S2 #10 Why the CTO must emerge as the Connective Tissue Officer

S2 #10 Why the CTO must emerge as the Connective Tissue Officer

S2 #10 Why the CTO must emerge as the Connective Tissue Officer

Pete Tseronis

Pete Tseronis

Pete Tseronis worked inside the U.S. Federal Government for 25 years, kicking off my career at the Pentagon and finishing as a Senior Executive Service member. Pete served four Presidential Administrations, three Cabinet Agencies, the Executive Office of the President, and was appointed Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Education. A trusted thought leader with corporate savvy and substantive technical proficiency, Pete maintains several Strategic Advisory Board roles in which Companies leverage his aptitude to facilitate digital transformation, mitigate supply-chain risk, and ensure global growth, particularly across the Smart and Secure Cities/Communities domain.

Pete’s appointment as the Utility Supercluster Chairperson affirms a dedication to the establishment and demonstration of replicable, scalable, and sustainable models for incubation and deployment of interoperable, secure, standards-based solutions intended to modernize digital, physical and social infrastructure and, thus, make delivery and use of public, private and hybrid services more efficient, cost-effective and socially beneficial. As such, Pete was recognized as one of the “10 Most Influential CEOs To Watch In 2021.”

Pete founded Dots and Bridges LLC to satisfy his appetite for connecting dots, building bridges, and nurturing relationships.

Pete Tseronis has been and done many things in his career, but the two constants have been his passion for technology and enabling organizations to make the right choices when it comes to how technology is used to solve business problems. In this episode of The Power of Digital Policy, Pete shares his journey. He discusses the traits, skills, and passion that every CTO should have to succeed – whether as an enabler for a smart city, protecting critical infrastructure security, or solving the digital workplace puzzle. Don’t miss this episode that sets the bar high on executive evolution and transformation, adapting to new realities, including enabling the business in the form of digital policy.

government, DoD, smart city, smart cities, entrepreneur, business executive, CTO, chief technology officer, quantum computing, hacking, security
Episode number:
Date Published:
June 10, 2021

INTRO: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Power of Digital Policy, a show that helps digital marketers, online communications directors, and others throughout the organization balance out risks and opportunities created by using digital channels. Here's your host, Kristina Podnar.

KRISTINA PODNAR, HOST:: [00:00:19] Welcome to today's episode of the Power of Digital Policy. With me is Pete Tseronis, an accomplished entrepreneur, business executive, and technology strategist with 30 plus years of leading public, private and nonprofit entities. Pete is a trusted thought leader with corporate savvy and substantive technical proficiency. And he also maintained several strategic advisory board roles in which companies leverage his aptitude to facilitate digital transformation, mitigate supply chain risk and ensure global growth, as well as just really as the go-to guy for smart and secure cities and communities domain. So, Pete, I am super excited. Thanks for coming to hang out today.

PETE TSERONIS, GUEST: [00:00:57] Kristina, I'm honored, humbled, excited. And when I hear those words, I can only imagine the audience going, what does that guy do? It seems like it's a hodgepodge, but we'll get to that, and hopefully, we'll make sense of it for your audience. So thank you for having me.

KRISTINA: [00:01:12] I love the fact that you said hodgepodge because I think from hodgepodge comes this keen ability to help people figure out where the North star is. And that's a challenge. I believe that every business has today. So, I was looking back at a lot of things that you've done over your career. Not that it's been that long, right? We're not that old. But it is a nice career. And one of the things that you've done is you were the first chief technology officer at the . US Department of Energy, where you established a sustainable federal technology deployment program, which is quite impressive. You've also led the federal cloud-first task force, the deployment and enhancement of energy, data.gov, and other activities. So one of the key questions I have for you, really, you've done so many firsts. You've done so much digital. What's the secret sauce to successful digital transformation.

PETE: [00:01:57] Wow, you brought up some stuff from my resume. Yes. The paper resume that I had just to be handy, but thank you. Let me see if I can weave this tapestry a bit. Being the first or whatever to me is like an opportunity to blaze the trail, to pioneer. And again, for your audience, I went to Villanova masters at Johns Hopkins fell into the government in 91. I was at the DoD before the Internet was born. The internetwork when DARPA was developing. And I remember being 22 at the time; by the way, I'm 54. So, so I'm not saying I'm old, but definitely on the back nine of life. And I hope I'm around for a bit. I was there at an inflection point. I think we all were; nobody knew what the Internet was going to be and with it. It's become what it is. I remember days of online banking; who's going to do that? News. Ah, I'd rather read a book. I'm not going to buy a book online. Okay. Well, 30 plus years later, I've had this journey 25 years in government, three agencies, four administrations, but the theme that's been consistent, why I went back to school to study the Internet, to study telecommunications. This new world is a digital transformation that is ongoing. What an opportunity to be a Pioneer. First, something I can tell you at Energy there wasn't a CTO. My boss came to me and said, Hey, we're interested in creating the position. And what would that look like? Oh my gosh, I got to go to a whiteboard and say, here's what I think a CTO should be in the energy department. Kristina, that is so amazing. National nuclear security. Energy, renewables, power administrations, you know, so many more mission entities within that agency allowed me to think, what would it look like if I was a technology guy, literally, who had to bridge communications, build relationships, and I called myself a connective tissue officer. And go to national labs and meet with entrepreneurs and academics who were inventing the things that were going to enable, catalyze our Internet to do more than what it's doing today, the Internet of things. So, you know, first, second, third, I think it's if it was easy, everybody would do it. And I was in government, not for the salary. I ended up an executive as a senior executive, but I miss it like. Like there's, you can't put a price tag on how much I miss it. I left government though in 2015 to start dots and bridges to really continue that passion for connectivity and stealing from the tipping point, be a connector. I think this hodgepodge is just a result of now I'm in this formation of how do you, be a former fed, an entrepreneur, business owner and still seek to bridge conversations that matter. Like you're doing, to bring people together to convene and hopefully create light bulb moments for companies, if it's to help their marketing, their surgical marketing, branding, a company in a very clouded community of technology providers. And the reason the smart cities ties into it is if tech's not ever going to be the problem. And it's not. There's just a lot of it. How do we distill it down and showcase, illustrate, articulate, convey how it supports the 16 critical infrastructure, sectors, energy, transportation, water, manufacturing, health, healthcare to support us. Consumers, residents, citizens. And that's, to me, the transformation that is continuous and along the way, look,

I'm still trying to figure out how to describe Dots and Bridges without saying, Oh, we're just a consulting outfit. Or, Oh, I'm a former this, or you do podcasts. It's, I'm getting there, but again, it's, I'm not the easy button. I'm not the guy or company you hire just to come do things that you have others for. It's different, unique. And I want to stay in that swim lane and hopefully complement the efforts that any business is trying to do to drive revenue or to showcase its brand.

KRISTINA: [00:05:58] You bet a really great point up Pete, how should digital leaders think about technology? You mentioned the fact that you were blazing, but thinking about most digital leaders today, how should they balance the risk and the opportunities that technology is bringing to them? Because it seems like a lot of folks are maybe a little bit afraid, or I don't know if there's sometimes a little bit complacent or if they just don't know where the North star is, like, where do they get started? What should they be thinking about? What should they be doing? Or should they go back to school as you did?

PETE: [00:06:26] Well, again, I'm going to say this probably three or five times a great question. Thank you and Kristina, I think it starts with the challenge and the opportunity to figure that out. North star, moonshots, the news that we know today infrastructure bill. Okay. Forget that. They're debating. Should it be 1 trillion, 2 trillion, 3 trillion? So talking about roads and bridges, they're talking about the air and the water. We've seen what happened in Katrina. We've seen the wildfires in California. We saw what happened with Colonial Pipeline, Deepwater Horizon, Solar Wind, Superstorm Sandy. These are events that impact humanity. And as we discussed prior to this call, how technology impacts humanity and how does that impact shape the culture of a company of a country of our world? It takes constant introspection and the balance of risk, cyber-physical risk infrastructure risk, human risks. Public safety, the DOD mission save lives. That is the ultimate mission. And what could we do with technology to extend that life? Whether it's finding a new drug to kill that damn cancer cell that wants to mutate or with COVID. I think that digital transformation, if companies and I believe our society does this says, okay using AI and machine learning to do things that humans who need sleep. Sometimes drink too much coffee need rest computers and systems can run. And I think that when presented with an opportunity if you're an entrepreneur, if you're an investor, if you're a company, a tech provider for your podcast, or what an opportunity to be humble enough and willing to listen, learn. And not just stay the course. I think the easy button is, this is how we've been doing it. This is how we make money. The government spends 90 billion a year. They're a good customer. I think the government, having been there is, can always do a more effective and efficient job of letting out contracts and following up and holding their customer or their technology contractors accountable and vice versa, I think private sector communities. The other side of government who bring the products and solutions and services can consistently or constantly try to be better at doing their homework, not being reactive, that, Hey, I have an idea, and I'm not going to charge you for the idea because the greater good is to, we want a sustainable relationship with you. So I think that balancing risk and reward right now is huge. And the companies that are saying. I know there are risks to implementing technology, but the reward might be down the road. If we do our due diligence and we make the right decisions and we have the right people, people not just machines, we can create a safer world. We can make our water cleaner air cleaner. We can have a safer car and autonomous vehicles and smart satellites, and agriculture tech farming. Joe and Joanne six-pack, if you will, who do that for a living will, will appreciate the efforts that the government industry is making. And there is a risk. But if we look at the art of the possible and mitigate that risk through doing the due diligence, working with standards working with companies who aren't just in it for sale, I always talk about seekers and solvers, not buyers and sellers. Then we all win and we can enjoy life and our kids and go to baseball games. And not one day say I wish I spent less time at the office. I missed out on so much. Does that help?

KRISTINA: [00:09:57] That does help. That does help. And it's making me reflect on something that I heard this morning. I was listening to the security of the pipeline. So first, I learned that a TSA oversees the Pipeline's security, which I did not know. And then I heard that I guess about three FTEs were assigned to watch over the security of the pipeline. I'm thinking to myself, wow. The pipeline and what happened with Colonial and the fact that we rely so heavily on the oil that's coming through the pipeline, not just for fuel, but also for electricity. And it seems to me that we're not thinking about the basics, and yet we're trying to jump into things like smart cities. How do you equate that? And how do you actually, what do you tell leaders? Because all of us have this problem in our organization. We can't get the basics right. Yeah, we want to do something really sophisticated, whether you're a auto producing company, you want to actually get the autonomous car out on the road, and yet your website still has the 2018 copyright date on it. You can't even walk; how do you want to run? I think true across the board and across industries. So what is it that we haven't gotten right yet? What should leaders be looking for right now?

PETE: [00:11:07] I love the question, and I think it's less about what's right. And what is more, it's more about willing to learn and to evolve. If there's some pet peeve I have, it's even on my own website, I want the content to be fresh. If I date something on a blog in 2020, it's like that is so yesterday. And I think as a consumer, you'd agree that what we buy today and what we use today is not what we need tomorrow. I mean, wifi in your home. If this is a good example, I'm going to get to the critical infrastructure, smart cities. When COVID hit, the first thing I realized was for my business to be effective, cause I like to do webinars and podcasts and communicate, and we were bound to that. I better have good connectivity. So I had to spend to get a direct connection, and I'm plugged into an ethernet cable, and I'm getting a gigabit of speeds allegedly, and that's good versus the wireless and kids using online schooling. So you have to adapt. And, if you're using current technology and you're addressing current situations, the Colonial Pipeline or a pipeline that is critical infrastructure, Workforce technology. And it's old. What I tell people or try to convey is when you think about what we use every day, and the owners and operators, which are primarily industry and they haven't an investment, they have CEOs, they have leadership. They have to keep their business systems, just like a federal agency has to keep its operations, or you and I, we have our own. Well, speak for me, I'm a small business, but I have to take care of what I need to run my business. It requires technology, but in the pipeline case, if we think about it is people want to go cyber ransomware. It's really, to me, where's the root cause. Was there something we could have been doing better if we examine our assets? Assets, meaning our systems attack on a more recurring basis to make sure we're mitigating as much risk as possible and prohibiting the bad guys and gals from getting in. We're in a world now where everything's converging air gapping networks protecting a corrosive in Flint, Michigan water pipe requires not, Oh my gosh, when's the last time we inspected it, not implying, that was the case, but the reality is we're using machines and sensors that one day it will protect our autonomous vehicles. So you and I can get in a car, may be in my case, when I'm really old. And I want to see parts of the country. I trust the GPS. The car is communicating with traffic lights and using LIDAR or whatever is the cool tech of the day that I could sleep, watch, observe, and know that there's not going to be an accident. I believe that we will mitigate risk and we can believe that there's trust in the systems that the humans are helping deploy. So that, that we're protected. The alternative is don't do any of that. And just trust that the way things are today is fine. And we know that infrastructure, roads, bridges, pipelines, what all, you know, what almost happened in a Florida earlier this year, cyber hack people may not want to know what that means, but I think there's a, you should, as a consumer, understand that if your city, your community and your minute is palliative. Is using technology to make your life more mobile or better? There is, a responsibility. I feel as a consumer to say, do I know everything I need to know. Is it just because I put a thermostat on my wall that I'm gonna make sure that it's protected, or there's something I have to do. And I think we all know that there is a responsibility in this world that's now converging and where technology is not the problem. But we want to blame it when bad habits and life is lost in some cases. So I think it's a digital transformation bringing that back cities of the future, the sectors that need to evolve. It's like the iron triangle, Kristina. I mean, technology, humanity, culture, government, industry, academia, digital transformation, every administration, at least in this country that I've been affiliated with, talk about. We have to constantly modernize infrastructure. Data must be transparent. It needs to be accountable. It needs to be laced with integrity. And we have to build a 21st-century workforce to support that because there are people saying. I don't want to lose my job. And that's a discussion that addresses attrition and how to leverage institutional knowledge to teach these kids coming out of school now who aren't even going to school in some cases and saying, I know how to code. I can do that for a living traditional, go to college, get jobs, spend 30 years at a company get retirement. I think that's so yesterday, And now we have to manage all this and do it in a manner that it's not easy to understand, but it takes this constant process improvement and looking in the mirror as the CEO of a company and saying, am I doing everything I can from an investment standpoint to make sure the infrastructure that supports people's heat and water is as protected as it needs to be while also offering opportunities for them to make sense of, of why we're investing in that technology to keep them safe. That's what it comes down to for me.

KRISTINA: [00:16:31] I picked up on the part where you said that we're in this world that's increasingly more digital. And I think that that's true. It almost feels like I wake up every morning, and there's something new going on in the digital space. With a pandemic, especially like you've mentioned, we've all been thinking about enabling secure work-from-home solutions, certainly. But there perhaps even more significant challenges, if you will, for work sites, things like control rooms or shared spaces, access control, employee health screenings. Now that we're starting to see people go back into the office and just many other issues are presenting themselves to organizations. What should they be thinking about from that digital perspective? You talked about leaders, but what about organizations on the whole? What type of policies are they to be thinking about as people come back to work or as they have the opportunity to really shake things up and do things differently than they did a year and a half ago?

PETE: [00:17:20] Well, I think that's where we are. People call this that we're going to get back to the way it was. And I always phrased, eh, isn't it about what we called the new normal a year ago? It's normal now. I think that depending upon what article you read or depending upon the business model; certain people need to be at a place if you're; maybe I'm just winging it here—a restaurant. Yeah, you can deliver. But there's something about going to a restaurant which needs workers and cooks and chefs and folks to be the waiter. You, you need people there. I'm a proponent of what an opportunity to sit at home, work, my rear end off go to my kid's baseball game at five 30 because, in that span of seven to eight hours, I've been on talks with people in other parts of the country. I've had meetings, I've done a podcast I've connected with my clients for me. And I think for most workers who don't have to be at the productivity question and will always be a question. And how do you measure that? Well, that's where bosses, managers, and others have to figure out. How do I measure that and build that trust with my culture to say, I want you to be happy, happy clan, or happy culture. You know, success will result. But that is where we are today. This move to let's get back to the buildings. I think that's an option, but you're talking in this town. DC area travel, commuting, you get there. And you're probably going to be saying; now I could be doing this from home. It'd be more productive versus having one meeting or two a day. And those four hours of commute back and forth, I could have been doing things that weren't its work, but it's people who said, Oh, zoom, fatigue. You know what? I get more work done from home. And I connect with more people. But prior to the campaign, I think I was flying to Idaho. I was flying to a national lab in New Mexico, flying to it. That's two days of travel and focus on one or two meetings when wow. I could have been more productive. So I think that it's going to be interesting, and I don't think it's overnight, and every situation will be different, but leveraging wifi communications, collaborative tools that allow you to share documents on a Google drive or a Microsoft office, 365, not agnostic by the way I'm not into. The capabilities are there, but do we know how to use it? And it's easy to say it's too complicated when really it might be. Maybe it's just that you don't have a good enough internet connection. We saw that with kids in schooling in this past year, I've got four kids. I'm not saying Google classroom isn't wonderful. It's probably a number of things. If kids are not paying attention, the Internet's not great on the other end of a school versus in the home, it causes a suboptimal experience. And then it's really easy to blame tech and say, we just got to get back in the buildings. I'm sorry. I don't buy into that. This normal is embrace it and learn from it because the world changed this past year. And I think digitally what an opportunity to take advantage of so many capabilities that we don't even know exist in the applications we have, whether it's zoom or Microsoft word. I'm just throwing a few out. That's why I'm excited. And whether it's the online education workforce, remote connectivity, while at the same time respecting that some businesses need people. But to just say, I want butts in seats. I need people there. So I could see that they're working. I think that's ridiculous. So as a former CTO, What would you advise today's CTOs to do? They have to start someplace. There are people at home right now. They're working there. Maybe they want to be able to say, look, people should come back in if they need to. But if not, I need to kind of step up my game and really make this a productive environment. What should they do first? Everybody always says, Hey, go back into an audit, right. Or you need to make a discovery. That's the typical consulting bit. But is that really where they should start? What should they do?  

I think that's the responsibility of it could be a CTO, could be a CIO. I mean, these titles, this C suite I looked at again, I, I don't joke when I say my job as CTO, the first thing was build relationships. How am I going to do that as a CTO? And I said, well, I'm really a connective tissue officer. I'll call it, knock on doors, understand the mission. Somebody needs to be the convener. I mentioned the tipping point, but, you know, connectors, Maven salesperson, you know, being able to be an ESFJ when it comes to Myers-Briggs. I love knocking on doors, and I never met a stranger. I think as a CTO, at least my version of it is you have to do something. To bring those folks together. You almost also have to. And this is what I try to do in my company is that level, the playing field because at the end of the day, take our jobs away. We take our garbage out on certain nights. We have kids that have issues in terms of it could be a sports schedule to, you know, an educational thing or healthcare. We all have stuff going on. And the persona on the, in the workforce. I think we don't want to lose that. We're human beings with emotions. You never know what's going on in somebody's life. And if you can somehow breakthrough that an office I've seen it, the culture can change, but somebody needs to take that torch and do it. Not everybody has that ESFJ or whatever personality. So I, that, I don't think there's a cookie-cutter approach to it, but I think if I were to build a company, I would have a person that deals with building trust. Just like I'd have somebody who does marketing or somebody that does business development or somebody, but you got to have the person that people say. I like how he brought it together and helped me understand why we are coming together. And that could be in the federal government bringing the office of nuclear energy together with the office of fossil energy and the office of renewable to say, look three separate missions. But one, one cause, and that is, we need a more resilient grid in our country, and everybody plays a role here. So I think it's just, not to make it so fundamental and basic, but how can we just all get along and understand that we're all after the same thing, but get out of our cylinder of excellence.

KRISTINA: [00:23:24] Pete, in this last few sentences you mentioned people; you mentioned trust, building teams, communication, the connective tissue concept. What I didn't hear you say is—server, cloud, code. You didn't even say privacy or security once. And so I'm thinking about the changing roles of the CIO, the CTO, and I believe that they're more of a business partner and a business enabler. Still, I'm wondering from your experience, what is that looking like in the industry as a whole? Are you seeing fellows, CTO, CIO kind of embracing that new role? And if so, what kind of skill sets are they looking to build upon? Because it sounds like what you're saying is like, Hey, for my team, you know, you mentioned you'd be looking for folks who are ready to go out and talk to people and build relationships. Those aren't technical skills anymore. They're people skills.

PETE: [00:24:20] Wonderfully stated people process technology and endeavor in that order. Another iron triangle, I would say to that, and I'd love to geek out maybe on another show. I'm excited about a number of areas distributed ledger technology blockchain, same thing if you will. I'm excited about digital currency. I'm excited about satellites that are they're taking beams from the sun and growing food in areas that never could in the past. Cloud computing, advanced analytics. Mobility, robotic process automation. We can go down any hole and talk about wonderful opportunities. And I think the reason maybe not for this show, but for another is each of those solutions are part of a fabric or part of a mosaic that every business should be investing in the cloud. If you add your own data center. Analytics, what data should you be looking at? What, what data should people be responsible for that gets into identity and protection and user and entity, behavior analytics, how you secure your infrastructure with cyber-physical and network security at the perimeter at the edge, zero trust architecture. So it's not to be buzzwordy, but I think it's incumbent on any business. To make sure you do your due diligence. You hire the right people who could say there's the risk of doing this, but if we were to hire people and protect it and lock it down, and I'm talking about data and assets are people and technology. An IP address, a server, a firewall, a router are assets. So yes, you have to explore and make sure you know what you have and look for that weak link because the bad folks out there are. 24 seven, and you'll never have a silver bullet with a solution. Cloud may not be for an off-prem solution, but maybe a hybrid cloud. How you build a workforce remotely with certain lockdown credentials is important. So it's a lot, but technology is not the problem. It's our willingness to learn, hire the right people. Do the technology due diligence, hire companies. Like mine and others to say, you know, we are most worried about this. What would be the right solution for that? And investor the tech provider, the government entrepreneurs, academia. These are folks who are an audience and want to know information about what's the next tech and the next cool thing. And what can I buy? And I say, there is no silver bullet. You don't go to best buy, buy something, plug it in, and then tell your board of directors. We're good. We got this tool that does this. And then when it's hacked, somebody says, wait a minute, what happened? And then you realize through that root cause analysis, that's, that's thinking there's an easy button. So I say, embrace it. And businesses have to reimagine and rethink. Do they have the right people? Are they using the right process? And is their technology still state-of-the-art? And those, those are the things that I think matter, and we have to make that priority.

KRISTINA: [00:27:10] I like that idea too, of hiring the right people because I feel one of the things that have come out of this pandemic is that people move away from being in the office. As you mentioned earlier, we no longer are tied to the physical building as much as we used to be. And arguably, we never were. I think it was just sort of our mindset that kept us tied, but suddenly, we're finding ourselves with a much larger pool of resources that we can tap into to get business done. Do you see the government shifting just as much as the private sector is in that regard? Google is saying you don't have to come back into the office. Facebook, a lot of the big tech has said you don't have to come back into the office. Is the government going to be doing that as well and becoming more efficient, do you think, and taking up the same opportunities?

PETE: [00:27:51] Well, I can't speak for it, but I can tell you that there are some statistics I've read stuff off and on about, I think the polls are, people want to work remote. The federal government, when I was there, we had telework agreements that generally were defined by working from home a day here or there. And then how do you measure it? And sometimes it was, is your conductivity there? How can you remote? I mean, it became kind of, for me, a pain. I was like, I'm just going to come to the office every day. And if I'm sick and I can remote, I want to somehow prove my leadership. I'm working, I'm working, I'll be at my desk. I will be locked in. I will not take a break. It's kind of the strange dynamic now that was me and my personal experience, but I knew how to do it. And by the time I left. All the technology that we have video conferencing zooms today, we had WebEx's we had Skype to me. It's why aren't we using it? And part of it is maybe we weren't implementing it properly. I think personally, Kristina, that I'd be surprised if the government just says everybody's back. We didn't want to work remotely. What have we learned in the last year? I think we learned that we could use tech. I think the government will have telework agreements. I'm waiting to watch and hear what those protocols are. Sometimes it's the political appointee. You know, there are strata in government. There are people who are politicals and schedule ABCs. There are civil servants, there's GSRs one through 15, and it's just different. And depending on who's in charge and believes that. They have accountability, and that's been expressed to staff. You can work anywhere in the world at this point with an internet connection. But as far as the government in DC, we've got these agencies that are right across the street from one another. We've got a subway system. I think more people are going to work remotely. I think agreements will say, Hey, pick a couple of days where you will come in for maybe parts of the day, maybe between 10 and two. So you can have a commute and get home and have dinner with your family. I would like to think that's the case, but I'll leave it with this. If I ever go back to the government, those are going to be requirements for me. If it's just jumping on the subway in the Metro and spend an hour and a half commute one way and the other, just to be at a desk when I could be like, Oh my gosh, this, I could be like, what was it? My home. I, it doesn't attract me to that environment. I think we'll see. But your point about tech companies saying that I think that's a good barometer. I think the government will observe, watch. And at the end of the day, it's the person. Who's going to be in charge of a group that ultimately has to say, I believe that I can manage my staff will be productive in this environment, but if it's a, you work for me, butt in the seat, I think that's going to be unattractive to many people, which will impact our workforce in the government.

KRISTINA: [00:30:40] And it's often that we see that operational level that's managing up and setting this the course, if you will, for everybody else. And I think that happens as you mentioned in the government and the private sector. What do you think that folks at that digital operational level should be doing right now to communicate to digital leaders, especially digital leaders who may not be leaning in that more aggressive, more forward-leaning plate? How should they be coaching them? What should they be giving them as information? Is there anything that anybody at the office level can be doing to help their managers understand digital transformation, digital capabilities, the changing landscape, the new opportunities, whether it's working for home or it's just, Hey, I want to take advantage of this new capability to make a consumer's life easier? Like, is there anything that kind of would be the single, or maybe there are two kinds of golden rules you would say do these two things to help out your managers?

PETE: [00:31:36] It does depend on the culture, government culture and private industry, and entrepreneur and nonprofit, I mean, they're all different, right. But generally speaking from experience, it does come down to, I think if, if a C level or a boss believes that's how I like to operate. I say that's being a bit narrow-minded, especially today. I think it's going to make building a culture where maybe you have folks; maybe they're called millennials, coaching leadership on here's how this can work. I heard a conversation with those, like into the West Coast, and Silicon Valley has been doing this forever. And somebody saying, well, they're just a bunch of coders, and they need to be where there's, you know, caffeine and candy, and we'll be left alone. Well, it may be. But, but I'm, I could tell you right now, I know tons of people in government who are saying, I love working from home. I'm working harder than I ever have. And my boss gets it. It's great. And other sayings, I'm doing this, and they don't seem to get it. Well, I'm like, do you tell them, do you show them? I mean it, and that's the conversation I think. And this is where industry, I, I know, has the opportunity. I help companies with their marketing and branding. Okay. Why is my capability at this company unique? And I will help companies figure that out versus being competitive. I think the industry, especially in government, has an opportunity to go in and start pitching to look at how we can help your remote workforce be productive with the capabilities we have that you don't even know to exist. They're hidden in plain view instead of just trying to sell to make a sale. And I think that's going to be a wonderful opportunity that I impress upon my clients and say, Let's go in and talk about how you can support their mission, whether it's in the office, out of the office, but at the end of the day, your technology is a tool to make our country more efficient and productive. And that's got a great story, and it could become a use case. It could be a proof of concept. So I think that is how we're going to embrace this next generation or the one we're in. And Kristina, the reality is it's either gonna be hard to go back to doing what it was before, which I don't think there is going back. It's embraced the train that left the station; figure it out. And maybe just, maybe some of those people who were the bosses just need to go off and do something else. And the folks who have that aptitude for and patients to build a culture that is more mobile, that is not in the office in brick and mortar. We'll read about it one day in history books saying, wow, they finally got the picture that people don't have to be commuting three hours one way and spend more time with their family and live longer and be happier.

That's to be a pretty cool recipe in a perspective and a, and a goal to shoot for.

KRISTINA: [00:34:22] You said it well, I think Pete, when you said to embrace the train, that's leaving the station. I think that's what everybody listening is trying to do. I think that's what I'm certainly trying to do. And it sounds like you're doing that and have been doing it for years. So that's really great advice. Tell everybody where they can find you because I think you have such a wealth of information, and you've been generously sharing it. And so I want everybody to be able to take advantage of that and continue to listen to your advice and learn from your experience; where do they go?

PETE: [00:34:50] Well, thank you. It's again humbling nobody's ever asked that maybe I should offer that in some cases, but I appreciate you big time, Kristina, for asking. I'm at Dots and Bridges dot com. Dots and Bridges connecting dots, building bridges. I have a YouTube channel. You can Google me. You can ping me. You can search, but I try to put out there what we've talked about today and some semblance of what it is they do here, but yeah, Dots and Bridges , pete@dotsandbridges.com. I have a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter, and Facebook. So if you think I have some interesting stuff to say, please connect. And we'll keep a dialogue going.

KRISTINA: [00:35:29] Pete, thanks again so much for coming by to hang out. It has been a pleasure, and I look forward to hearing more as we continue going forward and using a lot of the advice you shared with us today.

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