Author Archive

Blockchain Use Cases

May 7, 2019

BlockChain

FountainBlue’s May 3 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Blockchain Use Cases’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Carta and our participating executives in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation. 

A blockchain is a growing list (or ledger) of records consider them ‘blocks’, which are linked together securely using cryptography, and include a timestamp, and transaction data. There’s been a LOT of BUZZ about how blockchain solutions will change the world, and HYPE around bitcoins in particular, hype which has not materialized into huge, sustainable fortunes for most people.

This month’s participating executives shared their thoughts on current and future use cases of the blockchain, and talked about the blockchain challenges and opportunities ahead. Below is a summary of their comments.

Why do you need to use blockchain?

  • Blockchain solutions are most useful when you’re working with two entities who don’t trust each other, but need to engage with each other on a transaction, and also need to trust that the transaction will be executed as agreed by both parties.
  • Blockchain solutions are useful when the buyer or the seller knows more than the other party, AND both parties want to ensure that data and information is fully shared about the negotiated commodity. An example of this is selling used cars. 

Elements of a successful blockchain solution:

  • Core to any successful blockchain solution is the flexible and efficiency management,  ledgering and tracking of assets and their ownership. Defining the smallest units of ‘assets’, the smallest incremental units of these ‘assets’, the number of available ‘units’, the interim and ultimate value of these assets, the definition and conditions for changing ownership, the process for recording ownership shifts, etc., are all of essential importance.
  • Blockchain solutions must include sophisticated cryptographic technology and integration processes so that they are ‘un-hackable’. Both parties must trust that neither can cheat, and that no outside party can interfere. 
  • Blockchain solutions must shore up the weakest elements of a solution as hackers are most likely to focus on breaking in there.
  • Even if a blockchain solution is un-hackable and completely secure, others might be able to triangulate available data and extrapolate implications of that data. 
  • Blockchain solutions must respect the privacy of users.

Thoughts on how to get blockchain solutions adopted:

  • Policy standards must be flexible enough to accept quality blockchain solutions, yet firm enough to discourage corruption and malfeasance. 
  • Technology platforms must be integrated/standardized enough to support vetted blockchain solutions.
  • Banks, corporations, government, church, and other entities must be open enough to consider blockchain use cases. When there are clear and beneficial use cases across sectors, mass adoption will follow.

The Challenges and Opportunities for blockchain use cases:

  • Connect blockchain assets into physical assets (like energy, physical coins, etc.,) to get more stable value columns.
  • Hire people who are technically astute, but also flexible, collaborative, open-minded, creative and willing to learn. They are the ones who will design the blockchain use cases of the future.
  • Change needs to happen at all levels within an organization for fully embrace the benefits of blockchain. 
  • Sometimes it makes sense to build a consortium of parties to ensure the quality of goods exchanged. An example of this is to have tech companies collaborate to ensure that the supply chain for manufacturing is of the highest quality.

The bottom line is that blockchain use cases will be created, and will be adopted and useful, but only: 1) when we need to Trust in the integrity of the data/information; 2) when we want to respect the privacy of the parties; 3) when we want to ensure security of the transaction; 4) when two parties need to exchange assets fairly; and 5) when we need real-time, validated information about the assets we possess.

Resources and Links:

What does it take to lead?

May 1, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 4.47.24 PM

I am not the typical ‘leader’ – the distinguished, white, male, ivy-school graduate with the privileged background and

exclusive network. And yet I’ve been asked to speak on leadership and innovation for the past two decades. This week, I’m speaking on the topic of – What does it take to lead? I’m profiling an early experience, an early memory, to help everyone think deeply about what it takes to lead, how they are leading well, and what else they can do to fearlessly lead.

When I was five, I lived in Hong Kong and we were assigned so much homework it took me four hours to complete it. So I charmed my uncle into doing it for me. When my teacher asked who did my homework and why, I responded that my uncle did my homework because I thought that four hours of homework was excessive. I got sent back to my seat without a comment. We got much less homework. Everyone looked at me differently after that.

From this example, what does it take to lead?

  1. Self-Awareness.
    • It starts with knowing and understanding yourself and your fit with the circumstances of other people and things around you.
      • Be introspective enough to know yourself well – complete with motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Be curious enough to know others well, complete with motivations, strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Independence.
    • Leaders can think like everyone else does, and act like everyone else does, but they also have their own independent way of thinking and acting.
      • See the possibilities beyond following the status quo.
  3. Idealism.
    • Leaders don’t settle and accept circumstances which they feel are unjust. They are more likely to make a stand for a better world.
      • Which injustices do you face day-to-day? What are you doing about it in big and small thoughts, words and actions?
  4. Empowerment.
    • Leaders are empowered enough to believe that their thoughts, words and actions make a difference – one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time.
      • Change is never a given, but feeling empowered to make a change provides hope for a better world.
  5. Courage.
    • Leaders make a courageous stand for change, and are willing to accept the consequences for their role in fostering change.
      • Courage is not always in-your-face. It’s a subtle charm, a persuasive dialogue, an emotional appeal. Courage may or may not mean overcoming fear – but it does mean thinking, speaking and acting despite any fear you might have.
  6. Engagement.
    • Leaders care about others. They are engaged in the community, passionate for the greater good. If they weren’t they would not act on behalf of everyone else.
      • Be engaged – really care about what you do and who you do it with, regardless of what your leadership responsibilities are.
  7. Collaboration Mindset.
    • Leaders know they can’t do it themselves. They enlist allies, supporters, partners and seek win-for-all solutions.
      • Everyone has a piece of the puzzle. Welcome perspectives that stretch your own view of the problem set.
  8. Resourcefulness.
    • Leaders think outside the box to get ideas, resources and support necessary to foster change.
      • Invite people to complement the resources, plans, technologies you have in place.
  9. Commitment.
    • Leaders are committed to their community, to their cause… in their thinking, in their speaking and in their actions.
      • When you make a decision, be All-In. Don’t waffle and second-guess yourself. Be committed to the cause, unless it no longer makes sense to do so.
  10. Strategic Thinking.
    • Leaders think strategically about the problem, the people, and the solutions. They collaboratively work with players across the ecosystem to resolve the issue.
      • It takes an ethical leader who thinks broadly about problems and empowers a wide range of others to address that same problem from different fronts. There are so many moving pieces and so many players and resources involved. The leader *has* to think strategically on their feet.

What are *your* thoughts on what it takes to lead?

How will you push your *own* leadership potential?

How will you empower *others* to do the same?

Lean In and Level It UP

April 12, 2019

LeanInApril12a

FountainBlue’s April 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Lean In and Level It Up’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such an inspiring and accomplished panel to speak on this month’s topic. They represented a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds and experiences, yet they had much in common:

  • They juggle as much as the rest of us between work and life.
  • They try to plan as best as they can, and roll with whatever life has to offer when the plan doesn’t work out.
  • They are humbly human, and grateful for all those who helped them to level up to where they are in life and work.
  • They are reaching today to become an increasingly better version of themselves.

Below is some advice they have on how to support each other, and reach for what we’re seeking in life and at work.

  • Embrace and create new opportunities as they arise. 
  • Have the self-awareness to know what you want and the courage to reach for it.
  • Build the network of others to support you in the journey. It’s not just the obvious senior executives who can help you. The people who can help you come from many backgrounds and they are above, below, beside and within you.
  • Know your value-add. Grow that value-add. Communicate that value-add.
  • Be open to the opportunities which arise from failures and mis-steps. They provide the greatest learning opportunities.
  • Be clear on your priorities. Make proactive choices to respect those priorities.
  • Be clear on your expectations of yourself and others. Communicate clearly and regularly to ensure a clear understanding of expectations, especially as it evolves.
  • Know yourself and what you need. But be flexible enough to bend, but not compliant enough to break under the will of others and their agenda. Your own needs are also important.
  • Be clear on what you’re seeking, direct on how you ask for it, and collaborative on how you deliver it. 
  • Learn from people who can show you how something should be done.
  • Create a work and role you enjoy and look forward to. One where you can stretch and grow and contribute. Shift the role and responsibilities as needed to ensure that you remain happy and satisfied.
  • Be yourself. Your full self. The best version of yourself.
  • Grow a network with people who have your back. People who would stand by you in the good times and more so in the bad times. 
  • It’s OK not to want to level up. Lean in to help others get to where they want to go, even if he/she doesn’t want to level up.
  • Create calm from chaos.
  • Be resilient and persistent. 
  • Shoot for the stars. You might reach the moon.
  • Don’t be a fair-weather friend. Don’t hang around with people who are fair weather friends.

The bottom line is that regardless of whether you want to level up, choose to be a good person. Make the tough choices in alignment with that choice, even if that means you’re not going to level up to a position you’re seeking. Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Synaptics and our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 12 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Lean In and Level It Up’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue; Director Vonzos Partners
  • Panelist Deepika Bajaj, Serial CMO and Vonzos EIR
  • Panelist Sharmistha Das, Director, HCM Applications Development, Oracle
  • Panelist Carina Fang, Director, IoT Program Management, Synaptics
  • Panelist Christina Lewis, MBA, Finance Director, Devices BU, Western Digital
  • Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, VP of Marketing, Panzura

with opening remarks by Jean Boufarhat, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Synaptics and Tamara Lucero, Director; Inside Sales / S&OP, at Synaptics.

The Future of Work

April 5, 2019

FutureOfWork

FountainBlue’s April 5 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Citrix and to our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The Future of Work will address the emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs of the whole, integrated human. It will focus on creating connections between people, and also on providing platforms, processes and opportunities so that people can get things done in the way that’s convenient for them.

All these opportunities arise because, for the most part, we have the foundational technologies and infrastructure necessary to create more scalable, more sustainable, more versatile, and more powerful solutions which make us more productive at work and more fulfilled and satisfied outside work.

Predictions for the the future of work include:

  • The work scenarios will be impacted by whether the workforce is from Gen X and Gen Y and Gen Z. Each generation thrives under different parameters. 
  • The future of work will include many people working from home. 
    • Provide them with the hardware, software, network and tools so that they can efficiently, securely and productivity do so.
  • There is and will continue to be an abundance of software and device options brought into enterprises. 
    • IT professionals and executives must be proactive about communicating and restricting what is allowed on-site and how it is integrated with other solutions. 
    • Develop and manage standards for interoperability, security, scalability. These standards and protocols will help advance opportunities for all.
    • There will always be a balance between a need for security and a need for privacy, and a need to conform to relevant policies and standards.
  • There will continue to be a trend toward working with shared physical space and shared equipment at work. 
    • Manage that scenario so it’s clear how everything can be equitably and securely shared efficiently.

Below are some thoughts on how to further facilitate advancements in technologies and solutions to fit into our new work requirements.

  • Collaborate across roles, across companies, across industries to meet the complex and complicated needs of a very demanding customer base.
  • Focus on and deliver on what the target customer is looking for.
  • Get data on how customers are using current solutions, for this will provide insights on what other services and products you could provide.
  • Accept that professionals in industries such as healthcare and financial services may be more reluctant to embrace new hardware and software offerings. Find a way to make the transition easier for them, for it’s necessary for that adoption to take place.
  • No matter how advanced we are in video and audio communications, there will never be a substitute for face-to-face communications. Factoring in this truth will help plan for a more realistic future.
  • Measure how productive the workforce is under differing circumstances. Use the metrics to optimize performance.

Below are some thoughts on some growth opportunities.

  • Although we have made great strides in providing efficient internet access, particularly in metropolitan areas, there is still room for more reliable, more efficient access.
  • Voice and video innovations will help support the future of work.
  • The data around customer usage will help us proactively understand and serve customers. 

To conclude, no matter where you’re sitting, embrace the inevitable technology, process and business shifts around the future of work. Think from the outside in and from the inside out about what the future of work will entail and plan accordingly.

Embrace Your Creativity

April 1, 2019

EmbraceCreative

This month’s post is a follow-up to last month’s post on Awaken the Creative in YOU – Part One, Why? and talks about the HOW. I’ve always been a bit of an original… a little bit ‘edgy’. But I’ve been trained and conditioned to streamline my thinking so that I can better communicate and understand what others mean.

This thinking inside-the-box is very efficient and useful – a standard to which most of us conform. But there are times when we need to embrace that creativity within us – times when breaking out of that box actually helps yourself and others think, speak and do things differently, in a way which would be embraced by all. Below are some tips for Embracing the Creative in YOU – Part Two, How?

  1. Accept that there are times to think ‘inside the box’, and times to think ‘outside the box’. Manage your creative releases accordingly.
  2. If you’ve been rewarded for thinking inside the box, it’s often hard to think outside that box. Try rewarding yourself (and others) for thinking, speaking and acting differently within specific contexts.
  3. Bring people from different backgrounds together on a common project and watch the magic unfold. How are they more similar than they thought and more different than they thought? What new idea, concept, occurrence took place when you combined them?
  4. Combine two different processes or solutions in solving a complex problem.
  5. Leverage a success from one circumstance and apply it to a completely different scenario, which might actually make sense.
  6. Combine elements of ‘wrong’ solutions might bring you closer to one that’s ‘right’.
  7. Bask in the people, processes, circumstances etc., which make you feel uncomfortable. Consider them learning opportunities – a chance to stretch and grow in new ways.
  8. Recall some early memories of judgments for those who aren’t following the rules, and how others respond to them. This ‘over-socialization‘ is likely impacting your creative edge. Choose to stretch your own boundaries if it would give you an edge.
  9. Shift your own perception about the creative people who have touched you in your life. The less you judge them for being ‘different’, the more welcome you will be to the parts of you who also want to be ‘different’ – in a good way.
  10. Embrace that creative spark in yourself. It’s not just for people who ‘live on the edge’.

Have fun with it, while you’re also solving problems with it!

Difficult Conversations

March 19, 2019

FountainBlue’s March 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On’.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse and powerful group of panelists who so succinctly and candidly shared their thoughts on how and why to conduct difficult conversations. It was also amazing to have such a strong showing of executives – male and female – representing a top-down, bottom-up support for diversity, inclusion and leadership from our host company!

We began by talking about why difficult conversations are needed, and how having a diverse population and an open leads to better business results.

But change takes time, and having those ‘difficult‘ conversations to facilitate necessary change is not an ‘easy‘ task, by definition. Below are some thoughts on how we can each find a comfortable way to have that difficult conversation:

  • There’s no magic formula for being confident and courageous. Each of our panelists had different backgrounds and upbringings, but we all had to overcome some kind of adversity at an early age. 
  • In the examples provided, it was often the case where others did nothing, yet the panelists chose to think, say or do that difficult thing. Sometimes that brought the desired result in short order. Often it did not. But regardless of the result, it was a learning and a step forward.
  • Choose to be assertive, but only when it makes sense. But be plan-ful when you make that choice as there will certainly be consequences.
  • Build a network of supporters and mentors and sponsors who will support you through easy and difficult conversations.
  • Understand the motivations and mindset of those who don’t think like you – regardless of whether there will be a difficult conversation.
  • Along those same lines, even when you think someone is very similar to you, there may at some point be a difficult conversation at some point.
  • Focus on the facts and data rather than on the feelings and emotions. 
  • With that said, with difficult conversations, emotions will likely run high – either yours or others’! So know yourself and your own buttons and triggers and proactively manage that. Know where the other party is coming from and manage from there.
  • Practice the 90-second rule – if you let someone vent emotionally for 90 seconds, they may feel heard and you may get real information to help you plan. The trick is to not get angry and defensive during the tirade.
  • Make, grow and maintain relationships before, during and after the necessary difficult conversations. 
  • Be your candid, authentic, unique self. It’s good enough.
  • Be humble and inquisitive, especially when that other person makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Be open to a reality you didn’t consider when you adopted your current position. 

Sometimes, having a difficult conversation is not enough. Walking points include:

  • Lack of respect for the other party
  • Loss of trust between the parties
  • Mis-alignment on goals
  • Too much delta between the parties

We closed with the full topic of the conversation – Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On. For they are a necessary part of our personal growth, and the growth of our team, company and industry. Lead On!


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Maxim Integrated and our panelists for FountainBlue’s March 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Laura Bermudez, Senior Director of Software Engineering, Carta 
  • Panelist Rosie Cofre, Belonging and Diversity, Principal, Workday 
  • Panelist Diana Finucane, Sr. HR Business Partner, Lam Research
  • Panelist Tracy Laboy, Executive Director of HR, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Adriane McFetridge, Director of Engineering, Netflix
  • Panelist Lori Kate (Calise) Smith, Director, Marketing Programs, Machine Learning (ML), ARM

with opening remarks by Ed Medlin, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer at Maxim and closing remarks by Dino Anderson, Executive Director of L&D, D&I at Maxim.

Open Source in the Enterprise and Open Source Business Models

March 8, 2019

OpenSource

FountainBlue’s March 8 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Open Source in the Enterprise and Open Source Business Models’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Comcast and each of you for your input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The Open Source story is unfolding in front of us. The 80s brought us companies like HP, SUN and Silicon Graphics innovating on the Linux Operating System kernel as the first wave of commercialization. 

The 90s brought us companies such as Google and Netscape and Amazon who built sophisticated solutions on top of open source foundations to generate revenues and deliver services. 

Building on that wave of innovation, today, companies continue to leverage open source, but not just to design offerings, but also to fuel innovation. Examples include how media companies such as Comcast and Netflix are designing customized infotainment options and financial services companies such as Capital One are designed customized financial management services.

Our executives in attendance were clear that Open Source is here to stay, so the larger community needs to accept and embrace this fact, and understand how to adopt short-term and long-term strategies to integrate Open Source into business models and product and service offerings. Some of the challenges for making this happen include:

  • Definitions and terminologies around ‘Open Source’ cause confusion, especially for business leaders who misinterpret the meaning of ‘free’ and avoid open source altogether.
  • Legal and policy challenges around the use of open source code make it challenging for some companies to adopt it.
  • The requirement to ‘contribute and give back’ sometimes causes conflicts between developers who want to contribute work and code back to the network and the management who don’t want to developers to dedicate time and resource to do so because of their concerns for timelines and for IP/business reasons.

But again, accept these challenges we must, for Open Source is here to stay, and more people need to contribute to it to make it easier for more people and companies to benefit from it.

The passionate open source developers and community truly understand this dynamic. The trick is to get business people to understand it and embrace open source software while also achieving business objectives. Below is advice from the executives in attendance on how this can be accomplished.

  • Align the ‘why’ for adopting the open source strategy with the what and the how. 
  • Embrace the ‘consume, collaborate and create’ mind-set around open source. Don’t be tagged as someone who just consumes what’s there. Collaborate and connect with others, and create for the Greater Good.
  • Deliver the value-added software and services beyond the open source foundation of code. 
  • Connect with people within and outside your company and create a community of collaborators around open source. 
  • Proactively control the message your company has around open source. Make it a proactively positive and consistent message that would positively impact your brand. This means active ongoing participation with that community of Open Source activists.

Below is advice for how to grow a company beyond the non-revenue open source model to a revenue-generating company based on open source technology:

  • Package a value-add of software and services around the core technology.
  • Offer a free and a paid version with a clear value-add for the paid version.
  • Offer and monetize add-ons.
  • Ensure that everything is repeatable and scalable.
  • Go for the tall head rather than the long tail!
  • Leverage partnerships and channels where appropriate.

Consider some opportunities which leverage open source:

  • Infotainment 
  • Open Data
  • Telematics
  • Sensors
  • Open Cities
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Block Chain and Open Source

One last time – Open Source is Here to Stay! Find others who get that and know how to work with that. 

Awaken the Creative in YOU – Part One, Why?

March 1, 2019

Creative-Why

After decades and decades of rewarding that left-brained, analytical thinking, the pendulum is swinging to again embrace the creative. This is part one of a two-part post which will cover the research on why the creative will benefit people, teams and companies. Next month’s follow-on post will cover how to embrace the creative.

  1. Creative leaders outperform their peers on key financial metricsCreativity’s bottom line: How winning companies turn creativity into business value and growth, McKinsey, June 2017
  2. In one survey, creative leaders scored 16 percent higher than the average consumer-facing company on an Innovation Performance Score –  Creativity’s bottom line: How winning companies turn creativity into business value and growth, McKinsey, June 2017
  3. A McKinsey study reported that, technology upgrades would lead to a decline of 375 million employees worldwide by 2030 in positions such office support, predictable labor, and other jobs, but there will be an increase in creative jobs, teachers, care-providers and technologists. What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages, McKinsey, November 2017
  4. In another study, fifty-eight percent of survey respondents reporting high creativity had 2013 revenues exceeding their 2012 revenues by 10% or more. In contrast, only 20% of less creative companies performed similarly.  The Creative Dividend: How Creativity Impacts Business Results
  5. Of those reporting market share leadership, creative companies outnumber their less creative counterparts by a factor of 1.5.  The Creative Dividend: How Creativity Impacts Business Results
  6. In the same survey, respondents who identified their firms as ‘creative’ were three times more likely to have received national attention. The Creative Dividend: How Creativity Impacts Business Results
  7. There are four types of innovation: Incremental Innovation, Disruptive Innovation (also known as stealth innovation), Architectural Innovation, and
    Radical innovation.  Creativity helps innovators to create and sustain high risk, high reward innovations. https://info.innocentive.com/open/innovation
  8. Disruptive innovations are caused by changes in market and business phenomena, not technology advancements. It takes analysis and creativity to understand these changing business model and business phenomena. Clayton Christenson, The Innovator’s Dilemma
  9. According to neuroscientists John Kounious and Mark Beeman, insight is a product of a relaxed brain. The more we concentrate and strain for inspiration, the less likely we are to get it. It follows that the more creative and relaxed we are, the more likely we are to see an insight. The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain, by John Kounios and Mark Beeman
  10. The four stages of idea generation according to Graham Wallis include Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. Once you decide to do it and think about it, the clarity through creativity may come, as part of the idea generation process. The verification follows that step. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400419.2015.1087277?journalCode=hcrj20

Next month’s post will brainstorm how to embrace the creative within yourself.

Negotiating

February 18, 2019

Feb15PanelFountainBlue’s February 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Negotiating for a Win-Win’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a spunky, amusing and seasoned panel. Although they had a wide range of educational backgrounds and professional experiences, they had much in common.

  • They are confident, strong and passionate, honest and hardworking team players. 
  • They each have a track record of success negotiating on a wide range of projects, working with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • They strive to understand objectives and perspectives and work collaboratively for a win-win whenever possible.
  • They learn from both successes and failures, from all others around them. 
  • They are persuasive leaders who know the facts and leverage the data to realize a common goal.
  • They are well-networked leaders with a hard-earned, high-impact brand.

Below are some best practices shared:

  • Know yourself well, and what’s important to you and why. Then you can negotiate best for the things that matter most to you.
  • Do your homework before the negotiation. 
    • Know what you’re willing and not willing to do and what the overarching goals are and why.
    • Research who’s involved and what their background and motivations might be. This might be done online (LinkedIn and Google are your friends) or it might be a conversation with those-in-the-know.
  • Be clear on where you can give a little and where you can’t be flexible. 
  • Bundle the issues together, rather than make it a single point of negotiation. It’s easier to manage a give-and-take from there.
  • Know your walking point. Adopt a strategy on what would happen if you reach that walking point.
  • Collaborate with your own team to strategize on how to work a negotiation. Collaborate with the other team to help ensure a win-win.
  • Play different roles (like good guy/bad guy) to help manage a negotiation.
  • Manage your emotions.
    • Don’t take things personally.
    • Take a time-out/break if things become productive.
    • If things get personally, try to re-set to a new and more social environment, like coffee on the side.
    • Be curious about the high emotions of the other party.
    • Accept and acclimate to the things that might push your buttons. 
    • Listen more than you speak.
    • Don’t insist on a resolution when emotions run high.
    • Silence is your friend.
  • Make time for in-person conversations or phone calls or videos calls.
  • Men might find it easier to negotiate on their own behalf, but women might find it easier to negotiate on behalf of someone else.

I’ll close with the input of our executives as they launched our event today – keeping being that agent of change by connecting with, engaging with, and learning from each other, in community, about everything, including how to better negotiate for a win-win. 


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Western Digital and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Charlotte Falla, Vice President and General Counsel, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Nancy Gilbert, Director Pilot Operations, Lam Research
  • Panelist Windi Hary, Senior Vice President Global Clinical, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, HeartFlow, Inc
  • Panelist Angela D. Roach, Executive Director, Associate General Counsel – Employment and Immigration, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Kristin Robinson, Director and Senior Legal Counsel, Ethics & Compliance, Western Digital

with opening remarks by Siva Sivaram, Executive Vice President, Memory Technology and Roger Crockett, Vice President, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Liming Wang, VP of Finance, Manufacturing Finance and Christina Lewis, MBA, Finance Director, Devices BU at Western Digital. See bios at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/negotiation2019.

Evolution of Hardware

February 18, 2019

hardware

FountainBlue’s February 8 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Evolution of Hardware’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance and our gracious hosts at Maxim. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The executives in this month’s roundtable represented decades of experience across many industry sectors – from semiconductor to healthcare, from telecommunications to networking, from automotive to manufacturing. They also represented the technical, product, management, research and marketing side of the business.

There was general agreement that hardware innovations have taken place across decades and across industries, creating an infrastructure and a foundation upon which software and integrated solutions can be built. But hardware innovations are continuing to happen, ensuring that we have the Power to make things work, that we can Communicate with others, that we have Sensors to detect what’s happening in our environment, and that we build Connections between people and things.

The Digital Age rests on the premise that this hardware foundation is solid, pervasive, reliable, expandable, and inclusive.  

Our executives in attendance were all clearly bullish on the hardware innovation opportunities ahead and agreed on the following:

  • We went from a world dependent on the right materials, and more materials. Then the emphasis became focused on control of the hardware. Then the integration of hardware and software. And now the integration of software and hardware with the cloud.
  • Hardware and software are generally integrated, and will become more so.
  • Technologies and solutions have applications across teams, across companies, across industries. Therefore, leveraging past successes might help address current challenges.
  • Complex systems will become even more so, and these systems will be integrated into other complex systems.
  • Customers are tending to stay within specific niches, yet they need partners to tackle specific elements of project challenges. When they secure that partner, they expect end-to-end, reliable, integrated hardware/software solutions.
  • Forward-thinking companies are still investing in hardware innovations. The current mindset which touts the digital and dismisses the foundational hardware and integration will soon evolve a more balanced, more considered viewpoint… once small, unexpected hardware failures cause unexpected impact.
  • In order to foster larger adoption of hardware, we need to collaborate on building our local infrastructure. Cities and counties don’t generally have the budget or talent to create that foundational infrastructure which would lead to better telecommunications, better digital access – enabling everyone living within cities to be more connected, more informed, more empowered.

Below is their advice on how to develop innovative hardware:

  • Find ways to deliver the personalized solutions customers want in a way that’s extensible and scalable and cost-productive to deliver.
  • Define technologies and processes which would make it easier to integrate hardware and software as part of the customer deliverables.
  • Balance having a versatile and elegant design addressing practical questions (can it be done, is there a demand for it) and efficient delivery and customized service.

Below are thoughts on the hardware opportunities ahead.

  • There will always be a need for more power – smaller, more reliable, less heat-emitting, more cost-effective, etc. But the power must also not give off too much heat or noise. Perhaps materials beyond copper would make the power source more sustainable.
  • It’s harder to innovate hardware for the healthcare and automotive industries because lives are at stake and policies need to be obeyed. But when these hardware innovations work, the need is great, the market is large.
  • Hearables, wearables, IoT devices will be prominent both at work and at work.  
  • Software will be integrated with hardware for customized solutions deliver real-time results, leveraging AI, ML and IoT. 
  • There are huge material science opportunities – around power generation, storage and distribution, around temperature and voltage management.
  • Packaging hardware elements will see many advances and many opportunities.
  • Customers will continue to demand personalized solutions which require customized hardware solutions, with embedded software. Forward-thinking companies will elegantly design solutions which are both versatile and practical, both personalized and scalable.

The bottom line is that hardware goes well beyond a ‘necessary evil’. It is an essential technology which is the foundation of the explosive technology advancements we’re all witnessing and benefitting from.

Working together, we can collaboratively improve the infrastructure so that we can get more done faster and more effectively.