Up Close with The Mead Group’s Malcolm Mead, Expert Speaker at CAPRE’s Greater Portland Data Center Summit
by Brian Klebash
SEATTLE, Washington – The Mead Group’s Malcolm Mead participated in an “Up-Close” interview in advance of CAPRE’s Greater Portland Data Center Summit. The high-level conference will be held on May 30-31 at World Trade Center in Portland, and bring together 350+ senior-level data center real estate and technology infrastructure executives. An opening night reception will be held at Infomart’s data center in Hillsboro. Featured speakers for the conference include: Charlie Allcock, Director – Business Development, Portland General Electric; Ileana Aquino-Otero, Global Critical Infrastructure Engineer, LinkedIn; Jonathan Atkin, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets and Jeffrey West, Director of Data Center Research, CBRE.
Malcolm Mead is the President & CEO of The Mead Group. Founded in 1997, the Mead Group includes Mead Group Consulting, which specializes in developing business-driven technology solutions for Fortune 100 companies around the world, supporting every aspect of enterprise architecture, from networks to database design. Prior to founding The Mead Group, Malcolm was the President & CEO of Original.com, a digital agency that developed innovative online solutions for Fortune 100 companies including CBS and Simon & Schuster. And, prior to Original.com, Malcolm worked at AT&T Wireless where he led the Operations Center Support for the national roll-out of the Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) network.
CAPRE: From a data center service provider perspective, please describe the operational advantages of Portland vs. Seattle.
Mead: Portland’s primary leverage against Seattle continues to be regional demand. The “sweet spot” for Portland is those customers that are seeking local data center presence as a feature of a separate business play; vendors to Nike, partners with the Universities, etc. – these are players who would enter the space with physical regional needs and naturally extend to Portland data center services as a part of that plan.
CAPRE: Do you see Portland as a mature data center market? If not, how would you describe Portland in the context of competitive markets, such as Seattle and San Francisco?
Mead: Generally, data center demand is driven by network demand, which in turn is mirrored by carrier topology. While the general corridor between the Pacific Northwest and Northern California is opening up, Portland still strikes me as a network offshoot of the denser network presence in Seattle.
CAPRE: Other than Mead Group, what data center firm is most interesting to you and why?
Mead: I’m most interested in Equinix because they’re so smart, it will be interesting to watch them solve the real problems threatening them. Things like the main cloud and content providers seeking to bypass them, and their slippage in cross-connect revenues as pressure builds to decrease those fees in more markets, make their big plays for things like the Verizon data centers captivating.
CAPRE: What do you expect to change in the regional Northwest market (Seattle and Portland) over the next 12 months?
Mead: As the big players continue to build in the region and attract talent, natural turnover is going to increase the depth of talent in the streets; this talent in turn will enrich the local tech community with ability, but even more so, there should be an upswing in entrepreneurial activity as more “in betweeners” act to kickoff startups.
CAPRE: As a provider, what is the most significant industry challenge over the next 12 months?
Mead: The Pacific Northwest is still somewhat fragmented and entrenched in old ways of marketing data center and network services. As more demand arrives, it will continue to be important for the industry as a whole to seek to streamline how we offer support to services like hybrid cloud integration, development prototyping, and business transition management. When the marketplace can see data center providers as advocates and guides for well-designed solutions instead of competitors, it will be better for everyone as a whole.