Archive for June, 2011

A Tribute To Our When She Speaks Panelists

June 21, 2011

A Tribute To Our When She Speaks Panelists
To launch our series, we noted that our speakers came from a wide breadth of experience, knowledge, and backgrounds, but we thought long and hard about the qualities and traits of all our leaders, and have come up with top ten qualities, with quotes from some of our favorite speakers.

1. Wisdom gained from experience
Each of our speakers had enough successes to rise the corporate ladder, and enough lessons learned to better understand themselves, and be resourceful and resilient in working with people and projects to generate momentum.
No matter how dramatic and intense things get, remember that it’s always about the people and knowing yourself and your company well enough to best serve the people. Genevieve Haldeman, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Symantec.
2. Grounded resiliency and perspective
Each of our speakers have this core strength and power and resiliency which made them vibrant and dynamic. You don’t need to see them in action to know that they have accomplished much, and will put 100% of their energies into making that next milestone.
When the world is falling apart and everyone wants a piece of you, I stay centered on what’s really important, and what needs to be done, sifting through the drama. Joan Banich, Collaboration Strategist, Brand Strategy, Cisco
3. Continuous Search for Self-Improvement
Leaders generate energy and momentum for people, projects and companies. They are always searching, always reaching, always raising the bar, for themselves and for those around them. This value is core to their being.
I respect and nurture the part of me that wants to be challenged and stimulated, and listen to the part of me that feels uncomfortable. Embracing this discomfort is critical to success in a fast-paced technology company that’s pushing the limits, and ever-innovating. Adriane McFetridge, Director, CQES Operations, PayPal
4. Skills and Thinking Across Industries, Roles and Companies
The last downturn has created some permanent changes in the way business is run, and what it takes to be successful. It’s no longer about going deep and staying focused. It will also be about how to transfer skills and knowledge and thinking beyond what you do today, in what role, for which company, in which industry. It will be about transferring skills and knowledge and connections as convergence takes place at many levels.
During this time of great change, what will set companies apart are its people and their ability to think outside the box, re-inventing themselves real time to fit the needs of the company and the market. Nancy Long, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hitachi Data Systems Corp.
5. Open, Clear and Succinct Communications Done with Candor
The more things change, the more they stay the same. In this new business era, it is so much more important to set aside petty bickering and political maneuverings and aim for open, clear, succinct, candid communications, especially when the stakes are high.
Take the time to strategize what you communicate to whom, factoring in feelings, relationships, objectives and focusing on the desired end results, especially if you have something difficult to say. Julie Criscenti Heck, Director, Global Partner Marketing, VMware
6. Out of the Box Strategic Thinking
The companies who succeed will be those who find a new way to solve an existing or new problem, and the leaders in those companies will grow more leaders and partners and alliances that reward out-of-the-box strategic thinking.
Dare to dream. Get outside the box, the box we call our job, the walls of our office, the company we work for. Only then can we truly reach our potential, the life we dream of in a world we share. See you on the outside! Sheryl Chamberlain, Senior Director, EMC Technology Alliances
7. Cultivate a Supportive Network
As strong women (and men), we are used to being independent and regularly do the impossible. But the people who are most successful at doing this are the ones who have that supportive network of people who can offload them and support them, so they can continue achieving the impossible.
Women in technology companies must constantly remind themselves to put themselves higher up the totem pole, above the cat, for example! And surrounding yourself with a supportive network of people: family, team, colleagues, partners, etc., will help us as leaders make the right choices that shape both corporate culture and our social fabric. Phyllis Steward Pires, Director Community Experience and Learning and Talent Management lead, SAP Labs North America
8. Choose Integrity
If you are ever at a crossroads and don’t the path of integrity, it is only a matter of time that you regret the decision, and have to work to fix it. If you feel hollow inside, even when life should be excellent, ask if an integrity issue has compromised your integrity and passion. If so, work to correct it.
Communicate your values and priorities clearly and act on them consistently. Be outspoken and make a stand to work with your team and organization to align actions with values. Susan Mernit, Senior Director Personals Products, Yahoo
9. Other-Centered
If you want to be effective in business and with relationships, always look from the perspective of the person you want to connect with: your customer, your boss, your spouse, your partner, your kid . . . everyone. Thinking from their perspective will help you build successful relationships AND achieved shared goals.
Business is a team sport – knowing the motivations and objectives of all your stakeholders will help you drive strategic results for your team and your organization. Barbara Massa, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, McAfee
10. Generosity of Spirit and Willingness to Share
There are two kinds of people: those who think that it’s a world of abundance, and sharing information, knowledge, and connections benefit all, and those who think that it’s a world of scarcity, and the more YOU get, the less I have. Each of our speakers have been more from one mindset than the other.
Innovation happens when you bring diverse, brilliant people together and facilitate connections and conversations. Then sharing these conversations and further engaging more brilliant, passionate, diverse people, which stimulates more sharing and thinking and new ideas. Nina Bhatti, Principal Scientist, HP Labs

The quotes above are excerpts from our upcoming e-book 101 Truths About Leading From Within: Wisdom From FountainBlue’s When She Speaks Panelists

FountainBlue is honoring our fifth birthday by celebrating the wisdom gained and shared by our speakers from our When She Speaks series, which was launched in May 2006. We have encapsulated their remarks and contributions and compiled them into 101 truths, with overarching themes, and ten specific ideas and suggestions for each one. We explain the concept or idea, then quote one of our speakers as they eloquently express the concept. Your comments are welcome. E-mail us at


Stretch Money Goals

June 21, 2011

Stretch Money Goals, an Excerpt from Chapter Three: Money Issues, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book

Dear Linda,
My husband and I make plenty of money to support ourselves and our two young daughters in the style to which we’ve become accustomed. But it seems like the more we make, the more we spend, the richer our tastes. Is this normal? Any thoughts on what we could adjust?
Dear She, Congratulations to your family for both being marketable during trying economic times! You should also be commended for being self-aware enough to think about the deeper issues around money, how it addresses basic human needs, how it provides stimulation, comfort, empowerment, and many other things. Here are some thoughts on how you can work with your family to build alignment on money goals and objectives so that you can support the needs of all around money – personal, emotional, financial, spiritual.
1. As a family. come up with a minimal budget for basic needs. Depending on the ages and interests of your daughters, they may be recruited to manage some of the basic needs from clothes and food shopping to pet care. Knowing the costs of basic necessities and salary requirements will help all parties be more selective about discretionary spending and work choices.
2. There is a second level of need beyond the basic need, but one that the whole family finds important. It might be a summer vacation, private school, outside sports, etc. This is something that everyone agrees is very important, and something that you as a family should commit to.
3. This choice should also be fair for everyone in the family, so that there’s a minimal chance of resentment. Ideally, it would be an equitable, or perceived-equity investment in time and money for all parties.
4. Beyond this, there should be an open discussion about what’s important to each of you, and how important this is to everyone else. Costs and responsibilities should be allocated to each desire, and a conversation should be had about the circumstances of when the family as a whole can make this commitment.
5. Just as there is a conversation about out-go, there should be a conversation about income, and not just about income, but the career choices of the wage-earners. Depending on your personal comfort level, you could talk big-picture with the family in terms of corporate vs. entrepreneurial job choices, or to the nitty-gritty details about salary, bonuses, etc. But you and your spouse should be completely transparent and in agreement around job choices and career paths.
6. Budgeting and healthy financial choices will likely mean sacrifices at some level for all family members. Don’t feel the martyr for making a sacrifice – think of it as a choice you are making to support your family.
7. Even if you are financially able to do so, don’t choose a world where you and all your family members feel that you can have everything you want it, when you want it. You probably know families who make those choices, and it can’t bode well for their finances, or the choices their children make around money when they make their own.
8. Talk about how money can feed your long-term dream, and that of others in your family.
9. Learn from mistakes you may have made/are making around money choices.
10. Plan on a future where you will be financially free.
I hope that these thoughts will help you focus on stretching your money goals, and your thoughts around money overall.
Best of luck,

Trends in Medical Imaging

June 21, 2011

FountainBlue’s Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum on the topic of Trends and Opportunities for Medical Imaging. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists represented the full range of medical imaging innovations, from PET/CT to MR/monoclonal tags to radiation therapy. They also commented on the importance of making cost-effective, easy-to-use solutions that generate quick, easy-to-interpret results, and adding clear value to doctors, patients and providers up-front. Policies and regulations and openness of the medical community will impact whether these solutions get into the hands of physicians who would use them. In fact, sometimes, it’s more about incentives and ease-of-use than it is about how sophisticated the technology is.
Below is advice proposed by our panelists for entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
• Adapt a medical device solution for ultrasound rather than MR or CT where possible as it is cheap and readily assessable and much less expensive.
• Consider hybrid solutions which leverage existing and proven technologies and approaches, applied to different patients, locations, conditions, etc.
• Build more reliable hardware and software for existing solutions and markets.
• The market will continue to be driven by reimbursements and policies, so entrepreneurs need to be aware of what these are and how they would impact their business.
• Consider launching outside the US in Europe or Asia for example, as it is less expensive, less time-consuming to do so.
• Solve the problem at hand, rather than filtering the problems you can solve by current financial resources.
• Get your products into the hands of the doctor, and don’t overly-prescribed how the doctor should leverage your solution. He or she would best determine how the solution would be helpful to her or his patients. And if you listen to this feedback and shift your messaging and strategy, you may find yourself targeting a slightly different and more tangible and immediate market.
• Offer solutions which doctors would appreciate – see it from their point of view.
Below are some of the opportunities they see in this space:
• Hybrid approaches leveraging different technologies, approaches and modalities.
• Genome-focused imaging.
• Localized imaging.
• Miniaturization, which will help drive down costs.
• Apply medical imaging to regenerative medicine or cancer solutions.
• There is an upcoming trend toward lowering and limiting radiation exposure, especially for children. What are the opportunities to provide similar information with the dangers of xrays?
• There is another movement to limit stents, and to ensure that those inserted are done right the first time. What are the medical imaging opportunities to support this trend?
The bottom line is that no matter what type of medical imaging solution you offer, make sure that you provide physicians with diagnostic confidence so that they feel *better* using your solution as additional data points, as additional background information as they treat their patients, while limiting their risk and exposure.

FountainBlue’s Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Trends and Opportunities for Medical Imaging and featured:
Facilitator Dennis F. Falkenstein, President and CEO, iOnTrends LLC
Panelist Tom Thomas, Director of Imaging Systems R&D, Boston Scientific
Panelist Brian Wilfley, Ph.D., Director, Chief Scientist, Triple Ring Technologies
Presenting Entrepreneur Caleb Bell, PhD, CEO, Bell Biosystems
Presenting Entrepreneur Kendall R. Waters, PhD, Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development, Silicon Valley Medical Instruments, Inc.
Please join us in thanking our panelists as well as our hosts at UCSC Extension and our sponsors KPMG for sponsoring this event and for their ongoing support of the series.

Millennials In Our Midst

June 13, 2011

FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.

Whether they are Millennials themselves, or nearly so, or interact with Millennials at home or at work or recruit, manage, educate and train them, our esteemed panelists generously shared their viewpoints, experience and perspectives around what it’s like to work with Millennials, and advice on how to best recruit, train and motivate them.
Our panel described Millennials as people born between 1981 and 2000 who are technophilic, having grown up around computers, inquisitive and connected, responsible and hardworking, and interested in doing the right thing and supporting a social cause. They can be very direct with their questioning, sometimes offending the people they question, but their intention is to better understand the reasoning behind a request, not to question authority necessarily.
Below is advice from our panelists about how to better recruit, train, motivate and retain Millennials, who will become an increasingly critical part of the workforce:
• Advice for Better Recruiting and Retaining Millennials:
o Work with universities to set up internship programs and hiring and retaining those interns once they graduate.
o Fund a professor and his/her projects so that your company name gets recognized and valued and new-grads might be more open to working for your company.
o Make them feel important, check in with them in a way they feel comfortable with.
o Help them navigate the little stuff – like health benefits and stock options. Don’t assume that they will get help elsewhere or that they can figure it out themselves with forms.
• Advice for working with Millennials:
o Use the communication style they are most comfortable with – text rather than e-mail for example.
o Mentor them and explain how their inquisitiveness may be coming across and work with them behind the scenes to find answers to their questions, without offending someone, particularly someone with great influence.
o Help them understand how people from other countries see, work and act and teach them how to nurture successful cross-cultural collaborations focused on delivering a successful work product.
o Help them manage their energy so that they are engaged without being overwhelmingly energized.
o Leverage both their hard-working ethics and their passion to deliver quality results for your team.
o Help them understand any sense of entitlement they feel, and show them the path to success, in the direction they seek.
o Leverage their initiative and can-do, collaborative attitude and give them big projects, without telling them *how* it should be done.
o Help them see their work as impactful, not just something you do to make money.
o Help them proactively create a network of people who would support them with their personal and professional growth.
o Help them leverage technology to bridge communication gaps between generations.
• Advice for Millennials:
o Leverage your energy in constructive ways and work with people, teams and companies that can help you channel your energy in the direction of value to you.
o Be inquisitive and seek answers, but be strategic about who you ask direct questions of and when the questions are asked to minimize the likelihood that you would offend someone.
o Walk a mile in the shoes of someone from another culture, for their reality is much different than yours.
o Your first work experience may be overwhelming as you work at various levels with as many as four generations. Embrace what’s wonderful about your own generation, and be open to accepting what’s great about other generations.

The bottom line is that this Millennial generation wants to leverage technology to connect and empower and make a positive impact on the world. They are the leaders of our future and will continue to shape our workforce as their representation rises and companies, teams and people who can help them succeed will be better positioned for success.

We would like to thank our hosts at EMC for graciously supporting FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series, on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst. Thank you also to this month’s speakers:
Facilitator Pat Cross, Consultant, Trainer, and Co-Founder of
Panelist Marla Britt, Process Engineering SSG/FEP/Anneals, Applied Materials
Panelist Nehal Mehta, Senior Leader, Quality Assurance, NetApp
Panelist Kristin E. Nelson, Inside Sales Manager, Americas Renewals, EMC Corporation
Panelist Josie Zimmermann, Global Marketing Team, Juniper Networks

Male-Dominated Teams

June 8, 2011

Dear Linda,
I’ve been with my company for five years, and love my work. There has been a lot of transition in the office, and I am now the only female on the team, working with seven males. A couple of the new male team members are changing the team dynamic and making it less collaborative and less fun. Any thoughts on how I can help change things back to where they were when there were more women on the team?

Dear The-Only-She,
It’s hard to be the only female member of a team, particularly when there used to be more female representation. Here are some thoughts on how to better be heard in a male-dominated team.
1. Make it more about the results than about the gender. If your filter is that you are the only female on the team, they will more likely have that filter too.
2. Know the objectives of each meeting, of each task, and focus on driving results in alignment with objectives, working collaboratively with your team.
3. Build relationships with all team members, and work with them to leverage their strengths and support them in achieving personal and team objectives.
4. Be proactive and direct with your communication whether it is written or verbal or nonverbal.
5. This is especially true in times of conflict. Be strong enough to park the emotions and focus on clear communication on the issues, leaving out the drama and feelings as much as possible. It’s not that you should ignore that part, it’s that you would be more respected if you addressed these needs outside the relationship and speak to the facts in your interactions.
6. Join them in their cultural norms in interacting with each other, but also make it clear that you have a clear line, and you won’t cross it.
7. Know how they are playing politics and jockeying for position, influence, recognition, money, etc. and respond accordingly. Don’t fault them for playing these games. It’s just the way they may want to work, and better to try to fit in within your own standards than to rock the boat if it doesn’t need rocking!
8. Choose your battles. Know which ones are worth fighting and go with the flow if it’s not. As a rule of thumb, if you integrity and competence and reputation are questioned, make an unequivocal stand. But if *how* they do something is different, try to work within their system.
9. Help recruit and grow your team. Aim for good people, not just for more women!
10. Build a support network of women and men who can help you make a stand for integrity and competence within your team, and help grow your team’s successes which would benefit all.
Best of luck to you in this cause,

This letter on Male-Dominated Teams is an Excerpt from Chapter Two: Politics and Power, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book

Software and Sensors in Green Tech

June 8, 2011

FountainBlue’s June 6 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Software and Sensors in Green Tech: Managing Our Energy Resources. Below are notes from the conversation.
With investor investments in clean energy more conservative today, capital-efficient energy efficiency companies are much more attractive than the renewable energy businesses from wind to biofuels to solar farms, and other renewables solutions requiring multi-million-dollar investments and a longer return cycle. So energy efficiency solutions that monitor and maximize energy consumption and minimize waste are much more attractive today.
And sensors and software work hand-in-hand in managing energy resources. Technology advances have enabled sensors to be smaller, more functional, more integrated and more ubiquitous. The problem is not that sensor technologies are not available. The challenge is that the software managing the data and the analytics in the solution must be customized to provide value to the user, and seamlessly integrated with existing sensors, appliances, networks, systems, etc so that users, whether they are home owners or facility managers or utilities, can make immediate informed decisions for proactively managing their energy resources.
Sensors and software must track and report on energy usage, and see patterns of where losses occur, either due to antiquated equipment, like old HVAC units or refrigerators, or even energy theft, where utilities might be interested in tracking where customers might be installing their own transformers into distribution grid.
Below is advice for entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
• Partner with high profile customers as customers, as channel partners, and as potential purchases.
• Partner with installers, retrofitters, HVAC companies, appliance companies, etc who would find your sensor and software solution a value-add for their customers.
• Integrate your solution with existing wifi network, appliances, sensors, etc.
• Respect the need for privacy around energy usage.
• Have solid sensor technology, but focus on software solutions which would add value and generate more returns more quickly.
• Do your part in supporting the creation of standards and policies that support innovation.
• Adopt an open source rather than proprietary standards and focus on solutions, not just more gadgets.
• When going into international markets, consider cultural/political/infrastructure factors such as standardization, which is easier in China, and infrastructure which may be more of a hurdle in India, and government subsidies, which you might see more of in Europe.
Below are some hot areas in the sensors and software space:
• Develop software solutions which communicate between sensors or report on energy usage across devices and appliances.
• Design energy efficiency solutions for commercial buildings where both facility managers and CFOs see a quick ROI
• Integrate sensors directly into the grid is in its infancy stage and will continue to evolve.
• Leverage business analytics and the power of data to efficiently understand not just usage, but also trends, and not just for the data, but to drive proactive, informed decision-making for the users.
• Leverage visualization to have rich data simply presented.
• Design solutions which would help consumers, facility managers, manufacturers, service providers and utilities proactively manage peak loads.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of opportunities within and outside the US. There may be more opportunities in the US as we have historically used more energy, hence there may be more opportunities to optimize the energy used. Plus corporations, manufacturers, consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs alike will find win-win sensor-and-software solutions which save both time and money.

We would like to thank and acknowledge the panelists for FountainBlue’s June 6 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum on the topic of Software and Sensors in Green Tech: Managing Our Energy Resources:
Facilitator Craig Lobdell, Director, CFO Advisory Services, KPMG
Panelist Rachel Pike, Analyst, Draper, Fisher Jurvetson
Panelist Aravindan Sankaramurthy, Director, Product Management, Oracle
Panelist Andrew Williamson, Director, Physic Ventures
Presenting Entrepreneur John Magnasco, CEO and Co-founder at Geneva CleanTech
Presenting Entrepreneur Mischa Steiner-Jovic, Awesense
Please also join us in thanking our sponsors at KPMG for sponsoring this event and for their ongoing support of the series.

Business Analytics in Retail

June 7, 2011

FountainBlue’s Bi-Monthly Business Analytics Event: Business Analytics in eCommerce and Retail was graciously hosted by eBay. Below are notes from the conversation.
With the explosion of online, web, social, mobile and video, the sheer volume of data over the next four years will approach the total amount ever created in the history of the planet. As our panelists agree that understanding what customers are doing and personalizing experiences based on their behavior is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, the challenge for technology companies and retailers is how to take this volume of data and target, acquire, engage and measure customers in order to provide personalized systems which would lead to better customer experiences and loyalty.

We have rapidly moved from a period of relatively little data, most of it offline, with few big tech companies specializing in analytics and business decisions based on intuition to a period where the volumes of data overwhelm even the largest tech companies, large companies partner with other large companies to cost-effective provide personalized experiences for customers, and seamless presentation of dynamically generated information online, customized to the needs of the user, based on analytics.

The sophisticated business analytics of today’s large tech companies including data management, database technology, data integration, standard BI, end-user, predictive, financial performance management, hardware and software are all leveraged to serve the individual and personalized needs of the user. But there is a challenge of creating scalable, cost-effective solutions which serve a business purpose, and isn’t too high-maintenance from a technology perspective. Each of our panelists and their companies are looking for opportunities to innovate in business analytics space overall, in the retail and other sectors so that we build trust and do the right thing for the customer, saving them time and money, while respecting their privacy.

This challenge of getting-heard-through-the-noise has existed for decades, yet it is amplified now for several reasons, including the proliferation of products and brands, the number of channels where information can be presented to customers – from web site to mobile to brick and mortar, plus the integration of all, the relative ease of reaching to customers leveraging technology like e-mail and web sites, the formidable margin pressures put on management with the commiserate pressure to ensure advertising dollars reap rewards and other factors. There may be more information and data to process, but studies find that consumers are using the same amount of time to make purchasing decisions now as they have before.
This all leads to the impatience of customers and the escalating demand for instant evaluation metrics and vetted recommendations from trusted sources. Below is advice from our panelists for better serving that customer and providing value-added, dynamically-generated, data-driven personalized solutions for those customers:
• Be a trusted brand and resource to the customer. Leverage their behavior, history, profile, and other data so that it best serves them while respecting their privacy and adding value to them.
• Leverage social media so that the wisdom of the crowd can best decide the best sellers, the best buyers and the best products.
• Be a neutral body for both sellers and buyers and be clear on policies and procedures for buying and selling.
• From the vendor’s perspective, your business analytics program goal should be more customer loyalty, increased likelihood of up-sell and increased referrals. From the customer’s perspective, the goal might be more timely, more personalized recommendations based on patterns of use, survey of needs, and available product offerings.
• Address the needs of the customer with sophisticated, integrated technologies which appear seamless to the customer.
• Understand and segment your users and note patterns so that you can better serve and even anticipate the needs of the customer.
• Rather than striving to interpret the huge volumes of generated data, seek larger patterns of behaviors and create use cases which would make recommendations on what’s important to the user, without looking at *all* the data to justify that recommendation. Extend the concept further into use case families to better understand customer segments, product feedback, buying trends, etc.
• Collaborate with key vendors to create generic application for future use, keeping solutions simple for customers, retailers and vendor alike.
• Buy or build technologies that would serve your customer, but if possible, don’t create another technology stack which needs to be upgraded and managed.
Below are some ideas and suggestions for entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
• Find the integration between mobile devices and cameras and how it can integrate with more traditional retail experience in brick and mortar stores as well as in ecommerce solutions.
• Leverage social media to more efficiently provided customized, personalized, vetted feedback to niche customers.
• Make it easy for retailers who are not necessarily technophilic to learn and adopt business analytics practices which would serve both their customers and their businesses.
• Leverage personalized online visualization so customers experience the product visually and in 3D in a way that drives customer purchasing decisions without too much extra technology overhead.
• Create a solution which would generate results faster, more accurately, more efficiently.
• Consumers are hungry for the score – how do you create a vetted, five-star instant-gradafication system cost-effectively to them?
• Go beyond tables and bar charts and produce 3D reports like waterfalls or scatter-plots so that retailers can better manage their merchandise online, on-site, in the warehouse, and elsewhere. These reports
• Create solutions which address the intersection of data on behavior, customers, transactions and products and translate it into actionable correlations.
• The pro-privacy movement led by some consumers will make it more difficult for retailers and vendors to understand behaviors of consumers. But this is also an opportunity.

The bottom line is that data is a double-edge sword: it holds the secret to better understanding and serving the customer, but the sheer volume of data makes it a challenge to integrate and protect/secure it while identifying the kernels of wisdom and information which would spell out patterns and better anticipate and deliver actionable personalized solutions for retailers, vendors and customers alike. The market will continue to evolve as retailers open up to analytics, consumers keep raising the bar on what’s immediate and what’s personalized, vendors collaborate to dynamically deliver more sophisticated, integrated technology solutions, and entrepreneurs continue to innovate.

• Wall St. Journal May 18, 2011 Article on Check Out the Future of Shopping covers mobile shopping gadgets
• Our facilitator Adrian Ott , CEO of Exponential Edge Inc. and NAWBO’s Silicon Valley’s Enterprising Woman of the Year 2011 is also the author of The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved,
Always-Connected Economy The 24-Hour Customer, named a Best Business Book 2010 by Library Journal and Small Business Trends, provides a framework that helps businesses turn customer time and attention scarcity into a competitive advantage. The book demonstrates how to make your products and services more addictive through the use of key buying triggers and techniques that redirect customer attention and traction in your favor. To purchase your copy online, visit

We thank our panelists for FountainBlue’s Bi-Monthly Business Analytics Event: Business Analytics in eCommerce and Retail:
Facilitator Adrian Ott, CEO, Exponential Edge Inc. and Author, The 24-Hour Customer
Panelist Darren Bruntz, Senior Director, Analytics Platform & Delivery, eBay
Panelist Tobin Gilman, Vice President, BI and EPM Product Marketing, Oracle
Panelist Raj Sen, Group Manager, Multi-Channel Analytics, Adobe

Bridging Silos, an Excerpt from Chapter Five: Collaboration, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book

June 2, 2011

Dear Linda,
I’m a new product manager for an up an coming start-up with great promise. I like my team, the management, the work . . . it’s all good. But the squabbles between groups, the finger-pointing, the subtle undermining of efforts is starting to get to me. I’ve tried speaking directly to the offending parties and I’ve tried to mediate when I can, but could also use your advice on how to get everyone on the same page. She-who-is-feeling-silo-ed

Dear She, I do feel your pain, and must comment that this is unfortunately very common. It’s a difficult and necessary task you are taking on, but if you are able to resolve the issue, your company will be positioned for success, and your people will be much happier in the process. Below are some ideas which may be helpful to you.

1. Identify all the silos and who is in which silo. It might be obvious that there is a silo between marketing and sales for example, but dig deeper and find out any divisions within each department.
2. Interview all parties and work to understand the motivations and history of the silos. Be a good listener. Don’t judge or fix at this stage.
3. Weave together the stories and motivations to create an understanding and communicate your findings in a documented presentation and report.
4. Work with each group to understand the report and to engage everyone in bridging the silos.
5. Get commitments on action and focus on actions and measurable results.
6. Have the group identify actions which bring up barriers between groups and agree to self-monitor and discourage these actions for yourself and those around you.
7. Reward based on results, on transparent communication and on collaboration across silos.
8. Agree on measurable indicators of progress and publicly chart your progress, acknowledging people and groups for their participation.
9. Welcome new goals leveraging strengths across silos and build cross-functional teams to focus on these goals.
10. Encourage and support leadership within and across silos and encourage all to keep raising the bar.

Best of luck with your noble endeavor!