Abby Malchow: Women Vets in Tech



Joanie interviews Abby Malchow, who was attracted to the dynamic, growing tech industry even without a technical background.  Intel recruited her because of her experience with supply chain management in the Navy.  She now is a commodity manager in software and cloud technology.  Abby tells stories about how she made the transition from military to tech and how she helps veterans.  For example, while others use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to generate revenue, Abby works with AI to help prevent suicide.  You might also be interested to know that Intel has an “AI for Good” team.

Highlights:

Q: How did you develop your adaptability in the military?

“In Iraq, I had to work with people who didn’t speak English and who weren’t comfortable working with women.  In the beginning, they would try to spit on me.  When they saw how hard I worked, they respected me.”

Q: How did you earn your respect at Intel without a technical background?

“I reached out to as many people as I could to gain information.  I leveraged my veteran network here.  Having discussions with people was more beneficial than reading a book or a manual.  I learned what others did, what their mistakes were, what I should know about this industry.  Relationships were formed from that.”

Q: What kinds of people challenges did you run into?

“While some people were willing to talk to me, some were less helpful.  In the military we’re always so quick to help people.  It’s our duty.  At Intel it’s different.  Everyone has to focus on their own responsibilities first, before they can help someone.”

Q: Why is it important to talk to women?

“If I’m not seeing women in managerial roles, what does my future at Intel look like?  I wanted to know Intel was investing in women in these roles.”

Q: What kinds of challenges do women veterans face when they transition out of the military?

“They tend to disappear.  There’s less of a community for them than for men.  People tend to think of the military in a very traditional sense, that it’s male-dominated, and, because of that, facilities have been built to not include women.”

Q: How is AI being used to help suicidal veterans?

“AI has grown in several platforms, including Facebook.  Suicide prevention algorithms exist to generate pop-ups with suicide prevention information when suicidal language appears.”

Q: What challenges do you run into in trying to get multiple different types of organizations to work together on veteran suicide prevention?

“You have to get the buy-in from the company.  In the end of the day, you have to appeal to them on more than an emotional level.  You have to bring in the data.”

Words of Wisdom:

“In this industry you’re never going to stop learning.”

“Working in a male-dominated industry, I had to look outside of my group to find women to lean on for support.”

“Veterans sustain invisible wounds.”

Contact Abby:

Twitter: @AbbyMalchow

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/abbymalchow/


Geoffrey Mattson: People Strategies for Techno-Entitled Nerds



Joanie interviews Geoffrey Mattson, CEO of MistNet.  Geoffrey leads a team of software engineers who use artificial intelligence to detect digital security threats in real time to keep organizations safe from cyber-attacks.  Geoffrey shares his insights into how having such valuable technical skills can lead nerds to feel entitled and not bother learning people skills that are critical to success in the long term.

Highlights:

Q: What kinds of challenges do you see with people at work?

“There is a nerd privilege, or techno-entitlement…  In Silicon Valley, the perks that are available to young people are like never before.”

“A lot of nerds grow up like a ‘spoiled child’ and it’s gotten even worse in the last tech cycle.  You can learn a lot of patterns that are not very helpful for you, your team, or your company.”

“If your tech skills become cold after some period of time, you’re just a nerd with a nerd personality without hot nerd skills.”

Q: How do you get your team to have good people skills?

“I start with a good core.  Part of being creative is being charitable—wanting to contribute and give.

Q: What are “nerd impulses?”

“To always want to be right, to have your own way, to use any information you have to your own advantage.”

Q: How do you squelch them?

“With my team, we have an understanding after working together that we’re going to be very frank with each other and be very friendly with each other after.”

Q: How do you see AI technology affecting the way people interacting with each other?

“The problem with AI is people are much more predictable than they think they are.”

Words of Wisdom:

“All tech booms come to a bust.”

“It’s good to have a little bit of conflict to keep people awake.”

“People can be more productive, more creative, and get more work done if they think about the long term and not always being right in the moment.”

Contact Geoffrey:

Phone: 408-499-7582

Email: gmattson@mistnet.io

Website: https://www.mistnet.ai/

Twitter: @geoffrey_mat

 


David Wallace: When the Sparks Fly



Joanie interviews David Wallace, who talks about emotionally charged situations on this entertaining and enlightening episode.  David is the president of 5th Avenue Energy where he combines two of his passions, electricity and protecting the environment.  5th Avenue Energy is a San Diego based Electrical Contracting Firm that specializes in solar and renewable energy solutions in the Commercial and Industrial space.  David is a funny guy and this interview will certainly entertain you, but you will also get some valuable insights.  David has given a lot of thought to people strategies and he’s very articulate.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about yourself.

“As a kid, I would ask for very expensive robotic toys and I would take them apart to see how they worked.”

“I am a lover of all things technical, especially renewable energy. The largest obstacle I find, is not non-technical people, it’s engineers.  They’re used to speaking about other technical things, but not the flow of electrons.”

Q: What’s the emotion you refer to?

“There’s an emotion that comes when you’re driven by something.  Frustrations can arise when it comes between protecting the budget versus protecting the environment.”

Q: What do you do to make a pleasant environment for negotiation?

“The first thing I do is check my ego at the door.  I ask questions and try not to interrupt.”

Q: How did you learn to read body language?

“I had to hone in my focus because I’m usually thinking of the next thing I’m going to say.”

Q: How do you prepare yourself for being in the right mode for different types of situations?

“It’s literally a robotic function of mine: which button do I push to get the right version of David?  I put myself in a box and I choose which box I want to be in and I don’t let myself outside of the box.”

Words of Wisdom:

“Passion can make or break a sale.”

“As nerds and technical people, we’re competitive.  We can see a discussion as a competition and it’s not necessarily that.”

“Getting someone to understand that you want to understand disarms.”

Contact David:

(951) 285-4605

david@5thavenueenergy.com

http://www.5thavenueenergy.com


Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker: Communicating Science to Non-Scientists



Joanie interviews Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker, an evolutionary biologist, business consultant, author, and speaker.  Dr. Tamsin helps companies look to nature for sustainable business solutions but not necessarily in the way you would think.  Tune in for an extremely interesting episode of Reinventing Nerds.

Highlights:

Q: How do you bring evolutionary biology to companies?

“I ask myself, ‘How would nature design a company?’”

Q: How do you communicate with non-scientists?

“As scientists, everything is hypothesis driven.  For laypeople, it’s not.  We’re hardwired to tell stories. I try to meet people where they’re at and bring them on a journey to a different world.”

Q: What have you done to improve your communication skills as you moved from doctorate candidate to keynote speaker?

“Letting go of details while still being accurate.”

Q: What’s your biggest challenge with people skills?

“I’m an introvert and I talk a lot about collaboration.  Tamsin also helps other introverts collaborate.”  To learn how, listen to the podcast…

Words of Wisdom from Dr. Tamsin:

“A lot of people were traumatized by science classes.”

“Ants aren’t sitting in traffic.”

Contact Tasmin:

Website: DrTamsin.com
Twitter: BioInspired_Ink
FB: Dr. Tamsin
LinkedIn: Tamsin Woolley-Barker


Scott Krawitz: People Skills for a Technologist



Joanie interviews Scott Krawitz, the CEO of People Driven Solutions Inc (PDSI).  PDSI provides technology advisory services, such as the “virtual CTO.”  Scott has had many years as a technologist and a leader of technologists and he shares the people strategies he finds work best.

Highlights:

Q: What are the most critical people skills for a technologist?

In nerd parlance, think of it like a network communication model.  There are three stages: transmitting, receiving, and processing a message.

Q: What have you learned from your extensive world travel that has helped you develop your people strategies?

It’s an invaluable experience for any leader to explore different cultures.  Cross-cultural agility is key, especially in America.  You ignore cultural differences at your own peril.

Q: What do you mean by using the right “filter of empathy?”

Scott brings in research from cultural anthropologist, Angeles Arrien.  To learn more, listen to the podcast.

Words of wisdom from Scott:

“It’s always better to under promise and over deliver.”

“Show up and choose to be present.”

“Look for the words between the words.”

Scott offers shout outs to:

NFAR, the National Foundation for Autism Research, and 7CTOs

Contact Scott:

scott@peopledriven.co

619-908-1407

http://peopledriven.co

 


Franklin Taggart: People Strategies for Creative Minds



Joanie interviews Franklin Taggart, a mysterious nerd with an interesting past.  Franklin is a musician, podcaster, and audience coach.  He’s an extremely creative nerd and, in this episode, he explains how creativity can actually make you unemployable–and how to get around that.

Highlights:

Q: Are you or are you not a nerd?  Or is it not a binary answer?

Franklin defines and expands the definition of “nerd.”

Q: What’s your story?

It was a long strange trip.  My employment history and my bank account both reflect a significant level of chaos.

Q: How do you communicate best?

With words.  Even though I score 100% introvert on the Myers-Briggs, I can talk about anything at the spur of the moment.

Q: How do you connect with your audience and help others connect with theirs?

Artists are usually really good at what they do, but marketing is a foreign language to them.

The biggest challenge for artists and some authors is being visible.  The first step is to find a level of visibility that is comfortable.  It may be a little bit of a stretch, but not diving into the deep end.  For examples, listen to the podcast.

Words of wisdom from Franklin:

“Failure is not trying.  Everything else is learning.”

“Taylor Swift is not a country artist.”

Contact Franklin:

FranklinTaggart.com


Joanie Connell: Introduction to Reinventing Nerds



Hi, I’m Joanie Connell, your host of Reinventing Nerds.

I’m a nerd myself.  But you know what?  I don’t think I’m a whole nerd.  I think I’m about half nerd.  I started out as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley and, after several years, I decided to go back to graduate school to learn psychology because I wanted to help  engineers and other technical people be better at communicating with each other. It’s been about twenty years now and I love it!  It’s some of my favorite work.

In the Reinventing Nerds podcast, I bring people on who are nerds, and also people who are “people experts.”  For example, there are scientists, engineers, programmers, academics, researchers, doctors–people who are really focused on their technical skills yet have to have those people skills to be successful in their work.  I know it’s hard now.  Everyone wants us to have it all.

I know from being a nerd myself–at least half nerd–how annoying it is to have those schmoozy, salesy, slimy kind of people telling you what to do.  I don’t want to teach people how to communicate in a way that’s not authentic to them.  That’s not what we’re about here.  We’re about learning how to communicate in a way that works for you.

Please subscribe to the podcast.  You can also watch us on YouTube and listen to us on iTunes.  Enjoy!