Archive for October, 2019

Future of Mobility

October 14, 2019


FountainBlue’s October 11 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Mobility’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Samsung. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The executives in attendance remarked on the range of perspectives on the future of mobility – from semiconductors to pharma, from auto to software. We agreed on the following:

  • Moore’s Law will also apply to mobility – solutions will be better, faster and with lower latency with advancements happening in ever-shortening periods of time.
  • There will be a constant push-pull between privacy and access. Data ownership and access will be an issue which needs to be proactively managed.
  • Be careful who collects your own data.
  • Ensure that the data you’re collecting is valid and truthful and vetted.
  • The proliferation of devices and data will create increasingly more complex requirements on technologies, people and companies. And the pressure to get it right real-time will be increasingly overwhelming.
  • Build awareness and education so that individuals, leaders, companies will use data and information wisely and well, with integrity.

Below are the strategies for navigating the future of mobility.

  • Build and join ecosystems of partners to manage different facets of very integrated mobility options. Nobody can be an expert at all things.
  • Proactively manage the expectations around mobility solutions and sensors, so that you’re in line with common goals within and across individuals, teams and companies.
  • Accept that there will continue to be a proliferation of mobility solutions, and that there will be a lot of crossover between work and life. Plan your security and IT strategies accordingly.
  • Collaborating between entrepreneurs and corporates will continue to foster innovations in mobility.  

The identified opportunities include:

  • Power storage, distribution and management for mobile devices
  • Infotainment and telematics solutions which support connecting cars and supporting drivers and their passengers
  • 5G solutions which address latency challenges 
  • 3G solutions which provide access to the billions of people who currently don’t have access
  • Edge Computing solutions which facilitate quicker processing at the device level, for faster response times
  • Leveraging lidar and sensors to more accurately and more rapidly process the physical world
  • Providing immersive mobility experiences 

We also had a lively discussion about the role of humans as mobility solutions become more pervasive. We concluded that humans will always be necessary.

  • Mobility solutions might provide you with vetted information and dashboards, but humans will make the decisions.
  • Humans will make creative decisions which might better solve the problem. 
  • Humans will be the ones improving existing solutions and understanding the problems so that new solutions will be created.
  • Humans will be managing all the humans, the devices and solutions – and aligning all toward a common vision and result.


Age of the Customer

October 14, 2019

FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Age of the Customer’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a fun, passionate, customer-focused panel to speak on this ‘Age of the Customer’ topic. Clearly their focus on the customer helps them better understand the needs and motivations of internal and external customers. The far-ranging conversation covered the drivers which lead to the empowerment of the customer, including the infrastructure development and technology advancement which influenced this trend:

  • The hardware and software advancements 
  • The networking and bandwidth advancements 
  • The big data, AI, database advancements
  • The sensors, IoT, and other data-generating devices and things

Indeed, the world has become more connected, the customers more empowered. Our panelists agreed that the challenge now is not getting the data, but filtering the data for relevancy; not retrieving the data, but how quickly we can get access to the right data; not creating simple if-then scripts around the data, but creating and continually updating programs to proactive receive and act on relevant data, so we can make real-time inferences and decisions, sometimes when the stakes are very high.

In this age of the customer, proactive companies:

  • invite customers to provide input on current and anticipated problems 
  • integrate historical, customer and market data to better anticipate future needs
  • synthesize data to add strategic value for each customer
  • help internal and external customers better navigate changes in market and technology trends

Below is advice provided by our panelists on how to better serve customers:

  • Be proactive. Err on the side of action. 
  • Don’t let ‘best’ be the enemy of ‘better’. 
  • Align stakeholders on a common cause – the needs of the customer.
  • Be fluid, be open. Don’t be complacent.
  • Invite the feedback and participation from the naysayers.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Be persistent – go over, go around, go through if you must.
  • Build communities.
  • Build relationships.
  • Leverage data and metrics to better understand and address the needs of the customer. 
  • Embrace failure as a lesson in succeeding. But if you must fail, fail fast. Don’t hang on to long to something that will fail. 

We concluded by remarking that serving customers will be more efficient, even as customers becoming more demanding for personalized solutions. So automation, ingenuity and programming will be key. However, humans will always be necessary. There will be no substitute for the human connection. Humans will always be needed to make those decisions, to solve for new problems, to come up with those creative solutions, in this age of the customer.

Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Age of the Customer’ and our gracious hosts at Pure Storage.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Donelle Block, Director, Global Support Operations, Pure Storage, Inc.
  • Panelist Lauren Larson Diehl, Sr. Director, Customer Success Management Global Program Office, Oracle
  • Panelist Shikha Mittal, Director, Product Management & Strategy, VMWare 
  • Panelist Meena Narayanan, Vice President – People & Culture, Livongo Health
  • with opening remarks by Bill Cerreta, General Manager, Platform BU, Pure Storage

See bios and invitation at

What the Best Mentors Teach Us

October 1, 2019

BestMentorsLast month’s post was an Ode to Mentors. None of us could be where we are without them. It celebrates who mentors are as people and why they are so inspiring and necessary for those around them.

This month, we will build on the topic, and discuss What the Best Mentors Teach Us. Again, these are my thoughts from decades as a mentor, mentee, and bystander. I’ve learned from the best, and even when they weren’t any good, I learned even more about what works for me and why.

I’ve organized my thoughts in three areas:

  • Personal qualities: versatility, resiliency, emotional intelligence, resourcefulness, ‘hungry’
  • Communication qualities: clarity and directness, empowerment, mediation/moderation
  • Network/Connection qualities: empowerment, grow and establish network/community

Your thoughts will vary, but I hope that this summary is thought-provoking.

Personal Qualities

1. Versatility – 

  • The best mentors teach us to be versatile, to adapt to different people, cultures, technologies, industries. 
    • The more you adopt an open and embracive mind set, the better you’ll understand others around you, the more likely you are to succeed on a grander scale.

2. Resiliency – 

  • The best mentors teach us that nothing worth having is easy, and also that the best lessons are often the hardest lessons. They help us pull ourselves up by our bootstraps especially when all seems lost. 
    • With a combination of humor, wisdom, strength, advice and connections, they help us pick ourselves up, shake ourselves off and ask ourselves, ‘What’s next?”

3. Emotional Intelligence – 

  • The best mentors help you understand what you’re feeling, what others are feeling, the reasons for these reactions, the motivations of yourself and others etc.,
    • Understanding your own emotions, and that of others will help you be more compassionate while also being more likely to produce better plans and better results.

4. Resourcefulness – 

  • The best mentors help you be more creative, more flexible and more adaptable around problem-solving. 
    • Seeing the problem from a larger and different point of view helps mentees better address opportunities and challenges.

5. Hungry (Lifelong Learners) –

  •  The best mentors know that life is a journey, not a destination. They teach us to ever reach higher and wider, never settling, never accepting complacency.
    • Going out of the comfort zone and embracing new learnings make life a more interesting, satisfying and entertaining journey.

Communication Abilities

6. Clarity and Directness (of Communication) – 

  • The best mentors help their mentees better understand their own communication styles, and that of others. They challenge us to be more clear, more precise, more inspiring, more diplomatic, more gracious, and more transparent in our communications.
    • There are so many ways to get communications wrong. Mentors help us head off communication traps while helping us better understand how we are coming across to others, and improving the results of our communication overall.

7. Empowerment 

  • The best mentors empower their mentees to solve their own problems, to reach for more than they think they can reach. This is not just a confidence builder, it also opens up a broader, larger view of possibilities for their mentees.
    • As mentors empower their mentees, they, in turn, often consciously or unconsciously empower others around them.  

8. Mediation and Moderation – 

  • The best mentors help us better understand conflict and the motivations of all parties. 
    • They may teach us how to better mediate between parties, how to moderate responses between extreme points of view, and even how to improve the chances of collaboration and consensus.

Network and Community

 9. Network – 

  • The best mentors know how to grow their network, and support mentees in growing theirs. 
    • Having a broad and deep network is key to all the other qualities taught by great mentors.

10. Community –

  • The best mentors help their mentees connect with the people closest to them, and also to the community around them. 
    • The challenge and joy of building close relationships and community helps us all feel fulfilled, challenged, accepted, and understood.