Archive for June, 2019

The Future of Autonomous Driving

June 18, 2019

AutonomousDriving

FountainBlue’s June 14 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Autonomous Driving’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Vonzos Partners and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

There was resounding agreement that autonomous driving is a certainty, and agreement also that there are many barriers toward mass adoption.

  • It’s tricky to navigate a world where some cars are autonomous and some aren’t, but if adoption is to take place, policy-makers, drivers, vendors, auto-makers, and all other stakeholders must collaborate on a transition plan. 
  • The stakes are high in dollars and in lives, so all edge cases, corner cases and other scenarios must be planned for. It takes money and time to do this piece well.
  • The sheer volume of data generated by vehicles is mind-boggling. It’s a challenge to figure out how to best leverage the data – the real-time analytics – to optimize for both efficiency and safety.

Below are some highlighted best practices to facilitate this adoption:

  • Plan for small successes which would serve foundational needs for autonomous driving. For example, simulations, artificial intelligence, data analytics will all be foundation solutions necessary for full adoption of autonomous driving. Invest in solutions which can provide these technologies today.
  • Collaboration between stakeholders across geographies, industries, functions, jurisdictions etc., must be formed for adoption to take place. Partnering with insurance companies might be an interesting option as well.
  • Having a neutral party to facilitate collaborations between stakeholders might help forge partnerships and might make it more inclusive.
  • Computer simulations leveraging data might help in the research and design of autonomous vehicles.

Plan for these opportunities also, as we approach adoption of autonomous vehicles:

  • The passengers will have more time on their hands. And they would be willing to pay for mobile internet access, streamed entertainment and work options.
  • Interactivity between riders may provide interesting opportunities.
  • Plan for additional security implications for fully autonomous vehicles.

Below are some predictions by our executives in attendance:

  • Autonomous drivers may leverage highways first as there are fewer challenges around pedestrians, parked cars, road hazards, etc.,
  • The trucking industry might be adopting autonomous driving first as it’s more easily automated and is more profitable than passenger vehicles.

We are at least a decade away from full autonomous driving, but there will be early adopters in several areas. Collaboration and coordination between leaders and innovators is key to exactly how many decades off we are from a future with autonomous driving.

Welcoming the Gift of Feedback

June 17, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 1.56.35 PM.png

FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks was event on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’. See panelist bios at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/june14feedback. 

Our panelists this month represented a wide range of companies, roles and perspectives, but they shared a passion for leadership and management, and humbly shared their best practices for providing feedback.

Provide impactful feedback:

  • Make feedback specific, sincere, data-based (not personal), and continually, so that others know how to better perform.
  • Aim for ‘SMART’ feedback which is specific, measurable, achievable (or actionable), realistic and time-lined.

Focus on growth and positivity: 

  • Be as open to receiving feedback as you are to providing feedback. Welcome opportunities to grow yourself, while providing learning opportunities for others to also grow.
  • Be positive and constructive rather than negative and judgmental.
  • Empower and enable others to help themselves, to come to their own conclusions and solutions.
  • Adopt a positivity mindset – Find ways to be more positive and constructive with your feedback, while still correcting for inevitable errors.

Be strategic:

  • Recognize the motivations of the other party that’s providing the feedback. Understanding their motivations will help you validate the relevance and legitimacy of the feedback offered.
  • Consider both the strategic and the tactical implications of the feedback offered.
  • Focus on the longer-term performance and development of the person, rather than individual mistakes and errors made.
  • Look for trends on the feedback delivered.
  • Identify and focus on the root cause of problems.

Be Leader-ly:

  • As a leader, own the problem, recognize and coach the team.
  • Listen well before speaking and acting. With that said, err on the side of action.
  • Work collaboratively to solve problems.

Nobody’s perfect. Everyone can benefit from feedback, as long as it’s delivered with positive and constructive intent, and received in the same manner.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Nancy Gilbert, Director of Engineering, Lam Research
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Head, Open Source Program Office, Comcast; Board Member, The Linux Foundation 
  • Panelist Jinping Song, SQA Director, ASML
  • Panelist Monika Thakur, Vice President, Cloud Operations, Oracle

The ‘Yes-And’ People

June 7, 2019

WhatTheySay

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a translator sometimes? If we ask a direct question, sometimes a ‘yes’ response means ‘no’, a ‘no’ means ‘perhaps’, a ‘but’ could be good and could be not-so-good! Here’s my attempt at translating.

  1. If someone says ‘yes’, sometimes they mean ‘yes’, no problem. That’s easy.
  2. But if someone says ‘yes’, and it doesn’t feel good, maybe it means that they said ‘yes’ only to be polite and nice. If this is the case, and you can confirm it, take their ‘yes’ to actually mean ‘no’.
  3. If someone says ‘yes’, and adds a ‘but’ to it, that means that there are conditions involved. It’s often more important to look at the conditions behind the agreement, and the motivation for the other party to ask for those conditions. Often, it’s not worthwhile to accept those conditions.
  4. If someone says ‘yes’ and adds ‘not now’, it generally means that they are would be happy to do it, but at a different time.
  5. If someone says ‘no’ and means ‘H*CK NO’, it means don’t ask them for something similar in the future, unless something changes. Consider whether you’d like to have this person to be in your network, and also at what recent (or OLD) acts might make them have this mindset.
  6. If someone says ‘no’ and adds a ‘but’, it generally means that they would like to do it, but need a specific condition to be met in order to do it. I’m generally more inclined to make this agreement work than it they say yes with conditions).
  7. If someone says ‘no’ and adds ‘not now’, it means that they can’t now, but they can at a different time. I treat this much like a ‘yes but not now’ response.
  8. If someone says ‘no’ and adds an ‘and’, it generally means that they don’t want to do this, AND there are other things they don’t want to do, or want to be part of. Look closely at what recently has happened, especially if this is a new response. Perhaps a fence can be mended, an ego soothed?
  9. The best case is when someone says ‘yes’, knowing full well the breadth of the agreement and the bigger picture of the project. Moreover, that person has the vision to see a picture beyond what you can see yourself, the drive, energy and skills to make it happen, and the willingness to include you in the ride.
  10. I’ll end by asking you some questions:
    1. How can you get more people with #9 responses in your network?
    2. Who in your current network are giving you the direct and supportive responses to help you grow?
    3. Who else can you include in your network?