In this dynamic Nomad Futurist podcast, Dean Nelson, alum of Sun Microsystems, eBay and Uber, and Founder and Chairman of Infrastructure Masons, shares his immense enthusiasm for the digital infrastructure industry that serves as the fundamental underpinning of our modern world.
After a brief stint doing temp work out of high school, Nelson got an associate’s degree in electronics from DeVry.
He was recruited to work for Sun Microsystems where he learned technology, business, strategy and people management. Nelson references his exposure to all the varied areas of technology as “attending the University of Sun,” a fundamental on-the-job training that launched his career.
He stresses the need for this kind of exposure.
“I think that one thing we lack in our industry right now, actually across the world, is apprenticeships. If we offered apprenticeships today to people to truly learn a trade like this, it would accelerate everything.”
Nelson is deeply committed to communicating the value and opportunities offered by the data center industry to those who may not understand how core IT is to our everyday world.
“There is every discipline inside of digital infrastructure; planning, accounting, supply chain orchestration, fault management…even HR planning, everything can be tied together.”
Nelson discusses the importance of communicating the real-world applicability of the digital infrastructure space in a way that is simple and relevant to people who may not be aware of it.
“The problem is we don’t have our education systems lined up to be able to say that this industry, digital infrastructure specifically, is an incredibly rewarding career.”
Nelson shares his excitement about some of the newest advances in the tech space. He asserts the inevitability of self-driving and even flying cars.
He does express concern about the possible abuses that may arise from audio and video deep fakes made possible by virtual reality technology.
But Nelson is ultimately optimistic about the Digital Infrastructure industry leading the way in terms of environmental and sustainability issues because of the involvement of some of the biggest players in the space. He is hopeful that self-regulation can be the answer as it was for PUE standards.
His message to the young:
“This industry has an incredibly important purpose. We connect the world…We enable opportunity everywhere. Wouldn’t you like to be in the fastest growing industry in the world?”
Dean Nelson is a seasoned technology executive with 32 years of experience deploying $10B of digital infrastructure projects across 3 continents. Nelson is currently the CEO of Cato Digital, Inc, a software platform that unlocks stranded power in datacenters, the Founder and Chairman of Infrastructure Masons, a professional association of industry executives and technology professionals uniting the builders of the digital age, and the Founder and CEO of Dean Nelson Inc, a strategic advisory and consulting company serving startups, fortune 500 companies and investment firms.
Previously, Nelson led Uber’s Metal as a Service function supporting Uber’s ridesharing business delivering over 100 million trips a week globally, as well as UberEats, UberFreight, UberHealth, UberForBusiness, and Autonomous vehicle and UberAir development. Prior to Uber, Nelson worked at eBay Inc for 7 years as the VP of Global Foundation Services, which served over 300 million users, enabling over $250B of commerce volume annually. Prior to eBay, he worked at Sun Microsystems for 17 years in various technical, management and executive leadership roles. Nelson’s final Sun project was the consolidation of their multi-billion-dollar global technical infrastructure portfolio of over 1,000 facilities. Dean holds four US patents.