Well it appears that people want to know more about our speakers. I hope that the questions are giving you an insight into the speakers not only on a personal level but a professional level as well. In the process of talking to Alex Cohen I found out something that perked my interest is that Alex is a former Marine. See those of us that use to be Marines, prefer to be called former not x-Marine. I know that the Marine Corps takes a lot of heat about not having the smartest people in the US Armed forces, but last time that I checked there were more Fortune 500 Companies run by Marines then any other branch of the US armed forces. Just as we are excited to have Ted Malone speaking with us, we are excited to have Alex has well.
Soon we will have Alex’s Bio on the web site.
Many technology people do many jobs, for example: I know SQL Server DBA’s that also work with SharePoint. What is the technology that you prefer and why?
AC – SharePoint. Because it’s a broad product within itself. But you can also get really deep into it. i.e. Business Intelligence, Design or Disaster Recovery. And to say it another way – I can do so many things with just this one product. I like options.
CS – If you were not doing anything with technology what would you be doing, what is your dream job?
AC – Designing Solutions. All day. Every day. From technology, to toothbrushes to video games to anything that can be improved or automated (especially processes – hate those). And when my solutions are not needed, I’d be an assistant to my wife in her 3rd grade classroom.
CS – Describe your worst day on the Job.
AC – I remember once, working for a tough boss. Exchange server went down. He came in to the server room straight from a nightmare to ask if the server was up yet. Problem was the server had gone down just seconds ago (literally). I thought he was joking. Never had a boss like this before. OH yeah, it was my second day on the job. But he proceeded to berate and belittle me. I had bad dreams about this for a few months after I left that job. True story.
CS – Where do you see yourself going from here, or what do you think you will be doing 5 years from now.
AC – Several years ago, I stopped planning further out than my immediate goals (6-12 months). I learned that once a short term goal is completed – it can change the game quite fast and drastically. The “direction” I have set – is to find solutions to greater causes than what I am doing so now a days. THat within itself is something I hope to be able to afford the ability to explore when I get there. Who knows, hopefully I have some intellectual property (content or invention) out there someday shaping the lives of citizens everywhere. That would be cool.
CS – How did you get started along this career path?
AC – It all started with an MCSE baby!! Ok, not the certification (that came alter) but I joined my mentor back in 1997 in his studies at his office where he worked – I was so passionate, eager and ambitious and the company he worked for offered me an internship. They figured they might as well get all that energy outta me. I got more promotions than I planned for and had a great time doing so. Then I met that horrible boss and I regretted it all. Ok, not really.
CS – What do you feel has been the biggest accomplishment in your career?
AC – I don’t know. I have done so many things. It would depend on the context of the question. If we were talking engineering it’d be one thing. Support it’d be another. Infrastructure Architecture another. I was just happy to be in the IT business (and getting paid nicely!) without a college degree. That tops them all. All I had was some good old Marine Corps training and a tough mom. It worked.
CS – What are you most excited about with the next release or most recent release of the software that you are working with.
AC – I am not allowed to look at the next version of any software until the end of the year. Mainly because I have goals to accomplish. Otherwise, I can spend my entire career looking at next versions. I forward think too much sometimes. There isn’t a job that pays for that yet. 😉
CS – In the past there has been a lot of discussion about Microsoft vs. UNIX based systems, now it seems that it is Microsoft is being attacked by Apple. Where do you sit on this issue?
AC – Simple. I never saw Apple as a direct competitor. Just market share overlap (Zune, not the PC). I think Microsoft can do a better job at maintaining their perspective.(i.e. Google). Meaning that Google owns a lot of browser market share, but MS owns the desktops. The very same appliance you need to be able to use Google in the first place. (They been through something similar with Citrix). I wish MS would maintain that focus and realize that if it continue to dominate the PC – it can continue to lead. Instead, I feel they lower themselves to play the Apple / Google games. Hopefully it’s for better. Now, it’s got to defend itself at $300M to a company that doesn’t really bother its flagship products. Not wise in my opinion. MS still rules and it will be another 10 years before the next revolution. But hey, I look forward, not backwards. I could be entirely off on this issue. 🙂
CS – Do you have a hobby? If so what is it?
AC – Too many. Golf, Bowling, Softball, Football, Fantasy Baseball and Football, basketball and snowboarding. And when I am not playing sports..I am drawing comic books and learning about technology (not just computer tech). That’s just the stuff my wife won’t do with me. When she is up to it, we shop, play board games, we love to go at it in dominoes. And converse. What, that’s not a hobby? Well, it is to her!
CS – If you were to be born in any year, what year would it be and why?
AC – I don’t know enough about any other generation to be able to choose. I love the one I was born into. We are on the cusp of tons of great stuff. I know I would have had nothing to do with putting a man on the moon. But through the web, I can have a hand in tons of stuff. I missed the wars, depression and revolutions and I am not sure I want to go before civilization 2.0. Those wars were bugs. Prior to, well, those civilizations simply crashed. 😉 I think the next 2 generations are going to be really interesting but I am not sure today’s kids are doing well socially. I think it will be another 2 generations before kids realize there is not real substitute for socializing but to spend some time with friends and family in person. This will influence lots of things. When we get there, the world will be exposed at just how much is learned and decided sociologically. I am fine where I stand.