Interview with Michael Petri, CTO – Part 2

Michael Petri, CTO
Michael Petri, CTO

Continuing on last week’s topic, the second half of the interview with Southern NetworX’s CTO, Michael Petri, is found below.

4)      What is your background, before SNX?  How long have you been involved with Information Technology?

“Officially, I have been involved with IT for about 10 years.  I say ‘officially’ because that’s about when my professional career in the IT industry started.  I started messing around with computers sometime around the mid-nineties and then attended North GA College, pursuing a degree in Computer Science.  In my Junior year I landed a Tier-1 tech support position working on run-of-the-mill PC and networking issues.  I then moved into a similar position, but mostly geared toward VoIP services as the company moved to offer those services as the main product/service.  That department grew into a full Network Operations Center (NOC) which I took charge of and was still running when we acquired the company that Jeremy was working for and he became part of my NOC staff.  Over time, my IT background has developed more in the direction of network engineering and VoIP phone services, mostly centered around a Broadsoft soft-switch.  During my tenure as a NOC manager, I also worked on developing more non-technical skills, such as business development, project planning, process development; skills generally more analytical in nature that would help me look at departments first, and then businesses as a whole, and try to figure out ways to make them better and more efficient.”

 5)      Where do you see the company going in the next 5 years?

“This is an interesting question, because I’m sure that if you asked it to Jeremy, you’d get something along the lines of ‘We’re all going to be sitting on the beach, sipping margaritas, with the company raking in $10,000,000 in profit per year’.  And that, of course, is what I really like about him.  I enjoy the juxtaposition of his grand ideas and visions and my feeble attempts at bringing them down to a tangible reality and it’s what makes our conversations, and our company, so great.  It allows us to come up with all kinds of visions for the future and the direction of the company and then convert them to actual business plans and models that are reachable.  Now, where do I see the company going in the next five years?  Without throwing any numerical values out there, what I see is a stable, profitable company, that has grown organically, by offering our services with ‘quality over quantity’ in mind.  I see us being a company that has built a brand, recognized for superior service above all.  And, I see us, hopefully, diversifying that brand into other technology-oriented areas where we can apply the same expertise and quality service that we have become known for.  Although, I suppose, sitting on a beach, sipping margaritas, while raking in millions is also nice.  I’ll leave that to Jeremy, though.”

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Interview with Michael Petri, CTO – Part 1

Michael Petri, CTO
Michael Petri, CTO

As previously mentioned, Southern NetworX prides itself on its employees. Without a happy employee, you can’t have a happy customer and an efficient, profitable organization.

Michael Petri, a friend of Jeremy’s and the Chief Technology Officer of the company, offers some insight as to how he is involved with SNX and what his role was in the start-up of what is now a successful small business.

 


1)      How did you and Jeremy Anderson, CEO, meet?

“Jeremy and I met about six or seven years ago when the company that I was working for at the time, Reignmaker, acquired the company that he was working for at the time, Cybersouth.  Reignmaker was predominantly a VoIP services company and I was the NOC manager in charge of our tech support staff.  After the acquisition, Jeremy actually ended up being part of that staff, while continuing to support Cybersouth’s customer base as before.  Unfortunately, a couple of years after that, Reignmaker ended up going out of business and we both ended up in different places.”

2)      How did you help get SNX off the ground?

Jeremy has always struck me as a very independently-minded person and it was clear to me even back when I was managing him that he was very keen on doing his own thing, as it were.  So, about two and a half years ago, when Jeremy approached me with the idea of starting his own business, offering outsourced IT services to small-to-medium sized businesses, I listened to his plan and gave him my advice.  At the time, it was really just him running his proposal and business plan by me and looking for feedback and thoughts on it.  However, we soon realized that while his projections were “optimistic” shall we say, the business plan was otherwise sound.  After presenting some more “achievable” numbers, I half-jokingly told him that he should let me run these kinds of things for him, and shockingly, he agreed.  Immediately after that, I started more seriously getting into the actual business planning and forecasting for him and to actually develop a sound strategy that would allow the company to grow at it’s own pace without over-reaching.  This was very important to me, the fact that we would not borrow any money and that I would never allow the company to go in “the red”.  This was agreed upon by Jeremy and I back then, and it still holds true today.  If we can’t grow the company on its own, self-funded, we won’t do it.”

3)      Do you help Jeremy find clients? Was it difficult to start the company?

“As luck would have it, the planning stages of the beginnings of the company had to be fast-tracked quite a bit, because we had an enormous opportunity ahead of us in the form of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce account, which we did win and still have.  As it turns out, helping to find clients wasn’t really the issue at all, it was making sure that we were ready for the GCC account that we were now facing.  So, at least in our case, starting the company didn’t turn out to be too difficult.  Unfortunately, I make a lousy sales person so my input on finding new clients isn’t all that great.  I mostly work on the strategic direction of the company and molding Jeremy’s “dreams” into a sustainable reality.”

…Read more next week as we continue the look into Micheal’s involvement with Southern NetworX!

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Remember the clunky 1980’s cell phone?

Technology has changed so much in the past 65 years, and the images below speak to that fact. From 8 pound clunky cell phones that offered 30 minutes of phone time and made your face sweat, to computers as big as a house. The past 65 years in the Information Age have seen extreme technological advancement. Computers that once took days to calculate the correct answer to a simple math equation now fit in the palm of your hand and perform without delay, and cars will soon fly.

Southern NetworX is proud to be a part of the advancement and evolution of information technology. Enjoy these interesting images of technology from the past, and where we hope it goes in the future.

What do you think is the most interesting image in the gallery above, and why?

 

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Information Technology: Bringing the world closer one “bit” at a time…

(Thank you to Rodel Henry for participating in our “Title the next SNX Blog Contest” and coming up with the title for today’s blog!)

 

Information Technology, or “I/T” as it is more commonly referred to, is a phrase used quite frequently today, but a term that only truly began to emerge as an every-day concept within the past 20 years or so. “Information Technology” may just make you think of the computer or computer network you’re reading this on, but in fact, it refers to everything from software to hardware to network administration and beyond. Wikipedia defines “Information Technology” as:

 “…the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data…also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones…In a business context, the Information Technology Association of America has defined information technology as “the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems”.

How much has I/T actually changed in the past 65 years? Here’s a breakdown, by decade.

 

The 1950’s:

“Considered as one of the most conservative decades in recent memory the 1950s were a time when technology underwent a dramatic evolution.” (-techradar.com)

Enter the world’s first stored-program computer (read our blog about “BABY” here), the first commercial modem – the AT&T Dataphone, and the microchip. While the first microchip bears little resemblance to its modern counterpart, without it, you could say goodbye to your iPhone.

The 1960’s:

  • The first commercially available microchips were released by Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation in 1961 and were around the size of your pinkie.
  • A remote online search system is publically demonstrated for the first time by SRI.
  • The public sees a mouse for the first time.
  • April 22-October 17, 1964: The New York World’s Fair offers public viewing of online bibliographic retrieval at Library/USA. This is the first time the general public sees bibliographic information and interacts remotely with librarians through a computer using standard telephone lines.
  • 1969: Internet officially comes into existence.

The 1970’s:

  • The birth of modern computing was in the 1970s. The world’s first general microprocessor — the Intel 4004, came out on Nov. 1971.
  • Rudimentary personal computers began to be produced along with pocket calculators.
  • The availability of affordable personal computers led to the first popular wave of internetworking with the first bulletin board systems.
  • Beggining of the video game era – Atari is established
  • Start of Fiber Optics.
  • The integration of the computer and robot, particularly in Japan, saw unprecedented improvements in mass-produced automotive quality…such cars as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla became some of the most popular and iconic vehicles of the 1970s.

The 1980’s:

  • On January 3, 1980: Hewlett Packard introduces the HP-85, a “microcomputer” with 16kB of RAM and a 5-inch CRT display.
  • Microsoft licenses Unix and starts to develop a PC version, XENIX.
  • Xerox introduces the graphical Star workstation, which greatly influences the development of Apples future computer models, Lisa and Macintosh, as well as Microsoft’s Windows.
  • Disney releases the movie “Tron” on July 9, 1982, the first movie to use computer generated special effects.
  • A Philips factory in Germany creates the world’s first compact disc August 17, 1982.
  • The 3.5-inch floppy diskette is introduced and later becomes an industry standard.
  • The first e-mail from China is sent to its connection in Germany September 20, 1987.
  • 1989: Invention of the World Wide Web by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee and Belgian Robert Cailliau

1990’s: The Information Age begins…

In 1991, the World Wide Web is implemented, and the Internet truly becomes a global network.

The 90’s saw the spread of the Internet which caused a sudden leap in access to and ability to share information in businesses, at home and around the globe. Technology was developing so quickly that a computer costing $3,000.00 in 1997 would cost $2,000.00 two years later and only $1000.00 the following year.

Innovations of the ‘90s:

 

The “Information Age”, which started in the 1990’s, and which we are currently living in today, is a period marked by the shift from traditional industry (brought about by the industrial revolution) to an economy based on the information computerization. The evolution of technology in the past 65 years is nothing short of astounding, and if it continues at this rate, the world our children’s children live in will probably be a far cry from this one.

 

How do you think the world of I/T will change in the next 65 years?

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Can computers write poetry? | Reblogged from “Kevin’s Blog”

Interesting Read…Enjoy!

Can computers write poetry? | Kevin’s Blog.

“Working and being fascinated by computers and the Internet, I regularly come across interesting applications where someone has taken technology and done something quite unexpected with it.

But every now and again I happen upon something even more unexpected – a side effect of technology in action that is both quite unanticipated and extraordinary.  The website Google Poetics is one such site.

If you use Google, I’m sure you’ve seen how it anticipates what you wish to search for.  It is at times an interesting barometer for what the world is thinking about a topic.  I remember a very topical time when typing ‘how to quit’ had ‘how to quit facebook’ right at the top.  Probably after some Facebook update that was annoying people at the time.  Today it has how to quit … smoking; smoking weed; your job; drinking.  I don’t think this is personalised to me!

Now Google works very hard to anticipate everyone’s needs all as part of their mission to ‘return one search result – the one you want’.

But I doubt that even the engineers at Google anticipated that sometimes it will return a set of results that strikes a chord with people and actually means something quite profound.  That is what Google Poetics is collecting – examples of poetry made from the accidental (or at least, algorithmic) collisions from millions of people searching using Google.

Here are some of my favourites so far.

Would you like me to

  • Would you like me to be the cat
  • Would you like me to seduce you
  • Would you like me to
  • Would you like me to rephrase the question

We are not p

  • We are not permanent we’re temporary
  • We are not pilgrims
  • We are not pirates we are fishermen
  • We are not promised tomorrow

As I turn

  • As I turn the pages
  • As I turn away
  • As I turn up the collar on my favourite winter coat
  • As I turn my back on you

Sometimes I p

  • Sometimes I pretend to be normal
  • Sometimes I pretend
  • Sometimes I pretend I’m a carrot
  • Sometimes I put my hands in the air

The examples above bought to you courtesy of @GooglePoetics.  I could lose quite some time reading some of these.  And all as a consequence of the Google algorithms (far to) honestly regurgitating the behaviours of millions with some quite profound results.

And another interesting property of these poems, is that they are changing and not always the same for all readers. Try it yourself – type the titles into Google and see what you get back for you.  It will depend on your location, your search history, what everyone else has searched for recently and hundreds of other ‘small signals’ that combine within the walls of Google HQ to give you what it thinks you want.  Imagine attempting to design a system from scratch that could do this.  Talk about an emergent property!

Try it – its not quite as easy as I looks, and it can sometimes be dominated by song lyrics.  But every now and again you might find a gem.  If you do, make sure Google Poetics get to know about it.

Here is one of mine.

She is missing

  • She is missing
  • She is missing you
  • She’s a freak never missin a beat
  • She is missing me

Can computers write poetry?  I think this is proof that they can, albeit as an unintended consequence of something quite different.

Kevin.”

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