How Newly Available Technology for Private Wireless Networks Aids Humanity’s Desire for Kinesis

By Robert Schena


Mobility has been a part of humanity’s desires across cultures for millennia.  The ability to chart one’s own destiny – unencumbered – is part of the canon of great ideas upon which democracy and freedom were established in the Western world.

Today, a new type of mobility has emerged with reckless abandon.  It’s the type of mobility that – again – is changing the world as we know it.

Consider this:

  • Nine-billion mobile connections by 2020 will greatly increase mobile broadband traffic, according to EET India, a UBM publication
  • Cisco predicts 15.9 terabytes of mobile data traffic will traverse networks by 2016 – a 10x increase over 2014
  • Gartner says with the move toward computing everywhere, more and more sensors will generate even more data, creating new challenges for IT

With all that broadband traffic, the private wireless network, at least for business, has emerged as a key infrastructure for accommodating this seemingly unquenchable thirst for bandwidth.

The wireless world is extremely dynamic.  And lots of things can interfere with wireless communication – trucks driving by, people moving, etc.  Traditionally, the way wireless networks function has resulted in varying degrees of performance.

Kinetic Mesh Networks and Their Origins in 9/11

Wireless mesh networks, a type of wireless network, are well established.  They create large-scale local wireless networks capable of multiple concurrent connections with a lot of redundancy.  But there’s a new type of wireless mesh network – kinetic mesh – that has been achieving momentum and has demonstrated greater adaptability to network changes on-the-fly versus other types of networking.

The technology is not new; it’s been used in some of the most rugged environments to date, specifically in military and mining applications.  It can handle movements onto the network or off the network, as well as interference crossing multiple channels – much more adeptly than other networking technologies.  It helps keep a network running reliably despite all the variables that wireless networks generally confront.

Wireless mesh networks, under which kinetic mesh is classified, are expected to attain growth of $177.2-million in 2017, an almost 16 percent compound annual growth rate, according to IMS Research.

Kinetic mesh technology emerged as a result of 9/11 and the tragic results that ensued, including the failure of the communications infrastructure that fateful day. Kinetic mesh enables people and organizations to deploy networks into places where communications infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged, or to quickly move networks into places where they never existed.  In other words, real-time mobility across the network is achieved.

Since 9/11, kinetic mesh networks have been called upon to support efforts following crippling events.

In 2004, they were used in Thailand after the tsunami that devastated that and other nations.  A kinetic mesh network was deployed in relief efforts in Phuket and for digital body identification.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the region; a kinetic mesh network supported relief efforts in Mississippi.

In disaster scenarios, as well as in other types of environments, any communications infrastructure needs to deliver throughput and scalability.  The way communications are routed plays an important part in achieving these goals.

Routing and Administrative Issues Resolved

Traditional ways of network routing work just fine in a stable environment.  But in rugged, dynamic environments, kinetic mesh is increasingly effective where infrastructure devices are constantly on the move.

That’s because a kinetic mesh’s wireless router has extra processing power and solid state memory, which allow it to do edge-processing.  This edge-processing can store video and other data, “groom” the data, and enable the data to be consumed directly from the router.

The ability of a kinetic mesh platform to handle changes and process things at the edge give people access to their applications much more quickly.

For example, municipal buses capture video on their routes each day.  At the end of a shift, the drivers hand-deliver video hard drives to their bus depot colleagues.  With kinetic mesh’s capabilities, the enormous video files can be uploaded wirelessly without human intervention.  The application is automated through edge-processing.

This type of edge-processing also can be used to help bus drivers and railroad engineers in other ways.  Nodes embedded into sensors at rail crossings and other places can relay data, including videos to officials several miles from potential hazards, reducing risks of accidents.

In mesh networks, the administrative overhead and traffic to keep the infrastructure up and running grows on a curve as new nodes are added.  In other words, as devices join the network, the administration necessary to keep things running consumes available bandwidth.  Apps stop working because the overhead is gorging itself on the bandwidth.

A kinetic mesh network keeps overhead low and constant – in spite of the number of nodes added.  The different approach in how the network is set up and managed has, in effect, eliminated the problem of curvilinear growth of overhead.

Another important development in the kinetic mesh infrastructure is the ability to automate the wireless network so that non-technical people can easily deploy it.  The administration behind the network has become the de facto computer expert.

And once the problem of making networks relatively easy to set up is solved, then the prime issue of mobility has to be addressed.  The kinetic mesh network is in one place, but it needs to be moved to another.  Elements of the network have to be in motion.  And the network has to be scalable, too.

In the broadband world, mobility is an expression of the ability to change.  Nodes come into range and join the network; other nodes fall out of range and depart the network.  Change is a constant in these types of networks.

Think of it this way:  It’s unlikely that an organization would allow its computer closet to be opened for just anyone to put things in or take things out.  A lot of planning goes into the computers and technology that make their way into that closet.

With kinetic mesh networking, nodes – essentially wireless computers – automatically enter and depart a proverbial moving computer closet.  In essence, that computer closet lives in a world outside of a single office – a “Living Network” of sorts.  Think about those nodes on trucks, on people, on aircraft.

Kinetic mesh networks have simplified and automated the ability of those vehicles now connected by those nodes to join the network – and within milliseconds.

In traditional infrastructures, adding a PC to the network means telling the rest of the network that a new device with IP address is entering.  It may take a few minutes or a half hour to make the necessary changes and to inform all other computers on the network that a “new guy” has arrived, or left for that matter.

Kinetic mesh networks have taken the complex notion of adding an asset to the network, simplified the process for joining or leaving, and eliminated disruption to other nodes on that network.

What that Means for Industries like Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry is ripe for kinetic mesh networks as a result of the increasing operational and regulatory pressures they face.  Companies in this market space are being exposed to more and more regulation at the state, federal and international levels.  As regulatory requirements increase, it becomes imperative to gather more information about the performance of pumps and valves, to have the knowledge of whether something is leaking into the ground or in the atmosphere, for example.

Such scenarios are driving the need for different types of real-time data analytics coupled with sensor technology, which can deliver voice, data and video for better security and equipment maintenance.  In turn, networks have access to sensor information in such a way that it keeps companies not only apprised of what’s going on, but also gives them time to react to what may transpire, be it turning off a valve, opening a valve, speeding up a pump, or reducing pressure.  All those actions become possible as a result of sensor information tied to a kinetic mesh network.

Across industries, businesses want to become more efficient in their operations; they want the latest data to make the most informed decisions.  However, they must weigh the cost of collecting such information versus the benefit of having it for decision-making.

Kinetic mesh networks are driving down the cost of gathering that information.  As such networks are installed, the cost of the next unit of information is declining; therefore, it becomes worthwhile to gather such information toward making better operational decisions.

And not only because the cost of allowing machine to machine communication is dropping but also because of the liability and human cost of misconnections in a network environment.

If connections fail or don’t take place as scheduled, motors and pumps get damaged, trains go barreling through intersections, planes overshoot runways.  Bad things can happen when network devices and people connect wrongly or fail to connect.

Ubiquitous connectivity is growing in importance for business.  The dependency on our communications infrastructure will grow exponentially and means a renewed focus on reliability and security.

Kinetic mesh networks – adaptable, smart, productive, and dynamic – deliver such reliability and security based on their proven success in rugged environments and their demonstrated abilities to connect people in their never-ending quest to be mobile.


Robert Schena – In 2002, Robert Schena co-founded Rajant Corporation, the pioneer of Kinetic Mesh Networks and a Finalist for PACT’s Emerging Technology Company of the Year. Rajant can be found on Twitter  @RajantCorp

Mr. Schena earned a BA in Business Administration from Temple University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has lectured extensively on broadband communications to professional and corporate organizations.



by Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey

These days, most companies have anything ranging from one person to a whole department dedicated to so-called “customer service.” But let’s be honest: For many of these departments truly gratifying service isn’t on the menu. They’re more like “complaint resolution” departments. They take calls or answer emails from unhappy customers and then try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible (often relying on a script or protocol), then move on to the next.

Here’s how we recommend handling customer service:

  • Give it away. We recommend winning your disappointed customers back by giving your employees room to offer them free products and/or services. That’s because when you only refund unhappy customers the money they paid, they’ll proceed to take their business elsewhere in the future. After all, you’ve given them only what’s due to them; not a compelling reason to stay. However, when you give customers free goods and services instead of, or even on top of, the refund, you’re saying, “We care about what you think! Please give us another chance to show you that we can exceed your expectations!”
  • Start a conversation. Get your employees in the habit of seeing customer service as a way for your company to get real and timely feedback about your goods and services from the people who are actually using them. Train employees to ask about the customer’s experience with your company’s products, where they bought them, how much they paid, how it performed for them, etc., and to really listen to the answers. This information is priceless for your production and marketing people because it will enable them to meaningfully improve your products and communication—which, in turn, could make the difference in your company staying relevant. So make sure your employees are proactive about starting these conversations and encourage them to share questions that get great feedback from customers with each other.
  • Look for ways to make customers happy. Yes, of course your employees should strive to win customers back whenever they’re dissatisfied. But no one at your company should just be sitting around and waiting for problems to arise. Encourage your employees to proactively think about what the company can do every day to make customers happy. These solutions don’t have to be difficult or complex. For example, at Barefoot, we thought of store displays as “retail entertainment.” We added color, fun, and seasonal theme sets for the enjoyment of our customers as they shopped. And if these displays naturally caught new shoppers’ eyes…so much the better! Again, this is another great discussion to constantly be having with your employees. Encourage them to share their ideas for creating happier customers—no matter how crazy! You never know what’s going to work.
  • Make customer service part of every employee’s job description. Ensure that everyone in your organization, from your receptionist to your office people, from your salespeople to your delivery people, and from your service people to your cashiers, knows where the money that pays their paycheck really comes from: Your customer! At Barefoot, new hires got an organization chart that showed the customer on top, as well as a “money map” that showed how the money came from the customer through the distribution channels, paid all the bills, and wound up in their paychecks.

Anyone with any customer contact should be ready to give sincere personalized attention: acknowledging the customer’s presence, making eye contact, addressing them by name, and conducting business in a helpful, friendly and personable manner. We suggest putting some teeth in this relationship by introducing incentives and bonuses based on sales, growth, and company profits.

  • Expand the definition of “customer.” When they hear the word “customer,” your employees probably think about the end recipient of your company’s product: the person who hands over the cash in order to take the merchandise home. At Barefoot, though, we found it helpful to broaden our definition of “customer,” and thus, “customer service.” Specifically, we considered everyone who bought or handled Barefoot to be a customer: In addition to shoppers, that included distributors, brokers, retailers, etc. We knew that each entity that touched Barefoot, from the winery to the shopper, “bought” it for a different reason. We tried to address each buyer’s needs while providing them with speedy service, product availability, and friendliness, because if dealing with Barefoot was easy and profitable, that meant it would be more widely available for the shoppers who wanted to buy it. It also meant more sales and profits for us, too!

Copyright © 2014 by Footnotes Press, LLC

Except from The Entrepreneurial Culture, How to Engage and Empower Your People


Michael-Bonnie-ProfessionalMichael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Wine, the largest bottled wine brand in the world, and authors of the New York  Times Bestselling Business book The Barefoot Spirit. From the start, with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative strategies to overcome obstacles, create new markets and foster key alliances. Michael and Bonnie now share their experience and entrepreneurial approach to business as consultants, authors, speakers, and workshop leaders. Michael and Bonnie launched at the C-Suite Network Conference their new companion book to The Barefoot Spirit entitled, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. Learn more at, and find them on Facebook and Twitter @barefoot_spirit.

How to Bring Out the Best of Your Management Style

by Tony Alessandra

If you’re a manager, you should be very aware of your management style and how it can affect others. Being conscious of the extremes of your behavioral type will allow you to work more effectively with your direct reports, and transform from just a boss into a true leader.

But before you do that, you’ll need to identify your management style. I espouse using the DISC behavioral assessment, but other popular assessments will work too.

DISC is an acronym for the four primary behavioral drivers: dominance, influence, conscientiousness, and steadiness. Dominant (High ‘D’ Styles) people are decisive risk-takers who speak boldly and confidently. Those driven by influence (High ‘I’ Styles) are apt to intertwine emotion with work, and they are interested in forming social bonds. Steady (High ‘S’ Styles) people are cooperative and composed, and approach their work consistently and methodically. People with a bent towards conscientiousness (High ‘C’ Styles) prioritize accuracy and precision, and tend to me more guarded and tactful in their expression. Take a DISC online assessment to accurately determine your DISC Style.

If you are not able to take a DISC online assessment, no problem. You can also self-identify your style based on two questions:

  • Are you more open (emotive) or guarded (controlled)?
  • Are you more direct (faster-paced) or indirect (slower-paced)?

Based on your answers to these two questions, your primary style is:

D – Direct and guarded

I – Direct and open

S – Indirect and open

C – Indirect and guarded


Once you have found your DISC Style, you can get begin making your management style more palatable to others who might not share the same DISC Style as you. Here are ways a manager, performing as an effective situational leader, can round off some of the sharper edges of his or her DISC style:


If you are a DOMINANT High ‘D’ Style…          

Ratchet down a notch or two! Keep in mind that others have feelings and that your hard-charging, know-it-all style can make your subordinates feel inadequate and resentful.

Accept that mistakes will occur, and try to temper justice with mercy. You might even joke about errors you make, rather than trying to always project a super-human image.

Dominant Directors can encourage growth in others in at least two ways: by praising employees when they do something well, and by giving direct reports a measure of authority and then staying out of their way so they can use it. Whatever you lose in control, you’re likely to gain in commitment and improved staff competency.

Try not to be quite so bossy. Ask others’ opinions, and maybe — though this is extreme for a Dominant Director — even plan some collaborative actions.


If you are an INFLUENCING High ‘I’ Style…    

Your people depend on you not just for ideas, which you are very adept at generating, but also for coordination, with which you are probably less comfortable. So anything you can do to become more organized — making lists, keeping your calendar current, prioritizing goals — will pay big dividends for both you and your team.

Nothing’s so dispiriting as to see the boss drop the ball on important matters. So, remember: if you fail to follow-up, procrastinate on tough decisions, or make pledges you don’t keep, your employees will lose faith. Even though you don’t do those things purposely, your direct reports will feel as if you’re letting them down. Your charm and warmth can’t compensate for unreliability.

Also, come to grips with the fact that conflicts are going to occur. Try to deal with them up front instead of sweeping them under the rug. In addition, organize your time better and strive to keep your socializing in balance with your tasks.


If you are a STEADY High ‘S’ Style…   

You are probably a well-liked boss. Your goal should be to become a more effective well-liked boss.

Learn to stretch a little, taking on more, or different, duties and trying to accomplish them more quickly. You may want to be more assertive as well as more open about your thoughts and feelings. Experiment with taking small risks.

Being sensitive to your employees’ feelings is one of your greatest strengths. However, you must seek a middle ground between that and being knocked off balance by the first negative comment or action that comes your way. Try to develop a thicker skin for the good of the team.


If you are a CONSCIENTIOUS High ‘C’ Style…

Your high standards are a double-edged sword. Your employees are inspired by your quest for excellence, but they might feel frustrated because they can never quite seem to please you.

One of the best things you can do is lessen and soften your criticism, spoken or unspoken. Bear in mind that you’re inclined to come off as stern in certain situations.

Ease up on your need to control, and attempt to project a more social persona. Walk around and spend more time with the troops, chatting up people at the water cooler or in the lunchroom.

Realize the fact that you can have high standards without requiring perfection in each instance. That’ll take a load off your shoulders — and off your employees’ as well.

Whatever your DISC style, being adaptable can help you to build bridges to your employees and make them feel valued. By learning to best respond to their interests, concerns, strengths, and weaknesses, you can get the most from your people as well as leave them more satisfied.



Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedTony Alessandra is the CEO of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, and a founding partner in the Platinum Rule Group, a company which has successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Tony is also prolific author with 27 books translated into more than 50 foreign language editions. Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

What Separates Chronically Positive People from Everyone Else

by Steve Rizzo

Smiling People

Anyone can tell you that one key to living a happy, successful life is having a positive attitude, especially during adverse times. I know that sometimes there just isn’t justification for all the unfortunate things that happen to us—but I also know that we all have what it takes to deal with misfortune. That is what acquiring a positive attitude is all about. It’s about fortifying yourself for a fight with a very real enemy: your own negativity.

I know this is much easier said than done, and I know that sometimes it seems impossible to stand tall and be positive when it feels like your world is falling apart around you. Yet this attitude is something that is attainable—and it’s worth keeping sharp. Who knows, your life may depend on it someday.

The word “positive” seems to frustrate a lot of people. I hear people say, “How do you expect me to be positive when nothing in my life is working?” or “It’s easy for you to be positive and feel blessed—you didn’t lose someone you love, you didn’t lose your job.”

Maybe we should consider a more realistic interpretation of what it means to be positive. Being positive isn’t always a Disney movie. It isn’t always about feeling good, because oddly, it’s healthy to feel bad sometimes—that means you’re not a robot. Are you with me? Being positive doesn’t mean that we should always smile and enjoy every moment of our lives. Give me a break! It’s knowing that sometimes it’s OK to cry, mourn and feel sad, get angry and lose your temper. And being positive doesn’t mean we never make mistakes. It’s that we learn from making these mistakes and move forward with an optimism that we are better people for having made them—richer, deeper and more resilient than before.

People who are generally positive have problems just like everyone else. What separates the chronically positive from everyone else is that they know that their problems are simply part of the process of life. After, and sometimes during, a crisis, positive people respond to a habitual mechanism that enables them to pay attention to parts of their lives that don’t make them want to spontaneously burst into tears in the middle of the produce aisle. They find a way to shift their perspective and hold on to the things that bring them joy. Pain is unavoidable, but to a person with a positive attitude, that’s all it is: pain. It’s simple, temporary and often uncompounded by doubt and comparisons to past experience.

Positive people instinctively know that adversity is necessary in order for them to grow. We are here on Earth to experience, learn, grow and become the person we are meant to become. It can’t be stressed enough that the filter through which you view experience ultimately determines who you become. How we choose to experience what happens to us, be it good or bad, will determine what we learn and how we grow. If we can comprehend this, it will help free us from feeling victimized when times are tough, and just maybe help you to compare a challenging situation with a pop quiz in Life 101, rather than, say, the apocalypse.

*This post originally appeared on


JVI_0469j-webSteve Rizzo is more than a Funny Motivational Speaker. Don’t let the laughter fool you! What Steve brings to the table is his captivating ability to engage the attendees with laughter as he challenges them to SHIFT their focus and way of thinking to discover greater enthusiasm, increased productivity and new levels of success. Recognizing difficult situations don’t cause us to fail or be unhappy, but rather our negative thoughts and beliefs about the situations, Steve has been Adjusting Attitudes in organizations throughout the world such as AT&T, Prudential, State Farm, LaQuinta, and even the CIA (yes, he even had them laughing!) since 1994.
Find him on Twitter @RealSteveRizzo, Facebook at Riz’s Biz Steve Rizzo, LinkedIn and Google+.

Why We Don’t Speak Up — We must ‘Peer’ into Each Other’s Heart!

by Judith Glaser

Why We Don Speak Up

I’ve studied rejection my whole life. I suppose that it’s a personal thing, and one of my strongest life patterns. You see, I was thrown out from nursery schools for speaking up too much; thrown out of two summer camps when I stepped over the line and orchestrated raids on the boys’ bunks for fun; was put on dunce chairs for speaking up too much in first grade; and was made to stay after school for asking why too much in fifth grade.

Being rejected, expelled or suppressed has been one of the top three fight back themes in my life. Since fear of rejection is hardwired into all of us, I’ve been compelled to study, research, and experiment for three decades looking for a new approach.  I’ve tried to find constructive, healthy ways for people to deal with rejection by enabling them to speak up in constructive, candid and caring ways.

Along the way, I’ve discovered that being outspoken requires three things: 1) the courage to speak up, 2) the courage to listen, and 3) the courage to stay in discovery until you find the best way for your voice to be heard.  I call that wisdom Conversational Intelligence®.

Why We Don’t Speak Up  

People fear rejection in any form of human interaction. Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. In fact, the same pathways are activated when we are rejected as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much.  When we take painkillers, like Tylenol, our feeling of social pain also subsides.

As an organizational anthropologist, I’ve also studied rejection as recorded in human history. Being accepted in the tribe, and staying in the tribe, have been the core behaviors needed to sustain our survival since man first appeared on earth about 1.5 million years ago.

Since we cannot survive alone, tribal behavior — for cohesion, getting along, and fitting in — enables people and cultures to grow and thrive.  We are called together to lean in to learn more and be more in “We-centric” universe.  If we fear that speaking up will lead to rejection, we may give up our voice, silence our voice or speak our voice in an inauthentic way. These choices enable us to hide but with a deleterious after-affect: Giving up our voice masks our true identity and diminishes our uniqueness. Hence, this decision to silence our voice leads to illness, failure and a disempowered life.

Why We Don’t Listen

My book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results, has at its core the most vital principle that holds all of humanity together in conversations, through a simple, primal, and practical primary principle: Listening to connect.

From neuroscientific research, we know how the brain opens up or closes down during conversations. And from our own personal experience, we know that when we work with others as peers, and our peers are open to listen to connect, the quality of our conversations elevates.  In addition, our ability to generate new ideas—even different and radically new ideas—elevates, and we trust that we will not be rejected, diminished or judged.

How we listen impacts the quality of our relationships, our partnerships, and our ability to achieve success with others.  Listening is not an end in itself, but part of a dynamic process that creates space for growth and engagement, for sharing and discovering, and for enabling new ideas, thoughts, wisdom, and growth to emerge.  Listening to connect quells our lower brain – the amygdala – which responds to our visceral and emotional inputs – and creates space for a level of listening that enables us, and others, to feel a sense of appreciation, openness and trust.

People thrive on connection and appreciation, not criticism and judgment. When we listen to connect, we create a platform for peering into each other’s minds without judgment, and for being catalytic in helping each other give birth our next-generation thinking.

Peer-coaching and peering into each other’s minds without judgment have a deep connection that makes both the verb and the noun come alive in a new way!

Peer (verb): To look keenly or with difficult at someone or something; look closely into someone’s eyes, to be just visible.

Peer (noun): A person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background and social status; something or someone of equal worth or quality.

Why We Don’t Stay in Discovery

Coaching Conversations that trigger exclusion and judgment cause us to recoil from speaking up and diminish the engagement we have with others. Coaching Conversations that make us feel like our territory has been limited or taken away, or that people are withholding information from us, cause us to feel diminished, and not part of the team.

When we judge others, their brain and heart close down. When we appreciate others, our brain and heart opens up. Creating a nurturing, appreciative culture keeps our brains open to contemplate and share novelty and newness. When we listen to connect, we set the stage for birthing the new and communicating in ways that support making better decisions.

Peer Coaching Conversations that make us feel stupid or punish us for speaking up send us into flight, fight, freeze or appease behaviors—ones fueled by our primitive brain. Coaching Conversations that stir up self-doubt or cause us to want to get back at others trigger high negative emotions that block our best thinking and turn us from friend to foe.

The power of learning to have Intelligence Coaching Conversations happens when:

  • We peer into each other’s eyes without judgment but with candor and caring and with the intention of creating and catalyzing growth in others.
  • We listen to feedback and have an open heart to take in new insights—we then end up feeling good about ourselves and empowered to try new things.
  • We give feedback in healthy ways – with candor and caring. As our listening expands, our brain (prefrontal cortex or executive brain) opens up to help us absorb and use the feedback in healthy and constructive ways.

Intelligent Peer-Coaching is a sub-set of Conversational Intelligence. It’s the practice and the power to elevate our collective ability to be open to and be skilled at giving and receiving healthy developmental feedback.

Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at; or contact her at Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE or connect with her on Facebook.

The Mentality Of A CMO Is Changing To This

by Steve Olenski


Adapt or die. It is an oft-spoken term, most notably in the movie Moneyball by Billy Beane, AKA Brad Pitt. In that context the term referred to the way baseball general managers needed to change their entire method of evaluating players via the use of “sabermetrics.”

We won’t get into the whole nitty and gritty of sabermetrics but its introduction into the game caused quite a stir and debate and still does to this day.

When it comes to the role of the CMO, the same type of fundamental change is occurring as the mentality of a CMO is changing to one of a Chief Engagement Officer. Why? The answers are obvious, at least they should be.

In today’s digital world – and let’s get one thing perfectly clear here, we as marketers are not doing digital in a marketing world, but rather are marketing in a digital world , big difference – engagement is everything.

Yesterday we were both part of a panel discussion on a webinar entitled The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms Webinar. Presented by Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) (note: Steve’s employer) the webinar featured insights gleaned from a Guide by the same released earlier this year by The CMO Club in partnership with the OMC.

During the discussion this very topic of Chief Engagement Officer was raised. The sheer number of engagement opportunities alone is staggering hence the need for this mentality shift among CMOs. The use of technology as a means to engage with a given brand is only going to keep climbing with no ceiling in sight.

Today, consumers aren’t just tech savvy, they are techdependent. How many studies and surveys do we need to read where people say they would be willing to sacrifice this or that before they give up their technology?

Still not convinced? Well perhaps the opening line to an article on Bloomberg from earlier this year will convince you. “Almost a third of Americans would rather give up sex for a year than part with their mobile phone for that long.”

Not only are consumers tech dependent, they are techaddicted.

CMOs must adapt or die. No, not in the literal sense of course. But in a very real sense nonetheless for if they do not adapt to this mentality they run the risk of seeing their career perish – understanding engagement is that important.

This article was co-written by Michael Williams, CMO of Grand Prix of America and contributor to the The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms.

*This post originally appeared on

Steve OlenskiSteve Olenski was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. Steve is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book “StumbleUpon For Dummies.” He can be reached via LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter @steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.

Flextronics CTO Erik Volkerink Uncovers the Simplicities and Complexities that Drive Disruption

by Sarah Richards


What future will we create for ourselves? In the fast-paced world of technology, it’s the billion-dollar question. By understanding where we’re headed, and what we want to do when we get there, today’s most innovative companies create solutions that help make their vision of the future a reality.

Few have a clearer picture of what this future will look like than Dr. Erik Volkerink, chief technology officer at Flextronics, the world’s second-largest electronics manufacturing services company. During his tenure there, Dr. Volkerink has played a key role in bringing some of the world’s leading technology innovations to market – maybe even the mobile phone or laptop you’re using to read this post.

For the past 12 months, SMART Technologies has partnered with Flextronics to design and build SMART kapp, a product that redefines the dry erase board with its ability to capture notes in the cloud and share them in real time with remote participants. SMART CTO Warren Barkley and VP of Operations Nicholas Svensson worked closely with Dr. Volkerink to refine SMART kapp’s design while leveraging the latest innovations in wireless connectivity, sensor and camera technologies, and mobile device integration.

I met with Dr. Volkerink to talk about his take on the future of technology, the mechanics of innovation, and where SMART kapp fits in:

Sarah Richards: What’s the greatest advancement in collaboration technology you’ve seen in the past five years?

Dr. Erik Volkerink: It’s interesting, because collaboration solutions are very much a generational thing. Even something as simple as texting represents a significant advancement in collaboration technology when you think about it. The breakthrough from phone, to email, to texting, is an interplay between creating intimacy and documenting information.

I think SMART kapp is a great example of this. SMART is essentially looking at how whiteboards were used 20 years ago and then applying the latest technologies to create a new, innovative product. Several of today’s most interesting products take something that has existed for decades and integrates the latest technologies in order to cause a disruption. Think about Nest: they integrated the latest human-machine interfacing, wireless connectivity, and battery technology into a product that has existed for years, and caused a complete breakthrough. There are a lot of segments where a similar trend is happening, and I think SMART is really at the forefront.

Once product management has a clear and crisp understanding of the latest technologies, and what they can represent from a product functionality perspective, frequently the next generation killer product becomes readily visible. Once engineering teams digest these technologies in true product building blocks from design-to-manufacturing and execute according the right engineering methodology, productivity, product velocity, and innovation velocity, grow out of the roof. Product innovation almost becomes like playing with Lego. Flextronics is driving this new innovation methodology.

How does collaboration accelerate innovation in today’s leading companies?

At Flextronics, we’re creating a collaborative innovation platform, because the rapid proliferation and increasing complexity of new technologies can pose a challenge – especially when innovators operate in isolation. We’ve developed a portfolio of innovation building blocks that allows sharing across segments. So if there’s a great new technology being used in medical, then within a week you can leverage the same technology in automotive, aerospace and defense, or any other market segment.

We created what we call an Open Innovation Platform, which is really a combination of all these different building blocks, in order to create a culture of collaboration across industries. In Silicon Valley, we have groups of people come into what we call our Innovation Cafe. It’s a collaborative setup where on one side, we have the newest qualified technologies, and on the other we have example applications across segments and in the middle a big whiteboard where we write down ideas and collaborate around the table. We get subject-matter experts and market experts in the room in order to really help our customers understand what their next generation products could look like, leveraging the latest technologies we see globally in the various innovation hubs. It will be great to have a SMART kapp in the Innovation Café to take this collaboration to the next level.

Tell us a little bit about the process of designing and building SMART kapp.  

It all started with a lunch with Warren and Nicholas, almost a year ago. I’ve always loved SMART products which I knew from my time at Stanford, and I was excited to show what Flextronics could bring to the relationship. When we started working on SMART kapp, we added value by sharing our expertise in enabling and scaling new, innovative products. There was one point where our Snapdragon building block and experience made a critical difference to the design. As we moved through the learning curve integrating with each other optimally, we had an extremely collaborative, positive experience partnering with SMART.

How does SMART kapp stand out in comparison to other projects at Flextronics?

I think SMART really understands what next-generation products could and should look like. If I look at what’s happening in all the different segments, there is a common theme, and that’s around next-generation human-machine interfacing, next-gen battery/low-power technologies, next-gen sensors and activators, next-gen wireless and connectivity, next-gen wireless connectivity, etc. And what you see in SMART kapp is a simple and elegant combination of deploying these technologies to cause a disruption in an existing market.

It’s funny… 10 years ago my ideal car stereo interface would have had 5, 6, maybe 20 different buttons to control and equalize the sound. Five years ago my ideal interface is was only an AUX plug so I could plug in my mobile. Today my ideal user interface for a car stereo is really nothing; it’s just Bluetooth connected to my mobile. And so the evolution of human-machine interfacing is going through a significant disruption in some applications trading off interfacing cost with merely wireless connectivity.

So given that evolution toward simplicity, and the merging of old and new technologies, how does SMART kapp fit into those trends?

I think the SMART product and technology portfolio is at the forefront of these trends. Whiteboards are fundamental in every collaboration environment. In a previous career, I used SMART products, so I knew the brand well before I had the opportunity of working with Warren and Nicholas, and I always loved the products. I think SMART has made some of the most influential contributions to true collaboration solutions in recent years.

We have so many meetings day in and day out, and the number of times people stand up and go to a whiteboard every day is unbelievable. It’s such an effective way of conveying a message; a picture says a lot more than 1,000 words. The concepts we draw on whiteboards are sometimes priceless. And yet, we’re using the same whiteboards as 20 years ago. The result? People are struggling, making notes, taking pictures of the boards, attaching the picture, which is barely legible, to an email… and there’s really no need for this anymore.

SMART kapp solves this problem. It’s this simple: anywhere in the world where there’s a whiteboard, there should be a SMART kapp. Whiteboarding is unbelievably important to the way people collaborate, and that’s a fundamental aspect of the human species. We’re social beings – we like to collaborate. And few companies enable true collaboration the way that SMART does.

*This post originally appeared on

sarahSarah Richards is a Social Media Manager at SMART Technologies working from Vancouver. Follow her @EdTechSarah.

C-Suite Conference Continues to “Grow in Excellence” in Chicago

The C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, will gather executives from across the country to network and share ideas at the Chicago JW Marriot, June 7-9. The exclusive conference will showcase top C-Suite leaders and business school thinkers as they present on the theme of “Growth in Excellence.”

The three-day conference connects attendees with industry experts, who share their wealth of experience and knowledge through keynote speeches, roundtable discussions, and interviews. Chicago’s conference features an exclusive lineup with content geared toward C-Suite interests.

Noteworthy presenters include Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari Corporation & Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater and CEO of Brainrush; Tony Hunter, publisher and CEO of Chicago Tribune Media Group; Janet Schijns, vice president and MarTech chief of Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Bryan Sartin, managing director of the Verizon RISK Team; and Lance Secretan, former CEO of Manpower Limited and award-winning professor, columnist and author.

Conference content includes:

  • Technology impacting how we relate to customers
  • Why you need a Chief Digital Officer in a growing company
  • C-Suite secrets for protecting, growing and expanding your brand from top decision makers at Verizon
  • How to radically improve collaboration across your company
  • The intersection of government policy and business success
  • Spotlight on technology that is boosting customer loyalty and its ability to deliver revenue growth
  • Being the best leader of a diverse team

Networking, interactive breakout sessions, and an engaging speaking program allow attendees to gain a competitive edge, incredible knowledge and key insights to bring back to their companies for continued growth and operational excellence.

For more information about the upcoming C-Suite Conference visit

C-Suite Conference All-Star Lineup Comes to the Windy City

The C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, will host its fourth C-Suite Conference to gather the brightest business minds in Chicago, June 7-9. A number of C-Suite leaders, authors and speakers will share their business acumen with the attendees, giving them the opportunity to learn from their peers. Adam Johnson, former anchor of Bloomberg Television, will host the two-day event.

This year’s conference brings to the stage several noteworthy speakers. Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater and CEO of Brainrush, will sit for an interview on Monday morning. In the afternoon, publisher and CEO of Chicago Tribune Media Group, Tony Hunter, will provide insights on navigating a traditional business toward success in game-altering times. Lance Secretan, former CEO of Manpower Limited and award-winning professor, columnist and author, will provide the audience with an engaging keynote on understanding motivation and inspiration.

Verizon also joins the conference agenda with Janet Schijns, vice president and MarTech chief for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, and Bryan Sartin, managing director of the Verizon RISK Team, speaking on C-Suite secrets for developing organizational cultures of innovation and success.

C-Suite Network co-founder and chairman, Jeffrey Hayzlett, will conduct on-stage interviews for first-hand stories of overcoming obstacles, personal setbacks and other business challenges. Interviews include: Neal Campbell, SVP and CMO of CDW; Ron Carucci, co-owner and managing partner of Navalent; and Chuck Lovelace, vice president of Liberty Tax Services.

The agenda boasts an expansive list of renowned panelists who will lend their expertise to those in attendance, including the executive director of the Institute of Politics at University of Chicago, Steve Edwards, who will lead a roundtable titled, “The Intersection of Government Policy and Business Success.”

“I am looking forward to our fourth conference, where I get to interact with some of the brightest minds in business. There’s no other place where C-Suite leaders can go to find the first-hand experience and knowledge that will impact their business’ success,” said Hayzlett. “I am excited for these thought leaders to come together, learn from each other and take back with them information that will help their companies grow.”

For more information about the upcoming C-Suite Conference visit

Read more at MarketWired

Get a Fresh Start: Your Relationship Repair Kit

by Judith Glaser


Most of us experience moments of conflict daily as we fall prey to power, politics and personalities. When we disagree with someone on an issue, we get triggered, and then go for a win. If the conflict involves something important to us, we tend to take a position and fight for our beliefs.

Relationship Repair Ritual

My relationship repair kit includes conversational rituals that will help you reframe, refocus and redirect conversations and transform anger into alignment.

One such repair ritual is to Double-Click to reshape the future. This is a sharing and discovering approach to understanding the perspectives of others so they feel heard, not threatened. I call it Double-Clicking because the process mimics opening folders on your computer to drill down into details and unlock deep connections. As you strengthen your relationships by listening and caring, you quell fears, trigger the mirror neuron system, create empathy, and open your mind to think about conflicts in new ways. As you trigger oxytocin—the trust and bonding hormone—a conflict can open new possibilities.

To do this exercise, get with at least three other people, draw a circle in the center of a piece of paper and write Success. Then draw 12 spokes around the circle and write one word that represents success to you. Delve into your individual mind-scapes to share and compare word meanings and perceptions with each other. You will discover that people have different ideas about success. One may view team success as a lack of conflict, another as the ability to share different ideas and challenge each other and another might view it using only a financial measure.

We all hold different views of reality, and when we look inside to see the meanings we make of core concepts, we discover associations we didn’t know we had. Double-Clicking brings to light areas where people are aligned and misaligned.

We often assume we are aligned around success when we are not. Our success wheels represent the way we envision and measure success, and how we navigate to create success. If our movies differ in the details, we create cultures of distrust. I’m looking to produce my movie of success while you are looking to produce yours.

Double-Clicking is an antidote to conflict. When you look inside someone else’s meanings of words, you see that conflicts often come from the way we frame or define the words we use. Through this exercise we learn how to practice living in discovery. When we don’t stop to explore and discover, we live with the belief that we disagree, when in fact we may not. When we graphically map success together, we can feel an organic and chemical change taking place that turns foes into friends and transforms “my ideas” into “our ideas.” This dramatic shift moves us from I to WE — a neurochemical shift at the heart of Conversational Intelligence that enables bonding and collaboration.

We all hold different views of reality, and when we Double-Click, we explore the unique connections at the heart of the matter. We breathe new life and possibilities into relationships—often resulting in transformation.

Power, politics and personalities are part of being human. We are, by nature, social beings who function better inside a group. We want to be included, appreciated, valued, recognized and loved. By enhancing the quality of the engagement at each level, you will have more meaningful conversations that restore relationships, reduce conflict and move into co-creative interactions that achieved desired outcomes.

Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at; or contact her at Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE or connect with her on Facebook.