Read ‘Em, Weep, and Laugh
Oct 13 2014

Below are some really great, entertaining, and thought provoking posts & articles.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.

Good at math (Seth Godin) – This post arrived in my in box after my 9 year old daughter told me she wasn’t good at math.  I told her she was too young to make that decision.  I told her that only after she has taken Calculus that she could she tell me she didn’t like math or it wasn’t her best subject.  She then asked me what Calculus was and she, her brother and I laughed out loud at that silliness. :-)

Reconceptualizing Your Career  and Rethinking Career Management (Scott Uhrig) – Who hasn’t wondered what the heck is going on with their career?

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. (gapingvoid) – A perfect cartoon to describe how people react to change.

Get Lucky (Fred Wilson) – Fred appears to be one of the luckiest people I know.  A famous VC and blogger, great family, good health, etc.  He links to an article Richard Wiseman wrote on lucky and unlucky people.  He said the money quote was “My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

“How do I get rid of the fear?” (Seth Godin) – No, the right question is, “How do I dance with the fear?”

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People  (Cloe Madanes) – An entertaining read about honing your misery skills.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

InnoTech Women in Tech Summit – October 15, 2015
Oct 12 2014

I was fortunate enough to be invited to be one of the coaches at this year’s InnoTech Women in Tech Summit event.  InnoTech Austin, presented by Presidio, returns to the Austin Convention Center on October 15, 2014. The 11th annual event will include all new topics and speakers for a fresh and exciting conference.

I have not had the opportunity to attend InnoTech in the past. I’m looking forward to the experience and to networking with a bunch of new and interesting people.  For those of you in Austin, I look forward to seeing you there!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, networking, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Women@Austin Elevate Award – Jimmy Treybig
Oct 9 2014

Last night I attenjimmy-treybig-women@austin-Oct-2014ded a Women@Austin event where they gave the first Elevate award to someone who has had a great impact on women entrepreneurs.  It went to my long time mentor and adviser, Jimmy Treybig, founder of Tandem Computers.

Jimmy is one of the few people to take a company from $0 to $2.3 billion. I feel so lucky to have had him as a mentor, friend, and adviser over the last 15 years. Check out page 26 for an article I co-wrote on him for the Rice Alumni magazine called Successful Companies Require Successful Teams! He gave a great speech last night on the importance of women in the entrepreneurial community and how the fundraising process works for both women and men.

I was asked to contribute a quote about Jimmy for the award. Janice Ryan, co-founder of Women@Austin, read an excerpt of my quote as well as quotes from others before he was given his award.  Here’s my full quote:

“Jimmy is one of my favorite people to talk with about business and life. He’s always made himself available to discuss my ideas, encourage me, and offer me different ways of looking at things. He’s been a wonderful cheerleader for me during great times and challenging times. He tends to look at the whole person and evaluates them through a lens of whether they are smart, kind, have the ability to create great opportunities in their chosen market, and can lead/motivate a team of talented people…regardless of their gender, ethnicity, kid situation, or even if they have blue hair or tattoos! Plus, he always buys me nice lunches”

I look forward to the next Women@Austin event.  There were some very accomplished and powerful women in the room last night. The energy was palpable!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising, success story | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Do You Care?
Sep 7 2014

bowl of flowersDo you care? It seems like a simple question, and the answer obviously differs based on what you are talking about.  For instance, do you care about your customers? Do you care about your kids? Do you care about the random person walking down the street? Do you care about lizards?

There are many case studies of companies who have done well because they truly care about their customers and their employees.  There are writers who write about the critical importance of caring about customers and their readers.  They go so far as to say they “love” their customers.

So why is it that so many companies don’t understand how important  love, care, & empathy are to the creation of meaningful success and often goes hand in hand with financial success? Maybe caring is hard to scale?  Apple cares in one way.  Does Microsoft care in another?

The photo in this blog post is from our recent trip to Sri Lanka.  It is picture of flowers floating in a bowl of water in the area outside of a jewelry store we visited.  Many hotels and other places had similar bowls with flowers in them in the entrance area.  One hotel where we stayed had each arriving guest place a flower in the bowl to show how many people had checked in that day.  It seemed a simple gesture to demonstrate that the people in that hotel cared about each of us (unique, beautiful flowers) and wanted our experience to be the best it could be, and it was!

Author: | Filed under: client services, entrepreneurship, travel | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

How do You do Your Homework?!
Aug 20 2014

The cutting edge education technology company (Querium), where I run client services and operations, has submitted a a Future 15 session idea for our CEO, Kent Fuka.  Here’s an overview:

Ask any math instructor and they’ll tell you that while it’s nice to see a student’s answers to homework and test questions, what they really want to see is how the student got that answer. In this session we will demonstrate expert system technology that provides step-by-step tutoring assistance in a virtual, one-to-one experience. The system has students “show their work” by supporting handwritten work on tablets and reports on that work to instructors to provide insight into student thinking.

For a summary video of this the concept behind the session, check this out: http://vimeo.com/99060342

To VOTE, go here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/38969 (Thank you!!)

You will learn about:

  • The future of online math problem solving to help you, your kids, your students, and/or your teachers increase success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects!  Will multiple choice questions in math related topics be a thing of the past?!
  • Cutting edge, A.I.-based software that evaluates student problem solving step by step.
  • Translation of student problem-solving data into actionable insight for instructors.

Thanks in advance for your vote and for sharing the link.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Here’s an overview of Querium:

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Songs In The Wild
Jun 3 2014

Save Me From MyselfI finally faced a big fear of putting my “art” out there for the world to judge, hate, like, love, or be indifferent about.  It’s been a multi-year endeavor, and I published them online via DistroKid back in March 2014.  Getting them on the sites below was the easiest part of this whole endeavor and apparently I’ve made $10.50 on them in March and April!  There’s a two month lag in reporting sales via DistroKid.  I wasn’t sure I’d even get $5, so I’m excited about the extra $5.50 that I can use to buy lottery tickets!

I didn’t create the songs for money.  I created them to stay partially sane during a very strange and eye opening period in my life, and I wanted to see if I could actually go from nothing to something consumable (darn entrepreneurial genes) in the world of music.  From what I hear in the music business, if I recoup my investment in a decade, I’ll be lucky.  To me the pay back is my kids humming my songs as well as some of their classmates telling me they downloaded them because they liked them…priceless!

Here’s the sparse facebook page for what I call this haphazard musical endeavor: Metaphor Mania. You can find the songs here:

iTunes:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Amazon:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Spotify:
Soul Escape
Save Me From Myself

SoulEscapeCo-written by Aruni S. Gunasegaram (lyrics & singing) and Brett Jason Wintermeyer (musical arrangement). Produced, arranged, & recorded by Ron Wikso. Chris Tondre (Guitars and Bass), Derek Morris (Keyboards), Chad and Natasha Hudson (Background Vocals), Ron Wikso (Drums).  Album cover designs by Marla Shane .

I posted the song links on facebook a couple of months ago and received some encouraging feedback.  Just like I like, love, hate, and don’t care for some songs, I suspect others will feel the same about these, but I finally did it!  And, as they say, “beauty is in the eye (ear) of the beholder!”

My kids are helping me create YouTube videos for the songs since they know how to use iMovie and I have no clue how to make a video.  We are still searching for additional appropriate random photos so it’s likely the videos won’t be ready until after summer’s over and we return from some photo worthy summer trips.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to them and share them if you like them.  As always, I appreciate all of you readers and friends who have stuck around for so many years through my entrepreneurial, parental, and musical endeavors…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, parenting, singing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Thinking about Thinking
May 31 2014

Thankfully, my life has been very busy with many good and sometimes challenging opportunities.  It’s kind of like waking up with a new puzzle at your feet almost every morning and thinking to yourself that someone must have decided that you love solving puzzles but they forgot to clue you in that you like them.   By the end of the day, you realize you do in fact like solving puzzles and you feel like you’ve accomplished something by solving part of the puzzle put at your feet that morning, but then the next morning it’s a whole new puzzle!  I think someone has done a movie about this concept?

I get lots of great ideas of things to write about during the day, but I am not usually at my home computer when those ideas pop in my head. I’m typically in the middle of doing some work or kid related thing. When I finally sit in front of my personal computer at the end of the day, I have usually run out of steam or what some people refer to as the writing flow.  As in most things in life, writing seems to happen best when you are in a zone.  Things like playing sports, creating spreadsheets, creating software code, music, connecting with people, as well as writing seem easier when you are in a zone.  When someone is in a zone, it looks effortless to those on the outside.  I’ve seen my son and some of his teammates play soccer in the zone and it’s magical.

It makes me wonder why most of us don’t operate in our zones?  Is it because we think too much or is it, according to the article Laughter, the best meditative medicine in the LA Times, because we don’t laugh enough?  Or is it because we don’t take on enough risk: How To Hack Into Your Flow State And Quintuple Your Productivity (Fast Company).

Kids laugh more than adults.  Adults are forced to think more than kids.  If you want a good laugh watch baby laughing (YouTube almost 22 million views) and Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper (Original) (YouTube almost 69 million view).  So funny, it makes your eyes water!

If this post comes through without the issues I’ve had in the past on my blog, my next post will include the links to my a) recently published, b) many years in the making, and c) Wow, I finally did it, songs.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, singing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Lemonade Day Stand – 2014
May 7 2014

lemonade-day-2014We participated in Lemonade Day again this year on May 4, 2014 (May the 4th be with you).  It was so much fun and a great entrepreneurial lesson for the kids last year (see Lemonade Day Austin – May 5, 2013 – Entrepreneurial Kids), that we did it again at the same location.  The three girls made over $165 in profits this year compared to $91 last year.  We changed our product mix and provided coffee, muffins, and lemonade versus lemonade, sport bars, and muffins last year.  Since we were at the Rookie Triathlon, there were already sponsors that were providing free Power Bars!

My son did it again with two of his friends at the same location they did last year.  I haven’t heard the results yet, but they think they made a good profit as well.

The only downside of doing the stand at a triathlon is having to get up at 4:30 a.m. in order to be there by 5:30 a.m. (hence a photo of the stand in the dark) to get set up before the race started!  A true entrepreneurial experience: odd hours, lots of work, and you have to wait until the end of the day to see if you actually made any money. I’m guessing more money is made in some simple lemonade stands than in many businesses who attempt to get up and make lemonade every day…even when there is a shortage of lemons, or currently limes (The lime panic of 2014).  See also The Lime Shortage: Still Messing With Your Margarita.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

This is a Test with Images
Apr 27 2014

I think I might have finally found the code culprit (with lots of help from friends and one who also happens to be a co-worker plus talented developer) that was causing the spam issue with my blog.

Cosmos_spacetime_odyssey_titlecardThis is a final test to see if it still works if I insert an image.  Since the kids and I have really been enjoying watching COSMOS every week, here’s an image for that show with a link back to wikipedia.

Hopefully, I will check my email in the morning and see another spam free post!  Although it’s taken a long time for the right person to help figure out the issue (crossing fingers), it least it hasn’t been billions and billions of years. :-) Good night.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

This is Another Test
Apr 25 2014

I think we are coming closer to figuring out the spam issue in my blog.

I’m crossing fingers this post comes through without any weirdness, other than normal blog posting weirdness. :-)

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Six Personalities You Need For Your Startup
Apr 20 2014

The following is a guest post from Bernd Schoner. Schoner was the founder of ThingMagic, LLC, a garage-grown RFID technology company led by a small group of MIT Media Lab graduates. Young and fresh-face, Schoner guided his company through the ups and downs of a start up that ultimately sold to Trimble Navigation, a multi-billion dollar, multinational tech company, where he currently works as the VP of Business Development.

According to Bernd Schoner, author of The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide: How to Bootstrap Your Startup, Lead Through Tough Times, and Cash In for Success
The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide (Amazon affiliate link) (McGraw-Hill, May 2014), assembling your founding team is a make-or-break move that every business faces. In fact, he says that it “determines the path and outcome of a new venture more than any decision in the life cycle of a company.” In his new book, Schoner sheds light on the six core roles needed for a new tech start up.

  1. The Primadonna Genius: Not surprising, technical expertise is the one skill a high-tech founding team can’t do without. You need to have a genius or two to get your team off the ground. The genius’ competency can be highly specific. Let’s face it– your genius is your diva. They will ask for things you’re not sure how you’re going to get done. They will potentially ask you to take a chance on them and look you down with that passion in their eye that compels you to say “yes.” If you’re lucky, your genius will not only bring technical expertise to the table, but also a set of commercial contacts too– an entourage of sorts.
  2. The Leader: Running a new company in a consensus-driven democratic process has its limits, especially when hard decisions need to be made that affect everybody’s lives. Consensus usually requires compromise, which is not necessarily in the best interest of a new tech venture. A founder group with a clear leader in its midst has it easier. Being the leader doesn’t mean more stock or equity, nor does it mean the leader will necessarily be CEO. It just means that the co-founders trust one of their own and are willing to follow, if indeed there is conflict and controversial decisions need to be made.
  3. The Industry Veteran: Any competent marketer can study an industry, get quick insights into how it works, understand who the key players are, and identify products that may prove lucrative for a small venture. However, it takes a long immersion in the marketplace to call yourself an insider, to understand the subtleties of the competitive landscape, to recognize people as true assets (oftentimes despite their titles), and to look through the propaganda of technical collateral and PR campaigns. That’s why the industry veteran is helpful.
  4. Sales Animal: Young high-tech companies are at constant risk of forgetting that they actually need to sell the wonderful technology they invented. A Sales Animal on the founder team helps to contain that risk. The combination of technical insight, founder authority, and sales experience is a hard-to-beat advantage in the competitive marketplace.
  5. The Financial Suit: Professional controllers and CROs are readily available for hire to fill the financial gaps on your team. Remember, though, that financial talent often has its own agenda. Understandably, they are trying to build a career, or make money quickly, or own as much stock as possible by the time your venture is readying itself for an exit. If you can put a skilled co-founder in charge of overseeing the finance function, you may enjoy a little bit of extra peace of mind.
  6. The Superstar: In the midst of silly little problems like ordering office supplies and keeping the office network running, it is easily forgotten how glamorous the role of high-tech entrepreneur can be. The world wants to think of tech founders as superstars, who are doing what the average man or woman cannot. Groom the superstar on your team and you can use her as the backbone of your marketing, recruiting, and PR strategy. Fortunately, almost any combination of eccentricity, nerdiness, and charisma qualifies a co-founder to become a star.

Every start up is different, but the roles he mentions make sense to me.  I think one of the most important roles that some companies overlook is the role of client services.  After your Sales Animal has closed a sale, it’s critical to keep customers happy and feeling cared about.  Turnover in customer’s is hard on any business, but even harder in a start up where resources are scarce and energy to find new customers is limited.  Customers in a technology start-up may be called to serve as references for other potential customers or investors, so in my opinion they should always feel like you are doing your best to do the right thing by them.

What do you think?

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SXSW 2014: Edu, Music, and Pi Day
Mar 17 2014

Pi-In-SkyThis is the first time in several years that I did not attend any SXSW interactive events…not a single one.  I don’t feel that I missed out on anything other than not seeing some folks in person who I usually “see” online.  Instead I attended SXSWedu and finagled a wristband for SXSW music, and I had a great time.

I was at SXSWedu for my company and it felt to me like the early days of SXSW interactive.  There is so much going on in the world of ed tech.  I learned a lot and we all met some great potential partners.  A friend invited me to go with her to SXSW music, and I heard some really great bands including Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Suzanne Vega, David & Olivia, Boy & Bear, and I even got to Pi-Day-Interviewwatch a hip hop contest. I saw a few performances by amateurs who made me feel better about my two songs that I’m about to release via DistroKid (after I get an album cover created & designed).  I will do a blog post soon linking to the places where you can find my songs.

My kids are helping me create a YouTube video of images.  We are going to draft up a contract so they get some experience with a business negotiations (i.e., mom decides what they get paid), they get experience creating something and putting it on YouTube, and I get a good deal a beautiful video created by my kids.

Well, I don’t have anything else I want to write, so I’m leaving you with some photos and images of Pi Day that happened on 3/14/14.  One is a photo in downtown Austin at SXSW where planes where creating Pi in the Sky and the other was an image that showed up somewhere in one of my email accounts.

 

 

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Super Bowl Sunday & Groundhog Day!
Feb 2 2014

I’m not a big football or groundhog watcher, but this year the days have collided.  I don’t plan to watch any groundhogs, but I do plan to see part of the Super Bowl.  Because my son loves sports, we will be going to a friend’s place to the watch the game so he can be with others who like to watch football.   Ah, the things us mothers do for our kids that we don’t have the patience to do for other sports fanatics in our lives. :-)

owl-seth-godinI’m hoping with the recent WordPress update, there won’t be spam links in my email feed, but it’s a crap shoot.  I haven’t been able to figure out the reason after asking several people and doing some research.  I think it’s beyond my technical expertise to figure out a fix in the near term.  I’ve managed to post about once per month mostly because I haven’t permanently fixed the spam issue and secondly because I’m still working on interesting topics to post about.  Here are some good reads:

Groundhog day and the Super Bowl – Seth Godin

The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways. – Katie Malinski

How to draw an owl – Seth Godin

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People – AlterNet.org

The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You – NewYorker.com

 Overcome the Eight Barriers to Confidence – HBR.org

…different people differently – Seth Godin

Life is not an adventure until it starts scaring you shitless. – Gapingvoid

 

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, Just For Fun, parenting, wordpress | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Go With The Flow – Happy New Year 2014
Jan 1 2014

¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2014! Another year has passed and boy/girl what an entrepreneurial year it has been!  I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix the spam (stupidity) hack that someone has done to my email feed, but after checking feedburner, feedblitz, WordPress, and staring into space, a solution/fix hasn’t surfaced.  Thank you to all of you who replied to my email feed noticing the insertion of random, annoying spam ads.  The emailed version of this post may have spam inserted, so please don’t click on the spam links…unless of course you are “looking for a good time via potency drugs.”  Fortunately, the post itself as it shows up on my blog and the RSS feed do not have spam links, just the email feed and I have no idea why!

While I am writing this post, I’m listening to final mixes of two of my songs: Save Me From Myself and Soul Escape.  Pretty soon you can sing them in your shower without worries of copyright violations!  :-)  It’s been close to a 3 year process to get to this point, but I can check “having a professional song produced” off my list soon…

Just like Fred Wilson, I am Unresolved this year, and I couldn’t feel happier about it.  When you think about it, it’s almost kind of stupid to make resolutions when so much of life is out of your freaking control.  Sure, I can eat better, exercise, laugh more, cry more, make sure I have the best career ever, piss off more people, etc. but it seems to me it’s best to just “Go With The Flow,” be as honest as you can be, and “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.”  Why humans don’t get this simplicity (see Scott Adams’ article below) after thousands of years is perplexing.  We must be a slow species that likes to complicate things.

But in other good reads:

The Non-Movie Version of Entrepreneurship – Francine Hardaway

How to Burst the “Filter Bubble” that Protects Us from Opposing Views – MIT Technology Review

Changing What You Do Versus Changing How You Think – IttyBiz

Simplifiers and Optimizers – BoingBoing by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Rethinking the Job Search – Scott Uhrig of White Rock Partners (also relevant to Sales and Fundraising)

I Don’t Need To Search Anymore – gaping void

The care and feeding (and shunning) of vampires – Seth Godin

To copy what I posted on facebook: “Happy New Year! May 2014 be full of love, laughter, joy, and mind blowing (lovely) adventures with good health and peace mixed in for good luck!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, holiday, Just For Fun, music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Thanksgivukkah and Black Friday
Dec 1 2013

This year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collided.  In the US, apparently the retailers decided to start the crazy sales activity just that much earlier and open up Thanksgiving eve.  I guess the news folks will tell us if it was worth it.  I didn’t venture out or even online to purchase anything on “Black Friday,” Thursday, or whatever.  I know people who did.  I did venture out today (Sunday) to Target to return some things and get some basics, but there was only the normal crowd there.

At any rate, I’m thankful that I can choose to shop or not shop.  I’m thankful for many, many things…mostly that I’m here right now in this intersection of space & time with many wonderful people around me.  Plus, I’m easily able to type this post and share these articles with you:

Our Self-Inflicted Complexity – Harvard Business Review

The Fall Of The Alphas – A VC, Fred Wilson (I just now bought the Kindle version of the book)

10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn – Huffington Post (“Problems are bad. It’s important to stay happy. I’m irreparably damaged by my past. Working hard leads to success. Success is the opposite of failure.  It matters what people think of me.  We should think rationally about our decisions. The pretty girls get all the good stuff.  If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect.  Loss is terrible.”)

The first lie… – Seth Godin

What “no” means – Seth Godin

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime – Scientific American

The Paradoxical Traits of Resilient People - Fast Company

And of course a song and music video: Let Her Go by Passenger

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
‘Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

 

Author: | Filed under: book review, books, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off