11 Mar March 11, 2019 – The Bottomless Cloud, Cultural DNA Claudette Rowley and Next Level Steve Laswell
Tom Koulopoulos – Bestselling Author and Futurist
David Friend – Co-founder and CEO of Wasabi
Authors of The Bottomless Cloud: How AI, the Next Generation of the Cloud, and Abundance Thinking Will Radically Transform the Way You Do Business – Read interview highlights here.
We’ve barely got a sense for what the data avalanche is going
to look like. We are 5 minutes into 24 hour poker game. The next
3, 4, 5 years are going to radically change the storage landscape,
and with it will come innovations that we can barely conceive of.
Tom Koulopoulos is the Chairman and co-founder of the Delphi Group, a global futures think tank that focuses on the impact of digital technologies. He is the author of 11 books, an adjunct professor at Boston University, and a frequent keynote speaker on the future.
David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, a revolutionary cloud storage company and a game changer for media and entertainment. As storage needs explode and the leading storage options become competitors to many media companies, Wasabi provides bottomless storage that’s six times faster, 80% cheaper and even more reliable than the competition. One of the most iconic opening riffs in rock music–The Who’s Baba O’Riley–used the synthesizer developed by David’s first company, ARP Instruments. David and his ARP synthesizers also jammed with Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and even helped Steven Spielberg communicate with aliens providing that legendary five-note communication in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He also founded or co-founded five other companies: Computer Pictures Corporation – an early player in computer graphics, Pilot Software – a company that pioneered multidimensional databases for crunching large amounts of customer data for major retail companies, Faxnet – which became the world’s largest provider of fax-to-email services, Sonexis – a VoIP conferencing company, and immediately prior to Wasabi, what is now one of the world’s leading cloud backup companies, Carbonite. Currently valued at over $1B dollars, Carbonite also provided David the foundation to develop the ground-breaking technologies that distinguish Wasabi. David’s impact is not limited to his inventions. He is a respected philanthropist and supporter of the arts in Boston. He is on the board of Berklee College of Music, where there is a concert hall named in his honor, and serves as president of the board of Boston Baroque, an orchestra and chorus that has received 7 Grammy nominations. He is an avid mineral and gem collector and donated the David Friend Gem and Mineral Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Claudette Rowley – CEO of Cultural Brilliance and the author of Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence
It’s about a company understanding their own potential. There
is so much untapped potential in a culture. When a company
understands that and finds out what that potential is, the
result is excellence.
Claudette Rowley is the CEO of Cultural Brilliance, a cultural design and change management consultancy and the author of Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence. Over the past twenty years, Claudette has consulted, trained and coached executive leaders and teams at Fortune 1000 companies, small businesses, academic institutions, and start-ups, helping them create proactive and innovative workplace cultures that deliver outstanding results. Claudette is passionate about helping organizations resolve complex problems in ways that honor the intelligence of their cultural system and the brilliance of their people. As the creator of the Cultural Brilliance System™, she also hosts a globally syndicated radio show, Cultural Brilliance Radio, and has taught a course on culture and communication at Northeastern University.
Steve Laswell – Next Level Executive Coaching
It’s hard to read the label on a bottle when you are
in the bottle. We need the objectivity that someone
Steve Laswell worked in the faith-based nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years as a Pastor in The Church of Nazarene. He served as a General Sales Manager and Station Manager for a five-station group (Cox Radio) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He segued his radio experience to become Founder/President of Next Level Executive Coaching, LLC, a coaching program designed to develop self-managed teams and executive leaders. Steve is the author of three books The People Project: Your Guide for Changing Behavior and Growing your Influence as a Leader and The Journey: Personal Notes from the Father. His current release Leaders Create Space: Transform Disruption into Clarity for Life and Work is an international best-seller in nine business categories.
Highlights from Bottomless Cloud Interview
We’re reaching a tipping point for how we look at data, and what it means to business and our lives.
Interestingly, many of the companies that are doing really well with data today are smaller, newer brands. We tend to think of big, established companies like Uber, Facebook, or Google when we think about data, but some of those companies don’t know how valuable their data really is; they haven’t figured out how to use their data to its best advantage.
So a company like Delta might not treat their customers like they really know them and what they want, while the data does offer that possibility. But other companies can take that same data and predict customer needs and actions much better.
This comes from the scarcity mindset that we talked about in the book. Not long ago IT directors used to storm down the hall complaining about the fact that mailboxes were more than 100 megabytes; data was a cost, not an opportunity.
Now the cost of data storage is plummeting. My company Is playing a big role in driving down data storage costs, and that opens the opportunity to rethink the value of data.
Cloud native companies like Google are a good example. I can’t imagine anyone at Google thinking, “Gee, I don’t know if we want to store all that map data; it’s kind of expensive.” Data is the basis of their business!
Even airline companies like Delta are trying to find ways to use data to stand out from their competitors, and there are companies out there that are excelling at it. We have the opportunity to rethink practically everything about running our businesses based on the preservation and analysis of data.
Anytime the cost of any infrastructure drops by an order of magnitude, people start seeing it as an opportunity instead of a business cost.
It’s hard to predict the effect on small companies, but 10 or 20 years ago when bandwidth and storage were expensive, no one would have thought of creating services like Netflix or Uber or any kind of cloud based business; the cost was prohibitive. But not lots of smaller businesses can afford to use those resources. One of the fascinating things to watch as a CEO is what kind of innovation will take place as a result of this change in the economics of infrastructure.
The reason this is exciting for small business is that the cloud lets small business compete and build very quickly. You can scale your revenue scale, you don’t have to buy infrastructure ahead of time, you can grow very quickly because the cloud creates different rules for business. You can also speculate, innovate, and afford a lot more trial and error in the cloud.
The affordability of technology spurs innovation like nothing else, and that’s why making data available is crucial to our economy as a whole. Businesses used to compete by having the physical technology up front, just to build the business. You don’t have to do that anymore, which allows a whole new level of innovation to arise.
How much this matters depends on the business. Like data, you probably don’t worry about the cost of electricity. And yet, if you were mining Bitcoin, electricity would be 80 or 90% of your costs.
Imagine a mall that does facial recognition of the people walking around so that you can advertise directly to them. Video takes up a huge amount of storage, and people have all kinds of ideas about what can be done with video. The question is, will the revenue created by that business exceed the cost? If you change the denominator by a factor of 10, suddenly all kinds of crazy cool ideas that aren’t as profitable become revenue generators.
We’re seeing a lot of businesses popping up that deal with video. A half hour of HD video off of a surveillance camera probably generates more data than a 700 person company did in its entire lifetime, so whether storage is important really depends on the nature of the business.
As the cost of storage drops you’ll see all kinds of businesses popping up to take advantage of that opportunity, and they will use a lot of storage. It’s like if you put a dam on a river offering very cheap hydroelectric power, you can bet the Bitcoin guys will be setting up down the street.
We ‘ve barely begun to appreciate how much data we’ll have to work with, and how much we’ll be creating in a few years.
For example, we’re going to have self-driving cars, but we don’t talk about the fact that it would cost ten times as much as the automobile itself just to store that data In today’s cloud. So if your Tesla costs you $50,000, it would cost half a million to pay for all the storage it needs.
Something’s got to give. The amount of data we’ll be creating through the internet of things with AI and autonomous devices is staggering. Right now, we’ve got five or six zettabytes total storage globally.
If every one of my cells was digitized, it would take almost 60 zettabytes. That’s six to ten times the amount of storage we have globally today! These are insane numbers, I think we’ve barely got a sense for what the data avalanche is really going to look like. We think we’re living in it, but we’re five minutes into a 24 hour poker game and the next few years are going to radically change that landscape. With those changes will come innovations we can’t imagine today.
Outside my window are wall-to-wall biotech companies. The amount of genetic data being stored is doubling every seven months, and will exceed the amount of video stored within three years. Every time someone gets their gene sequence we generate terabytes of data. Multiply that by the billions of people in the world who will one day have their genomes sequenced online, and you have far more data than all the data storage in the world right now.
Digitizing every cell in the human body would be equal to 60 zettabytes. That’s an insane number. But data isn’t a natural resource. We can’t use it up, and its potential for expansion is infinite. We don’t have to destroy the planet to have more.
In fact, we can help the planet by being able to understand patterns and nuances that can deal with pandemics in climate change. All these really complex issues: healthcare, education, that we struggle with today, will be computed. It’s not just a space issue, but a power issue. But the cost of the power associated with storing a bit of information is dropping in half every two to two and a half years right now. A few years ago, we were buying five terabyte hard drives that used thirteen watts of power. Today we buy a fifteen terabyte drive that uses four and a half watts. It’s dramatic reduction. And as new technologies come along, the cost of the storage will continue to drop.
A big part of power consumption today is local devices, because we’re storing data on local devices, we have our consumption that will probably not be there within a good two, three years.
As we move to the cloud, we become much more efficient in how we deal with both the data and with the with the computing power. The numbers alone show dramatic shifts in what we’ll be consuming and storing; there will be more data than we can imagine right now.
There’s a suspicion that data in the cloud isn’t as secure as data stored on a home PC, but the facts don’t bear that out. It’s much easier to hack into a home computer than wasabi or Amazon or Google. There isn’t much hacking going on in the cloud.
And as cloud storage specialists, we don’t store anything that isn’t encrypted. Even if people could reach the data, it would take more supercomputers than exist in the world to break the encryption.
People don’t worry about putting their credit card information on the internet anymore, and it will be the same with data storage in the future. The number of good experiences people will have will let them stop worrying.
By way of comparison, a laptop Is stolen every 53 seconds, and 70 million smart phones are lost every year, so we’re vulnerable to losing localized data. It’s much more secure in the cloud.
Anyone with a PC has experienced a hard drive crash or had somebody steal it or something similar, and they lost all data that wasn’t stored in the cloud or copied elsewhere.
All of the major cloud services, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, wasabi, all have what’s called 11 nines of durability. To put that in perspective, if you gave me a million files to store I would statistically lose one file every 659,000 years. That’s many orders of magnitude more durable and reliable than any other kind of data storage.
A Club of Rome report was written in the 1970s that we were going to run out of resources by 2020, and that we were on a trajectory towards apocalyptic outcomes. But what it left out was the tremendous advances in computing and data that are not only limitless, but give us the power to change how we use power, how we deliver healthcare, and how we see 10 billion people.
All of these will result from better use of data and digital technology. That was what we couldn’t have gotten back then. It wasn’t part of the landscape. In 1970 there were tens of thousands of computer users in the world. Now there are 10 billion. That variable makes a huge difference.
It’s exciting; we are fundamentally changing the way we operate as a society, as an economy, as businesses and organizations, and as individuals.
If we didn’t change that, then the scarcity thinking that went into that Club of Rome report would call for limits to growth, and that could have resulted in very serious consequences. We live in a better world, a more efficient world, a world with less friction because of technology. And that will continue, and the removal of that friction will create knowledge, more efficient businesses, and a better quality of life for everyone.
Going back to the subject of our book, which is that we need to change the way we think about data from being this notion of storing as little as possible because it’s expensive to storing as much as possible because next year we may come up with an idea for how to use that data in ways that we didn’t anticipate before. Everybody in the IT industry should be thinking about what could we do if we thought of data and data storage as an essentially limitless, cheap commodity.
And how can we come up with new ideas for how to change and improve the way we do business and the way society works?
You can get the Bottomless Cloud. It’s available on Amazon. The audio book, e-book and the hard book were number one, two and three on enterprise books when we checked yesterday, so any other bookstore will probably have it as well, but amazon.com seems to be where most like to go.