Ben Smith at The New York Times wrote about Zeynep Tufekci, a Turkish-born writer, programmer-turned-sociologist, and associate professor at University of North Carolina (emphasis added):
These are, by her lights, the ingredients in seeing clearly:
– An international point of view she picked up while bouncing as a child between Turkey and Belgium and then working in the United States.
– Knowledge that spans subject areas and academic disciplines, which she happened onto as a computer programmer who got into sociology.
– A habit of complex, systems-based thinking, which led her to a tough critique in The Atlantic of America’s news media in the run-up to the pandemic.
She obviously has a great track record to attract the attention of The New York Times. She has proven to be able to connect the dots from her diverse background, combine them with new findings, and form a fresh view about what's happening in the world. While the article is not about systems thinking, I would love to dive into her psyche and understand how she thinks.
Technology and automation have made it very easy for marketers to find potential customers on the internet and blast out sales emails. My job title (CTO) is one of the key words that a lot of marketers seek out and not a single day goes by where I don’t receive a cold email or LinkedIn connection request from marketers offering their products and services. I know that my experience is not unique and therefore I'm motivated to write this post.
First of all, I know that sales is not an easy job and it takes skills to balance between helpful and annoying. To sales people:
Trust me when I say I read all your emails. Unlike many people, I love emails because I can read them at my convenience. But do you know what I hate? When you call me on my phone and interrupt me in the middle of work.
Unless your email is blatantly wrong (my name is Andre, not Andrea), I will reply to you. I know you prefer certainty, so as much as possible I will answer with a clear “Yes” or “No”. In cases where I answer “Maybe”, I will suggest a timeframe when you can follow up.
Because I take the time to read your email, I expect you to do the same. If I reply and say I’m not interested, don’t send another email in a week asking if I have read your email.
If we don’t know each other and you send me a request to connect on LinkedIn, please tell me why we should connect. I’m kind of old fashioned on LinkedIn and I don’t usually connect with people I don’t know.
To other people in similar position as mine (i.e. “buyers”), may I also humbly offer my suggestions:
Know what you need and want. In other words, have a plan that gives you clarity on the “what” and the “when”. Without which, you won’t know which vendors to talk to.
Archive emails from vendors and have a way to search them later. Outlook’s powerful search engine has really helped me in this area. I’ve made an engagement with a vendor based on a cold email I received in the previous year.
I recently watched the excellent documentary (and Academy Award-winner) American Factory on Netflix and it gave me more than a 2-hour weekend entertainment. Having started my career on the floors of a General Motors warehouse in Michigan, the movie brought back a lot of memories. While I now work in FinTech, the movie made me draw parallels in this increasingly cross-cultural and global world.
When starting a cloud journey, many CIOs rightfully look to a set of IT principles in guiding their implementation. One commonly used IT principle is avoiding technology lock-in. There are many reasons why this is a good principle to uphold. Relying too much on one single vendor, for example, is very risky because you typically don't have control over the vendor's product direction and company health. However, committing to a single technology or vendor is not always heresy, depending on where you are in your cloud journey.
According to the 2018 Cloud Computing Survey by IDC, nine out of ten companies will have some parts of their application or infrastructure in the cloud by 2019. Migration to the cloud is very much the norm in IT today and cloud budget continues to increase year after year. The IDC survey points out that the top two reasons for going to the cloud are “improving the speed of IT service delivery” and “greater flexibility to react to changing market conditions.” In other words, business agility is the top reason for cloud transformation.
At the same time, speed and agility are often at odds with IT security policies. The same IDC survey highlights that “security concerns” is the second leading barrier for cloud adoption. Moreover, cybersecurity is usually at the top of CIO’s agenda and investment priorities in 2019.How do we reconcile agility and cybersecurity protection in the cloud?