One of the reasons why a Green Data Center initiative recruits talent, a better night sleep

One of the funniest conversations I would have with the Olivier Sanche is how many people would reference reading my blog post on Olivier wanting to build greener data centers.

Good Luck, Olivier.  I am placing my bets Apple will change the data center industry the way they changed cell phones and media players with the iPhone and iPod.  It is not just the environmental issues, there are huge opportunities to leverage the data center servers with client devices - iPod, iPhone, and Macs.  Photos, Music, and Video and the associated media industry is Apple's strength.  Google focuses on Search.  Microsoft focuses on Windows, Office, and competing against Google.  Apple focuses on consumers.

Who do you think is going to change the data center industry the most Google, Microsoft, or Apple?

Or maybe what individuals will change the data center industry?  Keep your eye on Olivier.

Since I wrote this post about Olivier all three of these companies (Google, Microsoft, Apple) have announced green data center initiatives.

Fast Company has an interview with Srikumar S. Rao.  The following table summarizes well what Srikumar presents.

But I was surprised because the core principles of the Happiness at Work philosophy run counter to the standard profile of the typical top MBA student I’ve encountered both while at school and after (although, there are exceptions for sure).  For example here’s a quick side-by-side comparison to illustrate my point:

Happiness at Work Philosophy

Standard MBA Profile

It’s about the process, not the outcome.  Focus on the action you can take.   Outcome is all that matters—good grade, high profile job, big paycheck.
Paradox—by insisting on your way, you decrease the chance of getting what you want.  Risk and aggressiveness are rewarded.
You are playing a role, but you are not the role. My job, my prestigious MBA, my wealth define me.
It’s not about the money (in fact, if it is, you are in trouble).  It’s about the why and what you are doing.  It’s all about the money, even if I don’t love what I am doing.
The models you operate within are not reality. Prestigious MBA, well-paying job, comfortable life is reality.  And I am angry when it’s challenged. 

The Q&A that follows explains the paradox of this table.

My question is why do you think the MBA students who took your class, many of whom fall within some range of that standard profile, resonated so intensely to what you were teaching?  

SR: Before taking the class, they’d never heard anyone encourage them to get a deep sense of meaning from what they wanted to do professionally.  Many of the students have had the same background.  Some have already worked for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs, the brass ring of what many go to business school to achieve, and hated it because they were treated badly.  They face the sharp dichotomy between what they think the want and what they’d really like to do.

The class gave students the courage to consider doing something different. To question their basic assumptions—what do I want to pursue beyond a paycheck?  The course legitimized those questions and provided the support of a group that was doing the same thing. 

(Srikumar S. Rao’s TED Talk (video)—”Plug into your hard-wired happiness”)

More and more the talented people are looking to work differently than it is all about the money and power.

Thanks to others discussing the green data center topic there are more and more people who have pride in lowering the carbon impact of their data centers, making in greener.

How many of you feel good about saying I saved $10 million in operating expense vs. I reduced the carbon impact of the data center by 15%?  What makes you sleep better at night and wake-up energized?