Monthly Archives: July 2014

Time to Refresh, Reflect, Renew

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July 23  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . A period of rest is wise for a Valley that’s always on the run.
Silicon Valley is always on the go. Yet we can be even stronger if, on occasion, we force ourselves to stop.

Stop to rest, refresh and renew.

Here’s an old word with a new application – Sabbath. For a handful of Silicon Valley employers – venerable firms like Adobe and Intel – this concept is embraced by something called a sabbatical. A sabbatical is an extended time away from work, from stress, from our day-to-day grind. It means setting aside our 24-7-365 lifestyle, further magnified by a social network culture that may make communications more convenient, but also leads to a life that is always plugged in, always jacked up, always racing at full speed.

Five years ago, I initiated a sabbatical policy for my employees. After seven years of continuous full-time service, each employee – myself included – is eligible for a four-week, fully paid, sabbatical. Two weeks of accrued vacation time can be added on, for a total of six weeks.

After 18-plus years as CEO, it is my turn for time away. Five glorious weeks to stop, sit, relax, refresh, renew, reflect.

It means getting off the daily grind, where the only grind in my day will be grinding a daily cup of fresh, French roast coffee for my wife.

It means pancake breakfasts with my two little girls.

It means casual bike rides as a family through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, floating on a raft and kayak down the Russian River, building sand castles at the beach in Santa Cruz and swimming lessons from a professional coach.

It means lazy days and long evenings with no set schedule.

Here’s my question – what would a sabbatical mean for you? Are you willing to step off the treadmill to take it? To my colleague CEOs – would your culture allow it?

Come on Silicon Valley – it is time we give ourselves a break.

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Pain hurts. Quitting is worse.

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July 16  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Pain hurts. Quitting is worse.

I competed in a triathlon known as “Vineman” last week, a 70.3 Ironman-distance race in Sonoma County.

A half Ironman distance triathlon consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike race and a 13.1-mile half marathon. Having competed in the Vineman half Ironman for 12 of the past 14 years, it has become a favorite. But even our favorites can be unforgiving, and last Sunday proved to be a tough day for several reasons:

  • First, I fractured my right foot four months ago, and was only able to resume running four weeks ago – not enough time to earn back either the endurance nor speed needed for a half marathon run at the end of a half Ironman.
  • Second, half-way through the bike ride my bottle filled with my nutrition flew out of my bottle cage while cycling down a steep descent. No nutrition in a long race can make for an even longer day.
  • Finally, by the fifth mile on the 13.1-mile run, I could feel the blood blisters forming – and then popping – on both feet. Before long, my shoes were stained crimson-colored from the bloody wounds underneath.

Decision time . . . Competing against the other racers was long over, as I suffered along the course. The only competition left was between my mind and body, my head and my heart, as the demons within raged whether I should quit – or at least slow down and walk – or keep doing my best to fight and finish.

Mental check list completed with one question . . . “Am I risking my life or serious injury?” “No.” The pain hurt – lack of nutrition, dehydration, fractured foot and blistered feet – but quitting would hurt worse.

Five hours and 37 minutes later – a long half-hour past my normal time the past four years – and the finish line, and my family, were wonderfully in sight.

Finish what you start. It might not matter to anyone else. But it will always matter to you. Pain is temporary. What we gain though tough times is permanent.

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Anna and Zoe: Covering Silicon Valley from A to Z

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July 8  |  Government Relations  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . In Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley is covered “from A to Z.” Anna and Zoe, that is.

Last week, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group had the pleasure of hosting a small group CEO roundtable with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

The week prior, the Leadership Group held a similar roundtable with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

For nearly two decades, Silicon Valley – in fact, much of America’s innovation economy – has been fortunate to have these two key leaders represent our priorities in the halls of the United States Congress.

Just how do they add value? Let me count the ways . . .

Anna is a senior member of the important House Energy and Commerce Committee. Its jurisdiction oversees roughly one-fifth of the U.S. economy. She is our point person on numerous issues of importance to Silicon Valley’s success.

Zoe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee that oversees immigration reform, and is our go-to leader on issues like patent reform and cybersecurity.

They are effective individually, work well together and with the rest of our Bay Area delegation. In fact, Zoe serves as the Chair of California’s Democrat Caucus, weekly pulling together 33 Congress members.

Anna is currently campaigning to become the Ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, a pivotal role which would make her even more influential in representing technology issues in Congress.

What makes them even more effective is their ability, and willingness, to often reach across the aisle to partner with members of the Republican Conference. Yes, smart politics also makes for sound policy. With Anna and Zoe, Silicon Valley gets both.

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