114 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 • 26 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.

    Luck Is Preparation Meeting Opportunity

    Luck Is Preparation Meeting Opportunity

    Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence sat down with Doris Li Yeh, CEO and Founder of Mirapath, a Data Center Critical Infrastructure Total Solution Provider, to discuss her education, travels, how she started her career, and much more. At Mirapath, Doris drives growth strategy for the company with a focus on nurturing relationships, committing to excellence, being driven by results, and striving for innovation and excellence – while having fun and enjoying the journey together.
    Yeh is passionate about leadership development, women empowerment, and cutting-edge technology related to platform development in the data center and IoT space. As a founding member and co-chair of the minority women initiative USPAACC-WISE, Yeh channels her passion for empowerment by helping match corporations with minority businesses and helping women own their space and their voice.
    “When I talk to women from all different races, even today, they're saying that the job of a woman is actually being a mom. I do think that is our job, but it should be shared equally with the father. Today, we don't think that is what is happening and that representation matters.”Before becoming the powerhouse saleswoman, business owner, and leader, she had a long journey to get to where she is today. As someone who has been in sales for many years in their career, Yeh understands the importance of building positive relationships, having motivation, and how that can impact a customer's perception of the organization.

    “I think when you care about the result of your customer, it's not really about the sale. You do get a high from selling, but really, you understand the problem that your customer has and you have pride when you actually solve the problem. I always tell people that if you do that, the money will come because your customer will know that you care and they will keep on coming back.”
    Growing up in various different countries, with different cultures and ways of viewing one another, Yeh has developed a deep appreciation for being comfortable with your environment, the people in it, and what that can do for success. As a result, she is a strong believer in finding “your tribe” to thrive.

    “Find your tribe, because if you really know what you want and you tell the world what you want, the world is going to help you find your tribe and then you'll be in a safe place where you can continue to grow and flourish. It's where you can do your art, be yourself, contribute, and learn.”
    Through many different experiences, obstacles, and big decisions, Yeh is a thriving example of what can come from having a goal, setting expectations, and following through. For more information on Yeh’s amazing journey to get to where she is today, follow her on LinkedIn and listen to this engaging conversation. The story of how Yeh went from Brazil, to America, to creating the successful business she has today is one you won’t want to miss.

    • 44 min
    Why People Matter More Than the Tech

    Why People Matter More Than the Tech

    This week Nabeel and Phillip had the pleasure of speaking with Grant Kirkwood, a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience building and operating both networks and companies. Kirkwood currently serves as the CEO of Contrivian, a new Cloud Service Provider (CSP) focused on transforming the enterprise experience of finding and utilizing connectivity services. Kirkwood joined from north of San Francisco, California to discuss his experience that spans multiple startups, technology evolution, and much more.
    After seeing what technology was capable of for communication and learning in the early 1990’s, Kirkwood decided to join the industry himself. He shared that, though he came from a family of scholars, his learning came from real-life experiences and immersing himself in the booming industry of digital infrastructure.
    “Everything I've learned has been from running companies, working for companies, learning from people, no formal education at all.”
    Kirkwood continuously emphasizes the importance of prioritizing and appreciating the people in a business because at the end of the day, the people matter most. He believes that while technology is an important piece of the puzzle, having an amazing team is what allows a company to do amazing things.

    “Ultimately, it's people that matter. Yes, you have to solve technical challenges, but I spend most of my time thinking about how to enable a really high performing team to do great things.”
    Learning from within from the beginning of his career, Kirkwood discovered the value of listening to the smartest people in the room as opposed to trying to be the smartest person in the room. As a result, he acquired mentors, one of which taught him the importance of communication.

    “The biggest thing that I learned from him is to just communicate to people. These are the facts and you don't need to sugar coat things. You don't need to hide the hard things so that people don't worry.”
    Kirkwood gained experience with data centers and the technology space early on in life, learning from within the industry, and breaking things to understand how they work, allowing him to develop a unique perspective that he brings to the table today. While the digital infrastructure looks very different now than it did when Kirkwood started his first business in 1996, he is always thinking about people, the team, and how he can create the best culture possible in his business before technology.

    • 34 min
    Shaping The Digital Infrastructure Industry Continent By Continent

    Shaping The Digital Infrastructure Industry Continent By Continent

    In this episode of Nomad Futurist, hosts Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence talk with Deidre’ (Dee) Smith, a leader in technology and sustainability. Smith brings deep expertise in problem-solving, risk advisory, and technology deployment, and has managed multi-million dollar P&Ls. Committed to sustainability, she promotes responsible AI development for a greener future. Recognized as a visionary, Smith has a proven track record in business growth, major restructuring, and operational enhancement through innovative leadership. Her extensive experience spans digital transformation, entrepreneurship, sales, and technical services, driving successful initiatives from company integrations to strategic partnerships.
    Dee joined Nabeel and Phillip from Northern Virginia to discuss her journey from South Africa to America, her entry into the data center industry many years ago, and her current initiatives. Initially a business analyst in financial services, she quickly transitioned to the technology sector, leading to roles in data centers and beyond.
    “Coming from Africa, the challenges are a little more complicated because of the power situation. It is difficult and so that was even more interesting for me because the challenges there are not the same necessarily as the challenges one would experience here or in Asia or even in Europe. And having worked on multiple continents, the approaches have some cultural differences.”
    Beginning her career in South Africa, Dee was in a constant state of inconsistent power and experienced power challenges such as outages lasting anywhere from 4 to 16 hours. This prevalent issue sparked inspiration that led to the creation of the organization, DS&A, an organization that provided strategic advisory to many companies around the world and in particular, data center education to the African continent. An entire industry was spawned through this training. It also was her inspiration for joining Powering Potential, a non-profit that provides education through technology, using solar power to run computers, in developing countries.

    “Powering Potential is an organization that provides laptops, computers, solar power, and we train teachers on how to teach the kids technology skills so that we create digital advocates for our industry going forward, but we also bring more people into the industry. And education is obviously key to building the future.”
    Through her work with Powering Potential and transforming companies by training them on diversity, inclusion, and more, Dee has helped shape the industry going forward for the next generation to come. Her introduction into the data industry was influenced by global projects that involved data centers as well as her curiosity for the knowledge people in the industry had to offer.

    “I think it's important just to listen to understand because you get so much input and so much information from people. And it was always just interesting to me. You just never run out of stuff to talk about. And it's a constantly changing environment with constant challenges.”
    In this episode, Dee Smith shared an abundance of inspirational, eye-opening, and thought-provoking information. Her influence in the industry has provided awareness and resources that are constantly creating change for the better. To learn more about the work she is doing currently, connect with Dee on LinkedIn and listen to the full episode.

    • 37 min
    It Takes a Village: Data Centers and Sustainability

    It Takes a Village: Data Centers and Sustainability

    In this engaging episode of Nomad Futurist, Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence are joined by Jaymie Scotto Cutaia, a leading figure in marketing for the telecom and data center industries worldwide. As CEO and founder of Jaymie Scotto & Associates (JSA), Scotto heads an award-winning firm specializing in public relations, marketing, and event planning, with a focus on the industry. At JSA, she is responsible for overseeing every aspect of the company’s operations, from finance and marketing to public relations, event management, advisory board coordination, and product execution. With extensive experience in both domestic and international markets, Scotto brings a unique journalistic perspective to strategic content creation for telecom, data center, and technology companies, whether public or private.
    Joining from Las Vegas, Nevada, Scotto shared more details about JSA, which will be celebrating 20 years of business in January 2025. The JSA staff is dedicated to supporting the digital infrastructure space as well as their clients who are doing big things within the space such as building out networks and connecting them to data centers.
    “We're all sort of guided by a core mission and core values to really build this network for global communications, empowering economies, governments, and communities to be better and perform better, but in a sustainable manner. We are committed to our industry, our JSA family, our clients, but also to the planet.”Scotto’s journey in the data infrastructure space began when she was interviewed by Telx, an interconnection company, early in her career and eventually became the head of marketing and PR for the company. With the option to join a wide variety of industries before striking out on her own and starting JSA, Scotto decided to enter the data infrastructure industry due to the inspiration she felt with the Telx story and people that work there.
    “I believe that our industry is about relationships. It's about growing together. I think you have to have a passion for it. You have to understand what it means, locally and globally… I'm glad that we can do this physically through connections of networks and data centers and businesses, but I'm also glad that we can do it spiritually and emotionally in our homes.”
    Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic, after giving birth to her daughter, Scotto realized that she wanted to do her part to give her daughter a sustainable earth. With her daughter in mind, Scotto created a sustainability project, Greener Data, that has led to a bestseller book, website, news platform, and more. Due to a growing need and the support from fellow digital infrastructures, Greener Data has grown into a reliable, informative resource on data centers for industry members from various perspectives.
    “At the time, there was a really crazy prediction that I read that currently, the draw of data centers and data networks was 3 to 4 percent global energy consumption and that was a lot, a lot of emissions, and I felt very responsible. This was our industry. AI wasn't a thing when this prediction was made, and so I'm looking down at this baby and these numbers are going through my brain and I'm like, ‘I don't know how to solve it, but one thing I do know is [that] I know I have a network of very smart people, these technologists, who can really solve for this together if we can all work together.’”
    It is not uncommon for people to be hesitant about the idea of data centers being built which is why Scotto believes it is important for those in the data infrastructure community to support one another. With everyone...

    • 36 min
    Navigating the Energy Landscape and Future of Data Center Power

    Navigating the Energy Landscape and Future of Data Center Power

    In the latest episode of Nomad Futurist, hosts Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence welcome Jeff Barber, the Vice President of Global Data Centers for Bloom Energy. In his role, he is dedicated to empowering data center developers, tenants, and operators to take control of all their data center power requirements with greener, more reliable, more resilient, and more predictable onsite power via fuel cells from Bloom Energy.
    Barber joined from Roseville, California, home to the ​100-megawatt Bloom Tower. Bloom has been around for a little over a decade and went public in 2018. Bloom has always dabbled in data centers, but a year ago, they decided to shift their focus to prioritize this industry solely. To this end, they hired Barber to build out a team of data center experts. Barber reflects:
    “It was a very interesting role because I was feeling the power crunch myself. We were not able to secure power in many, many places across the nation. [That] was about 18 months ago now, and it's only gotten worse.”Through the episode, Barber provides insights from his background across all data center industry verticals, including operations to sales to strategy and go-to-market and marketing, and everything in between. Barber says that his IT experience has by far been the most valuable for his current position:
    “If you understand what the workload is, [you understand what is needed]. Is your tenant a social media company, or are they relational databases using an Oracle back end, maybe with an SAP? You can understand where they need to go. Where should they build? Where should they lease? You can also understand where data centers are going [with AI workloads.] Will they be much more modular? Will they just go to where the power is cheap and available? It's going to make up a significant portion of the market.”
    When looking to the future, Barber thinks on-site power generation will become paramount. With companies like AWS investing in nuclear power, he believes there will be a trend toward this driven by developers not wishing to be tied to utility providers, where companies are seeing pushback to committed power. He expands:
    “I think we've reached the tipping point, or I know we have, where the developers are no longer relying on the utility. They're planning on them to not show up. And so that's good for on-site generation. It's the paradigm shift.”
    He says this does come with its own complications, mainly being that utilities are a Government-regulated industry in most cases. This can be a problem when trying to develop on-site power in certain areas like California and Virginia in particular. He also said there is the potential for the federal government to establish regulations down the line. But, he says there is hope:

    “It's something that Bloom has been navigating for over a decade, and there's a positive side. If you look at the Inflation Reduction Act and ITC tax credits in the case of Bloom, that's a 40 percent increase rebate to the developer because we're manufactured in the U.S. So, it's 30 percent plus 10 percent domestic content in some areas in the U.S. It's up to 50%. These [energy zones] are areas that have been impacted by the reduction in coal or other generation sources. So that's where the federal government is absolutely helping us tremendously.”
    Barber dives into the future of energy requirements for data center developers and operators, using his expansive background to explain the past of the industry and look forward. To learn more about Bloom Energy and stay up to date with their initiatives, follow Bloom on a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/BloomEnergy" rel="noopener...

    • 39 min
    Embrace the Slime: An Immersion Cooling Journey

    Embrace the Slime: An Immersion Cooling Journey

    In this episode of the Nomad Futurist, hosts Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence welcome Daniel Pope, Chief Technology Officer of Submer, an immersion cooling technology company. Pope embarked on his journey in the web hosting business at just 16, transforming a single-bedroom server into a multi-million dollar data center. Boasting over 20 years of experience in data center design and operations, his expertise and vision are focused on enabling the transition toward sustainable and future-proofed digital infrastructure.
    As Pope starts to share his journey, he explains that Submer, the company he helped found, is revolutionizing the way the industry approaches cooling systems for high-density chips. Headquartered in Barcelona, it stands at the forefront of the industry and has attained global reach.
    “Our products and our technology are mostly focused on large-scale crypto mining operations and the data center industry, including anything from enterprise customers to hyperscale companies. So Google, Amazon, AWS, etc.”Pope goes on to describe his innate curiosity and penchant for experimenting that began in childhood. He describes himself as a “tinkerer,” and recounts a story of taking apart an expensive PC computer his parents had bought for him. Years later, at 16, he embarked on his first data center venture, which started with a humble server in his bedroom.
    “In a decade, we went from one server in my bedroom to 18,000 servers in a big data center.”
    From there, he transitioned into roles as a solution architect and later overseeing professional services teams. Through all this, Pope remained deeply connected to the data center industry. Finally, in 2015, he ventured into immersion cooling.

    “People [started] uncovering the amount of water that was being used in the data center industry, which has been this deep, dark little secret of the industry for a long time.”
    As he concluded the podcast, Pope left listeners with a resounding message: “Embrace the slime.”
    Daniel Pope’s episode unfolds as a journey through opportunities made from obstacles. Embracing a connection to the data center industry, he now stands as the Chief Technology Officer of Submer, where immersion cooling represents not just a technological breakthrough but a paradigm shift—an opportunity to embrace innovation and sustainability in equal measure. To continue this journey, connect with Pope on Linkedin and follow Submer on Linkedin for updated news and insights.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Erast1977 ,

Phil x Nabeel = 2x2 = 5

Phil and Nabeel are some of the most charismatic folks in the data center and infrastructure industry. This podcast is a must for anyone DC adjacent or anyone that want to join the industry.

johnb_sh ,

By far one of the best technology podcasts

Without a double this is the most informative podcast when it comes to technology, Phil and Nabeel have a larger than life personality and always deliver on making an otherwise uninteresting yet critical business more fun. This podcast is highly recommended, and is hours and hours of endless entertainment mixed with great personality and information

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.

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