In this captivating episode of Nomad Futurist, Phillip Koblence and Nabeel Mahmood are joined by Sean James, Senior Director of Datacenter Research at Microsoft. Sean, a visionary leader and innovator in the field of datacenter technology, has been instrumental in advancing groundbreaking projects. These include using hydrogen fuel cells to provide emission-free backup power at datacenters, redesigning datacenters for an advanced energy future with carbon-storing cement, and even testing underwater datacenters. With numerous patents and publications on datacenter energy efficiency and sustainability, Sean’s passion for finding reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly ways to run datacenters stems from over two decades in the industry and his background in the Navy Submarine Service.

During his time in the Navy Submarine fleet, Sean embraced a motto that has become ingrained in his philosophy:

“Be useful. This theme is tattooed on my heart now, always be useful.”

Reflecting on his training at a cable company, Sean drew parallels between datacenters and submarines:

“Whatever system is in place, there’s a backup. That is a key mission-critical tenet in submarines and data centers it turns out. I love the mission: you have to keep things up at all times. In the submarines, it’s about national security, but in a data center it’s about things that are potentially even more critical, there are life safety systems that are leaning on data centers.”

When prompted to discuss his core drivers of focus, Sean shifts the conversation to his people and the importance of learning from failure:

“My focus is to have a team that is healthy from a production standpoint… The tech I work on is fascinating but my main focus is to build a very healthy team. Part of that, talking about a growth mindset, is learning how to deal with failure.”

Sean James has an inspiring narrative beyond just a career overview; his episode is a lesson in fearless courage and curiosity. This episode is a must-listen for those on their own personal growth and career journey in the realm of telecommunications. Connect with Sean James on LinkedIn to stay updated about his ongoing journey.

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