Author Archive

Telecommunications and Mobile

September 21, 2018

telecommunications

FountainBlue’s September 20 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Telecommunications and Mobile Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Comcast. Below are notes from the conversation.

Everyone remarked on the technological changes which are creating the infrastructure and enabling the evolution of telecommunications and mobile solutions. There was a lot of discussion on the opportunities and challenges associated with providing 24×7 cable in the home. Everyone remarked on the up-sides:

  • The huge volumes of digital content streamed through a wide range of devices across the home provides massive opportunities for both content creators and device manufacturers alike.
  • Flexible options for managing devices and content for users within the home provides a similarly large array of opportunities.
  • There is a large gamut of software and hardware options available for users to manage day-to-day living, working and thriving at home – from the kitchen with its internet-enabled toasters and refrigerators to the entertainment and security devices distributed across the living spaces.
  • Open innovation is allowing companies to jump-start and complement their own development efforts, and also facilitating collaborations between teams, leaders and organizations.

But there are also down-sides to this explosion in telecommunications and mobility, which in turn opens up market opportunities.

  • Those who do not gain digital access and literacy will be left farther and farther behind. But there are opportunities for companies and organizations to provide digital access and digital education, to help ensure that fewer people are left behind.
  • Weak links within a system may bring down a whole network, so you need to have an ecosystem approach to designing the network. There are consulting and management opportunities as a result.
  • Compatibility between devices within a network may make configuration difficult or even impossible. Companies who make it easy for impatient, non-technical consumers to adapt and integrate their solutions will likely get more market share.

Below is advice for navigating this time of hyper-innovation in telecommunications and mobile.

  • Embrace Change
    • Be open to the inevitable rapid change, and help your team to also be open to it. It will only get more complex and happen more quickly!
  • Be Collaborative
    • Embrace opportunities to innovate collaboratively.
    • Connect marketing leaders with product and engineering leaders.
    • Build a culture of trust within your organization, and an organization which customers could trust.
    • We should all assume some responsibility for the policy decisions made, to help ensure the business opportunities are available. Which countries are more business friendly? How would net-neutrality positions impact businesses? What are the GDPR repercussions? 
  • Embrace Diversity
    • Welcome people with diverse backgrounds and mindsets. They will help you see the problem better, and brainstorm solutions better as well.
  • Put Customers First
    • Focus on the needs of the customer, with an eye on the overall market trends.
    • Take a customers-first mindset. It may not be your fault when something unexpected happens, but try to take responsibility and partner with others to solve a customer’s problem.
  • Be Strategic 
    • Embrace the old and the new, explore solutions offered in adjacent industries, be open to integrating old tools and offerings in new ways.
    • Advances in telecommunications and mobile solutions may be adapted across industries, but only if we first understand the needs and the challenges of the end users for these other industries.
    • Proactively plan, but be prepared to react when it doesn’t go as planned.

Below are some ideas for opportunities ahead:

  • Elegantly balance privacy, security and access across a wide array of devices and solutions.
  • Manage the variability of access. We still have dead spots in geographies (‘Food Deserts’ also means internet access deserts), and hiccups in service when volumes of data traverses our lines.
  • Leverage technology and data, ML and AI to help customers systematically and proactively detect and respond to problems within a network.  
  • Design solutions for more concentrated populations as people will continue to move from rural areas into the cities.
  • Leverage Machine Learning to document known traffic patterns and also to identify anomalies at scale.
  • There will continue to be an explosion of low power hear-ables and wearables, in response to high customer demands.
  • Find elegant opportunities to upgrade legacy solutions, or at least elegant integrate these technologies, solutions and data into new offerings.
  • Embrace integrated hardware and software in upcoming innovations. Software alone will not be enough in this next stage of innovation.
  • As we look at having 5G solutions in your pocket in the near future, the possibilities around apps, wearables and IoT solutions are mind-boggling. What could we do with 5G on a stick? or AI on the go?

The bottom line is that there is a lot of chaos and change right now as we evolve into the Connectivity of Everything. Convergence is happening across technologies, leaders, industries, geographies and solutions. The solutions will be seamlessly integrated and woven deeply into the fabrics of our life and work.

Those who are open during this turbulent time are more likely to navigate this cycle of change than those who are electing to remain siloed, independent, complacent with the way-things-are.

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Showcasing Collaborative Innovation

September 20, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 3.40.43 PMFountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’! We were fortunate to have a large range of perspectives on our panel on the collaborative innovation topic. Our panelists represented the wide range of roles, levels and functions across tech companies small and large, and even representing different industries. But they also had much in common.

  • They explored many different classes, roles, and responsibilities, bravely trying new things and courageously delivering results in a wide range of contexts.
  • They have decades of experience, witnessing and contributing to the evolution of technology.
  • They pay close attention to the needs of the customer, and deliver what the customer is looking for.
  • They pay close attention to the market trends and advise their customers based on what they see with the market trends.
  • They are in alignment with the strategic direction for the organization and its leaders. In fact, they have chosen their role and company as they were inspired by same.

The way we do business is very different than it used to be.

  • Innovation is everywhere – in universities, at standards bodies, through start-ups, in Open Source solutions.
  • The problems today are much more pervasive, much larger, much more global than they used to be.
  • It no longer works to be the only local offering as the world has become flatter, so everyone can easily get anything from anywhere.
  • It’s becoming more expensive to solve even simple problems.

They each exclaimed in different ways about the pace of change, the rate of change, the constancy of change. Collaboration helps each of them to best cope with this change.

  • Collaboration enables people to specialize in specific technologies, partnering with others.
  • Collaboration helps companies address multiple market segments, again partnering with others.
  • Collaborative Innovation helps companies to differentiate themselves, focusing on their core value-add, and partnering with others to deliver complementary offerings.
  • Collaboration allows others to vet and trouble-shoot a solution, before it goes to market.
  • Collaboration helps all parties to consider additional applications for existing and known solutions.
  • Collaboration helps with product planning and implementation by identifying more corner cases.
  • There is less likely to be group-thinking when you are collaborating with a range of partners.

Below is advice on how to make your collaborative innovation projects more likely to succeed.

  • Gather a wide range of partners and collaborators.
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions.
  • Get all perspectives on the table, even from those who are not generally vocal.
  • Empower and engage all participants.
  • Encourage all to submit ideas and input, even if they are not involved in the project.
  • Consider that a solution for one problem may contain ideas and technologies which could be applicable to a totally separate problem.
  • Be bold and persistent, resilient and positive.
  • Have the hard and difficult conversations to stretch your own comfort zone and that of others.

It was fascinating to see how each of our esteemed panelists looked at innovation from a different perspective, yet each delivered a new and better product, process, solution, technology. 


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our panelists for  FountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Mary Emerton, Vice President, Manufacturing, Nutanix
  • Panelist Padmaja Nimmagadda, Applications Program Manager, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Laura Patton, VP,  Customer Solutions, Flex
  • Panelist Sangeeta Ramakrishnan, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice, Comcast
  • Panelist Jeremy Yaeger, MGTS Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments

Ode to a Hat

September 1, 2018

The summer, the year, she has passed so quickly, so eventfully, with the highest of thrills, the darkest tragedies of loss; the indulgent and sinful decadence of time well spent, laughter well expressed, and the regret of time not taken for and with others.

So I find myself reflecting on the transiency of time, the joy of hope, the importance of faith.

So this month, as we enter into a new school year, and also come upon the anniversary of a fire which touched my family deeply, I will honor a poem written by my brother-in-law, who so eloquently expressed his thoughts following that fire last year. I hope that it touches you deeply as well.

CalicoHat

Ode to a Hat 

 It was down in the hold of the ship: 

 I crocheted It in the half light of crew arguments and 

the stomach-bending pitch of the vessel,

While far away, my mother wondered if I still Loved her. 

 It was colored the give and take of Calico–

and I realize now I must have borrowed the yarn 

 (after all, I didn’t board with any). 

 And its Presence insulated me from where I was, 

 And from who I have become. 

Afterwards, I did mail it to her…my Mother. 

 Then, much later, it appeared in photographs – 

in scenes of her 

studying Chinese, playing piano or some such thing — 

in those cold Northern California days, bathed in Hope.

 There was always that special Covering, 

an Object Captured, yet rarely mentioned… 

 Well… then… “The FIRE”: 

The FIRE, She took the HAT. 

 The FIRE took almost everything–even the piano I learned on. 

 Plus… …that silly bit of spindly, mottled poly-thread covering which 

Most likely had believed Itself safe. 

 Safe in a box where it had been deliberately placed so as not to be Worn to Death. 

 Safe where it might continue–as all Love Hopes to. 

 Safe, where, when the Flames finally found it, 

 It told them it had already served a Greater Purpose. 

 Greater than all its Adversaries possessed.

 And it spoke the Truth to that Flame:

 “I’ve mattered more in this world than you could ever possibly Hope to. 

 I have done my Work. 

 Now take me Home.” 

 – Ladd Holroyd

Resiliency

August 31, 2018

ResiliencyFountainBlue’s August 30 When She Speaks in East Bay event was on the topic of ‘Resiliency as a Secret Weapon’.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse and powerful panel of leaders who shared both inspiring stories and practical tips on how to find strength, courage and perspective as we each navigate our own path.

Our panelists represented a wide range of educational, professional and personal backgrounds, but they had much in common:

  • Parents and other advocates who instilled in them early in life a drive to become excellent, a passion for learning and growing, and a resiliency which helped them overcome obstacles
  • A network of supporters, mentors, champions, and friends who can help them stay centered even through the toughest challenges
  • A desire to be kind and supportive and give back to others all that they have gained personally and professionally

Below is a summary of thoughts and suggestions on how to be more resilient and centered personally and professionally.

Know Yourself

  • Know yourself well – your values, your strengths, your purpose. Then have the moral courage to stand for your principles, the resiliency to be persistent in accomplishing challenging tasks, the strength to make the people, company, project choices which would set you up for success. 
  • Take care of yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually. Surround yourself with people who know you well who can help you make sure you take care of yourself.
  • Know what and who are important to you and act accordingly.
  • Create boundaries in your work life so that you can be there for the important people in your personal life.

Embrace Change

  • Be flexible and open to change.
  • Reach for what you want, but also accept what you get. It may be even better than what you wanted.
  • Ask for what you want and fearlessly reach for those stretch opportunities.
  • Go where you’ve never been and learn with every iteration.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Live and learn with every choice made. Learn to live on your own terms.

Build that Network

  • Ask for the support and feedback that you need to succeed.
  • Have others do the little things for you, even if they don’t necessarily do it the way you want it to be done. (It’s easier on both of you if you adjust your standards accordingly.)
  • Recruit the mentors, sponsors, partners and other stakeholders to help you get centered and remain centered especially during tough times.

Be a Magnet for Positive Energy

  • Have a positive and constructive mindset. Don’t expect to be perfect, but do expect to learn from every experience, good or bad.
  • Have a thick skin. Being overly-emotional makes people less likely to absorb the lessons learned through failure.
  • Have faith that you can make something happen, that you can help make tomorrow better than today.
  • Manage your self-talk and embrace a positive growth-oriented mindset.

Manage Yourself

  • Work hard. Keep learning. Be resourceful. Add value. Keep reaching for stars!
  • Choose to work with the company and people who can help you feel focused, productive and fulfilled.
  • Be consistently bold and decisive.
  • Be consistently open and coachable.
  • Be consistently strong and resilient.
  • Block off dedicated time for yourself.
  • Compartmentalize to help manage stress and remain positive and productive even through difficult times.
  • Don’t judge yourself or others too harshly. You don’t know the full circumstances of what others are going through, and it’s unproductive to judge yourself too harshly.

Lead a Team Through Adversity

  • Connect leaders to a common purpose and focus on taking productive, measurable outcomes which would gradually again build traction.
  • If you have to do it to prove yourself and you know that you are right, be willing to outwit, outplay and outlast others.

Helping Others Be More Resilient

  • Encourage and support others in being self-reliant and solving problems
  • Have empathy for the circumstances of others
  • Be a role model for others
  • Help others see failure as a badge of courage, as a predictor for success

I’ll conclude with the comment that this resilient panel left a mark on all of us, inspiring us all to have a Vision larger than we dared to dream, to push through obstacles and have Faith that we too can do our part and Change the world.

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Please join me in thanking EFI, our hosts for FountainBlue’s August 30 When She Speaks in East Bay event on the topic of ‘Resiliency as a Secret Weapon’, and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Gayathri Badrinath, Head of Global Marketing Services, Siemens Healthineers

  • Panelist Sharawn Connors, Vice President, Global Total Rewards and Diversity, Flex

  • Panelist Sherry Guo, Head of Global Analytical Science and Technology, Analytical Chemistry & Bioassay, Genentech
  • Panelist Jaya Nair, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel, ASML 
  • Panelist Meena Narayanan , Global HR Leader, Livongo

  • Panelist Jill Norris, CIO, EFI

  • Panelist Vicki Sam, Chief of Staff, EFI

Audience

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 11.10.31 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-31 at 11.11.11 AM

Integrating Work Into Life and Life Into Work

August 13, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.19.20 PM

We were fortunate to have a large range of perspectives on our panel on the work-life integration topic. They varied in their educational background, in their career choices, in the work experience, in their interests outside the home, and in their family choices. All chose to work professionally, and all excel in what they do. All chose to get married and have at least one child. And all are learning from the experience.

Below is some advice for others who are aiming to integrate life into work, and work into life.

  • Make a proactive, considered, data-based decision for both your work choices and your life choices, plus how to integrate the two.
  • Welcome help and support from your family, friends and networks, as well as technology tools and community resources.
  • Know what’s important for the important people in your life and make sure that you’re there for her/him.
  • Know when it’s crunch time at work and make the time to do work well. This may take more support, more understanding, and less time for life activities which are important for yourself and your family and friends, but make up for it when it’s no longer crunch time.
  • Don’t second-guess your work-life integration choices. Don’t judge others for theirs. Don’t be bothered by others who judge you for your choices.
  • Do embrace and work-life integration choice. Do support others in their life-work integration choices. Do accept input, feedback and support when it’s offered.
  • Mentor and support others who are navigating work-life integration challenges.
  • Be actively involved in leaders and causes which you’re passionate about. You will also meet like-minded leaders who would be great support systems as well.
  • Set time boundaries at work so that you can make time for important daily routines at home. Leaving at an earlier hour and working after the kids are in bed will help ensure that you’re there for your kids during their waking hours. 
  • Have a sense of humor and a broader perspective.
  • Do many things well, but don’t expect perfection. 
  • Ruthlessly manage what needs to be done, and when things needs to be done.
  • Allocate time for yourself to do the things which would energize you.
  • Take care of yourself – eat well, exercise, meditate, connect with friends and family.
  • Stretch your mind, your brain. Choose to learn and grow every day.
  • Choose to work on something that’s meaningful, and to work with people you enjoy and respect.

Nobody has all the right answers, but everyone struggles to find that integration between a stimulating and fulfilling life, and work that will make a difference. Choose to enjoy the ride.


Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Comcast for our August 10 When She Speaks panel, on the ‘Integrating Work Into Your Life, and Life Into Your Work’ topic, and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Maria Olson Kilgore, Vice President Global & Strategic Alliances, JetStream Software, Inc
  • Panelist Jyoti Kukreja, Director, Software Sales Strategy, Nutanix
  • Panelist Kitty Lou, Director of Product Engineering, Comcast
  • Panelist Ronit Polak, VP of Quality Assurance, Palo Alto Networks
  • Panelist Tamara Rivera, Director, Inside Sales, Synaptics
  • Panelist Nithya A. Ruff, Head, Comcast Open Source Practice, Comcast 
  • Panelist Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research

Communications and Media

August 10, 2018

Communication.jpeg

FountainBlue’s August 10 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Communications and Media Trends and Predictions’, hosted by ForeScout. Below are notes from the conversation.

The conversation ran a wide gamut of topics from leading communications and media in tech companies and for start-ups, to the trends around communication and media industries. Our executives in attendance agreed on the following.

  • Effective Communication will become ever more critical. 
  • Everyone is responsible for communicating on point, on message, not just people who have the title and job description around communications.
  • The convergence of technologies and industries make for a complex, complicated and interrelated ecosystem of players – all of whom are integral to the success of the industry.
  • In an age of the empowered customer who insists on getting data anytime (24×7), anywhere (independent of location), anyhow (across devices), we must be prepared to respond in a timely and detailed matter.

As such, great leaders must be able to navigate:

  • the technologies integral to the way we run our businesses today;
  • the privacy concerns of consumers and companies within and outside an organization;
  • the convergence across industries and sectors;
  • the leaders in other roles within and outside their organization;
  • the industries adjacent to their own

The importance of collaboration between leaders and companies is key because:

  • The pace of change is mind-boggling. No one person can track it all.
  • The advancements in specific technologies are significant and ever-evolving. 
  • The security of the brand and impact is on the line.
  • Knowledge and information will reside across leaders, functions, companies and industries.

Below are suggestions and best practices given the above.

  • Tell a story which draws out emotions and speaks to the truth.
  • Educate everyone within the company about appropriate communications and messages.
  • Learn from what others are thinking, saying and doing in this field. Change is happening quickly!
  • Remember that anything you’ve ever communicated is fair game, and may come back to haunt you!
  • Watch for applications who may gather data without permission, or manipulate you with the information collected even with your permission. 
  • Be an educated Prosumer – one who creates and consumes content. 
  • Segment your audience and strategically message to them, based on their interests and priorities.
  • Document in written communications who the intended audience is.
  • Keep your communications simple but meaningful. Speak the language of your intended audience.

Below are thoughts on trends around communications and media.

  • Balancing privacy, security and access will continue to be key. Emerging companies in this space will ensure maximum accessibility and flexibility – across devices, across content, between interval and external devices, while also ensuring privacy and security for everyone.
  • There will continue to be opportunities around collecting a comprehensive, dynamically-updated database of devices and managing them.
  • There will continue to be strategic consolidations between networking, telecommunications, entertainment industries and companies. Users will benefit from more seamless integrations of networks, more integrated presentations of content options, and even more safety and security functionality at the home.
  • There is and will continue to be an excess of content and data. There are therefore opportunities for filtering out content based on the real interest of people. Companies who do that right, without pushing their own agenda first (e.g. promoting companies who have paid more in ads), would be more respected for their authenticity and for representing the truth.
  • AI and ML will continue to be part of customized solutions.
  • Direct-to-direct communication will help ensure security, and minimize potential interception of communication – intentional or otherwise.
  • There’s an opportunity to curate content to reflect what’s really happening, the real truth, not manipulated messages. Perhaps crowdsourced creation of content, including the input of people with true identities, would help elevate the validity and the veracity of communications.
  • With data provided by leading marketing technology companies, both established and emerging, companies and leaders can have enough data to understand the buying decisions of targeted users. There’s a huge opportunity for companies who can get this piece right.

Any way you slice it, there’s a lot going on around Communications and Media trends. Connecting with other leaders and with market trends will help us all stay on top of the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Our Journey at Lam

August 2, 2018

WGOPsAug12018Panel

The WGOPs Steering Committee was pleased to host our August 1, 2018 Tualatin-based launch event entitled ‘Our Journey at Lam’ and featuring:

  • Katherine Brown, Director of Manufacturing Engineering, Lam Research
  • Lora Muller, Senior Supply Chain Business Manager | GOPS – SMG8, Lam Research
  • Belinda Nabarrete, Managing Director, Lam Research
  • Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research
  • with the interactive conversation facilitated by Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue and opening remarks by Mike Snell, Divisional GM, Lam Research

Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists represented many different educational and professional backgrounds, and made many different life choices around education, family, and work. But they had much in common.

  • They made the right work and life choices for them at the time, based on the myriad of factors which impacted them.
  • They had the support of men and women around them to help them tackle the work and life challenges.
  • They support the leadership and development initiatives brought by Lam and applaud Lam for having a culture which supports diversity and inclusion.

Our panelists agree that there are a whole host of opportunities ahead, in this age of Industry 4.0, led by digitization and advanced manufacturing. People who have been working for decades have helped lay the groundwork for others – making it easier for women and people with diverse backgrounds to secure more challenging, more impactful positions and roles.

Advancements in technology and the business climate are also impacting how business leaders attract, retain and develop talent. In this Age of Digitization, people with skills in data and statistical analysis, advanced manufacturing and AI/ML will be at a premium. 

And leaders at Lam and other companies will need to increase the pipeline for this talent, as well as develop and promote talent from within. Including more women and more people with diverse backgrounds  – a WGOPs mission and goal – will help address this critical need, directly impacting the bottom line.

Below is a summary of advice for navigating a career journey at Lam.

  • First, believe that there are many options for women (and men) in Lam’s global operations roles.
  • Then, stretch yourself and reach for something a bit more than what you’re doing now. 
  • This may take getting networked with influential others, or it might mean taking classes or even getting a degree. It may mean reading books and web sites and using the library of resources available to Lam employees.
  • Make calculated risks and learn from every success, every failure.

Below are thoughts about personal development in general.

  • You are the CEO of your life. Know what you want and follow that path. Accept that there will be setbacks along the way, and learn from any failures and setbacks.
  • Sometimes things don’t go as planned. But you can still make the best of each opportunity so that things work out in the end.
  • Embrace the opportunity to do something new and different.
  • Learn to manage and lead.
  • Welcome the support of others – whether they be family, mentors, friends or sponsors. 
  • Speak up when you need something. Reach out and support others who are seeking support.
  • Get the support you need at home to get your work done. Get the support you need at work so that you can be there for important life events.
  • Err toward finding win-win collaborations across people, teams, companies and even industries.
  • Don’t expect perfection, but do aim for continuous improvement. 
  • Choose to be your best self. Help others to make that same choice.
  • Sometimes life happens, and you have to make a proactive choice in one direction or the other – toward work or toward life. It’s a tough decision, so go easy on yourself. Correct it to the other side if and when you think that’s the right thing to do. But don’t second guess yourself or feel bad for a proactive choice you’re making.

Below is advice offered on how to partner with others in your network and community.

  • Be a Lam ambassador in the community.
  • Find out about programs involving the community – whether it’s the colleges or the local high school.
  • Ask your HR representative about securing an intern for your team.
  • Take personal responsibility for helping to fill the pipeline, the volume of prospective interns, staff members, managers.

To conclude, in this time of great change, let’s work together in community, as women (and men), as Lam employees, and as active community members, to grow and stretch ourselves, and meet the work challenges of the future.

Choose Happiness

August 1, 2018

HappyPeopleHappiness is a choice, a frame of mind largely independent of circumstances. You can find the happiest of people in the humblest of circumstances and the sourest of people who could not be more pampered.

And nobody would contest that happiness is tightly correlated to success socially and professionally, in the long term and for the short term.

Below are a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned from happy people.

  1. Believe that happiness is a choice and choose to make it happen. Here’s a recipe below.
    1. First, choose to be happy. Feel deserving of happiness – no matter what you did in the past, where you think you fall short today.
    2. Next, know what it takes realistically to make youreslf happy. What’s the (smallest) delta between what you have/do/want now and where you’d like to be?
    3. After that, confirm that it’s a practical and doable objective.
    4. Then create an incremental plan to get from here to there.
    5. From there, consistently believe that your choices can bring you the happiness you’re seeking.
    6. Continue to proactively make those choices even when the road isn’t easy.
    7. Include others in your journey.
    8. Celebrate along the way.
  2. Know yourself well and accept who you are, while also stretching the envelope for who you can become – but only if it helps you become happier and more fulfilled.
  3. Be grateful for all you have, rather than focusing on what you wish you had. People could waste their lives waiting for something to happen…
  4. Be proud of who you are and what you can do. Nobody’s perfect, and comparing yourself to others more perfect than you can easily lead to unhappy and unwelcome thoughts.
  5. Bring positive energy to people and tasks around you – all the time, every time, especially when it’s really challenging to do so. But be authentic about it – don’t force it.  As a corollary, let go of people and things that bring you down. Many of us are burdened by tasks and obligations which bring work without joy and appreciation, without delivering intended results.
  6. Be purposeful in what you do, and align it with what you’d like to accomplish.
  7. Be resilient. Nobody succeeds and wins all the time, every time. Use every failure as a stepping stone to success. Embrace failure as a badge of courage.
  8. Be compassionate to those who are not like you, and those who don’t agree with you. Be curious about how they are different than you and in what ways their viewpoints are different than your own.
  9. Forgive yourself for past perceived infractions. Forgive others for same.
  10. Be curious about what you don’t know, about how things work, how things will change. Complacency in what you do, overconfidence in everything you know will not lead to a happiness outcome.

As a final thought, be self-aware enough to understand and implement the thoughts above. Embrace the opportunity to read and process new information and new people, especially when it makes you uncomfortable. For embracing change is a road to happiness.

Best of luck in your quest for happiness.

Don’t wish for an ocean, for an ocean is too large. Do wish for the right droplet of rainwater and appreciate the life it brings to you.

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

July 17, 2018

building

FountainBlue’s July 13 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Ford and to our participating executives. Below are notes from the conversation.

The perfect storm is bringing together technologies and industries and solutions to make cities and buildings smarter, serving an ecosystem of broad and diverse players. There’s a lot at stake, and everything is evolving quickly. Success with this opportunity involves:

  • A collaborative mindset which is open to technologies, solutions, and processes introduced by other leaders, companies and industries. 
  • An adoption of cutting hardware and software technology solutions, and even more importantly, the elegant integration of same.
  • A customer-centric, tech-philic, data-enabled approach to delivering solutions.
  • A vision for a future which leverages technology to make life easier for more people.
  • An ability to respect the volumes of data generated, and then to filter out the noise and collect actionable information which will efficiently prescribe measured actions.
  • A deep respect for the privacy of users, while also delivering to their specific and detailed personalized needs.

Below is advice offered by the participating executives on how to facilitate leadership and innovation which creates smarter cities and smarter buildings.

  • Define standards which are approved by a wide range of partners across the ecosystem. 
  • Everyone across the ecosystem must work with policy-makers to help ensure the success of entrepreneurial and business initiatives which spawns innovation and economic growth.
  • Have regular open conversations in community and encourage and reward win-win collaborations.
  • Understand the business models for proposed solutions, especially when you’re supporting cities, who have not traditionally had the financial resources and risk-taking mindsets necessary to adopt game-changing technologies that make life easier for citizens.
  • Accept that users will insist on bringing their own device to work and want to work from anywhere. Corporate and community leaders must figure out how to make everyone’s data safe and private despite these choices.
  • It’s always about the data. Make sure that you Focus on quality data (not just noise), that the right people Access the intended data, and that you can fluidly Manage how data is generated, accessed, used and distributed.
  • Focus on creating specific use cases for adopting technologies and processes and business models which would benefit all participating parties.  
  • Be mindful of the many innovations happening in Asia, specifically Shanghai. Don’t assume that Silicon Valley and the US are leading the way.
  • Look not just at the technology and economic progression of the company/team/industry, but also at the social impact and long-term sustainability of the decisions made. 
  • Although we are always looking for sexy technologies and solutions, it’s always about the people – our customers who adopt it, our staff who implements it, our leaders who influence adoption.
  • Sometimes adopting a technology without a specific goal in mind might deliver results beyond your imagination. Case in point, in Shanghai, $1 sensors were put on manhole covers because it was easy. Although it wasn’t planned at the time, the result was better traffic management and control, better road safety and quality around the manhole, less theft of manholes, decreased number of vehicles who didn’t get smog-checked, and increased ability to track stolen cars.

Below are thoughts and questions to consider when investigating opportunities for Smart Cities and Smart Buildings.

  • What technologies would increase public safety and minimize crime?
  • How will analytics help cities to better serve residents?
  • What’s the best way to get from point A to point B?
  • How can we improve parking, and therefore better manage congestion?
  • How can we measure the time and energy used and saved in a building with more granularity? with more regularity?
  • What can we do to support over-strained city resources as people flock to cities and as more huge cities are born?
  • How will sensors integrate with AI and ML to create actionable data, not just noise?
  • How can we continue to optimize storage, access and connectivity when demands grow at such an alarming rate?
  • How do we keep in front of the bad guys who would jeopardize our safety, compromise our network, steal our personal data?
  • How can we all more efficiently and effectively work together to deliver customized services to workers and residents in growing cities?
  • What can be automated and what should not be automated?

We are all impacted by the choices made by leaders and companies to create smarter cities, especially as the greater majority of us will move to cities in the decades to come. The leaders and the innovators will define which technologies, which processes, which solutions will succeed, and who will benefit from these successes.

Food for thought:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/13/microsoft-president-calls-for-regulation-of-facial-recognition-technology/

To Rosie the Riveter and Other Groundbreaking Women

July 17, 2018

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FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘To Rosie the Riveter and Other Ground-Breaking Women’. Our panelists represented a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and a wide range of roles and organizations, plus of course multiple generations. But they had much in common.

  • They were very authentic, clear and self-aware. Clearly their life and work experiences helped to shape them, for the better.
  • Their successes and challenges helped them to further embrace the opportunities ahead – to seize the day and make the best of it.
  • They welcomed feedback and input from important others around them.
  • They erred toward sharing, toward helping others around them to also be more open, more inclusive.

Below is a compilation of learnings and advice for being the kind of strong and authentic leader who will help raise the bar for others, and produce lasting and tangible results.

  1. Know who you are, what you’re good at, and where you want to go. Be flexible about the plan to get from here to there as life happens despite the plans. Then keep reaching for stars.  
  2. Choose carefully the cause, the company, the team you join. This way, you can make the kind of impact which is in alignment with your values, with your talents, with your purpose.
  3. Embrace your circumstances. There is no ONE prototype for leadership. Step in and step up despite, or because of, your background and upbringing and life/work choices. It’s all in the frame of mind.
  4. Be inclusive and supportive. Empower everyone around you to achieve more and do more.  We are all learning and growing. Doing it together helps everyone.
  5. Be grateful for all you have. Bring positive energy to all you do.
  6. Be curious about people who are not-like-you. Having an open mind will keep you flexible, marketable and useful and perhaps happier besides!
  7. Don’t take things so personally. Frame conversations so that they are fact-based, and purpose-driven. Let your left brain take the lead when emotions run high during a conversation. What’s the kernel of useful wisdom in a charged interaction? How can that support your personal growth and your relationship with the other person?
  8. Look not necessarily to the public figures to be our heroes. In this day of communication, warts can be easily reviewed and no public figure is perfect, no matter how pure. Take the positive and constructive learnings from these public figures, but consider also what you can learn from the everyday heroes around you.
  9. Connect on common purpose and common mission, whether at work or in life.
  10. Focus on delivering clear and objective goals which are measurable. Change those goals with market and customer feedback.

We concluded by remarking that we can ALL be groundbreaking men and women, no matter what we’re doing, where we’re sitting. The more powerful we each are, the more we can do together. So let’s support each other in a common leadership and innovation cause – one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time.

Resources:


Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Quora and our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘To Rosie the Riveter and Other Ground-Breaking Women’.  

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Beth Arnesen, Inside Sales Manager, Pure Storage 
  • Panelist Kelly Battles, CFO, Quora
  • Panelist Stephanie Ho, Engineering Manager, Quora
  • Panelist Tiffany Iskandar, Portfolio Management Index Equity Analyst, BlackRock 
  • Panelist Nehal Mehta, Director Global Partner Sales, Veritas Technologies
  • Panelist Shveta Miglani, Head of Global Talent Enablement @LiveRamp @ Acxiom and Member of Forbes HR Council
  • Panelist Medha Samant Director of Product Management, COO- eBay Women In Technology (eWIT), eBay