Archive for March, 2011

Re-Energizing YOU, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book

March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011: The YOU at Work, an Excerpt from Chapter Nine: Re-Energizing YOU, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book
Dear Linda,
I used to love my job. I couldn’t wait to go in every day and do something significant toward achieving a dream I never thought could happen. Little by little, my drive as ebbed, and my work at life is ho-hum. I like what I do, the people I work with and serve, but I always go home thinking, ‘there’s got to be more’. What am I missing and what can I do about it?
She Who Is a Blah at Work
Dear She, I feel for you, young enough to remember when everything was fresh, experienced enough to appreciate all you’ve done and achieved. Here are some suggestions for re-energizing the YOU you bring to work.
1. Identify WHY you are feeling so blah at work. Are you tired of doing the same old thing? Are you tired of the department or people you work with? Are you seeking a new challenge? Are you seeking more of a purpose in what you do?
2. Develop a strategy based on WHY you are feeling down, and what you would like to do about it.
3. Review the strategy with someone trusted in your network, and commit to making a change to a more energized YOU.
4. If you are seeking more purpose and more impact, consider changing what you do for whom, based on the impact results you seek.
5. If the direction, composition, agenda etc of your team or company has changed, consider finding a climate more conducive to growth for you. Or consider what changes you could forge, along with others, so that you would be more energized when you stay.
6. If you need skills, connections or knowledge to evolve the professional you, make a plan and make it happen. Don’t find yourself a month, a year, or more later coming to the same conclusion, yet taking no action.
7. Sometimes the blah you feel at work is related to crushing demands on time which take you away from other things. Although this is fine in the short term, especially for jobs with a lot of responsibility, it’s just not sustainable. So catch yourself doing this an set boundaries so that it happens less frequently and/or is more manageable.
8. Sometimes it’s the people you work with. If they drain you and don’t bring out the best in you, perhaps it’s time to find a place where you better fit, or to change the place so that you fit better.
9. Sometimes you just need a change of pace, a vacation, time to get away. Make the time to do this and perhaps that’s all is needed.
10. Sometimes when you do an audit of why you’re not feeling yourself, you’ll find that it’s not work that has to change, but things outside work which cause you to be tired of work. So it’s OTHER things that need to change and get back in synch. If you get this ‘aha’ make sure to better appreciate your work, better compartmentalize work and other things, and better appreciate your work life overall.
Whatever you decide to do, knowing and honoring your feelings about yourself and how you feel at work will help you make a change for the better.
Best of luck with your next career shift!
BlueFountain’s weekly column features Linda Holroyd’s responses from members of our community, shared with the permission of the requester, and intended to be informative to others with the same question. Use the form at to submit your questions for future columns, or just e-mail us at


Maintaining Food Safety and Integrity From Seed to Plate

March 30, 2011

FountainBlue’s March 28 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Maintaining Food Safety and Integrity From Seed to Plate, featuring:

Facilitator Gay Timmons, Oh, Oh Organic, Omica

Panelist Abizer Khairullah, Four Corner Foods

Panelist Yasmin Tyebjee, CEO, Top Nosh Specialty Foods and Top Nosh Café

Presenting Entrepreneur Robert Carter, CEO, Nikoya Foods Inc.

Presenting Entrepreneur Brian Witlin, co-Founder and CEO, Shopwell

Please join us in thanking our hosts at UCSC Extension and our sponsors at KPMG for their support of this program and the series. Below are notes from the conversation.

There are many pieces of the food value chain, and many way to slice it, from seed to plate, from farm to fork. Our panelists talked not just about the process and technology innovations throughout the value chain, and specifically in their specialty area(s), but also about their personal passion for providing more people freer access to safe, high-integrity food options to a hungry and growing market.

The panelists started by covering seed and feed innovations and the opportunities and challenges around that. Whether the panelists were talking about seed diversity, seed development, genetically engineered seeds, or other topics, it was clear not just that we had a knowledgeable panel, but also that seed innovations greatly impact the availability, range, safety and integrity of the food we serve. What might not be clear in Silicon Valley is that our local region has been known for decades for the development of quality seeds which are shipped around the world.

Each of our panelists mentioned the importance of focusing on the needs of the customer, and providing information and products and services which best serve their personalized needs. Sometimes it means leveraging technology – not just the traditional software technology which allows people to customize preferences and make informed their food choices based on those preferences, but also the technology to genetically engineer seeds to diversify a seed gene pool, or to bring manufacturing process improvement practices, processes and principles into the food production and packaging industry. We should also consider that it takes technological advancements to innovate feed and process improvements to help ensure faster, higher quality poultry and livestock overall.

Our panelists are dedicated, passionate, flexible and knowledgeable – essential qualities for success, especially since they have to deal with policies and audits and other regulations which help ensure the food served to consumers. Sometimes these policies change quickly, are vague, or just don’t serve the intended purpose. Sometimes the policy is complex, obscure or time-consuming. Clearly it is often a barrier to entrepreneurs and companies, but regulation of some sort is necessary to catch blatant violators who give a bad name to all parties throughout food value chain.

Our panelists also commented that making better food choices is a matter of education, a matter of habits and practices which lead to better and simpler food choices and better sanitation, a matter of working together to select for quality food options more freely and inexpensively available. They also consistently remarked that it could take twenty years consumers to work together to raise the bar, change policies, influence food offerings, and ultimately have higher-quality, safer food options.

Below is advice offered by our panelists to entrepreneurs seeking to enter this space:

Be Strategic

* Consider outsourcing elements of your business to others who specialize in areas such as R&D and manufacturing and distributing policy adherence and responsibilities to these partners.
* Consider the market size and the best money-making opportunity. The feedstock market might be better than the organic chicken market, and certainly can be less time intensive.
* Consider your market and who you want to serve and keep tailoring your offerings based on the needs of the market. For example, Europeans tend to go shopping every two or three days whereas Americans might shop once a month. Bagged salads with preservatives would better interest one market than the other.
* Design technology and process innovations that minimize risk throughout the value chain, and quantify the savings made, the opportunities provided.
* Innovate based on observed behaviors which are sub-optimal. They don’t have to be sophisticated innovations; they just have to make sense. Pelletizing seeds so that chickens can pick it up better is a great innovation which reduces waste, but also makes it easier to add vital nutrients to the feed.
* Seed innovators must be well aware of micro-climates which optimize development of specific seeds, and also be hyper-aware of cross-pollination challenges which might damage and infect their seeds, or that of other seed growers in the area.

Transition Technology and Process Successes Into the Food Sector

* Leveraging technology and business process improvement practices from the semiconductor industry would also benefit the food collection and processing, manufacturing and distribution needs in the food industry.
* Leveraging software and social media will help build an active customer base. Monetize that customer base using the free-mium to premium model, but also charge food manufacturers and others aggregated user data which show them how consumers are making food purchase decisions.

Work with Key Stakeholders

* Entrepreneurs leveraging databases of food information will need to work with a variety of stakeholders who are not motivated to share their data, or provide it in a standardized, easily-integrated format.

Know and Serve Your Target Market

* Note that the ingredient listings for food products are not validated by a third party, but it IS a honor system, which generally works, and is not audited unless problems arise. Is there a technology opportunity in that?
* Europeans are hyper-aware of genetically manufactured seeds and have a list of prohibited ingredients and entrepreneurs following American-centric practices may start finding themselves without access to these markets unless they plan their production and development around these requirements.

The bottom line is that the needs of the consumer are changing. Customers are demanding convenience and nutritious meals. They want objective information about food choices, especially when there isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison of food offered. They want simple ingredients, simply manufactured, inexpensively available, and throughout the year. Responding to the needs of the customer, whether it involves quality frozen goods, or plates and dishes served at restaurants; nutritious, vitamin-enhanced, disease-minimizing feed; or personalized reports on food choices, the entrepreneurs who filter their development and choices and continue to innovate to better serve their customers will have the market edge, and will emerge as market leaders in providing safe, high-integrity food to all.

Your Opportunity to Influence Policy: Reauthorize SBIR and STTR Allocations

March 25, 2011

Attention Life Science Entrepreneurs and those who care of our innovations in the life science space: Our Congress is now debating whether to reauthorize SBIR-enabling legislation and to increase SBIR and STTR allocations. Many of you have success stories about SBIR and STTR and we would like to see this program continue. Please add your two cents and influence this policy. Copy and paste the letter below and send it to your legislator, or visit our partners at BayBio and click on the ‘write your legislators’ link to easily cast your vote for this important legislation.

SBIR/STTR Reauthorization
We are scientists, investors, and executives in small high-technology businesses that have experienced first-hand the power of SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) and STTR federal grants in stimulating technology commercialization, innovation, and job creation. We urge the reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR program by Congress at the earliest opportunity this year.
The SBIR/STTR program has been recognized repeatedly during its 25 year history as an outstanding engine for new patents and products.
There are several compelling reasons to reauthorize and to strengthen this program:
First, SBIR/STTR reauthorization does not increase the Federal budget. Instead, it allocates a percentage of Federal Research dollars at major federal agencies (including DoD, NIH, NASA, DoE, and NSF) for innovative, competitively evaluated new product research within small businesses.
Second, SBIR/STTR funding mobilizes scientists and engineers in thousands of small businesses all over the U.S. to tackle high risk projects in technology innovation. These projects consistently stimulate productive investments by industry and the venture capital community.
Third, SBIR/STTR has a documented, major impact on new company creation (20 percent of new high-technology companies in a recent survey). The program is also decentralized, adaptive, and funds programs outside of the mainstream.
Finally, SBIR/STTR strengthens the mission of the nation’s research universities by amplifying the impact of their fundamental findings.
We support the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493) and advocate increasing the SBIR and STTR allocations to 4.0% and 0.75% of the extramural budgets in all agencies, starting in the next fiscal year. The increase is justified because of the effectiveness of the program and because of the high level of competition for SBIR/STTR grants today.
In summary, the SBIR/STTR program increases American competitiveness and stimulates high-paying high-technology jobs creation with no increase in overall federal spending. We urge your support of legislation to reauthorize this successful program.

Customers First: The Voice of Marketing in Engineering Companies

March 24, 2011

March 24: Customers First, an Excerpt from Chapter Eight: A Cow’s Eye View, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book
Dear Linda, I just signed onto a technology company who is trying to move from its technical roots to more of a sales and marketing focused organization. I’m making progress but it’s not a smooth ride. Any thoughts on how to get the company more customer-focused?
Dear She, I feel your pain. This scenario is unfortunately common in Silicon Valley when so many founders and leaders think that it’s about the technology and start and lead technology-focused companies. There’s nothing wrong with technology. It’s the enabler, it’s the reason why customers are buying. But it’s not the reason why your company is staying in business. Here are some thoughts on how to get your company more customer focused.
1. Define what you and others in your group mean by ‘customers’ and the ideal product or service for the ideal customer. Be in alignment on this before reaching out to customers.
2. Getting buy-in at the management level is not getting buy-in at the implementation level. So figure out which groups you need to change, who is in the group, and what’s in it for them to make this change. Then make the case for the change.
3. The reverse is also the case. If the management team signs you on to forge this change, and yet doesn’t back you up with the policies and initiatives and backing to make it happen, then it’s a difficult task indeed.
4. The best way to show that customers come first is to prove that addressing their needs will bring more business and more momentum to your business. Whether it’s providing a new feature or providing better tools, support and service, getting things right for the customer and enlisting their help in better serving more customers will soon generate measurable results for your company, ones that leaders throughout the organization will recognize and support.
5. Focus on making a happy customer, and leveraging them to make more happy customers through communication, through referrals, through strategic/product changes.
6. If you can’t find a happy customer or make a happy customer, there may be a deeper issue. Find out from unhappy customers and others what that might be and see if it is fixable and if so how.
7. If some customers are happy and some are not, figure out why and what you can do to better serve more customers in your sweet spot.
8. Positive momentum builds more positive momentum, so focus on building energy in that positive direction.
9. Distractions and failures are part of the path, and can be folded into the overall solution as a win, if it redirects and corrects and keeps moving forward.
10. A cultural shift involves changes at all levels, in all departments and will not happen overnight. Find the early adopters in each department who can help spread the change and educate and empower them and enlist others to follow them.
Best of luck – you are on the right, albeit difficult path to a sustainable business!

Agility: They Key to Building a Successful Career

March 14, 2011

FountainBlue’s March 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Agility: The Key to Building a Successful Career, and featured:
Facilitator Melissa McDonell, McDonell Web
Panelist Caroline Cornely, Senior Finance Manager, Cisco
Panelist Nancy Cryer, Program Manager, Global Talent Management Group, Hitachi Data Systems
Panelist Phyllis Stewart Pires. Director Community Experience and Learning and Talent Management lead, SAP Labs North America
Panelist Shirley Welsh, Senior Director, Market Development, qPCR Platform, Life Technologies

Please join us in thanking our hosts at Life Technologies for their support of this program and the series. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our dynamic panel represented women who went from one role to another, one company to another, one industry to another, sometimes planned, sometimes not, always learning and benefiting from each experience. Our panelists were very attuned with who they are, what they are passionate about, what makes them motivated, and how they are contributing and take care to nurture their brand and their communication to proactively project an image they would be proud of, one they are consciously grooming as they evolve their career. And they are humble, grounded and generous, and well positioned for their next career opportunity, should it come their way.
These are women who see opportunities in every challenge, learnings in every task, and constantly push the edge on what’s done and how it’s done, to better serve customers internally within a company, and external customers they serve. They did not start off in the middle or the top of the corporate ladder. They earned their stripes and built their brand so that they could climb that ladder. Central to this position is the alignment between what they do and who they are.
Below is advice from our panelists on how to proactively manage your career with grace and agility.
• Know yourself, both who you are and what makes you tick, how you respond to change and ambiguity (it’s not for everyone, but everyone has to manage it to some extent) and proactively plan an alignment between where you are now and where you want to be, weaving in a great supportive network, mentorships and connections and educational opportunities.
• Proactively plan for your next career move; don’t wait until you run-out-of-track to do so. And when you do, be prepared to feel uncomfortable as you merge from one company, role or industry into another, but have faith and draw upon your toolkit, your knowledge, expertise, perspective and core value, to deliver in the end. With that said, be prepared to say ‘woops, this isn’t for me’ and decide what’s a good walking point if the career choice you made didn’t quite turn out the way you were expecting. To minimize the likelihood of this happening, create boundaries for what you must-have, guidelines where you can evaluate each new opportunity, and keep learning about yourself and what you want to do and what you have to offer with every job opportunity.
• Whether you plan a career move or it is planned for you, be courageous and confident and help yourself remain positive and confident especially during transitions. A supportive network is fundamental to doing this well, and building this network when you’re NOT looking will help you manage the searches better.
• Regardless of where you find yourself in a company, focus on the value you bring to the customer and how you can communicate it to others in your company to build alignment, consensus, momentum and results.
• If you would like to proactively manage a transition, consider identifying adjacencies to your role/company/industry, which would best leverage your current tool-kit and connections.
• Employees of today and tomorrow will have to become more and more agile, more flexible with the changing global markets, rapidly evolving needs, and highly demanding clients. Those that chose breadth of experience will be best positioned for rising the corporate ladder.
• Proactively build a network of trusted advisers and solicit feedback. Then listen to it and respond it, especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Leverage the latest social media tools and techniques to do so.
• Choose a company, team, industry which best fits your personal preferences and style and direction.
• Be willing to speak up and ask for a change, be transparent about why, and engage with trusted others who can help you get there. As you speak, be tough enough to withstand the inevitable comments of those who call successful women dragon ladies or worse. Take the heart of the message without the judgment and put-down emotions inherent in the message and grow and learn from it. And arm yourself with communication tools and information so that you can proactively manage how you come across, and get better respect from those around you.

Stimulating Conversation, Building Community, Nurturing Innovation
At FountainBlue, we stimulate collaborative innovation one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time. We hope that our notes from our monthly events stimulate conversation on a topic of common interest, build a community of connected stakeholders, and in general, advance entrepreneurial business opportunities in this area. Please feel free to converse with fellow attendees regarding the conversations started at these events, and forwarded to interested others, with proper credit to FountainBlue and our speakers and sponsors as our notes are copyrighted by FountainBlue for 2006-2011. We welcome your continued participation and input and hope to see you at an event soon.

Quality and Security Across the Food Value Chain

March 10, 2011

What are your thoughts on maintaining quality and security across the food value chain?

Date & Time: Monday, March 28 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
FountainBlue’s Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum
Topic: The Food Value Chain: From Growing to Manufacturing, Packaging and Distribution
Location: UCSC Extension, 2505 Augustine, Santa Clara
Pre-register: $21 members, $32 partners, $42 general
Late and On-Site: $42 members, $52 non-members
Members and Prospective Members can register at:
Non-Members and Partners can register using the PayPal link at:
Pre-registration Deadline: March 25 at noon
To add questions, answers and resources on this and other FountainBlue topics, visit our crowdsourcing resource at Quora
Audience: Life Science entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and investors, no service providers please
For more information and to register, visit

The Food Value Chain: From Growing to Manufacturing, Packaging and Distribution
With the advancement of technology, the easy access to information, and the increasing demands of the consumer, the entire food value chain, from production to manufacturing, treatment and distribution and service, has undergone revolutionary changes in the past decade. Yet more changes and innovations are needed, in collaborations between providers throughout the value chain as well as consumer groups overall. Join us in a conversation about food innovations and how it is impacting our choices and our overall health, and find out how we can work together for a higher food standard.
Facilitator Gay Timmons, Oh, Oh Organic, Omica
Panelist Yasmin Tyebjee, CEO, Top Nosh Specialty Foods and Top Nosh Café
Presenting Entrepreneur Robert Carter, CEO, Nikoya Foods Inc.
Presenting Entrepreneur Brian Witlin, co-Founder and CEO, Shopwell

For more information and to register, visit

Leveraging Software for Clean Green Solutions

March 9, 2011

FountainBlue’s March 7 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum on the topic of Leveraging Software for Clean Green Solutions, and featured:
Facilitator Cal Sloan
Panelist Erin Cubbison, Regional Leader, Gensler Consulting
Panelist Griff Weber, Consultant to IBM Research
Presenting Entrepreneur Eric Alderman, Founder and President, Solar Nexus
Presenting Jim DiSanto, President and General Manager, Earthrise Technologies, Inc.

Please join us in thanking our hosts at EMC and our sponsors from KPMG for their support of this program and the series. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panel represented the wide range of clean tech solutions leveraging software: from transportation to solar to buildings and energy efficiency and water and energy management. Software is enabling the growth of each of these clean energy sub-sectors, and opening up new opportunities and better serves the energy, time and resource management needs of its end users. The software solutions are becoming ever more complex, and the volumes of data generated is overwhelming. The challenge is to capture the data through equipment and devices and tools, convert this data into standardized formats which are easily compiled and analyzed, and draw conclusions, create reports and otherwise make the data into actionable information so that a user can make decisions, or so that automated actions can take place. IBM would call this the ‘instrumented’ (with appropriate devices and tools part of the system), ‘integrated’ (with data massaged and coordinated and compiled to get the best picture of what’s happening, real time), and ‘intelligent’ (with compiled reports and recommendations so that measured, data-enabled decisions can be made).
Each of our panelists are responding to the changing needs of their client base, as they align strategic, financial and marketing objectives to reduce, recycle and re-use, and also more proactively manage energy and water consumption and reduce the carbon footprint. The hope is to solve real-world, in-your-face problems, changing user behaviors and decisions, helping them select the option to do more with less, while reducing the environmental impact overall. The panelists specifically mentioned the tremendous opportunity for software solutions enabling clean energy offerings. Below are examples of opportunities in individual sub-industries.
• In the building industry, there are opportunities to proactively monitor energy usage in the form of lighting, heating and cooling, and water usage, to adopt designs and materials and policies which better manage space and user preferences, to re-design, update and create new workspaces which support the preferences of companies today to serve the mobile worker, and to manage a building’s carbon footprint and usage patterns overall, in support of corporate initiatives and the desires of employees and the community.
• In the transportation industry, there has been an astronomical proliferation of software built into today’s modern vehicles which do everything from managing safety and maintenance needs to managing fuel usage and engine performance to managing traffic patterns and generating and updating maps. Indeed, there is so much software that individual cars have a network within themselves and unfortunately, they don’t talk to other cars, even if they are of the same make, much less if they are from different manufacturers. Integrating the software solutions and massaging the volumes of data into an actionable format offers a daunting task, and also a promising opportunity.
• In the renewables and energy management space, there is a host of opportunities to proactively manage the full value chain of providers and stakeholders in delivering quality clean energy solutions for customers. Software to manage and connect the suppliers, local and federal policy-makers (for everything from permits to rebates), installers, entrepreneurs and customers will be instrumental in delivering an efficient, pain-manageable solution for all, and facilitate the more rapid, broader adoption of sustainable solutions.

Below are specific entrepreneurial opportunities worth pursuing:
• Business analytics solutions to compile, manage, manage and integrate disparate data types into integrated formats and actionable reports. This opportunity is in every clean energy sector.
• Public sector solutions which would help cities and municipalities more proactively manage everything from traffic flow to permitting to water treatment and management.
• Design and software solutions which would allow facilities managers and homeowners alike to proactive see, understand and manage their consumption and their impact.
• Sensors to better detect and send standardized information to systems which can help manage overall energy consumption.
• Software solutions which would facilitate the adoption of standards on data storage and availability, security and formatting
• Web and mobile solutions which helps us understand and manage the way we work, shop, socialize, plan, etc. and addressing ongoing needs of users and groups.
Below is advice for entrepreneurs innovating in this space.
• Note that each of the clean energy sub-industries have existing stakeholders who are reticent to change overall, and motivated to maintain the status quo for various reasons, generally associated with maintaining existing market share and leadership and presence. This is an expected if daunting hurdle and entrepreneurs need to accept it and work with it and around it, until change happens.
• Note also that policy-makers at all levels are motivated to get on the clean/green bandwagon, and have had some success with some shorter term policies around rebates and incentives, but no integrated, long-term solution which would nurture the growth of an industry. Ditto here.
• Automate the operations and work flow of clean energy solutions through a combination of software solutions and low-tech solutions with a software component. Much of clean energy solutions rely on old infrastructure and solutions which are too expensive to replace, so choosing to take a picture of an existing monitoring device and leveraging that might be a faster path to revenue than recreating the low-tech sensor from scratch, and creating something new that doesn’t integrate with the old.
In summary, it takes political will and deep pockets to make the tough choices against the wishes of established, influential stakeholders motivated to maintain the status quo. But there’s a ray of hope for the entrepreneurs in this space flying around with their hair on fire, trying to make it work. Change needs to happen, and it WILL happen over time. Innovating in this space despite the odds, in collaboration with like-minded others will help foster this change. Those that adopt the change most gracefully and most efficiently will maintain that market share and help take the clean energy industry to the next level.

Ask Linda: Work/Life Balance and Stress Management

March 4, 2011

Excerpt from BlueFountain’s Ask Linda Column, Chapter One, Life-Work Balance, on the topic of Stress Management
Dear Linda,
I’m way to young to be so stressed about little things. What can I do about it? She-Who-Is-Too-Young-To-Be-Stressed

Dear Too,
It breaks my heart to hear people of all ages with similar pleas, but especially when it comes from someone so young. Whether you’re experiencing stress because of the heavy time demands and high expectations of day-to-day living in Silicon Valley, or whether you were born with high expectations or the tendency to fret easily, it’s easy to relate to the overwhelming feelings of stress and feel compassion for those who experience it – and they unfortunately surround us. These are some words of wisdom, which I hope that you find helpful.
1. Stress is a point of view – you could be the wealthiest, best-cared-for person around, and experience much more unhappiness and stress than those who have little but appreciate much. So check your point of view.
2. Be clear on the choices you’re making and why you’re making them, and be willing to make changes to better reflect what you want to do. It’s really easy to continue to commit to things you used to enjoy, and also very stressful to keep doing so, AND take on new things. So be sure that what you’re doing now is exactly what you WANT to do and why.
3. Know what you CAN change, and accept and work with what you CAN’T. Don’t waste your time complaining about and fighting against what you can’t change. Have the courage and initiative to change what you can and choose to have a good attitude about what you can’t.
4. Work on your own agenda, don’t try to follow that of others around you. Take the time to know yourself and what drives you and make a stand for yourself, and make choices based on who you are and who you want to become.
5. Surround yourself with people who will support you for who you are, not what you do. It will help you manage your stress level.
6. How you do one thing is how you do everything, so choose to do what you do well and focus on doing the things that you do well. With that said, follow the 80-20 rule – don’t be so perfectionistic that it limits your ability to do a lot of things well and quickly.
7. Find enjoyment and appreciation in little things. Don’t wait until you reach a destination to enjoy the journey! Choose to be happy with all the little things that go well.
8. Nobody’s perfect. Forgive yourself if you’re not, and find a way to learn and move on following every mis-step.
9. Find a way to re-set yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of balance. The people, experiences and processes you adopt to do this will help you better manage stress overall.
10. Appreciate all you are and all you have and Keep Reaching For Stars.
I hope that you find the advice above useful and welcome your suggestions and edits, and other questions.

Keep being the best YOU you can be!

About the Ask Linda Column:
BlueFountain features weekly columns addressed to Linda Holroyd’s and includes her responses to life and work questions from members of our community, shared with the permission of the requester, and intended to be informative to others with the same question. It is our hope that the advice, structured in top-ten tips and tricks will help our readers better understand the issues in question, and better address the work-life challenges most relevant to her/him, and better support and empower others in addressing these challenges.

About Linda Holroyd
Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue and BlueFountain
Serial Entrepreneur Linda launched, self-funded and grew FountainBlue which supports collaborative innovation one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time through our monthly events for early stage clean energy, high tech and life science entrepreneurs and women leaders, through our shared learnings distributed to our dynamic communities, and through our coaching services for early-stage CEOs and workshops and retreats for corporations. Through her efforts, FountainBlue has become a premier networking association in the valley, serving the entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial leaders in their early stage initiatives. Linda is a frequent writer and speaker on leadership, entrepreneurship and networking topics and is working on several e-books on these topics. Linda is married and lives with her husband and 12-year-old daughter in the Silicon Valley. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing, wellness and fitness, history, hiking, meeting people, and almost any board or card game.

For more information about our monthly events, and to register, visit For more articles and information about leadership, and to see more Ask Linda articles and leadership quotes, visit our sister organization BlueFountain