During the current Covid-19 crisis, Garry Connolly, Founder & President of Host In Ireland interviews Peter Jones, Chief Development Officer at Yondr Group, a company with a mission is to help clients meet their data center capacity and technical real estate needs, faster, more elegantly and with better performance outcomes than anyone else & a valued Host In Ireland partner.
Garry: Hello Peter. Thank you so much for joining us. How you getting on?
Pete: Well, thanks Garry. I wish I was in, what looks like a very enjoyable snug behind you there but we can’t have it all. Currently at home, working away. I kind of work from home 50% of the time because we've got our leadership teams distributed globally anyway, so a lot of business as usual for us, but yeah a little bit cabin feverish, but I think that appears to be the norm for everyone at the moment.
Garry: Whatever about how bad it is right now, I guess you can slightly tap yourself on the back having spent the last 10 years building the infrastructure that's now creating and maintaining any form of a new norm.
Pete: I can certainly never think of a time before now, that remote collaboration tools have been used probably from a feature set perspective, more extensively and also at the scale and intensity in which they’re being used today. Not as a mixed mode or an add-on or a nice to have as business operations, but really it's the only way that teams are collaborating. So, great to have some positive press and it might take a little while to trickle through but recognition that data centres and the associated underlying infrastructure, really is critical Global infrastructure.
Garry: Yeah. I think it's nothing like demonstrable evidence. You see an awful lot, and we read a lot, about the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and it's a data revolution and all this type of stuff but it's only really when you have to use it, that you realise the tools are there and you can tap into them. Even 10 years ago I guess this wouldn't be possible.
Pete: Yeah, I think you're probably right and I suppose I'm guessing, depending on where you are as a corporation today on your overall IT journey, if you're still very heavily on prem and maybe don't have that kind of ability to burst and from a bandwidth perspective and some of these terms you hear about elasticity and so on, then maybe you're having a hard time with this remote collaboration. I think we were lucky that Yondr's fresh enough. The very obvious thing to do was have a Cloud-First solution, we’re a Cloud-First company so, we essentially had to make no infrastructure changes at all, and we've been entirely stable since we shut down all of our corporate offices ahead of the curve.
Garry: t's interesting what you say about where you have your IT, but obviously last weekend there was a large list of the staff, the critical staff, to keep the country open and they ranged from obviously health workers to pharmacies and data centre staff were right up there, which gives you a sense of you’re the supporting infrastructure. So I guess with the slight bit of cabin fever have you learned anything about yourself that you thought…. You're not quite 40 yet, I'm over 40, we don't learn anything after that.
Pete: Well, you know, I have been here for years. I'm fifty percent on the road. So I suppose the novelty for me is being grounded for this period of time, I'm normally Coast to Coast in the U.S. once a month and I’m travelling around Europe seeing customers, seeing our teams and so on. So that's probably the unusual component for me. I'm learning how to how to survive in a non travel World which is proving to be interesting scheduling exercise and, we've mobilised some resources inside Yondr to help people on the mental health side and also occupational therapists, to make sure that their home set ups are good enough and so on. So I've optimised around that but really the feeling of not traveling is really unusual.
Garry: Do you find you have more time? Less time? More reflective time?
Pete: I think the easiest trap to fall into is sitting down at the desk at say 7:30, going into my days calendar stuff, and then looking up and seeing that it's dinner time and I haven't taken a great deal, unless it's scheduled in, I haven't taken a great deal of exercise, probably haven’t drank enough water, haven't moved around as much as if I was in an office or if I was traveling, so I think that's probably what I'm noticing if I'm not scheduling this stuff in, ahead of time, it's not getting done.
Garry: You haven't taken up the ukulele, or harmonica, or anything like that? You haven't found a new skill?
Pete: Lock-picking, Garry.
Garry: Lock picking. Is that to get yourself out or get yourself back in to places?
Pete: Depends which type of trouble I'm in. I was reading something about the notion of getting into a flow state and it had a whole load of really very boring lists, of types of activity, colouring in and so on, and I saw lock picking and thought thats the one!
Garry: Well, that's the first one we've had, I have to say an interesting one. In terms of your own business, the way you approach things, you said earlier, which I'm really interested in, a lot of the people you’re going to talk to now, post these challenges, they’ll probably be an awful lot more empathetic towards what you do. You probably won't have to explain to people as much about what you're building.
Pete: Beyond the industry peer-to-peer chats in the industry. Yeah, you're probably right there. It's an easier case to the say “Yeah remember that time when you're all working from home, yeah, we build those big buildings that have the servers in that make that possible”.
Yeah, you're right, but that's probably an easier soundbite.
Garry: We spoke about this before and the industry itself isn't great at communicating what it does because I think they talk about Mission Critical. They talk about a lot of stuff technical. To me that's like, most people want to drive their car they don't really want to get into the detail of the spark plug. Now, you're basically able to empathise, so I think it'll help the industry as well. What would you think, in your own three words as it were, this situation we find ourselves in, is not the same everywhere, at the same time and obviously we learned a lot in Ireland from what was going on in other geographic areas. and we've got some other people experiencing a different stage. What three words, if you had three words, what would you say to people, right now, that are going to be watching this?
Pete: Stay at home. I’m no expert but that seems to be the consistent message.
Garry: It sure is. Well thank you so much for your time Peter.
Pete: Pleasure. Thanks for the chat and look forward to seeing you in person once this all settles down a bit.
Garry: Yeah, Doheny & Nesbitt's is waiting in the background here. So thank you so much Peter and stay safe.
Pete: Look forward to it. Cheers Garry. Bye.
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