Tag Archives: business

Going Beyond Today’s Cloud Technology Market

While many hear the term ‘the cloud’ and think of storage or hosting, cloud technology is an exciting, robust market that is only just beginning, and has real long-range benefit to both consumers and businesses. The past year has seen a boom in startups and ideas in cloud-based tools and services. Much of this has centered around business needs. It has spanned everything from payroll to billing and bookkeeping, sales and marketing department functions, to applications that track customer behavior. For consumers, online education that moves beyond the traditional courses is increasing. Web-based fitness instruction, dance lessons, cooking and more are all being offered with growing participation. Communications is an equally powerful area — I am EVP of Innovation at RingCentral, which provides cloud-based phone systems. It is a very exciting and emerging category in cloud-based technology, and one that will continue to grow in the years ahead.

While many of the deals and movement has been on the business-side, we have only just begun to see the potential for cloud-based applications. Watch for emerging trends in utility management, cross device tools and services, fun and games for kids and many, many new ideas.

 

My Thoughts About Gender Balance In The Workplace on Project Eve

I shared thoughts about gender balance in the workplace on Project Eve this past week. Project Eve is a great resource for women in business. It offers mentoring, networking and support for women across multiple industries and markets, as well as commentary, news and insight. It was great to talk about the topic among its online community. Thank you to Project Eve for including me!

At Cloud Expo This Past Week

I was part of a keynote at the Cloud Expo event this past week. The event brings together industry executives and technology vendors from across the market. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in gaining insight and seeing the latest innovations in cloud technology. Thank you to Cloud Expo for having me be part of the event this year.

 

 

 

Recent Activity In Cloud Computing

Being in the cloud computing industry, and the broader tech market, it is interesting to see moves in the business. IBM is said to be teaming up with a China-based ISP to offer cloud business services. The news is compelling in that it demonstrates the continued value of business offerings in could computing, and the potential for IBM to take a larger position in the industry.  The company certainly isn’t among the first to look beyond the U.S. for opportunity and scale. Very exciting! 

Being A Gender Neutral Leader

Not long ago I shared insight about the value of creating a gender neutral organization, and how to do so in your business. As part, I referenced that a large part of this relies at the top-level, led first by example but also through effort and tactics. It beings with the leader, and means adopting a leadership style that does not view staff by gender, but by talent, experience and value. In a business world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ have had clear, defined lines — and the fact that there are can be differences in how men and women do business — it may not feel natural or instinctive to remove gender from the picture. But in doing so, leaders hold not just a great potential to better manage and drive companies overall, but unlock a great benefit to the business that both men and women bring to the job.

Here’s how to adopt a more gender neutral leadership style in your organization:

  1. Recognize talent first — Talent and skills are something that everyone regardless of gender possess. View your entire organization and everyone from this vantage point first. It might take extra or careful thought, but the value in doing so is more than worth it. Watch and evaluate how every person operates in your business and get to know each at this level first.
  2. Ignore your own gender — Gender neutral doesn’t just mean how you see and treat others. It’s also in how you see yourself and interact. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to start adopting the ways or activities of the opposite sex. Rather, operate and lead with your own talent first. By making your own gender second, you’ll increase your chances of acting and reacting gender neutral among your teams and staff — and show them how to do so as well.
  3. Be prepared — Gender neutral leadership doesn’t mean you won’t have instances where gender is a factor. Men and women by design have different ways of handling things, communicating or expressing emotion, etc. — and that goes for leaders as well. Get clear on how you want to handle any issues that arise, including giving yourself time to determine course of action if needed should any situations with teams and staff happen.

Managing Employee (and Your Own) Burnout

We often hear about the exciting, invigorating and fun elements of owning a startup business. In reality, startup business can mean a great deal of stress, strain, fears, and a range of other challenges for entrepreneurs and executives. This only increases as companies attempt to reach critical outcomes, be it funding, scaling, IPO, acquisition or pivot. Burnout and other challenges are very real, and have the potential to hurt the company and staff if gone without notice or addressed. But as with any issues at a company, this can also be managed — even avoided — with a few specific steps.

First, understanding that both you and your staff can get run down or overwhelmed is an important part. That doesn’t mean you want to see personal days and time off escalate — but knowing it can happen can go a long way in successfully avoiding and managing it in your organization. Second, keeping in tune with yourself and your team is key. Have you been working 14 hour days for several days in a row? Is your staff regularly waking up early to tackle issues or problems, on top of the typical 8-10 hour day? While this can be common at a startup company, no one (not even you!) can sustain or endure it long-range, no matter how great the benefit might be once the work is done. By noticing fatigue and other issues at their onset, you can better assess and work around them.

Third, set the pace for yourself and all in the organization. You absolutely need to work hard, and get work done. But working hard and getting work done does not necessarily mean a frenetic, stressful pace is required. It can mean extra hours or time at work during crunch times or development pushes, but it can often mean a need for more streamlined or realistic expectations and processes. Keep an eye on how things are going, and what it might take to complete projects, at all times.

Last, you want to make the job easier where you can. That doesn’t mean installing a foosball table to give everyone a chance to have fun and improve morale. Rather, ask yourself and your staff what might help relieve stress, strain or prevent burnout — it might be as simple as shifting work hours to a different format than the traditional 9-5, hiring an assistant to handle personal tasks and errands, or other unexpected means to solve the problem.

 

VentureBeat On VC Firms and Women

VentureBeat had a recent article that discussed data regarding women at VC firms. The continued effort to increase diversity throughout the tech industry is great for women, but also great for the business and this includes VC organizations. While men bring talent and skills to the VC industry, women possess unique insight that also has value. We often have a touch to women-centric or targeted technologies and solutions, as well as a pulse to the overall female market and consumer. With women said to make up nearly half of the technology business today, and 74% of women consumers overall using social networks and other technology, there is without question investment potential and opportunity. Not only can women in VC investment bring benefit here, but in management, leadership and more across all of an investment portfolio. I hope to see more women take interest in careers in venture capital and other areas of technology finance.