We ‘Deep Dive’ with Daniel Pope, CEO, Submer Technologies, who tells us about life inside and outside the office.
Submer Technologies was born out of hands-on data centre design, build and day-to-day operations. The company helps HPC, data centres and hyperscalers to be responsible world citizens, by delivering unrivalled PUE and densities.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?
Growing a single web server in my bedroom back in 2001 to a multi-million-dollar data centre business with a successful exit in 2009 to the Telefonica Group.
What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?
Like most of us I just loved to take things apart. Computers had lots of parts so taking them apart, putting them together and trying to get them to work again was a fun challenge for a 12-year old. At a very young age, I was fascinated by the Internet and its possibilities. It was obvious that being able to share knowledge and data in real time with large groups of people was going to change the way we communicated forever.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I’d define my management style as a combination of visionary and coaching.
Defining a clear vision, giving freedom to the team to get to work on their own terms and supporting them as a coach when they might deviate from the main goal.
What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?
How liquid in the data centre will deliver highly efficient and dense compute together with energy re-use.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
My wife and kids really help me unwind. Whenever possible, we get away with the family and friends to our countryside residence in Empordà, just north of Barcelona, a place where time just seems to go by slower.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Because of hyperscaler demand, data centre build seems to be one of the major investment areas right now and Submer has some serious plans to disrupt the way we design and build DCs today.
What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?
So far, we’ve seen very similar patterns across US and EU regarding the technology we’re bringing to market. The key to success is education. On one hand, because you have a very conservative industry that doesn’t embrace disruption and on the other, because similar technologies have set a very low bar in the past.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
The CEO role is not famous for being a very changing one. In my specific case, I’ve seen clear expectations from customers that they want to be in front of a profoundly technical person who can dig deep into the architecture and facility design. Luckily, my background is very technical, but I’m sure this could prove challenging to others.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a senior position in the industry?
Embrace change and innovation. Support your teams to think out of the box and be disruptive. There are tons of incredible technologies which are mainstream in other industries that don’t even get evaluated, only because we’re not willing to operate outside of our comfort zone.