The Journey to Data Center Journalist

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Rich Miller knew the importance of data centers the first time he set foot in one.

Announcer: Welcome to Not Your Father’s Data Center. A podcast brought to you by Compass Datacenters. We build for what’s next. Now, here’s your host, Raymond Hawkins.

Raymond Hawkins: Welcome to another edition of Not Your Father’s Data Center. I’m your host, Raymond Hawkins, and Rich Miller is our guest today. Rich, thank you for joining us.

Rich Miller: You’re very welcome, Raymond. I’m glad to be here.

Raymond Hawkins: Rich, founder and editor of Data Center Frontier. And Rich and I are recording on Thursday, June the 3rd. Just to give everybody orientation as we continue to vaccinate the planet and come out of the pandemic that we’re sure one or two of you have heard about over the last year, year and a half. So Rich, if you don’t mind, let’s dive right in and love to hear a little bit about you. Your name is I think synonymous with the data center industry.

Raymond Hawkins: So I’ve been in technology for my entire career and came to the data center side about eight years ago. And when people told me, “Hey, when you start to read about this industry, you should read this Data Center Frontier, or you should read this, or you should read that.” I saw your name literally my first day in the business. So I’d love to hear a little bit about you, how you got in the space. And then we’ll talk about the history of covering this space, if you don’t mind. So, born and raised, where are you from? Give us all that. Let’s listen and learn a little bit about you.

Rich Miller: Sure. So I’ve been in the data center industry about 20 years. I worked in the newspapers for 18 years before that. So I’ve had a lengthy career in media and in technology. And it’s been interesting to see the changes in both industries and how they’ve affected one another. Obviously, covering this industry and the way that the world has changed over the last 20 to 25 years, there’s been an amazing transition going on. And it’s interesting how your career and your life experience prepares you for the way these opportunities that emerge. And that was definitely a big part of my story. You asked about beginnings, I have spent most of my adult life in New Jersey. I was born and grew up initially in the Washington DC area. My wife considers me a short time Jersey resident, because I’ve only been living here since I was 14. But I wasn’t that interested in technology early on in fact, but I was very interested in writing and in news.

Rich Miller: That was something that was important in my house growing up. I grew up in, as I mentioned, in the Washington area in the early 1970s. So, we got The Washington Post on our doorstep every morning and it read Woodward and Bernstein over breakfast. And so engagement in news and issues and really an appetite for understanding issues in depth has been part of my experience from the early going. My dad worked in satellite communications, which has been an interesting technology background. And my mom was a librarian and one of the world’s most active readers. So from very early on, I’ve been reading and exposed to the ways in which technology can change our world. Well, after we moved to New Jersey, my dad worked at a satellite station where they would broadcast early content from folks like TBS and Turner media.

Rich Miller: ESPN was one of their early clients back when they were still just a small cable network in Connecticut. And HBO, in fact was another early customer. We’ve been able to see the way that technology can transform the world and turns fairly small and modest news operations and information businesses into global phenomenons. So after that I went to school at Rutgers. And my passion in working at the school newspaper in my early newspapers jobs, is I was a sports writer. Which is tremendous training for just about everything else in journalism because you learn interviewing, you learn to work on a deadline.

Raymond Hawkins: Daily deadline.

Rich Miller: Because there’s nothing… A daily deadline. The immediacy of having to cover a night game and having to file a story in 15, 20 minutes and be able to get it on deadline. Because one of the things we learned, is if the newspaper comes out in the morning and you don’t have the score from last night and the story to go with it, you are missing the boat. And that was the days too, where if you were on the road, when I was in school at Rutgers and covering events, we’d have to file stories using TRS-80, the little Trash-80 semi laptops.

Raymond Hawkins: It’s Trash-80 from Tandy.

Rich Miller: Exactly.

Raymond Hawkins: Dial-up modem. Dial-up mode.

Rich Miller: 300 modem. And we would use acoustic couplers and a payphone to file our stories.

Raymond Hawkins: Yes.

Rich Miller: And so I’d be doing that in an airport. And I kid with you that the-

Raymond Hawkins: On a monochrome screen that nobody would even recognize today. It was probably blue or gray.

Rich Miller: It was so small that you could only see a couple of lines at a time. That is really old school technology, but it was really all about finding just about any way to to get the news out and get the information to our readers. And being able to write quickly on deadline is something that’s been valuable throughout my career. And the other great thing about sports is you get the opportunity to experiment with lots of different story formats and ways of writing. You have to try different things to keep the audience engaged. Because sports fans are some of the biggest readers going too. So they’ve seen a lot of different, you can’t just write the same old inverted pyramid. Here’s the score and here’s what happened last night. You got to find ways to make it interesting.

Rich Miller: Because many of them will already know the score, particularly nowadays. And that was my early journalism experience. Things began to change a little bit after I met my wife and we got married. And one of the things she asked is, after a couple of years, “Is it always going to be nights and weekends?” And the answer was, “Well, if I was going to stay in sports, it was.” So I looked across the newsroom for something that would have daytime hours, and that’s when I got involved in business journalism. And have been in, that was 1986, ’87. My first day on the business desk was Monday, October 19th of 1987, which was the day that the stock market fell 22%.

Raymond Hawkins: Yes. How about that? Black Monday.

Rich Miller: So it was a trial by fire. But it was also the time when everybody was interested in business and the stock market, had never been more important, in terms of the need to be able to explain why that mattered to folks and how that translates into activity in the economy. And so I wrote about the business at a couple of daily newspapers in New Jersey for a bunch of years.

Raymond Hawkins: Were you at the Trenton Times in ’87?

Rich Miller: No. I was at the the Home News in New Brunswick which doesn’t exist anymore. Has been folded into, I guess the successor now is the Asbury Park Press. And then in 1993, I went to the Trenton Times and began covering the Trenton area. It was interesting because our coverage area included the Princeton area, where I live now, and between the university and some of the biotech firms and other things going on. In the area there was a lot of early technology research that began pointing towards the internet. And so it became clear that technology was going to become a big part of covering business. But the real transformation was when my wife got us on the internet for the first time. She was much more technology savvy than me.

Rich Miller: And still works with the Data Center Frontier operation. She’s been a part of it and important team member for many years. But it was America Online. We cared about how there’s a data center in Asbury that’s the You’ve Got Mail data center where all of the AOL originated from. But much of the early telecom and internet infrastructure was driven by the growth of America Online. But what I figured out from that, was that, first I was just like, oh my goodness, there’s all these things I can read and learn about and access all these information sources, but then I figured out that it was a publishing medium. You could create a webpage on AOL, write things on your keyboard and it would go out to the entire world.

Rich Miller: And that’s when the light bulb went off over my head that the news industry was going to change, because at the Trenton Times we’d write our stories, they’d be printed up by people and put on the newsprint. There was a printing press, and then it’d all be loaded onto trucks and taken all around the place. And there was this entire multiple layers of infrastructure that would become obsolete if you can just send the news over the internet to another computer. So that was really the beginning of my career in online journalism.

Raymond Hawkins: We had no idea how the printing presses future would be changed with the coming of AOL and all that it begat, that’s for sure. So awesome stuff. So I took a bunch of notes. I’m going to ask some questions. I’m going to draw some interesting parallels Rich. So I took my very first computer programming class in the third grade, and we programmed on TRS-80s. And I remember writing basic on TRS-80s in school and basically growing up with computers my whole life. I’m in my mid fifties and I think I am the first generation age-wise that had computers from the beginning. Computers have been part of my education from the very, very early, early days. And hearing you bring up the Trash-80, I love that. That reminds me of very early computer classes. And then one more parallel that I think is funny, because we’re both in technology.

Raymond Hawkins: So I’m getting out of college, I’m trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. And I started a football magazine in the late ’80s to cover SEC football and run many young entrepreneurs in his early twenties. The business was under capitalized and we only survive for a couple of football seasons. But I look to your point, back then there was no internet. It was pre the internet, pre anything getting published on the internet and writing a newspaper. And to your point, delivering the copy and watching it get type set, and watching it run through these printing presses and getting folded and banded and put on trucks. The distribution was a massive undertaking. And amazing to think how my kids don’t even understand that today. The publishing business in that sense isn’t even comprehended today. My kids think publishing is a tweet.

Rich Miller: Well, it is now, that’s the thing.

Raymond Hawkins: It is, that’s right. You reach more people faster.

Rich Miller: I spend a lot of time, too much time on Twitter probably.

Raymond Hawkins: So fascinated by your background and your story. Really appreciate getting to hear it. And your starting in DC and then onto New Jersey and your better half coaching you out of the sports pages and into the business pages. That was a wise move on her part, if she wanted weekends and nights together. So that’s good.

Rich Miller: And it was a smart move on my part. She’s always had a lot of good ideas. And the other thing is, I know she was the one who nudged me onto the internet. And the good thing about that, and we joke about the Trash-80, but at the time it was a miracle for folks who like, if you’re making the transition from in college, we would type our stories on yellow sheets of paper. We’d use white out to type a paper over our typos and send it to someone else to be typeset. The amazing thing was after I came to understand that you could publish through America Online, I’m like, how do you do this? How do you build websites and everything? And it was all available for free on the internet.

Rich Miller: I’d learned HTML, because so many other people who had learned it before me had put these tutorials out there. And just about anything you needed to learn about building and deploying websites was freely available on the internet. And so I learned how to build websites, and my wife and I started a small web design and hosting business on the side while I was still working day job at the Trenton Times. So I saw that the internet was going to be really important. And my thought was this experience can help me understand how the news industry is going to change and how the newspaper that I worked for can use these tools. And it was about four or five years of trying to lead the newsroom and then the organization in that direction. I was writing about a bunch of different stuff on the daytime and in addition to business.

Rich Miller: I was the newsroom technology director for awhile. But it became pretty clear that there was this online publishing revolution going on and the newspaper industry wasn’t just getting it. There was a lot of concern there while people make stuff up on the internet, which given where we are today, is pretty amazing that that was the kind of concern then. So it’s an interesting story about how I fell into the data center business, because that was the opportunity for me to move from the old print newspaper into digital publishing. My wife was working for a real estate company that was starting up an online site to sell and market real estate. And one of the guys she met, Mark in telecom properties and he lived the Princeton area.

Rich Miller: And he said, “You should be writing about data centers, not all this stuff you’re doing in the newspaper.” And carrier hotels, that was the term then. And I was like, “Nah, nobody is really that interested in that. It’s all this nerdy stuff.” And I wasn’t that interested in real estate at the time. And then he said, “Look, come visit one with me, walk through it, see what you think.” And man, that was the eye opening moment where you go in, you see a data center for the first time, the servers, the lights, the cables, it was about 50 degrees in there. And the introduction, that there’s all this extraordinary back-end, the infrastructure behind the internet, and having understood as a user and as a publisher and content creator, suddenly it all clicked. That for the internet-

Raymond Hawkins: What year was that Rich? I’d love to hear it. That was your first day, 2000s

Rich Miller: That was early 2000.

Raymond Hawkins: Early 2000s.

Rich Miller: It was early 2000, and I quit my job in May, 2000 because I realized that we were going to need these everywhere. That if the internet was going to grow and become this incredible thing, that it would need this infrastructure. And I learned a little bit about some of all of the incredible growth that America Online had got to go through to be able for me to publish those pages out there. And so I went to work for this gentleman in Princeton. We did a website called Where we wrote about mostly the big city buildings, which is where most of the early telecom and data center activity existed. This was just a few years after the Telecom Act of 1996, which had changed the landscape for-

Raymond Hawkins: Landscape carriers.

Rich Miller: And created a competitive climate where people could compete with them. But initially it was, yeah, you can just take your equipment and put it inside the telephone companies building, their central office, and they’ll look after it for you and it all work out great. And it was suboptimal for most of the competitive carriers. And so they began looking for nearby buildings where they could have a short telecom connection and they could have their own gear and not have to ask the Bell folks for permission to access it. And that’s how the carrier hotels started to come about.

Raymond Hawkins: So I love that this is one of the conversations I have with folks about why is a carrier hotel a thing? When people ask, why do you need to get to 350 Cermak or 111 Eighth or 60 Hudson? And it goes back to exactly what you described. So I’d love it if you just take us one click deeper in the breaking up of the Ma Bells and how it fostered a carrier hotel and why those became a thing. I think that’s a fascinating part for how this business started and why MAE-West mattered and all of that stuff. Can you give us a little bit more on why carrier hotels mattered?

Rich Miller: Sure. I’ll give it a good shot. So in the early 1990s, there began to be these long running concerns about antitrust in the Bell companies influence over their marketplace. And there were a lot of folks who wanted to compete with them. I think it was MCI that was one of the early litigants that wound up with the court ruling that would break up the Bell System into Baby Bells. And it also created the opportunity for new companies to form and to have access to the phone system, to the physical infrastructure. Because the real issue is, to be able to build that out on your own was cost prohibitive. But that created the challenge of, where does the equipment live? Who has custody of it and how do you both access the network and still be able to reduce your reliance on the folks that you’re competing with?

Rich Miller: So what happened is, the carrier hotels generally sprung up around the central offices for the phone company. Which would be the intersections of the network, the meeting place where the lines would all go out from. And they would find a building right nearby, get a short high capacity connection and then place your equipment in these buildings. And there were different kinds of buildings. Often they were ones that had been associated with previous communications infrastructure or were big sturdy buildings. Like in New York, its 60 Hudson street was the Western Union headquarters. And had complete with the system of pneumatic tubing that would send messages between buildings in New York, which then you could just run fiber through to then connect the buildings there. A similar phenomenon showed up in a lot of different towns where a single building becomes the focus, maybe a couple of buildings where they’re right next to the central office.

Rich Miller: And the next thing, a bunch of telecom companies are leasing space there, installing generators and backup power, and air conditioning, the HVAC. And many cases in the early days, the landlords of these buildings didn’t necessarily catch on right away as to what was going on but pretty soon they did. And that’s where we got the whole telecom premium from where if you got to telecom customer in, they were super sticky and the proximity really mattered. So they would pay more to be next to the central office than to be 10 blocks away.

Rich Miller: But it was a fascinating thing. And we wrote about all these buildings, 60 Hudson Street and 111 Eighth Avenue in New York. The Infomart in Dallas and the 2323 Bryan was the other one down there that was a big… 350 East Cermak. You mentioned the main primary carrier hotel in Chicago, One Wilshire in Los Angeles. These iconic buildings that have interesting histories, but they all suddenly are filled with all of this telecom gear which is where they became the places from which the internet went forth.

Raymond Hawkins: Fascinating stuff that you started at I have to admit Rich I had never heard that name, but I love that that was a thing. I don’t know, I’m going to branch off a little bit. Have you read the book Tubes that talks about the beginning?

Rich Miller: Oh, sure.

Raymond Hawkins: So I think this just reminds me a little bit of that.

Rich Miller: Andrew Blum.

Raymond Hawkins: And you’re exactly right.

Rich Miller: Because, he and I talked when he was researching that book actually, and there were a couple of early books about the sector. And what was interesting is because first to carrier hotels and then especially at data center knowledge, which I started in 2005. When people would start searching for information about data centers, they’d often call me on the phone and say, “Well, you seem to be paying attention to this.” And so that’s how I made a lot of connections, including some of my best connections in the industry. People I’ve known for a long while, there was only so many information sources out there. When I first began writing about the data center industry, there were really only a couple of information sources. Most of them were newsletters or subscription services, things like Tier One research or IX Reach, but it was very closely held.

Rich Miller: The data center industry was, I don’t know that it was like a security through anonymity, but it was not something that a lot of people knew much about, and that was talked about or written about much. And the commercial data center industry was really just getting going with particularly folks like Exodus was one of the early players that began building data centers in these technology hubs. You would have your carrier hotels, but a lot of them have limited footprints, because they were skyscrapers often in big cities, so there’s small footprints. As people needed more server capacity, folks like Exodus started building data centers in the suburbs. And they could fill it with more servers. This became a big thing in the early 2000s.

Rich Miller: The interesting thing was a lot of companies built a lot of data centers that we covered at carrier hotels in particular. And then when there was the .com bust, a lot of those companies went bankrupt. And I walked through a ton of data centers that were beautiful, a 100,000 square foot facilities with not a single piece of equipment in them, because they’d been built in anticipation of this extraordinary expectation that the internet was going to be a colossal success. Which was not wrong, it was simply early. The investment and the infrastructure, the early players got way ahead of the demand. And so then we had the nuclear winter of the data center industry and which included, it took out carrier hotels along the way. And after I was doing freelancing for other sites that wrote about primarily web hosting, because that was still a thing then. But where this really wound up going was I was watching, I still monitored a lot of the channels that would write about these kinds of things.

Rich Miller: And I noticed a couple of data centers in Los Angeles that had been sitting empty for a long time, suddenly got bought up at surprising prices by people who were big players in the co-location industry. And I thought, wow, there must be something going on that’s changing the fortune. And of course, what it was, was that people like Google in particular, were starting to scarf up all of this vacant data center space and start to build much larger search and business operations. I started data center knowledge to start writing about that. Just sat down one day at this domain and then started typing a blog post. And since then the industry has really shown its resilience.

Raymond Hawkins: So you see a couple of these assets get bought. You mentioned Exodus, I think a global crossing some of the others guys in the early days that built some capacity that ended up like just being early, not wrong, just early.

Rich Miller: Sure.

Raymond Hawkins: And you see some of that capacity come out. So this is got to be like, ’04, ’05. I’m thinking coming right out of the .com meltdown. Because we had the .com. I remember Sun, they were the and everything was going to go, all you had to say was .com, and then your name, and you got money thrown at you to start a business. And that hype lived through ’03, ’04 and then it collapsed. Are my timelines, am I right on the calendar that you would have shown up about early ’05?

Rich Miller: The downturn in the stock market with the .com stocks started in late 2000 and then 2001, it accelerated, I think it was late 2001, 2002, we started seeing bankruptcies at Exodus, AboveNet, WorldCom was the big one. And so the 2003 into 2004 was really tough times. A lot of data centers changed hands for pennies on the dollar really. And customers who were going to lease space would want to learn all about the finances of the provider, because they were concerned of whether they were going to have to move their equipment. And then this was 2005 when things started to thaw. About a year earlier, we’d seen Google start to lease chunks of space in a couple of markets. And that was certainly a sign that things were changing. And this is about when many of the companies that we see today that are major players were coming together in seriousness. Equinix had just really reformulated from a reverse merger that saved its bacon at the time.

Rich Miller: Digital Realty was just beginning to be envisioned by folks from GI Partners who had first gone in and scarfed up a lot of these, bought up a lot of these properties that were available pretty cheap. So it was really the formative days of what would the data center industry would become. And I got a front row seat for all of it. I was writing about it at that data center knowledge and the continued monitoring it through the whole real estate crash in 2007, 2008 and nine. Which was extraordinary because, and we’ve certainly seen this also with the pandemic, is the need for data centers and infrastructure and information continue to pace. In the industry, apart from capital challenges, really the demand continued and folks survived and executed throughout. So it’s been pretty interesting.

Raymond Hawkins: Well, talk about good timing, fortuitous timing, getting to be, not only in the front row seat to the data center industry, but being a digital publisher in that space. Getting to embrace how publishing was changing. And having had a history of being a newspaper guy, so you knew how to write, knew how to manage a publishing entity and getting to be on the front end of that. Getting done, I mean, not that there aren’t books written about our space, but a lot more digital content about our space and being on the front end of that. What a great marriage of opportunity, great timing, good stuff.

Rich Miller: And that was a learning experience too, because in addition to learning about the data center industry, I had to learn online publishing and what worked and what didn’t. And tried a lot of different things with business models. The early days of blogging and trying to make, which was what it was thought of then, I always saw it as journalism. Because that’s what I was doing. Is applying the traditional journalistic standards and simply wielding them in an online format that extended its reach. And it was powerful in so many different ways, because when I was working at the newspaper, we would say, well, we have a circulation of 80,000, I think that’s what it was in Trenton. And it was just the people in the Trenton area. But really what that was saying was, that’s how many copies of the paper we print and circulate. It doesn’t really tell you who’s looking at that.

Raymond Hawkins: Who’s actually reading.

Rich Miller: Right. So once you go digital, we have data on all of that. We know how many people are reading each story. And it’s useful for me as a publisher, it’s useful for advertisers and it’s transformative in the audience that you can reach. Obviously, the data center industry at the time was national and now it’s global. We have readers, each year when I look at the stats, we have readers in more than 200 countries. Which is crazy to me that there are people in Hong Kong or Australia, are reading stories that I published that morning. But that’s the power of the medium. But that doesn’t mean that it’s been easy to take the business models that worked in traditional print publishing and find ways to adapt them for online.

Rich Miller: Obviously, for much of the news industry, it’s been a brutal period. I have many friends who I worked with in the newspaper industry who lost their jobs and had to go do other things because the traditional newspaper industry was disrupted by folks like Google. Once Google figured out the advertising model with the customized tech, it was a text ad first, but that was transformational in a couple of ways. It was the beginning of the end of how newspapers and even TV stations used to sell advertising. But it also-

Raymond Hawkins: And magazines, all of them, you just transformed them.

Rich Miller: But in online publishing, that was what created the business model. It made so many different businesses viable. If they could advertise online, they could reach their customers using Google ads, and for publishers, Google used to have this program that was important for us in our growth at DCK at the time. Which was like, you could put a snippet of code on your site and Google would tell the ads and place them there. And you’d get a check each month, it was called AdSense. As a publisher that was one of the first ways that you could really support yourself without having to hustle on your own. Since then I’ve been fortunate to meet a business partner who sells online ads really well and has been a huge part in the success of both Data Center Knowledge and Data Center Frontier. Kevin Normandeau is the publisher of Data Center Frontier. And we’ve helped a lot of folks learn about the online advertising and business through folks in the industry who’ve reached out to us and wanted to learn about what we were doing.

Raymond Hawkins: Good stuff. Gone are the days of needing to sell the center spread. That valuable real estate in the middle of the newspaper, those days are gone, or your back cover in a magazine.

Rich Miller: Or the inserts for the car dealers.

Raymond Hawkins: [crosstalk 00:33:31] on it.

Rich Miller: It used to be car dealers, supermarkets. Those were the big advertisers.

Raymond Hawkins: Grocery stores. Those days are transformed forever. And how you got to be not only publishing in that space but publishing about the space that was making that digital transformation possible. A pretty neat confluence of two experiences neath that you’ve been able to be in the middle of it. All right. I’m going to ask you one parting question is, so you got 20 years, you were there in the beginning, early 2000s watching this whole dataset. What’s the, I’m sorry, I’m going to turn it into two questions, the biggest surprise, the thing that you’ve seen in the last 20 years of covering the data center space, the thing that you were the most surprised about? And what was the thing that you were the most compelled in other words? So surprising, we’d never saw that coming and then the biggest disappointment. How about those two? You going to do disappointment first, so we don’t end on a down note.

Rich Miller: Sure. I think that one of the biggest disappointments I guess, has been how long it has taken the data center industry. It’s sort of a two sides of the same coin. It had took a long time for data centers to really get religion on efficiency and sustainability. And this was important because as large energy users and as linchpins of the global economy, the data center industry has had the opportunity to lead a transformation in terms of being able to help jumpstart transition to renewable energy and just being incredibly efficient. It took quite a while but I think the flip side of that is that the data center industry and cloud computing and the concentration of data and workloads is part of the story here. Is that we’ve seen a real transformation, particularly in recent years with workloads moving to the cloud and having data centers become a real force for societal transformation.

Rich Miller: And I think that plays into the one that I’ve been most surprised and pleased about, is the industry’s ability to make a difference in the world in a crisis. And I think we saw this in an unusual way in the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly the data center industry was a lifeline for so many people in the economy. And it’s behind the scenes. It’s not like, the real heroes of this time are your doctors, nurses, the folks who develop vaccines. All that is obvious but to make society continue working, we really needed the data center industry on the back end with the ability to scale up networks, to add capacity so that people could do all this zooming we’ve been doing. And whether it’s for school, for work, it’s been really essential.

Rich Miller: And it’s shifted our whole culture and entertainment too. I saw something the other day from Comcast, which is our local provider here. They had a huge surge in traffic last year, of course, but that only a fairly small percentage of the gain was video conferencing. A lot of it was just entertainment because people were consuming so much more as they were in the house watching YouTube, watching, there was a lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime in our house. The data center industry has been changing the world the entire time that I’ve been covering it. It’s still never fails to amaze me the scale of things, like the data centers that Compass builds. And yesterday was one of these where in the morning I wrote a story about a company announcing a 1.5 million square foot development.

Rich Miller: And in the afternoon I wrote one about somebody that was announcing 500 megawatts of new capacity. Even for someone who’s been watching the growth of all of this for 20 years, it’s still amazing the kind of scale and impact that this industry is bringing. And to have had a front row seat for all of this has just been a blast. I appreciate the invitation because I love talking about data centers and the difference that they’ve made in my life and in the world. And I think that’s a story I’m glad to be able to share.

Raymond Hawkins: Well, Rich, I love your perspective. I’m going to summarize quickly. I think, the disappointment is slow to get efficiency as a religion and be a responsible consumer of power on the planet. I think you nailed that one. And I think our industry is leading there now, but I think it took us a while to get standards to where they needed to be.

Rich Miller: Yes.

Raymond Hawkins: But the second one and the positive side of it, everyone understands Zoom. Even my kids wear T-shirts now that say Zoom University, because everyone went to class for a year via Zoom. But to your point, to be able to collaborate, to be able to get groceries delivered, to be able to watch movies, to be able to stay connected to your family members and your coworkers. Candidly to be able to, when you needed something, food delivered, I mean, it’s crazy, but Uber Eats, people bringing food.

Raymond Hawkins: All of that is done in the data center and the way the data center kept the global economy moving in a way that allowed us to stay socially safe distance, but operated. I think is huge, it’s was funny. We came up with this several years ago at Compass, part of our tagline, we make lives better by giving companies a secure place. Well, again, we had no idea how true that would be. And I think that got revealed in the pandemic, which is exactly what I think you’re saying. Is enabling society to continue to move forward even when we couldn’t do it in a traditional physical sense. Is something I’m happy to be a part of and excited to be a part of and fun to talk about.

Rich Miller: It is fun to talk about it. There’s the old saying from Marc Andreessen, that software is eating the world. And my identity to that is software is eating the world but data centers are required for digestion and that’s-

Raymond Hawkins: You’re here.

Rich Miller: We really seen the importance of that this past year.

Raymond Hawkins: Absolutely. Well, Rich, we’re so grateful that you got to spend some time with us, that you were willing to do it. And that we get to hear a little bit about your history. That to me is always the most fascinating part, is learning about our guests personally. And thank you for sharing your personal story with us, and we love following you and listen to you. You talked about 200 countries reading Data Center Frontier and Data Center Knowledge. I remember the first time I got an email from somebody who was listening to our podcast in Singapore, I went, wow, wait a minute, people are talking about data centers everywhere. So I hear you and I appreciate that. And appreciate how you are a leading voice in our space. And thank you for joining us on the Not Your Father’s Data Center. We really do appreciate it, Rich. Thank you.

Rich Miller: You’re very welcome. Glad to be here.