Del Connolly

By Del Connolly

11 Jan 2023

5 min read


First of all, Hawaii is a brilliant place. Many of you may already know this, but I certainly didn’t quite understand just how far away Hawaii is for someone from Manchester, UK. Although as a place to visit, it’s well worth the trip! 


Despite the anticipation of Hawaii in itself, it was important that we made the most of this as a business trip first and foremost. We worked hard to secure meetings with organisations wanting to talk ‘talent’. Luckily, the Data Centre sector continues to thrive and people wanted to talk! 


That feeling was outlined by Randy Brouckman (CEO of EdgeConnex), Andrew Power (CEO of Digital Realty), and Bruno Lopez (President & Group CEO of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres) during the panel discussion of Global CEO Perspectives, when they all stated very clearly that the shortage of talent poses a real challenge to the growth of the industry. 


I have had a number of business trips overseas and have been lucky enough to frequently attend MIPIM which is held in Cannes, France. But the vibe of Hawaii was very different; it was laid back, and suits were definitely not common. So, note to anyone visiting: shorts and Hawaiian shirts are strongly encouraged.


What did you gain from attending PTC 2023? 


We met one client in a cabana in a really smart hotel. He arrived with sand on his feet and his board shorts on; who is going to be uptight in that situation? Therefore, it was such a productive trip, and just 48 hours into being there, we knew we had enough value to have justified the cost. 


Value is often measured in a physical return on investment. And we are already in the black in that respect, but the true value to us is the ability to learn and understand the key challenges of the industry in greater depth. Relating to talent, it’s so interesting to hear how people and organisations plan to go about overcoming the talent-short challenges presented in a market that will witness further growth in 2023. 


Now hear me out, many of the people we met are seriously smart people doing some seriously cool stuff in the industry. But it also dawns on me how much help organisations are going to need to find the best possible people to execute some pretty complex strategies. 


Over half of the people we met stated diversity and inclusion was a real challenge and is high on their agenda. 70% of people we met (who don’t work with us) say their network is the number one place to go, and job adverts are their second port of call to find people. For me, that is going to solve very few of the problems in the future. 


It also seems that many businesses continue to firefight on positions of strategic importance. That the lack of clarity on how to attract talent means deadlines are fast approaching with no solution in sight. It was clear to us that those businesses who had thought more holistically and strategically about their hiring strategies, the better position their business is in right now. It really did seem that obvious. 


There is no doubt from Hawaii that the future of the Data Centre industry has many challenges ahead. Ranging from permitting in certain locations, connectivity, and the greatest challenge of all; sustainability. But equally, there appears to be no doubt about the demand from Hyperscalers in the years to come and the reality of the situation in that the world requires more Data Centres, and quickly. That combination of demand against a backdrop of significance, and often socially important challenges makes the industry an exciting one to serve. 


What were your favourite parts of the trip? 


Aside from all the work and people we got to meet, we did get to explore Hawaii. We went to the North Shore of Oahu. It’s hard to describe the beauty of that place; it houses some of the best surfing in the world, and it just has such a great feel to it. 


Something that we definitely did not plan was being stood next to the Olympic Surfing Champion, Italo Ferreira. At first, we didn’t know who he was until we spotted his cameraman next to him and his Redbull surfboard. A few google searches later and we couldn’t believe our luck. Epic! 


We haven’t had the chance to look at PTC 24. Schedules and line ups etc will all have to be considered. But writing this on the plane home (10 hours down, 7 to go), I can’t see why we won’t be dusting off the factor 50 once again in January 2024 to continue networking with some of the best professionals in the industry. 


Highlights of the trip summarised: 


  • Favourite meal: Giovannis shrimp truck Kahuku (incredible garlic shrimp & rice) 
  • Favourite downtime activity: PGA Sony Open following Adam Scott 
  • Favourite airplane movie: Beverley Hills Cop (original and nearly 40 years old!) 
  • Worst outfit at PTC 23: Matt Thomas’ Crocs 
  • PTC Tipple: Pina Colada 
  • PTC Hangout spot: Moanna Surf Rider 
  • Average bedtime: 10:30pm – honestly! 


Get in touch to meet up at PTC or discuss your hiring needs, reach out to our Harper Harrison Team today at  info@harperharrison.com.  ​ 


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