Back in 2005 Steve Jobs delivered those two key messages to Stanford University graduates and they struck a chord with me. I’ve kept them front-of-mind throughout my career and they’ve shaped the way I work, as someone who is a customer-led, consultative technology business leader.
As a true global citizen (I'm currently enjoying the delights of Denver at SC19), I love interacting with all kinds of people, listening to their ideas, challenges, opinions and plans for the future. On a daily basis I am genuinely doing ‘what I love to do’ - consulting with customers to solve their problems and delivering solutions to help them meet their objectives. This is why I’ve spent my entire career in people-centric roles. I believe that being successful can only come from interconnections and close collaboration with customers, colleagues and partners. Together we are stronger.
Having been in "tech" for 25 years, I am also passionate about innovation and the positive impact it can have on all of us, particularly in how we can derive actionable insights from the vast quantities of data being accumulated today to change things for the better. You can really see here at SC19 in Denver, how the high performance community is continuing to embrace AI, and the convergence between the two is becoming more definite.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are staggeringly impressive and at a scale that is hard to comprehend. Amazing developments include rapid genome sequencing, disease diagnosis, fraud detection through big data analysis, predictive weather modelling to reduce crop losses and enable communities to prepare for severe weather, and of course ways we can reduce our carbon emissions through more efficient travel and energy efficiency, such as the ‘smart home’ revolution.
Global warming worries me and whether our planet and natural world can survive the ravages inflicted upon it from anthropogenic climate change. I have concerns that my children’s and future generations’ lives will be against the backdrop of a disastrously different reality if we fail to make the right choices today. It is horrible to think that our Earth could one day mirror the deserted, uninhabitable wasteland depicted in Disney Pixar’s WALL.E!
We need to act now and as always, every journey starts with taking that first small step. So, I made a conscious decision to change, to once again look back at the words of Steve Jobs, and "make a difference".
I decided to join Verne Global who run an industrial scale data center campus in Iceland that is powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to the fact that Iceland is the only developed nation in the world to have 100% of its grid power generated by sustainable sources (hydroelectric and geothermal). Such is the culture of energy innovation in the country, they’ve even added wind energy into that mix.
There is no cleaner, more environmentally responsible data center than Verne Global and it means we can take our client’s compute (either via colocation or hybrid-cloud) and reduce its carbon footprint practically to zero. In a world where AI and machine learning compute is increasing by 2x to 4x every three months, imagine how much carbon can be saved by powering these computations on a genuinely green grid.
Verne Global are industry leaders in high performance computing (HPC) and the intensive workloads characterised by AI. Our data center was built from below-the-ground-up to specifically cater for HPC deployments and as a result of innovative infrastructure and technical design by our world class CTO, Tate Cantrell, we can chill our clients’ equipment using cool, ambient cold air. That saves more carbon and keeps operating costs for our customers to a minimum.
Thankfully I’ve found that not only do the Verne Global team make a difference, they also share my appreciation of ‘doing what you love to do’. Our team are fanatical about ensuring our customers are happy. I am proud and delighted that we have a Net Promoter Score of 88 (way above the data center industry average) and a customer satisfaction rating of 98%. It’s refreshing to see how responsive we are when dealing with customer requests and enquiries, and it’s also great to work with a bunch of folks who really value human interactions and inter-connection in an increasingly automated world.
At the end of the day if we can continue to provide our clients with wonderful service and help them reduce their computing carbon emissions while at the same time reducing their high performance computing costs – we will be making a massive difference for them, and for the environment, and that is something to certainly celebrate.
After a long and rewarding career in the IT industry, I am finally doing what I love to do at Verne Global - enabling ground-breaking innovation by working with skilled and passionate people; and trying my best to make a difference – promoting sustainable technology and green IT.
If, like me you are at SC19 Denver right now - give me a shout and we can meet for a coffee. We're co-supporting the Iceland stand, booth #207.