Archive for January, 2019

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

DevOps Opportunities and Challenges

January 21, 2019

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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

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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.