WE ‘ DEEP DIVE ’ WITH JAMES HUGHES , EMEA ENTERPRISE CTO AND VP OF SYSTEMS ENGINEERING , RUBRIK , WHO TELLS US ABOUT LIFE
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICE .
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry ?
For me , I think it ’ s the fact that seven years ago Rubrik was a tiny start-up , going after an industry that had seen very little innovation , to now being installed in many thousands of data centres all over the world . Things like that don ’ t happen by accident , it takes a village .
What first made you think of a career in technology / data centres ?
I ’ ve always been fascinated by how things work . How amazingly shaped buildings stay upright , how car designs use shape to manipulate air , how a transceiver can receive billions of messages a second and process it . The Internet was just becoming mainstream at the end of the ’ 90s and I could see that was the future . I was fascinated by how computers could communicate over long distances and that ’ s what led me to networking . From there on I specialised in networking and ended up designing and building some huge financial networks all over the world .
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position ?
The job of a manager or any leader is to get people doing things they couldn ’ t do themselves . I try and tailor my style to the individual , get to know what makes them tick and what will get the best out of them . Fundamentally , however , it all circles around a theme of empowerment and trust . Technology is a people business – be it bringing a new product to market , trying to disrupt an established industry or running a large
THE PANDEMIC BROUGHT OUT THE BEST OF HUMANITY , BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY THE WORST .
team in a bank – it all boils down to people . You can have exceptional technology , but people sell , they implement , they design , they improve , they make change happen – it ’ s why they ’ re the most important asset to any company .
What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space ?
I think two things . The first is environmental sustainability , the second is the cloud . As my children are getting older , it ’ s clear that their knowledge of the subject is a lot higher than mine was when I was at school . We must be aware of the carbon footprint our industry creates – that ’ s right from the product to the supply chain .
The Internet has changed humanity and there is no going back , so we must build and expand causing less damage . Cloud computing is here to stay , with many workloads leaving traditional data centres and heading to public – migrating , however , is not plain-sailing .
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office ?
Throughout my career , I ’ ve learned there is a big difference between passion and stress . If you ’ re doing 80 hours a week on something you don ’ t care about , that ’ s stress . If you ’ re doing that many hours on something you love , that ’ s a passion . I ’ m very lucky to be in the latter camp currently and am loving building a disruptive company .
My family are my absolute go-to if things get a bit much and they ’ re usually brilliant at giving me their slant on the world . Outside of that , however , I play the piano almost daily , I cycle a lot and watch sport .
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