Time to change what I write on this blog, semi-retiring the media role

I haven’t been writing on this blog as much as I have in the past. I resist the urge to switch to Twitter, Facebook, Medium or other publishing platforms.

This past week an executive at one of the big data center companies was promoted to a VP of technical communications. I reached out to congratulate the executive as it has been a pleasure to see him rise at the company.

Having the media role I have made great friends in the industry like GigaOm. Many of the other data center and technical publications. But, I have been getting bored of the data center news. I started writing about Green Data Centers because no one was discussing the topic. Now all the big companies Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and even Amazon have green initiatives as part of their data center efforts. No one talks about PUE because it is already a standard metric to measure efficiency of electrical and cooling systems.

During the break from blogging I have gone back to what I really enjoy. Solving tough problems. Writing about green data center was a tough problem. Now it is easy. It is boring, but at the time of figuring out how to write about a technical issue it was a challenge. When I started it was hard to get an answer to how much power was used by the cooling system. How much was is used by the cooling system. What drove me is the problems that it was hard to get an answers.

So what am I focusing on now? Two things. Construction processes and Wireless.

10 years ago I worked extensively on the eBay data center and GC Skanska. At first I was hired by Skanska to work on marketing and public relations issues, and they quickly found out that I knew way more technical knowledge. Spending 26 years at HP, Apple, and Microsoft being an industrial engineer working on quality control, manufacturing, distribution logistics, procurement, OEM program management, peripheral product development, System 7 software development, TrueType, Windows program manager, Interactive TV, Windows Technical Evangelism, Windows Server program management, and Systems architecture gives me a broad background to dive into almost any area I choose.

What I found phenomenally interesting is how a GC worked. After working with Skanska, I spent lots of time talking to friends at Turner Construction and gradually understand the world construction and how it worked. And I would talk to friends at Syska and CH2MHill. Many of these conversations would be ones at the conference hotel bars or hallways of the conference. With these conversations I figured out there was a need for a better construction application. The insights of building a construction mobile application with backend AWS infrastructure is a longer post that is complex to explain and probably put most of you asleep. I know when i tell my family the story they go to sleep.

But out of that boredom, realized that is mind numbing hard to do. There is something that needs to be done to make it easier. And that led me to wireless and what could be done.

I hope to write a lot more that I semi-retired the media role and I will write about construction and wireless.

Note: when I first wrote this post I said I was retiring the media role, but after reflecting a bit it is more like semi-retirement. It is no longer a focus to be a media person. I can still do it. More as a hobby. I am spending more of time as an engineer which is what I have done more of my life. Focusing on media gave me a chance to focus on the challenges of communicating.

Bottom line of Elizabeth Holmes Saga, a clueless inventor

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos Saga is top news with the HBO documentary release.

The best scene I liked was at the 26:45 mark when Dr. Phyllis Gardner, MD professor of Medicine, Stanford University comments on meeting with Elizabeth Holmes in the early days.

in that scene Dr Gardner explains that “it’s impossible, physically”

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Eiizabeth continues her pitch to others and she makes it seem like she is the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

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I worked at Apple when Steve was there. I worked at Microsoft when Bill Gates was there. From watching Elizabeth Holmes her thinking that she can do something physically impossible is clueless to what Steve and Bill were able to do. They were phenomenally good at identifying where there was business opportunity and to get a team of people together to build to solve the technical issues to get to market.

Elizabeth raised lots of money. Sold her vision of changing the world. Then expected the believers at her company to do the impossible. To recreate physics to achieve her vision of how science works.

It’s like Elizabeth thinks she discovered the alchemy of blood science to take a few drops of blood and change medicine.

It’s been proven that Elizabeth was a clueless inventor. She had no scientific background for her invention. Her patents were part of the con game. Watch the HBO documentary it has good lessons. I used the time watching the video to be in yin yang mode. Elizabeth was telling lies. I was focusing on telling the truth.

I wonder how much time you could say Elizabeth told the truth. She believed she was telling the truth, but when you are clueless how do you know what is true?

If you want an inner view of the whistleblowers highlighted in the documentary check out this video with Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung at Stanford on Feb 19, 2019. It is nice to see the whistlerblowers are in good spirits surviving Theranos.

A dear friend David Schirmacher has passed

7x24 Exchange’s President David Schirmacher has passed.

It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of the President of 7×24 Exchange International, David Schirmacher on January 30th after a recent accident. We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss. We extend our deepest sympathies to David’s wife Veronica, his brother Axel, his family and friends.

I have had so many hours of conversations with David I don’t know what to write. Yet I have written so many times about conversations with David. Writing about the end of conversations is so much harder.

One of the last conversations I had with David is his new data center metrics. Without David’s thought leadership the metrics will fade, but my memories of David will not. I can hear his voice in my head. I can hear his laugh. His quick wit.

Hearing about David’s passing I immediately thought of his wife Veronica who is an empty house. David’s presence was always a pleasure and I cannot imagine how Veronica feels in her house now.

Last night when i first heard the news and I checked in with friends who I know were close to David, and this morning I checked in with a few others. If you want to send sympathy wishes you can send them to Veronica at

Sympathy or Mass cards ONLY can be sent to:
Veronica Schirmacher
1573 Redwood Grove Terrace
Lake Mary, FL 32746

No flowers please.

When attending 7x24 I got in the habit of staying after the Wednesday presentations to have a burger with David by the pool. David was always busy at 7x24 and the time to chat with him would be after the conference was over. It is hard to accept I’ll never have another burger with David.

I wish i could write more, but it is so hard. It is hard because it hurts to think David is gone.

David will be missed my many.

May his soul rest in peace.

Can Carbon Relay deliver AI efficiency like what Google's Data Center group uses?

The media covers Foxconn’s back of Carbon Relay. Here is tech crunch’s post.

Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn International is backing Carbon Relay, a Boston-based startup emerging from stealth today, that’s harnessing the algorithms used by companies like Facebook and Google for artificial intelligence to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the technology industry’s own backyard — the datacenter.

According to LinkedIn the founder Matt Provo has been with the company since Aug 2015.

Carbon Relay has on its web site a graph that shows how its model matches the actual PUE

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Which looks a lot like Google’s predictive accuracy which is in this paper.

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I don’t know Matt Provo or anyone at Carbon Fiber. You can see the team on this page which has their LinkedIn profiles. From taking a quick look I don’t see any mechanical engineers or data center operations people.

Google’s AI/ML energy efficiency project was headed up by Jim Gao who i do know. Jim is a mechanical engineer from UC Berkeley. Go Bears! I also have my engineering degree from Cal, but long before Jim went there. Jim had years of working in Google’s data center group and started down the path of machine learning and he had one of the biggest sources of training data, Google’s data centers. Which may explain why Jim’s predictive models look more accurate than Carbon Relay.

Jim published his latest findings as part of work in Alphabet’s Deepmind where is now a Team Lead.

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So can Carbon Relay’s 14 people deliver a solution as good as Deepmind’s Jim Gao? Jim has gone through the painstaking efforts to get clean accurate data from systems. There are so many small details. I love the one example where Jim ran the model to be the most energy efficient, so it turned off all the systems bringing energy use to 0. And Jim has overcome the resistant to change from a well trained data center operations staff to trust a computer model.

Looking at the number of technical team on the Carbon Relay project I am reminded how the first models Jim ran could be performed on one PC. Time will tell if Carbon Relay can deliver on data center efficiency, but even if they have a technical solution getting clean data from all the BMS environments and executing a model that is used is so hard.

The paper that Jim published has Amanda Gasparik on the paper. Got curious looked her up on LinkedIn as she is senior data center mechanical engineer. Been at Google 5 years. 8 years as Nuclear Electronics Technician for US Navy. Masters System engineering and Bachelor’s mechanical engineer.

Add another DeepMind PhD Research Engineer and you have three people who have a broad range of skills that impress me much more than Carbon Relay.

Women in Cloud event at Microsoft Campus building 33, Jan 26, 2019

There is a Women in Cloud event on Jan 26, 2019 at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond.

Tickets are $99-200 and you can find more information here.

It is great to see this event by put together for its first time.

7 years ago I moderated a panel discussion with some top people in capacity planning and asset management which happened to be all women and it has been great to see more and more organizations support Women in the data center industry.

I hope this event is the first of many more to come. Best of luck to the event organizers.