Author Archives: Alexa Magdalenski

When Women Have a Chance in Tech…

March 7th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Guest Blogs | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

Our newest member guest blog post is by Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director of Byte Back. Byte Back improves economic opportunity by providing computer training and career preparation to underserved Washington, D.C. metro area residents. 


Byte BackJust 25 percent of the computing workforce in the U.S. is women. For women of color, this drops drastically, with just three percent of the workforce made up of African American women and one percent Latina women.

Only 17 percent of Fortune 500 Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions were held by women in 2015.1

March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate progress, recognize deficits and act for equality. Today is the perfect day to give a woman her start in tech.

When women are offered the chance to learn and use technology the same as men, women access vital life opportunities, including high-paying jobs, healthcare, sexual and gender violence services, family care, and more.

With technology, women can connect to the world and build connections to employers, friends and family. With technology, women can move into jobs to support their families – tech jobs, white collar jobs and medial jobs. With technology, women can help their families – teach their children, communicate with teachers and open up a world of knowledge.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, or complicated. So much can be solved by teaching women how to use technology. With a small investment in women’s lives, we can have a huge impact on social change.

Today, we urge you to find a way to support women, whether it’s as a mentor, a volunteer, a supporter of a community organization or as a recruiter. There are countless organizations opening opportunities for women to cross the digital divide and to advance in IT careers, and we encourage you to be a part of this movement.

By 2024, the number of U.S. computing-related job openings expected to be 1.1 million.1 If we all work together, we can make sure women not only fill more technology positions, but have the power to use technology to change lives.


In Byte Back’s 20 years, their demographics have never reflected the outside tech world. Increasing opportunities for underserved residents goes hand-in-hand with increasing diversity in tech companies. In 2016, 417 women, or 61 percent of the student body, found empowering tech skills for free at Byte Back.

1 National Center for Women & Information Technology. (2016). By the Numbers.

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Capital Data Summit: Meg Whitman Keynote

March 7th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

We continue to share content from our inaugural Capital Data Summit that took place on February 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Scroll down to view HPE’s Meg Whitman full Capital Data Summit keynote presentation video.


Whitman FiresideThe 2017 Capital Data Summit was headlined by three top keynotes: Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Meg Whitman, Clarabridge Founder and Vice Chairman Sid Banerjee, and DigitalGlobe Founder, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Walter Scott.

Whitman sat down with Inova Center for Personalized Health CEO and NVTC Board Chair Todd Stottlemyer for a “fireside chat” conversation. Whitman explained how big data is powering the next industrial revolution, allowing new insights through predictive analytics. She shared how innovations like memory-driven, rather than processing-driven, computing are allowing HPE to provide intelligent services “at the edge” where data is collected rather than on a central server.

In discussing the future of the industry, Whitman stressed the importance of skilling the next generation of data employees and the pivotal role universities will play in partnering with the private sector to meet these talent demands. View Whitman’s full keynote below:

We’ll be sharing more Capital Data Summit content and videos here on the NVTC blog. Stay tuned!

Check out the Capital Data Summit photo gallery!

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NVTC International Committee Hosts Reception for Lithuanian Ambassador

March 6th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in International - (Comments Off)

On Feb. 22, the NVTC International Committee held a reception for Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America and to the United Mexican States Rolandas Kriščiūnas. The meeting also included Eric Stewart, president, American Lithuanian Business Council, and Jeff Nelson, Honorary Consul, Lithuania.

The event featured introductory remarks from NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, keen insights into the growth and reasons to invest in the Lithuanian technology industry by Ambassador Kriščiūnas, and a unique case study perspective from CSC’s Christopher Flaesch.

The International Committee will host its annual year-end gala in June at MITRE. Stay tuned for more details on NVTC’s website!

Photos from the meeting:

Feb 2 Event 3 Feb 22 Event 1 Feb 22 event 6 Feb 22 event 5

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Lean Startup – Helping Ensure Entrepreneurial Success

March 6th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Small Business and Entrepreneur - (Comments Off)

This week’s guest blog post is by Norm Snyder, partner at Aronson, LLC. Snyder is also chair of NVTC’s Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee. Snyder shares highlights and lessons learned from the Committee’s recent Lean Startup panel.


Small Biz Committee LogoCurious about Lean Startup? What it really means and why the D.C. tech community is talking about it?

Lean is a disruptive way of thinking that can shorten cycles for developing products, business startups and help ensure entrepreneurial success. Late last month, the Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee explored Lean Startup methodology with an expert panel led by Bob Smith, director of the George Mason University Small Business Development Center, serial entrepreneur, and venture and angel investor. The panel also included experienced Lean Startup entrepreneur practitioners Steph Hay from Capital One, Abhishek Motayed from N5 Sensors, Patrick Smith from Power Supply and B.J. Wiley Williams from Sohooked.

Bob Smith started with an overview of the Lean Startup methodology. Lean methodology stems from the father of the “Customer Discovery Method,” Steve Blank, Alexander Osterwalder, who invented the “Business Model Canvas,” and the work of Eric Ries, author of the widely read book The Lean Startup. According to Smith, the number one startup mistake is building something nobody wants; therefore, more startups flounder from a lack of customers than from product or technology failures. Do companies build product(s) that no one wants? Of course, we have all seen it.

Smith used the example of Segway, which spent over $100 million developing its personal transporter. Segway expected to sell 10,000 Segways per week by the end of 2002. According to Forbes, Segway sold 30,000 total units by 2008. What was supposed to become the mainstay of urban commuting is predominately used by mall security guards and tour groups. Segway’s failure wasn’t technical – they failed to solve a real world problem.

As discussed, Lean teaches us that startups are not smaller versions of larger companies. A good product, business plan, financial model and market research do not guarantee success. It’s easy to build a sound technical product and a financial model with the necessary hockey stick revenue/EBITDA chart. According to Smith, “No business plan survives first contact with customers.” Everyone has a plan… until they get punched in the face! So what’s an entrepreneur to do? Get out of the building! Realize the idea is only the starting point. A business model is how a company creates, delivers and captures value.

In other words, a business model is how a company makes money! Smith’s tool of choice is the Business Model Canvas. Discovering the “value propositions” is the center of the Canvas. The goal is to find the right solution to the right customer problem with strong enough demand to warrant launching a business. Who is the customer? What problem do they want solved? What value do they derive from the solution? Customer discovery is not an exact science. It is an iterative process of evaluating guesses. Get out there and interview potential customers, perhaps 100 to 200 people. Engage in a love story with your potential customers. Look for patterns and apply judgment when validating or invalidating your hypotheses. Refine, pivot, repeat as needed until you have uncovered the value. Keep focused on the benefits customers derive from the product. Remember value propositions or benefits are NOT the same as product features. Use this process to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and not a product with all of the cool features possible. For an MVP, who is the customer? What is the specific problem the MVP addresses? How does it add value or help customers that will result in making money from selling the product?

After his helpful overview, Smith led the panel in a discussion with the following questions.

  1. How has your organization used Lean Startup? Why did this method work?
  2. What was the best and worst customer hypothesis you ever wrote?
  3. What are some best practices in customer discovery you recommend?
  4. What is the hardest interview you have conducted? What did you learn from it?

Among others, panelists shared these insights. In value proposition testing interviews, watch for body language shifts. For example, in their testing, a bank learned that moms hated touching ATMs by watching them. Radical specificity is your friend in conducting interviews. Meeting customers helps validate (or invalidate) the channel. Ask for forgiveness, not permission, in getting the difficult interviews. Be creative in getting customer interviews. A story was told about one entrepreneur getting multiple flu shots in order to secure interviews with medical professionals they wanted to talk to. Solve the market problem before you focus on the technical product development. Make sure you speak to the right customers, including those who have the power and ability to buy. The Lean Startup process allows the entrepreneur to be free to fail since you will be continuously innovating in response to customer feedback.

Remember, the customer is first, not the product. Constant innovation leads to entrepreneurial success.

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Greater Washington’s Loyal Tech Talent Sets the Region Apart

March 3rd, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

The inaugural Capital Data Summit took place on Feb. 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Here on the NVTC blog, we continue to share content from this exciting event.


Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentThe Summit’s engaging VC and Growth Investing in Commercial and Government Data Opportunities panel shared approaches in analyzing, financing and building successful businesses, and the latest data investing opportunities in the commercial and government markets. Panelists included Updata Partners General Partner Carter Griffin and Revolution Growth Partner Steve Murray. MAVA Executive Director Julia Spicer moderated.

Here are some of the valuable points that emerged from this discussion:

  • Greater Washington’s loyal and expert talent pool set the region apart from other tech hubs in terms of investing. According to Griffin, “Around here…we find people are loyal to the cause and want to join these companies and really build something. I think that’s a nice backdrop for building a company.”
  • Investments hinge on a company being able to solve a fundamental problem or improve the customer experience. Companies must be able to explain why they are “nailing their niche.”
  • Investors are finding themselves betting on technology trends that may happen in five to ten years.
    • Investments in machine learning, artificial intelligence and unstructured data enterprises are rapidly expanding today.
  • While entrepreneurship continues to grow in areas beyond Silicon Valley like Greater Washington, Boston and Austin, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the Silicon Valley ecosystem that does a great job fostering entrepreneurship:
    • Silicon Valley has a strong culture of mentorship and collaboration that can be fostered further in other areas
    • The networking culture in the Valley is unmatched; entrepreneurs are confident talking about their products in a variety of settings
    • Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are not as hesitant to make mistakes
    • There is stronger collaboration between established service providers and startups; service providers in the Valley really take the time to help startups grow

 VC Panel 1 v3 VC Panel 2 v2 VC panel 3v2

Return back to the NVTC blog soon for more Capital Data Summit content!

Check out the full Summit photo gallery!

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Capital Data Summit: Sid Banerjee Keynote

March 1st, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

We continue to share content from our inaugural Capital Data Summit that took place on February 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Scroll down or click here to view Clarabridge’s Sid Banerjee full keynote presentation video.


Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentThe 2017 Capital Data Summit was highlighted by its keynote speakers:  Clarabridge Founder and Vice Chairman Sid Banerjee, Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Meg Whitman and DigitalGlobe Founder, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Walter Scott.

In his opening keynote, Banerjee gave an analysis of the shift in the data ecosystem today from traditional structured data models to the growing influence of unstructured data, especially in the consumer experience sphere. He shared the need for a new wave of emotionally empathetic computing that sources customer data across many digital channels to provide customer insights.

View the full video of Banerjee’s keynote remarks:

We’ll be sharing more Capital Data Summit content and videos here on the NVTC blog. Stay tuned!

Check out the Capital Data Summit photo gallery!

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Corporate Messaging Must Create These Three Values

February 28th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Guest Blogs | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

Interested in fine tuning your corporate messaging? Then you’ll want to read our latest member guest blog from Carlos Cruz, Client Relations at TriVision, Inc. TriVision is an award-winning, full service agency that develops innovative strategies to achieve powerful and creative integrated marketing solutions.


Final Logo 2014-2016 TriVision Logo v2It is in a corporation’s best interest to strategically push their value-driven corporate messaging whenever and wherever they can. Here are the reasons why:

Corporate messaging reinforces your target audience’s identity.

People like to associate themselves with others who have the same mindset as they do. It’s like being friends with someone because they like the same hobbies you do.

Corporate messaging builds a community around the same set of values you cherish. In the case of AirBnb, their strategy was to send a message that acceptance of everyone (regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other external factors) is a common human value that most can agree upon (however, at times we may need to be reminded of this).

Create corporate messages that make your target audience proud to associate themselves with you.

Corporate Messaging reinforces brand identity.

When a corporate message is done well and communicated often, those tactics boost brand identity. When a corporate message is value-driven, it often creates a positive association with your company.

Corporate Messaging told as a story, stick better.

Why is it that you are more likely to remember childhood stories like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” or “The Three Little Pigs” than a 30-page report on whatever it is you specialize in? For 27,000 years, humans have been telling stories to communicate information with one another. Stories connect people. Often, you will find a company’s background explaining why they choose to carry certain values. Blending your corporate messaging with a story will make your company memorable.

Remember, values are what brings all of us together. Make sure that your corporate messaging has a value-driven approach.

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Harnessing Big Data at Planetary Scale: Dr. Scott Keynote

February 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

We continue to share content from our inaugural Capital Data Summit that took place on February 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Scroll down to view DigitalGlobe’s Dr. Scott full Capital Data Summit keynote presentation video and his presentation slides.

Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentThe 2017 Capital Data Summit was highlighted by its keynote speakers:  Clarabridge Founder and Vice Chairman Sid Banerjee, Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Meg Whitman and DigitalGlobe Founder, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Walter Scott.

In his keynote, Dr. Scott discussed how satellite imagery and remote sensing are harnessing big data at a global scale. He explained trends that are enabling large scale analytics and shared how DigitalGlobe’s imagery and analytics solutions are being put into practice to serve a variety of customers and social causes. View Dr. Scott’s presentation slides here.

Dr Scott Clip Slides

View the full video of Dr. Scott’s remarks:

Check out the Capital Data Summit photo gallery!

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more content from the Capital Data Summit here on the NVTC blog over the coming weeks!

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Is True Teamwork Possible or Is It Just Written About in Books?

February 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Guest Blogs | Human Resources | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

Our newest guest blog is written by C. Michael Ferraro, president and CEO of Training Solutions, Inc. (TSI). TSI provides diverse performance development training programs, human resources services, executive coaching, workforce consulting and facilitation of retreats for a variety of companies across the nation and worldwide. In his blog, Ferraro shares five behaviors for building thriving intact teams.


tsi logoIn most companies, there are ongoing challenges for increased productivity and good employee relationships; and the concept of successful teamwork is always a part of the puzzle. Many companies are uncomfortable looking at team problems. Those companies are aware of the challenges they face with teams trying to work better together, but they don’t know how to “fix” the problems because they don’t know what is causing the problems.

Intact teams really need to thrive. Whether individuals believe it or not, the goals of the team should take priority over individual goals in order to truly succeed. A team should look “inside” itself, being honest about their challenges. There are five key behaviors that every intact team should understand, according to Patrick Lencioni. Lencioni has worked with thousands of senior executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 and mid-size companies to start-ups and nonprofits. Lencioni is the author of many best-selling business books including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team that has sold over two million copies and continues to be a fixture on national best-seller lists week after week.

His newest program is called The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team (based on his best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team). Based on Lencioni’s model, the five key behavioral areas are Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results. Every individual on the team completes an online assessment and then the team report is developed. The assessment-based approach is extremely powerful. I am an authorized partner of this program and work with many teams to improve their working relationships and results.

These five behaviors are very important to the success of team and need to be honestly discussed in depth with the team. I walk through the assessment results with all the team members together and help them work through their challenges as they learn to develop into a stronger and more successful team.

Building Trust. This is a fundamental and foundational behavior of a cohesive team. Lencioni believes that trust means (1) “a willingness to be completely vulnerable with one another” and (2) “confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the team.” Can you say that you know many trusting teams? Teams always need to begin with a discussion regarding trust to be open and honest about their issues. Without high trust, the rest cannot be improved.

Mastering Conflict. Productive conflict is needed to have relationships grow that can last over time. Conflict is needed and shouldn’t be considered “off limits” in the workplace. Healthy and productive conflict is not focused on the individuals but connected to subjects and ideas. Productive conflict should not be avoided. Great teams need thoughtful debates to provide great solutions. When I facilitate this program, we also talk about those unhealthy behaviors around conflict and give the team a team map they can use to help them use conflict constructively.

Achieving Commitment. When talking about commitment, Lencioni is focused on the team’s decisions and making sure there is complete buy-in among every member of the team. Of course, some members may disagree at different points in the discussion; but in the end, there should be complete agreement to move forward with the decision. Great teams understand the importance of the commitment. Without total commitment, there will be ambiguity or missed opportunities or low confidence and more.

Embracing Accountability. This means, per Lencioni, the “willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team.” This is very important because team members must feel comfortable sharing their discomfort with another team member about their performance or behavior. This feedback is given from the perspective of wanting to help the team succeed and should be appreciated.

Focusing on Results. Of course, going through the discussions and learning about the four previous behaviors is to produce increased positive results. You’d be surprised how often a team isn’t focused on team results. Perhaps team members are focused on their own individual status, position or results. The collective success of the team is most important.

This assessment-based program will give a team a great opportunity to learn more about each member of the team and how to work better together to be truly a great team. The results we have had with teams has been dramatic, showing better team harmony and increased productivity. We also offer to come back to the team after a period of months and reassess the team in these areas.

To learn more about improving intact teams click here.

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Check Out the Capital Data Summit Photo Gallery!

February 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentOne week ago, NVTC hosted the inaugural Capital Data Summit at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. With over 300 attendees, the Summit highlighted our region’s unmatched set of data analytics assets with keynote remarks by Clarabridge Founder and Vice Chairman Sid Banerjee, Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Meg Whitman and DigitalGlobe Founder, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Walter Scott, panel sessions led by data analytics experts from the public, private and academic sectors, and a top technology showcase.

We just launched the photo gallery from the event. Click here to view the full gallery and feel free to share and download!

Capital Data Photo 1

Capital Data Photo 2

Banerjee Keynote 1 Web Article

Whitman Fireside

Dr Scott Keynote 3 Web Article

We’ll be sharing more Capital Data Summit content and videos here on the NVTC blog. Stay tuned!

 

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