29 May 2020
Eran Brown is the EMEA CTO at Infinidat, a provider of multi-petabyte data storage solutions.
Networking+ asked him some questions of a very different kind.
What is the best thing about your job?
Customer advocacy: I get to help customers solve real issues using our technologies. There is real satisfaction in enabling companies to meet their end goal for data storage and providing them with the tools to offer a better customer experience. This, we are finding, is paramount in today’s instant gratification world! I’m a techie at heart but I’ve worked hard to simplify complex technical challenges into tangible business value, which is really useful in winning over non-techie key stakeholders!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I’ll have to say my parents: my mum’s philosophy in life can be summed in two words “so what?” – she cared very little about what other people say and think and taught us to ignore “common wisdom” and think independently. I think she probably had a lot to do with me always choosing to work for upcoming companies who were disrupting their field, instead of the entrenched incumbents. My father is more of a talker – his life philosophy requires four words: “Learn, always and everything”. He always fuelled my curiosity, making me the proud tech-nerd that I am. Anyone seeing me walking my dog will see me with one earpiece in, learning something new through a podcast. It also contributed a lot to my career, where I can find myself in a conversation with a web company in the UK in the morning, a financial customer in Italy around noon and a US federal account in the evening. Having a keen interest in their area of work and being able to relate to what they are trying to achieve, is critical to building the relationship, and makes working together a lot more interesting.
What is your biggest regret?
I was supposed to relocate to another country twice in my life and both times it didn’t happen (for very different reasons). As a keen traveller, the idea of living someplace completely new, with a different language and customs seems like the greatest adventure possible. Discovering the unknown and learning about yourself (and sometimes surprisingly so) is part of the journey that travel allows one to nurture! In the pre-Covid-19 days I travelled a lot and I hope to keep discovering the world, one city at a time soon.
If you had to work in a different industry, what would it be?
It may still happen! My dream, if I can afford it, is to start a non-profit organisation that will develop a critical thinking curriculum for young kids. I think it is among the most important skills of our time, especially in this fake-news era, where people are getting hurt by misinformation on the internet. Getting kids to think critically, to go beyond what information is given to them and developing their investigative skills, could be a silver bullet for several of our generation’s problems. I would LOVE to be a part of the solution.
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
Angus ‘Mac’ MacGyver! He’s a superhero in my eyes – using nothing but his intellect, engineering skills, knowledge of physics and a preference for non-lethal resolutions to solve problems. What’s not to admire?
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
The Beatles. Don’t ask me to choose a favourite song though – there are too many contenders!
What would you do with £1m?
I’d start my own non-profit company. Investment is key to getting new ideas off the ground and non-profits are no different to any entrepreneurial business in this respect. Innovation is at the heart of this and if we do not constantly do this, we won’t be able to find new ways and approaches of doing things that we never thought were possible. With a non-profit, it allows one to have the gift to give back to society and create unimaginable opportunities. Reminds me of the old adage that ‘the world is your oyster’ and it’s true. If one puts their mind to it, everything is possible – this is the philosophy I would hone with £1m.
Which rival do you most admire?
Pure Storage has always been an admirable opponent – in the early days its marketing was truly innovative. While we differ in our offering and market focus, they have always been interesting to watch (and even more interesting to beat on a deal).
What’s the weirdest question you’ve been asked at an interview?
In an interview a few years ago a journalist (who I won’t name) kept asking about a product we were secretly developing that he heard about, except the product was a figment of the imagination. I spent quite a lot of time trying to gently talk him down from writing about this. I hope in hindsight he’s glad he didn’t!
If you could change any UK law, what would it be?
I don’t live in the UK, so I don’t have ‘skin in the game’ here, however I would cancel Brexit. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have Brexit-fatigue! And there are more important things to focus on at this time.