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On this episode of The Bridge, I’m joined by Jason Carolan, CIO at Flexential. We’re talking about how the label of the day is for people and workloads is ‘hybrid’, and what it really means to be a digital-first company.
Flexential empowers the IT journey of the nation’s most complex businesses by offering tailored hybrid IT solutions delivered via the FlexAnywhere™ platform of integrated colocation, cloud, connectivity, data protection, managed and professional services, with three million square feet of data center space in 19 highly connected markets.
During our conversation, we discuss the challenges and opportunities related to adopting a digital-first approach, workload portability, and infrastructure management, We also talk about what it means to be a recovering CTO, and the satisfaction and growth in finding the right place — not necessarily the cool one — for workloads and for people.
Topics covered in this episode:
- Flexential’s focus on delivering infrastructure as a service across the United States.
- Why Flexential’s superpower lies in the expertise and skill sets of its 1000-person team.
- The concept of a “recovering CTO”.
- Why the conversation around digital transformation has shifted towards digital-first thinking.
- Why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for technology solutions and workload placement decisions.
- How the macro-economic environment is driving companies to take a digital-first look at the economics of their technology stack and how it drives the conversation around inventory and assessment of applications to get to the correct equation.
- The challenges and opportunities related to workload portability and infrastructure management.
- The crucial role of the network for bringing together different types of workloads.
- The idea of not throwing anything away, with data being a valuable asset that informs AI and contributes to building new products.
- The limitations and challenges of artificial intelligence and the concept of singularity.
- Predictions for the next 18 to 24 months.
ABOUT JASON CAROLAN
Jason drives next generation network-enabled technologies at Flexential. He and his cross-functional team translates market trends into strategic initiatives that inform the investment decisions across the company’s development, builds early stage products, and go to market strategies. Jason joined the company in 2011 and has held various technology and business leadership roles in product, operations and technical management, including CTO. Jason is a recognized thought leader and industry expert in distributed computing, network systems and cloud computing.
Jason has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in IT, system architecture, software development, and technical sales and support across a variety of companies, including Sun Microsystems, where Jason was honored as a “Distinguished Engineer.” During his tenure at Sun he helped architect and implement some of the most advanced systems and platforms in financial, e-commerce, IoT, and cloud services.
Jason also led a team at VMware to develop and implement some of the first cloud provider technologies. At the Mayo Clinic he heard a variety of roles, including IT support analyst, help desk manager, developer and Unix/Network administrator working closely with clinic and research staff.
Jason was a lead author of “Building N1 Grid Solutions,” one of the first books highlighting the combined use of virtualization and automation. He also has several patents in networking, data center resource management, virtualization, and security.
He is a member and contributor to the Wall Street Journal CIO Network and Forbes Technology Council. Guest lecturer and contributor – Galvanize Denver, CU-Boulder on Cloud and Open Source Licensing / Methedologies, and former member of University of Denver AMPLIFY committee for Business / Engineering eco-system development.
Scott Kinka (00:00):
Hi, and welcome to the Bridge. I’m your host, Scott Kinka. Joining me today is Jason Carolan who is the Chief Innovation Officer at Flexential. How are you today, Jason?
Jason Carolan (00:11):
I’m well, Scott. Glad to be here. Thanks for having us.
Scott Kinka (00:14):
Fantastic. And you’re in sunny Denver right now, from my understanding,
Jason Carolan (00:19):
You know, it was seventies, kind of on the weekend, and then it snowed yesterday and the sun’s back out. So you don’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes and it’ll change on you.
Scott Kinka (00:28):
I love that your LinkedIn title says recovering CTO. And not only is it the only time that I’ve seen that in someone’s LinkedIn post, but I’ve actually used it to describe myself. I’ve done my CTO tour duty as well. But before we jump into it, who’s Jason and talk about Flexential, can you explain recovering CTO for me?
Jason Carolan (00:54):
Well, still definitely on the road to recovery, I find myself nerding out from time to time. I think it was a little bit of the recognition that you have to have a team that’s smarter than you and you don’t need to be the smartest guy in the room and, and letting your team really play the roles they have and what they’re good at. And frankly, there’s no way one single person kind of keeps up with the technology stacks that we’re using today anyway. So why even try? So really, I’ve tried to pivot my world and my role really to helping others and helping flex, kind of see through the noise. Just finding the signal in terms of where things are going next, which some of that’s technology, but a lot of it’s business as well.
Scott Kinka (01:38):
Certainly. So does that mean that your role changed or was it a philosophical idea that you’re saying nobody can be chief of any technology? So we’re gonna talk about innovation.
Jason Carolan (01:47):
You know, it was purposeful I think three or four years ago, and I kind of changed it, changed the title, changed the role. I’ve been with the company for 12 years, so, you know, I thought about how we do something maybe a little bit different? And I just actually took on our internal IT group over the course of the last three to four months. So it’s been fun to kind of get my hands dirty again, just on how we look at technology and sort of flex in terms of being able to use some of the capabilities that we’re, we’ll probably touch on today, but increasingly become a customer of our, of ourselves and really kind of flip the bit. So yeah, purposeful, but still recovering for sure.
Scott Kinka (02:26):
No question. It’s so funny, I’ve recently taken over some internal IT responsibilities as well, and it’s been a long time. So you think it’s like riding a bike until you get on the bike, right
Jason Carolan (02:37):
At the end you do, I don’t know if it happened to you, but a lot of people say congratulations and I’m sorry, kind of at the same time.
Scott Kinka (02:42):
The exact same time. But you know what, it’s different, it clearly is a different universe too in terms of what our expectations of documentation, compliance et cetera, are around what it is that we do. We can spend an entire pod on that one, but we won’t dwell there too far. Tell us a little bit though, about Jason, just kinda you told us about 12 years, but how about personally you’re in Denver. Give us something we wouldn’t be able to figure out from your LinkedIn profile.
Jason Carolan (03:08):
Well, I mean, I think I put I’m a cyclist down there, you can see that from the background as well. So probably spend any of my copious amounts of free time, not with my family or with work, on the bike. And, you know, we’re lucky. We get to sponsor a great ride in Colorado called Ride the Rockies every year and have done so for almost the last 10, where we get to bring some great partners and customers along. But that’s probably one big piece of it. I love music. I used to play the drums probably for 15 years in the early part of my life, much to my parents’ dismay. I kind of hung that up, in college a bit, but still enjoy listening to music, and going to concerts and things like that as well.
Scott Kinka (03:50):
Fantastic. I get that we have some shared history there, which again, is probably a whole other episode. So we’ve now planned two future episodes, for you and I to have. But you’re at Flex, you’ve been there for 12 years. You know, Flexential is a business that’s had a couple iterations and a few pasts. You know, maybe you can give, for the listeners who aren’t familiar with Flexential, why don’t you give us the top level commercial and if there’s any of the history in there you wanna sprinkle in fire away as you go.
Jason Carolan (04:21):
Sure. I would say, Flexential was formed by the combination of two legacy companies and we’re probably five years now into Flex, but really the combination of the companies have been around for a couple of decades. First was, peak 10 really out of the east United States, and then via west, outta the west side of the United States. And we combined those forces probably five years ago, really focusing on bringing the best data center network and cloud services to our customer base nationally. And we’re a hundred percent really focused on the United States. We do have a cloud node in Amsterdam and some networking in London and elsewhere. We have some great cable landings that attach all of our networks and our facilities together to some of the fastest sea cables that go into Asia and to South America and Europe. But really we’re focused on service delivery in the United States. So with that platform, we have 19 markets, 41 data centers. We provide infrastructure as a service inside those facilities. So really trying to future proof the hybrid IT thinking that a buyer has today, because often we’re in these conversations, and I’m sure you are too, where I’ve got a workload in the cloud today. I know that I gotta run that for the next three to five years. How do I kind of rightsize that knowing that I need this configuration and it’s not really gonna change. How do I lock those economics in? Or perhaps I’m hyperscale and I need a place to even go put my servers. So we kind of run the gambit of helping I’d say mid-enterprise companies understand infrastructure as a service and our cloud and data protection capabilities, but all the way up to servicing really hyperscale and edge workloads at enormous scale and enabling those type of workloads in our ecosystem as well.
Scott Kinka (06:13):
Got it. Managers are all the way out to the hyperscale then as well?
Jason Carolan (06:18):
Yeah, absolutely. And that the cornerstone of this is the network, right? And I know we’ll get onto this later, but the network is really what brings us all together for us. So, six or seven years ago we started building out our own network that brings all of our data centers together. And in a lot of big metros like Dallas or Denver, Atlanta, Portland, we have more than one data center. And so we bring all those data centers together with our own dark fiber ring, connect all those rings together nationally. So if you’re in one of our facilities, you kind of have automated disaster recovery or even active configuration access to any of the portfolio. And then we’ve stretched that now to all the hyperscale access nodes with our product called IX mesh and IX fabric that allows us to then attach hybrid workloads into the hyperscale nodes as well. So really a lot of focus on networking, which for me is really the cornerstone of a lot of the things that we do.
The Digital-First Transformation Era
Scott Kinka (07:16):
Fantastic. And there’s a lot there, right, for us to unpack. We’ll sneak back into hyperscale in a little bit, cuz that’s certainly interesting and really understanding how, I mean at the end of the day we’re in a significant conversion of the way we’ve thought about not just cloud, but work, not just work, but offices. I mean every one of these episodes ends up getting to the point of the company saying sort of like the dawn of time, right? It’s pre covid, post covid, right? It’s BCAD, right? In terms of the way we think about our product offerings. I get the kind of where the core is. Let’s focus on that a little bit. I mean, the conversations that you are having with your clients today have to be wildly different than they were in 2019, early 2020. In what ways?
Jason Carolan (08:13):
Yeah, certainly. I think it was that the covid sort of drove this tremendous change. And I think there’s stats out there from IDC and others that have indicated over the last couple years we’ve gone from digital transformation thinking to really digital first thinking, or enterprises now spend more money on digital technology than they do on really anything else from an analog or mechanical side of things. Which I think is all true, and we would all probably agree with that. You know, what I would say it has done is, it changes whether it’s e-commerce, it changes a lot of our human interactions we’re doing this medium a lot more than we probably did in the past. I would say that hasn’t slowed down. You know, I think just looking at here, it’s Wednesday, I’ve got a lot of people in the office. But we’re very much in hybrid work still. And we’ve always been pretty hybrid anyway, just because we have so many different locations across the US and supporting those. But I think at some level, this technology has gotten better where we can spin this up and we feel confident that we can actually have conversations a little bit easier than we did in the past where we had to go type in a bunch of numbers on a phone to get a bridge to work. So I think that’s been a big change. I think back kind of 18, 19, there was this cloud where you don’t get fired for going into the cloud unless you get fired because sometimes it doesn’t work well. Sort of this cloud first or cloud only mentality. And I really do think that as we help customers every single day as well as your team, there isn’t one answer at this point. There’s different technology solutions and different workload placement decisions and different concepts of why you wanna use co-location or private cloud or public cloud. And I think there’s a lot of buyers out there still trying to grapple with what’s the right formula for that, because it isn’t one size fits all, even though I think some of our vendors and partners, you may even say, well Azure is the answer, just picking on them. But ultimately whether it’s edge, whether it’s IOT, whether it’s dealing with lower latency applications, scale data lakes, AI, I mean, all those things have different attributes that really start to drive. The placement decisions above and beyond the economics, which often is one of the focal points.
Scott Kinka (10:42):
Well, it’s interesting we spent years, gosh, decades maybe, or at least a decade, trying to get people into the idea that OPEX was a better way to go about this. And then we swung all the way to the other end of this. And this isn’t everyone, I mean, this isn’t exclusive to just scale computing. You could say this in communications, you can say it in collaboration, you can say it in contact centers. I mean, we kind of drove all that way and we’re settling back into maybe the right tool for the right for the right tool for the right job, I think is probably the way to look at it. Does that dominate the conversations that you are having at the customer level now as it relates to data center?
Jason Carolan (11:24):
I think so. I think we define our ideal customer profile. And I would say 90% of those conversations are just what we had. Which is I’ve got a bunch of brand new applications that I need to get out the door really, really quickly. I’m not entirely sure how they’re gonna be used or what how they’re gonna be used, where they’re gonna be used, need to move quickly, enable the developers to go do their jobs, but then I wanna eventually go right-size that into something that I can lock in the economics, I can lock in the network cost structure, I can lock in performance. I’m not dialing that up and dialing that down in ways that I don’t understand. I mean, I think 90% of those buyers, and I run our customer advisory council as well, and I’m always kind of shocked by every touchpoint we have with them, which we do kind of three times a year, how much they wanna talk about this which means it’s still kind of in their core conversations within their IT organizations and their business units on what is the right way to solve for that formula. And you know, there is no right answer. I think you can brute force a lot of this one way or the other, and maybe that is good and bad for the time. But we’re seeing a lot of companies as they scale extreme IO apps and wanna go lock in those economics. Co-location really is the best in the best formula for that, which I think frankly surprises a lot of people because they’re like, wow, I thought colo was dead. Well then, the fact of the matter is we can’t build cool fast enough because ultimately clouds and applications need to live somewhere. And increasingly they’re becoming way more latency sensitive than they were in the past, frankly, because of the network, the situation that we’re in and the way we consume this technology today.
Scott Kinka (13:14):
Yeah, I mean there’s colo, you mentioned a technical reason, let’s say, right? To consider a workload that makes sense in colo and, and you know, the IT team kind of trying to figure out where that line is, how much of that are you seeing, sort of the current macroeconomic environment driving a little bit of that as well, where it was like, Hey, it was okay to throw it into OPEX before, until it wasn’t, if you know what I mean? And now we’re sort of looking at it like, geez, can we be on the drink forever for an application that maybe doesn’t require scalability? Certainly it has pace for deployment, it’s flexible, it’s easy. I don’t have to go through PO processes and wait for the supply chain, but you know, at the end of the day, this just doesn’t belong there. Our economics drives that conversation often.
Jason Carolan (13:58):
Yeah, I mean, I think definitely, you either, you’ve seen it, there’s a trend recently where a lot of tech companies are going private, right? And I think just in that nature, private equity has a tendency to kind of look at those economics a little bit more than perhaps BC funded or public funded companies. So I think there’s an aspect of that. I think there’s inventory and understanding what companies have, what’s up and running is really difficult. So like if you go talk like that, the biggest joke is the CFO tells the CIO, Hey, you guys need to reduce your spending by 20%. And the CIO says, well, I have no idea what to cut because I have no idea what my application’s actually are anyway. So there’s a little bit of a stepping back and trying to drive an application inventory and assessment and what are the right answers to that to be able to get to the right the right equation again, which has different attributes based on the maturity of the company the economics customer adoption, a whole bunch of different things, which is why it’s so complicated, frankly. Why do we have experts in both of our organizations that can help customers sort through that?
The Challenges and Opportunities of Workload Portability
Scott Kinka (15:08):
Yeah. But I mean, I think the other thing that we see from time to time, I’m curious your thoughts on this is, you mentioned development as one of those audiences a couple of minutes ago. You know, I made a mental note kind of put that in there, right? And while every application they build might not require elasticity in the way we would historically define that the ability to spin up, spin down, build out, test machines, do that kind of work is certainly highly flexible and really important to them at the beginning of the application creation. Do you find though, that there’s this like reverse retrofitting right now going on in repatriation? Like in other words, four years ago it was all about infrastructure as code, right? It was about containerization and then infrastructure as code. And if somebody filed that all the way down from you to get pace on the application, and then it was just an application that didn’t require elasticity, man, that’s awfully hard to unwind at this point. And it kind of put those workloads back in a little bit more of a traditional stance. Are those conversations you’re hearing more?
Jason Carolan (16:15):
Yeah, I mean I’d probably hear a little bit both ways. You were reminding me of my days at Sun Microsystems, which was a little known technology company in California that got bought by a big behemoth called Oracle. And via West or Flexo. I spent some time at VMware and I ran the cloud engineering unit that was really in charge of taking VMware’s technology stack and bringing it out to the service providers. And we had a feature in that stack that was one of my favorite features, which was every virtual machine that you deployed had a lease associated with it and you couldn’t set it to Infinity . So you knew that VM was going to either last for a day or 30 days or 90 days, but was never gonna go beyond that. And so it had a time to live, which I thought was kind of a brilliant thing to sort of force you around lifecycle management and, and potentially stop the proliferation of just VM sprawl kind of happening everywhere. I have no idea if that still exists in today’s tech stack or not, but I do think you’ve gotta go force the architecture conversation to provide the right portability or, you know, the right thought process. You know, Netflix is famous for probably investing $500 million in creating an abstraction layer that kept them away from Amazon when Amazon started promoting its own video stack. And gave them the way to get off of it quickly if they had to. Now there’s still a huge number of Amazon shops that really didn’t crystallize, but I think a lot of customers think about portability and the trade-offs around application architecture, data architecture. And you know, what kind of helps move applications around when you need it or is that not important because that application really is never gonna go anywhere, which is a fine decision to make too.
Scott Kinka (18:16):
Interesting way of thinking about that, talking about, let’s assume the future is hybrid, right? I mean, I think we all know that, right? Any technology goes through a hype cycle and then we scramble to it and it becomes the only thing that we do until it’s not. And then we realize what belongs where, and ultimately we settle into our new reality. And it seems like a lot of the conversations that you’re having are around that reality. What workload goes where. I guess that’s where the statement that you made earlier about the network asset and the kind of control plane and what IS mesh was, is really important, right? I mean, now we assume that we have workloads everywhere else. You wanna be able to control the connectivity of the various assets with frankly the same level of flexibility and granularity as you can control the server workloads themselves. Tell us a little bit more about the way you guys think about networks and really empower the customer’s ability to flexibly build connective tissue between these workloads.
Jason Carolan (19:15):
Yeah, I mean, and, and I think it’s important that workloads could be my laptop, right? Which increasingly we’re spending a lot of, our branch office is the branch office of one that happens to be right here. There’s IOT and increasingly manufacturing and industrial use cases where iott, lidar video playing enormous roles in quality control and safety and standards. So those branch offices have gotten more complicated in the type of technology you have to deploy there to go make real-time decision making. You know, you don’t wanna throw any of your data away because it’s the key to your large language model. Modeling is the key to having that data, right? So you wanna move that data from where the real time decision making is to your data lake and the cloud somewhere in another big data center. So the network really plays this crucial role in really bringing this all together. And I think that’s the big change that I’ve seen is that data is so powerful and you don’t exactly know today. How are you gonna use that data tomorrow? I’ve got one customer who’s like, we just stopped throwing anything away. Like we literally don’t delete anything, cause we don’t know what customer sentiment data we might need in the future to go help build a new product, right? And because we don’t have the capabilities today, it doesn’t mean we don’t have the capabilities tomorrow. So I think the network plays this really crucial piece of, number one, enabling the technology stack, but also allowing it to future proof some of the things in machine learning and AI and things like that down the road.
Scott Kinka (20:51):
I was thinking about AI when you said we don’t throw anything away. Because ultimately something informs AI, right? I mean, businesses are not gonna be in a situation where they’re gonna wanna chuck stuff away when it can ultimately inform an intelligence engine.
Jason Carolan (21:12):
You’re right Scott.
Scott Kinka (21:14):
I think I’ll survive. Wow, allergies. It’s not freezing and snowing here. We have everything butting outside here in the Philadelphia area right now. So a little bit on the allergy side.
Jason Carolan (21:25):
I’m like, I don’t know if I can call 9 1 1 and get them vectored over to your location.
Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Data Centers
Scott Kinka (21:29):
There fast enough. Yeah, no, I appreciate that. So, tell me this then, let’s just wrap all of that. There was a lot of really cool discussion in there as it relates to Flexential. You know, gimme the superpower readout, right? I mean, at the end of the day when people hear about data centers, they’re gonna think about it in terms of do you have space available where I want to put stuff? Certainly yes. Right? But you talked about hybrid cloud orchestration. You talked about being able to control the network layer at a very flexible layer. You talked about being willing to get and do some of the management work around hyperscale workloads to sort of fit them into that story. You know, where’s the superpower for you guys outside of that? You’ve got a rack available where I want to be.
Jason Carolan (22:17):
Yeah, great question. And you know, I am, not to sound cliche, but I think it’s about amassing a thousand people that understand a lot of the things that we just talked about at a level of scale where there’s interesting problems and challenges for them to work on. And I think there’s a miss. I was at a Gartner conference a couple months ago and had a company come up to me and they were really determined that they wanted to keep building out their data centers that they owned because it was a real estate play for them. You know, I think they were in the insurance world, a smaller company, but the founder owner felt these physical assets were really important and they needed new generators and new things like that. I had just come off a stint of visiting a bunch of the power companies within our markets, talking about supply chain and what they’re seeing on generation or transmission. They’re dealing with a lot of the same challenges anybody in our industry has around getting generation equipment and chips and all that stuff comes together. You know, the fact that I’ve got 300, 400 people that wake up every single day and just think about the data center and the data center technology piece. And my joke is always mine, I grew up and my dad owned a construction company. I wanted to be as far from construction as I possibly could. Well, the real answer is Flex has a lot of solid construction people because our data centers have to be built to withstand time, the environment, which is increasingly an interesting area of, of change, dynamics and power and what’s going on there. You know, clean energy and it’s push to our customers and to our ecosystem. And that’s just that part of the business. And then having a good couple hundred people that really understand hardcore carrier grade networking is another skill set that you just can’t find really anywhere. And then finally, our man of services and our cloud team that really understand kind of how everything else works from an infrastructure as a service. You know, bringing that together into this thousand person company, I think is the superpower. Because at the end of the day, we can build great automation and use ChatGPT to do great stuff, but it’s humans that are solving problems to make things better and more resilient and, and provide the services that our customers want every single day.
Scott Kinka (24:50):
Yeah. It’s funny. I mean, this keeps coming up in various episodes. The more we develop technologies to make things easier on people, the more we need them to power the engines. It sounds crazy, but I mean, AI’s not coming for anybody anytime soon at the end of the day, cause you still have to ask it for something.
Jason Carolan (25:12):
And you have to tell it when it’s wrong because it’s actually wrong more often than you would think. So I mean, that’s the challenge.
Scott Kinka (25:18):
Yeah. You know, I had somebody ask me about artificial intelligence, they’re like, when’s artificial intelligence gonna be fully intelligent? When’s it gonna be self-aware? And I’m like, well, that’s a different, the singularity’s a different conversation. But you know, the very use of the word artificial in front of intelligence implies that its mission isn’t to become intelligent in the same way. Right. It’s still gonna be, it’s not artificial humanity, it’s artificial intelligence right, at the end of the day.
Jason Carolan (25:46):
Yeah. I think the singularity is still pretty far off, so Yeah.
Energy Crisis Looming in the Tech Industry
Scott Kinka (25:49):
Yep. I think that we’re there, but while we’re on something like that related to the singularity, I’m gonna ask you, we’re gonna have some fun. Gimme a shameless prediction, 18 to 24 months. Not necessarily about Flexential per se, but it can certainly be about the industry or technology or your favorite sports team. Doesn’t matter to me. Put your prognosticator hat on.
Jason Carolan (26:10):
Oh, wow. Well, I would love to see the Iowa Girls NCAA team win next year. That was a fun road to watch here this season. You know, I would say I think we’re kind of in a, there’s an energy crisis kind of brewing here that is really under the covers for the most part. And I think it’s really about the technology. It took a gigawatt of power to go train ChatGPT three. Four is even more interactive. I mean, five. How many gigawatts? What ultimately does it take to power this? And I think that’s gonna be a challenge for the industry. We’re gonna be hampered a little bit by access to power, access to energy. And then I think on top of that, you’ve got a geopolitical situation where nation state hackers and others are really targeting great infrastructure. So I think all that’s gonna kind of come to a little bit of a scary, scary time over the next couple years. So, I mean, I think working with the providers on, nuclear, modular, you know, different ways to bring power reliably into our platforms and working with other companies like, you know, Bloom and others on how to do that cleanly and securely. And I think that the industry’s definitely looking at alternatives to figure out how to keep it going. But I think ultimately it’s
Scott Kinka (27:43):
Wow, there’s some risk potentially there too. You know, said slightly differently. You know, maybe AI gets slowed down, not by Elon Musk or the Italian government, but our ability to power its thinking. Given some of the things that are going on. It’s really a wild way of thinking about it. That’s a hot take right there, Jason, I totally dig that. All right. This one’s more fun than that, to be honest with you.
Jason Carolan (28:08):
Yeah. Sorry, it came off very ominous.
Scott Kinka (28:11):
No, I like it. That was, I guess hot take, man. I dig it. But let’s just say we have that power crisis and, you know, most of the applications in the world stop working and you’ve got your mobile phone in your pocket and one application still works, just one. It’s your choice. What’s it gonna be?
Jason Carolan (28:34):
Okay, well, the recovering CTO in me has a bunch of other questions, but,
Scott Kinka (28:39):
You don’t get to ask any, there’s no qualifiers on this. You just gotta throw it out there.
Jason Carolan (28:45):
Well, you know, for me, the killer app on my phone is still SMS. I’m just old school. Okay. Like I’ve got my directory full of people from the last 20 years. I haven’t changed my phone number, like ever. And so, it is my connective tissue to all my friends, my buddies, my coworkers, more than probably anything else now. Now the thing is in a global energy crisis, like we were just talking about, I’m assuming that SMS is not gonna work anymore. So I’m gonna have to come up with another solution for that question, I guess.
Scott Kinka (29:14):
Yeah, if there is no network, then what’s the answer? What’s your busy app then?
Jason Carolan (29:19):
Maybe chess? I guess the chess app. I dunno. I gotta keep myself busy somehow.
Scott Kinka (29:25):
You gotta do something. All right. That’s good. So, just one last one. This is really kind of more on the business side. I mean, what’s on Jason’s end table right now? What’s the business tone or the reading or what is it maybe that you’re listening to that you’d suggest for other business leaders, maybe recovering CTOs like yourself. What’s on your mind right now?
Jason Carolan (29:47):
You know, I’ve been enjoying the HBR at 100 books, just because it’s probably rereading a bunch of stuff that I’ve read. You know, previously I just thought HB just does a great job of sort of pulling content together. But you’re reading stuff from Drucker and Cotter and all this history. Vern Harnish and others, that history repeats itself for sure in that world. So it’s fun just to kind of go back a hundred years and sort of think about what entrepreneurs and business people were thinking about back then, and how really it’s not that different today.
Scott Kinka (30:19):
What’s funny too, you start to look at things in that historical context and you wonder which is art imitating life and life imitating art too. You know, I keep thinking about this and all these conversations that we’re having about AI right now as an example, and I’m like Asimov was laying down the five rules of artificial intelligence robotics in the first half of the last century. Right. You know, are we imitating art the other way around? It’s interesting, right? Yeah. But really interesting stuff. Jason, this was a great conversation. If anybody is listening now that is super interested in learning a little bit more maybe about the IX mesh, maybe a little bit on the company, how best would you recommend that they, besides obviously reaching out to their friendly neighborhood Bridgepointe strategist. How would they find more information on Flex?
Jason Carolan (31:08):
Yeah, I mean, LinkedIn probably is a great place to look. We’re really active on it. A lot of our leaders post there and we really take that seriously. So that’s a great way to reach out to any of us, you know, vectoring to our website. You know, I guarantee you that there is a chatbot there and it’s not powered by ChatGPT. There’s a human behind that. So if you want to talk to somebody from our account services team, that’s probably an easy way to get to them as well. So either Flexential.com or LinkedIn would be my recommendations.
Scott Kinka (31:38):
Fantastic. Jason, great conversation. I’m looking forward to the next one. We’ve already laid out the agendas on the next two, I think in the earlier part of this conversation. So from one recovering CTO to the other, this has been a great conversation. I really appreciate your time for joining me on the Bridge today.
Jason Carolan (31:54):