Next up in our series of BoxWorks speaker spotlights: Pat White, CEO and co-founder of Synata, a new provider of enterprise search software. You can follow Pat at @PatWhite and @BoxWorks on Twitter for the latest #BoxWorks updates.
1) What’s one technology trend that you see driving business transformation?
Best-of-breed is coming back in a big way. If the 90s and 2000s were defined by IT consolidation, this decade is about best-of-breed applications dominating the landscape. For companies like Salesforce and other large, cross-functional applications, this has a lot of implications. Just look at the growth in the number of apps in their ecosystems. Microsoft recently announced that they will integrate Salesforce (a competitive product to their own CRM solution) with Office365… Even two years ago this would have been unthinkable! It all points to a seismic shift in the industry.
2) Name three apps on your home screen.
Chrome (with Synata as the home page), Spotify, and IntelliJ – that covers about 95% of the work I do and makes it easy to switch machines.
3) What BoxWorks speaker or session (aside from your own) are you most excited about?
I love getting to know the other Box partners and the community of Box users, but Jim Collins is a hero of mine. I love his approach to breaking down and analyzing complicated issues. That’s going to be a great keynote.
4) What’s your favorite device for getting work done?
Tough question. I don’t think anyone today could live without an iPhone/ Android. I also have a doublewide monitor that’s awesome to program on, and a new MacBook Pro 15”. I suppose my favorite device is either the Arc mouse from Microsoft (best mouse I’ve ever had), or my Aria wireless scale (great way to add “metrics” to your life).
5) What advice would you give to someone starting his/her career in your industry?
Learn to program. At Synata, everyone is expected to have some familiarity with programming, even if it’s just HTML / CSS or advanced Excel. If you’re entering the software industry, even in a non-technical role like marketing or sales, you need to understand the basics of software development. I believe we should even replace foreign language requirements in High Schools with programming as part of the core curriculum.
6) What blogs do you check daily?
Ever since they retired iGoogle and Reader, I’ve lost track of all my favorite blogs! Slashdot is still my go-to for tech news. Otherwise, I try to keep up with world events by listening to NPR or occasionally diving into The Economist. And of course, I’m all about the Daily Show and Colbert Report for news analysis!
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