Mode Cast

Insights from CIO In The Know's Tim Crawford

"So no longer do we have these huge, monolithic, corporate data centers. We have a lot of smaller data centers that are in play. So we have to think about how all of that comes together, and then you start bringing in the cloud."

— Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA and
Host of the "CIO in the Know" (CIOitk) podcast


Tim Crawford,
CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA and Host of the CIO In The Know (CIOitk) podcast


Tim Crawford hosts the podcast CIO in the know. In this episode, Mode's Jo McDougald speaks with Tim about what's shaping life for CIOs right now, including the host of technologies available today and their effects on business, and how even the way we think about data itself and data transmission over the network has changed.

Listen on SoundCloud [Or read the transcript below]


JoAnne McDougald:
Good evening everyone, and welcome to another addition of Mode Radio. I'm sitting here with Tim Crawford. We won't say what company he's from, but he does run his own podcast. It is called

Tim Crawford:
It is "The CIO in the Know."

Super exciting. So I have an actual, professional podcaster with me here, so I'm learning a lot. Tim has given me some mad tips that are going to change my world, and we're going to change your world by talking about technology and what's exciting and innovative this year. What is really inspiring you out of the gate right now, Tim? Talk to me about that. Then we'll talk about why we're at this event and some other things.

Absolutely. Well thanks, Jo, for having me. I think that the biggest thing that is exciting, especially now, is the amount of technology that we have at our fingertips and how we can use it really to transform not just technology, but transform our business, is amazing. We can talk about doing business differently, engaging with customers very differently, creating different experiences both internally within the company as well as externally. It really does open up the possibilities to whatever you can dream up, and technology is right at the forefront of it. And there's a lot to choose from.

So much to choose from, and it's all right at our fingertips. I remember going and visiting – going to Texas and walking along the Saturn V rocket, which took us to the moon. It's 100 or more yards long, so it's a very long rocket. You're like, how does this – does this ever end? You're just like, oh my god. Then you look down at your phone, and you have 1,000 times more technology on your phone than it took all of the computers at IBM and everybody to get that Saturn rocket to the moon. Like, they were slide rules and ridiculousness. So the world has changed. What you carry around with you – We're living in Star Trek, as far as I can tell.

We are, and there's a meme that's been around for quite some time that shows a desk, and it has a camera on it. It has a fax machine. It has a telephone. It has a computer. And all of those things are now in the palm of our hands – and getting smaller and more powerful.

Yeah, and there used to be an enterprise data warehouse and 1,000 other data stores. Now we have obviously a Datalink, [Haduke, Hive, Pig, Uzi, Flume], and all the rest of those open-source technologies that companies are using in order to do their business and deliver real value to their customers.

Right. I mean, the upside is there's a lot of technology available to us. The downside is there's a lot of technology available to us. [Laughter] That's a problem. You know, it's a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing in that there's amazing opportunity for those that really kind of step back and try to figure out how we can really use this in a demonstrable way. The downside is it can be really, really overwhelming.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So one of the technologies that I find so interesting is what Mode has done. What has happened is the innocent founder of Mode was off doing his PhD at Cornell and had decided to go ahead and map the Internet as part of his PhD program. What ended up happening was he found an algorithm that enabled him to actually map the best path at any given nanosecond that would enable packets to pass through the Internet. And that's how they built Mode. So we're applying mathematics to a difficult problem, which is how do we stop jitter? How do we stop the annoying things that make your Internet fail for you as a company? You're trying to keep your always-on business always up and running, always available. How does that happen? It happens with the network in place. So when you're looking at – you know, that's what I love about Silicon Valley and love about being here and being able to find these innovative companies – and how they're going to help change the world.

Right. You know, this is really important, especially as we go through time, because it used to be your biggest concern when you thought about the network was how you're going to transport data from one data center to another – how you're going to get from your users to your data center – from your customers coming in from the Internet, and even before that, into your data center?

Now it's gotten incredibly more complicated, because now we have to think about Edge. We have to think about IoT. We have a myriad of new types of devices, new streams of data, new sources of data, new types of data, as well as on the other extreme, we have this proliferation of data centers. So no longer do we have these huge, monolithic, corporate data centers. We have a lot of smaller data centers that are in play. So we have to think about how all of that comes together, and then you start bringing in the cloud. And you very quickly see how exponentially this gets much, much more complicated really, really quickly.

And I bet you talk more about this on your podcast. I'm so excited to have you here with us, Tim Crawford. You can find Tim on Thanks so much joining us at Mode Radio.

Thanks, Jo.