Silicon Slopes Tech Summit Quick Hits

Fly Your Flag | Image source: caitlin-long.com

If you’ve been following this series of posts, you’ll know I’ve been profiling speakers sessions I was able to attend at Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2018.

This last post in the series 😳 is a smattering of notes from sessions I was only able to attend partially.

Equal Representation. Now.

That’s the tagline of Parity.org, an organization whose mission is to:

Bring gender parity to the highest levels of business.

Parity.org’s Founder and CEO, Cathrin Stickney has taken a page from the “Rooney Rule”, which was implemented in the NFL in 2003 to bring more diversity to the senior coaching ranks. The Rooney Rule has seemingly been a success. In 2017, the NFL had as many minority coaches as it’s ever had, 8 out of 32. That compares to zero before the Rooney rule, so progress.

By taking the Parity Pledge, an organization is committing to interviewing at least one women for every open position they are looking to fill at the VP level and above, including at the Board level.

Shocker: diversity is good for business! According to Cathrin, companies with a diverse C-suite and Board of Directors show 15% greater profitability.

Parity.org is off to a great start with 80 big name companies signed up in four months. Check ’em out and, if you feel like making a good decision, take the pledge.

Blockchain & Capital Markets with Caitlin Long

Key Takeaway: Caitlin is DEEP into blockchain, protective of the crypto community and WAY smarter than me. Turns out 20 years on Wall Street did not eat her soul. Good on her!

The Financialization (and Downfall) of Bitcoin

That’s Caitlin serving as the main image of this article, waiving a Bitcoin flag out of a 2nd story window.

Clearly, she’s a huge Bitcoin believer, and, as such, is really, really against the financialization of bitcoin.

Financialization of Bitcoin. What does that mean?

Bitcoin will have become financialized once there are more claims on bitcoin than actual bitcoins that exist.

So, once good ‘ol financial engineering has taken root, gained steam and created a load of bad debt that’s backed by thin air instead of actual collateral, that’s when we’re in trouble and how crypto could get crushed.

I think we’re basically talking about margin lending and derivatives, speculation on speculation and pure greed the likes of which we have never seen before, oh wait yes we have, most recently in the form of mortgages.

That’s my take from what I heard. Check out Caitlin’s blog to learn more.

Fun fact: Janet Yellen, outgoing Fed Chair, said she doesn’t expect another financial crisis in her lifetime. She’s 71. I don’t know her vitals, but I’m taking the under on that one.

De or Re-Centralization?

According to Caitlin, who ran an enterprise blockchain company, centralization has crept into enterprise blockchains. See, banks care about the immutability of a blockchain because it makes it tamperproof, which is of high value to them/ They capture massive cost savings by slashing the insane amount of duplication in their current reconciliation processes.

But de-centralization, another highly touted benefit of blockchain technology, really does not benefit these entreprises.

It’s us consumers that are drawn to the allure of decentralization (#donttreadonme). The common refrain from the decentrally-minded is the Laws of Math over the Laws of Man. I hear that. I like math more than lawyers too. But, what’s the business case for the enterprise. I don’t know. Can someone show me?

Diminishers vs. Multipliers with Liz Wiseman

I only caught about 15 minutes of Liz’s talk. She’s a prolific researcher, adviser and author on leadership and a great speaker.

She’s got a new book out, so her talk was focused on that topic. Liz has researched and gathered stories on why some leaders (“Diminishers”) drain capability and intelligence from their teams, while others (“Multipliers”) amplify it to produce better results. I didn’t capture much of her content, so if leadership is an interesting topic to you, you should probably read some Liz Wiseman.

Effects of Working for a Diminisher

Stress, reduced confidence, low energy, depression, poor health, general unhappiness, social withdrawal, irritability, increased complaining.

Sounds like me when I only hang out with me. Let’s all try not to be diminishers, ok?

How to Deal with a Diminisher

The best approach is to ignore his/her diminishing behavior.

Liz told a great story about a Navy Lieutenant who worked under one helluva model Diminishing General. No matter what he did, it was not good enough. He was about to quit it was so bad. He couldn’t believe he was posted to work under this guy for another year.

Then he decided, not to quit but rather to not pay attention to it and funnel his energy into leading his team as a multiplier. He started bringing art into his office and word of the Wall of Optimism spread around the base. Long story short: his diminishing boss, who was retiring in a year, did a 180 and expressed gratitude to the Lieutenant in his retirement speech, crediting him for totally rewiring the way he thought about leadership. Better late than never I suppose.


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