IBM’s Bluemix Girls’ Night and Leadership Panel

I confess.

I am a bit of a Meet-Up junkie if you will, but I like to call myself a ‘life-long learner’. At the BlueMix Girls’ Leadership and software demo on March 11 at IBM Innovation Center, Foster City we satisfied both geekie tech side with a socially acceptable “Girls’ Night Out” theme.

If you can identify with me , then you might want to join!

We were a bright, warm and humorous group of tech women (developers and users) that showed up at this Meet-Up event. Opening the evening was a panel discussion with Joanne Bohigian, President & CEO at Foster City Chamber of Commerce; Jeannice Fairrer Samani, PhD, MBA, MDE  Full Scholar & Professor of Higher Education AACSB University; Sara Rauchwerger, Founder TechLAB Innovation Center Cultivating Technology Companies / Accelerating Business Growth; Alyssa Simpson, Sr. Product Manager – Mobile at IBM. 

In the competitive PaaS (Platform as a Service) arena there’s a relatively new kid in town:  Bluemix is IBM’s open cloud development platform that competes with Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure. It was pretty clever that IBM was targeting women developers to use and/or switch platforms by hosting this evening’s event. As I understand it, BlueMix is an open source  platform that allows users to develop and run on their Cloud IoT. Anyone can develop apps using: OpenStack (Virtual Machine), Docker (Container) and CloudFoundry (Instant Runtimes). More information here.

One really competitive (and fun) api feature is IBM’s  Watson Personality Insight

The Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to infer the personality characteristics, intrinsic needs and values of individuals from communications that a user opts to make available via mediums such as email, text messages, social media, forum/blog posts, and more. These insights help businesses better understand their clients and improve customer satisfaction by anticipating customer needs and recommending future actions. This allows businesses to improve new client acquisition, retention, and engagement, and strengthen their relationships with existing customers.

The following is a brief description of the three kinds of personality insights that are provided by this service:

  1. Personality characteristics: The service can build a portrait of an individual’s personality characteristics and how they engage with the world across five primary dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (also known as Emotional Range).
  2. Needs: The service can infer certain aspects of a product that will resonate with an individual across twelve needs: Excitement,Harmony, Curiosity, Ideal, Closeness, Self-expression, Liberty, Love, Practicality, Stability, Challenge, and Structure.
  3. Values: The service can identify values that describe motivating factors which influence a person’s decision-making across five dimensions: Self-transcendence / Helping others, Conservation / Tradition, Hedonism / Taking pleasure in life, Self-enhancement / Achieving success, and Open to change / Excitement.

And as Tableau seems to lead data visualization, I really enjoy the simplicity of Watson’s Personality Insight’s circular wheel as shown above.

You can try pasting some text here and test Watson’s Personality Insights api yourself. —  Let me know if it’s accurate for you!




So you wanna #LeanIn and be a board member, ladies? Good. Here’s the scoop!

On the topic of increasing diversity in the work place, let’s consider several points on the subject of gender diversity on the board of corporations (private/public).

  • Companies perform better: Companies that have women on their boards performed better than an all-male board, suggesting that mixing genders may temper risky investment moves and increase return on equity. – Bloomberg 2012
  • Companies behave better: Companies that invest in gender diversity at high levels are less likely to fall prey to fraud, corruption, and other scandalous episodes. – ThinkProgress 2014

Should quotas be mandated in the U.S. private boards as they are in other countries?

There seems to be the trend as we see the European Commission considering to impose quotas across the EU (Norway introduced a 40% quota, Germany is 30%, and in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is 30% female directors).

#ExecFocusCircle March 19

#ExecFocusCircle grp discussed Women on Boards of Directors with speaker Katarina Bonde on the legalities, the expectations and why more women need to #LeanIn #WomenLead #Entrepreneurs

 

Thank you to Petere Miner of MinerConnection for inviting me to join the #ExecFocusCircle #LeanIn grp.

Last night’s topic: Women on Boards of Directors.  Katarina Bonde was our speaker for the evening. Katarina pitched her startup, Glides, to the Forum of Women of Entrepreneurs, and has since founded several tech companies and has served on 15 Boards.  She also owns West Wines in Healdsburg.

Questions asked:

  • Did you find the Boards or did they find you?
  • How did you determine which Boards to serve on?
  • What is the typical remuneration for a role on a Board?
  • What are the educational requirements for being on the Board and what are the liabilities?

 

 

Usability Testing (because we “Don’t Know Enough About You”).



Usability test for software page

Personas are not only created for a sales buyers’ journey to learn about the specific characteristics of your target market, but they’re also used for product marketing and to test usability of that product. The idea of ‘Build it and they will come’ is fine in the movies but for start-ups or any business we can’t assume that all users have the same knowledge of the product or how well they use it or even if they will like it; that’s why we test.

Here’s an example of our  usability test for the trend page of our software…

Evolution of KrillBut first, a little history and our company background!

Our first product was a hardware computer display, a robust waterproof display that would collect sensor data throughout a local area network (LAN) and collect into a black box computer. Laptops became increasingly popular onboard recreational vessels, so we developed a software version. We continued to develop software but our customers directed our growth and soon our database and this history tracking page was key for long distance cruisers and even commercial maritime customers.  Collecting real-time data of the vessel (or close to real-time, depending on Internet or satellite connection) allows users to predict behavior of equipment saving expensive cost of repair if monitoring is not achieved.

We should have seen it coming; our product was advancing and increasing in complexity but at this point our customers still wanted to be hands-on and install the product sensor set-up by themselves.

Eventually the company switched from a consumer after-market software into a commercial product requiring professional installation for commercial maritime users only.

SAM user struggles

This is an example of a tester using our software product page.

 

 

This is the user experience test I initiated and performed that was particularly difficult to understand during installation. The engineers who designed the software could easily navigate the fields, but the customers were experiencing frustration out on the field.

Where were the hiccups during the installation process? Why were our customers being stumped? A fluid user experience is what we strive for and if not it can kill a product if the experience is less than stellar.

Based on David Liddle’s Three Stages in the Adoption Of A New Technology the we strived for the Enthusiast Stage, otherwise known as the Early Adopters.

 

 

2015-03-09_0114

David Liddle’s Three Stages of Adoption of a Technology was used in this usability test.

 

I created our personas for this test based on our existing customers. Each persona (or group of users divided into groups of four) had a name and personality. Working jointly with the Engineering team and going out to the field we had to figure out what each persona’s preferences were, what were their computer experiences and what were their goals when using our software?

It’s important to brainstorm all these questions with customers to understand why they are purchasing the product and what they wish to accomplish when using it.

It is common that the designers (the engineers) may have a completely different view than the customers so I had to make sure that communication was clear and direct and during testing the designers could not be involved with the testing so not to alter or give hints to users.

 

Personas for the leisure marketing

These were the characteristics of our recreational market personas. They were grouped into four personas and each were given a name. SAM was our Enthusiast/Early Adopters that we wanted to test. SAM had a high level of computer experience and were the very competent boaters.

 

What better way to demonstrate what the customer is experiencing to the Engineers than showing a video  of their own experience (and that’s what I did, I videotaped the testers while giving the UX test to do a few tasks on the page).  You can view the video here, give me a call and I’ll send you the password.



2015-03-09_0114_001This is the graph which we should expect our product to see using Liddle’s Three Stages of Development of a Technology. The goad is to that over time a product should become easier to use as it reaches a mass consumer market.

 

Here are a few screenshots of the video user test. I added text to make it easier for Engineers to ‘hear’ the testers reaction. Also, because the video was long, I put some light music (Diana Krall’s “Don’t Know Enough About You“) to add humor and jovial entertainment.

 

Krill usability test 2009 from Lynne Watanabe on Vimeo.

If you would like to learn more about UX testing feel free to contact me.

Wendy Wallbridge on a mission to re- pave the road to success for women.

Online digital thought leadership comes in many forms to express one’s area of expertise, but it works best when one connects online as well as a HIRL (Hang-Out In Real Life).

A good friend recommended that I attend Wendy Wallbridge‘s book launch for the book titled “Spiraling Upward”.  On a personal note: I’ve been going through several transitions in my life lately, and in truth, often not feeling good about myself which has lead me to deeper exploratory questions of how I want to redefine my professional and personal life. As Wendy spoke of her own personal struggles of health and not aligning her work with her personal values it made me think of Brené Brown’s talk on the power of vulnerability and how real and significant it is bring these (otherwise known as) feminine traits to light.

The “Spiraling Upward” Mini-workshop and book launch party was held March 12, 2015 at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. I’m really looking forward to sitting down and absorbing this book and working through the exercises. Below is her TEDx Talk on the topic #SpiralUp!

Wendy Wallbridge's new book, Spiraling Upward

Ready for @WendyWallbridge’s #SpiralingUpward: The 5 Co-Creative Powers For Women on the Rise. #womenLead #IAmEnough Work => Love

For women, our own road map to whole-hearted success, is rarely straight and narrow. We women are at a turning point and are ready to birth something new. We want to lead lives that make a difference and that are fulfilled. For many of us that means becoming an entrepreneur of our own life so that it becomes more authentic, meaningful and expansive.

Women are particularly well suited for re-invention. It’s no accident that our bodies are designed to create… Strengths like collaboration, empathy, humility, flexibility, compassion and connectivity are a new competitive advantage.

But the paradox is that after study after study that show greater employment and educational opportunities correspond to decreases of  overall life happiness for women compared to men.

 

 

Reluctant thought leader, fear not; This book is for you.

I often meet business folks who are, more frequent than not, skeptical or weary of digital online media. They tell me their reason for not wanting a start a blog, a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account; why would they start one and why engage in forums or LinkedIn groups. In truth it seems more frequent than not they just don’t understand the purpose of having any web presence.

According to Denise Brosseau

Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.

 

There are many reasons why it’s important to become a thought leader. A really good start is her book titled: “How To Be A Thought Leader“.

Here’s a brief video I created for the SV Forum Tech Women when we hosted at our event

Facebook’s Compassion Research 2015

Compassion Day at Facebook

Facebook’s 5th Annual Compassion Research Day

This week in SF/Silicon Valley is Wisdom Week,  a week filled with lectures around the S.F. Bay Area focused on living well by feeling connected with each other in our hectic daily lives.  Several tech industry leaders spoke and hosted the series of conferences, and workshops to inspire and engage in an accessible and inclusive way. I was lucky enough to get my ticket for the free sold out event held at Facebook several weeks in advance. If you missed it, don’t worry, you can see the entire event here.

The 5th Annual Compassion Research Day was a day of sharing and conversation about what Facebook and the experts they work with on a daily basis have learned in the last year about what happens when you apply the science of how people relate to each other to social technology.

 

I was a bit skeptical about Facebook’s day of compassion event, I thought it was going to be marketing fluff with the emphasis of purchasing more ads, but my attitude disappeared as soon as the lecture dove into the data of their research, here’s the list of the following topics covered:

  • Connecting People who Care: Helping Facebook Members in Crisis
  • The Dangerous Side of Language
  • Language matters: Communicating Compassion on Facebook
  • The Science of Awe and Happiness
  • Addressing Death on Facebook: Honoring the memories of loved ones and caring for the needs of the bereaved
  • Emotions Without Borders: Supporting Teens Around the World
  • Youth Panel from Edna Brewer Middle School of Oakland, CA

I sat and engaged with idealistic people from all over the world: educators, psychologist, and even a hardware engineer from a local Silicon Valley company who wanted to glean ideas on how to encourage compassion to his development team at work. There’s something missing in our daily life, what is it? Together, over a delicious international cafeteria style lunch, we sat beside each other, made new friends and exchanged ideas on how to form a better, perhaps more inclusive community.

Facebook’s Hacker street may resemble Disneyland’s Main Street, and the idealism doesn’t stop there. As Facebook evolves into a mature utility product, I felt a lot better knowing the amount of thought that goes into their products. My inner skeptic was suspended for a moment. That quiet moment of universal peace and altruism drove off the parking lot when I hit the Willow/101 Southbound traffic. Maybe we could use a Monorail in Silicon Valley.

I love Facebook. Thank you for teaching me how to boost my happiness, and how we all want to share a common narrative and dialogue of caring, I felt that during the event.

Telehealth: Is It A Fitness or Medical Wearable?

Our healthcare delivery is a rising concern in the United States as it affects everyone: our aging parents, your obese uncle or diabetic sister and even you.

Think about it — We are all aging with varying degrees of wellness. Some of our bodies age more gracefully than others, but as our bodies’ function declines our concern for mobility and living a life of continued independence become a priority. 80% of the elderly population have 2 or more chronic diseases and these are expensive yet treatable diseases that can be managed. Preventing the development of chronic conditions in the elderly could be the only way to improve life expectancy; perhaps new developments in the wearable sensor industry can address some of these issues by monitoring behaviors that might lead to diseases before health deteriorates.

Fortunately, with the rise of mobile technology, growing networks (Cloud platforms), and new computer technologies (Apps) we are seeing the mainstreaming of telemetry used as wearables today. The rise of smartphones with technologies such as 3G and 4G networks will further promote the adoption of mobile devices in most sectors, but with the most benefit, in the healthcare delivery system. The rise of telemedicine to monitor and manage chronic conditions can help reduce geographic barriers, cost of travel and time (from in-hospital to home consultations) and has the potential to offer seamless support and care to patients according to AlliedMarketResearch.

 

Infographic: Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Plan to Buy Wearable Tech  | Statista

According to Statista, 1 out of 5 adults in the U.S. plan to buy a wearable tech this year.

At CES 2014 last year, Scott Stein of CNET differentiated wearables into three categories: Notifiers, Trackers and Glasses.

We see many products which define the quantified-self movement — that which track our steps, monitor our heart rate and displays/share with our social networks — but what distinguishes a wearable as a medical device? This topic was this month’s discussion at the Activity Sensor & Personal Analytics Meet-Up held at Audience in Mountain View, CA. Gene Leybzon led the discussion and stated that medical wearables purpose is for diagnosis and treatment — and must pass a labyrinthine of regulatory and legal processes such as FDA and HIPAA. A fitness wearable does not have to pass the stringent regulatory tests and only needs to be informational and educational to the user. This user saturated market in fitness wearables (i.e. FitBit heart heart monitor, Nike FuelBand, Garmin & Polar speed tracker/pedometer, Spree body temperature tracker) may not be used for diagnostic purposes, but may be extremely helpful as it leads the path for medical wearables .

Proteus discussed the future release of an ingestible sensor that would integrate with medication allowing physicians to monitor compliance from a remote location. This is important for patients with diseases of the central nervous system (including multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s), heart failure and possibly organ transplant patients. This innovation would track sustained patient compliance and provide assurance that medications are being taken in a timely manner for presiding physicians or caregivers and family loved ones.

 

  We also looked at a product called AliveCor, a heart rate monitor that detects atrial fibrillation.

 
 

 

SV Forum, Tech Women: Women In Space

SV Forum is devoted to creating connections and providing education to the Silicon Valley ecosystem of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business professionals participating in emerging technologies.

Created SV Forum Tech Women Facebook Page

Created SV Forum Tech Women Facebook Page

 

As the Director of Marketing for SV Forum Tech Women, I knew we could extend our reach and interest with new and current members by using Facebook as our platform, but I wanted to do something more.

I wanted to show our ‘friends’ on our page what a fun, dynamic and diverse group of technical women we are in Silicon Valley while also showing a bit of our smart panel discussions.

 

 

 

I produced and edited this video (including photography) for the SV Forum Tech Women event, Women In Space featuring panelists Celeste Volz Ford, Founder/Chief Executive Officer Stellar Solutions, Darlene Lim, Geobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center, and Khaki Rodway, Director- Payload Sales & Operations, XCor. Irene Koehler, Almost Savvy was moderator.

 

We thank Apigee for being our gracious host this month.

 

embedded_video_Tech_Women

The SV Forum Tech Women video was embedded in Facebook (not from the YouTube url). The result is better since there’s an auto playback feature and the preview image is present.

 

  • SV Forum Tech Women encourages women–and men who support the advancement of women!–in tech and engineering fields, helping to create an environment of empowerment in which women and girls can achieve results beyond their wildest expectations. Please feel free to contact me to learn more about Tech Women and SVForum and how you can join us!

 

Post Ride Elbow Pain

Rough RoadRough road ahead.

Riding longer distances have been great fun on the weekends, but what I didn’t expect was having sharp elbow pain radiating out to my right hand; my three fingers (pinky, ring and middle fingers) were tingly and I know what nerve compression feels like because I’ve experience Carpal Tunnel before as a dental hygienist. I’ve had to reduce my hours of work, change my sleeping habits (I slept with wrists cocked downwards) and stopped windsurfing. I wanted to avoid surgery.

This particular pain feels different and it didn’t immediately appear during last Saturday’s ride, but after that jarring route through the farm lands I must have held my grip too tightly causing nerve compression. What could be causing this besides griping my handlebar too tightly? I am varying my hand positions but I’ve never had this elbow pain before.

Ulnar painSo, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by “repetitive or prolonged activities that require the elbow to be bent or flexed”.

Sigh.

I will try my best to rest and not ride my bike or bend my right arm, although it is difficult not to use the computer or mobile phone.

mummificationI am joking about this above image being a cure. Just a desperate attempt to help relieve some pain so I may ride this coming weekend. In the meanwhile, I hope you’ll leave a message and tell me what your rough experiences have been when riding long distances.