A Different Kind of Sync

I have had the good fortune to enjoy over 25 years of building a range of software businesses – enterprise and consumer – big companies and startups.   I loved the challenge and am proud of the positive impact of these products which have touched millions (SugarSync, Catch) and in some cases hundreds of millions (Netscape, Yahoo) of people.  As I looked toward my professional goals for the next 25 years, however, I felt there was a void I had not filled.  Perhaps it was my family values – growing up surrounded by doctors (both parents, father-in-law, multiple siblings, aunts, uncle, cousins) and having two sons and two daughters-in-law in healthcare (3 as MD’s and one PhD in cancer research, I’ve always wanted to be doing more to improve people’s lives in a more humanistic and direct way.

Many of the software products I worked on democratize access – bringing the proprietary big company technology to small businesses or consumers (e.g.SugarSync, ZoneAlarm).  Although the healthcare industry has traditionally been a late adopter, with the advent of cloud and mobile technologies and increasingly VR and AR – we are at a tipping point and I knew that using technology to drive this type of healthcare democratization and the potentially large associated businesses was what I wanted to work on next.

Through a confluence of fortunate events and connections I met the team at SyncThink and was immediately impressed by both the science (based on years of D.O.D. funded research) and the potential impact of its technology.  SyncThink has developed innovative eye-tracking technology analytics, delivered in customized Samsung VR headsets, that provide objective metrics for visual attention and dynamic orientation. It turns out that these metrics provide critical information about brain health by measuring our orientation and ability to pay attention to our environment.  Eye-tracking analytics can show patterns that correlate with such serious issues as concussion, ADHD, dementia, marijuana impairment and sleep deprivation.  The first application in sports in concussion and performance management but there is an even bigger potential impact in these other fields as well as occupational safety.

I was personally excited about the immediate term market – we are focusing on bringing our brain health platform to college and professional sports as well as the clinics who serve them.  As the mother of 3 sons who played Lacrosse, Rugby and Football in college and a daughter who played high school Lacrosse I resonated with that need recalling how I held my breath on the sidelines watching some serious and aggressive “contact”.   There are thousands of athletes whose health we can protect and improve with SyncThink.  I am thrilled to see SyncThink being deployed in universities such as the Pac-12 and beyond and love knowing that our home town champion Golden State Warriors are using SyncThink at the next level to both protect their players as well as measure and enhance their performance.

Of course with Sync in the name I knew it was “beshert” (destined) for me to join and was excited to get started.  We have lots of new tech and programs in the works – stay tuned for more to come!

 

 

 

Communication and Productivity

I’ve had the good fortune of being able to spend the majority of my career helping to build and market products with a core mission of helping people improve their productivity as it relates to communication. Netscape Communicator, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Mail, SugarSync and Catch – these products served slightly different purposes at different points in our internet and mobile journey but our goal was always the same – improvement of connectivity – not of infrastructure, but human connectivity. Our most basic instincts as humans are to communicate with others through any means possible – words, touch, pictures, sound. Communication is one of the most basic functions in business and it’s not always easy to do it well.

When I was working at Netscape, I had a conversation with Jim Barksdale that has stuck with me. He said that making things happen in business is about writing it down. You can discuss things all you want but it is the leader’s job to put the plans into writing and confirm that they are understood and acted upon. Pre-internet that meant a memo written on paper with the associated headaches of duplication and distribution. The beauty of email is that you have the power of the written word with the convenience and ease of our new technologies. Email is such a powerful tool that it survives as the default written communication tool and – despite its many flaws and forecasts of its demise – it persists.

With new technologies, we are enabling effective action through writing by optimizing the communication app for particular settings. For instance, multiple styles of chat apps for various demographics and types of groups – friends, family and work teams.

But, what if different people in the same stream of communication have different preferences in tools? What if you are trying to recruit or incent these different people who are not your employees and mandating a particular tool were a turn-off? There has been a need for a communication platform that has a lighter touch – that gives recipients greater control, while remaining effective. Initiators can encourage participation and lead particular actions. These initiators, the group leaders, are constantly recruiting and incentivizing their members and they need a tool that supports them, so their companies and missions can scale effectively.

In Mobilize (www.mobilize.io), I saw just such a platform. Some of the design points are subtle and some are very concrete but it is an incredibly thoughtful way to communicate with groups, particularly those that are not within company walls. After being introduced by my business associate, Ajay Chopra, and meeting with the cofounders, Sharon Savariego and Arthur Vainer, I was convinced that we shared a vision for a new type of communication method, in fact a new category of communication platform, designed expressly to support group communication and help leaders mobilize action. That action can be anything from brand advocacy to software development advances to product sales to volunteering to give blood. I am thrilled they invited me to join the company as COO three weeks ago and look forward to working to scale this exciting idea for so many more groups and companies globally.

P.S. We’re hiring in both San Francisco and Tel Aviv – marketing, sales and engineering positions.  Check them out at http://www.mobilize.io/jobs.html