Archive for the ‘Conversations’ Category

Web 3.0 Money Management Solutions

May 31, 2012

Cynthia Typaldos embodies the intersect between great products, great business mentality, and a passion for the company. She has extensive experience in both hardware and software companies in Silicon Valley, and has worked from the engineering side and the business side. Her experience also includes several start-ups, with products envisioned and designed by Cynthia and her team. Her current service, Kachingle, is a usage based micropayment service initially targeted toward content providers, but now, at the request of the new client base, serving application developers and vendors.

 

Cynthia speaks knowledgeably about the mobile application market, and the challenge the actual vendors have of converting their ‘freemium’ users to ‘premium’ usage with additional features. Both the ‘penny gap’ challenge, which describes how difficult it is to secure the first penny from a customer, and how relatively easy it is to earn more money once the penny transaction is secured, and the ‘cloud squatting’ phenomena, which describes how consumers optimize free options, sometimes hobbled together and sometimes ‘bought’ in sequence, for the maximum no-cost value, contribute to the challenge that free-app providers face: getting enough of the volumes of their customers to actually ‘pay’ for usage. Kachingle’s ability to bundle apps from multiple vendors, chosen by individual users provides that win-win: 1) it allows vendors to increase their conversion rates from freemium to premium, 2) it allows usage  subscribers to customize which bundles of apps they are looking for, 3) it makes the micro-payment collection process simple for all users involved, 4) it allows each vendor to connect with other vendors and cross-market their apps at their option, 5) it serves a range of user markets, particularly small business owners who may not have that IT support to integrate apps, and 6) it helps create a community of vendors (see http://www.meetup.com/freemium).

 

In the end, Kachingle (www.kachinglepremium.com) leverages the best of the hottest areas around cloud computing, mobile apps, aggregated services and micropayments. Its early success following the recent shift to a new market foretells some grand successes to come.

 

Please join me in thanking Cynthia for taking the time to share her company and her story with us. Her advice to us about work-life balance is to do what you are passionate about, don’t settle for what others say you should do, and don’t go through the motions if you’re not driven by the cause.

 

Resources:

  • Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing by Chris Anderson examines the shift from an economy based on scarcity to one of abundance and how it breaks old markets while creating new ones.
  • Freemium & the Penny Gap – Bloomberg video: Bob’s Buzzword of the Day: `Freemium’ – YouTube
  • Blog post by Josh Kopelman at First Round Capital: The Penny Gap

NASDAQ and YOU

May 25, 2012

Marianne Baldrica is an energetic, can-do professional who relished the opportunity to earn her degree, while working full-time throughout her college career. Her employers at AMFAC saw her brilliance, drive and potential, and hired her right out of college for public affairs, public relations and investor relations roles, despite the fact that her degree was in OD. Marianne describes AMFAC as a well-led, women-embracing company adept at making opportunities and encouraging growth and change in its employees.

Life changes including a new husband necessitated a move to San Diego, and a search for a new role, something not easy in the late 80s when San Diego was a bedroom community for LA, and tech companies life Qualcomm and life science companies were nascent. But the largely military community, coupled with a tech and business community did create an HR opportunity for Marianne to help translate between two very different groups of people. Her experience there also provided an opportunity for her to see for the first time how an employee-owned company managed the quarterly sales of options, and the impact of the quarterly sales on people, team and companies.

Life and relationships changed again with her divorce. With the option of returning to her Portland roots, remaining in San Diego, or heading for Silicon Valley, where she went to school, and which she described as comparable to Florence-in-the-Renaissance, her choice was obviously for the magnetism of Silicon Valley. And her work option here was set: working with a colleague from the past in the high-flying fast-IPO days in an independent investor relations firm helping companies like KLA, Electraglass and Varian with their public offerings. Yes, Silicon Valley was on fire, and people like Marianne Baldrica worked behind the scenes to fan its flames.

Not every company they helped continued on to be big and successful. In fact, some are no longer in existence. But enough people witnessed Marianne’s work and results to welcome her as the first woman regional vice president at NASDAQ. Today, as the Western Region VP, she currently oversees the NASDAQ relationships with all the NASDAQ-listed companies in the 13 Western States, which includes 50 of the 100 largest Companies listed on NASDAQ. She provides strategic and consultative financial advice to investor relations, treasury departments, CFOs and CEOs of these companies and also works with pre-IPO companies in the same space about 18 months in advance of an IPO. Her deep network includes entrepreneurs who have that great idea and who are persistent enough and lucky enough to get it funded, VCs and institutional investors who see these great entrepreneurs and ideas and fund the company, and investment bankers who assist with pre-IPO pricing, counseling and document-preparation, and government officials and elected who have a vested interest in the economy overall. Marianne also wanted to comment that NASDAQ, like AMFAC, is also a female-friendly company, with a woman CIO and a woman EVP, and several Vice Presidents in other business segments.

Marianne’s advice for women and money include: be independent, take care of the needs of yourself and your children and family, and save early and often, for anything can happen.

Her advice to entrepreneurs interested in working with NASDAQ is to be persistent and passionate, be smart about your product, market and relationships. She adds that woman may be uniquely qualified to be passionate and to build companies that can scale.

Marianne concludes by remarking that it’s an incredible time to be an entrepreneur, and the world *can* be your oyster, if you’re passionate and effective enough to make it so.

Please join me in thanking Marianne Baldrica, for her candor, advice and stories.

Strategies for Building Your Nest Egg

May 17, 2012

Joyce Reitman was raised in a traditional home, where women were encouraged to attend college as an opportunity to meet a qualified, educated man. Clearly a bright student and vociferous reader, Joyce skipped a grade before working on a BA, Liberal Arts, English Literature from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and along the way, also did find and marry a husband, and had her first child by her sophomore year in college.

But the other side of the story was her strong entrepreneurial spirit, which was rare in a girl from that age. With sales and business as part of her DNA from the very beginning, her early recollections are of filling piggy banks, selling lemonade, and wrapping coins and candy together and selling them, a childhood form of gambling (!). And even with a husband and a child at home at the age of 18, she opted to continue her education, complete her degree and work three jobs alongside her husband, which is far beyond the plan set out for her.

Upon graduating from college, Joyce and her husband were drawn to the mystique and magnetism of Silicon Valley, where they both found jobs in the burgeoning tech field. Beginning as a secretary, Joyce progressed steadily to a financial specialist position at GE, where she supported 400 engineers with their budget forecasts, ROIs and capital equipment expenditures.

From there, she and her second husband decided to start a contract manufacturing company together. Her advice on building something from nothing is to be persistent, assume that you’ll make mistakes and learn from them, and recognize when something needs to change, then pivot quickly. She would take no option but success, and knew that to successfully work with your spouse, you must respect each other’s responsibilities and judgment. She negotiated the successful sale of company to a multi-billion dollar competitor.

From there she developed a pioneering e-commerce business model for the jewelry industry, recruited a start-up team and lead fundraising efforts that resulted in funding from a Tier One venture firm. This company was a victim of the dot com bust, and her next adventure was as CEO of the Internet division for a company with a small group of psychiatric hospitals, which was eventually sold as well. Next, she launched a new luxury brand in the consumer market, starting with special occasion apparel and learned a lot from this very different market before shutting its doors.

From there, she decided to leverage her financial acumen, her love of people, her versatile background and her huge network, and got credentialed as a financial adviser, working for a bank before joining JP Morgan. Joyce had the following advice about building your nest egg:

  • Move fast and early on planning and saving money.
  • Contribute to a 401K so that you receive the matching fund, and don’t take the money out, not for any excuse.
  • Know what you make, know what you spend, and consciously spend. Total your checkbook and credit card expenses and your housing costs and you will come close to understand the total financial picture.
  • Protect yourself from inflation by making investments. CDs will not bring the premiums to match inflation, so you must be an informed investor in the stock market and in real estate.
  • Reach out to resources like eTrade and experts like those at JP Morgan for customized advice.
  • It’s a volatile investment market, and the shakiness in the European financial markets is making investors nervous. We just came from a big high, and savvy investors will make measured investments in stock right now.

Please join me in thanking Joyce for taking the time to share the story of her career, and her wisdom about starting companies, working with people, and investing and making money.

Investing in Start-Ups

May 11, 2012

When Nina Labatt graduated from college, she wanted to do what all the best and the brightest from her Stanford class did: join a prestigious investment banking firm, work hard and make her mark. She joined Goldman Sachs for two years, earned an MBA from Harvard before returning to Goldman Sachs for another four years, where she worked 80-90 hour weeks. When up for promotion to VP there, Nina decided to take a step back and do fewer hours a week, while still following the work that she loves. She ended up at a regional investment bank, and then served as CFO of a private company, director of operations for another company which eventually went public, and next worked 11 years as a CFO in the VC and PE world before joining Silicon Valley Bank.

Over the past decade, Nina has witnessed the evolution of the technology sector, where ground-changing companies such as FaceBook and Google and Salesforce happened, not just changing what’s possible in technology, but also shifting and changing the business opportunities and revenue models for businesses to follow.

In her current role as Senior Relationship Manager at Silicon Valley Bank, Nina works with CFOs from venture capital and private equity firms to serve their commercial banking and lending needs. She is a trusted adviser for many of her clients, helping them plan for the ebbs and flows of the economy, and also helping them raise their profiles within the organization, and perhaps adopt a larger management role with greater front-office visibility. She also works with the team at Silicon Valley Bank to identify and support early stage start-ups in hot technology areas including social media, gaming, mobile and cloud. Silicon Valley Bank is a bit different than other banks in that they target technology and life science companies (as well as premium wine), based in Silicon Valley and beyond, and serve these companies throughout the company life cycle.

As a successful professional and a mother of two young children, Nina has the following advice for professionals seeking work life balance:

  • Work hard when you are a new-grad, and make a name for yourself and build a network for yourself so that you may later in your career have the option to take a step back, and work fewer hours, doing the work you love.
  • Make the tough choices so that you can have work-life balance, and choose the right partners and support system to be there for you when you can’t do it all.
  • Set aside dedicated time for yourself and for your family.
  • When the kids are young, you may not have much time for things outside family and work. So get involved in your kids’ schools, and also in the charity(ies) supported by your work.

Nina’s parting comment about tech trends is to watch how technology will be further integrated into our conversations and communications, yet there will also be an opportunity to connect human-to-human, also leveraging technology.

Please join me in thanking Nina for sharing her wisdom and thoughts on technology trends and the start-up ecosystem.

What Women Want (Around Money)

May 3, 2012

Georgianne Pillsbury looked at her temporary position at a bank as just that, a temporary position, not a career where she would advance through different departments, find her passion around empowering women around their finances, and educating and serving the larger community around proactive money management.

In her banking career as a teller, new accounts manager, loan adviser, and call center manager, she found a passion for working with people in addressing their financial issues, challenges and opportunities. As she advanced beyond that to launch and direct a call center and then move on to investment management, she found that there were fewer women in these roles, and also that men and women were different in the way they looked at and worked with money. She found her passion in educating and empowering and guiding women to have open communications with their spouses around money, and to be informed enough to make financial decisions for their future.

Georgianne said that women in general, look at money differently – not so much in quantifiable, goal-oriented dollar terms as men do, as family providers, but more around impact, meaning and values. Georgianne works with women to take their emotions and feelings around money, and map it to their values, and then to create a realistic, quantifiable, dollar-amount plan for the future. She does this by creating a trust-based, authentic relationship, and getting women to open up individually and in groups, in a safe environment, without worrying about pushy sales pitches. She is also adept at creating networks and connections between women of similar mindsets and values and helping them help each other through difficult financial conversations with spouses and others, and by helping us distinguish between a budget, something that people might find limiting and worth avoiding, and a spending plan, which is a more positive way to facilitate values-based choices around money. She has the following advice to help women meet their financial goals:

  • Accept that women and men are generally different about their views on money.
  • Most men act as providers and make and implement quantifiable plans for the future.
  • Many women trust their spouses to go with their plan, not knowing the details about their joint finances.
  • Encouraging open communications around spending, budgeting and retirement is essential to success. Starting that open communications in a non-threatening, non-emotive way will help ensure its success.
  • Get informed about your financial situation, and find resources and support to help you understand where you are financially and where you want to go, in quantifiable terms.
  • Continue to evaluate how well your financial progress is in alignment with your emotions, your values and shift your goals if necessary to ensure continued alignment.

Please join me in thanking Georgianne for taking the time to participate in our interview, and for inviting us to think proactively about our financial future and well-being, and giving us the resources and tools to do so. For more information, visit www.FromHereToWealth.biz and www.MoneySerenity.com.

Leveraging Technology and Fostering Entrepreneurship

April 27, 2012

Kiran Malhotra is the kind of leader who buckles her seat belt for a wild ride while she and her team and organization reaches for stars. It is no wonder that TiE has thrived during this time of great transition, despite the fact that Kiran is new to technology and entrepreneurship.

Kiran’s passion is to inspire, educate and connect people for business purposes and it’s a great fit with TiE where the global network of technology entrepreneurs have been innovating for decades.

Kiran has modeled some key qualities of effective leadership and has the following advice about leadership:

  • Always have a can-do attitude and make wise choices on who is in your closest circle.
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more effective than you are and engage them in collaborating with you to make things happen for mutual benefit.
  • Create programs and resources and connections which others would value.
  • See an opportunity when times are challenging and ride the up-swing when the tide turns.
  • When it’s sink or swim, choose to swim.
  • Getting knocked off the chair a few times will make you wiser and more resilient.
  • Expect and even drive change. You’re not sacrificing work-life balance when you do that. You’re just taking more ownership and control of the change that will inevitably happen.
  • Take the time to stay informed.
  • Stay centered by keeping fit, making time for yourself to get re-charged and grounded, and confiding with trusted others.

As a leader documenting and supporting emerging technology and business trends, Kiran has a front-line view of the technology and business opportunities ahead. Hot areas include social media, mobile, cloud, and the curious convergence of these technologies. Other interesting business trends include the rapid rise of capital-efficient businesses, the participation of an increasingly younger entrepreneur (even teens!), the re-emergence of funding, etc.  Find out more and attend TiECon:

Please join me in thanking Kiran for taking the time to participate in our interview, and for inspiring us to be more connected, better educated, and better positioned for the new business and technology opportunities ahead.

Making Children’s Global Health a Reality!

April 20, 2012

Seema Handu is a world-changer with the Midas touch. She has participated in laboratory and management roles in a biopharma company that went IPO and got sold, while bringing a well-known product like Lubriderm to market. She built and sold a software company for the pharma industry which literally defined the standard for FDA approvals for drugs, transforming and facilitating the process for drug development and approval.

Now she is looking to make a positive impact on children’s global health through Children’s Global Health Initiative, where she serves as managing director. Leveraging the research, infrastructure, network and successes of the Oakland Children’s Hospital, and the desire of passionate people to make a broader, more sustainable impact on children worldwide, this new nonprofit intends to tangibly diagnose and treat children and their community, educate the community around global health initiatives, and fund research designed to better serve the health needs of people living in remote communities. Seema invites us to find out more about CGHI and its initiatives through their web site http://www.cghi.info. She shares the following advice for non profits leveraging technology:

  • Technology has made great strides in the last two decades, and can be well leveraged for non profits with solutions like the web and social media and even medical device development and drug development.
  • Focus on your passion and providing a value for the people you serve.
  • Stretch and grow your skills and abilities, and work with a cause you believe in, joining people you want to work with.
  • Give those you love around you room to be who they are, to do things the way they would do it.
  • Never settle for doing something you tire of or don’t want to do. Transition into doing something that better serves your passion and purpose.

Please join me in thanking Seema for taking the time to participate in our interview, for sharing her inspiring story with us, and for all she does for all of us on behalf of children around the world.

The Anita Borg Institute: Increasing the Impact of Women in Technology

April 13, 2012

Jerri Barrett is the type of seasoned tech professional who could sell telecommunications equipment to the Amish, the kind of resilient professional who can transition from biotech to high tech marketing, the kind of supporter leader and mentor you would like to call a friend. We are fortunate that she is dedicated to the cause of empowering tech women, and providing opportunities for tech companies to recruit, retain and develop women technology leaders, in partnership with academia, industry and government.

In her decades of experience in high tech, Jerri has witnessed the rapid evolution of technology, and remained at the forefront leading marketing efforts for corporations and start-ups alike. She embraced possibilities and saw opportunities in every challenge, stretching her knowledge, skills and networking abilities along the way, and always finding a way to connect with others and give back. She found herself identified for technical and leadership trainings which further developed her skills and influence and connections. The Anita Borg Institute is fortunate to have Jerri to lead the marketing efforts there. She encouraged us all to:

  • Visit http://www.anitaborg.org and sign up on their mailing list.
  • Attend the annual Grace Hopper conference.
  • Read and download research on recruiting, retaining and developing women in technology, available for free on the web site.
  • Volunteer to help with outreach, tell your friends about the organization, and nominate tech women for awards.

In terms of work-life balance, Jerri encourages us to build and seek relationships that are deep and authentic, and set limits to how and when we use devices in our lives. Turning them off will help you turn on other channels and chapters of your life.

Jerri’s journey has been more circuitous than linear, but at each crossroads, she considered the opportunities for growth, the fit with the organization, and remained flexible and open-minded about where each opportunity will take her, making proactive changes and choices where necessary. In this manner, she remains gracious, competent and humble in her current position, and leverages her resilience, knowledge, competence and leadership to empower and inspire tech women across the valley and beyond.

VLAB: Promoting Entrepreneurial Ventures

April 6, 2012

Jaishree Subramania is in Mobility Marketing at Cisco Systems and also the Program Chair at MIT/Stanford Venture Lab – VLAB. Jaishree spoke passionately about the importance of technology and networking and connecting in conversation to explore, communicate and articulate emerging technology and business trends. The hundreds of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and other technology professionals served each month benefit from the proactive management of passionate and dedicated volunteers leveraging crowdsourcing processes and inviting diversity and inclusion in the best way, while also focusing on the business angles around technology: from market opportunities and challenges to fundings and ROI and revenue models.

The heart of the VLAB mission is around actionable discovery, engagement of the best and brightest and most passionate, to create and facilitate market disruptions leveraging technology which drive continued innovation. Recent program topics attracting 350+ people include wearable devices, personal evolution through self-tracking, augmented reality, cyber security, as well as and upcoming topic will be around 3D printing.

As a mother, active community member, and hard-working employee at Cisco, Jaishree wanted to share the following thoughts on work-life balance:

  • Choose work for which you feel passionate, not just a job that would pay the bills.
  • Build your brand and reputation around being competent, passionate and effective.
  • Build a network of support you can reach out to when work is most demanding, for when extensive traveling is involved, or just to be there and share stories, ideas and experiences.
  • Accept that you will have to make tough decisions, but always know what is most important to you, and make decisions that respect your core values.
  • Never sacrifice your health or happiness for your work.

In conclusion, Jaishree models for us that we can choose both life and work, and that we can make it work if we have the right mind-set, realistic expectations, clear goals and values, and a support network that can help us achieve whatever we set in front of us. Please join me in thanking Jaishree for sharing her time and wisdom with us!

For more information and to get involved, join a program pitch session held on the first Tuesdays at Wilson Sonsini, attend one of VLAB’s month events by registering through the web site, or visit http://www.vlab.org to find out more.

What’s Next for the Cloud and CloudNOW

March 29, 2012

Catherine Edwards is an executive marketer and senior communications consultant within the cloud computing, SaaS, security, Internet technology and healthcare sectors, currently serving as Marketing Director at Zafesoft Inc., VP of Communications at CloudNOW. Previously Catherine held Director of Communications positions with CloudPassage, ResponseLogix and Altor Networks.

Although Catherine’s education  was not technical, she parlayed her background as a journalist coupled with her MBA from Boston University into the ability to successfully  launch companies, bring new products to market, create branding, and enter new market segments.

Catherine spent the first half of her career in corporate roles with Fortune 50 companies including DEC, Sun, Lotus, and Compaq. As she moved from corporate roles to start-ups, from start-ups to nonprofit to consulting, she describes the progression of her career, and the proactive choices she made to find and create that work-life balance, while choosing a fulfilling career working with people, companies and technologies she cares about.

She spoke eloquently about the evolution of the technology industry, remarking on the heightened expenditures and activities around Y2K, which also coincided with the dot com bubble. Catherine provided an interesting perspective about the dot-com bust, and how it was related to companies anticipating continued IT expenditures to remain at the same or higher level pre-Y2K.

But with the advancement of IT technologies, the increase (finally) in investments, the resurrected IPO market, Cloud computing will be the next mandatory IT wave. Catherine encourages us to see the opportunities around the convergence of cloud solutions – public, private, community and hybrid, along with mobile solutions with the plethora of devices now available and a user-base demanding that their devices get integrated into corporate environments, and big data in general.

The convergence in trends drives the need for security.  Catherine is also Marketing Director at Zafesoft, the leading content security provider that provides persistent, track-able, and transparent security that enables secure information collaboration anywhere in the world, inside or outside the firewall.

In terms of work-life balance, Catherine had the following advice:

  • You don’t have to choose between having a full life with kids and having a successful career.
  • The technology trends of cloud computing and mobile devices provide the flexibility need to balance work and family.
  • The more successful you are, the better role model you will be for your sons and daughters.  They will see you excelling in your career while raising your family.

To conclude our conversation, Catherine, in her role as VP of Communications, invites us to attend CloudNow events, volunteer to support the community, receive their newsletters, and connect with other women in technology who are invested in driving the future of the cloud. For more information, visit CloudNow at http://www.cloudnetworkofwomen.com, visit Zafesoft at  http://www.zafesoft.com, or visit Catherine’s website at http://www.csemarketing.com.