IBM’s Bluemix Girls’ Night and Leadership Panel

I confess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And as Tableau seems to lead data visualization, I really enjoy the simplicity of Watson’s Personality Insight’s circular wheel as shown above. I think we will see more emphasis on usability design in the years to come from IBM if Watson is the showcase example.

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

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

Usability test for software page

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAM user struggles

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



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

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

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




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


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

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

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


Personas for the leisure marketing

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


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

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


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


Krill usability test 2009 from Lynne Watanabe on Vimeo.

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

Facebook’s Compassion Research 2015

Compassion Day at Facebook

Facebook’s 5th Annual Compassion Research Day

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Telehealth: Is It A Fitness or Medical Wearable?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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



From Early Graphics, Public Relations, Research Marketing, Web Producer, Field Marketer. Marketing Strategist

205K RUSA Permanent #1337 – Carmel Cruise

Carmel Cruise RUSA Permanent #1337 205K

Carmel Cruise RUSA Permanent #1337 205K

Completed the RUSA permanent #1337 Carmel Cruise on Saturday. Originally a planned 127 miles route but due to getting lost and adding a few miles to grab some food our adventure ended with a total of 129 miles and 6,300′ elevation.
Our ride started early, the first control point was the Scotts Valley Safeway at 7AM.

The ride started with a early morning chilly descent and I decided to wear only my vest and arm warmers knowing that the hills would keep me fairly warm. Once again, as my last 200k brevet, I forgot how chilly and windy it is by the ocean and so, once again, I will consider purchasing a light compact windbreaker.

Santa Cruz Bay

We descended down Glen Canyon Rd, sections of this road are washed out and becomes a single lane. Santa Cruz and Capitola were my old high school summer weekend haunts so it felt a bit nostalgic to be riding through there.


At the town of Aptos we rode a sectioned Beach Drive we rode down to Seacliff State Beach thinking we were going to ride along the beach but we made a mistake and had to turn back and take the high road and ride up Rio Del Mar hill (6.9% avg grade says Strava).

Our first mistake of the ride.

Could you blame us for being lost? Which road would you prefer to take, the Rio del Mar 7% grade or the flat Beach Drive?

Not so bad– in fact, most of the ride was very pleasant and scenic with panoramic ocean views.

As you enter Monterey most of the route was on the bike path — I will get back to the farm roads later. As you near the Cannery Row there are murals with characters possibly depicted from John Steinbeck featured novels (Trivia! Which famous actor featured in two of Steinbeck’s novels in 50’s?). The bike and pedestrian shared path becomes crowded with snorkels, visitors for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and various restaurants so we had to slow down and enjoy the stop and go along the path.

As we headed toward Carmel, enjoying the sights of Pacific Grove, on the opposite side of the street we saw a speedy tandem approaching. I was impressed by their coordination and smiled as we passed but a few beats later I heard my name called out!


We turned around and it was none other than fellow #BCC Ian Prowell and lovely stoker Cheryl Prowell!

Ian and Cheryl Prowell on their beautiful Calfee Tetra tandem

Ian and Cheryl Prowell on their beautiful Calfee Tetra tandem

We couldn’t be more surprised with the coincidence of meeting on the road and being far from home. We’ve chatted several times on Google+ but never met in real life. How incredibly cool is that! Take a look at Strava’s absolutely cool new feature called PlayBack. It will give you an animated flyby glance of your route as well as others who are roughly in the same area at the same time! Unexpected_G+_HIRL_from_Strava


CarmelChris and I continued on our way to Carmel’s famous 17 Mile Drive where the famous Pebble Beach, Cypress and Spyglass golf courses are but not being golf fans we didn’t feel the need to stop.

Here's my Yelp review:

Here’s my Yelp review of Island Taco:

The nice thing about not driving is that we didn’t have to pay an entry fee to ride through the 17 Mile Drive. As we descended into Carmel we went to the next open control point. We decided to go to the Crossroads Shopping Center and find some place to sit down, eat while watching our bikes. We found Island Taco; it wasn’t bad but for one burrito and a small fish taco with 2 sodas the total was 21 dollars! Gulp~ yeah, a little pricey but it serves as a motivator for me to start creating my own randonneur portable (aka the Allen Lim rice cake) lunches.

Rough RoadThis route was beautiful so I don’t want to discourage anyone from riding it but I would give the warning that the roads in the farm areas are scenic but very rough, I felt exhausted from absorbing all the road vibration in the back of my arms, and hands.

Coming back from the strawberry and artichoke fields and back to Santa Cruz was tiring. The combination of traffic, rough road and winds began to wear me down & I needed a mental break.We found a Quiznos sandwich shop and shared a half sub and soda and felt better. All that was left was the climb back.farmland Climbing out of Glen Canyon wasn’t difficult in % grade but at this point I just wanted this ride to be over and was getting hungry. My forearms and fingers were getting numb and I also noticed my right baby toe was getting numb too — how odd is that?

We finally reached Safeway again, our final control point. While Chris purchased water for our recovery drinks (powder was prepared earlier and waiting in the car!) I bought my favorite salty potato chips! I love the feeling of removing cycling shoes and replacing them with sneakers; I love the taste and the crunch of chips on the drive home after a long ride!

Randonneurs have to travel with brevet cards where date/time/location are documented as proof of arrival.

Randonneurs have to travel with brevet cards where date/time/location are documented as proof of arrival.

Website | Content Marketing For Leaders And Companies

Websites are not online brochures, they should always be changing and evolving as your B2B market continues to shift. Listen to your sales team and allow them to guide your direction and work collaboratively. Let your website and microsites be your 24/7 representation of your company’s brand and culture.

Allow and trust your company’s culture to shine. Whether it be through text, images and video, the unique character of what makes your culture special is the reason why people will buy from you and not your competitors.   Inbound content marketing has a distinct advantage by attracting prospective customers through online thought-leadership (You are expert in your industry, let it come out).

I create and mange several company websites and develop content (including PowerPoint presentations embedded with video, email newsletters including embedded interviews of vendors and thought leadership).

  • Technical Skills: Wordpress, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks
  • Video Production and Editing: Adobe Premiere, Camtasia





The (Not Quite) Petaluma Loop – 70 mile with 4,000′ elevation

I  decided to ride with the Western Wheelers (WW), a mid-Peninsula cycling club, and try their Long Distance Training (LDT) ride which meets each Saturday; this time they met at the Marin County Civic Center for a Petaluma ride which would accommodate all cyclists to choose different paces and appropriate distances and elevation gains. You can find all Western Wheeler rides posted here on their Meet-Up calendar. Most of the rides have a route sheet or gpx file posted on Ride With GPS, just look under keywords: Western Wheelers: This is convenient because you can download a sync a file into your Garmin and it will give you turn-by-turn directions and will let you know what the elevation profile looks like of your intended route (it’s good to be mentally prepared!).

WW LDT Petaluma 70 mile ride

Unfortunately I didn’t download WW’s pre-made route, as it turns out I didn’t need to because the ride leader decided to do something different, instead of riding up and back to Petaluma (avoiding hills because… well, that wouldn’t be much fun now would it!) our new route would go up Marshall Wall and ride on Shoreline Hwy, along Tomales Bay to Point Reyes Station and back.

WW_LDT_Petaluma elevation



Oil paintings- Los Altos

The color photographs are not correct on these paintings, and whether or not the originals are retrievable, the memory of each moment captured while painting lays quietly in my memory.

I am glad to be back in California light.