Executives vs. Engineers

Season 02 // Episode 05

A veteran leader in cybersecurity, our guest this week leads some of Trend Micro's key product businesses. Steve Quane has not only helped shepherd Trend Micro through it's cloud transition but has also helped thousands of organizations around the world migrate the technology and business practices. In this episode, we tackle the different in the engineering and executive points of view.

Guests

Details

This episode was original streamed on Tue, 20-Apr-2020 to multiple platforms. You can watch the streams (along with the comments) on-demand on:

Show Notes

Key Quotes

If you can say, "Hey, we're getting better. Here's what it was six months ago. Here are the things we did. Here's why it's better" That's huge. To just say, "We're improving." Steve Quane on showing the value of cloud transformation [00:37:05]
Highlight the successes on the DevOps side, the customer impact, and the speed at which we're moving...that's a big part of the discussion; that pride. Steve Quane motivating and encourage cultural change on technical teams [00:45:42]

Report card with check marks showing progressTranscript

Mark: Hey everybody, thanks for joining us on yet another episode of Let's Talk Cloud. as a reminder, this is a series where we pull in, influencers, key leaders in our community, people with unique perspectives to talk about the challenges of migrating into the cloud, of working in the cloud, and all things cloud in general.

We are live on Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, under the #letstalkcloud. we've got our team checking the comments, they're, bringing that discussion in.

So if you have any questions, as we go through this, please, drop a comment, on any of those platforms that we will integrate it into the discussion as we go because that is the beauty of live streaming.

[00:05:39] My name is Mark Nunnikhoven, I'm Vice President of Cloud Research here at Trend Micro. And another thing of the, beauty of live streaming is inevitably some things may go wrong, we work really hard on the technical side to make sure that they don't.

This week I think we've got the technology nailed, we've been practicing hard. We're taking more of a, risk on the personal side, because what's more of a risk then interviewing not only a key, executive and influencer within, the cloud community prospective by organizations around the world but one of the people who is one of your bosses.

[00:06:12] Because…hey, if not, for taking risks, we don't learn anything. So without further ado, I am going to introduce you to, someone who I respect an insane amount, not just because they're my boss.

But because I've seen them, grow as a leader over the course of their career. and has, been an influencer for not just Trend Micro but also for organizations around the world. Steve Quane is the Executive Vice President here at Trend Micro.

[00:06:34] Steve, welcome to the stream.

[00:06:37] Steve: Hi, Mark. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:06:40] Mark: Do you want to give, give the audience a little, blurb about yourself maybe?

[00:06:43] Steve: Yeah, sure, sure. Yeah. I started, as a aerospace engineer, went into the military and then found myself in a, like a little mobile data centers in wartime zone.

So I learned how to do data center ops there. After I finished that, I went and worked for Intel, kind of in a hosting division and for LANDESK, and then I've been at Trend for 20 years working on security things, mostly on the R&D product management side, so building products.

[00:07:09] Mark: Okay. Yeah. And fair to say, you know, especially with that start to your career, you've seen a lot of, different aspects, to the industry.

And I know, one of the key things that you do for Trend, not only, you know, obviously over a huge amount of responsibility internally, but one of the things you get is the opportunity to talk to organizations around the world and which actually really ends up being a very, interesting perspective, right?

[00:07:28] Like analysts talk to people through a certain, you know, lens, someone like myself, I met with the community talking to a lot more practitioners.

The goal of today's episode was to try to contrast, the executive view, which I think you represent really, really well because you've got not only a deep technical background but obviously you've been influential in trends business, but helping other organizations get a handle on technology and a business too.

[00:07:48] So my first question for you, it is probably way more open-ended and broad than it needs to be, but it's a good way to ease into this, I think.

[laughs] So having talked to, you know, organizations continually talking to organizations around the world, what is, sort of the, the first thing that comes to mind for executives when they're starting a cloud conversation at that top level?

[00:08:09] Steve: Yeah, I think by far the first part of the conversation is nobody knows what in the world it is. Right? so, so even just getting a frame of reference as to what cloud is, why it's different?

How that impacts the decision making and organizational processes is by far the beginning of the conversation. So we spend a lot of time with our customers, I usually work with either a security operations team or a, a CISO, which is a chief information security officer, usually reports up through IT.

Or more and more lately, DevOps teams and developers that are, you know, kind of bringing cloud into the enterprise organization or government organization.

[00:08:46] Mark: Okay. and you know, you- you- you said in your answer to this that, you- you know most people don't know what it is. So let me ask you from your perspective, what do you feel when people say cloud, what is most likely are they talking about?

[00:08:58] Steve: Yeah. probably the, the number one thing that, let's say, let's- let's use, I used to try to think of the board of directors of a company, right?

So those are the people that the business has to answer to and telling them why we're going to do something.

[00:09:09] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:09:09] Steve: they think of things like Dropbox and Facebook, sometimes they might know that their emails in the cloud, so they'll say, you know, is that, is that Outlook right?

That's usually where the conversation starts. Right.

[00:09:23] Mark: And that's, and that's fair I think. And that's, that's one of the reasons I thought this would be a good, you know, a good topic and the team when we've started to discuss this with, you know, this is really interesting because a lot of the people who are dealing with it day to day, there's an assumption that we're all talking about the same thing.

[00:09:36] So if you talk to a team who's, you know, practicing a DevOps philosophy and building stuff, when you say cloud, they're talking AWS, Azure or GCP.

And they don't even think of Office 365 or G Suite or Dropbox or stuff like that because they're like, "No, no, no, that's like a decade ago. That's just what it is."

[00:09:53] Steve: That's right.

[00:09:53] Mark: But you see that regularly where it's, you know, well let's, let's establish that baseline.

And is that, is it easy enough to explain that to, to folks when you're, when you're talking at a high enough level or,

[00:10:03] Steve: I, I think, I think everyone struggles with getting a little too deep and then people start getting confused.

I think when you can say when a CISO or CIO can say to a, a board or business management team, I can, if I do this, I can close down a data center and that's X million dollars.

That's when the conversation starts opening up to, "Oh wait, this is not that," right?

[00:10:24] Mark: Yeah.

[00:10:25] Steve: or do you know how, our com- competitor launched this app that's killing us?

Well, the reason we're really slow is because we're not using this thing called cloud. So if they can frame it in a business objective, usually it can at least get the people's attention where they don't just think, "Oh, that's just technical mumbo jumbo.

Who cares? Figure that out." Right?

[00:10:43] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah, and that's always a challenge, especially for practitioners, for engineers to, to take, you know, sort of your engineering hat off for a minute and go, wait a minute, we're building this stuff for a reason, not just because we find it cool even though we do.

So that leads to, to my next question, which is really, it, you know, once that understanding is there and you know, you've sold them on the like, "Hey, we're going to shut down three data centers, we're going to say, you know, 30 million over the next few years in data center leasing alone."

[00:11:06] What is the executive concern, or perspective on that migration? Because it's not like flip a switch and you're done. This is obviously a process that has huge business impacts.

[00:11:16] Steve: Yeah. Right, right. so I think one of the big issues is everything starts with a cost discussion and it doesn't stay there very long.

So at some point, if you do shut down data centers and you move things to the cloud, the cost probably ended up being similar. Right?

[00:11:31] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:11:31] Steve: so at some point, those people have to migrate the discussion to speed of business. Right? and that's once again, just how do you, how do you define success?

How do you define the metrics back to a business management team that your business is moving faster than it did before as a result of some technological investment?

Right? and that's a very, very difficult question.

[00:11:54] I, I work a lot with security people so they have another layer of metrics on top of that, which is, is this safe? Right?

[00:12:00] Mark: Yup.

[00:12:01] Steve: But even just moving to the cloud, how do you define the metrics that, that say that you're, this is better than you had before?

It's usually not cost in the end, right?

[00:12:11] Mark: Yeah, yeah. The thing, you know, based on my experience talking to- to people, the cost tends to stay the same, you just get more value hopefully for it if you're doing right. but how, you know, especially given your perspective they're given.

And you know, I like to speak plainly in general, but given the bad track record of IT on delivering value and, right, I mean through the '90s and the early 2000s IT projects only had like a 32% success rate, right?

It just ridiculous.

[00:12:38] Given that track record, how does the rusty executive not sit back and go, "Okay, sure thing their guy, like, you know, technology is going to save us money, it's going to make us move faster because it's been a cost center for so many years."

How does that conversation go?

[00:12:52] Steve: Yeah. Not, not well, it usually doesn't go well right? [laughing]

[00:12:55] Mark: Fair, good [crosstalk 00:13:24]-

[00:12:56] Steve: It's, it is, it's very hard to prove, ver- very hard to convince people that, that, you know, the, the last big project I wanted and the 24 before that this one's different, this one it's really gonna work, right?

You know, and even, even I, we have a conversation a lot about, you know, as, as people move up the stack, and, and I know this is a technical audience, so I can probably go here-

[00:13:18] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:13:18] Steve: ... as people starting talking about containers and Kubernetes and, and moving up the, the word outsourced comes up as a word that helps describe why we can move faster because we're outsourcing the pieces to Amazon.

Once again, that's from a technological perspective, that seems a pretty logical. The problem is the outsourcing industry also has a bad track record in IT, right?

[00:13:42] Mark: Yup.

[00:13:42] Steve: So for, for business people going, "Hey, I used to pay a billion dollars to some system integrator to do this for us." You're just telling me I'm just paying a billion dollars to Amazon?

[00:13:52] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:13:52] Steve: Is that, is that the difference? Right. Very, very hard to convince that it's, it's a new conversation. Right?

[00:13:57] Mark: Yeah, because I, I think, you know, most executives when you say outsource they're thinking bad help or support experiences, right?

Where they've, once they outsource something, it took them a week to get a new application installed on their system or what you know is... because that's most people's experience or at least their most obvious experience with outsourcing is, you know, I waited on, the phone for an hour to talk to my cell provider to get something switched because they'd outsource everything to a call center somewhere else.

[00:14:23] But you know, it's, it's at least a common term that people understand because you know, you're, the outsourcing here is really a, a streamlined interface through an API for a set of commoditized services.

But that's not exactly, you know, it doesn't flow off the tongue in a business conversation. [laughs]

[00:14:38] Steve: And then, I mean, you said it very eloquently, but yeah, usually it doesn't, it doesn't work at coffee before the board meeting, right? Yeah?

[00:14:45] Mark: Yes. Fair.

[00:14:46] Steve: [laughs]

[00:14:46] Mark: So let's, let's look at it from a, from a bit of a different angle. for practitioners, right?

For engineers, when we're sitting here looking at this stuff, it's a pretty solid technical argument, right?

We get to focus on what actually matters as opposed to this undifferentiated heavy lifting, right? That's a term we use all the time.

[00:15:01] So it's really a win discussion, is there something from the executives, like if I come to you and go like, "Hey, I'm going to roll all this stuff out because it just makes perfect sense, I get to focus on this, I get to use all these new cool new toys."

Does that raise alarm bells at the executive level? and you know, because I'm just assuming it's a win, is there risk factors that, engineers don't necessarily see that executives do?

[00:15:25] Steve: Yeah, I, I think, and, and this is a little bit of the struggle of new technology is one is we need to understand the executives, including myself, have really no discernible skills whatsoever, right?

So we've been managers for so long, like the ability to impact kind of thing, it's difficult, right? So everything we do is enabled through groups of people, right?

[00:15:46] Mark: Yeah.

[00:15:46] Steve: And so the ability to help understand what your boss and your executive need in terms of how does, how do we measure what matters?

How do we measure, our competition, in terms of let's say its application delivery?

[00:15:59] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:16:00] Steve: Are we delivering value to our customers faster than the competition? Now, ultimately we have to measure those things to get the business outcome we want.

And if the engineers and, and R&D leaders aren't touching things in those terms, it's very difficult to rationalize the project in a new or exciting way.

[00:16:19] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:16:19] Steve: Does that answer your question?

[00:16:20] Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I think it does because, so a lot of that what you've just said sort of echoes and I know, or at least I hope you hear this from security teams you're talking to, and CISOs you're talking to.

In ecosystem or challenges that security has, right? And the security comes and talks about threats and exploits and all of these metrics that matter to security folks.

And if I go to security conference and say like, "Hey, I'm talking about this latest zero day and here's the, the, CVS score and here's this, that, and the other thing."

[00:16:45] That's all in a language that the security people understand, but as soon as you go outside of that security bubble, everyone's like, "What? You want us to, to jump drop everything and jump on something for why?"

Like what? That doesn't make any sense.

[00:16:57] Steve: Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly right. And- and that the cloud people have their own language that no one understands as well. Right?

And, and you speak it. [laughs] and so it's just, understanding that, that, that two way street, you know, like, understanding that the technology itself is not a, a business outcome, the value to the customer and the speed in which that's delivered and the, and the experience the customer has is the outcome.

[00:17:22] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:17:22] Steve: And that's the whole justification for the discussion.

[00:17:25] Mark: Okay. And that's a, that's a, that's absolutely a choice quote because you don't hear that often from the executive, [laughs] which is great.

But so that, that leads to a, a different sort of avenue and I wanna a, there's, fork we can take care and I want to explore both branches. But first of all, both AWS or all AWS Azure and GCP all have a, a cloud adoption framework.

And you know, unlike some of the things like, the well architected framework, which is a technical set of guidelines and principles, the cloud adoption frameworks are, you know, basically a mirror of each other.

And essentially they're talking about mapping the business process, they're talking about, how to identify stakeholders, how to identify how those business processes will change as you move into the cloud.

[00:18:04] And they're really that business attack plan of saying, "Okay, you're sitting in a data center today, you want to be in the cloud here, here's how you move it," not just from a technology perspective.

Which turns out to be actually the easiest piece, but from a business perspective of going and saying, "Okay Steve, you're the executive who owns marketing for let's say... and here's how you run your marketing right now and here's how the new tools will, will impact you and, you know, can we get by in?

Can we move forward?" And things like that.

[00:18:30] In the discussions that you have with organizations, you know, around the world, do you see those frameworks actually being used?

Because I read them as a practitioner level, as a sort of an advisor, influencer and go, this is great stuff. But then when I try to see the rubber hit the road, it starts across a whole bunch of cultural and internal, challenges.

Do you see these things bubbling up at years? Where you just go, "Yeah, I know where the URL is and that's as far as I see it."

[00:18:53] Steve: Yeah. [laughs] I- I think we, we, we hear about them getting referenced, I probably don't see them day to day. And, and, you- even, even you just mentioning, kind of organizational issues, like this is the thing I don't think people understand is the, the, I- I don't like the expression, your, your service is only as strong as the weakest link, but in this case it's really super applicable if-

[00:19:14] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:19:15] Steve: …If, if the people that need to train, so say you're deliver- delivering a new B2B application to your downstream supply chain, if those people can't get trained and ready and enabled on that application, the whole thing is useless, right?

And so, so the ability to take that cloud adoption framework, which is a, a great in principle and map it to my organization, I think that's where people get stuck, right?

[00:19:41] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:19:41] Steve: So I know, but I know Bob over in Network Security and I know Tina in Supply Chain Management and I know how they work and I can't just take this framework in there and do that.

And so, so I, I, I hate the term re-engineering as well, but it, they kind of need to re-engineer how they speak to each other, how they talk. You know, there's people that don't like each other, right?

[00:20:00] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:20:00] Steve: So it's just the organizational realities that, that I think that the adoption frameworks are very interesting and a great place for discussion.

It's just, eh, how do you turn that into practical thinking and, and steps is just hard, right?

[00:20:15] Mark: Yeah. And I mean, and this is, this is the point, right?

And this is the whole goal of sort of this episode of the, of the stream was to get this kind of perspective because I think it's really easy when you're seeing the advantages to you as an engineer going like, "Hey, I used to have to spend, you know, weeks to get this infrastructure in place to roll out my application and now I can do it in five minutes with one command through CloudFormation or a template or whatever."

You're right, there's so many clear advantages for engineers that were just like, "Cool, let's go, like this past weekend let's go."

[00:20:43] But the downstream impacts here, are, are very, very real. you know, and we see that, you know, I was, as you were answering the, the parallels in my head were going, we had, we still have so many challenges bridging dev and ops to create, you know, to implement the DevOps philosophy and we're within the same organization, right?

[00:21:02] Steve: Yeah.

[00:21:02] Mark: Like theoretic we report under the same executive and then now trying to bring security and for DevSecOps kind of thing and that's still again all in IT.

And the frameworks are all like, "Oh no, just go out and talk to the business units and it's fine, they'll just be bubbling in under the same, it is a utopian view and I wish it was true."

But, interesting, so that relates back to another question I wanted to ask.

[00:21:23] Steve: Yeah.

[00:21:24] Mark: You know, seeing that that's not really bubbling up there and understanding that every business is different even though some of the core challenges are the same, is there something that exacts, like if a team comes up to you and goes, "Okay, we're going to be moving into the cloud, here's why we think those advantages, you know, we're going to spend the same but we're going to get more value. We're going to be able to hopefully move things faster."

Is there an executive perspective on which cloud provider to pick? Are there like factors that determine into that?

[00:21:48] Steve: I don't think so. I think that, the executives are too removed from that decision and, and, and once again, it's back to enabling and trusting the team. So at some point-

[00:21:57] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:21:58] Steve: …Somebody in the organization's going to say, "I think we should choose Amazon. Here's why, or I think we should choose Google. Here's why."

And, you know, once again that the delegation of that is really critical, so trust and personal relationships do show up at some point. And that, the executives probably, you know, other than credit history and you know, is this company going to go out of business?

They, they just can't put a context around that. Right?

[00:22:22] Mark: Okay. And that, but that decision then comes down to, like you said, the trust in the, in the people who are making that call.

And do you think an executive, so let me give you a hypothetical because when I, when I asked, you know, my team and said like, you know "What, what should we ask you for this?"

Because obviously I'm more on the practitioner's side than the executive side. I'm like, "Cool technology, let's go." [laughs] the, [laughs] the one of the questions they brought up was a really, you know, for me, I went, "Oh, that's a good one."

[00:22:45] So, you know, having understood your answer, they're saying, you know, you've got good people underneath you who are making the decision based on their perspective. what did you, let me pose a hypothetical.

Would an executive, if the team came up and said, "Hey, for reason X, Y, Z, we want to go with Google Cloud," and you're already a Microsoft shop and you have a contract, you know, you've got Office 365, you've got a bunch of other products there.

[00:23:08] Would it, do you think there would be a, a point and maybe what are the parameters around that point where an executive would say, "Hold on a second, there's a big business savings here to renegotiate a bigger deal than just what you want."

[00:23:20] Steve: Yeah. Oh, for sure, absolutely. In fact, that one specifically is a very interesting example because I've got Microsoft productivity licenses across my entire organization that probably add up to millions and millions of dollars.

[00:23:33] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:23:34] Steve: Microsoft can come in and bundle that Azure with that, and if that's particularly, let's say in today's environment where cost is becoming a big concern again…

[00:23:43] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:23:43] Steve: I might have to try to white way in and change that decision just because we can't afford it or we can't take that risk at the moment. Oh, for sure.

And that, unfortunately, that's where the vendors sales teams come in and make it hard for everybody, right? And I'll come in and do this and wrangle it up and go, "I take that renewal on that renewal," and they confuse everybody so much that nobody even knows if they say if you want, right?

[00:24:06] Mark: Yeah.

[00:24:06] Steve: [crosstalk 00:25:00] people in the industry. [laughs]

[00:24:09] Mark: No, no, but I mean that's their job too, right? And I mean, why not? If a company's in that position on paper that should be the benefit to the customer as well, right?

Like, "Hey, we're able to knock everything down 20% or 30% because you've reached this new tier of spending money with us. So you know, we can give you a better, better terms."

[00:24:26] But that obviously, you know, if those scenarios pop up and I have to believe based on my experience they do quite often.

[00:24:32] Steve: Sure.

[00:24:32] Mark: the, that leads to the challenges, you know, at an exec or at an organizational level of dealing with, multiple clouds, odds are because there are probably, while for the baseline, all the big three are pretty much the same.

If you want some storage with data storage and some servers or containers you've got, you know, with a few technical differences they're pretty much the same.

[00:24:51] But in specific areas, if you wanted to leverage things like AI, there's a bigger difference, and some specialty stuff. So inevitably if, you know, if we were in that scenario where I said, "Hey Steve, I want to go with, you know, cloud A," and you said, "No, no, no, we can get a better deal with B for everything and save a huge amount of money."

[00:25:07] I would probably still have said, "Okay, I build most of it in B, but in A, I'm going to have to use this service and this service to get there," so now we have multiple clouds.

Does the word multi-cloud, like reassure executives or, you know, terrify them or is it just not even on the radar?

[00:25:22] Steve: Yeah, I, I think, I think at a, at a high level, it starts as a reassurance.

It is, I have some pricing leverage, I've got option B, but then when they get down to skillsets and staffing and they actually get an indication of the fact that you need almost two separate teams, maybe not separate but, but two distinct skillsets because the clouds are different, then the conversation gets a little harder.

[00:25:46] So it depends on how deep they go into that discussion, and, and I do think, I, I can't emphasize this enough, going back to business metrics is probably the best way to even start the discussion because, because plan B and cost is not a great way, it's where they're going to naturally gravitate.

I'll give you a good example, I worked with a holster recently who, has a very, very large server infrastructure, tremendous, very, small, small medium business holster, they have tons of attacks. DDoS, Bitcoin mining, just endless on their environment.

[00:26:20] And at some point they brought in a new CISO and the individual said to me, "My number one metric is cost of consumption of CPU for security."

And I said, "You're going to judge all your security teams on costs, in terms of CPU consumption of service security," and he said, "Yep." And I kind of sat down I said, "Is that a good way to measure security? Right?"

[00:26:43] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:26:43] Steve: And he made him a really good case, he said, "Look, our margins in our business are two to 3%." if you come in and you take 20% of a server to do all the security functions you have, you've possibly put that entire service out of business already.

So I have to find some balance between security, efficacy, and, and consumption of CPU because I'm stretching 10 million SNB websites or 10 million eCommerce sites across my entire infrastructure. We're talking pennies here.

Right?

[00:27:12] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:27:12] Steve: And it was just fascinating to me that-

[00:27:14] Mark: Yeah.

[00:27:14] Steve: ... as a security professional or technician, let's put it that way, I would never define security effectiveness in terms of percent of CPU.

Oh my gosh, I would never do that. But this person is answering to a board that says, "Look, if your security takes up X more costs than this, you're at, you're out, it's out, we're starting over."

[00:27:35] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:27:35] Steve: We can't afford that. Right? So just understanding the context of the business and how those decisions get rolled in, you know, obviously the, the average engineers that might be a little bit, kind of, kind of a big task to ask, but it's super relevant and how, how we build and measure things.

Right?

[00:27:51] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:27:52] Steve: That, that makes sense?

[00:27:53] Mark: Yeah. It's funny as you were explaining that, I was thinking like that's crazy, but as you finish out, I said, in my head I kind of went, that's actually a genius way to tie an identifiable metric to a desired business outcome. Right?

Because that's a huge gap for security is often tying back to the business because we're trying to prove what didn't happen, right? So like, well we, we didn't get hacked and we didn't get held for ransom and this didn't happen. but you can't prove that it would have if you didn't take action necessarily. Right?

[00:28:21] Steve: Yeah

[00:28:21] Mark: Whereas the case you just explained is a easy thing to monitor, percentage of CPU, we got tons of tools that'll do that, related directly to the business concern of if you're over this amount, then you know, our margins are gone.

So it's a very quantifiable way of the challenge of securities, are you spending more to protect the data than what it's worth?

[00:28:39] Steve: Yeah, that's right. That's right. it's fascinating.

[00:28:42] Mark: I never would, I never would have thought of it, right? Like that's not something if you sat down and said, "Hey, protect this, you know, this hosting infrastructure," that would have never occurred into my head.

You know, until way down after many, many conversations where I'm like, "Oh, I guess we could do this," but it's simple and it's, it's, you know, genius in its implementation.

[00:28:56] Steve: [laughs]

[00:28:58] Mark: I like it. okay, so, so back to the bigger question around, you know, cloud in general.

So I mean, you're saying a lot of this is, you know, trusting the team, building it out and understanding that there are some times when an executive would need to weigh in and say, "You know, Hey, we need to have bigger concerns on, on economies of scale and stuff like that."

[00:29:14] But it's a visibility into this process because normally, you know, it's been my experience at least I think a lot of practitioners out there.

You know, this ties to the bigger DevOps philosophy and movement is once you start adopting those, these tools and after you finish that initial migration, you start to go more cloud native, become more cloud fluent, you know, and that starts to change the way you're working.

[00:29:33] Is there visibility that executives want at that point or throughout this process? And is there stuff that's useful that they don't have?

[00:29:42] Steve: Yeah, it's probably, it's probably back to that speed discussion. You know, if we can say that we're delivering value to our customers hourly versus every nine months.

So if you can chart that kind of either per application or per business function, that will really resonate.

[00:29:57] Mark: Okay.

[00:29:57] Steve: And how we define that and how we measure it obviously is probably organization specific,

[00:30:03] Mark: [00:30:03] Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:30:04] Steve: But I do have a weird, kind of stuck on the metrics thing. I have a…

[00:30:08] Mark: Good.

[00:30:08] Steve: ...another interesting example in the security realm obviously that's where I sit a little bit.

[00:30:12] Mark: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

[00:30:13] Steve: I remember we were working with a very, very sophisticated customer who was doing a, eh, essentially using the cloud to move their security infrastructure into the cloud to use the AI framework, so to do anomaly detection and...

[00:30:25] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].,

[00:30:26] Steve: So they had, in addition to protection, they had added detection-

[00:30:29] Mark: Yeah.

[00:30:30] Steve: And so, there were two problems. One, this person said, "Well, all the DevOps people that are sitting in the cloud building cloud native stuff, they, they chose their own security tools. So I don't have to know, I don't know how to normalize any of that data that's coming back into my security operations. Right?”

So, so you had the speed to go do what you wanted to do, but now I need to bring that back into an operations function and you've created a complete nightmare, right?

Like all this telemetry, I don't, I don't know how it's formatted, I don't know what it means. Right?

[00:30:59] But anyway, this person was super sophisticated and they were, they were probably tracking about a hundred more things than a, what I would call a normal security operation center would track, right.

[00:31:08] Mark: Okay.

[00:31:09] Steve: At some point, the- they had to report back to the board as to their risk management, how, how risky they were in. And this person brought a lot of data and they said, "Hey, look, we've got this and this and this and this."

Well, a couple months into that, one of the board members leaned over to the CIO and said, "You know, I would sit on some other boards and they could attacked way less often than you guys do."

[00:31:33] Mark: [laughs] Uh-huh [affirmative].

[00:31:35] Steve: And so the CIO and the CISO were very close and, and the C- CIO said, "No, we just track it better. We, we, we have more visibility." And, and so, so we all think more data's better-

[00:31:46] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:31:46] Steve: Cloud gives you more data, you can automate, you can, you can get more telemetry, you can do big data analysis using the, the cloud engines so you don't have to go build it yourself and do all the data management.

However, if we can't package that up in ways that, that makes sense to people, it doesn't look overwhelming.

[00:32:05] Mark: Yeah.

[00:32:05] Steve: Like this, this security professional had the best telemetry data in the world probably-

[00:32:09] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:32:10] Steve: ...for that vertical at least.

[00:32:12] Mark: Yeah.

[00:32:12] Steve: And he was essentially going to get in trouble because there was... it just looked like the [laughs] way more going-, way more going on in your company, they're not other companies.

Right? Other companies, just like 10,000 attacks, we blocked them all, all right. No problem. Right?

[00:32:26] Mark: Yeah.

[00:32:27] Steve: So I think we need to understand as we move into cloud native, the instrumentation, the data, it's just brilliant-

[00:32:33] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:32:33] Steve: We, but we still need to package that up and clean it up and make it, make it digestible in a way, we can't just send all that to other people. Right?

[00:32:43] Mark: [00:32:43] Yeah. And it's, it's, it's interesting because this is a theme in a lot of your responses, which is great. you know, because there's a key takeaway for the audience here is that, you know, presenting it in context is critical and part of that context is narrowing what you present.

[00:32:57] I know I was, giving a talk on risk, and how to make risk decisions, last week, for AllTheTalks.online. And, that was one of the things that was technically where's, you know, without context around the data, numbers can be interpreted different ways.

And I'd use a really morbid example because it made sense to people which was a pedestrian fatalities, in general. Again, horribly morbid example, but you know, when you say, "Oh, there was 300 deaths a year here in Canada where I am, it sounds really, really bad because you don't have the context, right?"

If there was 300 deaths out of 301 pedestrians occurrences, then that's horrible.

[00:33:29] But if there was three billion or 300 billion, it's still tragic. But in context it makes more sense, right?

And that it's a tiny, tiny fraction of what's going on, and this is sort of the, the, the, the happier version of theme in your answers in that, [laughs] you know, coming and saying with the, with these amazing metrics saying like, "Look at all this stuff, we know what's going on."

Like, you know, and like you said, that person probably had the best data and the best level of situational awareness, which is their job out there but that needs to stay within their bubble.

[00:33:57] And outside of the bubble they just need to be like, "We're, we're good." And, and...

[00:34:01] Steve: [laughs] Or, or, or even just understand that, that you've got to educate who you're talking to on the fact that you, you have more data and it's better and you've gotten better situation awareness and that what you're doing is not bad, it's good.

And just you've got to take that time, for your audience.

[00:34:17] Mark: Yeah. And I think it's the interesting thing is the, you know, if you think about the companies that, that member was on the other companies, the, one of the biggest gaps and you know, the engineering sort of science side of me always, you know, pulls out what's left of, of like dwindling hair and graying hair, is, you know, we don't present like confidence levels with the numbers, right?

So when you come up to an exact and say like, "There were 10,000 attacks," and it's like, "Okay, that good I'm gonna take your word, there was 10,000 attacks."

[00:34:43] So you want to say out of, you know, the ability to only monitor 5% of our infrastructure or like there's, there's not the confidence in there.

Where is this guy who, this example you're talking about, this guy had an insanely high confidence level in his data, which means if he was saying that there was X number of attacks, it was probably that down to the one or two.

[00:34:59] Steve: Yeah, I know.

[00:35:00] Mark: Whereas the other board is going like, "Oh no, we got attacked a hundred times and I have a confidence of near zero in that number."

But he doesn't say that second part.

[00:35:08] Steve: [laughs] That's right. That's right. I, I will say it is where the overtime metric matters greatly, you know, like the, the, the bad thing about executives is they have no skills, but the good thing is a lot of, a lot of stuff comes at them, right?

[00:35:21] Mark: Yeah.

[00:35:22] Steve: So they, they have seen a lot of things, right? I think President Obama from the US, even said, "If it reaches his desk, it's not obvious."

[00:35:30] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:35:31] Steve: The answer is not obvious, right? If so, it would have been made downstream the decision. Right? and so, over time is critical because you can at least... people know in the executive seat that things are broken, they know nothing's perfect.

If you can say, "Hey, we're getting better here, here's what it was and six months ago, here's the things we did, here's why it's better." That is huge to just say we're improving, right?

[00:35:56] Mark: Yeah.

[00:35:56] Steve: Part of, part of risk management, it's part of performance management, it's part of business management. and I think people don't recognize that no one expects perfection, we don't expect perfect data.

But if you could show that we're discernibly getting better over time, that's all anybody's asking for.

[00:36:14] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And that I think it's a, it's a key one, especially for practitioners, because I think a lot of the time we get obsessed with result and not the sequence of results, right?

So we sit there and go like, "Hey, we got the, the build down to like an hour." And we're like, "That's awesome."

Or we're at an hour as opposed to, you know, what I'm hearing from you would be more effective of going, you know, at, at six months ago it took us three days to do this build and you know, five months ago it took us two days.

[00:36:40] And you know, three months ago, like we just keep, we keep whittling it away with these small investments and we've reached this point now, which we think is adequate to meet our needs and blah, blah blah.

But it's that constant improvement to show like, "Hey, we're doing better." and I have a feeling I would make that arguments of, you know, that we've talked about in the, ear- early stages this conversation, I was like, "Hey, we're moving faster," and look, here's evidence of us moving faster over time, to, to the executive level, right? Because that's, that's an impact.

[00:37:07] Changing gears a little bit, so here at Trend, you've been a Trend Micro for, for a long time, you've seen a lot of stuff.

[00:37:11] Steve: Yeah.

[00:37:12] Mark: Obviously we're like, any other company, we've got seven plus thousand employees around the world, we make a ton of different products for a ton of different verticals all around, you know, helping people, secure, their, digital world.

But we have teams that are in various, stages of cloud migration and cloud transition as well.

[00:37:29] Right? Obviously our teams who are working with, cloud one, which is our, our cloud, workloads, work cloud, builder, suite, you know, it, it should be more in the cloud. and they, they are then, you know, teams who are building hardware products that, you know, they're still protecting data centers and obviously that makes sense, for each of the problems that these teams are tackling.

[00:37:47] But now from the executive level, that must be pretty interesting because you've got a wide variety of this transformation going on and sort of seeing potentially in the future, hopefully learning from mistakes.

You know, and helping teams, bridge that gap. But from your perspective, what it was that look like when you've got a number of teams who are at various stages of this process?

[00:38:07] Steve: Yeah, it's super, super difficult. We, we have some products that are even made of wood, I think, [laughs] no, it's really, it's really difficult.

We did take a concerted effort as a company, probably 18 months ago to say we have got to either rebuild everything or transition everything-

[00:38:23] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:38:24] Steve: ... into more cloud native, cloud infrastructure based technologies. And in some cases that did mean we had to revamp teams and bring in new people. in other cases we could train and, and kind of take the people we had.

And, and you're right, we're very globally distributed even the infrastructure is different, very different in countries. I'll give you a good example of, of regional challenges, there's a thing called Golden Week in Japan next week, it's a big holiday.

Everybody takes the whole week off, our customers, including the, some governmental agencies said, "You are not allowed to publish code during this week," and we're...

[00:39:02] Mark: It's a new one.

[00:39:03] Steve: Yeah. One of our applications is publishing about every two hours and we said, we can't do that, and so we're in a negotiation on, you know, how... so it's not just our employees, that's our customer base, they-

[00:39:14] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:39:14] Steve: ... they, they can't handle us publishing things every week and wondering if it's going to break [00:39:20] or every hour in some way if it's going to break up.

So it's very, very difficult to manage, You know, it's, it- it's super interesting that it- it's, it's, it's really hard to get people understand what DevOps even is.

[00:39:32] You know, and then to bring other functions into that is super, super challenging for instance, I had somebody in one of our app teams the other day say to me, I have to learn about security, but the security people don't have to learn about DevOps.

Is that fair? Right? That's a great discussion at an organization, right?

[00:39:52] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:39:52] Steve: Are we learning each other's jobs? and so, you know, I don't even know if I'm answering your question, but, like, how do we-

[00:39:57] Mark: [crosstalk 00:41:40] don't worry.

[00:39:58] Steve: Yeah, how do we deal with that transition, you know, we, we have personally added, like performance metrics to everybody's performance reviews that are cloud oriented.

[00:40:09] Mark: Okay.

[00:40:09] Steve: So say you're an AIX developer, you still carry a AWS certification objective or something like that, just to-

[00:40:16] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:40:16] Steve: ...bring the whole company into the new world, you know, but we have hundreds of thousands of customers on legacy infrastructure and, they were trying to move to, it's, it's not, it's not easy, it's not easy.

[00:40:26] Mark: No. and I mean, it- it makes sense and that's the thing that always gets me is that nerd me is always like, let's go super cool cutting edge all the time.

But you know, I've been, you know, practicing for long enough to realize like it- it's a process, right?

And it takes time and even though there are cool technical reasons you may want to do something, the business reasons run counter to that and should beat the technical reasons most of the time.

[00:40:46] And, but one of the things that I think might bubble up to the executive level that, you know, within this context of knowing that Trend is get a whole bunch of teams, you know, and you've got teams directly in reporting into you that are at various stages of this.

[00:40:57] Steve: Yeah.

[00:40:57] Mark: I know specifically we've got a couple teams that are, you know, have built serverless services, you know, very cutting edge, that have a lot of great knowledge because, you know, they've been there from the start of sort of the serverless push and they have their own, you know, goals and metrics that they're driving to helping customers delivering features and stuff like that.

[00:41:16] But from the executive perspective, I imagine you've gotta be looking at that sort of hard-fought knowledge of how to do that and going, "I need some of that over here as well."

How do you strike that balance of going, "Okay, I need you to pause a second or slow down a little bit on delivering that direct to your mission to look at the bigger mission of you can help these other people who are building the products made of wood come into the server was world or come into that, that mentality."

Because really it's mentality now. You know, anyone, anyone, most of the engineers, you can give the docs and they'll figure it out. But to get them into that mindset of going, "Hey, okay, I don't want this, I want that instead."

[00:41:53] Steve: Yeah. There's a couple of different things we've done and by the way, we're probably not great at it just to be clear. [laughs] what we'll-

[00:41:59] Mark: [crosstalk 00:43:48].

[00:42:00] Steve: …We, we do rotate a fair amount, we have been moving leaders from one team to another-

[00:42:05] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:42:06] Steve: ... to get some of those practices across the board, we've brought in external people, we actually work with the Azure team greatly.

One of their, one of their original, Azure developers kind of created an internal practice at Microsoft to trans-, they transitioned essentially 60,000 people to kind of a DevOps and they, they did a really good job.

[00:42:25] Mark: Yeah.

[00:42:25] Steve: And so we brought, we brought him and his team in to help us.

[00:42:28] Mark: Great.

[00:42:29] Steve: I know that we're using some of the Amazon services, the name escapes me on, on how to build cloud infrastructure-

[00:42:35] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:42:36] Steve: ... SaaS, SaaS project or something, or the-

[00:42:38] Mark: One of them, yeah, they've got a bunch of different [crosstalk 00:44:30]-

[00:42:39] Steve: Yeah, something like that, yeah. So we aren't relying only on internal, we are relying on some external factors as well. And, and obviously the, the objectives and the metrics help, you know?

[00:42:49] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:42:49] Steve: If, if, if you're not going to get your bonus because you don't, move your application to's, or your customers to SaaS-

[00:42:55] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:42:56] Steve: That's, that's a big deal, you can't buy your car because you stayed it, stayed on, on Linux, [Linux 00:44:54]. Right? Yeah.

[00:43:03] Mark: Yeah.

[00:43:04] Steve: So yeah, we're, I think we're just tr- trying a bunch of diff, different, tips and tricks. I- I will say this though, I think at some point pride is the best motivator.

[00:43:16] Mark: Really?

[00:43:16] Steve: And when we have an application that does a major release every nine months and there's another one that gets to bring features into the market in a week, and they know that their customer, you know, those products actually are doing quite well.

[00:43:31] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:43:31] Steve: They see the business success.

[00:43:32] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:43:32] Steve: They see the engineer's delivering value, they see the interaction between customers and engineers that doesn't exist in the waterfall model.

You know, I actually think that's probably the best motivator. So we just try to highlight, our successes on the DevOps side and the customer impact and the speed in which we're moving and, and how fast we've beaten the competition.

[00:43:51] That's a big part of the discussion is that pride, that engineer pride.

[00:43:55] Mark: and I think that's invaluable, you know, hear- hearing that perspective from- from you, you know, from knowing that you're dealing with this in- in your day to day, you know, as an executive and as a leader, understanding that there's no one way, right?

Is that if you, if you are sitting back, because I've seen organizations try to do this, well this is how we're getting our people into that cloud mentality, everyone will walk this one path.

[00:44:13] But what I'm getting from your answer is realizing that, that may get a chunk of people over, but you need to, you know, cross pollinate, you didn't need to bring outside voices in, you need to get different exposure and find that, you know, that one motivator, whether, you know, pride by direct showing that somebody is kicking your butt, or, you know, whatever the case may be.

But I mean that's, that's really practical advice in that, don't count on one thing to do it, you need to hit them again and again from different angles with the same message, that, that will eventually move things forward, right?

[00:44:40] And I think from the engineering and the practitioner side, we look for the simple like, "Oh this is, this will get the app like."

[00:44:45] Steve: That's right.

[00:44:46] Mark: I do one thing and I'm done, right?

[00:44:48] Steve: Right, right.

[00:44:49] Mark: Okay.

[00:44:50] Steve: So we, we, we even have focused, we don't do many acquisitions but we did one recently a, application written entirely in Lambda and, that was a big, a big part of the acquisition was the product of course.

[00:45:02] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:45:04] Steve: But it was also this skillset and you know, we had to stabilize that company and bring them in, but at some point they're going to be running other Lambda, Lambda applications and functions at our company.

[00:45:12] Mark: Yeah.

[00:45:13] Steve: You know, we, we won't keep that just on that application. So acquisition bringing in new talent, has helped a lot.

[00:45:19] Mark: Nice.

[00:45:19] Okay, so yeah that's mixing up at a much bigger scale, right?

[00:45:22] Steve: Yeah. Yeah, I did it.

[00:45:23] Mark: And I mean that's a, that's a win-win, right? Because you advance the business interest in general by having a new product and a new offering.

But also, you know, you can improve the rest of the business by having a big, sort of thumb on the cultural transformation scale by bringing in enough people that it's not like you bring in, because a, a lot of teams will bring in one or two people and those people, unless they are ridiculously strong personalities tend to get, you know, sort of weighted down by the existing culture.

[00:45:48] Steve: Sure.

[00:45:48] Mark: You can't straight from one person to transfer culture, but if you bring in a whole unit, you can like, it's enough weight to get that, you know, rock over the hill.

[00:45:56] Steve: Right, right, right, right. Yeah. And our team, our teams are getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Right?

[00:46:01] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:46:01] Steve: That, that helps too, right? just creating that decoupling,

[00:46:04] Mark: [00:46:04] Yep.

[00:46:05] Steve: We used to have teams that were 400 people working on one monolith, right? That, that's just, you know, so organizationally, structurally we just gotta keep pushing, you know, keep, keep funneling, towards the right model as well.

So people don't always understand, "Hey, why are, why are we breaking up this team? We're working great." Well, you're working great, but, but you're not moving fast enough in the new infrastructure and…

[00:46:26] Mark: Hmm.

[00:46:27] Steve: ...maybe organizationally, structurally you'll, you'll change your behaviour and just by having a different team structure, right? So yeah, just another piece, right? That's it.

[00:46:35] Mark: And I think that's really important, especially that organizational change one, because I think this, you know, we've, especially at the engineering level, we focus so much on the technology change is that we don't realize that as people, we get stuck in a way of doing things or relying on certain people.

Like, I always come to you for this, I always coming to you for this.

[00:46:50] Steve: Yeah.

[00:46:50] Mark: And it's like, "Well, you need to break that habit at some point to sort of raise everybody's level up so that the team in general is better."

Right? As opposed to just having one or two all-stars, you want everybody to be very, very good.

[00:47:02] Steve: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. I- I- I think the rock star all-star thing is a super interesting conversation. I personally believe that we need a couple of rock stars-

[00:47:12] Mark: Okay.

[00:47:12] Steve: ...but we also need people that are functional experts that just get their work done, that are just proud of their components.

And I think the rock star thing can really destroy an entire organization if you focus too much on it. Right?

[00:47:24] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:47:24] Steve: So we do need these brilliant security architects or cloud architects or, you know, people that are just brilliant in cloud native infrastructure delivery or AI.

[00:47:33] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:47:33] Steve: But we also still need to build, you know, front-end interfaces and you know that, that can be in Lambda. It doesn't, it, the technology doesn't have to be that part, but we-

[00:47:43] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:47:43] Steve: ...it can't all be architects. [laughing]

[00:47:46] Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I- I- I mean that's a good point, right? Because it's, there is a common belief, especially in a lot of startups out there is this, let's just go hire all the best people we can. And there's no thought to team balance, right?

There's no thought to that, let's get a strong team out there as opposed to let's just hire the, you know, we can have five, we can afford five of the best people out there, let's just buy them and let's get them on board.

And then we have a whole bunch of people who are, I'm a basketball guy so I think, keep thinking like, we've got a few like Michael Jordan's that a whole bunch of Washington generals.

[00:48:13] And it's like, you know, the guys who always played the Globetrotters and had never won a game in 50 years.

[00:48:17] Steve: [laughs]

[00:48:17] Mark: And it's like, that's not a good balance like, yes-

[00:48:19] Steve: Right.

[00:48:20] Mark: ...Michael Jordan is the best ever, but you have the worst ever beside him, you need a whole balanced team where everyone contributes, right? And contributions come in different ways.

[00:48:29] Steve: Right.

[00:48:29] Mark: And so let, let's shift gear here, shift gears here for a second. One of the sections we always like to do on Let's Talk Cloud, is that we like to do a little thing called Rapid Fire.

So I will fire off a, a couple, you know, maybe controversial, maybe push the edge a little bit. I need you to pick one or the other, no explanation given and we'll circle back a, a little back-

[00:48:49] Steve: Okay.

[00:48:49] Mark: ... afterwards. Okay?

[00:48:50] Steve: All right.

[00:48:51] Mark: So for DevOps, is this a real movement still or has it been completely co-opted by marketing?

[00:48:58] Steve: Real.

[00:48:59] Mark: Okay. biggest roadblock, to going cloud native. So, not just forklifting going actually cloud native, is it technology debt or cultural problems?

[00:49:10] Steve: Cultural.

[00:49:11] Mark: Okay. leading a big tech organization, sweat the details or just let them run with it?

[00:49:19] Steve: Let them run with it.

[00:49:21] Mark: Okay. I'm writing that one down for personal.

[00:49:22] Steve: [laughs] No, I'm going to regret that.

[00:49:26] Mark: [laughing] I told you they'd be a little controversial. so last rapid-fire here, a shadow IT, is this where real innovation happens or is it a bigger problem than its worth?

[00:49:37] Steve: Innovation.

[00:49:39] Mark: Okay. so let's circle back to that one. Why, do you think Shadow IT? So a lot of the times when you hear about Shadow IT, so organizations outside of the central, made IT or doing stuff, most of the time when that's framed, especially, you know, in blogs, in articles and stuff, it's normally framed as a bad thing.

Why, you know, you said, you thought it was more on the innovation side. Why, why do you think that?

[00:50:00] Steve: Yeah, I, I'll probably, I'll probably give two different reasons. One is we originally talked about way early at the beginning of the hour, I believe that the bees that spin up applications and Cloud Native, infrastructure or whatever infrastructure they use, Shadow IT, eh, they're doing it because of a business problem that they can see that no one in centralized IT can see.

And so I think their motivation is way closer to the success of the customer in the business. Right?

[00:50:27] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:50:28] Steve: How they go about it is very dangerous sometimes [laughs] but the, the, they're impetus, the driver for it, I believe is much closer to the success of the organization than a centralized framework, sitting in our community or something, yeah.

[00:50:41] Mark: Yeah. And I, I think that, that holds up. you know, a lot of the time if we take an easy Shadow IT example when like a company, business unit start to adopt the tool like Dropbox or box, right to share files.

You know, a lot of the times because Central IT didn't have something or it was a horrible experience or just didn't meet the business need. you know, and they're just trying to solve a problem, I found that often in my security career where people aren't breaking the rules because they want to break the rules it's because they're trying to get something done.

[00:51:05] Steve: Right. Right. Yeah, I, I believe that very strongly. Yeah.

[00:51:08] Mark: Yeah. Yeah. And so we've got a question, from Bill on LinkedIn, it's a good one, especially now that we're kind of winding down this conversation here is…

[00:51:15] Steve: Yeah.

[00:51:15] Mark: ... so he's asking what the future of cloud is in your opinion, is it going to be a big focus on AI and big data?

And then, what do you think, is going to be sort of the key segments, or vertical that's going to be pushing in that direction?

[00:51:30] Steve: Yeah, I do have some strong opinions on this, I can talk for a couple hours on this. I'll give you the shortest answer I can think of.

I think it's AI driven and I think the vertical or sector that's going to benefit the most from that is, is the IOT, IIOT, industrial IOT, those applications. I, I think…

[00:51:49] Mark: Okay.

[00:51:50] Steve: ...they can't afford to build all that themselves and the whole system works if you've got devices connecting to a cloud service where the data set is the biggest data set in the world-

[00:52:01] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:52:01] Steve: ... and there's a cloud provider that can rate the, at the engines on the ML/AI, even if it's something like a Sage maker where it's just a framework and the customer goes in and writes the algorithms, but I believe that, that's the game changer with, you know, obviously married with 5G, right?

[00:52:16] Mark: Yeah. Yeah. So to get all those devices to be able to connect into that…

[00:52:20] Steve: That's right.

[00:52:21] Mark: And do you think that's simply because of solu... Would you think that's leaning more towards that kind of a future because of the lack of skillset around AI or because of the complexity, in setting up that, those stuff to run a model.

Like there's an insane amount of stuff underneath, that needs to be in place in order to run a series of models. so is it the technology side, the lack of the skills or is it a combination that you think is going to drive us there?

[00:52:45] Steve: Yeah, prob- probably a combination but mostly, mostly skillset.

[00:52:48] Mark: Okay.

[00:52:50] Steve: You know, if I, if I, if I'm running, I worked with the transportation company in Auckland where they had automated the whole, transportation division of the government.

They had automated the entire public transportation infrastructure. So you had one, one, one app that did phone taxi, everything you got on a-

[00:53:06] Mark: Right.

[00:53:06] Steve: ... and they were building, they were building this infrastructure and they said, yeah, the technol-, we know what the technology is.

We can't, we hired a bunch of data scientists, they all quit because they spent all their time managing data and never writing algorithms.

[00:53:21] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:53:22] Steve: And so all the infrastructure built around that, if we can clean all that up, have the cloud providers run it and the math people can go in and do the math-

[00:53:30] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:53:30] Steve: those data scientists don't quit. Right?

[00:53:32] Mark: Okay.

[00:53:33] Steve: so I think it's the skillset, you know, matched with the, with a simplification of the infrastructure, but the skill sets are the ones that make the business model successful, so.

[00:53:42] Mark: Yeah, that's really, that's... I, I mean I think that's really interesting and I, I think there's, there's starting to see the, the initial stages of supporting that, your hypothesis there as well because the biggest growing services on all three of the clouds are the simple AI ones, like the image recognition, right?

Given an image, it tells you what's in the image, give it audio it will give you back all the, the text of it, it transcribe it automatically or translated automatically, sort of the low level, AI work stuff or machine learning stuff that you don't need to repeat all the time. Right?

[00:54:11] So let's you go, "Okay, you can just roll this out and you can start focusing on the really interesting stuff." Like a, there's always good examples, I'm at re-invent every year.

Last year they had, I think a medical device maker and a motorcycle example where they were trying to model a, a actual design for a motorcycle and they spun up like 10,000 different models, and they're like trying to figure out like the shape of a seat to get it the lightest and strongest and most comfortable it could be.

[00:54:34] Steve: Yeah.

[00:54:34] Mark: And you know, it was just, it was one of those things where like, "Oh my God, like that's amazing," like what a great as opposed to one guy going like, "I've got a really good idea and I'm going to try it."

[00:54:42] Steve: [laughs]

[00:54:42] Mark: They ran it through all these possible simulations-

[00:54:44] Steve: Perfect.

[00:54:45] Mark: ... just figure it out to meet all the business strings, right? very, very cool. Thank you for, for answering.

I want to thank you Bill on LinkedIn for, for that question. so, I know we're getting to the end of our time here, I want to ask you a couple more, you know, your vision, your opinion, questions here.

[00:54:58] So you've been a huge, you know, influential leader throughout your career and that influence continues to grow, you've seen a bunch of different technical organizations, you run a big technical organization.

If there's one thing that you think makes a successful technical organization, what do you think that thing is?

[00:55:16] Steve: There is one thing and I think it's humility.

[00:55:19] Mark: Okay.

[00:55:20] Steve: Constantly learning, not assuming you know the answer, not assuming anyone in your team knows the answer and you still got to get things done, you can't be only learning, but humility is the only way in my mind to be successful in a tech organization. There's always [crosstalk 00:57:59] smarter and…

[00:55:36] Mark: Yeah, there's always, so you can say, that's a great answer. I was half expecting you to turn that into a joke and be like, "It's humility and I'm too humble to answer."

[00:55:44] Steve: [laughs]

[00:55:44] Mark: But I mean, that's, that's, that's an excellent, excellent thing because I think a lot of the time, you know, everybody's seen it and this goes back to the rock star comments where somebody's ego gets in the way. and you know, they think they know everything about one particular technology and they get that, that's the expert for that.

And, you know, having humility as an individual, as an organization, enables that constant learning, right? And enables that innovation and learning for people and realizing that everyone has a unique perspective and that's a fantastic answer. so last, last one,

[00:56:12] Steve: All right.

[00:56:12] Mark: …And this comes back to the heart of, heart of the matter of what we've talked about. So cloud opens up a ton of these possibilities, for the business, for the technology side, from the engineering side, we see that the possibilities of all this cool tech of cool ways to do it.

You know, we saw it with a massive rush for Kubernetes. Anyone who was running one container all of a sudden had Kubernetes because it was cool and you're like, "You have one container, you don't need this infrastructure."

[00:56:34] Steve: [laughs]

[00:56:34] Mark: You know, but there are cases when you do so, so there's a very common habit of people sort of on the technology side and the engineering side of running away down the realm of possibilities to the point where it make it dangerous.

You know, in that they're racking up technical debt or they're, they're kind of outpacing themselves. how do you strike a balance between moving things forward on the technology side but keeping the business growing and keeping that, the, that aim on the business?

[00:56:59] Steve: Yeah. And, and that's a little bit why we, we are trying to get smaller and smaller and smaller teams.

So kind of using the, the agile framework, you, you know, using some of the, even the newer concepts on that around the, the workflows and team flows.

[00:57:12] Mark: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[00:57:12] Steve: it is really hard for an engineer to talk to a customer about technical debt. And the more they have to do that, the more they have to feel that, the more they just take care of the problem themselves, right?

[laughs] so that, that is why I like small teams, that's why I like the, the true process of product management being part of the team, not necessarily an individual.

[00:57:33] Mark: Yeah.

[00:57:33] Steve: and I love those previews, I love customers being on Slack channels. I like as much, as much as much customer exposure as possible, I feel the tech debt starts to disappear.

[00:57:44] Mark: Fair. All right, and that comes back, that ties back to your answer around, you know, how to motivate that cloud fluency with that little bit of pride in there and make people feel the impacts of their, of their actions. fantastic. Steve, thank you very much for taking the time.

[00:57:57] Steve: Thank you very much.

[00:57:57] Mark: I know this had been great for me, it's, it's been great for the audience. thanks again, very much appreciate it.

[00:58:02] Steve: All right. Thank you, Mark. Thank you everyone. Take care. Stay safe.