Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network Meetup

Great Meetup at CSV last night with the Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network! Our speaker was the “spirited” Pollyanna Pixton, author, Forbes contributer and expert on agile leadership. Pollyanna focused Collaborating with Non-Collaborators as the evening’s topic. What a blast!

On your Agile Teams… do you have “introverts” or people who simply don’t want to collaborate?  They can crush your team and your collaboration (think anti-Zappos behavior).
We understand the vital importance of collaboration among team members. However, how can we deal with non-collaborators—people who won’t work with us? Although we may not be able to change them, we may be able to work with them. This session describes how to identify non-collaborator and examine the system within which the non-collaborators work: their success factors, motivations and measurements. Using a Trust and Ownership Model, we considers tools and techniques to cope with each trait, building a strategy that empowers you to collaborate no matter what.

UX Field Trip Friday: Tesla

From precision welding performed by giant self-healing robots, to finish work applied through human craftsmanship, the 5.3 million square foot Tesla factory

in Freemont, CA offered everything you’d expect from a company that produces a mainstream luxury sedan that can do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds (which is faster than a Lamborghini Aventador).

Our non-disclosure agreement and Tesla policies forbid us from taking pictures inside the factory but we can tell you this: whatever you imagine the inside of a Tesla factory to be like, it’s better.

The level of energy and enthusiasm shown by our guide was incredible, and we all enjoyed story after story of innovation and the raw determination of this amazing company.

IFTTT Goes Live on X1

Along with our X1 core development team in Philadelphia, we’ve just launched IFTTT for X1.

If you’re not familiar, IFTTT (If This Then That) is a recipe-maker service that allows you to mix and add controls to the products and apps you already use and love.

And now, we’re launching a beta feature in partnership with IFTTT that lets people receive notifications on their television. 

Starting today, X1 users can have Xfinity send them personalized alerts on their TV screen from Gmail, Jawbone, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Evernote and many more.  That way, users can keep up with the things they care about, without missing a minute of their favorite programs.   

CSV team launches Watchable

Now live from CSV: the beta version of Watchable, a new, cross-platform video service that curates a selection of the best content from popular online video networks and shows in an easy-to-use experience. 

Now, iOS, watchable.com and X1 users can watch videos from about 30 digital partners including: AwesomenessTV, Buzzfeed, CelebTV, Collective Digital Studio, Defy Media, Discovery Digital Networks, Fast Company, Flama, Future Today, GarageMonkey, GoPro, Jukin Media, Machinima, Maker Studios, Mashable, Mic Media, NBCUniversal, Network A, Newsy, The Onion, POPSUGAR, Red Bull, Refinery29, Scripps Networks Interactive, Tastemade, TEN, TYT Network, Vice, Video Detective and Vox.

On television, that means popular digital shows like Vice, DNews, The Young Turks, Day of Gluttony, and Defy Media’s SMOSH and Clevver will be available via the Internet on the same video platform as live news and sports.

We want people to try Watchable and tell us what they think.  Over time, we’ll add additional network partners, make the experience more personalized, and include new options to share content with friends.

We think Watchable can be a unique place that curates and distributes the best content from some of the most recognized brands and producers on the web.  Plus, many of our Watchable partners have not traditionally had distribution on the TV and we can give them a path to reach new audiences and further monetize their content on the biggest screen in the home.

As the video industry continues to evolve, Comcast will continue to experiment.  We’ll continue to make investments in new media, create different ways for people to watch the movies and shows they love and test offerings that have the potential to attract new audiences.  

We think Watchable can be great for those who watch and create high-quality web videos and look forward to the feedback from our customers and users nationwide.

Team Comcast Crushes Waves to Wine

Team Comcast had a blast riding in the 2015 Waves to Wine MS fundraiser. Our team was small but powerful, and although it wasn’t officially a “race”, we did have fun riding past team Google, Salesforce and others (okay, they rode by us a couple of times too but hey, all in good fun)!

Here’s a quick note we just received from the event organizers – over $2 million raised!
“Thank you for participating in Bike MS: Waves to Wine Ride 2015. From Northern California and beyond, cyclists and volunteers came together and pedaled towards a world free of multiple sclerosis. As of today, the fundraising thermometer is at $1,953,062.92 and will continue to climb until the fundraising deadline on November 9.”

“Our impact will be felt far beyond event weekend; money raised through Bike MS: Waves to Wine funds innovative programs, services, and groundbreaking research, which helps the National MS Society fulfill its mission to create a world free of MS.”

“We would like to extend a very special thank you to our dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors! We would also like to recognize and applaud the extraordinary contributions of our top fundraisers and our team captains. They led us and inspired us, and we are profoundly grateful for their commitment and involvement with Bike MS: Waves to Wine Ride 2015 and the National MS Society.”

SJSU Career Fair

The Comcast Silicon Valley Innovation Center attended the Computer Science Career Fair at San Jose State University last week. The event hosted about 2000 students, recent graduates and alumni. Janet Lobendze, Dmitry Jerusalimsky at Matt Coler were there to shake hands and spread the good word about what CSV is all about. Starting promptly at noon, the crowd hit the event floor…
At first, the Comcast booth was quiet. We had a few eager students approach to watch our display featuring the realistic job previews and other videos offered on our YouTube Channel. But before long the crowd seemed to triple and our line grew quickly. It was awesome to meet with so many talented Network and Software Engineers and Product Managers, all asking questions about our internships and full time opportunities. Many left with a Comcast swag (Comcast smart wallets, notepads, workout bundles) but the real reward was in the conversations we had and all the great people we met.

By 5:15pm, the organizers actually had to come by and shut down the line at our booth. There was more interest in Comcast than the time allowed! We went into the event with of goal of sharing the work done at the Innovation Center. However, SJSU was the one who shared with us. The amount of talent in attendance was impressive. Summer intern hiring season is just around the corner. We have a feeling we will see a few new SJSU faces around the Silicon Valley office very soon.

Toastmasters Area 4 Event at CSV

Comcast Silicon Valley hosted the Area 4 Humorous and Evaluation Speech Contest on 9/22/15. Despite our club being only a year old this October our own Kevin Shea took first in Humorous and will go on to District! Kevin’s topic centered around an epic fishing trip as a 7-year-old that lead to a self confidence that persists today.  While not finishing “in the money” Joanne Bonoan amazed the crowd in the Evaluation Contest with a very good evaluation despite having been in Toastmasters for only a couple of months.

Our Area director was impressed with our facilities and accommodations. In his own words, “Thank you for hosting the event at Comcast. The facility is sleek and you did a great job making sure we had ample signage which was creative as well 🙂 Please convey my thanks to all those who helped. And yes, thanks for providing plates/cups etc.”  And the signs were so good some folks took them home as souvenirs!

 A special thanks to Sarah Sprague and Ruth Dawson for helping us with the facilities for the event  and Gennady Lobendze who helped us get familiar with theTV/audio/video . Thank you to our Comcast volunteers for helping run a smooth meeting. Volunteers included Kevin Shea, Trevor Gattis, Lyn Morse, Alicia Fremling, Tina Zhu and Sohi Balwinder. Special thanks to Daniel Hastings, Erica Franco and the UX team who created meeting signage in and around The City.

UX Field Trip Friday: Computer History Museum

What an amazing evolution we are all a part of! And no better way to understand what’s happening than by time-traveling at the Computer History Museum.

We were all impressed with the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the earliest engineers. Their physical work seemed so much more complicated than what we do today with code. But that may be just it – perception.

When looking at machines of earlier times we can relate their physical nature and physical movement in a very fundamental way. We may not know how to use an abacus but we can imagine how it works just by looking at it. And this leads us to make certain assumptions about the experience of using such a device. Our physical perception molds our expectations.

As you move through time, things get more complicated. The massive electronic digital computers of the 1940’s – 1960’s can make your jaw drop. Their enormity and physical complexity can leave us feeling overwhelmed and slightly confused. We’re left somewhere between being impressed and “what did this thing actually do?” Our minds automatically struggle to make a connection between the what we’re seeing and what we’re imagining. And we’re somewhat content to walk away feeling justified in our puzzlement.

Now enter the digital age. Machines morph into “devices”, physical things get flat, small and sleek. Process becomes undetectable. We can no longer make any logical connection between how a thing looks and what it does. Function simply becomes… magic.

Which, I think, brings me to the point. The new standard is invisibility. A trip to the Computer History Museum helps one to understand why.

Scala Bay Meetup at CSV

Last Thursday evening CSV hosted a Scala Bay Meetup with conversations centering around Akka at Comcast and presentations by one of our development teams. What an awesome group!

There were over 80 guests and nearly 20 more Comcast attendees. Companies represented in the audience includedf Box, Netflix, HP, Twilio, Samsung, Stumbleupon, Apple, quite a few start ups and many others. Over pizza, beer and wine talks included Val Apgar welcoming folks and introducing the team, Brendan O’Bra speaking on “Continuous Delivery at Comcast” and Vikas Rangarajan covering  “The future of continuous delivery at Comcast – Microservices and Containers”. David Bolene headlined the event with “SOA on Steroids”. David’s talk presented the Actor Service Registry for Akka which was open sourced just that day (github.com/Comcast/ActorServiceRegistry). A great Q&A session followed the talks along with informal discussions that would have gone on much longer if we didn’t have to clear the floor and go to work the next day.

Thanks for a great event, everyone!

 

UX Field Trip Friday: Target Open House

Check out a few photos from our recent visit to Target Open House , a brand new retail and demo space in San Francisco that’s, as they describe it, “part retail space, part lab, part meeting venue for the connected home tech community”. What’s great about the facility is that it goes beyond educating customers on individual brands and devices by demonstrating the power of linking various products and systems together. So while you may think you’re in the market for a smart light bulb or an automated door lock, you soon realize that coupled with Nest and an IFTTT account, you’re on your way to having a connected home. You quickly begin to see the power of the network.

More about Target Open House