62 episodes

The nomads put a new spin on the tech genre by shining a light not only on technology but also on the human side of the digital age. Tune in if you find yourself thinking about how to integrate into the digital landscape and be a part of the evolving industry.

For over two decades, Phil and Nabeel have provided a powerful catalyst for organizations to create a vision of the future and the will to innovate. As futurists, they deliver a dynamic and entertaining vision of change, blending technology, economics, demographics, culture, and human nature.

With real business experience and a deep understanding of technology, the two nomads know the difference between science fiction and useful forecasting. Rather than focusing on the distant future, they devote themselves to scanning the horizon for emerging technologies and disruptive shifts in human behavior, thereby sharing a compelling vision of tomorrow’s opportunities.

Nomad Futurist Nomad Futurist

    • Technology
    • 4.8 • 22 Ratings

The nomads put a new spin on the tech genre by shining a light not only on technology but also on the human side of the digital age. Tune in if you find yourself thinking about how to integrate into the digital landscape and be a part of the evolving industry.

For over two decades, Phil and Nabeel have provided a powerful catalyst for organizations to create a vision of the future and the will to innovate. As futurists, they deliver a dynamic and entertaining vision of change, blending technology, economics, demographics, culture, and human nature.

With real business experience and a deep understanding of technology, the two nomads know the difference between science fiction and useful forecasting. Rather than focusing on the distant future, they devote themselves to scanning the horizon for emerging technologies and disruptive shifts in human behavior, thereby sharing a compelling vision of tomorrow’s opportunities.

    You’ve Got to Have Grit!

    You’ve Got to Have Grit!

    For our very first father/son interview, Nomad Futurist welcomes Tony Grayson, a critical infrastructure leader and former Submarine Commander and his son Aiden Grayson, an IT entrepreneur and consultant. Together they offer some unique perspectives on a range of subjects including the Navy, technology, and entrepreneurship.

    The Graysons comes from a military family. Tony Grayson’s grandfather was a WWII pilot who was shot down, spent a month on a raft in the Pacific and washed up on an island!

    “That really instilled in me ‘the country before self’ kind of thing.”
    Tony had hoped to join the Air Force but due to poor vision, ended up in the Navy where he ultimately became a submarine commander.

    He talks about the special experience of working with a crew:

    “…. that team, you are all running together and you really all have each other's backs. It's like nothing, no culture I’ve ever experienced before…alone and unafraid and out there and doing missions…”
    After twenty years, Tony Grayson’s naval career culminated with the prestigious VADM James Bond Stockdale Award. He decided to leave the Navy in order to spend more time with his family.

    Facebook reached out to him and offered him the opportunity to grow into his role there as he acclimated to civilian life.

    He found that there were significant similarities between understanding and running the various systems in a submarine and being involved in critical infrastructure.

    “A submarine actually has 12 to 13 megawatts of IT load. We have a substrate; we have an overlay… That's very similar to what a platform operates at. I understood how the cloud works, the software stack and the physical infrastructure.”
    After Facebook, Grayson moved on to AWS and Oracle, picking up on networking, data center infrastructure and cloud strategy. He then moved over to Compass-Quantum to focus on the future of edge and edge physical infrastructure.
    Aiden Grayson talks about the experience of being a Navy brat.

    “My dad was away for sometimes eight months at a time and that left me as the designated tech guy…every family has one! I ended up fixing the modem…or calling Comcast or making sure that everything was set up correctly.”
    From there it was natural for him to pursue computer science in high school and college. While still in college, Aiden also launched his first startup, Short Cubby, a beached-based locker system.
    Aiden talks about loving the creative aspect of business and entrepreneurship, particularly the ability to approach things in a new or unique way.

    He also talks about how his business ventures have helped him develop confidence:
    “You have to pitch a lot with startups. You have to do that to get funding. I found that confidence within myself and that made me a whole lot more excited to enter the real world.”
    Tony remains consistently supportive of his son’s efforts, including his failures.
    “There's something to be said about working in a small company and trying to build a business that you can look back on.”
    Aiden speaks about working with a mentor to try to develop his next venture opportunity even as he begins his work consulting in cybersecurity for Ernst and Young.
    ‘The world’s an ever-changing place. I thank my family and especially my dad for exposing me to that change early so I can be open to trying something new.”
    In terms of advice, father and son agree that:
    “You’ve got to have grit!”

    Tony Grayson, General Manager of Quantum Compass, is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of technology and leadership experience and a deep understanding of the cloud, edge, networking, commercial power, sustainability, and the data center industry. His experience includes global strategy, capacity, financial management, program/project/product management, engineering, software, telecommunications, and operations. Grayson has held senior critical...

    • 44 min
    Sales as an art form...

    Sales as an art form...

    What does it take to be successful in sales for the IT industry? Tim Arpin, Regional Sales Manager for NY/NJ at Service Express, a data center maintenance company, has a candid conversation with Phil and Nabeel about the world of sales — the good and the bad — and what he loves about providing value through consultative sales for the data center industry.
    Arpin always had a natural proclivity for sales. While in his teens he started selling golf equipment in a sporting goods store. He then worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car as a sales manager and went on to do sales and business development for several firms. A former manager from Enterprise invited Arpin to join him at Service Express as a senior account manager.
    He soon realized how attractive the IT industry was:
    “IT sales now is like pharmaceutical sales in the eighties and nineties…there’s a lot of success to be had, a lot of growth in the industry…a lot of IT spend, with lots of companies looking for salespeople.”
    Arpin became conversant with the technical aspects of the industry through a combination of online research, on-the-job training, and developing relationships with clients and vendors.
    Arpin speaks with pride about his work helping to support his company and their customers. He shares his commitment to sales as a profession — how he is in it not just for financial rewards, but also to solve problems, find value, and build relationships.
    He references the book “Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud” by Lisa Earle McCleod which emphasizes the importance of finding your reason, the “why” behind your selling, and believing that what you’re selling is providing value and having impact.
    “The consultative process of sales is an art form…the need to become a high-level consultative seller has forced me to become a better salesperson — a better listener, a better relationship builder, a better problem solver.”
    In terms of advice, Arpin highlights the importance of staying current and actively pursuing knowledge. He also recommends attending industry events where one can make or deepen relationships with vendors, colleagues, and end users.
    “AFCOM has by far been the most beneficial for me…I get to walk through the latest data and learn…there's always guest speakers and different companies talking about their products…that stuff's invaluable.”
    He shares the following insight:
    “The biggest thing that helped me honestly, was just conversations with end users when I didn't know something. Being open to admitting that and asking them to explain it to me, because I wanted to learn.”
    Tim Arpin is the Regional Sales Manager for the New York/New Jersey Market for Service Express, a third-party Data Center Maintenance Provider. Arpin has been with Service Express for over four years and has fifteen years of sales experience starting with a job selling golf equipment at a local Sports Authority store while he was in high school. Arpin manages a team of eight sellers and lives in North Jersey. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Eastern Connecticut State University.

    • 30 min


    In this Nomad Futurist podcast, Bill Skinner, Operations Services Manager at Bloomberg LP, shares a dynamic journey highlighted by a commitment to constant learning in the critical infrastructure space — a path that has led him to operationalize training programs at Bloomberg and serve as a data center evangelist within the tech community through his position as President of the NYC/NJ metro chapter of AFCOM.
    Skinner had a natural proclivity for tech from an early age. His first computer was a Tandy 500 which he tinkered with, broke, reassembled and improved. In high school he excelled at computers, studying programming languages and software development as well as electronics.
    “My dad said, ‘you're going into computers.’”
    After graduating college with an IT degree and despite the dot-com crash, he managed to get hired by Sun Microsystems supporting Bloomberg financial. He hit the ground running. At Sun he received intensive training in data center engineering, learning about hardware, and working on what at the time were supercomputers.
    “Where I really learned was on the job. I've always been able to jump in and learn new things.”
    Skinner talks about his career evolution, how he gradually became aware of the myriad elements that make up the data center environment: the servers, the racks, the power, the batteries, the cooling.
    He moved into middle management in Bloomberg’s New York City data center and was tasked with transforming the siloed work culture. He asked workers to expand their remit and found that those that met the challenge excelled.
    “My passion is leadership at this point…really growing people and helping them succeed, growing the department.”
    Skinner talks about the importance of having ongoing conversations with technology vendors to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that the right questions are being considered and the right issues addressed.

    “You go out there and ask what’s coming? What should we be learning? What should we be addressing? Never hire for what you need today, hire for what you need tomorrow.”
    He also highlights the importance of continuous training and how that has been incorporated as an ongoing process at his company where they have instituted weekly internal seminars to challenge their employees and help teams grow.
    Skinner also talks about his leadership involvement with AFCOM where he was instrumental in revitalizing the NYC/NJ metro chapter after superstorm Sandy flooded and disrupted much of lower Manhattan. As a strong believer in the power of collaboration and community, Skinner’s focus for the organization stressed and continues to encourage education, networking, and the pooling of information.
    “Let's see how you're doing it. Are we doing it differently? Are you doing it better? Let's compare notes so this will help everyone!”

    Bill Skinner has twenty years of experience in the Data Center and Technology Infrastructure environment and is currently Operations Services Manager for Bloomberg LP, managing a range of teams responsible for automating infrastructure services for the company’s extensive engineering/developer community. During his 17-year tenure at Bloomberg, Skinner has managed data center facilities, developed new standards, processes, and technologies, and built and enabled highly successful IT teams.
    Bill Skinner is a frequent speaker at industry events and is the President of the NY/NJ Chapter of AFCOM. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Plymouth State University.

    • 28 min


    What’s it like to be a facilities manager running the IT infrastructure of a leading global research university?In this engaging Nomad Futurist podcast, Raymond Parpart, Director of Data Center Operations and Strategy at the University of Chicago shares a journey that led from theater to technology and draws us into the fascinating world of critical infrastructure and supercomputers within a multi-faceted academic environment.
    Parpart, a theater major, began his career working on the road doing lights and sound and then opted for a different lifestyle. His wife-to-be suggested he apply for an available mailroom position at Aon. As Parpart already had programming experience, he was hired instead as a programmer to work on Y2K compliance.
    Programming led to networking which led to data centers.

    “From a technology perspective, I've always managed to latch onto whatever the next thing was...I'm a hungry learner… I want to know!”
    Parpart then went into consulting. He subsequently joined General Motors where he managed infrastructure and networking.

    Parpart’s work at the University of Chicago involves managing many types of systems ranging from administrative databases to facilities that are responsible for computing for high-end research projects. This requires that he be able to manage different types of facilities depending on the need.

    “If you want to see the world of cooling or racks or power…we’re doing all kinds of crazy things with them. Come see me. I’ve got all kinds of crazy stuff!”
    Parpart talks about the pros and cons of working in the world of education versus the corporate environment.

    “In education the politics are particularly challenging and require patience! I also need to be a partner or a support person and make sure that I’m not seen as an impediment.”

    He talks about how he applies lessons learned in the world of business.
    “You never give anybody one option. You give them two because they'll pick one. And hopefully you can sell it so they pick the right one!”
    Parpart does enjoy the camaraderie of being able to share insights with peers at other big research universities which would be difficult to achieve in the competitive business environment where trade secrets cannot be shared.
    For newcomers to the space, Papert highlights the importance of being willing to learn, willing to listen, and being transparent about what you know and don’t know.
    For those who are further along in their careers, he particularly stresses the importance of being a good listener.
    “Are you really listening? Don’t be the smartest person in the room, even if you think you are. If you are, take the time to mentor those around you and to draw them into the conversation, to draw them into the solution. Help them think, but let them think!”
    Raymond Parpart serves as Director of Data Center Operations and Strategy at the University of Chicago where he is responsible for mission critical data center facilities, delivering expertise from system/facility design to operational support, to government compliance for areas such as HIPPA, FISMA, and PCI. Parpart works closely with stakeholders to ensure 7x24 reliability and the constant improvement of system hosting, colocation services, and energy efficiency in complex computing environments. His purview extends to outsourcing and cloud integration strategy.
    Parpart has over 20 years of global experience with technology. Prior to joining the University in 2007, Parpart was a Global Architect responsible for global infrastructure, data center operations, desktop, and server standards for General Motors where he developed cost saving innovations in the areas of voice, video, and data networking. Earlier in his career, he served in both technical and management roles for a major, regional bank and global consulting company delivering infrastructure design and operations solutions to resolve business...

    • 29 min
    House of Cards

    House of Cards

    In this fascinating, wide-ranging Nomad Futurist podcast, Sarah Keller talks about how following a series of interests including business, project management, standards, and data centers led her to becoming Head of Technology Sourcing and Supply Chain at Uber. She shares her insights about the current state of the global supply chain, and her assessments of future challenges in the space.
    After an initial interest in opera, Keller became a business major as she felt this would be helpful in whatever career she pursued. She fell in love with technology during her first job in online banking. Initial roles morphed into project management in the standards space, and then into the data center world.

    “I got really excited working on data center standards. I learned the data centers more from the software stack, how to deal with configuration management, security, networking standards…before there were any kinds of standards.”
    Keller went on to hold leadership roles at Google, Facebook, and Workday prior to joining Uber. As she transitioned from job to job, Keller followed her interests, and was not afraid to take chances.

    “I was open to following a flow — an interest string rather than a career path. That made a huge difference, not only in my actual career success, but also in my happiness level.”
    Keller expresses concern over the current state of the supply chain ecosystem where a focus on “just in time” has led to dangerous degrees of instability. Given the reality of disruptions caused by Covid as well as the current geo-political scene, the West’s access to essential technologies on which our lives our predicated could be undermined.

    “…not just servers…our phones, our smart TV, our smart refrigerators and our smart cars…and all those promises of how IOT works … it's all built on this house of cards. Right now, things are a little bit dicey!”
    She also talks about the growing awareness of how the supply chain affects the bottom line.
    “This is a great time to be a supply chain person because everybody's interested in supply. It is a terrible time to be a supply chain person because everybody thinks that they could do it better.”
    Keller believes the situation opens an opportunity to bring back manufacturing to the US.

    In response to the challenge of lack of resources in the tech and data center space, Keller believes we need to change our narrative:
    “If every one of us started making slight shifts in our hiring practice, in our community engagement, we would see a massive change in the number of people who knew what we did, who understand that this is a really viable career path. And you'd start seeing more diversity and more incoming talent.”
    For those getting started, Keller emphasizes the importance of adaptability:
    “The skill is looking, adapting, being curious, being open, being open to being wrong and adapting quickly. Because if you fail quickly, you're always going to succeed.”

    Sarah Keller is the Head of Global Technology Sourcing and Supply Chain at Uber and is responsible for strategic sourcing and supply chain activities for all Infrastructure, IT, and custom Uber ODM products. In this capacity, Sarah develops strategies that support Uber's technology platform which is at the intersection of lifestyle and logistics that is revolutionizing the way people connect with their cities around the world. An industry veteran with more than 15 years spent providing best in class leadership, Sarah has held numerous positions managing global hyperscale infrastructure, supply chain and supplier strategy.
    Prior to Uber, Sarah has been in leadership roles in Operations and Engineering teams for companies including Facebook, Workday and Google. Sarah participates in several industry initiatives related to Women in Technology, STEM Mentorship and Innovation Forums. Sarah is also on the Board of Directors for Kids At Hope, a 501(c)...

    • 47 min
    Don’t Let these Voices be Forgotten!

    Don’t Let these Voices be Forgotten!

    In this special #NomadFuturist episode recorded at Data Center World on 03/30/2022, Phil and Nabeel invite Bill Kleyman back to the podcast to share his unique perspective on the conflict in Ukraine.
    Kleyman himself is a refugee whose family left Ukraine around the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Listen to his https://www.nomadfuturist.com/the-happy-and-the-lucky/ (first podcast) for details of that extraordinary journey.
    Kleyman shares his heartfelt perspective and concern for family members, friends and colleagues who are dealing with the challenging situation in Ukraine. (Note, this podcast was recorded on March 30th and reflects the conditions on the ground at that time.)
    Kleyman talks about checking in with friends in Kyiv and Odessa and having phone conversations punctuated by the sounds of air raid sirens and bombs in the distance. He applauds the courage of the Ukrainians collectively as well as that of his own friends, many of whom decided to remain in their homeland.
    “…literally their words to me were, we made a decision after the first week this started that we're going to stay to the end.”
    In addition, Kleyman highlights some unique aspects of the current conflict.

    “This is a war of data. This is a war of digital information. This is a war fought on TikTok and Twitter and videos on Telegram.”
    He also talks about aspects of propaganda and how deeply this has impacted Russian perspectives about the war, particularly for an older generation that is hesitant to venture outside their comfort zone. Kleyman quotes what an older person shared with him – “I listen to what I feel I need to listen to.”
    Phil and Bill talk about the robust technology sector in Ukraine, referencing successful companies like GitLab and Grammarly that were launched there.
    Kleyman concludes by expressing his hope that the audience will continue to pay attention to the plight of the Ukrainians.
    “To everybody listening, just please keep these conversations going. Don’t let these voices be forgotten!”
    Below are links mentioned by Kleyman in this podcast:

    · Ukraine Humanitarian Aid website: https://help.gov.ua/en (https://help.gov.ua/en)

    · Article in the Atlantic about the Ukraine-Russia war: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/american-volunteer-foreign-fighters-ukraine-russia-war/627604/ (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/american-volunteer-foreign-fighters-ukraine-russia-war/627604/)

    · Bill Kleyman’s Facebook Page:
    Kleyman also invites listeners to follow him on Facebook if they are interested in the latest Ukraine news and updates including information on how to contribute to specific charity efforts —e.g., military, humanitarian, and supporting local animal support groups and shelters. Note, you do not need to send a friend request to access this information, simply follow his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/bkleyman%C2%A0 (https://www.facebook.com/bkleyman )

    Bill Kleyman brings more than 15 years of experience to his role as Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions at Switch. Using the latest innovations, such as AI, machine learning, data center design, DevOps, cloud, and advanced technologies, Mr. Kleyman delivers solutions to customers that help them achieve their business goals and remain competitive in their market. An active member in the technology industry, he was ranked #16 globally in the Onalytica study that reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape and #4 in another Onalytica study, which reviewed the industry’s top Data Security Experts.

    Prior to joining Switch, Kleyman was the CTO at MTM Technologies where he worked with new designs around virtualization, data center architecture, and cloud design. He was also a

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

yfrvrrfg ,

impactful, motivational and inspirational tech guru

The journey to success is different for everyone. The obstacles we overcome along the way are often what make us who we are. Nabeel’s inspirational story and the chilled demeanor will inspire you to power forward in all that you do. As he often says - live life is there is no tomorrow and of tomorrow comes live again.

App user 21x ,

Great! Phil is a hero!

Tremendous insight throughout. A whirlwind tour of technology. Great fun. In my life, I’ve dealt mainly with the past, so hearing about the future was a treat.

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