The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Josh Snowhorn

April 16, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 88
Josh Snowhorn
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Josh Snowhorn
Apr 16, 2024 Season 1 Episode 88
Chris & Zoë

In this episode, we chat with Josh Snowhorn, the founder and CEO of Quantum Loophole, a data center company that is building the biggest data center campus in the world, with the most amount of power and fiber.

Josh shares his career journey, from how skipping work to go surfing accidentally got into telecom and data center sales, to becoming a leader and innovator in the interconnection industry, working for companies like Terremark, Verizon, Cincinnati Bell, and CyrusOne.

He also talks about the role and challenges of being a CEO and reveals some of his mentors and influences, such as Manny Medina and Gary Wojtaszek, who pushed him to achieve things he didn’t think he could.

This is a fascinating and inspiring conversation that you don’t want to miss!

Do what you love
If you're miserable it's going to make everybody else miserable around you.
So move on, go somewhere else, do something else, and follow your passions.

Josh's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Josh Snowhorn, the founder and CEO of Quantum Loophole, a data center company that is building the biggest data center campus in the world, with the most amount of power and fiber.

Josh shares his career journey, from how skipping work to go surfing accidentally got into telecom and data center sales, to becoming a leader and innovator in the interconnection industry, working for companies like Terremark, Verizon, Cincinnati Bell, and CyrusOne.

He also talks about the role and challenges of being a CEO and reveals some of his mentors and influences, such as Manny Medina and Gary Wojtaszek, who pushed him to achieve things he didn’t think he could.

This is a fascinating and inspiring conversation that you don’t want to miss!

Do what you love
If you're miserable it's going to make everybody else miserable around you.
So move on, go somewhere else, do something else, and follow your passions.

Josh's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the imposter syndrome network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't, my name is Chris Grundemann, and this is the Josh Snowhorn episode, which should be an interesting one. Josh, who is the founder and CEO of quantum loophole values, approachability, accessibility, collaboration, innovation, and growth.

[00:00:31] Chris: These qualities have guided Josh's leadership in the interconnection industry over the last 20 years, helping him build over 10 billion of value along the way. At this point, he's pretty much seen and done it all through key founding and executive positions at Terramark, Verizon, Cincinnati Bell, and Cyrus One.

[00:00:48] Chris: He's an avid speaker at conferences globally, including networking, data centers, real estate, edge networking, and quantum computing. He's been a surfer for 39 years and a snowboarder for 25 years. Traveling the globe in pursuit of experiences.

[00:01:02] Chris: Hey, Josh, thanks so much for being here. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit to the imposter syndrome network?

[00:01:09] Josh: Sure, sure. Yeah, I've been, I've been in this industry now. It keeps going in times. Every time a summary is read, it's another year that goes on for. Really probably north of 25 years, I started out building, really building and retrofitting telecom hotels. When the. com bust was, or before the. com bust happened, when everybody's building, you know, CLEC era, you know, class five switch stuff to compete with local telecoms.

[00:01:33] Josh: And then I was hired on by a company called Terramark, which doesn't exist anymore, but ended up being lucky enough to get involved in NAP of the Americas, which at the time we built, it was the biggest data center in the world at 750, 000 square feet, 130 megawatts stayed there for 11 years. Then Verizon bought us for 19 times EBITDA, which was gigantic at the time.

[00:01:53] Josh: And I stayed on for a year with golden handcuffs of Verizon. Then. Slid into Cincinnati Bell with a specific goal of building the telecom portfolio there and, and rolling and spinning out Cyrus one, which has now been picked up by KKR, I think for 12 billion or something like that. So I've been pretty lucky along the way and worked with some great teammates and was able to segue into what we're doing at Quantum Loophole.

[00:02:14] Chris: Yeah, that's fantastic. Thanks. We're going to dive into a lot of that. I hope I do want to kind of start with maybe the elephant in the room. We talk to technologists a lot here and I think at core or, or maybe by trade, you're really a salesperson, right? And you happen to have built a career selling and finding new ways to package and sell data center and especially interconnection services.

[00:02:34] Chris: I think that kind of career path opens up a whole slew of questions, many of which I do hope we'll be able to get to today. But first, I'd like to understand why. Why get into technology sales all those years ago? And how did you end up focusing on interconnection specifically? 

[00:02:48] Josh: So it was purely accidental to get into sales at all in telecom.

[00:02:52] Josh: Ironically, I was skipping work one day and going surfing. And in a day, it's, it's, there's always these little weird paths you take that, you know, it's like a yellow brick road kind of thing. And I'm out there and it was a day when it was a perfect swell and there were like eight guys in the water because every other idiot didn't know about it.

[00:03:10] Josh: And, and when you're out there, you create a camaraderie and bond. Hey, we're the lucky schmucks who got to, you know, be out in the water. There was a big guy out there who was on a long board surfing, loud, boisterous guy and We're talking and he's telling me what he does for a living. And I'm like, Oh, that's kind of cool.

[00:03:24] Josh: I didn't know diddly squat about telecom or retrofitting anything. No, I was working for a friend's construction company and, you know, trying to facilitate sales for them. I'm a natural born salesperson. It's it's in my DNA. It's just who I am. You know, I could sell anything and it doesn't matter what the career path would have been, I'd probably be good at selling that that led to getting me involved into telecom construction and data centers and, and I was just dazzled.

[00:03:47] Josh: I sponged it up and absorbed it. I'm definitely a nerd in my core. So it allows me to have credibility and respect amongst, uh, you know, the data center sector, particularly the networking sector and, uh, just worked out really well. So I fell into the role like, like a lot of us do. 

[00:04:05] Chris: Yeah, it definitely is almost always an accidental career path.

[00:04:08] Chris: And in a lot of cases, you know, I think there's kind of this winding road and a lot of these. Jobs that a lot of us have today, especially those of us, maybe of our age ish didn't exist when we first started out, even to begin with. Right. I mean, I couldn't have chosen to do what I do now when I was a kid because it wasn't a thing yet.

[00:04:26] Josh: There's no education around it. I mean, first of all, like I only went to college for a year. I dropped out and went snowboarding and surfing and screwed off because I couldn't be responsible. I'm the first person on my mom's side of the family, probably not to go to Harvard in a hundred years. So my mom, when my uncle, my grandfather, you know, all the way down the path.

[00:04:42] Josh: So, you know, ironically, my path was going to be a guy who's going to surf and snowboard and screw around forever. Right. But instead I end up, you know, I end up, I end up falling into this world of data centers and telecom and everything else. But it's interesting when I interview people, I. I look for the qualities as a person, you know, if they're, if they're coming into sales or technology role, it's, it's more reading that person, you know, what, what is their focus?

[00:05:05] Josh: How hard are they going to work? Are they really passionate about what they do? Education just gives, you know, that sometimes gets you to open the door, but I, it's the last thing I look at. 

[00:05:14] Chris: Yeah. I agree with that a lot. I've, I've talked about that a couple of times. The moment I kind of really realized it, I was working, I think at cable labs.

[00:05:21] Chris: And I was interviewing for just an intern position, but these two guys showed up to interview and they were actually twin brothers. Not only were they twin brothers, but they had both taken the same classes and the same previous internships. So like the resumes are identical. The faces are almost identical, right?

[00:05:37] Chris: They had a little bit different hairstyle, but I mean, it was really like, and so I was like, okay, well, how do I, I only have one spot. How do I pick one? And after talking to them, it was obvious, right? One guy was really passionate, really wanted to do the work we were doing. And the other guy was like, ah, yeah, I can do it, you know?

[00:05:52] Chris: And then that made the difference for me, just that passion level. Right. I think, which is, and so since then I've kind of always gone that way. They were identical twins. They were identical twins. Yeah. Yeah. So same jeans, the same resume, like, I mean, everything exactly the same. Uh, but one guy was, was more into it.

[00:06:06] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. There's been a lot of people I've, uh, you know, I used to be on the interview cycles at Cyrus one and others. And I'm like, I'm like, yeah, this, this person is not, they're never going to achieve what, what, you know, the role they're going to be hired for. They're no good for it.

[00:06:19] Josh: It's done with a passion. Right. So, yeah. Best in class, passionate people who are really dedicated to what they do. That's what I always focus on. 

[00:06:25] Chris: Yeah. And I think they kind of aligned, right? I think a lot of people end up being more passionate about things they're good at, right? It feels good to be good at something.

[00:06:31] Chris: And so you like doing it more. It's, it's a self fulfilling prophecy to some degree, I think. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. On the other side of that, right? Because I do agree that, you know, things like degrees and certifications and some of these things are definitely, you know, great H. R. keys, right? They'll get you in the door.

[00:06:47] Chris: They'll get you the interview, that kind of stuff. But on the flip side, right? I think, you know, coming from a place where you don't have a college degree and you end up, you know, You know, you've done some really amazing things throughout your career with these businesses, working on teams that, you know, I know some of the guys you've worked with, some of the women you've worked with that are really brilliant people.

[00:07:01] Chris: I wonder if that ever leads you personally to feeling like you're not smart enough in those rooms. 

[00:07:06] Josh: Oh, definitely. There's always a smartest person in the room. I think particularly my, my weakness going into the business world was finance and understand that I've learned it organically because you have to, as you go, but.

[00:07:18] Josh: I used to sit there with guys who knew finance or business things that were trained that way, which gives you sort of a foundation. And I didn't have it. I just had unmitigated energy and an ability to sponge up and learn and be passionate about something. So I definitely felt inadequate around that.

[00:07:34] Josh: Also affected me with like Manny Medina, who was the CEO and founder of Taramark when I worked there. He was finance based guy and Gary Wojtaszek, who's now on my board at Quantum Loophole. And as a good friend, he was the former CFO of Cincinnati bell. So again, finance oriented. So I always felt behind the eight ball, you know, if you're looking at a proforma or looking at those kinds of things, I had to like really, really, really teach myself and learn.

[00:07:59] Josh: So I could actually just be on par. So that's something I think that that's where education you really matter. 

[00:08:05] Chris: Yeah. And so was that your kind of, has that been your reaction always in those situations is just to kind of buckle down, try harder, learn more and kind of catch up when you're feeling for our namesake, right?

[00:08:17] Chris: Those feelings of imposterism, if they do well up. 

[00:08:19] Josh: Oh, absolutely. I mean, You know enough of my history, you know, I'm an internet gray hair. I'm one of the guys that'll build the internet I didn't know what I was doing You know I didn't even I remember the very first meeting just to give you how naive I was when I was Presented there was an RFP coming out to develop the nap of the Americans, right?

[00:08:36] Josh: There were there with the internet exchange piece I didn't even know exactly what an internet, an internet exchange was when I first talked to these guys at this table. So I'm, I'm sitting there and I'm, I was heading on like, okay, yeah, I got it. Okay, great. This is great, great project. Immediately went and started researching and learning and doing everything else.

[00:08:52] Josh: So, which is funny to people to hear when they know me as being, you know, I founded the global peering forum 19 years ago. So the first guy to actually introduce me to Nanog was Dan Golding, Bill Norton and Brandon Ross. They brought me to Nanog and they told me how to behave. Don't talk about what you don't know about.

[00:09:12] Josh: Don't, you know, don't, don't be salesy. Don't do all these kinds of things. You have to be accepted by the community, like almost like the mafia, right? You know, and, and get taken in. And then here I am, my very first NANOG that I go to. I'm like deer in headlights, trying to be all careful. Listen to what these guys told me.

[00:09:28] Josh: And of course I got the entree from those great legends of our industry as well. And good friends still. Immediately Bill Norton's like, Hey Josh, get on a panel with, uh, with Jay Adelson, you know, who, who founded Equinix, right? And talk about this data center, this monster thing you're building in Miami.

[00:09:44] Josh: That was the biggest in the world at the time. And I'm out there passionately talking about, and that, that was my entree to this world, you know? So I did it based on my own laurels and own success and did everything as I went. But, and, and a lot of luck along the way, I, you know, be able to harness that energy and then just lucky steps, you know, and of course, missteps.

[00:10:02] Chris: Absolutely. Always. Yeah. So fast forwarding a little bit. I think, you know, we, we've interviewed some folks who are kind of CIOs, CTOs around, around the, around the bend. They're not very many chief executive officers. I wonder if you could walk us through kind of what, and this may be unique because of the, you know, the role that quantum loophole is playing in kind of innovating within an industry that is also kind of still new in some ways and things like that.

[00:10:28] Chris: So it's probably not this typical CEO job, but I'd love to understand a little bit more about the day to day of like, what, what does a CEO do? 

[00:10:34] Josh: I heard cats probably about it. 

[00:10:37] Josh: No, it's not. You, you're when you're, when you're the CEO, you're the, you, you do everything from being an innovator and a strategist, you're raising capital.

[00:10:47] Josh: That's a constant process and managing capital. So even though you have a CFO or you have these different roles, you have to sort of drive that, that policy and that strategy and, and bring things along. In a sense, you are herding cats because you're dealing with the emotions and personalities of various people.

[00:11:05] Josh: And if you hire a bunch of rock stars, it's even more complex because their comp, their personalities are generally more complicated. You know, you're the one who has to deal with the problems. So. Last year for us in 2023, you know, we're building the biggest data center campus in the world with the most amount of power delivered to a single site in the world and the biggest fiber ring ever constructed that could run the internet many times over by strand count.

[00:11:29] Josh: Not very far, 43 mile fiber ring, but still the biggest. And boy, did it like 2023, I ran into every hurdle and complication you can possibly imagine. It's it. Our campus is three and a half square miles. We're actually building, it's bigger than the city of London. So we're building a city scale thing of sewage and water and power and fiber.

[00:11:47] Josh: And, oh man, it's hard. There was a month when I, when, you know, it's stressful things going on. I just didn't sleep. I had dark circles under my eyes and I was physically a wreck from it. So, you know, you live, eat and breathe all those things. In our case, the private capital that came in before we raised our institutional capital was all friends.

[00:12:05] Josh: So I've brought in money from folks in our industry. You know, like Tom Daley is a, you know, he's an internet nerd. Like all of us in the networking world and others that you wouldn't know around that side. 85 percent of those guys are probably from the car world. Cause I raced cars and they happen to be, you know, when you, when you get bumper to bumper with somebody sort of trust each other with your lives.

[00:12:23] Josh: And those are the guys who invested. So because it's friends drives a passion in me for success. Yeah, for the project, because you know, they've relied on, on investing because of what I've put forth as a project. So being a CEO is hard. My old CEOs, I've talked to them all and I'm like, I, you know, I never understood until now how hard it is and how much work it is.

[00:12:48] Chris: That's a really interesting aspect, right? I think that, that idea of one of the things you said there was this almost sense of camaraderie, right? And I think I've heard not to draw too strange of a parallel here, but I've heard, you know, folks who've been in the military, especially in combat situations, talk about, right.

[00:13:01] Chris: At some point, you're not really doing it for any other reason than the guy next to you or the woman next to you. And, you know, I think as the leader, as the CEO. I can see that being multiplied in really interesting ways where, you know, not only are you doing it for the folks that you've brought along on this ride, there's some level of responsibility that's got to just kind of sit with you for all of them.

[00:13:21] Chris: Is that accurate? 

[00:13:22] Josh: Yeah. For my employees, for the investors, for, you know, for the customers who come in. And when I say investors, not just the private one, but the institutional one as well, because, you know, they've put trust in the end, in the finality, in my team and then in me, so it's a weirdly thankless job and you end up kind of having to be the jerk sometimes.

[00:13:44] Josh: Um, you know, everybody looks at you and, you know, I'm sure you've had CEOs, you know, like. That guy's a jerk and you know underlying there's always a reason behind it. They're generally not inherently jerks. They're just under pressure from a lot of different vectors to achieve success and something and they're living eating and breathing the stresses of what they're doing.

[00:14:02] Josh: I tell you one thing is doing do the scale of what we're doing a quantum loophole is so unbelievably. Almost immeasurable and has no precedent. So when you think about it in that context where it's almost like we're coming to the new world and we're plowing brand new fields and trying to create something from scratch.

[00:14:19] Josh: And every step of the way, it's a battle, um, to get to that end goal of, of doing what we know is right and doing it differently as well. 

[00:14:26] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. I really, really enjoy doing things for the first time, but also I'm very aware of the, the slings and arrows of, you know, there's, it's much less predictable, right?

[00:14:35] Chris: Um, you can't really get there from here without just trying it. Uh, and I do like that. I like that analogy to pioneers and kind of, you know, even, even crossing the mountains and things like that. And just, well, what are we going to even find out there? You don't even know until you get there in some cases.

[00:14:48] Josh: Yeah. I mean, look, in our case, it was, you know, we bored 90 feet, nine stories below the bedrock of the Potomac river. It's insane. That is, um, I, I talked to the, we have AT& T long lines running through our campus, that's the original MaBell nuclear survival backbone and, uh, you know, huge 16 foot wide easement.

[00:15:07] Josh: Of course it was coax way back when on the seismically isolated rack. So if a nuclear bomb hit, it wouldn't cut them. And, you know, kind of terrifying thing about in that context. Our glorious, you know, internet and TCP IP and, you know, slinging packets around the world, which is so passionate about for, you know, content eyeball traffic was originally a nuclear survival backbone, right?

[00:15:27] Josh: You really think about it as packetizing traffic for survival. So I talked to the, uh, old dog, he retired now, but this guy who actually built the ring that runs from, DC through our campus, we're a former Alcoa aluminum smelter. And then down to St. Louis, he goes, Oh yeah, we just backhoe the Potomac river, backhoed the Potomac river, dredged it out, threw our cables down and covered it with rocks.

[00:15:53] Josh: Right now, full circle, you come to us and we were told it's impossible. You're going to take five years just to get your permit to even get under the river. Good luck with that. We did it in a year. We got our permits in a year because we, we went to the army corps with a strong team and a willingness to go, you know, whatever lengths it took to make it happen.

[00:16:13] Josh: And, and finally we got to nine stories below the bedrock of the Potomac. You're like, go for it. That's acceptable. Now you start doing something like that. And you're talking about million pound drill rigs. LinkedIn posts around the borings. Cause it was so like, Holy crap. I never seen anything like this.

[00:16:28] Josh: It exceeds what most gas pipelines are because the angle of attack of that drill rig, it's not, the directional drill heads aren't designed for those inflection points where you have to go down so deep and then bend it back up and around. And you don't know what you're going to hit. You can't do, you can't do geotech borings down the middle of the Potomac river to guess what might be down there.

[00:16:49] Josh: So, I mean, just immensely, you know, difficult. And of course the rivers, you know, carve that out for millennia. You can imagine there's going to be granite and all kinds of things down there. So we snapped drill heads. We just, we encountered every problem you can imagine. Hence my lack of sleep. We're currently boring under the Monocacy river, which is our last little river crossing.

[00:17:09] Josh: We are 130 feet below the bedrock of the river, 13 stories down to be able to hit all these different points. And you know, we're building something that's, that's never been done before at scale. I can tell you when we do site selection for our future projects, like in, we look around Dallas, Chicago, Silicon Valley.

[00:17:25] Josh: And when there's a river, I'm like, nope, rivers. 

[00:17:29] Chris: We've done enough with 

[00:17:30] Josh: rivers. That was, that was, you know, so many unknowns I would take a mountain. I'd rather bore straight through a mountain really would then try and do a river again. So that's stressful. 

[00:17:39] Chris: Wow. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's fascinating and intriguing to me.

[00:17:42] Chris: I think. For a lot of us, right? The internet and computers and this kind of stuff, like it's very virtual, very non tangible. Right. And so to think about these things where there's actually actual physical construction that's going on out in the world to be able to allow us to use these things, it's pretty wild.

[00:17:57] Chris: It's really interesting to see. And the videos are definitely great. I want to roll back to something you were talking about as kind of that role that they thankless role as CEO. I wonder if you've had through your career, any like just really great standout bosses, managers, CEOs that you've worked under that are worth talking about.

[00:18:13] Josh: Yeah. I mean, the two main CEOs I work for is Manny Medina, who is the founder of, of Terramark, who, who didn't really know a lot about telecom or data centers, but just knew that it would be a good business thing. He was a finance guy and a real estate developer in Miami. Um, during sort of the wild days of Miami and he was, you know, he built out coconut grove and all kinds of things like that, you know, the, and you know, lots of high rises and yeah, but always, always struggling to develop it with, you know, just enough capital and just enough gumption and enough political influence and the right architects and right builders and all these things almost went bust in, in, you know, hard financial times and managed to build this great company, a hard nose, you know, businessman, great to learn from extremely passionate, he's Cuban.

[00:18:57] Josh: You know, so you get the passion that goes in there and a cultural difference inside of that company. Or we'd, we'd, we'd a guy, we had a guy in a little tuxedo outfit who would go around and deliver, uh, these cafe con leche coffee things to like irradiate you with caffeine all day long, and it was like a business culture inside and Manny always had a big cigar going is very, very, very Cuban culture and, you know, he, he looked at me, I was very different than Manny, I was, I am, I am a fast talking, ultra high energy person.

[00:19:28] Josh: I've known you for a pretty long time, but imagine me when I was in my twenties, I was I'm 53 now and I'm still hyper. I was, I was unbridled energy and he somehow saw that, that there's the natural sales guy in me, the ability to sponge up information and to do things. And ironically, I was brought in cause I knew a little bit about telecom.

[00:19:50] Josh: But I knew like one one thousandth more than anybody else in the room. So maybe the smartest guy in the room, one of those situations, right? And he was able to recognize along with the gentleman who used to be the president of Taramark, Michael Katz. And he truly, he truly was a mentor to me. They looked and said, okay, we can take this guy and we can, we can, we can frame him and bridle him.

[00:20:11] Josh: And, you know, talking like a horse kind of putting blinders on me and set me off in a direction. And I'm going to be amazing for the business. So they saw that in me when I couldn't even see it in myself. And so really recognize that, recognizing that was great, but after Verizon bought us, I can say that I never encountered anybody in Verizon who impressed me.

[00:20:32] Josh: I was really excited to go work for a Dow 30 company. You know, that, wow, I've really made it. I'm a, you know, my, I'm not, I didn't do the Harvard thing, like my mom's side of the family. So I'm in the black sheep and now I'm working for this big company. And I'm in, I'm in, I'm a key man. I'm a vice president inside of that company.

[00:20:47] Josh: And that's, yeah, that's got some juice inside of, inside of Verizon. Very quickly, it became evident that there was the entrepreneurial spirit was quelled because the company is just a big corporation at the time. They're smaller now, but they had 230, 000 employees at the time. And, you know, I spent the whole first nine months there in my one year of Verizon servitude.

[00:21:09] Josh: Uh, indenture servitude, I should say. Um, uh, sort of driving forward and, and, and, you know, trying to figure out what I wanted to be, and if this is the right thing and very quickly, it soured after about nine months, they realized that people could come to me and get things approved because I was entrepreneurial and I was, I was bypassing the approval committees, the 47 layers of things that normally you'd have to approve something in Verizon that.

[00:21:32] Josh: That, you know, Stokes that prevents innovation and, and stops all of that. So what happened my last three months were pretty much pure misery. And I was, I was determined to leave. Ironically, I joined Cincinnati bell. You wouldn't think, right. And I remember, I remember being very nervous going into that.

[00:21:49] Josh: Gary Wojtaszek was the CFO of Cincinnati bell and he was interviewing me. I didn't realize he'd flown down in a private jet three times to meet me here in Austin. At the time. So he was really, he was determined to get me. I just said to him, Hey, I don't want to work for Jack Cassidy. Cause I heard he's really tough.

[00:22:04] Josh: And Jack Cassidy was a former GE guy who was the CEO of Cincinnati belt. What happens my very first day when I take the job, I spend two hours meeting Jack Cassidy. I'm like, Oh my God. Turns out Jack was a really intense guy, but, but he, he liked me. And I was one of the people he never kind of cornered and gave a hard time to.

[00:22:21] Josh: So that was pretty nice. But Gary was Gary was inevitably my boss and I got to be I got to go through the whole process of developing a business to spin it out within 12 months in an IPO. We got to ring the bell on the NASDAQ. And, you know, that was pretty cool. I'm getting me in a suit and ties and impressive in the first place, but to ring the bell up there with the team and then have this amazing growth engine that we created.

[00:22:44] Josh: Um, Gary, Gary was a hard driving CEO called you to task every day. You never felt like you had a, like a, uh, like the valve had been released and you had a, had a break, but it made me better and really, really taught me, uh, the business side. I got under the covers more than I, than I did at the Taramark side.

[00:23:03] Josh: And now, you know, Gary's Gary's a good friend and now he's my, on my board of directors. So he's, I was on the phone this morning, you know, taking advice and trying to figure out. Yeah. How to succeed and other things I want to do. So I get to call on those folks now, which is really, it's really cool. 

[00:23:17] Chris: Yeah, I'm gonna ask you a question that's maybe a little off color.

[00:23:20] Chris: I don't know, but as I hear you talk about kind of, you know, one of the things you've respected in these guys, right, Manny and Gary is being kind of hard charging, keeping the pressure on, keeping stuff, which, which gets you to do things you didn't know you could do. I've just been reading the new Elon Musk biography that talks about this a little bit, right?

[00:23:35] Chris: And can kind of compare the same to jobs. And then you see some of these same things in like Bezos and Gates and a lot of high profile CEOs. Are generally characterized as just being assholes. And, and you said earlier, right? Like maybe they're not, but they're, they're, they're, there's a reason behind it.

[00:23:48] Chris: I don't know. I mean, is it possible to, to be a real leader of a innovative change worthy, like change driving company organization and also be a nice guy. Are you a nice guy to everyone you work with all the time? I don't know. 

[00:24:01] Josh: You know, it's funny. I'm generally really nice to everybody as a person around.

[00:24:06] Josh: I don't like to burn bridges. I think in this industry, I very few people would call me an enemy or, you know, they may not wish me well, but that's okay. That happens in any part of the world. You can't satisfy everybody. When it comes to being a CEO, you can try to be the nice guy all the time. Inevitably you start to become an asshole.

[00:24:27] Josh: I don't know why. I try and have a very flat organization and, and trust management, and I try and get rock stars to run their things, um, but invariably you start to, you start to get hard when you want something done and you start to grow into resistance, but you know it's right. You become an asshole.

[00:24:44] Josh: It's either my way or the highway. You've got to force that because Your CEO role is to see the big picture, not just of, of land or energy or water or fiber or finance or sales or anything else. I can't just focus on that. I focus on everything. And if one piece of that or two pieces of that aren't coming along for the ride.

[00:25:05] Josh: You become an asshole to make it happen because you have to. 

[00:25:08] Chris: Yeah. You gotta go light that fire and push it up. Yeah. 

[00:25:11] Josh: Yeah. And constantly looking, how do you, you're, you can almost view it like you're a puppeteer and you've got, but instead of just having one puppet or two puppets, like a puppeteer would do, you have a thousand strings going on and those thousand strings are all those things I spoke about before and all of the underlying employees and all the pieces of the puzzle and you're constantly.

[00:25:31] Josh: You know, maneuvering those things to create, you know, an end result or a show to make it happen. It's hard to be nice all the time. And I hate myself when I'm not like that. I actually don't, when I'm a dick, better call me a dick than an asshole. Um, cause you can be a dictator, you know, so that's, that's, that's my own employees call me that employees call me that sometimes jokingly, but.

[00:25:54] Josh: It doesn't feel good to be that kind of a person because nobody likes to be like that. It's inside your stomach. You don't feel good afterwards. You're all kinds of bad chemistry is flowing through your body when you're upset and you know, it's, it's hard to be passionate and nice all the time. 

[00:26:09] Chris: Right. All the time.

[00:26:10] Chris: It's the all the time thing that I think makes it hard. Right. For sure. And like you said, especially when you can see where things need to go and what needs to happen. All the time. But communicating that and getting people on board and getting people to agree. And yeah, it's tough. I like that analogy of the thousand strings puppeteer and trying to, you know, get things to happen the way that they need to happen.

[00:26:29] Chris: It's an interesting conundrum for sure. 

[00:26:31] Josh: It is. And you know, if we were in our particular company, our industry, a static low growth year over year, managing growth, You know, maybe warehouses with a simple lease terms and a simple to manage thing and maintenance and no, no shock and awe, no intensity, no difficult capital markets, just kind of going along, I could be the nicest guy in the world because I got nothing.

[00:26:57] Josh: There's nothing to do other than careful, slow, calm growth, but in a, in an intense high growth industry where there's a lot of smart people in an industry, there's a lot of, you know, a lot, it's coming at you from all sides. That's intense. And, and if, if something's lagging behind, it's intolerable because you'll fail.

[00:27:18] Josh: Yeah. You have to be, 

[00:27:19] Chris: you literally can't let it happen. Yeah. Yeah. And I think you're right. That the pace too, is probably a big part of this, right? Where I think bluntness and brusqueness can, can be misinterpreted really easily as well, right? And so maybe it's not that you're being mean, it's just that like, we need to do this.

[00:27:34] Chris: We need to do it now. Here's the shortest way I can tell you that. And let's get it done. 

[00:27:37] Josh: I understand. There's 25 reasons why we shouldn't, because you don't believe it. But I'm telling you, you got to do it now. And that's where you start to become, you're like, God, I hate doing that. But sometimes you got to do it.

[00:27:46] Chris: Just make it happen. Yeah. Yeah. Because it's better to be able to convince someone to want to do it themselves as much as possible. But, but every now and then you've got to just lay down the law a little bit and just say, no, no, I understand your objections, but we're doing it this way. Let's figure it out.

[00:27:59] Josh: Absolutely. And the toughest thing in that is that when you get a couple of people who can, who are, who talk to each other and are against what you might want to propose, then, then all of a sudden you're the obstacles to get something done is even harder. That's when you start, when the smiles go away and you start getting hard because in the end, inevitably.

[00:28:16] Josh: Everybody in a company in my company now, or any other company works for that CEO. So if the CEO had a thousand employees and said 500 are going away, cause they're not following along, that's their prerogative. Now that CEO ultimately works for the board of directors, which represents the investors. And then if it's the board's prerogative that they go away, they go away.

[00:28:37] Josh: That's the reality of the world. I've seen it happen. I saw like the dot com bus Terramark. It was like, it was like American idol in the early days when they would let go of 50 people in a room and there was only two left in the other room. Swear to God. It was like that. There was a, there was a time when 30 people went to one room, 30 in one room.

[00:28:53] Josh: I was in the other room thinking I was the guy who was going to be let go. Cause everything we were, we were at a. We were about to go bankrupt. It was really rough, right? Dot com bust is hard on everybody really, but you know, I sat there and I'm like, and everybody was let go. And all of a sudden I was in, I would go to the office.

[00:29:07] Josh: I was, it was a office in a different building. I was the only one there. And I knew that office was going to go away too, but all of a sudden it was empty, you know? That was tough times. So, and I, you know, I saw that happen in, in Cyrus one little bit, you know, Gary made some shifts. He cycled out management, brought a new management that, that was, they was able to achieve the goals that the company needed to achieve.

[00:29:26] Josh: And that's, that's the tough role that happens with all that. 

[00:29:28] Chris: It is. Yeah. That's actually, uh, interestingly around the same time. com bust and early two thousands. That's where I really kind of got my start because of the same thing happened. Uh, it wasn't quite in different rooms, but basically I was in, I was in the room that didn't get let go and I was the only one in that room and everybody else was, was gone and so then it was like, okay, Chris, you're going to run the network, you're going to answer all the tech support calls, you're going to design the new network.

[00:29:51] Chris: And at that point we were actually writing code for our own routers and you know, it was a trial by fire. Just by elimination, right? I was probably the cheapest person. So I was the one left and I got to do it all, which was great in the end. It was terrible to go through, but I learned a lot. 

[00:30:05] Josh: You're able to go through, but it teaches you to be strong.

[00:30:08] Josh: And I describe it that I was like a cat with my claws out, you know? So I was like, if anything came along, I'd never question it. It was never The words, that's not my job never came out. And if I hear that now, because of that experience, or you want to talk about intolerable and watch me, that's when the dictator comes out.

[00:30:28] Josh: Yeah, big time, big time, because that's just, that's not, it should never be that you tell me I've got to take out the trash. And I, as CEO and our little company, I'll take out the trash. I'll mop. I'll clean a toilet. I don't care. That's whatever it takes to get it done. I, you know, that, that's how I fell into, into the peering world and running an internet exchange.

[00:30:47] Josh: And, you know, I ended up, I, you know, there was nobody else to do it. So I ran the cross connect portfolio and the fabric, and I was one of the public speakers and end up going to every peering forum and then founded the global peering forum. And I organically became a nerd. I never had an able on a router because God don't give me that, but you know, I was still in with, with the right passion was able to drive it.

[00:31:09] Josh: I mean, I only know a couple of people who built internet exchanges from scratch, you know, there's not, it's a hard, hard thing to do, you know, and that's, uh, that it takes a very specific passion and know how the guys who did it, Jay Adelson, you know, I think Jay could probably get an able on a router. He's pretty slick.

[00:31:26] Josh: You know, he started at PAX Palo Alto working for Digital Equipment Corporation, and then, and then, you know, founded Equinix with Al Avery, Joep Witteman, who, you know, founded the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, you know, folks like that. There's just not many, you know, it's, it's, uh, Joep, Joep never had an able and a router, you know, he couldn't do that, you know, you, you know, it's, it's interesting.

[00:31:46] Josh: So I'm good friends with all those guys. And we all, we share a camaraderie around the, the amazing success we had in building those kinds of things. 

[00:31:54] Chris: And that needs to be one thing that I definitely wanted to talk to you about a little bit is, is the global peering forum, right? And it's awesome. It's done a lot of great work, I think, bringing people together and kind of promoting the interconnection ecosystem.

[00:32:04] Chris: And we're a long ways further along in that journey than, than we were when it started for sure, like 20 years ago, a totally different world. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about. Maybe the motivation a little bit, but also just the process, right? I think, how did you identify that this thing was needed and then what does it take to get an organization like that going to, to bring people together and form that kind of community that can have such an impact?

[00:32:25] Josh: Yeah, it was, it was my idea, but I'm not, I always call myself the founder of the global peering forum, but it was really a few folks. It was the folks from Lynx, and AMSIX, and DECIX, and Switch, and Data, and Equinix, and Terramark. All at the time, so what was happening is that there were a lot of peering forums.

[00:32:43] Josh: So many that if you were a peering coordinator, and this is, this is when it was much more of a, the peering teams were, were small, but it was much more of a relationship process. And, you know, trying to figure out what AS you wanted to connect to, where you want an interconnect and what are the, was it going to be, you know, peering, paid peering, you know, what, what, what was it going to be?

[00:33:04] Josh: You could do it all at NANOG and do it all at RIPE or, you know, Apricot meetings, right? Then companies started doing peering forums. Equinix first did the gigabit peering forum. That was the first one. And then switching data did their peering forum. And then Terramark did the terabit peering forum cause it had to be bigger.

[00:33:19] Josh: You know, we all started doing that. And what was happening is the peering community was like. I can't get my bosses to approve me going to 20 different peering forums. And, you know, they, they wanted to go to Equinix is event. Cause that was the biggest exchanges still. They wanted to go to switching data, which at the time, you know, it's now owned by Equinix, but it was the biggest, the other biggest one they wanted to go to Miami because, well, we, we have Latin America, you know, all of Latin America still goes through that exchange.

[00:33:44] Josh: So, but it was tough to get it all approved. So then we, what it was recognized that that was a problem and that our own customers are talking to us. So we all got together. And say, let's, you know, let's have one forum that allows. All of the peering coordinators once a year to get together and meet. And it had amazing success in helping to drive and guide the industry going forward.

[00:34:06] Chris: It really did. That's great. And unlike interconnection, we are just about out of time for today. Josh, do you have any, any projects or causes or anything that we have talked about or haven't talked about that you want to highlight for the imposter syndrome network? 

[00:34:21] Josh: Yeah. I mean, look, my, my focus now is energy, energy, energy, energy, you know, where we can build fiber rings.

[00:34:26] Josh: We can find giant land to enable the biggest campus in the world. And our campus now is 2, 164 acres. The new ones are going to be 5, 000 acres and bigger. And you know, we just, because bigger is needed for this industry, but the energy World is going to be really wild. Our grid is peaking out. It's getting old.

[00:34:45] Josh: The ability to produce green power and sustainable energy to support the data center ecosystem, which, which drives the network and routers and everything else that makes it all work is going to start to be crippled if we don't start driving more energy. So it's, I've never become such an energy, you know, vacuum right now as I am.

[00:35:02] Josh: Educating myself and speaking about it and partnering. And, and all we do is think in gigawatt scale, which is just amazing. Right. Never thought that world would happen, but if you tell me I could get 10 gigawatts of power, I'm like, it's not enough. I need more. It's a crazy world now. So 

[00:35:17] Chris: yeah, 

[00:35:17] Josh: all about energy right now.

[00:35:18] Josh: It's our biggest focus. 

[00:35:19] Chris: Makes sense. Well, Josh, thank you so much for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network. And thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention, and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on before we close out Josh.

[00:35:39] Chris: I do have one more question. I'm just curious what you think, or what you would say is the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career so far. 

[00:35:46] Josh: I mean, the most valuable lesson is just do something you love, you know, have a passion for it. I've been miserable when I, when I slid into something I didn't love and it invariably happened as I ebbed and flowed in this industry.

[00:35:58] Josh: Just have a passion for it, do what you love. And if you're miserable and you're not loving what you're doing, it's going to make everybody else miserable around you. So move on, go, go somewhere else, go do something else and follow your passions. 

[00:36:08] Chris: I love it. I think that's great advice. And we will be back next week.