The Bridge 2023 Recap

Full Transcript

Gene Volpe:

Hey Bridge listeners. What’s up? Welcome to the end of year recap. This is going to air in 2024, but we’re going to be talking about 2023. Hopefully you were here for last year’s recap because, well, let’s just say you should be listening, right? So to my left, your right is our host, Scott Kinka. Scott.

Scott Kinka:

Hello, how are you?

Gene Volpe:

I’m doing great.

Scott Kinka:

This is, you’re looking swaggy,

Gene Volpe:

You make me do this. The only time I ever have to dress up is when I’m with you. It’s like twice a year assuming there’s no weddings or funerals, which is both a good thing, right? Knock on wood on the funerals, but yeah, I feel like every time we’re together you’re like, put a jacket on. I’m like, damn, I don’t want to wear a jacket, but I’ll do it for you. You know? You know that. So I’m excited because I went back and we’re going to be in season three of the Bridge podcast, and if you are not listening to this, I can’t help you in preparation for the show I sat down for a little while and I went back and I looked at some of the shows and some of the guests and at some point we really got to bring in an editor and somebody to hire somebody to pull some of the best stuff together because really a lot of great content over the 42 episodes. And I will tell you, listen, a little kiss ass moment, I guess, you’re a very good host, so you bring this stuff out of people. It’s when I have to do behind the scenes and I talk to people, ‘what do we expect? I’m nervous’. I go, you get on with Scott 10 minute prep. By the time you’re live, it’s just like you’re at a bar, right? It’s very simple. So kudos to you on that. I know people that are watching already know that, but if you haven’t seen it, go back now. You must go back now. What do you want to do here?

Scott Kinka:

Hey, this is your show.

Gene Volpe:

This is my show.

Scott Kinka:

You’re your host.

Gene Volpe:

I love it. And I know he’s nervous. Are you nervous?

Scott Kinka:

I get to be the guest. I’m a little bit nervous. I’m not going to lie.

Gene Volpe:

I love it.

Scott Kinka:

I’m not going to lie. And that has nothing to do with speaking on camera. It has everything to do with you.

Gene Volpe:

I trust that and I love every second of it. I will tell you there’s absolutely nothing to be nervous about because I came fully prepared. And the reason why in the opener I said we need to talk about 2023’s recap or 2022’s recap that we aired in 2023 is because I went back and I was going through a bunch of things. I’m like, how do we prep? Do I have to go back through every episode?  And the mean potatoes in that episode was us talking about all the previous guests and predictions they had made, some things you talked about that we’ll get into. And I was like, there’s four hours of content right here. So I stopped what I was doing, I took some notes. I want to take you down a path and I think you’re going to enjoy it and I know the listeners are going to enjoy it, but I think there’s going to be some really good information and at the end I’d like to talk to you about, well really we’re going to put you on the hot seat. Like you do all your guests, right? All we’re going to ask you is the questions. You already know the answers to them Anyway. We’ve talked about this off camera. I think.

Scott Kinka:

I’m not really sure what’s on my end table right now. I might have to go up and check.

Gene Volpe:

Okay, well we can take a pause

Scott Kinka:

Maybe between a few books right now.

Gene Volpe:

Well, we can talk. It doesn’t have to be one. We can certainly talk about a couple because I know for a fact that the people are going to want to know what he is. And I know some of them are going to be like, wait, he’s reading. I go, Dr. Seuss is probably in it, right? That’s me. That’s me. Alright, so you had me thinking about something right there. The one thing I do want to say to the audience is I think it’s a little weird he doesn’t have pants on, but I’m just going to ignore that. Right? You can’t see it. It’s like a normal day in the office on the Zoom, right? Alright, so let’s get into it. So this year with Bridgepoint and with the show was wild as it always is, but I feel like this year was a full year as opposed to the previous year. We were just more prepared for everything. So let’s jump into a couple of things. We talked about Channel Partners, tech Summit, recap, some of that stuff. I want to say channel partners. We had Jeff Diverter from Rackspace on, we had David McAbee from Bridgepoint on as well live. Those were technically probably our first two live ones. Right? So recap for me anything you want to talk about as far as channel partners or even text on obviously.

Scott Kinka:

Well, I’ll just say just doing it live is so different. It is like this. I mean, man, we’ve all gotten so used to Zoom and teams and all the different ways that we’re communicating, which, thank God for those technologies with the pandemic and the way that we’re working today. But excuse me, I really enjoyed the opportunity this year to do some live episodes. We had Jeff Diverter from Rackspace, who if you watch that episode is an absolute and complete scream. He’s walking around with the commercial sneakers on, totally nailed it. Maccabee, who’s one of our own, he’s in our CX business. We spent a solid hour talking about BPO business process outsourcing and how it’s changed so dramatically that here we are, we’ve had a financial problem for five years running into a different one every year. Where’s the pandemic? And then, oh, we will have a recession and then this year we’re going to have inflation. This year, here we are again, somehow Pseudos surviving this I guess, but in every year there’s been pressure on IT budgets as a result. And MCee made a crazy point where he was talking about how we come out of the pandemic and as consumers we’re expecting so much more when we pick up the phone and when we’re checking with somebody. And yet everybody irrationally started cutting expenses and it all happened at the same time. And that’s kind of where we were. I guess that was back in May of this year. May was the channel partner this year. It was a really interesting conversation. Good episode. That was super insightful

Gene Volpe:

And we’re going to get into some of that. We talked about, and I couldn’t say it five times last year, necessity was the mother of invention. So we’re going to ask, we’ll talk a little bit about your predictions, your revamped maybe or not. Predictions for 24.

Scott Kinka:

You have written down what I predicted from last year. Of course I don’t remember.

Gene Volpe:

Of course I do. Of course I do. Which is why it’s fun, right?

Scott Kinka:

Here we go.

Gene Volpe:

Just to give people some things we prepare for. I can’t leave him completely in the dark. He doesn’t trust me 100%. He knows that’s true because he knows something’s going to come out of left field. But I really put my professional hat on as well as my jacket today and I did some stuff. There are going to be some fun things in here that you’re not going to be ready for, but nothing that’s going to take you out of your rocker right now. Before we get into that, I kind of want to talk about the text Summit because this is just my opinion and it means nothing to anyone in the world. I thought that that live podcast taping was enthralling. Maybe enthralling is not the right word, but super. Most of these sometimes, you know how I’m right, I’m behind them, you can’t see me. I’ll zone out for 10 minutes. I’ll answer an email. I didn’t answer an email. That sounds awful. Of course I don’t do that. But I mean in that particular, and even people that I was with, I had camera guys with me and stuff, they’re like, that were really interesting guys that aren’t in space. Right? Thoughts on that panel?

Scott Kinka:

Well, first I would say it was the first time and we had done live where they were. That was a live performance in front of a studio audience. I mean there was no net, no net, which was great. And for those of you who are listening who aren’t aware of our event at Bridgepoint, we have a tech summit every year and it’s our field strategists and consultants who are out there helping customers in the field. All of our employees who were involved in that process. And then representatives from our suppliers, all the many of the companies who are on the podcast. So I don’t know, what do you think, 500 people in the auditorium at that Point.

Gene Volpe:

If you would’ve asked me without saying a number, I would say four 50 or four 50. It could have been 500.

Scott Kinka:

So it was wild and fun and we split it up and here I am with the marketing team, developing the entire agenda of a three day tech conference. And I’m like, stay on time, stay on time. You have too many slides. And then that one we were over for like 30 minutes like me, so it’s fine. I mean, what was really interesting about that conversation, and I mean we had a great group.  We had a great group and we will make sure that we put the show notes in here so you can go get that one. But we split it up into two and yellow AI was there and UNIFOR was there and Dial the pad was there and level AI was there, all represented by executives, senior executives in the firms. We started with a really basic, it’s so funny, we’re talking about AI every day. I mean, even as I was trying to get my head prepped around this, it didn’t matter who we spoke to this year or what business they were in, data centers, network providers, sd-wan providers, comms providers, it all ultimately ended up just devolving into an AI conversation where I think that’s been a big surprise for me this year that I’m still not convinced that customers know what they’re asking for when they’re asking for ai. An interesting question that’s come up in the last handful of episodes. I need air. I needed a cloud six years ago. I’m really sure what I’m going to use it for. My brother-in-Law told me, get some Ai. But I think that the companies, our suppliers, our consultants we’re out in the field and the use cases are plenty. And they’re flying. We’re having AI conversations with data center companies, comms companies, CX companies and customers. So that was really interesting. Despite all that, we started that discussion within 15 minutes. It’s like, what’s ai? We’re just using the phrase right now and I feel like half people’s context is from movies. So that was interesting. That was the first episode, and we had a lot of fun with that. We really got into government overreach and is the singularity near and where’s all that going to come in? And that was really, really cool. And then in the second part of that episode, which was obviously all one session live, we got into a ton of stuff about actual real world use cases and the eyeballs in the room we’re like, oh, people are doing that. I think you think everybody gets it talking about it so much until you’re actually watching the reactions in the room.

Gene Volpe:

No, listen, a hundred percent I think, well, first of all, I got to say 50% of the panel, the name AI was in the company name, especially the genesis of the company itself was cool with that actual technology. But no, I’m with you. I mean, I have cousins that come over and people like, wow, what do you know about ai? I just got a recipe from it. That’s cool. But that’s not how it’s going to be deployed, and that’s not how these companies are deploying it. They’re deploying it to change the way your business works. We talk CX a lot, right? There’s going to be, there already is a ton of AI inside of cx. That’s a different kind of ai. So I’m with you on that. I mean that conversation with Ragu, Tushar, Karen, and Dan. It was amazing. It was really good. So another one, go back a couple episodes back. It’s a two-parter. I want to say it was probably, I’m going to guess 32 and 33, 30, 35, something like that episode maybe. Yeah, go back and check that out. It’s super, super. And really, if I’m being honest, they could have been the two most important episodes. We did.

Scott Kinka:

It almost became funny because we did those episodes and then the next four or five episodes that we had, I’m looking at them. We had right after that, we had Tony Bishop from Digital Realty was on, and Brad Reynolds from Expedient was on, and Melanie Thomas from at t was on every one of them became like, it was an extension of the AI discussion that we have, which is kind of crazy. Are

Gene Volpe:

Are you scared? Does it make you nervous? Scott Kinka, not chief strategy officer of Bridge Boy or podcast. You have kids that are in their early twenties, late teens. Does it make you nervous? Does it make you nervous for your job? Does It make you nervous?

Scott Kinka:

No. I mean, I think it’s funny. I think we got into this a little bit in that episode, but there was a talk that I gave in Dallas, the wine club and about ai and it was with just straight business owners. They weren’t tech people. And we started getting into this and they were like, well, what kinds of jobs it was going to replace? And we got into this whole discussion in software development. You get a coder and then you’ve got a developer designer, and I’m using, if you’re, I’m not using the actual technical language for it, but one guy or gal is going, I’m going to make a thing that does X and I’m going to get this way. And then the other person’s going, I’m being given a set of instructions to just do something. And is it possible that AI is the person who’s just doing coding as an example? Sure. But I think what will happen is we’ll get better at knowing how to ask for things. You still have to know what you’re trying to accomplish.

Gene Volpe:

The prompt is super important

Scott Kinka:

At the end of the day. It does mean it does. I wrote down notes about, had a really cool conversation about this as part of the conversation this year we had with Terry Barbone. Remember that episode? I do. Terry from Rackspace here. Rackspace, right? You’re thinking ai. We had an in-depth conversation about ai and he was really challenging. He was like, hasn’t the concept of busyness changed? And maybe if we get an opportunity to get into some predictions for this year, that’ll perhaps be something we get into. But I think it has as much of an effect potentially on HR in the coming 24 months as it does on actual business use or risk around it. How do we consider if your kid who’s going to be way better at it using AI tools, particularly around generative AI, then you or I hope so. If she gets as much accomplished in two hours as you do in 10, who works harder? I mean, we have this, remember that old commercial where it was the guy in the glass all, he’s like, I’m busy.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah.

Scott Kinka:

Does that matter?

 

Highlights and Insights: Top Moments from the Podcast

Gene Volpe:

Listen, you’ve brought that up multiple times and I think go into it a little bit further. Explain to the audience who hasn’t seen this exactly what you mean by that. Because in my mind as an entrepreneur, I always think if Scott were to hire me to do X and I was to offload X to a bunch of virtual assistants somewhere, I’m just taking it two years ago, is Scott going to fire me because it’s not me doing the work. So if you have employees that have the capability to take AI and turn 10 of their hours into two that they have to oversee and eight that they have done by generative machines, let’s say, right? I don’t know if you use that, right? Large language model machines. Are you going to fire? How does that look at a review? So explain that a little bit better than I did.

Scott Kinka:

Well, I think you did a great job of it. I think it depends on the kind of work. I mean, if you’re passing it off, here’s the thing, if you’re in a creative job, I have to write something, I have to produce something, I have to come up with an idea on something, and you’re just passing off generative AI as your own, that’s borderline dishonest,

Gene Volpe:

Oh, of course. Yeah.

Scott Kinka:

But if you were being told, let’s go back to that development example. You were effectively the development lead. You’re like, I’m solving this problem this way. We’re going to make a component that does this or this. So I need you to make me your routine that connects this element of that element. It doesn’t matter how creative it is, nobody’s going to see the code just needs to do the thing. And you use generative AI to do that. Is that dishonest?

Gene Volpe:

I mean, not from my perspective though

Scott Kinka:

No. I mean I don’t think that it is, but it will. This is my point, and I’m no HR expert, but I think that it’s just going to challenge the way that we govern employment in a lot of ways. I think the other thing is that there are then questions about ownership.

Gene Volpe:

Right now it’s going on in Hollywood

Scott Kinka:

Right. I mean it’s going on in Hollywood. It’s going on in music right now. If you say, Hey, write me song lyrics in the feel of insert my favorite band here about this, and it produces you three verses, two choruses, a bridge, a chorus, insert guitar solo here, and then you write some music to it, which is derivative mind you, because it didn’t give you the music, it just gave you the lyrics. But let’s say you use the lyrics, there’s a question about whether that’s copyrightable

Gene Volpe:

Super interesting and who would own it

Scott Kinka:

And who would own the copyright. So I think those are the kind of things that this year will be a big hallmark on. We’re jumping ahead to potential predictions we’re going to wrangle with all the ugly legal and HR issues around AI this

Gene Volpe:

Yeah. Yeah, I mean I know that, I forget if you and I were talking or if it came out of somewhere else, but like, oh no, it came out of the podcast. How many laws there are in Europe around AI versus what is in the states? Oh yeah, it’s 70 fold. How many, I mean, it’s probably relative, but they’re already ahead of that where we’re probably just going to start to see that

Scott Kinka:

We’re not well, right, because I mean, just think about, let’s use an interesting parallel. We talk a lot. We have a lot of partners that are in the data center business, and it’s one of the big practices that Bridgepoint has. We help people just find places to put them. And particularly as offices are beginning to change, the idea of a workplace is going away. So am I in the cloud in the data center and people move to the cloud? They’re moving to AI right now, not knowing what the hell it is. Moving back to data center, you’re going through all that stuff, and we’ve talked about that on a bunch of episodes this year, but on a handful of them, we about regulatory around power as an example, carbon responsibility effectively, and there are many laws governing that in Europe, but not here in the United States. We’re in this sort of freewheeling democratic kind of approach to commerce. But the EU is unquestionably driving harder than we are to wrap things like that in regulation. So if you can use power as any indication, I don’t know, maybe we won’t be grappling with this in the United States free for all.

Gene Volpe:

He said he’s free for all. I think because of the difference, power is one dimensional in my mind. Either have it or you don’t. This is going to be something where you could have it and you could use it for other things. So we’re going to have to wrangle it. I don’t think we’re going to have a choice.

Scott Kinka:

I mean, I guess we’re going to find out. I can tell you this, I can tell you this. In the current political climate, there’s going to be one side of the aisle, but that’s not going to want to regulate it. And maybe we’re going to have to be as much a function of what happens in the coming election and think about it. I mean, not to get political on this show, but I’m not outrageously confident in our ability to pastors about anything right now.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah, I’m with you.

Scott Kinka:

So maybe the problems that are created by AI as an opportunity for Europe and other economies to get ahead of us because we can’t get ourselves energized behind a solution.

Gene Volpe:

I’m just going to pull this back just for a second. I’m just sitting here talking about it. I’m thinking to myself, episode 48, where you tune in and Scott and I talk about who we’re going to vote for

Scott Kinka:

Staying away from that.

Gene Volpe:

We got to stay away. Alright, so listen, I’m going to make a pivot real quick. One thing before we get into the meat and potatoes of this, this is going to go by quickly. Yeah, let’s talk and

Scott Kinka:

We can go a little longer. I mean, don’t get too worried about it.

Gene Volpe:

Alright, well listen, you’re looking at it so you can say let’s shoot it. Or maybe we roll into two parts. We’ll see. Okay, three to four, three things this year. I have written down here three of your favorite moments. They don’t necessarily mean to be favorite moments. They can be associated with the podcast. They don’t need to be. And when I say favorite, I mean maybe something that made you laugh, maybe something that made you really think harder than you normally do and made you step back. Maybe something, anything you want. Give me a couple.

Scott Kinka:

Okay. Well, I mean one, there were two guests that went to LaSalle University. That alone. I’m like, not only are you from my city, you went to my school. So I mean, who would’ve thunk in 40 odd episodes? We have two.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah.

Scott Kinka:

It’s not like we’re saying Penn State, you know what I mean?

Gene Volpe:

Yeah. No LaSalle, everybody that’s listening except for those two, have no idea what that is.

Scott Kinka:

Totally, totally. I was going to say, I felt like the lives were great moments and certainly the AI episode, we’ve already talked about that. That was a big one. You know what impressed me this year, I think as we were, and you mentioned the conversation like, Hey, what’s going to happen on this? And we’re like, go watch the show. You know what I mean? And then they’re fine. So I think that happened a lot. So people were prepped.  So I left with a ton of zingers, one liners or statements that were like, ah. So for those who watch the show now I do a little recap online, sort of a short version that gets published on LinkedIn, and then I have my intro and I just now just go through the scripts looking for the zingers, and I write a little story around those. Nice. You know what I mean? Because people are coming with their ammo, You know what I mean?

Gene Volpe:

Oh yeah.

Scott Kinka:

Or coming with their stats. I mean, there Were some great ones. We already talked about Terry Barbus with busyness changing, right? I mean, Dante Ori from 1111, we talked quite a bit about security. He was like, and this was also echoed a bit by Carrie Bowman on the AI panel, but Dante was like the bad guys didn’t care that there was a pandemic, which is obvious but easy, right?  I love that one. Jason. Carolyn said that he was a recovering CTO, which I love because I’m like, so am I. Go bigger.

Gene Volpe:

That was good.

Scott Kinka:

That was a really, really good one I loved. How About when we got Jeff Bloss, Who’s the CEO of bcm? One poor guy is booked on the show. They then go by pure ip, who’s depending on what numbers and what advertising you believe is arguably one of the largest, if not the largest teams voice provider in the world or one of them. And he just acquired them. Poor guy goes to this, no, We’ll do it. And  He’s doing it from a conference room in their London office, and there was something going on in their firewall that kept shutting us down.  And then you had, how many edits did you have? He said, hang on, I’ll be right back.

Gene Volpe:

It wasn’t as hard as you would’ve thought, but there was a little extra work there.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, it was great. I mean, lowly Points had this statement like Schwarz Pass, it’s an MSP. They’ve been merging MSPs, they got it from all over the country. And MSPs are kind of personal things in a lot of ways. I mean, for small businesses, it’s your computer guy off the street, the kid with the green shoelaces who shows up and you hand in the pile of post-it notes to do stuff

Gene Volpe:

Makes your computer die.

Scott Kinka:

And I’m like, how do you keep That end built at Nationwide? And she said they practice intimacy at scale. I loved that. That was great. I’ve Used that a handful of times. In fact, At our Christmas party In the Mid-Atlantic, I grabbed her outside and I’m like, I’ve used intimacy at scale 10 times since our podcast. She’s like, Well, you owe me money.

Gene Volpe:

You owe Me money. Tell her, all I do is wear the source. It’s a good trade off.

Scott Kinka:

It’s a good trade off.

Gene Volpe:

Yes.

Scott Kinka:

I mean, Josh  Henderson’s information is different from intelligence. I love it. That was great. There were just some really good ones. How about Zach Grant from MetTel? He was the poster child for his own product development. Remember that? He was a tech exec in New York City. Covid happens. He’s like, I’m out. He becomes a cattle rancher.

Gene Volpe:

That was the wild.

Scott Kinka:

And then couldn’t even get access anymore. She’s like, I guess we could have to build some products for MetTel that do this. A service at my home. God bless the guy. So it was fun. There were some really interesting moments, but everybody came with an anecdote this year, and I really enjoyed that. I’m going to have to keep a logbook of the best.

 

2024 Predictions: Will CX Remain the Dominant Tech Trend?

Gene Volpe:

We got to figure out a way to turn that into, because now season three is going to come, right? Season two’s over, and typically at the end of it, we ask those three hard hitting questions. Walter Cronkite style, maybe we include that. Come with your anecdote. Give me that one and we’ll have to figure out how to spin it so they prepare for it. But that could be one of the things. It could be fun.

Scott Kinka:

You know what?

Gene Volpe:

It could be fun.

Scott Kinka:

I like that. It could be fun. It could be fun.

Gene Volpe:

I’m with you. Alright, so three to four. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes and you’ll see if you’re watching this, you’ll see I have notes and there’s a reason for that. I don’t want to mess anything up here. He’s got his eyes on me, so I got to make sure. So let me just high level this real quick. So like I said in the beginning of this, but I want to come back to it. I went back and I just rewatched 2023. 2020 two’s recap. We aired in 2023 and there was just some good stuff and there was good stuff that in season one we asked a lot of questions that wrapped around in 18 to 24 months or in 12 to 18 months. So we’re still not even the tail end of that. So things are sort of still developing. So a couple of things that really stood out for me, and I hope you’ll forgive me. I’m being a little selfish, but I’m going to ask the questions that came out of this. Right? So first of all, you talked a lot about in those episodes hybrid work because of what happened with Covid, right? And how people moved out of the office. And if you listen to those episodes, you talk a lot about how they had to get the line back to the house just to get back to the data center, back out to the cloud back. You remember how we went through that stuff? So you figured from those conversations with guests that businesses didn’t quite have it figured out yet a year ago today, let’s say. Do they now? And if not, are we any closer? Give me some thoughts on some of that stuff. Hybrid work.

Scott Kinka:

I don’t think they figured it out yet. No, I mean, I think some will tell you that they have. I think what we’ve figured out is that there’s going to be some portion of the force that’s going to work remotely or we’re not going to have them hired. But you’re still hearing about big companies requiring people to come back to work. My daughter works in New York City and all of her friends just graduated from Syracuse and they’re all supposed to be in the office every day because they’re in New York, expensive office buildings. I was surprised at how many of them had office jobs. Meanwhile, they’re all home for three days. Be careful because the boss doesn’t want to come in. Sure. I think we’re still figuring that out. I can tell you that nearly every conversation that we’re having about communications investments with people are around trying to rationalize the overspend that they made in the pandemic. You bought some Zoom. We had teams. Teams that didn’t really work so well for meetings, but now it does. Now I have this, I had this PB. That conversation is still every single one. And what’s also happening around the comms area is what’s been Zoom teams and then kind of the big UCaaS providers, many of whom we’ve had on the show, and Cisco WebEx is making a play. We’re going to see them more really in that mix. Yeah, because you’ve got this, they’ve done a great, maybe slower than they would’ve liked and that their partners would’ve liked, but they’ve made that platform comparable over time. And now kind of the premise-based PBX, they’ve got the biggest, Cisco and Avaya have the largest basis of on-prem PBXs remaining the deployment out there. They’re like, what’s my next step? And they’ve created a soft landing for people who are Cisco zealots. So even in our planning, we’re like, we’ve got to get stronger in those areas. We have partners who are there, but internally on our bench, we need more focus.

Gene Volpe:

That’s interesting. That’s actually something that I hadn’t heard up until this point. That’s news to me.

Scott Kinka:

No, I don’t think I drifted there. I don’t think that we have hybrid work figured out yet. I think we’ve accepted hybrid, but I think the very nature of the word hybrid, and by the way we said hybrid a million times this year about data center too, hybrid data center, people coming back, repatriating back from the cloud and the data center. I think hybrid’s the thing that you do when you don’t have it figured, Right? It’s like a hybrid.

Gene Volpe:

You can work on the road today. Yeah. Figure out how to connect, drive.

Scott Kinka:

It’s good.  Yeah. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be in the data center or the cloud. I’m hybrid. Cool. That was my  Plan all along.

Gene Volpe:

It’s like ai. Yeah, ai. Alright. So to that point, I think one of the things that we saw come out of that whole COVID thing was the increase in purchase of bandwidth. You talk about that a lot. Dare I say Bandwidth was one of the biggest sellers during the pandemic. And in 2022, let’s say. Is that still what you’re seeing now? If not what? Maybe we jump in the prediction if that’s not it. What do you predict over the next 24 to 36 months is going to be the biggest seller?

Scott Kinka:

I think businesses are rationalizing their networks right now. Our biggest partners in that space are the people that you would expect at and t and Lumen and Verizon, and also then the SD-WAN and the network plays and the aggregators. Again, many of the people are partners and have been on the show, but I do think that people are, they figured out remote work that they don’t need to get everybody logically back to the office. They get back out and they’ve replaced them with next generation network technologies. So we are rarely having a, Hey, let me buy more bandwidth or let me replace my existing legacy network conversations. What we’re having is people are going to be in the home. I’m not counting on having neat, requiring bandwidth for a hundred percent of my people at any given time, that whole mix. So yeah, it’s an ongoing conversation. It’s at the root of every conversation. But it’s different now. It’s more about, I guess you know what, in some ways it’s a little bit of an answer to your first question about hybrid work because we’re building hybrid networks to support hybrid work. So today, we don’t have the people part figured out, but we definitely have figured out that we have a network that doesn’t require everybody to be in or everybody to be out, that we need to be prepared for both.

Gene Volpe:

Okay. I love that. I think that’s great. I like how you tie it back. Now, some of this stuff is going to be bullet pointed, so it might not completely tie in, but I feel like you’ll be able to weave what we just talked about into it. So I’ll pivot a little bit to cx. So at the end of the episode there, you said one of your predictions for 2023 was that it was the year of cx. Again, that’s what you said, right? So I would imagine that that’s what you saw in 2023. There’s been a ton of talk. You could go into all the stuff about bridgepoint. Is 2024 going to be the year of CX again? Again?

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Yeah, I think so, but I think in a little bit of a different fashion. I mean, when I was scratching out my notes, I was kind of doing it from a perspective of thinking you were just going to say, Hey, what are your predictions? And I don’t mind showing you, I scribbled down automation and then CX and you sure did. And then I had all this stuff around ai, and I think trends get popular and we talk about them. We already have the supporting infrastructure to be able to operate off of them. Oh, customer journey mapping and cx, we’ve been talking about that for six years. Customers don’t have their, many of them don’t have their CRM and customer data well enough that even if you had the technology, you could actually understand your journey. So I think we’re still, now it’s robotic process automation and it’s going to use AI in my contact center.  And the AI still needs to be informed, right? So in my mind, I think CX is one of the areas where we’re trying to apply that. I think we’re going to have a lot of stretches where we’re disappointed by the result of that, but not as a result of the capabilities of AI, but as a result of the cleanliness of our data that we have to inform the AI to be able to actually do something functional. So I feel like the next couple of years is going to be this sort of bad application office, C-R-M E-R-P Sales Force automation decisions, right? Yep. We’re going to be getting this stuff out of spreadsheets because it’s impossible not to. And you want to get to do anything with ai.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah. We’ve seen, I think ourselves in the marketing department a year and a half ago where there was like, okay, we have everything clean. All the data looks good in our systems. Where did that Excel spreadsheet come from? Oh, now we’ve got to go through that. There is an element of having the data correct in order to do what you want to do. That’s the foundation there.

Scott Kinka:

Well, yeah, and I think one of the problems now is that people go, oh, well, I’ll just use AI and AI smart enough to look at all my crappy data in multiple sources. And that’s true. You could say to a large language model, Hey, go look at my Salesforce and I have all this data over here in spreadsheets, but it’s rationalizing the two things together. You named fields differently. You are different, so it will ultimately learn intent, but it’s going to make a lot of mistakes first because you still have to tell it something at the end of the day. It’s kind of where bots were in the cx, I want to put it in bots. That was the early way. I’m talking about having an AI agent there. And didn’t really mean ai. It was more like it was scripted based off of structured data. When the customer says this, you say this as opposed to it trying to come to a conclusion in a large language model. But still, customers always say, help me. I’m going to do my bots now. I’m going to improve my content, my experience. Nobody calls. So where are the processes that your existing agents follow? And they’re like, I don’t know.

Gene Volpe:

We don’t have this

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Well then what am I going to tell the computer?

Gene Volpe:

That might be the clip of the episode.

Scott Kinka:

I’m not really sure

Gene Volpe:

That was awesome.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, we’ll be again, yes. I mean, it’s dominating. At the end of the day, the post covid reaction to the way that we consume anything’s changed, right? Yeah. I mean, you just get pissed off if you can’t immediately do it on your phone, how come they don’t know everything about me? And so as a result, it’s going to continue to dominate the conversation. Yeah,

Gene Volpe:

I agree. And like you said, we see that every single day. Right. A couple other points that you said kind of fit into this, and again, it’s not a clean conversion for the most part, but you talked about one of the 2023 predictions as it pertained to CX was also AI related. And you said with great power comes great responsibility. And so you thought that maybe in the early parts of 2023 employers would test to see how far they could pull their employees back. Were you right? And what do you think that has yielded or will yield in the future? In other words, it’s your thought on that statement changed and how so? Did I do that too fast? I actually read through.

Scott Kinka:

I don’t know if it’s changed, I think. But harking back to that earlier example that I talked about in expensive offices in New York City, you know what I mean? Congratulations, you’ve gotten a new job as a college grad. It’s five days a week in the office only. It’s never a five day week in the office. You know what I mean? So I don’t know that it’s changed yet that my feelings on that’s changed. I don’t have a lot to add there. I think we’re still kind of working our way through it.

Gene Volpe:

I’m with you on that. And I feel like that may be the answer again, a year from now.

Scott Kinka:

Do these things have to have answers too? I mean,

Gene Volpe:

Well, they’re always evolving, right?

Scott Kinka:

They’re constantly evolving. I mean, the world is intrinsically changed. I think we know that. And our technology’s evolving to address it

 

AI, Security, and Chaos: Insights on the Tech Landscape

Gene Volpe:

Well. We hope so. We at least hope. So. One other piece of this, I think that just watching from afar and doing these shows and listening to people, I’m the fly on the wall and a lot of these things, which is kind of cool. There’s always, and I’m actually going to let you guess that there were three things that continued to come up. CX was one, AI was another. What was the other one that’s probably bigger than all three right now? We talk about this all the time.

Scott Kinka:

Security.

Gene Volpe:

Security. You nailed it. That’s perfect. Yeah. So I just wonder from your perspective, you said network and security were becoming the same conversation. One of the things that I love what you said in our last recap, one was people over locations. You were like, now these companies are forced to now not secure the network, but secure Scott. Yeah. Right. So does that change at all with ai? Does that make AI, does it make security harder to manage and implement because of these AI things or?

Scott Kinka:

Well, a hundred percent. Yeah, it does. I think there’s a couple of things. I mean, one is, I’ll just comment on the connection of network and security, right? And we said that last year, and then we had Renuka and not Kearney on the show. I mean, wow, a rockstar. She’s the chief product officer at Aryaka who was historically known as an SSD WAN provider, but she had a history at Cisco and VMware and F five, and you’re talking about Silicon Valley product specialists. This is what she does, and that’s specifically the job that she got brought in there to do. And here, AKA obviously is a bellwether in the SD WAN market, one of the earliest in the space. And that’s literally her job to unify security and network. I mean, I think we’re there in every one of our conversations, we have conversations internally, we have technical people who are in each of our product categories and we’re like, this person here is focused on the network, but has security conversations and this person’s in security and has network conversations.  The same one literally. Literally had a conversation today where we’re like, I don’t know how many can track these categories discreetly anymore. I mean, there are traditional bandwidth things, but any real networking conversation is ultimately of both. So that’s one interesting thing. But the question that you asked was around ai, and I think back to that conversation earlier that we talked about the bad guys didn’t take off during the pandemic or the bad guys. We got into regulation around ai. And this is going to be the argument on regulating it here in the United States because well, they’re going to say is, well, the bad guys don’t have to follow any kind of laws around ai, so why should we? We’re not going to be able to defend ourselves. So that to me, I think is an ongoing trend for this year. I wrote that down that the security battle lines will be drawn inside of generative AI models.

Gene Volpe:

That’s  Interesting. Okay. So that ties

Scott Kinka:

They’re calling it dark ai, like dark web, do you know what I mean? Dark AI mitigation will be a common conversation that we’re going to start to have. How does my AI outpace your AI from outpacing my ai

Gene Volpe:

And around and around we go

Scott Kinka:

Around we go. So increasingly we’re going to be having conversations about AI as the bad actor and not in the way you think about it from 2001 Space Odyssey or Skynet, right? More along the lines of, hey, anyone can sign up for chat GPT and ask it to, Hey, write me a thing that does a thing that’s not so good.

Gene Volpe:

I’m glad you didn’t say what that thing was. Yeah, don’t give anybody any idea.

Scott Kinka:

I’m not giving any ideas

Gene Volpe:

So alright, so tying us in, because we’re going to actually roll right into some of the questions and predictions. So part of your prediction for the year, so last year we did one year and a five year, not a prediction, but like an analysis, right? And what you said in 2023, there would be absolute chaos around large learning modules and AI in general. Would you say that that’s come true or it’s going to happen, there’s no way around it. Would you say we’ve started to see that yet, do you think?

Scott Kinka:

I think it depends on how you define chaos. I think chaos in terms of the things that we talked about, it dominated the news cycle. It dominated the way in what we talk about in technology dominating business plans. Hey, we talked earlier, board level, go to ai. It sounds very familiar to the conversation we had about the cloud six years ago, seven years ago. So I think that the chaos is there. I still think it’s a solution looking for a problem in a lot of ways though, the applications we’re trying to figure out in business, it’s the service providers and the technology companies are going, oh, you can use it for this.  I get this cool thing. And it’s become important as an underlying technology to services that do something else. Mind you, I think that’s happened. I do think we were at the very beginning of what is going to be the chaos around intellectual property rights around her. We were talking about common, right, corporate policies, not just as it relates to her, but can you sign up, can you access a large language model on your pc? What happens if you tell a large language model customer name or PHI or any kind of other protected information? All of this  Is going on, it is beginning. So yeah, I mean I would say I give myself a B minus C plus on that one, right? Chaos in terms of how much we’re talking  About it, Maybe not as much. We’re just really beginning to see the chaos around what it’s going to do to us regulatorily from a policy perspective, certainly from a security defense perspective. Absolutely. So getting there, it’s coming. It’s looming. Yeah, I think that was an 18 to 24 month prediction.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah, no, we’ve still got time. No, I think I actually am, but if I’m being straight with you, I mean the chaos. Maybe that, like you said, it’s how you define it, right? And in my world, the AI conversation from a marketing perspective has been super chaotic. So when you say chaotic, you think doom and gloom. I don’t mean it that way, I just mean that everything is constantly buzzing around. Everybody’s doing things like you said earlier, disruptive. It’s just totally disruptive. So chaotic maybe isn’t the right word. Depends on how you define it. But yeah, I don’t think you missed that one. I don’t think you got a C on that one. I think you were closer to a B, but you’re going to be closer to an A. I’m going to, I’ll say it up here. Are you going to say that again for 2024?  If you do, we’ll be closer. One other thing I do want to say is we kind of had a, and I’m going to challenge you on this one. No, it’s not bad. It’s not bad. I kind of felt like, and I’m going to challenge you on it as I listened to it, again, this is what I heard, and I don’t think you meant it this way, but this is the way I heard it. It was a five-year prediction and I said, give me a five-year analysis. And you said these things have two cycles, innovation and adoption. Necessity is the mother of invention. And you were kind of going back to a lot of innovative things because of what happened in Covid. And you were hoping I think that nothing like that was going to happen again to force us to have another innovation cycle. So I kind of went like, give me the goods and then I went like that. You were kind of like innovation is the mother of necessity or whatever. It ends up being the mother of necessity, the mother last year, year. Tell me again, tell me what it’s

Scott Kinka:

Necessity is  the mother of invention

Gene Volpe:

And innovation and just said it. I’m terrible. Innovation and adoption. Two cycles. The rails can, so I kind of feel like if we do another five years here, I might ask you to predict, this is where I said I’m thrown under the bus. I feel like I might ask you to predict another catastrophe. No, I’m not going to do that. Do you see my point there?

Scott Kinka:

There’s so many things that really depend on how you think about it. I mean, we’re in a cycle of geopolitical madness right now going on between the Middle East and Ukraine and what’s happening in Taiwan. Any of those things. Because in the economy, sideways, if they occur, the economy getting set sideways changes how companies invest money. So you’ll think about the technology differently on the next one you will be like, how can I throw more money to AI or how can I use AI to get rid of some people? Back to your earlier comment. So certainly you have that. I mean there’s obviously opportunities for widespread weather challenges. Any one of those things. Who knows if certainly the next covid could happen. I think we’re certainly better. I would hope to be better equipped for that. But who knows? Maybe it’s aliens. I couldn’t tell you.

Gene Volpe:

But you saw the thing that just happened in Miami recently, right

Scott Kinka:

No, it wasn’t.

Gene Volpe:

It was apparently aliens. I don’t know. There were aliens in Miami. There was a big cop press that was sent to a mall. They said it was some flight that broke out. But when you look at the pictures, I mean who knows what to believe. But they were saying there’s people on TikTok saying Hurry up and listen to this before they take it down. I was at the mall. There were seven and a half foot creatures. They weren’t humans. It is supposed to be a massive coverup. That’s my conspiracy guy coming out. Do you have any tin foil I could put on

Scott Kinka:

No, you won’t even get into it. I’m a big hawking fan. Have you ever read any hawking?

Gene Volpe:

No, I have not.

Scott Kinka:

No. Alright, so I forget what it’s called. I think it’s the furry paradox, but basically for all intents and purposes, mathematically proved, don’t say proved because you don’t have any proof yet, but did the math to basically talk about the number of compounds in the universe and number of conditions that had to happen to create carbon-based life on earth.

Gene Volpe:

I know this. And he said there’s no way that there’s not another,

Scott Kinka:

There’s no possible way that there’s not another one of us.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah, I’ve heard it,

Scott Kinka:

But the universe is expanding so quickly. There’s also no way we’ll ever see them or that there’s likely time is so expansive that they’ve long sensed or long will evolve and die off. So we’re just this speck in time, moving hurdling away from the other societies at such an alarming rate that our technology will never evolve to the point where we will catch up with the expansion of the universe. So we’re alone.

Gene Volpe:

Wow. You still not, if you’re still here, you just got something I got to say.

Scott Kinka:

So I probably screwed it up, I’m sure.

2024 Predictions and What’s Next for The Bridge

Gene Volpe:

Well, if that’s the case, I don’t think you did because I knew what you were talking about as you rolled into it. And I haven’t read Hawking, I just happen to know that. But yeah, call us out if that’s the case. Alright, so I think I’ll leave it there, right? So we’re just going to wrap this up and I’m going to do to you what you do to the guests. But before we do that, I know that everybody’s always trying to say to me, you don’t have a glass of wine in your hand. What’s going on Kinka? How come there’s not? We got to look at this. He’s prepared. He is prepared. He’s always prepared. It’s true. When I come, he’s always prepared. So to 2023 in the books 2024, moving on. Cheers to you sir.

Scott Kinka:

And cheers to your dry January,

Gene Volpe:

Sometimes I’m a bad influence. Sometimes you’re the bad influence. You cheered.

Scott Kinka:

You better not. Alright, there you go. Alright, I’m getting prepared having to look up the name of a book. I know what you’re going to ask me.

Gene Volpe:

Okay. Yeah, very good. There’s a couple of ’em. And actually that’s really the first question. So I will stall slowly.

Scott Kinka:

I’m ready, go.

Gene Volpe:

Alright, so one of the things you ask is what is on your end table? So what’s on your end table?

Scott Kinka:

So something about Hawking, I’m also a massive Malcolm Gladwell fan. Malcolm Gladwell. I know he is. Yeah. So I’m reading, I’ve read everything from Gladwell. I’m reading a book called Outliers about the conditions that make genius and the basic principle behind it. And it’s kind of not what you think. It’s not like, oh, this person had this DNA and this blah blah, but it was like they had this dad and this neighborhood at this time and he was the sausage king of Chicago. And then because people needed sausage and then boom, now he’s the head of a global food chain. It just creates these equations between the conditions in which people can thrive and some of it around innovation is really interesting. You know what I mean? Gates was writing at the time that he could just get constant access to the punch card lab off hours. If that condition didn’t exist, it wouldn’t exist then. I don’t want to say he’s proving anything, but his belief is that it would’ve been a different life.

Gene Volpe:

I think that makes total sense. That makes sense.

Scott Kinka:

It’s a really, really interesting book and it profiles many people that you would know in that way. And it’s a light read. So it was definitely a great book.

Gene Volpe:

So one of the people I have to imagine in profile was the sausage king of Chicago. Who was that? There you go. That was the total set up, Scoot. You nailed it. It totally was. That was good. Yeah. Alright, so that’s good. And then this one has been the ongoing one. This question that we started from season one is still going and I think it’s still a good one. I know that last year, your answer to this one, what is your one app? If the aliens from Miami happened to come up here and turn us on our head?

Scott Kinka:

I’m looking at my phone right now to see if that would’ve changed.

Gene Volpe:

So it was Apple Music, if I remember correctly.

Scott Kinka:

And it’s always the first app that goes on in the morning, and it’s always the last app I turn off at night

Gene Volpe:

And still is.

Scott Kinka:

And it still is. So I don’t think that would’ve changed. I will say that I’ve become a massive fan of the Apple News app actually. And at first I always liked it a little bit. I’m going to go find my own websites, but then I feel like I get stuck going to the same four places. You know what I mean? So I think leveraging a news curation service where, listen, you’re still going to get your own biases amplified at you.But I find myself kind of regularly cleaning up my newsfeed. Yeah, get rid of that vendor. They’re out there. Let me add these two and just see what happens. So I think as long as you’re diligent about making sure that you’re not creating your own echo chamber, believing your own bss, a news curation service isn’t interesting. I love it.

Gene Volpe:

I have, it pops out on the side of my MacBook, so I see it. I mean, I’m an Android guy, but I have a MacBook for all my stuff and it pops out and there’s always some good stuff. So I totally get that. Now

Scott Kinka:

I’ll give you another app though.

Gene Volpe:

Go, go.

Scott Kinka:

Yummly. And it changed my life. It comes with a device.  I got a digital food thermometer.

Gene Volpe:

I have one of those

Scott Kinka:

But it’s attached to the whole Yummly app, which has the recipes in it in the whole nine yards. So it’s literally, if the recipe you’re making, it’s like turn this now and season. You know what I mean? It’s just banging.

Gene Volpe:

So you’re making me laugh because I have, it’s amazing. I have one that is called, it’s called the meter. The meter. MEATER My father got it for me. I am doing what I love. Alright.

Scott Kinka:

He would buy for you.

Gene Volpe:

That’s true. You know him very well. Yes. I will say this. I want to dig a little further on Apple Music because again, a common theme of the last episode was you and I talk about music all the time. You’re a musician, all that good stuff top. You know how they do a thing with Spotify, the year in review, right? Your year in review, your top three, whatever comes easier to you. Artists listen to or album listened to, whatever.

Scott Kinka:

That’s hard. But some of my musical tastes I do. I would say one of them is either Need to Breath and Wilder Wood. It’s probably at the top of that

Gene Volpe:

And I would let you combine that if you wanted to.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. On a Welder Woods kick right now.

Gene Volpe:

Good Stuff. I imagine he’s coming back around soon. We’ll probably be soon.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Chris Stapleton this year. Okay. Just super good. What I do is I go through these with my legacy artists and you would know, you could see my wall over there, right?

Gene Volpe:

Well, I’ll have to take a picture of it and put it in the show notes.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Right over by one of the seven pianos in my house. I have a problem. Okay.

Gene Volpe:

Well, I also, it’s okay to admit it. There’s also a drum kit here now, which wasn’t here last time I was here.

Scott Kinka:

I’m working, working on some stuff with my nephew.

Gene Volpe:

Oh, okay. Oh, Thomas.

Scott Kinka:

He was up from Nashville.

Gene Volpe:

Very good professional drummer.

Scott Kinka:

And it’s part of my 50th birthday present to myself. I love it. I’ll cut back on the story in a minute. Yeah, please. But I have my classic artists and every year I seem to lean into one of them more. Like last year was Bruce Springsteen. Interesting. Okay. This year was a Jackson Brown year for me. So I think Stapleton Jackson Brown and Need to Breathe slash Wilder Woods were the big artists for you this year.

Gene Volpe:

I love it. Nothing wrong with any of that. Nothing wrong with any of that. One last question that you ask everybody else in the drum world, please. Is the 2024 prediction. I mean, you can keep this as.

Scott Kinka:

Listen,I mean, what didn’t we get, I guess is the question, right? We talked about ai. These were the producers I wrote down. I wrote down all the AI stuff we’ve already talked about, and it being more, obviously it’s going to continue to be about our use cases, but we’re going to start having the regulatory HR IP law. Who owns what? Can I copyright it? Deceptive marketing practices. We’re going to start to get called out around ai. We’ve talked about automation driving cx, but I think there’s going to be a reckoning on how bad our data is and we’ll be dealing with a lot of that. We talked about AI being also security, I think we think the security lines are going to start getting drawn. We talked about collaboration, kind of normalizing all the expenses that we made even in our world. I mean, are we going to get on a Zoom or are we going to get on a team meeting today? Right. So it depends on that. I think two that we didn’t mention, one, I think this is going to continue to be a big year around non-computer interfaces. All the VR engines have gotten wildly better. My son’s got the meta, his buddy’s got the PlayStation. Did I just say PlayStation?

Gene Volpe:

You did, yeah,

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, yeah. This Sony, he’s got the Sony, and that one literally is tracking the eyes inside of the vr. I had it on so that you forget about turning your head. If you turn your eyes, it turns inside the VR world. That’s crazy. So augmented really more AR than vr. I think we’re going to see a lot more working on things in augmented spaces.

Gene Volpe:

It’s funny you say that because look, one of the things I skipped over for time is where are we with VR entering the workplace? You mentioned that actually in the last,

Scott Kinka:

I think it’s going to be, I mean, it’s happening a little bit slower than I had thought. But I mean, you do see it in medical applications now. You see it in repairing and engineering types of applications. And then at least within the last year, we can at least say everybody, all the major hardware manufacturers all released some augmented reality device. I mean, you can operate your Mac right now in the virtual space in front of you if you really want to do that. So it’s going to be a while. We’ll be hearing more about that. And then lastly, I think we’re just not done with being worried about our funds. I think everybody, I think that we’re still in shell shock from the pandemic, and I still think the cost containment is driving a lot of it and strategy conversations.

Gene Volpe:

Well, you would see that firsthand because you’re in the middle of all of those. So that makes sense. Totally. I believe you unequivocally believe you. No, I do. I mean, I see it, and I think from a personal perspective too, I mean even just me as I make my money, I spend, I spend, but I’m also cautious just in case.

Scott Kinka:

I think innocence lost is the best way to think about in my mind. Covid, right? That’s a World War II level when innocence is lost. You know what I mean? And not to undermine those types of events, but I mean those kinds of things that just shape a generation. I’m a 50-year-old man without a generation shaping event in my life until the pandemic.

Gene Volpe:

Lucky. Same type of thing for me. Right. And honestly, if I’m being honest, I always say you and I were at a good age in time in our lives for it to have happened. If we were 20 years older, it might’ve been a different story. If we were 30 years younger, it might’ve been different. Completely. That’s just me being selfish. But that was a hell of a heavy way to end the podcast.

Scott Kinka:

Right at an hour. It’s an hour. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing episodes this long anymore. I told you it was going to be 30 minutes.

Gene Volpe:

I know. I kind of knew. I even said to my wife, she goes, you think it’ll be home at seven? And I was like, yeah, sure. Yeah. Think. Alright, so one last thing. I put you on the hot seat. This is your show. Yeah. I want you to close this bad boy out.

Scott Kinka:

Wow. Well, listen, I mean, first off, we got a lot of exciting stuff coming in season three. Really excited about it, planning a lot of surprises and a lot of fun. We’re going to keep the format, we’re going to be bringing in heads of state from these technology companies in and having frank personal, uncomfortable, funny conversations like we’ve had. And we’re going to continue to do that. It’s still going to be about the people. We’re changing up the guest format a little bit. We’re going to be doing a little bit more with our people. We had a great episode with Mel this year, Malara. We had a great episode with Dennis and we had a great episode with Macee, and we’re going to do more of that this year. And I think lastly, most importantly, we’re going to do more live, more live than we did this year. The panel we’re, we get to Summit, we’re going to do more than one.

Gene Volpe:

Oh wow. That’s news to me. I love that.

Scott Kinka:

We’re going to do more than one that way. And Bridgepoint is also doing 30 events out in the field around the country that are topically based throughout the year. And if you are listening to the program and a partner or a supplier or maybe a C-level executive or a director of it wants to come to one of those events, just be checking ’em out. But in those field events, we’ll be having similar types of live panels that we’re hoping to turn into episodes as well. That’s exciting. And I’ll be in all of those at all those events. So that’s the other one, which is we’re expanding the Bridge to be more than just this podcast. Oh, wow. But we’re expanding it to also to be effectively a content category where you’ll be able to get access to the other things we’re working on, the other writings, our people are doing other things that are there underneath the Bridge brand. And there may even be another pod or two, maybe not as aggressive in terms of number of episodes, but there may be another kind of sub pod or two coming out over the course of this year with some different hosts from Bridgeland.

Gene Volpe:

Well, listen, if you’re not, they gotta stay tuned for that.

Scott Kinka:

Have to stay tuned for all of that.

Gene Volpe:

Yeah. I would say are the events, the 30 events that we’re talking about, are they open to people if they’re listening and they want to get involved in something?

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, I mean certainly we get on the website, fill out an information form, let us know that you want to know a little bit more about the events and will be putting ’em out. But absolutely, I mean in particular, any IT decision maker, anybody who would be the real audience for the show who is looking to see how the sausage is made. These events are field events that we’re having with our consultants and our suppliers together to learn and network and be ready to get out there and solve problems. But we are also leveraging those events as a means to bring IT leaders into the fold to meet with the people who are out there chopping wood every day and see how that interaction happens between high level IT consultants and the suppliers that they work with.

Gene Volpe:

And the other thing too, I want to mention is that I’ve been out to a million of these, and I think it’s exciting that we’re unwrapping some of the folks that we have behind the scenes because there’s a cast of characters, there’s a cast of characters. You got to come out and see these folks because not only are they brilliant people and they know what the hell they’re talking about, but they’re just on the bureau. They’re wild.

Scott Kinka:

Completely. Right, completely.

Gene Volpe:

Well, listen, that’s the third time you mentioned sausage in this episode. And so I think he’s hungry. And so we’re going to wrap this bad boy up. Thanks for joining us,

Scott Kinka:

And thank you for being a fan, for being a listener, for following along. We did not think this was going to happen, and it did. So we’ll end it this way. Cheers to you guys.