In this episode of the Nomad Futurist, hosts Nabeel Mahmood and Phillip Koblence welcome Kevin Imboden, the Global Director of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence at EdgeConneX. With a strong research background in commercial real estate, Imboden’s work at EdgeConneX involves advising hyperscalers and investors in the data center industry and discovering trends in current and future markets across the world.

During the episode, Imboden talks about the future markets of the data center industry, how to get communities on board with data center construction and expansion, and his personal feelings about tech being a positive force or a negative force on the world:

“How do we create a level of understanding for an average person that [data centers] are not bad for society, for the community, and for the planet? We need to be more involved in communities, so we’re not this strange thing that shows up one day and builds an ugly building. 

It might sound like the most basic thing in the world — going up and talking to people at community meetings. But we don’t do it as an industry. Are we afraid to talk to people? Are we afraid to educate people? We shouldn’t be.”

When asked if he was pessimistic or optimistic about the future of humanity, Imboden shared:

“I’m trying to be optimistic because I think technology is a force for good. For someone to use it for malign purposes is going to be extremely difficult, because there are so many positive forces through corporate business, government, and any number of community organizations who use this technology for positive ends. I think, ultimately, the positive outweighs the negative.” 

Imboden drew on his research background to illustrate how he keeps up with the constantly evolving world of tech:

“When I used to hire researchers, one thing that made someone good was not technical skills. It’s not even knowledge. It’s honestly just being curious. More than anything, you have to want to know things. You have to want to get answers, be curious, and genuinely believe that.”

During the episode, as Imoboden discusses his circuitous route to working in the data center industry and the need to educate young people through programs like Nomad Futurist about the importance of the industry, his desire to share the “humanization” of data centers is impossible to ignore.

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