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Innovation. Customer Obession! And an announcement ….

Jeff Bezos recently wrote in his shareholder letter, “It Will Always Be Day 1 at Amazon.” I am excited to announce that TODAY is Day 1 for me at Amazon – even though it is 30 days in. I have joined the Amazon Web Services team, running the AWS EC2 Enterprise and Windows business. I am thrilled about this opportunity to grow our cloud enterprise business with and to work with incredible mentors.

5 Reasons Why I Love Amazon Culture Already:

1. Innovation is at every level. Many companies talk about it, but AWS actually does it!
2. Super passionate people. Smart. Amazing.
3. All in on the customer. We start with customer obsession first and always.
4. Long-term focus.
5. Experimentation is a way of life.

I’ll be helping companies leverage their Microsoft assets. AWS gives you a cloud platform that helps run Microsoft applications like SharePoint and Exchange in a more secure, easily managed, high performance approach. And AWS gives you a fully managed database service to run Microsoft SQL Server, which helps you build web, mobile and custom business applications.

I’m so pumped to help clients and would love for anyone who is interested, reach out to me directly!

Are you an Extreme Innovator?

Innovation is hot.   The word itself is said 8.2 times a second! But it is important because it means business.  There is nothing more disruptive today than the customer.

But how do you innovate your sales in the business to maximize sales?

Answer: Extreme Innovation

Why is Extreme Innovation so important?

  • 93% of companies depend on innovation to grow.
  • John Chambers of Cisco said 1/3 of businesses today won’t survive the next 10 years.
  • Eighty-one percent of CEOs say their teams are not equipped to meet the innovation opportunities needed to compete in today’s marketplace.
  • Half of the S&P 500 companies will be replaced in the next ten years.
  • The lifespan of these companies is in steep decline: their lifespan on the S&P 500 used to be 33 years – now it is only 14.

Innovation is the job of sales.  Sales is in the front line.  Marketing is the shaper of the conversation. Sales and customer service are points where the conversation takes place. When you ask the customer, “Who makes the brand real for you?” they will say sales or customer service.

So, how do you become an Extreme Innovator?

Super power #1:  Super Intelligence

 Super intelligence means using the technology to sell. The core technologies you need to know are Artificial Intelligence(AI), Bots, Virtual Reality(VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain. For instance, Bots that are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).  A Bot runs on a messenger platform like Facebook or Slack, is focused on a task, and is usually conversational. No, they are not going to take away your job.   They are going to help you do your job.

For instance, GrowthBot is a bot that can be used to enhance your selling.  For instance, it can help you get company information, identify what marketing software a company might use, or even help you find the top posts from a site, or your top twitter followers.

VR can be used in a number of situations.  Lowe’s Home Improvement is using VR to help their clients with Do It Yourself (DIY) projects and to envision their future kitchen to create an experience in the sales process.

Make sure you are leveraging the technology that is available to open up doors, and create a customer experience to remember.

Super power #2:  Super Speed

 Super speed is about a mentoring culture to win.  The genesis of any innovation is an insight. One has an insight when he or she sees something different from everyone that is around him or her. They spot an opportunity hidden in plain sight. It was always there for everyone to see, but this person sees what everybody else missed seeing.

A lot of opportunities die a slow death. If I had to choose the most common reason, it would be the lack of access to the right kind of help at all stages to make measurable progress in reasonable time.

Building a mentoring network where you and your sellers have access to an internal (and external, if it makes sense) network of mentors is a good starting point to give your employees the right kind of timely help.  For example, if you customer is online and most are — 3 out of 5 IT decision makers learn about new products through social media and 57% of buying decisions are made online, even before a sales contact, then maybe you want to find a mentor who knows social media.

For instance, a software product called MentorCloud is used to make mentoring accessible to anyone.  The software encourages sellers to reach outside their comfort zone to acquire the needed assistance or door opener for a sale.

Super power #3:  Super Synergy

 Super synergy is about creating an ecosystem that is obsessed with the customer.   Ecosystems have won huge market battles– Apple built an ecosystem around the App Store, Tesla is building an ecosystem around super chargers for their electric cars. It is about partnering to win and obsessing.

Do you obsess and really listen to your client? In the Amazon Leadership principles, one of the top values is customer obsession. Sellers start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Where leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

Depending on what you sell, have you considered all the channels you could leverage?  For instance, a partner in an area maybe you had never considered before but it influences your customer.  Hotel Tonight’s selling team did this.  They focused on what could draw in repeat customers. The extreme innovation—an extreme one—was very focused; it drew on the emotional cord, and helped to establish a magical, bespoke experience. It was about delivering with real people the best experience per guest. For example, when one guest said they wanted a Nicholas Cage poster in his room, Hotel Tonight asked, “From which decade?” When teachers asked about local hipster spots, the magic team researched and proposed an experience to remember.

Innovative companies celebrate when new customers sign a contract. Extreme innovation companies celebrate when a customer turns into an advocate!

Growing sales requires growing people. Adopt these 3 super powers of extreme innovative sellers to discover, engage and grow your business and maximize sales. To learn more, check out my book

Experience the Super Power Quiz by clicking below!


About the Author:

Sandy Carter is the founder and CEO of Silicon-Blitz, focused on helping companies with innovation, technology, and cognitive diversity.   One of the leading pioneers in the digital business revolution, Sandy Carter was a driving force of Innovation at IBM for the last decade.

Sandy is ranked #4 on the Bottish 100  BOT influencers, in the top 100 by Onalytic for Social Business, named a Digital Influencer in 2016 by Forbes, and top ten women in technology by CNN. She is an extreme innovator and bestselling author who published her 5th book Extreme Innovation, built on her revolutionary research with Carnegie Mellon SV. She advises 4 startups on their go to market strategies.

On a Panel in a Barn – My Top 12 Observations

This Friday I attended the Harvest Summit but to me,  it was the Harvest Festival.   Why a Festival?     A festival is a day or time of celebration, marked by feasting, ceremonies, and other new observations.   That is exactly what Friday was!


The Celebration was hosted by Jessica Kilcullen.  It began in a “barn” on a hill that has a wine cellar, olive press room, a space ship and a big oak tree.   True!   It was an inspiring location – free of tech but yet tech superbly drove everything in the event including incredible images behind each speaker.   Built on the theory that the most valuable part of any “conference” is the networking, the festival was built around networking occasions and moments.   Music filled the air!  Did you know that music can enable greater innovation?  Apparently Jessica did!


Feasting:   Some of the networking was built around food.   Food was all local and amazing.   There were juice bars, homemade salamis, special cheeses, and great wine.   The feasting was done in the outdoors, in olive press rooms, and wine cellars.   Food and community are inseparable.   I love opportunities to experience new foods with an amazing group of peers, and learning about ways for us all to be a community and share ideas so that we’re getting fed on multiple levels.  Food plays an essential role in building community.


Ceremony:  The sessions were short panels or keynotes. They were in a barn, under an oak tree or in a spaceship to open up the innovative spirit.  They were collaborative and different.   I am a techy so I learned so much about food innovation, social in basketball like the Warriors,  innovation frameworks, storytelling, health, and education.   It was great to breath in deeply to see and feel different viewpoints.


New Observations: Here are my Top 12!

  1. The crowd’s influencer is growing greater. There is genius in the crowd.
  2. Specialists have jobs. Generalists build empires. Think 10x – and 10x doesn’t cost 10X more.  Create the culture in order to create the big vision.
  3. Design is relationships, the experience, and everything around us. Design is the next competitive weapon.
  4. Solve problems so big – there is no App for that! Take time every day to think about the future, not just the tactical.
  5. It’s all about Fast Learning. Fail forward and learn.  Don’t just fail and celebrate.
  6. It’s all about experiences. The common theme in Health, Education, Tech, Consumer, Food, and more.  An experience can be so good, you don’t want to post it!
  7. screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-10-13-53-pm
  8. CEO = Chief Encouragement Officer.   The CEO is the one who should be setting the direction of innovative spirit.
  9. Every startup needs a great idea/product, funding and marketing. Most people de-emphasize the marketing.  You can’t start any business without being a great storyteller!
  10. Technology will be accelerating more rapidly in the future. AI, VR, and IoT will ensure data becomes the biggest part of the competitive equation
  11. Diversity breeds innovation. Make sure you have Cognitive Diversity.  Our panel with Elizabeth Gore, Trish Costello, and Steve generated great discussions and brainstorming – much of which will be in a follow-on blog post!
  12. I loved all the people I met.   People make the world happen.  I loved chatting with Mark Burnett, so successful after 35 seasons of Survivor!


I am so thankful that I was included in the FIRST Harvest Festival and hope that Jessica has many more to come!

Girls in Tech Needs Your Help — And all you have to do is Tweet!

I am on the board of a great organization called Girls in Tech.  Today is the start of something big, very BIG!   We have an amazing fundraising opportunity with SAP SuccessFactors that starts TODAY!  So I need you to actively participate!

I know that each of you has amazing networks so get the word out and TWEET for us.  We’ll adore you for it and it helps more girls trying to get engaged in tech!    When you tweet with these 2 hashtags — #sconnect16 #All4GIT — $1 is donated to Girls in Tech!!

Just some facts:

  1. Twitter is the only channel that earns the $1 but use Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc to get the word out!
  2. Retweets count!!   Retweet away!
  3. There is no cap — that’s right — SAP SuccessFactors will let us go as high as you guys take us!
  4. The campaign runs from October 3 – December 31

A sample tweet:

Retweet to get $1 donated to @GirlsinTech! #sconnect16 #All4GIT

Will you help us get more Girls in Tech?  If so, tweet away!


Core question from Agile Marketing Class

Yesterday I taught an agile marketing class at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley MBA program.  As I teach, I usually learn a lot from the student’s questions.IMG_6148

One of the questions from this class was:

What’s the real difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing?  Is it just that one is done online with more data?

Great question right?

Where of course, there are elements of traditional marketing in digital.

But the fundamental differences are these:

  • Digital removes any barriers between you and the client.   Typically you are going straight to a client, not going through a seller of a focus group for insight.
  • Digital is more of inbound as the overall goal if done right is for people to find you!.
  • Digital is about earning trust through multiple touches some that are your brands and some that are from advocates of the brand

Digital disrupts marketing like Uber has disrupted the transportation industry.

What are your thoughts?


Happy International Women’s Day !

Today is international women’s day.      To me, this is a significant day as it celebrates the achievement of women around the world!   Women are over 50% of the world’s population — so inclusion is very important to the world.   For instance, did you know if there was parity of women and men in the workforce in Egypt that the GDP would go up by 34%?

I am passionate about innovation and study after study shows that diversity breeds innovation.

So today, let’s celebrate and commit to parity across the world !



Whisk it away ! Check out our announcement for Developers with OpenWhisk!

I think the OpenWhisk announcement from Interconnect was one of the most significant.

Here’s why:

  • The world’s only fully open, event-driven platform that lets developers build modern feature-rich web and mobile apps quickly and easily
  • It offers the choice of programming language including Swift and Node.js. Run custom code through Docker containers.
  • Built-in chaining enables teams to individually develop small pieces of code with code from the community without having to write code
  • Simply upload your code and let it run. There is no need to think about infrastructure or worry about peak projections
  • Take advantage of easily integrating with an ever growing list of event providers and consumers including cognitive capabilities from IBM.

Tell me what you think!!!!

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