out some of these options to make their experience more fun while they’re here.

Red River Zoo

Spend the day at the Red River Zoo and impress your guests with how many cold-climate species the zoo holds!

4255 23rd Ave S, Fargo redriverzoo.org

Skate City

If you’re looking to entertain and get some exercise in at the same time, Skate City offers skating, snacks, and fun all in one place.

3302 Interstate Blvd S, Fargo skatecitynd.com

Tactical Action Gaming

As Fargo’s only indoor tactical laser tag and NERF battle indoor arena, Tactical Action Gaming is a great way to please your more competitive guests.

1702 4th Ave NW Suite G, West Fargo tacticalactiongaming.com

Did you know?

Photo by Geneva Nodland Photo by Geneva Nodland Take a look inside the Fargo Air Museum. The Diederich Carousel at the Red River Zoo was originally built in 1928!
100 MAY 2023

Wine & Dine

After a long day of travel, it’s typical for you to be hungry. Your guest will likely want to eat when they get to the area. Take them to one of these highly-rated restaurants and impress them with the cuisine in FargoMoorhead!

Cork’n Cleaver

Boasting the “Best Steak & Seafood in the FM area for 50 years,” Cork’n Cleaver is sure to impress your out-of-town guests.

3301 S University Dr, Fargo fargocork.com

Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill

Famous for their woodfire rotisserie chicken, Doolittle’s is the perfect place to impress your guests.

2112 25th St SW, Fargo doolittles.com

Gallery Restaurant

Wow your guests' taste buds with Gallery’s Famous Parmesan-Crusted Walleye!

3803 13th Ave S #3301, Fargo fargohi.com/the-gallery

Granite City

A Granite City burger, chicken, or BLT slider tower is sure to satisfy your guests!

1636 SW 42nd St, Fargo gcfb.com

Mas Tequila

Bring your guests to try some of the best looking cocktails in town, paired with delicious, authentic Mexican food.

611 32nd Ave W, West Fargo mastquila.com


Take your guests to Maxwell’s for a night cap that is sure to impress!

1380 9th St E, West Fargo maxwellsnd.com


Located in the heart of downtown Fargo, the upscale eatery Mezzaluna is sure to have food and beverages your guests can indulge in.

309 Roberts St N, Fargo dinemezzaluna.com

Porter Creek

Hardwood Grill

Porter Creek’s unique Banana Ice Cream Cake dessert is the perfect end to a delicious dinner.

1555 44th St S, Fargo portercreek.com

Rustica Eatery & Tavern

Rustica has a wide variety of beers, wines and cocktails that your guests will love!

315 Main Ave, Moorhead dinerustica.com

The Tavern Grill

Home of the “Build-Your-Own,” the number of options at The Tavern will wow your guests.

4504 32nd Ave S, Fargo thetaverngrill.com

The Toasted Frog

Known for their American food with a twist of global influences, Toasted Frog’s interesting flavors will impress your more adventurous guests.

305 Broadway N, Fargo toastedfrog.com

701 Eateries

701 Eateries hosts a restaurant and a rooftop bar that offer Midwest cuisines with unique twists that are sure to surprise (and impress!) your guests.

701 N University Dr, Fargo 701eateries.com

Buffalo Wings from Doolittle’s!


Photo by Hillary Ehlen
There are a ton of great choices for drinks at Granite City, including mimosas, bloody marys and craft beers brewed on-site. the delicious
Photo by Paul Flessland

Nighttime Hijinks

After all of your business is done for the day, it is important to wind down and have some fun. These nighttime activities are sure to impress your guest and be enjoyable for you, too!

Fargo Escape Room

If you and your guests like puzzles and high-adrenaline situations, Fargo Escape Room will be sure to impress with their carefully crafted rooms.

2220 Main Ave E, West Fargo fargoescaperoom.com

Havoc House

If you and your guests need to let your anger out after a tough work day, Havoc House is a rage/ smash room that will let you do just that.

Blue Wolf Casino

If your guests are risk-takers, Blue Wolf Casino offers plenty of gambling opportunities like blackjack and pull tabs. You can even grab an evening/late-night snack while you’re there!

3402 Interstate Blvd S, Fargo bluewolfcasino.org

Kingpinz Social

This all-in-one family entertainment center is sure to dazzle with its arcade, escape rooms, laser tag, hyperbowling, restaurants, and more!

3485 Jacks Wy S, Fargo kingpinz.com

Pixeled Brewing Co.

The vintage arcade games like Pac-Man, Gallaga, and Tron at Pixeled Brewing will create nostalgia for you and your guests.

Did you know?

222 N Broadway #200, Fargo havochousefargo.com

Junkyard Brewing Company

For delicious craft brews and a small, cozy atmosphere, Junkyard Brewing is the place to be.

1416 1st Ave N, Moorhead junkyardbeer.com

Drekker Brewing Company

If grabbing a drink is more your style, Drekker provides great locally-brewed beer and a friendly atmosphere to help your guests relax.

1666 1st Ave N, Fargo drekkerbrewing.com

King Pin Casino

King Pin Casino is a great place to impress your gambling-loving guests.

2630 S University Dr, Fargo kingpincasino.org

1100 Northern Pacific Ave #101, Fargo pixeled.beer

Puzzled Escape Rooms

For adventurous guests, collaborate together on a Puzzled Escape Room and try to get out before time runs out!

3301 University Dr, Fargo puzzledescaperooms.com

Suite Shots

Golf-loving guests will be surprised that Suite Shots allows them to golf in the winter, with climate-controlled hitting bays and an all-weather facility.

3400 James Wy S, Fargo suiteshots.com

Pixeled Brewing has so many one- and twoperson games to try!

Photo by Geneva Nodland Photo courtesy of Drekker Brewing The building Drekker Brewing is housed in was originally a locomotive repair building!
102 MAY 2023

Sleep Soundly

Once everyone is well fed, it’s important to have a good place to rest your head. If you book a room at one of these high-rated hotels, your guest is sure to sleep well.

Jasper Hotel

(4-star hotel)

Named after the “Father of Fargo” Jasper B. Chapin, the Jasper Hotel strives to give guests a “truly local experience.”

215 Broadway N, Fargo jasperfargo.com

Radisson Blu

(4-star hotel)

Winner of Radisson’s 2021 Hospitality Excellence Award, Radisson Blu will impress your guests with their service and friendliness.

201 5th St N, Fargo radissonhotelsamericas.com

Best Western Plus

Kelly Inn & Suites

(3-star hotel)

1767 44th St S, Fargo bestwestern.com


Hotel & Suites

(3-star hotel)

4400 15th Ave S, Fargo fargo.clubhouseinn.com

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson

(3-star hotel)

3316 13th Ave S, Fargo radissonhotelsamericas.com

Courtyard by Marriott

(3-star hotel)

2249 55th St S, Fargo marriott.com

Delta Hotels by Marriott

(3-star hotel)

1635 42nd St SW, Fargo marriott.com

DoubleTree by Hilton

(3-star hotel)

825 E Beaton Dr, West Fargo hilton.com/en/doubletree

Holiday Inn

(3-star hotel)

Holiday Inn offers a unique experience for your guests that enjoy a swim. Their heated indoor pool features a whirlpool and a pirate ship-themed slide, great for families visiting the area. Additionally, they offer a Pool Hut Bar that serves cocktails and frozen beverages in the pool area.

3803 13th Ave S, Fargo ihg.com/holidayinn

Hampton Inn & Suites

(3-star hotel)

4776 Agassiz Crossing S, Fargo hilton.com/en/hampton

Hilton Garden Inn

(3-star hotel)

4351 17th Ave S, Fargo hilton.com/en/hiltongarden-inn

Home2 Suites by Hilton

(3-star hotel)

1652 44th St S, Fargo hilton.com/en/home2

Homewood Suites by Hilton

(3-star hotel)

805 E Beaton Dr, West Fargo hilton.com/en/homewood

Hotel Donaldson

(3-star hotel)

The Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo offers art-filled rooms, artisan cuisine in their in-house restaurant and friendly staff members to create a memorable experience.

101 Broadway N, Fargo hoteldonaldson.com

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham

(3-star hotel)

2355 46th St S, Fargo wyndhamhotels.com/ laquinta

Residence Inn by Marriott

(3-star hotel)

4335 23rd Ave S, Fargo residence-inn.marriott.com

Photo by Jason Thomas Crocker Photography Photo by Jesse Hoorelbeke of J. Alan Paul Photography Photo by Hillary Ehlen Come on in through the beautiful front entrance at Jasper Hotel! The front entrance of Hotel Donaldson is a staple of the Fargo community.
The Delta Hotels looks even bigger on the inside!
104 MAY 2023
Just a few assets from the successful recruitment campaigns launched by the state this past year.


You’re invited to leave your footprints in the sand when you hold your event or getaway in lakes country. Choose from unique venues, shops and dining, and welcoming accommodations.

Weddings | Family Reunions | Conferences | Getaways 218-847-9202 Ext. 234

May The Better Brand Win

Six Elements of Branding Local Businesses Cannot Ignore

t some level, every single one of us is aware of the effect that branding has on our daily lives. We know which brands we prefer and which ones we can’t stand for one reason or another. Coke or Pepsi? Nike or Adidas? Microsoft or Apple? But a brand’s influence is not limited to just nationally known “big” brands. In fact, for many local brands, their survival depends on whether their target audiences will pick them over their competitors. It’s for that reason that local businesses should invest in polishing their brand. But where does that start?

Let’s explore six key elements every company, especially local ones, should perfect for their brand.

1. Brand Purpose

What Is It? Besides making a profit, brand purpose is the core reason a company exists. It’s the “why” that drives a business owner to start a business in the first place.

Why Does It Matter? Defining your brand’s purpose means identifying your North Star. It allows everyone at your company to make decisions that help your brand fulfill its purpose.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Fix it Forward

Customers in turn will build a stronger connection with that brand and keep coming back for more.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Red River Zoo

Besides being heavily involved in the community and working hard to spread their message, Fix It Forward features their brand promise prominently on their website. Their vehicle-related ministry is no mystery, making their purpose immediately clear and admirable.

2. Brand Promise

What Is It? Brand promise is the experience or value customers are assured they will receive each time they interact with a company.

Why Does It Matter? Companies that confidently know their brand promise can focus their efforts on improving how they deliver that promise to their customers.

For nearly 25 years, the Red River Zoo has promised to not only provide our community with a family-friendly fun destination, but serve as leaders in local conservation. They make this promise apparent through their free community events, education opportunities, and thoughtfully designed exhibits that support their mission.

3. Brand Values

What Are They? Brand values are the principles and beliefs that a company stands for.

Why Do They Matter? Clear brand values give customers something to relate to personally with the brands they choose to support. Today more than ever, audiences care about brand values and not just the products or services companies have to offer.

Local Brand Doing It Right: The Vanity Bar

Ussery 108 MAY 2023

Spas and aesthetic clinics can easily come across as shallow and vain. But for a company with “Vanity” in their name, they make it clear that their values are anything but that. They make it known that their values lie in improving each individual’s sense of worth to allow them to be their best self. They value positive mental health and the power of self-confidence, not just the superficial stuff.

4. Brand Positioning

What Is It? Brand positioning is where a brand takes up space both within their market and their customer’s minds. It’s how a brand distinguishes itself from its competitors.

Why Does It Matter? Brands must own a unique place in their market and within their customer’s mind. If a brand tries to sit in the exact space that is already dominated by another brand, the already established brand will force them out with little effort. It is critical to position your brand where it has room to put down roots and grow.

Local Brand Doing It Right: ReadiTech

establish themselves. But ReadiTech did just that by identifying a lack of high-speed fiber internet options for nearby rural communities and making it a possibility for those areas. By positioning their brand in that portion of the market, they have been able to grow their fiber service offerings, helping to grow the other portions of their business as well.

5. Brand Identity

What Is It? This is what most people think of when they hear “branding.” A brand’s identity consists of elements like your name, logo, color palette, fonts, jingles, and more.

Why Does It Matter? Brands require identity to stick in a customer’s mind. It’s how customers will recall and remember your brand. This makes it unbelievably important for success. There’s a good reason “big” brands spend millions upon millions of dollars perfecting their identity year after year.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Brewhalla

logo and graphics, the vivid and contrasting color palette, and the experiential neon elements all secure Brewhalla as one of the best brands in the area.

6. Brand Voice

What Is It? Brand voice is the personality and tone used by a brand to give itself recognizable characteristics. It’s intended to humanize your brand and allow customers to resonate emotionally with it.

Why Does It Matter? A brand without an established voice can often come across as sterile or uninteresting. The tone a brand uses, whether that be in ads, on social posts, or even in their face-to-face customer interactions, should be consistent. Your audience will more easily establish loyalty with your brand when they feel they know your brand as a person.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Do Good Better Consulting

The tech, IT and internet provider space is a heavily saturated one in our area. There are several large companies that dominate a good portion of the market, making it tough for smaller companies to

Even though Brewhalla is a brand new destination to our city, the logo and branding has already become seared into the brains of tens of thousands of people in Fargo-Moorhead. The expertly designed

The Next Steps For Your Brand

You may be asking yourself if all of this is really all that important for your brand. The answer is undoubtedly “yes!” From the smallest sole proprietorships to the largest multinational mega-corporations, an expertly executed brand is crucial for success. Even in smaller communities like Fargo-Moorhead, every business has competition. Your brand is what will set your business apart.

Start by simply checking in on how you feel your brand is doing in each of these six areas. Put your brand’s purpose, promise

and core values on paper and workshop them until you feel they are bulletproof. Publish them to your website and share them with the local community on your website or social pages.

Ask yourself if you’re drowning in a crowded market and if it’s time to consider repositioning your brand. Have a local marketing agency or freelancer review your brand identity and look for opportunities to make adjustments or improvements. And finally, consider your brand voice and

Patrick Kirby has done a commendable job creating a brand that is not just an extension of himself, but also its own unique entity. Do Good Better has a light-hearted, optimistic and even wacky (in a professional way) tone that immediately makes audiences feel comfortable and welcomed by the brand.

make plans to identify what you want it to be. Start taking care to use that voice consistently and turn your brand into a character your audiences can relate to.

Perfecting these 6 brand elements, while not always easy to do, will ensure your business will have loyal customers who back your brand for years to come. When faced with choosing between your business and your competitor’s business, may the better brand win.


Questions 10

ohn Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past nine years. He knows their ups, and their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for Brianne Osowski, Founder & CEO of Tailorie.

Photos submitted by Brianne Osowski
10 Questions
110 MAY 2023

Will you please tell us your Tailorie elevator pitch?

You can think of Tailorie like a dating app for brands and consumers. Tailorie matches you with brands that align with your interests, and if the match is mutual, instead of a first date, you may be selected to receive a gifted product from the brand. Within the Tailorie app, you'll also find an authentic community of consumers sharing recommendations for their favorite products and brands.

reps, browsing other shops across the country, samples, etc. Not once did I discover a new brand through a social media ad. So, I began to ask myself why this was the case.

During this time, I had recently relocated back to the Midwest from New York. The ads I saw baffled me, so I dug into my data profiles on Google and Meta, and the picture that my data painted of me did not align with who I was, which was pre-iOS 14. So, I began to ask myself, how could consumers lend their voices to their data?

I was burning out on the constant battle called social media marketing. As a small business owner, the task fell on my lap, and the rhetoric around the subject was... "post daily, be consistent, three times a day is best, post across multiple platforms” – which translated "to do more things, be more places, etc."

As I faced these issues and started asking myself questions, the idea for Tailorie became clear.

How did the concept for Tailorie come about for you?

There were a series of "aha!" moments I had while I was running my retail store Curious. Individually, they weren't significant, but when I put them all together, Tailorie was born.

Knowing the story behind the brand, which I most often learned when meeting the brands at the market, makes it much easier to sell the product. In addition, I began to see the desire for connection within consumerism.

When I sourced new brands for my store, I was amazed by the number of brands I was exposed to—most of which I hadn't heard of before—and as a retail buyer, it was my job to discover brands. I had tools to discover brands that consumers don't: wholesale markets, direct catalog mailings, industry newsletters, email solicitations, brand

From the beginning, we set out to build an environment that created value for our brand partners and community members. Doing so meant we needed to solve two different problems, one for each side.

We began on the brand side of the equation. I had personally experienced the struggles of reaching consumers digitally to increase awareness and connect with an audience. Therefore, I knew their pain points and could speak to them from a perspective they understood and felt. These initial conversations helped validate that the problem wasn't just one I had, but thousands of other emerging brands also had. They were ready for and open to an alternative solution.

We then moved to the consumer side; this was a bit more difficult, mainly because the problem we ultimately solved was one that is felt and not typically verbalized. Therefore, we dug deep into fundamental human needs and consumer psychology to understand and validate the problem.

That's a long way of saying this is how we landed on Canvas Crates, which is the feature in the app that allows us to deliver equal value on both sides of the equation.

What is Tailorie?

You have a two-sided marketplace in that your customers are the companies selling their products, but your main users are the consumers. What approach have you used to engage with both sides of this market?

Yes! We are asked that question often. In an era of extraction, as I like to call it, society, as a whole, struggles with trust. When you think about digital advertising as an industry, the goal is to gain something from the consumer whether that be their attention, time, data, or dollars—but what does the

consumer receive in return? At Tailorie, we believe that consumers' attention in any form is a privilege, not a right. It's why we are an ad-free platform. Instead of selling the eyeballs of our community in exchange for ad dollars, we do something entirely different. We require our brand partners to "pay" their Tailorie membership fee by investing products in the community. For a brand to be introduced to the Tailorie community, we require them to lead with value in exchange for consumer attention. Thus, for consumers, this initially feels like an incredibly foreign experience. If a brand gives me something for free, there must be a catch. Instead of a catch, we instead offer a reminder—your attention and purchasing power are not free commodities. It's something of incredible value, and at Tailorie, we not only recognize that, we honor it.

curious about app testing and launches?

When building Tailorie, I spent much time thinking about how I wanted users to feel when interacting with the platform. I leaned into design and aesthetics because they are phenomenal tools to use when the desired outcome is to create a feeling for users within the experience. What can I say, art moves people.

Our strategy with beta was to open the platform to a few thousand brands and consumers while we were still building, iterating, and trying to determine what would lead us to product-market fit so that we could make data-driven decisions to fine-tune the product. Beta was important because it allowed us to see how consumers were using the platform, where they were spending their time, what friction points were driving them to disengage, etc. Understanding the problem you are solving is one thing; creating a solution that delivers the desired outcomes is an entirely different story, primarily when the solution's success is hinged upon active participation and engagement from two audiences in a community setting. Although the theory checked out, there was no way to honestly know if the product we built would deliver a viable solution until we allowed people to use the product. Once they began using the product, we made continuous iterations and pivots until we landed where the key performance indicators demonstrated that the solution was viable.

Through this process, we did a few things right. As a result, Tailorie ranks in the top 20% of all Social Media apps in the Apple app store for user retention and ranks in the highest tier of apps for total download volume.

10 Questions
I've been using your app since the beta stage, and can definitely see the two-sided engagement as well, with not only having companies share information about their products, but so much of it is users posting videos and pics evangelizing products. The new Canvas Crates feature is really cool where you may get matched with a new product, based on your interests, and you have the opportunity to have the product shipped for free to test it out. At first, I thought, this is too good to be true. Have you experienced that surprise with other users too, wondering, what's the catch?
112 MAY 2023
Speaking of beta versions, from being a beta user of it myself, some things I noticed were that: you care a lot about the design and aesthetics, as it looks great and I could see the continual enhancements; you used TestFlight for the testing platform; and you were in beta for a fair amount of time. Can you share any of your strategies or process for readers who may be

If you want to start a tech company and you are not technical, do not Google non-technical tech founders. It nearly convinced me that I had no business starting a tech company. Even though I ignored the advice, I felt like I was wearing some forbidden badge in the early days.

My perspective has now changed significantly. I founded Tailorie because I conceptualized a solution to a problem that I knew intimately. The solution to the problem happens to be delivered through a technical vehicle. Think about it this way: do we expect fashion designers to know how to manufacture the fabrics they use in their designs? Do we expect a builder to build us a house without any specifications? I now see tech in the same way. I may not write the code that brings Tailorie to life on your phone, but I do write the logic and functional requirements upon which all the technology is built.

The most helpful thing one can do is be okay and open with what you don't know. When I started this journey, I didn't know much about what was required to build a tech product, but I made it a priority to learn along the way. A simple way to start was by attending the daily engineering meetings. It exposed me to the technical language they spoke, the way they thought, and how that would ultimately deliver our solution to the world.

We need to normalize the notion that one must not be technical to start a tech company.

you learned about effectively pitching your company?

Why, thank you!

Focus on the why and the who—don't get caught in the weeds of the what and the how.

The why moved me to jump off a cliff and start this company. The why inspires me to charge ahead when the company's challenges feel impossible. The why forces me to focus on the problem we are solving and thus reminds me to pivot if something isn't working.

It's easy to get caught up in the WHAT and the HOW when pitching. That whole non-technical technical founder thing got me so caught up in the what and how—as a mechanism to overcompensate for my non-existent tech background—that in my first few pitches, I failed to focus on the why. Let's say those pitches didn't go as well. We see it all the time in advertising too. Ads so often tell you WHAT the benefits or solution is and HOW the product is different… and we quickly forget what we were just told. We rarely hear the WHY or the story of the WHO behind the product, but those are the points that are important in both pitching and advertising because they are the two things we, as people, can relate to, connect with, or believe in.

Humans are wired for connection, so I advise sharing stories that people can connect to.

Finally, for me, authenticity was key. I refused to show up as anything other than my truest, most imperfect self.

Since we're talking technical stuff, will you please tell me about your experience being a nontechnical founder?
You're obviously doing something right as you communicate the company vision and capabilities, as you've developed a beautiful app, you continue to gain traction in that two-sided market we talked about, and you have been successful in raising funds. What have

What have been some of the biggest surprises for you in the process?

How much I enjoy system architecture and backend development. Who would have known? It's both creative and systematic; thus, it speaks to both my brain's creative and logical parts. If I had known this earlier, I might have pursued a different degree and career!

Startups give you the opportunity to learn as fast as you can swim. I have an insatiable desire for knowledge and am grateful to be in such an environment. I've also learned that the environment is not for everyone, which is okay, too.


If you could go back in time to Brianne from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself?

The only answers you truly need are those that live deep inside you. Spend more time there.

Lastly, what can we do as a community to help Tailorie succeed?

If you haven't already, download the Tailorie app and give us a try. If you love it, we'd be grateful if you'd help us spread the word by sharing Tailorie with your networks. If you don't love it, email us, and let us know why. Our goal is to grow in all ways continually, and those are two ways to help us do so.






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Spreading Kindness Like Sprinkles:


Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats is more than just a business. It's a heartwarming story of spreading kindness and giving back to the community, inspired by a ten-year-old girl named Bella and her mother Rosalinda's journey of overcoming challenges and finding joy in the midst of hardships.

The business started as a way to give back to the community after Bella's mother went through a challenging experience with a prolonged NICU stay due to uterine rupture. During one of their visits to the hospital, Bella saw a family living in a tent and asked her parents if they could help them. Despite their own financial struggles, Bella and her mother went back to the family with food and resources, igniting a passion for giving back in Bella's heart.

Bella's love for baking led them to start making care packages for local nonprofits in the area. However, as demand grew, her mother found it challenging to afford supplies and made the decision to turn Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats into a limited liability company (LLC). Bella's dedication to spreading kindness through her treats earned her recognition from the mayor, who declared February 15th as "Spreading Kindness Like Sprinkles Day" in Fargo as of this year.

Their journey hasn't been without challenges, however. Bella was diagnosed with a vascular malformation with vascular blockage regrowth in March of 2022, adding to the hurdles they faced. But Rosalinda remains resilient, seeing the beauty in their hardship and using baking as a form of physical therapy for Bella.

What sets Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats apart is their unwavering commitment to spreading kindness and embracing their Hispanic heritage. Rosalinda, who is half Hispanic and half Italian, wanted to instill in her children the values of her heritage and culture with their food, love, care, and community support. Baking together has become a cherished activity for Bella and her mom, bringing them closer and creating memories that defy traditional family norms.

The impact of Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats on the community has been profound. Their cupcakes and treat boxes are a hit, with Oreos, pretzels, and Rice Krispie treats flying off the shelves. One special treat box, named "Bella's treats," includes Bella and Rosalinda’s favorite snacks, such as Oreos and animal crackers. But it's not just about the treats; it's about the joy and kindness that Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats spreads. Bella's mom recalls a touching moment when Bella gave away 372 Christmas stockings and filled them for families in need. “I was very proud,” Rosalinda reflects. This act of kindness has allowed them to connect with other moms going through similar challenges and to teach their children about the importance of kindness.

Looking ahead, Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats has big plans for expansion. They are exploring options for catering events such as weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers with a mobile treat cart. They also offer DIY sugar cookie kits, creating opportunities for more community engagement. Rosalinda is passionate about involving the community in their business and believes that it's not just about the treats but also about the impact they can have on Bella's soul and the souls of others.

Bella's Dulce Sweets & Treats is a beacon of kindness in the community. Through their delicious treats and unwavering commitment to spreading kindness, they have touched the lives of many and continue to inspire others to make a positive impact in their own communities. As Rosalinda says, "Our kids are learning about kindness," and that is a beautiful legacy to leave behind. So, let's all join Bella in “spreading kindness like sprinkles” and making the world a sweeter place, one treat at a time.

If you’d like to purchase treats from Bella’s Dulce Sweets & Treats, you can shop their selection on their website at bellasdulce.com or pick what you want and Venmo them at @Bellasdulcesweetsntreats

Photo by Mia
The proclamation from Mayor Tim Mahoney for February 15, 2023 being “Spreading Kindness Like Sprinkles Day” in Fargo.

Great Culture is Created with Intention

Troy White's Top 10 Tips for Great Office Culture

We spend more time with the people we work with than we do our families, and the culture of our workplace can mean the difference between feelings of excitement or anxiety at the thought of going to work the next day. Our workplace is a unique social and psychological environment where we can utilize our strengths and unique experiences, and challenge ourselves to grow beyond what we thought possible. So here are the top ten ways to create a thriving company culture!

About the Author

Troy White is a Transformation Coach and the founder of Upstream™, where he guides individuals and organizations to grow beyond their barriers through emotional intelligence and cognitive behavioral training. Troy has over 5,000 hours of experience helping individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations achieve success, including city and county entities such as Fargo Public Schools and the Cass County Jail.

Promote Personal Growth

In the age of social media, cell phones, and working remotely, our personal and professional lives are intertwined now more than ever. Promoting personal growth can have positive impacts on both.

When employees are encouraged to grow personally and professionally, it gives them better problem-solving skills, communications skills, and the ability to manage and overcome emotional challenges at home and at work. The ripple effect of personal growth starts a cycle of improvement in all areas of their lives which leads to increased productivity and a more a positive work environment. Promoting personal growth results in higher employee retention rates as employees feel valued and invested in the company's success.

Photo by Geneva Nodland
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By fostering personal growth, you not only invest in your employees but also your own success. So, embrace personal growth and watch your workplace culture thrive.

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When it comes to developing a growth mindset within your organization, modeling is essential. It’s important to demonstrate a commitment to learning, collaboration, innovation adaptability, and continuous improvement. But don't just talk the talk - make sure you're walking the walk!

Encourage your team to take risks and embrace challenges and be willing to take on new challenges yourself. Remember, growth involves taking steps outside of your comfort zone, so don't be afraid to stretch yourself or your team. This can help employees see setbacks and failures as opportunities for growth and learning. With a forward-thinking mindset, a willingness to learn and fail, and a commitment to growth, your organization will be able to adapt, capitalize on opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

By eliminating fear and promoting psychological safety, you can build a culture of trust and respect, leading to greater creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction.

Model a Growth Mindset Build a Team on a Foundation of Trust Eliminate Fear

Fear in the workplace can have a crippling effect on employees, hindering their ability to perform to the best of their abilities. Fear can manifest in many forms, including fear of failure, fear of success, fear of speaking up, fear of conflict, or fear of retribution. It can stifle creativity, innovation, and collaboration, diminish trust and confidence, and create a toxic work environment. Fear starting at the top is often driven by insecurities, fear of powerlessness and loss of control or respect.

To reduce fear, it's important to create a culture of psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fear of judgment or negative consequences. Leaders can foster psychological safety by encouraging open communication, active listening, and responding with empathy and respect while still being assertive. Transparency and accountability can also reduce fear, as this ensures that everyone is held to the same standards and are aware of what is expected of them.

4When I first begin working with an organization, employees are often afraid to speak or share and we sit in uncomfortable silence, waiting for someone to say something. There is little trust amongst these “team” members. There is a vast difference between calling yourself a team and actually being a team. The former is a feelgood phrase to throw around during company meetings. However, the latter requires much more effort, commitment, and most importantly, trust.

Being a team means not only working toward a common goal but also supporting one another, collaborating, valuing each other's strengths and weaknesses, and having a deeper level of investment into one another’s success. It means showing up for each other, even on days when motivation is low. The real magic happens when individuals learn to put aside their egos and work together seamlessly to achieve success.

Trust starts at the top. Share your goals, challenges, and even your failures. Encourage open communication and feedback. And most importantly, lead by example and hold yourself to the same standards you expect from employees. Show your team that trust is not just a buzzword, but a fundamental part of your organizational values. Trust me, they'll thank you for it.

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Unleash the Power of Vulnerability

I teach an emotional intelligence and cognitive behavior training class at the jail once a week to new and existing inmates. It can be a bit intimidating to stand in front of a sea of 50-60 orange jumpsuits and tattoos and talk about emotions, but the first thing I do is share my failures, fears, and the adversity I overcame. By doing so, men whose defenses have been up their entire lives, are now discussing their innermost struggles and emotions and even offering support to one another within an hour. That’s the power of vulnerability.

Being vulnerable as a leader may seem counterintuitive and uncomfortable. You might believe that you must project an image of strength and perfection. However, when it comes to leadership, vulnerability, when done appropriately, is actually a strength that can benefit workplace culture. By modeling vulnerability, you create a culture of trust that encourages others to do the same which fosters deeper relationships and a sense of mutual support and respect within the team.

To be vulnerable as a leader, start by acknowledging your own limitations and areas for improvement. Share stories of challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them. Admit when you don't have all the answers and invite others to contribute their ideas and perspectives. When you make a mistake, take responsibility, and apologize if necessary. Showing your human side will gain respect.

Of course, when modeling vulnerability, be sure to maintain professional boundaries and avoid oversharing or emotional outbursts.

Model Assertiveness

We can lead with compassion and empathy and still be assertive. Assertiveness comes from a place of strength and confidence while aggression comes from a place fear and defensiveness. Assertiveness involves confidently expressing your needs, opinions, and boundaries while respecting those of others. It involves clear communication and active listening, seeking to understand the perspectives of others and finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Aggressiveness, on the other hand, involves imposing your will on others, using forceful language and behavior to get your way, and disregarding the needs and opinions of others. Aggressiveness can damage relationships and create a toxic work environment.

To be assertive at work, start by being clear about your goals and needs, communicating them directly and respectfully. Use "I" statements to express your thoughts and feelings without attacking or blaming others. Listen actively to the perspectives of others and seek to understand their concerns and needs. Use confident body language, such as maintaining eye contact and speaking clearly and calmly. Set clear boundaries and follow through on consequences if they are not respected. By being assertive, you will build respect and trust amongst colleagues and achieve your goals in a way that is productive, respectful, and professional.

Increase Emotional Intelligence

I once had an HR director tell me she got angry at home but not at work. “You don’t feel anger, or you don’t express it?” I asked. “Expressing it is a behavior. You can feel the emotion without expressing it.” She paused a moment then said, “I don’t express it because it isn’t appropriate.”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in oneself and others, and to use this understanding to manage one's own emotions and relationships effectively. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can inspire trust and respect in their team and create a positive and supportive work environment. They can communicate clearly and empathetically, and build strong relationships based on respect, and inclusivity.

Employees with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage their own stress and emotions and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. This can improve conflict resolution, customer service, sales, and teamwork. Emotional intelligence can also enhance creativity and innovation, as it encourages individuals to think outside the box and consider diverse perspectives.

By increasing the emotional intelligence of your organization, you will build a culture of empathy, collaboration, and innovation as well as increase employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and business success.

Feed Their Need to Be Valued and Important

Feeling valued and important in life is a fundamental human need that can greatly impact job satisfaction and motivation. When employees feel that their contributions are recognized

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and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged, committed, and productive. Most conflicts between employee stem from personal inner conflicts fueled by faulty perceptions, beliefs, or interpretations that they are less valuable or important than others. These faulty perceptions can create power struggles between individuals or departments.

To create a culture of value and importance, leaders can start by providing regular feedback and recognition for employee achievements and contributions. This can include formal recognition programs, such as employee of the month awards, or informal gestures, such as verbal praise or thank-you notes. Leaders should also ensure that employees are involved in decision-making processes and have a voice in the direction of the organization. Providing opportunities for growth and development, such as training programs and mentoring can also help employees feel that their skills and potential are being recognized and nurtured.

By meeting employees' need for value and importance, companies can build a positive and engaged workforce that is committed to achieving shared goals.

Serve A Greater Purpose

Not all employees are motivated by the same things, but few are motivated by simply producing parts, providing a service, getting a paycheck, or making the company more money. Feeling that one is serving a greater purpose is a crucial element of job satisfaction and employee engagement.

When individuals believe their work is contributing to a larger cause or mission, and they can understand the impact of their efforts, they are more likely to be motivated, committed, and fulfilled in their jobs.

Leaders can help employees connect their work to this larger purpose by regularly communicating the impact of their work on the organization, customers, or society. Ultimately, by creating a culture of purpose and meaning, you can attract and retain top talent, enhance productivity and innovation, and contribute to a better world.

Train Attitude... and Skill

I often hear leaders say they approach hiring with the mindset of “Hire for attitude because skills can be taught, attitude cannot.”

And, time and again I hear countless stories of from leaders who struggle with having to let go of talented individuals with undesirable attitudes and behaviors, or worse yet, keep them because they can’t find a replacement with the skills needed.

The fact is, attitudes and behaviors CAN be shaped and changed significantly and often rather quickly. The problem is many companies and leaders are not equipped or feel it’s their responsibility to do so. The false belief that you can’t teach attitude and behavior results in little time or money invested into something most leaders value as much as, if not more, than skill.

While establishing acceptable attitudes and behaviors for your organization is critical, enforcing them without changing the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that drive them can result in frustrated employees who are simply compliant…for a while.

Training for attitude involves introducing new hires to the company culture and values, and helping them develop the skills and behaviors necessary to succeed in their role. This may involve providing training in communication, teamwork, and leadership, as well as introducing employees to the company's mission and vision. By providing training, you can create a more cohesive and engaged team, and reduce turnover rates by ensuring that employees feel connected to the company and its goals. And, it can save you a time and emotional energy that are better spent elsewhere.

Getting people with diverse beliefs shaped by different experiences, adversity, family, and cultural norms to work together to achieve a common goal is not an easy undertaking. It’s ok to not instinctively know how get everyone to share your vision, passion and motivation and create a work environment that will contribute to your success. In truth, leaders who excel in this area were either taught by a mentor or were intentional in learning how to develop these skills. After all, we cannot have something we’ve never acquired, and we cannot pass on something we’ve never had. The best thing you can do for your organization is invest in the people who make it work, and this starts with you.

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Troy White Transformation Coach • Speaker Upstream Enterprises, LLC. 701.446.8512 growupstream.com /growupstream /growupstream 417 Main Ave Ste 010 Fargo, ND 58103 FARGOINC.COM 123

Where can I find images I can use for free? (and not get sued!)

Many business people, entrepreneurs, and creatives want to build a website or publish an article but don’t have a good image to go with it. Often the first reaction is to go to Google and start searching for images. STOP, this is a BAD idea. Copyright infringement is a bad idea and furthermore, the copyright troll industry is strong! A “copyright troll” is a party that enforces copyrights for the purpose of making money. Copyright trolls often acquire a portfolio of copyrights and then actively search for infringers to bring enforcement actions against. In one instance, a group of trolls even went as far as to upload copyrighted content purely for the purpose of tempting people to illegally download the content.

What is a copyright?

Copyrights are the right to control the reproduction, publishing, selling, or distribution of a work in a matter and form. The work protected with a copyright is some creative form of expression fixed in a tangible medium. Even if you don’t register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, you still have common law rights. By registering a copyright, you gain significant additional legal rights, primarily, the ability to take action against those who unlawfully copy your work. Examples of copyrights include a book, a rendition of a musical song, or a painting.

What happens if I am caught infringing a copyright?

Like most intellectual property, the government does not enforce a copyright, rather the party owning the copyright must enforce their rights as they see fit. A registered copyright holder can bring a lawsuit in federal court against an infringer. Most of the time an infringer will

receive a demand letter first, but there are other times when an infringer simply gets served with a lawsuit in federal court. There of course are exceptions and defenses to copyright infringement, but that is another topic for discussion.

Why are copyrights often enforced even though lawsuits are expensive?

There is (arguably) more incentive for a copyright holder to enforce their rights for two distinct reasons:

1. Statutory Damages: Under 17 U.S.C. 504, statutory damages are established for copyrights. What this means is that a copyright owner does not necessarily need to actually show damages in order to have a court force the infringer to pay. The minimum statutory damage is $750 per work infringed and the maximum is $30,000. If willful infringement is found, the maximum statutory damage is $150,000.

Tom Kading Attorney at Fargo Patent & Business Law, PLLC Photo provided by Tom Kading
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2. Attorney’s Fees: Under 17 U.S.C. 505 the prevailing party in a copyright infringement lawsuit may be entitled to attorney’s fees. Section 505 allows the court to "award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.” Without getting into too much detail, the standard under the Copyright Act has been found by courts to be much easier to obtain attorney’s fees in comparison to many other lawsuits.

Given that the federal government has established statutory damages for copyright infringement and attorney’s fees are often rewarded, the incentive to enforce copyrights is relatively strong.

Where can I find “free” images?

A “free” or “royalty-free” image is a common catchphrase, but what it actually means can vary significantly depending on the license associated with the particular image. A royalty-free image can mean that you have to make an initial payment but do not need to make additional payments based on future use. An image in the public domain is not protected by copyright and therefore free. Other images may have a Creative Commons license wherein you can use the image in certain ways but must follow licensed guidelines. When choosing a particular image for use, be careful to review the obligations, requirements, duties, or restrictions required. Each image may be different and each image

source may have a different license. Some licenses may have complex requirements and some may be quite simple.

A few examples of free, royalty-free, and licensed image libraries include:

Pexel: Generally free images but have some restrictions.

iStock: Generally royalty-free but with a robust set of license requirements and restrictions.

Stocksnap: Generally Creative Commons licensed images.


Business people, entrepreneurs, and creatives should be careful as to the images they use. Infringing on a copyright can land the infringer in some hot water and cause a lot of stress. There are a variety of sources available with free, royalty-free, and licensed images. Wherever you get the image from, be sure to review the terms and conditions you are agreeing to regarding the use of the image.

Fargo Patent & Business Law is an intellectual property and business law firm. We are always happy to talk to you if you have questions about trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other intellectual property issues.


The information in this article does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. All information, content, and material are for general informational or educational purposes only. The information provided may not be the most up-to-date legal information, and it is recommended that readers contact their attorney to obtain advice on any particular legal matter.

Fargo Patent & Business Law is an intellectual property and business law firm. We are always happy to talk to you if you have questions about trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other business law issues.

Fargo Patent & Business Law, PLLC 701.566.7571 info@fargopatentlaw.com fargopatentlaw.com FARGOINC.COM 125

Franklin Ugochukwu

innesota-based visual artist Franklin Ugochukwu wants to take Moorhead’s inner beauty and put it on the outside.

Just last year, Franklin helped lead the band of artists and volunteers who created six murals at the Churches United homeless shelter.

“It was a very big community project. We made the designs of the surroundings and paintings so that people could see themselves in the art, and identify hopeful messages. The residents helped, too, and whenever we were there, the kids would come around and we’d give them paint brushes and they’d put their own print on [the murals]. Together we made it more homey and joyful and pleasant,” Franklin said.

That community experience inspired his next project—creating more murals around town.

“Seeing in real time how people interacted and found joy with the murals, how positively they engaged and

remarked on them—I would like to do so much more of that around Moorhead and Fargo,” Franklin said.

As a practicing portrait painter who teaches oil painting classes at the Plains Art Museum, doing large outdoor murals may seem like a big change from his traditional work, but Franklin sees murals as a community portrait.

“What I try for in my portraits is to show the beauty of the person inside—seeing the resilience, the self-love, the growth, or the positive in the person that maybe the ones surrounding them don’t see or appreciate. It's about the emotion and their story. I want to tell the story of our community,” he said.

To get the ball rolling, Franklin applied for a grant from the Cass-Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation and was surprised to become the recipient of the group's 100th grant in March of 2023, marking $100,000 given by the local giving group since their creation in August of 2016. The $1,000 gift will allow him to purchase the materials to get the project started, such as outdoor paint supplies, brushes, and ladders.

The specific locations for his proposed murals have not yet been determined, as Franklin is in talks with several local building owners to explore options. He hopes to be able to create partnerships where the art can be reflective of the Moorhead community.

“I really want the art to be a mirror, just like all my paintings. I’ve been thinking about doing art with different people. Men, women, children—portraits of people together. Happy, bright, colorful. I want to convey that emotion and tell the story of our community. That beauty, being happy in your identity, in your culture. That appreciation of life. I want people to feel seen. To drive by and think, ‘Oh! This is beautiful. This makes me feel warm inside.’”

Franklin’s work can be purchased at Unglued in Fargo, or on his online shop franklinugochukwuarts.carrd.co

You can also check out his social media




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The Cass-Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a nonprofit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/en/ chapters/cassclay.

Photos provided by Brandi Malarkey Some of Franklin's amazing artwork.