ConnectThe2 S6, E20: Storyology: Mind the Gap
Lisa Rhodes, Former VP of Sales and Marketing, Verne Global
Lisa Rhodes is the Former VP of Sales and Marketing for Verne Global and has known host Rich Williams for 22 years! On today’s ConnectThe2 Storyology episode, Rich and Lisa discuss Mind the Gap, a prog
ram they collaborated on to try and change the conversation about risk as companies decide where to place new high compute applications in a data center. The two talk in detail about the complexities of setting up a data center from scratch, gaps between power consumption and data storage, and the continued impact of their report on green energy efforts. If you like what you’re reading, be sure to listen to the entire episode linked at the bottom of this page.
Landing on the moon...
Lisa tells us that she received the request to develop a data center in Iceland after returning from an around the world sightseeing trip (which definitely did not include Iceland). She equates landing in Iceland for the first time to “landing on the moon” due to the country’s geothermal fields. There were no other major data centers in Iceland at the time, and she had to educate the locals, the government, and potential investors on the benefits and risks associated with large data centers in order to sell them on the project.
Minding the gap...
Initial interest in the Verne Global’s Icelandic data center was based on the green power from Iceland’s carbon neutral grid, but Lisa and Rich knew they needed to push further to generate customer interest. Lisa’s team discovered that there was a large gap between understanding the correlation between power consumption and data storage and how citing a data center in a city with lower power availability was likely a bigger risk than in Verne’s campus in Iceland. Lisa knew they needed a report that would analyze power resourcing, the reliability of current power grids in the U.S. and Europe and any issues around the current power grids that could lead to risk factors. With Rich’s help, Lisa eventually came to the realization that they needed a report to convince the data analysts that there was an energy problem, not the other way around.
It came across everyone’s desks...
Due to the rising trendiness of green energy at the time, the case study garnered quite a bit of media attention. The study was viewed by a wide variety of influential individuals from CEOs of major corporations to gamers to environmentalists. Lisa tells us that their newsletter about the case study went out to over 2,000 subscribers and had a 40% daily open rate, which is astounding even by today’s standards! At the time of the study, green energy was nice to have, but far from the norm. However, because green energy and environmental risks have remained topical and continued to grow as a concern for businesses and consumers, the study remains relevant and impactful years later.
If you've enjoyed these takeaways, be sure to listen to our full interview linked below. Also, be sure to listen to, rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeartRadio or Soundcloud.
● “A story is full of chapters and each chapter builds on the previous one. So many companies write a chapter, but they don’t write a story.” (05:54-06:05)
● “We need a report that talks about power resourcing, the reliability of power grids in the U.S. and in Europe and what are any latency, resiliency issues around the current power grids because those lead to the risk factors that our customers would take interest in.” (13:41-14:06)
● "The early adopters were Bitcoin miners to come to Iceland, because they were having power issues. They were having issues finding data centers that could do dense enough racks for the miners that they wanted to put in those racks, because they were using the highest-grade CPUs and they were going all over the globe looking for resilient, low cost and green power frankly.” (14:43-15:16)
● "It was like we took the top off a question everybody didn’t know they needed to ask themselves but once they asked themselves it they realized, ‘This is exactly what I’ve been trying to figure out.’” (22:04-22:13)
● “I’m proud to say that you and I created the long-lasting message that is still being carried forward.” (28:01-28:07)
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