Author Archive

Communicate, Connect and Engage

January 22, 2019

FountainBlue’s January 18, 2019 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ The Convergence of Technologies’.   

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We were fortunate to have such a range of leaders on our panel, representing a range of professional and educational backgrounds, a range of rows and companies. They shared a passion for the need to communicate, connect and engage, and agreed:

  • Solid Communication is core to all successful relationships, all successful projects. Communication must be open, transparent, authentic and clear, as well as bi-directional, direct and ongoing. This is generally not easy, but always required.
  • Connections between people help make communication easier, even when difficult topics must be broached. 
  • Successful engagement leads to improved communications, improved connections, and successful metrics. 
  • Improved communication and connections can also lead to improved engagement.

Below are some best practices for communicating, connecting and engaging with others:

  • Be Strategic
    • Look not just at the words and actions, but also be curious about the intentions and motivations of other parties.
    • Insist on civility, but reach for a true connection.
    • Consider your ecosystem of stakeholders and each audience within that stakeholder set. Strategize your communications and actions based on your research.
    • Focus on measuring the impact of your engagement programs.
  • Be Open
    • Be open and compassionate and curious, especially when someone looks and seems different than you, especially when she/he might disagree with you.
    • Be empathetic to others and their situations. Try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
    • Be vulnerable and receptive. Others are more likely to communicate, connect and engage with you that way. 
    • Step outside your comfort zone.
  • Be Empathetic
    • Be aware of not just what you say but how you say it. 
    • How you make the other person feel is even more important than being right. (Maya Angelou)
    • Speak to the whole person. Others are just as complicated and complex as we are ourselves!
    • Build trust
    • Try to bring your best self forward at all times, but expect that this can’t happen all the time. Forgive yourself and others when you’re/they are not coming across as their best self.
  • Empower Others
    • Empower others to plan and strategize to improve communication, connection and engagement.
    • Inspire and empower others around you, no matter where you sit at the table, even if you don’t have a seat at the table.

In conclusion, our inspiring panelists shared a common message: Keep reaching for stars. Never settle. The impossible can only happen to those who truly believe it can.


Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s January 18, 2019 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘ The Convergence of Technologies’, and our gracious hosts at Samsung.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Megan Cheek, HR Director, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Lucia Soares, Managing Director, Health247 Inc. 
  • Panelist Sarah Tapia, Director of Talent Acquisition, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research
  • Panelist Julia Zhu, Engineering Program Manager, Cisco

with opening remarks by Joon Lee, President, Samsung Research America and closing remarks by Roxanne dos Santos, Senior Manager, HR Operations, Samsung Research America

See bios and details at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/engage

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DevOps Opportunities and Challenges

January 21, 2019

devops

FountainBlue’s January 18 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘DevOps Trends and Opportunities’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance and our gracious hosts at Techlab, and our investment partners at Vonzos. Below are notes from the conversation. 

Positioned at the intersection between R&D, QA and Operations, DevOps teams manage IT, engineering, product and business objectives, coordinate between multiple leaders and objectives and keep projects on track. This is no easy task as technology changes so quickly, solutions get increasingly more complex, and much more data is generated from a wider range of sources.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives around the table, with executives representing a wide range of companies and roles and company stages. We agreed that although medical and transportation and manufacturing companies might have little tolerance for errors, there may be more latitude for failures and breaches which might annoy customers, but not endanger them. Although of course, this is to be avoided. 

With the complexities for all DevOps teams across industries, it’s becoming more challenging to:

  • ensure compliance to security standards
  • document specification and other changes
  • proactively ensure security standards

Hence, it becomes much more important to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate on developer operations needs, and also fold in infrastructure and security elements. Below are some trends and best practices:

  • Move SW development from on-premises and into the cloud, where appropriate
  • Adopt Open source solutions 
  • Embrace Agile and fail-fast approaches to stay nimble – it’s more about sprints than marathons
  • Investigate using microservices  
  • Create dynamically generated reports help proactively manage mission-critical projects
  • Focus on the important data and information
  • Proactively lead and manage through change
  • Be disciplined and methodical about creating and following processes, about coordinating and communicating with other parties
  • Automate white-collar resources, but do regular sanity checks to ensure that the automations continue to make sense
  • Architect solutions well, make plans to scale
Below are examples of some DevOps opportunities ahead.
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) updating
  • Hardware and Software integration
  • Solutions which can respond more rapidly, more accurately to larger volumes of input from a larger range of sources
  • DevSecOps solutions (developer, security and operations)
  • Container security
  • Deep tech solutions – integrating AI, ML, IoT
  • Integrating digitalization trends into DevOps

With the successful running of DevOps teams, communication, coordination and collaboration converge, and technology becomes an enabler, allowing people, teams and companies to build tools and methodologies more quickly, more collaboratively, and more sustainably throughout a product life cycle in order to better to understand and deliver on (internal and external) customer needs. 

Hope for a Better World

January 1, 2019

HopeBetterWorld

As the last whispers of an eventful year wind down, reflect and make plans for the new year.

  1. Find commonalities with others and seek common goals.
  2. Put the needs of others in front of your own, if the greater good is served.
  3. Strive for continuous improvement, never settling for ‘good-enough’.
  4. Be grateful for what you have, rather than pining for all you wish you had.
  5. Be more curious than instructive, more open than judgmental.
  6. Forgive others for their perceived transgressions, but forgive yourself first.
  7. Embrace the uncomfortable as opportunities, the unknown as gifts.
  8. Rise above the details and focus on the intentions and the goals.
  9. Take pride in your own skills and talents, while also learning from all others.
  10. Have faith that your own hope for a better world becomes contagious.

Best wishes for a peaceful, fruitful, successful new year.

Convergence of Technologies

December 12, 2018

Dec7Panel

FountainBlue’s December 7 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies’.  

We were fortunate to have such a range of leaders on our panel, who were all able to blur the lines, shake up our thinking around both leadership and innovation! Although they represent a broad swath of backgrounds and industries, they have much in common:

  • They are passionate about continuous learning, in search of a greater self.
  • They embrace opportunities to stretch themselves, and accept that they can’t be perfect, but they can learn from every opportunity.
  • They are curious about technology, and its ability to solve the problems of the customer.

They agree that many factors are leading to the convergence of technologies, including:

  • the established global network and infrastructure and communication channels
  • the preponderance of technologies we count on every day, across teams, companies, industries, countries
  • the proliferation of data generated by hardware and software solutions
  • the empowered users who keep raising the bar for personalized solutions for their everyday problems

The challenges to tech leaders are immense as technologies converge.

  • How do you invent and innovate faster and better in less time, with higher quality?
  • How do you collaborate and innovate while retaining your IP and core value?
  • How do you apply successful solutions in one sector to another sector?

But there are opportunities ahead as technologies and solutions converge.

  • Embrace open source technologies which are standardized.
  • Build win-win collaborations with trusted partners.
  • Empower select partners and customers to help define their needs and potential solutions.
  • Leverage the volumes of data to manage your innovations and solutions.
  • Embrace ML, AI, IoT, Edge and other solutions – they are our future.
  • Wellness and health will be top-of-mind for customers of all sizes and needs. 

The following is advice from our esteemed panel on how to lead and innovate in these exciting times.

  • Have the confidence to keep reaching forward, the humility to know your value, the wisdom and self-awareness to listen to and integrate feedback and learnings.
  • Be a part of the solution, allowing more diverse perspectives, including your own, to be part of the critical conversations which will define the future of a program/product/solution.
  • Know and embrace who you are, where you fit in as technologies converge. Have confident that leaders will be needed as robots/machines/software/hardware can’t run the world on its own.
  • Respect the data, but look for the implications of that data, and the actions and decisions which should take place based on that report.
  • Know your boundaries and enforce those boundaries so that you can stay on course for being the type of leader you want to be.
  • Own your destiny. Know how your choices will support your own health and welfare – a necessary and foundational part of making that difference.

The bottom line is that it takes a village of leaders and innovators to perpetuate this convergence of technologies. Be part of the solution!


Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 7 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies,’ and our generous hosts at Flex. 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Gayathri Badrinath, Digital Health Entrepreneur and former Head of Global Marketing Services, Siemens Healthineers
  • Panelist Katherine Brown, Director of Manufacturing Engineering, Lam Research
  • Panelist Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Sabitha Krishnamurthy, Director of Software Development, Enterprise Business Unit, Cisco
  • Panelist Mahsa Nakhjiri, Sr. Director Connectivity Center of Excellence, Innovation Technology & Integration, Flex
  • with opening remarks provided by Suruchi Sharma, VP of Corporate Strategy, Flex

See bios and details at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/convergence

The Future of Networking

December 11, 2018

Networking

FountainBlue’s December 7 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Networking’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Vonzos Partners. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives around the table, with executives representing different industries – from aerospace to manufacturing, from semiconductors to utilities, from healthcare to telecommunications. Yet they shared a common perspectives on the future of networking.

The foundational infrastructure has been set up which makes it easier for people across companies, industries and locations to connect with each other. From this foundation, we are all collectively building increasingly more impactful solutions for larger customer bases, while also providing more customized solutions for individual people. This leads to many inter-related factors including:

  • huge volumes of data which just keep growing
  • a broader range of applications to support a broader range of problems
  • a re-purpose of technologies from one solution to another, from one market or industry into another
  • the burdens and risks to the networks with the increasingly rapid evolution and adoption of hardware and software
  • the empowerment of the consumers, who are applying immense pressure to companies and their networks

Below is cumulative advice for proactively managing networks:

  • Budget time and resources to proactively integrate solutions across users and platforms. Solutions in the future will not be running on silos.
  • Assume that there will be a huge and ongoing need to dynamically balance privacy, security and access.
  • Analyze and triage individual devices and solutions which may impact others within the network. Isolate contaminants and manage the spread into the internal network.
  • Proactively collect, store, manage, communicate the data and its implications to the network, users, customers. 
  • Embrace a safety mindset, managing and minimizing disruption, while also being open to opportunities.

  • Connect your silos of people and teams and help them help each other manage the network.

  • Whether you’re representing yourself or your organization, remember that your data is important and valuable. Selling your personal data, especially your personal health data or even your social media data, may tell the buyer much more about yourself than you know…

This also leads to many opportunities as well:

  • Data is everywhere and growing rapidly. There are tremendous opportunities for companies who can leverage and filter the data real-time for constructive benefits.
  • Design solutions which manage and contain security breaches across complex and integrated systems to minimize impact.
  • Optimize the capacity of networks so they can proactively manage upgrades (no run-to-failure decisions).
  • Providing AI/ML/predictive analytics on IT and networks to quickly detect anomalies and take measured actions based on patterns
  • Adopt solutions which may be able to optimize and report on its own health and do self-diagnosis.
  • Consider integrating open source solutions into your networking hardware and software adoption plans.
  • There are immense opportunities around IoT, IIot (Industrial IoT), 5G, Cloud/Fog/Edge computing, Video capture/manage/sharing, Autonomous driving.

The bottom line is that the future of networking involves people. 

  • Factor in how a network strategy will impact people and cultures so plan your strategy for the audience you’re serving – your customers, your employees, your industry.
  • Educate your people on how the network impacts them, and how their decisions may impact the network. 

Filled with Thanks

December 1, 2018

ThanksgivingPlacesetting

In a land at the heart of a grand tech dynasty, in an industry poised for additional astronomical growth, there was a company which offered a solution destined to succeed.

And in this company, there were Leaders with the vision to create a community of high-performing, high-integrity collaborators, who pushed their own personal abilities, and therefore the technology functionality, to help ensure access by the Multitude of others across the globe.

And working with these Leaders were high-performing Teams of developers, managers, specialists and engineers, dedicated to improving the technology and proactively serving their Customers. They were hard-working and driven, yet easy-to-please, humble yet exceptional, attentive yet independent, resourceful AND collaborative.

To celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving, the growing company barely fit into its cafeteria, in eager anticipation of their annual multi-course feast, complete with linen table service and fine China.

As a backdrop to the dinner filled with chatter and laughter, there were slides of thanks for each staff member, which brought additional smiles, laughter and the occasion misty-eyed sniffling and good-natured ribbing.

To culminate this grand affair, the Leaders stood as one, and each spoke sincerely of the gratitude they had for the people, the company, and the opportunity. And the microphones were then sent around to Others, who also voiced their thanks. The feeling of thanks permeated the room, radiating warmth and good cheer.

And the future will show that the People, the Teams, the Management will work together for many Thanks-Giving celebrations to come.

IT Security Trends and Opportunities

November 20, 2018

it security

FountainBlue’s November 2 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘IT Security Trends and Opportunities’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Lam Research and our executives in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our conversation around IT security trends ran the gamut across technologies, industries, and companies. Our executives in attendance had broad and deep experience across IT security, and agreed that: 

  • It’s amazing how increasingly important IT security is for a company, with serious repercussions on brand and finances when there are breaches, and also for consumers and individuals as well. 
  • Development and engineering is growing at an astronomical pace, which means that there are more devices, more software, more hardware, more data to manage and handle, and more opportunities for compromised security.
  • It’s hard to predict security trends because privacy is a ‘whisper industry’, and leaders aren’t necessarily openly sharing breaches or incidents…
  • There’s a war between the good guys who are in charge of keeping everything compliant, secure, and running, and the ‘bad guys’ who are trying to get access to the network for financial gain, for brand sabotage, and for political and other reasons. 
  • It’s important to create a culture that respects the need for security, while also making sure that everyone can be productive.
  • There’s a push-pull between regulators and innovators in this space, which adds complexity and challenges. But there’s a huge opportunity for companies and leaders willing to navigate the additional hurdles.  
  • Security is not the responsibility of the IT professional. It is everyone’s responsibility – at work and at home.
  • Security issues will impact our day-to-day lives, not just our work life. Our cars and roads, our healthcare organizations, our leisure activities, our shopping experiences may be the target of cyber attack. Be vigilant and informed, and make proactive decisions to protect your identity and your data.

Below is a list of some upcoming opportunities for IT security innovation:

  • Solve the paradox between encryption and searchability.
  • Create a solution which allows analytics and also respects privacy.
  • Automate multi-step validations of addresses and domain names.
  • Identify, monitor, and send alert on anomalies which occur within the network.
  • Design software so devices can send alerts when compromising scenarios occur, or even quarantine itself. 
  • Manage security at the hardware level.
  • Design a solution which would weave together IP, hardware, software, operations security functionality.

Below are some thoughts on how best to stay on top of IT security trends:

  • Accept that people will have multiple devices and want autonomy on when and how to use them. But provide reasonable restrictions and policies to ensure that the network and the data are also safe.
  • Collaborate across leaders, organizations and industries to share best practices.
  • Train and educate the workforce about the choices they are making which could unwittingly compromise people, infrastructure, operations, finances, brand, etc., Phishing attacks on your own staff may help you identify people who need more training around security, while keeping them and the network safe.
  • There’s so much information out there around security, and so many ideas on technology solutions in this space. Make sure that there’s a business case for the security solution – a technology which someone would pay for and use, not just a cool technology which sits on a shelf.
  • Adopt and consistently use a two-step authentication solution across the company.
  • Don’t just have a backup, make sure that you can restore from a backup if a worse case scenario should occur.
  • Try implementing ‘bug bounty’ programs, which challenge people to hack into networks. This will help your IT and security team keep on top of weak points across the network, and may even help with the cyber-security recruitment efforts! 

The bottom line is that no matter what technologies or processes you use to manage security for the company or for the home, it’s the people who will make the choices and decisions which could keep you safe and secure, OR compromised and vulnerable. So keep the people informed and educated, and help them make choices that will keep people, data, and infrastructure safe.

Welcoming the Gift of Feedback

November 10, 2018

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FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a broad range of panelists representing different educational and professional backgrounds and experience. They shared their thoughts on feedback warmly and openly.

It’s great when you give or receive good feedback for a job well done, and also great when you give or receive constructive feedback for a job which wasn’t well done. However, watch out when you’re getting good feedback for a mediocre effort – because the praise or award might not have meaning, AND the motivation to do better would suffer.

Watch also for the other type of error – when you get negative feedback for a job well done. If that happens, perhaps there’s a political motivation where someone wants to undermine someone else or take credit for their work. 

To mitigate these and other problems with feedback, ask questions and seek clarity so you understand what the feedback is, and what you can specifically do to improve.

It’s also important to understand the motivations of parties – the one giving and the one receiving the feedback. Once you understand the motivations, focus also on how to best communicate a constructive, productive message.

The focus must be on achieving measurable results, even if difficult and awkward conversations must take place. To give feedback well, be prepared with specific information and data to support the input. To receive feedback well, be open-minded and curious, while managing your own emotional reactions to the feedback.

Below is some specific advice around feedback.

  • Millennials seek feedback more often than those from other generations. They welcome templates and coaching and continuously strive to bring their best selves to work, which makes it easy to provide feedback in some ways. However, it can also be a problem when their over-eagerness or their focus on generating immediate results either brings mediocre results or offends others on the team with more experience. Respect is something that people of all generations seek, and feedback can help members of each generation be more respectful of those from other generations.
  • Providing feedback to men is different than providing feedback to women. Men tend to be more resilient, less sensitive, and have more vivid memories of the positive feedback over the negative feedback. Perhaps some women could learn from their more resilient example.
  • It’s a difficult situation when someone is using feedback to serve their own ends, rather than providing feedback as a gift to help someone else to grow. To help address this situation if it happens to you, seek independent parties who can help you understand the motivations and actions of all involved. Strategize on how best to address the core issue, even if it means having to leave the leader or the team.

The bottom line is that life is a journey, and feedback is a gift which helps make that journey more fulfilling, helping you become your best self. Be selective about who you include in that journey, and open enough to receive that feedback. Be resilient and courageous enough to receive and learn from difficult feedback, if it’s productive for your personal and professional growth.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at San Jose City College and our panelists for FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Cynthia Dote, Director of Engineering, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Dana Gharda, Director, Global University Recruiting & Programs, Lam Research
  • Panelist Nivedita Ojha, Senior Director, Product Management, IoT, Mobile, Cloud, Citrix
  • Panelist Lena Tran, Ed.D., MBA, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Innovation, San Jose City College

See bios and invitation at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/feedback

Advanced Manufacturing

November 1, 2018

Industrial Revolution IT Integration Smart Manufacturing Innovat

FountainBlue’s October 5 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘Advanced Manufacturing Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Texas Instruments. Below are notes from the conversation.

We’ve heard the mantra for exceptional manufacturing decades: Faster, Better, Cheaper, but now it’s a bit different. The difference today is that it can’t just be ‘better’. For example, the quality must be exceptional enough, with LOW DFM (defects per million) to be safe for medical and automotive needs for example. And the results must be easily integrated into a host of other solutions, thereby raising the bar further.

Below is a synopsis of advice for companies leading advanced manufacturing initiatives for their organizations:

  • Change is necessary and will happen quickly, moving in the direction of digital. Sometimes that change will be dramatic, moving from paper processing to digitalization and automation. Sometimes the change has already taken place, but there’s a problem integrating with other solutions. But change is inevitable and needs to happen quickly for companies to maintain that edge.
  • The pressure to deliver faster, more integrated and better quality solutions is raising the bar for all stakeholders across the ecosystem. Companies and leaders who take that collaborative ecosystem view will set themselves apart and have that leadership edge, especially when change is happening so quickly.
  • The type of materials used in manufacturing will become important. For example, titanium and nickel and plastics might be more suitable for medical, aerospace and automotive manufacturing solutions, and might work well with 3D printing capabilities.
  • With the volume of data generated, we will need some standards for how data is accessed, managed and exchanged which would respect the privacy, access and security of all parties while also providing relevant actionable reports which would to help improve the product/service and also to better understand customer needs.

Below are some thoughts on some hot opportunities in advanced manufacturing:

  • 3D printing for prototyping
  • Manufacturing as a service
  • Leveraging software to enable redundancy and parallel processing  
  • Robotics and other automations
  • AI and ML, leveraging huge volumes of data real-time
  • Leveraging radio protocols rather than wifi
  • Sensors on the manufacturing floor and across the supply chain
  • Reports on power usage of individual units and components on the manufacturing floor
  • Fingerprinting and other ID methods to better understand where parts have been
  • Convergence of chemistry and materials to solve real-world problems

There was frequent mention of and many questions about the people and management challenges to get teams and companies innovating with advanced manufacturing solutions.

  • Will we be able to attract, recruit and trained employees to ensure that machines, processes and tools run well? Can we recruit that diverse workforce as well?
  • Will there be architects and designers who can define and automate processes so employees can efficiently maintain them?
  • Will people be able to work with systems in order to sift the signal from the noise, given the mind-boggling volume of data generated real-time?
  • Can we be intelligent and efficient enough to design and upgrade today’s systems for anticipated needs?
  • Will we have a diverse and trained enough talent pool that can integrate our own solutions into that of other suppliers, integrators, providers in the ecosystem, in order to meet the demands of the customer?

The challenge to all executives leading advanced manufacturing is clear: how do you think and act strategically and execute seamlessly in order to oversee and manage the product, people, and service side of the business, and serve the sophisticated advanced manufacturing needs of very demanding customers?

Resources:

Journey of the Soul

November 1, 2018

FirstGuru

Journey of the Soul, by Linda Holroyd, August 26, 2018
Written on the hardwood deck outside our bedroom in the mottled sunshine
just before sending off a child on yet another adventure
Written also for all parents with children not-like-them

Journey of the Soul

Day
Time
Sunlight
Breeze
Wheezy

Warm
Filled
Glowing
Marvelous
Wheezy

Peace
Laughter
Smiles
Fullness
Wheezy

Full Circle
Perfect Being
Calm and Powerful
Wheezy

Life from my Loins
Power to my Strength
Embodiment of All that’s Glorious to me
Wheezy

From Radiant Magnificence
to Humble Powerlessness
from Obstinate Glory
to Overflowing Gratitude
Wheezy

The World sits beneath YOU
the Stars above applaud YOU
the Waves around you bask in your LIGHT
Wheezy

The path opens for you
your carriage approaches for you
your entourage awaits you
Wheezy

So prepare for your journey
the trail of Enlightenment
the Majesty of the Moment
the Balance between the Hope and the Fear
Wheezy

Go blindingly, trustingly, courageously forward
as is your way
Immersed in joyous abandonment
Daring to Laugh at the Impossible
Trusting in the Wisdom of Powers Bigger than even Thee
Wheezy

For the People around You
so need
your power
your strength
your vision
your purity
Wheezy

And I in the shadows
from the security of my mansion
Cheer louder than ALL combined
when you are revealed in full Magnificence
for ALL you Represent
for all that you SERVE
for the HOPE that’s entrusted to You
my Wheezy