Oct. 20, 2020

Adventures of the CIO Tech Writer

Adventures of the CIO Tech Writer

Interview with Mark Chillingworth, European CIO & CTO Community Editor and Chair of the Horizon CIO Network.

In this episode, Ryan and Heather chat with Mark Chillingworth about his career writing for and about CIOs. 

Topics include:

  • The pivotal role of the enterprise cloud in 2020
  • Mark's two hats: writing for CIOs and vendors
  • Two types of CIOs: operations versus product
  • Why good communication is crucial for CIOs
  • What's next for CIOs and the tech industry

Chillingworth has been observing, speaking and writing about and hosting CIO/CTO community events and podcasts since January 2008. Today Chillingworth works as a writer, editor and moderator for leading publications, CIOs and CTOs as well as technology service providers to ensure their message has a strong storytelling ethos.  


Chillingworth spent 8 years as the Editor in Chief of CIO UK and created the CIO Summit and CIO 100 formats in a tenure that took the title from failure to award winner. 

Mark's Twitter: @mchillingworth

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Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in their field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

So welcome off the digital workspace works podcast. Thanks for making some time for us. You want to start off with give us a bit of an introduction.

Mark Chillingworth  0:39  
Thank you for having me on. Yeah, hello, everyone. My name is Mark chillingworth. I've been writing and editing for the CIO and CTO community for 12 years now just over 12 years. And yeah, find myself I suppose, as the community editor across predominantly in UK, but across Europe increasingly, and it's a fantastic place to be.

Ryan Purvis  1:03  
That's great. Very interesting. And tell us when you when you do your writing, and what are you looking for topics while How do you find those topics?

Mark Chillingworth  1:11  
Okay, good question. So I, although probably the industry would me a technology journalist, anybody who's seen me use technology would quickly dispel that rumor. Because it's a pretty frustrating experience, particularly for the computer. So I felt like it was our business journalist and business, businesses about people. We all do business, we all interact with businesses, we're all members of businesses. And businesses are both their strength is their people, and sometimes their weaknesses, their people. And I just find that fascinating. I love meeting CIOs and CTOs going to their organizations when you're allowed, and getting under the hood and finding out you know, seeing the passion in a CIO and CTOs eyes as they show the organization. And they may introduce you to their team members and to the other people who are not directly in their team, but of course, or pivotal to what the organization is doing. It's the greatest pleasure in the world. And you know, it's a it's an honor to do the job I do because I've been everywhere from on patrol across Salzburg playing with Brigadier Alan Hill. I've been inside steel factories, NHS Trust hospitals. And of course, you get old fashioned office, but all of them are vital and all of them there are people there doing one thing with passion I find and I just love that.

Ryan Purvis  2:39  
When you see you on patrol with the Brigadier, what are we actually doing?

Mark Chillingworth  2:44  
Well, Allen does very well out of this story of we went to a forward operating base on Salzburg playing on a blisteringly hot summer's day they were practicing to go out on on a mission in Afghanistan, and on this particular summer, you know, you could have been It was almost like, you know, some sort of Time Warp would happen and you'd been transported across the world to Afghanistan, everything was golden and burn dry and bristling. And he and we went to this for operating base, and our land rover and wanting to attend. And stray away you had this strange juxtaposition of a very dense, you know, the enterprise technology environment that you will and everyone listening knows in, inside out tables, laptops to stand in the corner, and all that and then suddenly, a mortar goes off, which is all part of the practice region. And everyone jumps to the floor apart from the journalist or is Notepad. alum burst and laughter it was on your detonate, and they was amazing. We spent the whole day there. And it was amazing to see how they rehearse every single element. And also the the professionalism from the from the text to the frontline troops going out. And obviously all the technology interactions between all of that. That was amazing, but equally, you know, people like Cindy Fenella taken me around there and their NHS trusts and introduced me to, you know, frontline nurses who are pushing the envelope of technology and, you know, the passion and professionalism between Cindy and her team and his team. There is no difference just the setting.

Ryan Purvis  4:34  
Did you mentioned that practice area demographics, the military, they did their practice without technology, the technology would go down and be in people so something like that.

Mark Chillingworth  4:42  
I'm pretty sure they did your best off asking. Don't call is now the CIO for the British Army I had the pleasure of writing about earlier this year. But yeah, certainly the impression I came away from the NHS and the British Army's practice and lecturing for every eventuality is humbling. professionalism.

Ryan Purvis  5:01  
Yeah, it's me wondering about because we've now with code being pushed so hard to work from home and relying on this technology that for a lot of us was sort of normal for a lot of people wasn't normal. Now, friends using Ansible, everyone's leveled up to the same level. And the thing, I was wondering what happens now, if the technology were to go would fail, you unable to use teams and zoom and your laptops in the having businesses operate at all? Isn't this reliance?

Mark Chillingworth  5:27  
You know, there's going to be these issues are there. And we certainly saw the beginning of the lockdown, you know, when huge numbers of Microsoft encourage huge numbers of people to join teams, and then hadn't quite got their capacity management, right, Ben, pass off to Microsoft in LA, they seem to solve that issue very, very quickly. Zoom Zoom had similar issues, they resolve those very quickly. More security orientation, I believe, zoom. So I think, yeah, we reached a very fascinating level of ability to respond, and we there will, there will still be failures, and there will still be peers of mine who enjoy telling the stories of the failures.

Ryan Purvis  6:10  
In order to monopolize us, you got anything you want to add last remark?

Heather Bicknell  6:17  
Oh, I guess I'm sure we'll get into it. Is there anything more that you've been writing about or editing kind of recently as a topic that we might want to cover that folks might be interested in?

Mark Chillingworth  6:33  
I mean, unsurprisingly, probably, just like the CIOs, my huge focus throughout 2020 has been the enterprise cloud. And I work with a number of really cutting edge technology companies. And they may rightly see that actually, there's there's going to be a, you know, a tech boom off the back of this for those organizations who maybe weren't as prepared as others. And so I've been helping them with a lot of written and communications material, because there are organizations who I think as as their as their market bounces back or is just the economy returns to some form of normality. There will be a need to to invest in the cloud, because it's clearly the most responsive technology for this, this new world where we're navigating.

Ryan Purvis  7:23  
Do you have a feel for that have similar well formed question, I guess, but for their growth? I mean, is it potentially businesses now moving the entire business, a cloud and spending a fortune doing that transformation? Or do you think is putting completely into a new business line? I mean, do you ever feel either way where that's good?

Mark Chillingworth  7:43  
I get the feeling. Actually, it's not the latter is not, you know, actually, in some ways, I read increasingly, that digital transformation to the the sort of the fancy glossy digital transformation have become an Uber, all that sort of storyline, I think that's going to slow down to do business in reverse. Every vertical market has taken a hammering through this, no matter no matter how positive things look for the technology sector, every market has, has had a hit. Where I do see, I think, as far as the growth is, is that the optimization, the fishy theme of the business where it and cloud can really make good inroads and, you know, health and lower operating costs and improve margin. I think that's going to increase and certainly look at last week's carbon SCI survey, massive increase in budgets for a short period of time. But obviously now, or as if we do return to some sort of normality, understandably, the board, I can expect to return on investment and some sort of, you know, knuckling down from that. And so, yes, CIOs are in a really interesting place, I think, going forward of delivering that optimization. And it may not be quite as sexy as building an entirely new digital business model for a consumer or new consumer experience.

Ryan Purvis  9:18  
Yeah, yeah. is almost the plumbing that has to be sorted out, which is never sexy, because that's, that's hidden behind the veil of something else. It has been interesting to sort of see in in the group that you run and and other groups, how many CIOs and CTOs have been stuck in more human or people focused roles. So they've had to absorb HR into it, but but now work very closely with HR or being stickered with HR HR, what kind of other tower and technologies another tower and they were kind of doing their own things?

Mark Chillingworth  9:49  
I agree. Yeah. And it's, I mean, that's a testament to the role, isn't it? And one of the things I find fascinating about work I do is, you know, is leadership. I don't think During the English speaking world, particularly good at understanding the leadership is a skill in itself is a great talent. And yeah, funnily enough, you know, we're all sports obsessed in these an entertainment assassin. Yeah, you know, none of our teams in our favorite sports would get anywhere about a great leader, you know, for me is my love is cycling. And you know, Dave Brailsford to all accounts wasn't a particularly great bike racer, but my lord is a damn good bike team leader. And when we see that across football, rugby, tennis, all sorts. And yet, we don't seem to extrapolate that to the world, to the world of business, and what have you that completely understanding that leisure is a great skill. And I think it's a testament that so in to come back on track. So many of these CIOs have become good leaders, you know, they are good leaders, they just happen to have, you know, 60%, their responsibilities, the technology function.

Ryan Purvis  10:58  
And I think, you know, that that is about to largely communication, be able to communicate and, and for a lot of my below my career, what we did was always too technical always, we thought was too complicated to explain to the average business person and to have the skills to be able to communicate those things, and be able to survive to the point of making them feel talked down to or Miss, then they're just getting across the, you know, this is hard work to be done, but it will deliver this value and come back to ROI point. I think there's because of artificially accelerate everyone else's learning curve, that they can get this take something it does work, and does have some ROI, but may not be as direct

Mark Chillingworth  11:40  
as people want it to be. Absolutely. And we saw that in 2008 2009. With the banking crisis, and nothing that was the real, real first, completely business focused step forward for CIOs. Now, I'll always remember it because we managed to turn my team and I managed to see turn CIO magazine around from being a loss maker to a very profitable publication in that period. In that year, in fact, during 2008, when everything went belly up at the end of to the latter half of 2008, we still had a very viable publication. Because the market course actually wanted to talk to the most senior business technology leader now. And the CIO by the end of 2008 2009, was clearly very business minded technology. Huh?

Ryan Purvis  12:34  
I mean, is that what you're saying? It's a 12 year period to to and you saw that we are now we have Have you seen drastic changes in the role CEO, CTO, CEO, or C. So I

Mark Chillingworth  12:45  
wouldn't say drastic, but I definitely think, yeah, they they became, and they became welcomed as business leaders. And that proved, and I think, the honor, and as only really become aware, sort of reminded me recently, yes, yeah, I had a conversation with one of the big retail CIOs. gunda. When naspers, obviously, in 2000, with y2k, which, you know, lots of people going out on, you know, it was a myth and all the rest of it was well, or deep, or did technology do its job and make sure everything stood up? And yeah, I think it is more of the latter. So it already began their ascendancy, but I think to the banking crisis was, you know, it was all about business, wasn't it? There was no, there was no failing in technology, because of the banking crisis. It was a break in the marketplace. And COVID is saying, and so it gave them that huge opportunity to demonstrate business value, because, you know, so many organizations needed to tighten their belts. And then, you know, not long after that the iPhone arrived and began to really change markets. And so it's been a fascinating 12 years for CIOs. So not drastic changes. I think we're where there is a slight change coming in the market. And again, writing about Harvey Nash report was interesting last week, is I think we are seeing a growth of the more ops centric technology leader, someone who can just keep the business absolutely performing optimally, and delivering everything it promises its customer. And then we have seen this CTP o type job Chief Technology and product officer, and they are the more the technology leaders who can envisage, but probably more importantly, galvanize and lead a team of people who will create new products and services. And we've seen them in the travel sector in retail and that I think, so I think there is a bit of a divide happening in the role now, and they're both absolutely brilliant roles. It's, it's a personality thing. So I suppose as to, you know, some, I think over the next year or so some CEOs will probably have to really look at themselves and go, actually that that CTO piece is just so much stakeholder management, there's so much, you know, power bound, communicating, talking salesmanship effectively, as really mean that I love building great teams to build and operate great technology. And, you know, huge, hugely important roles, both of them, and organizations. And the CIO need to decide which one they need.

Ryan Purvis  15:38  
It's funny you say that, because as you explained the two roles, I was literally thinking which 1am I CTP Oh, one more than the sort of operational focused one. I mean, I've had to do both in my career, but but I definitely get more interested in the CTO. And

Mark Chillingworth  15:53  
I think the recent years where the operational bits got a little bit sort of mis misaligned and misunderstood as if it's, if it's a bad thing. And I think, you know, actually, what, what COVID has done actually has shown how probably all CIOs have to be really good at the operational bit. Yeah, we've had that conversation he is and he can't You can't get see on the board unless you go the office. But as businesses try to reconfigure themselves post pandemic, some of those some of those are really operationally strong CIOs actually going to be the rockstars going for, because that's exactly what their vertical market or business will need. I think we've had a few years where the the product orientated CIOs have been more of the rock stars. And that was, that was right and probably because we were transitioning into a new type of economy now. Now we don't, we don't quite yet know what type of economy we will be when you and I catch up this time next year. Sure.

Ryan Purvis  16:56  
Did you know that we post them so now under which Star Trek Captain would you choose for your digital transformation and it kind of alludes to what you're saying this is a Benjamin Sisko run us through in a starbase operational captain and then you've got the more Sparky product one, I guess, which would be your Janeway as your cards or your arches that are exploring the the the universe, the universe? Yeah, solving problems. And I never caught them. It was kind of the same analogy. I haven't

Mark Chillingworth  17:25  
met but I'm not a big star trek watches. I'm not very.

Maybe it's the crew of the Millennium Falcon. And Chewbacca is going to come to before an hour, you know, whilst we've had the Han Solo, good looking at rebel years, for the last couple of

Ryan Purvis  17:44  
weeks, you probably do a solid version of that, because I think there is there are analogies there, too. You mentioned when we had our free call that you sort of you do for for CIOs as well, instead of writing communications for them.

Mark Chillingworth  17:56  
Yeah, and it very much connects to that point you made earlier about the need to communicate. And, you know, all I do very simply is I do the writing for some CIOs and some IT departments. Because as you say, so many CIOs have become aware of how important is to communicate what they in their team are doing and what the impact on the businesses is both positive. And sometimes, yeah, they need to explain some negative impacts that technology is having on their vertical market. And if I don't do something, the negative will increase. But obviously, over 12 years, what I've noticed is, you know, as always, all know that the need to spell out what's going on, and then half the time, because there's always a board meeting or there's always a new project or a new technology that's got got to be implemented. And so a couple of CEOs were kind of commissioned me and I've sort of become their, their embedded writer in their organizations and either go in or spend time with their teams and give everyone because the whole team is like that isn't it's not just the CIO is always busy, I generally find whenever I'm working with IT departments, everyone is absolutely full throttle all the time delivering an agile course promotes that sort of excitement, but also continuous way of working. And they never get that time to write. And if you don't write for a living, it's a pretty daunting task. And, you know, waking up to a blank page frightens the hell out of a lot of people. But it's my day job, a blank page, the start of every day, and some days, you have to get four blank pages, or not blank forms. And so I just take that burden off them is how I describe it really all, you know, they can give if you give me 30 minutes of your time to brain dump what you and your team are delivering, and it's my job to make that good editorial readable. So what

Heather Bicknell  19:54  
sort of pieces are you writing for these teams?

Mark Chillingworth  19:57  
It's a it's a variety really, I mean, There's, there's a quite an obvious case study to explain what, you know what a new technology is doing, why a particular project was taken, was taken through the organization. Some of these thought leadership, you know, so many organizations transitioning the way they operate, or the way they deal with their market and consumers. And there are people in the in the technology teams who absolutely have the knowledge and the passion to explain to the organization. You know, we need to do it this way, because our consumer base is changing or our market, but it's changing. But as I say, they don't have the time so I can carry that. Other thing, other type of things is always just good old fashioned explainers. One client recently asked for a wiki. Yeah, we've got so become a distributed business. Could you produce a wiki that explains how all these different things work? So when people are stressed, or why isn't x happy for me? They can quickly

use the wiki and off we go.

Heather Bicknell  21:06  
Yeah, that's it. I mean, I guess you know, when you're that sounds like you know, when you're that large of an organization, you know, essentially any anyone you're writing for, it's such a huge audience. At that point, I could see it being quite daunting, almost like you're writing for customers.

Mark Chillingworth  21:26  
Within the team of those CIOs may have become less technical. In some cases. Within the team. Of course, there are people who are deeply technical, and that's what we pay them to do. And I can consume all that knowledge off them. And despite not being any good at technology myself, hopefully fairly good understanding. Well, this is what the story is, this is the piece of technical thing, and I'll explain it like this. And hopefully that helps the, as you say, the rest of the organization that's watching that does, that's really clever. Yeah.

Heather Bicknell  21:57  
So how did you get into this writing about technology not being, you know, a super techie person yourself?

Mark Chillingworth  22:06  
It really was in the mid mid 90s. bizarrely, I started my career as a motor racing journalist. And then basically, you either became you either were Jeremy Clarkson, which I wasn't, and, or there was a pretty limited career in it. Because there's always another young fellow who wants to learn more. Later, he wants to write about motor racing, and earn even less than that. I mean, at the time, obviously, I mean, I met some of my first gigs as a technology writer, where about the free ISP was when you know, the first routers and that were being sent out to people's homes, and there was massive competition to onboard as many customers as possible. And so you know, having written about racing drivers and their cars for a bit, the an editor obviously, assume that I'll be able to cope with it. So I moved into that, and I've never really left really, I've been writing, not a technical person have been writing about technology's impact on people and organizations ever since.

Heather Bicknell  23:13  
And I'm sure you've picked up some of the you know, all the lingo over the years. Yeah, I mean,

Mark Chillingworth  23:19  
it does have its own language.

And yeah, I mean, even now, I'm talking to my two daughters at times. And my wife is a technologist. So I do find myself slipping into the language and see a raise eyebrows like, oh, that doesn't make sense. Or it seems as if he knows what he's talking about.

Ryan Purvis  23:39  
And what are your thoughts now that we were going through this pandemic? And it looks like we're going through our second wave in the UK? What are your thoughts on future work or during cover the rest of our lives?

Mark Chillingworth  23:50  
Yeah, I mean, it's, it's a really interesting time is really counting time is and I come from a very manual laboring, agricultural, rural background, and, and you see it in the forums that we're all members of it. There's a huge there's a degree of I told you so that this this work from home and productivity and all that, well, you know, the technology is there, people will be trusted, they'll get on with it, and they absolutely will. And, you know what, you know, COVID has been not a huge change in lifestyle for myself, you know, I work from home anyway. And you carry on, but we're the lucky ones. We want anybody working in technology, I think for the next couple of years is incredibly fortunate we are, this will be the next big step forward in the technology or digitization of our society. It doesn't sound too buzzword II. But you know, we've already seen it happen with the viewers and the way we all use Amazon and Netflix and all that but you know, so much more will fall on that path as a result, but, so but I do worry, you know, especially as a father, you know, what do we do for those who don't work in technology? Or write about technology? And I think, you know, we moved into the professionals, we're moving into a very portfolio orientated way to make a living. And you know, that that's all well and good and necessary in many ways. But we do need to make sure that the the those who, who aren't professionals have a level of protection and loss of work flexibility and ability to rescale and educate. Because if we don't, you know, we haven't we still haven't resolved in this country, the the closing of the heavy industries. I mean, that was that was necessary at the time, it was the john wasn't finished. on, you know, when I travel around parts of the country, I see places that have been, you know, ignored. And that's no way to treat any society.

Ryan Purvis  26:08  
I think that's where things like universal, universal basic income may come in. Fascinating,

Mark Chillingworth  26:14  
isn't it? Yeah. I mean, it's, yes, it's a topic I read about regularly and think, yeah, I wonder, I wonder if this could work, you know, something like that. We clearly reaching a major inflection point in in time, aren't we the way you know, just as we did with a sort of divide between capitalism and communism, and our sort of inflection point like that is coming. And hopefully, some clever people, the mayor or the Hell, yeah, when

Ryan Purvis  26:41  
I was listening to the other day where they were comparing, not so much socialism, but but what the Nordics do in the sense of your text quite heavily, but you also benefit quite heavily from from the state to education, your medical stuff is covered, but it's covered across the board. And because you're taxed based on I don't know how the tax tables work and and where you go into there, but, but everyone's taxed, almost at the same rate, how heavily there are benefits from the same way there isn't this, the more you earn, the more you pay tax on an issue unless you pay taxes just, you know, consistent, but then they don't have been necessary any of the problems and some of the other states have like the Americans or, or the UK or Asia, where you have these divides between the almost the haves and have nots. And because the people affected most of us have been, you know, people that own an either via manual labor role would have to be there, you know, face to face to face and that sort of thing. All the support doesn't need them. Because you know, you can travel hospitality where no one's traveling, there's many hospitality. What do you do with those those seals or people that skills?

Mark Chillingworth  27:47  
Absolutely. I mean, I'm a

huge, hugely fascinated by the Nordics and the way they do these things. And, you know, it wasn't that long ago, that they were, you know, in mobile telecommunications, they were there for five years, there's so much innovation there. And now in electrification of cars, you know, that you've got Pollstar and people there. You know, some people seem to accuse that sort of societal model of not allowing innovation, but actually I look at them and go, it's not what I see. I see some pretty I spent some time in Denmark last year and innovation was was left right and center, Nicole do bang Olsen through to you know, Carlsberg really forward thinking organization. So, yeah, I think it's, there's a lot we could learn from that part. Part of the world, I can't wait to start traveling again.

Ryan Purvis  28:38  
I think the problem the word innovation, or the word has become as everyone's expected to be some drastically big thing. But innovation is just doing something different. Yeah. And in university, if I look at some of the you mentioned, the likes of Nokia, or anything like that, they've come out because they were doing it differently and perpetuated across the world quickly, because it was easy to adopt. We're probably seeing or not not seeing as much now. So I'm trying to form thought, as I said, is that people are making change all the time to operate and just basically hustle through this pandemic. No one's seen that as innovation. They just seen them as hustling may end up with a whole bunch of new products or new services that are now available to you, sort of naturally, because I had to exist. No one's no one's really seen the catalysts that tend to drive them.

Mark Chillingworth  29:32  
Absolutely. That's what continuous improvement is, is one of my clients and I we created a zoom based TV show in four weeks. Go on, because you can use normal either the client would put on a major media conference, and I would my role is to support the CIO strand event. Obviously, that's not going to happen this year. Would have been next week. I think. But you know, in four weeks marketing agency and myself and the team have a new challenge for a TV show using zoom you bringing CIOs together, it was an amazing opportunity and just shows what can be achieved in this just using standard technologies and building a building a virtual T.

Ryan Purvis  30:22  
And that's usually that's something to run on an internal network or that sort of thing. Oh,

Mark Chillingworth  30:28  
yeah. He's on YouTube. It's on. It's called the cloud council cows. Yo, Sal. And, yeah, it was a fantastic project to be involved in.

Unknown Speaker  30:40  
That's pretty cool.

Ryan Purvis  30:42  
I think we need more than I think there's a need for because we're so spread out now. And we can't get together you need to you need to dot any other way to have a, you know, a tribe.

Unknown Speaker  30:54  
Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  30:57  
And you think so. So the future that I mean, the future of our GCS going back to, to sort of full time in the office again, once once we sort of get past COVID? Or I mean, what do you what are you getting from them from the market?

Mark Chillingworth  31:10  
It seems to me, it's I mean, I think that I think is a distant element of distributed or enterprise is certainly for, you know, as I say that, as fortunately, knowledge workers is normal, you know, my wife has been working at home for ever since lockdown and says, our productivity is up. And, you know, it works is working for the businesses working for her. And you hear that story right across the forum, any that that's happening. And again, as I say, but for those roles that don't see that that's the challenge. What we do there, I mean, there's many benefits to our little rural town in the just at the very edge of sorry, and will really, if not, if most of us don't get on a train and travel out of town to work. And we will surely spend more time in our towns and they invest in our local economies. And that can be a huge benefit of the big, big major nationals and internationals, as well as the small local trader, and both both require support. supply chains moved away from those because everyone's going to hubs, our spokes are becoming more important again. And that's, that's an interesting economic change and an interesting dynamic, again, for the CIO to grapple with day in day out.

Ryan Purvis  32:41  
And that's great technologies are being delivered, like Microsoft's new web platform. If we wanted to take away one headache, but the current use of headaches, you know, as things evolve, mostly with getting the people to adopt these things and use them.

Mark Chillingworth  33:01  
adoption rates were fascinating when they threw COVID off, you know, everything from electronic signatures to full color collaboration, in many organizations that already sat there, that been implemented, but they just hadn't got over the adoption hump. And then suddenly, one Tuesday in March, we were called to adopt. And we all did. But

Ryan Purvis  33:25  
I don't know if you saw some of the stats. I mean, the amount of minutes that zoom and tweeted in teams delivered every day. I mean, it's in the billions, it's quite, quite scary to even consider. And also the amount of laptops that were bought and, and that sort of thing, which, you know, there was there was a surplus, but there was no surplus by the end of that week, it was all gone.

Unknown Speaker  33:46  

Ryan Purvis  33:49  
You also mentioned that that you do some writing for vendors, what sort of writing you do for them

Mark Chillingworth  33:56  
to mix up some ghostwriting and just old fashioned copy editing really all, you know, vendors out there who don't have you know, that they use the same voice right across the, the spectrum of material they produce. I've been very lucky to work with two or three companies really understood that, yeah, it's a different voice for the CIO as a different voice. You know, the devstack ops guys don't speak the same as the CIO. Both are absolute pillars of the business, but I probably has absolutely no way I could write for the dedsec ops guys, because they want a level of technical details wavy on my media brain cells. But that business centric stuff that I've been covering day in day out for years, that's, that's where I step in. So yeah, it's really good. And it's nice to see some vendors really and huge part of his Commission's actually is usually they want to sit and learn as well as you know, are we communicating CIOs in the correct way? And when you sit down, look at their materials and I say, No, it's too technical, or you're here. them over the head or, you know, they need partners. It's a tough job. And it let's talk about how you can partner with them what you can deliver hand in hand with them. And yes, say there's a couple of companies out there who really, really embrace that good. Yeah, you're right. Go for it. Right that because we want to help these, these guys because they've got tough jobs.

Ryan Purvis  35:22  
Yeah, I must admit the, the amount of continuity bombarded with I mean, you can't open LinkedIn without, you know, a couple couple requests a day to send you some service or some products that you use, often there's a worthwhile conversation in it, but it's probably, you know, thousand to one or, or whatever the marginal, you find any sort of movements to using new media as opposed to written word. So going to video or podcasts or anything like that for for those sorts of leaders.

Mark Chillingworth  35:55  
Honestly, the count council had a commercial element to it that the partner there ultimately needs to sell their what their wares and services in return for sponsoring this product. So that's a clear example of video. Obviously, we've seen a huge number. I mean, we're in sort of peak conference season. Right now, normally, it would have been vmworld, in Barcelona, in recent Gartner symposium, and all of those, and because they've all become virtual events. And some of them have been really, really, I went to the TIBCO, and our systems ones last week. Very impressive. And so, all of that, but, you know, I think we're still has huge amount of power to sort of underpinning that, because you, you might listen to the CEO, and think, yeah, you know, she gets where I'm going with my business, that's good. Then you want to go, you know, it's natural to want to dig deeper. And the human mind often digs deeper by reading. Not always, but so yeah, I think that there's both growing in my experience, I think, more written word, more video, more, more audio, more virtual events, I think we will go back to real life events, when it's safe to do so. And I think, you know, that there's a little change, there probably going to be a lot more, a lot more targeted. Now, I always had a question mark over some of them, you know, that I went to that were just vast, and she's jammed recently, as I having once written about motor racing, you know, the scale was pretty similar to a Grand Prix in terms of, you know,

Unknown Speaker  37:45  

Mark Chillingworth  37:47  
values and people involved and therefore costs involved. I think that will change drastically or less, even for the mega vendors. I think that, you know, it'll be really interesting to see, you know, how they, how they measure their marketing ROI for them going forward. be fascinating.

Ryan Purvis  38:05  
Yeah. Because I think, you know, some some things changes too, like Apple had they, their events, and usually their weights in a couple weeks before their release, sort of the new operating system, that kind of stuff. And they almost went event, and they really straightaway which caught everyone who is used to their cadence unawares, although iOS 14 is pretty buggy, so it probably could have waited another two weeks before they released it. But even with, you know, looking at some of the other big ones, like Microsoft's things Ignite. Yeah, that was quite nice. Just to sort of watch the videos, you know, it was a much more streamlined events that wasn't necessarily as as convoluted as it has been traveled to one of those in the US, but the UK one is quite quite. overloading. So it's nice to see some of those things get a little over reality check.

Mark Chillingworth  38:55  
So much, you know, they're actually good for your productivity. Amir and I, I would put them all on the iPad on the corner of my desk. Yeah, carry on working and then sort of look over. When you know, when something had really jumped out at me, as I was saying here. Well, that's fascinating. That's really interesting. I hadn't looked at it that way. And then carry on my work and it just carries on. As a lover of radio there is a very similar paradigm.

Ryan Purvis  39:21  
Yeah. I'll suit that. There might be is the best place to to get hold of you LinkedIn or Twitter or something like that?

Mark Chillingworth  39:29  
Yeah, I'm on LinkedIn as of March. I'm on Twitter at m chillingworth. There's a lot of stuff about mountain biking on there. Probably all the, for the most sensible business technology leaders to death. With it's my obsession. So yeah, they're the two main ones.

Ryan Purvis  39:50  
Okay, so are you ready to do the epic? Yes.

Mark Chillingworth  39:54  
No, I don't know. I'm hoping. Well, I was meant to be doing a two to one blog this year. See that didn't happen. So it's either that or Corsica next year as I am my plans for next year because I've basically got some travel arrangements in place already, but we're all shell for the time being. And then maybe maybe I think the year after that, who knows?

Ryan Purvis  40:17  
It's pretty soon, super well thanks for your time again. And

thank you for listening today's episode. Heather is our producer and editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

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Mark ChillingworthProfile Photo

Mark Chillingworth

European CIO & CTO Community Editor. Chair of the Horizon CIO Network

Mark Chillingworth has been observing, speaking and writing about and hosting CIO/CTO community events and podcasts since January 2008. Today Chillingworth works as a writer, editor and moderator for leading publications, CIOs and CTOs as well as technology service providers to ensure their message has a strong storytelling ethos.
Chillingworth spent 8 years as the Editor in Chief of CIO UK and created the CIO Summit and CIO 100 formats in a tenure that took the title from failure to award winner.