Don’t Break the Bank: Run IT, Change IT

Ecosystems, Culture, Transformation and Parking with Zia Yusuf

Episode Summary

This episode features Zia Yusuf. He is Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware. Zia chatted with us about his outlook on economic development, emerging markets, and the use of technology to benefit and enhance business as a competitive capability.

Episode Notes

This episode features Zia Yusuf. He is Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware. In this position, he leads the teams responsible for building joint horizontal and industry-centric solutions with the company’s ecosystem partners across Dell, global cloud providers (Hyperscalers), global system integrators, and global ISVs. 

Zia chatted with us about his outlook on economic development, emerging markets, and the use of technology to benefit and enhance business as a competitive capability. He provides thoughts on reimagining how companies and customers operate in a changing world affected by enhanced digital transformation. Zia discusses how startups and large incumbent companies approach the adoption of new technologies, as they try to reconcile with the past while promoting advancement for the future. He also talks about how AI and ML are game changing technologies that are going to have a big impact on financial services.  


3 Takeaways:


Key Quotes: 

“There are very significant technology innovations and changes that are happening in the financial services industry, maybe to some degree even more disruptive than are happening in other industries. And so, whether you are a large commercial bank, investment bank, mortgage house, whether it's blockchain or AI, or the advancements in mobile and robotic process automation, it's a very significant series of in some sense a perfect storm of these technologies coming together.” 

“People forget how foundationally our lives have changed in a relatively short period of time. I think technology has been in some sense that great equalizer. There's a lot of people in the world that still don't have access to their digital services. The digital divide is very real, even in the US, it is very real.” 

“Whether it's VMware or any other large tech company, you can only be successful if you truly leverage and put together a very significant ecosystem of complementary solutions.” 

“When you talk about a transformation journey, a lot of time is spent on a company’s technology transformation, and it's important. A lot of time is spent on the business process transformation and the business model transformation, which is also super important. Not enough time is spent on the people side of it and the cultural transformation.” 

“I think the accounting and economics of how we run our lives needs to change. And, if that happens, people will understand the true impact of that. We are custodians of this planet for the next generation, and we're not doing a great job of it. Unfortunately, until many of us have more hard days in the summer than we've ever had before, and you have floods like in Pakistan and other parts of the world, hopefully that generates more change than not. It's an important piece of where VMware takes it seriously and seeks to play the role that it can. It's all our responsibility.” 


Best Career Advice:

“Think of your life as a career with a long arc, as opposed to a series of jobs and how do I get the next job? Am I getting a raise? Am I not getting a raise? Think a few years out and you'll think about the world differently.” 



Zia Yusuf - Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware

Zia Yusuf joined VMware in 2021 as VMware’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Ecosystem and Industry Solutions, responsible for building joint horizontal and industry-centric solutions with our ecosystem and alliances across Dell, global cloud providers (hyperscalers), global system integrators, and global ISVs. 

Prior to VMware, Zia was a Senior Partner & Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG)—serving as a core member of the firm’s Technology Advantage, and Technology, Media & Telecommunications practices. At BCG, Zia worked with a wide range of technology clients on issues related to software, technology strategy, and the resulting go-to-market approach including pricing, ecosystem strategy, and digital transformation to drive growth. He also led the effort to establish the Silicon Valley office for BCG and was the global IoT lead for the firm. 

Before BCG, Zia was CEO of a leading IoT startup called Streetline, and an executive vice president at SAP where he served as head of the global ecosystem and partner group managing a network of 7,500 partners, SAP’s award-winning online communities of innovation, and the $125 million SAP NetWeaver Fund. He also founded and led the SAP Corporate Strategy and Design Services team and has served as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures & Norwest Venture Partners. Zia started his career at the World Bank Group working on health care projects in Southern Africa and project finance projects in South and East Asia. 

Zia has also served as an associate consulting professor at Stanford University’s Design “D” School where he taught classes on user-centric design and design thinking for large organizations to accelerate innovation. Zia has a passion to enable education for all and has served on several non-profit boards on the topic, including currently serving on the board for the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. 

Zia holds a bachelor of arts from Macalester College, a master of science in International Affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 


For more information:


The Cube: Zia Yusuf, VMware | VMware Explore 2022

Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Zia Yusuf: For any company that wants to compete, any technology company, startup, or larger company, it has to have a robust ecosystem strategy. If you think you can do this just on your own, you're not gonna survive, at all.

[00:00:26] Matthew O'Neill: Welcome to Don't Break the Bank Run It and Change It - our podcast for curious minds in the financial services industry.

[00:00:34] Matthew O'Neill: I'm Matthew O'Neill. And together with my co-host Brian Hayes we've both worked for over 30 years in banking and banking IT before joining VMware. In today’s episode, we speak with Zia Yusuf Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware joined me in the office in London so we took the opportunity to break out the microphones and record this for you.

[00:00:57] Matthew O'Neill: Zia has an incredible career history, we’ll learn from him on  the importance of the Ecosystem, how companies need to reimagine the services they provide to their customers, whilst keeping an eye on the actual products and services they are there to provide – not everyone is a software company!

Zia discusses how startups and large incumbent companies approach the adoption of new technologies and in the often overlooked role culture plays in acheiving transformation, whilst they try to reconcile with the past while promoting advancement for the future. 

He also talks about how AI and ML are game changing technologies that are going to have a big impact on financial services. 

Welcome, Zia! Great to have you join us today.

[00:01:30] Zia Yusuf: It's fantastic to be here. 

[00:01:32] Matthew O'Neill: Pleasure. Okay, So can you give us a quick intro about you and your role? 

[00:01:36] Zia Yusuf: So I'm the Senior Vice President for Strategic Ecosystem and Industry Solutions. I joined about eight months ago, have the pleasure of leading a team that covers a broad range of ecosystem partners, so system integrators, hyperscalers, the Dell relationship, tech partners, industry 

[00:01:55] Matthew O'Neill: solutions from a career perspective.

[00:01:57] Matthew O'Neill: Then how did you end up. Yeah, . [00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Zia Yusuf: Um, it's, it's been quite the, the round of our journey. I, I started my reaction in healthcare at the World Bank. So I worked in Southern Africa for five years, then did a complete turnaround and ended up at Goldman in New York doing investment banking. So that was quite the shift.

[00:02:15] Zia Yusuf: That's a big change. Uh, from there moved to sap. So I was an EVP there and, and did a bunch of different things. I was head of strategy, started the design team, uh, which was exciting, and then ran ecosystem channel and a few other things. Then did a startup. It was in the iot space around, uh, smart parking of all things.

[00:02:33] Zia Yusuf: Uh, little bit of a stint at Adventure Capital. And then after all those kind of operating roles. Technology, basically a little bit of investment banking. Ended up at Boston Consulting Group, where I was a senior partner on their tech practice for about six, seven years. And that's what then brought me to VMware.

[00:02:49] Zia Yusuf: VMware was a client of BCGs. We kind of helped them on, on a range of things and that at some point, Ragu, the CO and some members of the board said, Hey, we'd [00:03:00] love to have you, and, and I was excited about the vision, the direction, and working on the ecosystem. And here. 

[00:03:04] Matthew O'Neill: Were you planning this as a career path?

[00:03:06] Matthew O'Neill: Yeah. What was it you wanted to do when you left 

[00:03:08] Zia Yusuf: School was, Yeah. No, virtualization was my dream. No, no. Look, it's certainly not. I actually, the World Bank and international development was, was a career path. If anything, my grandfather was. Foreign minister and part of the UN system, and the Commonwealth actually lived in London, and so I was kind of very interested in economic development and in emerging markets.

[00:03:31] Zia Yusuf: So I thought I would be at the World Bank till the end of time and then went into the banking and honestly didn't like that. I distinctly remember a brown bag lunch at Goldman where they were trying to explain this complex derivative one. I didn't understand it. Two, I actually didn't care that I didn't understand it

[00:03:51] Zia Yusuf: And so the combination of the two kind of really led me to, you know, move somewhere else. And so I got into technology, but it's been great. I've had the [00:04:00] privilege of doing a whole bunch of different things and each one has had its own fantastic pieces to it. 

[00:04:05] Matthew O'Neill: Okay. Looking back then, what would you say has been your career defining moment?

[00:04:10] Zia Yusuf: I would actually, actually go back, honestly, to high school, Matthew. Basically failed high school up until grade 10. I did all levels in a levels of the bridge system and so on. Uh, in, in that day and age, there was a push to go into the sciences and that's where I ended up and was not good at it. And so my mother pushed me, left it up to me, but pushed me to actually stay back a year and repeat.

[00:04:36] Zia Yusuf: The 10th grade, which the school didn't ask me to do, it was a choice. And I switched from physics, chemistry, math to economics and accounting and so on. And that year I went from basically 32nd out of 34 in, in grades to, I think it was second or third. Oh wow. And and so that was a really kind of life changing moment.

[00:04:56] Zia Yusuf: From that perspective. It was just, The wrong thing [00:05:00] for me and it wasn't the aptitude and, and kudos to my parents to kind of make that switch. I mean, there have been other moments of change, but, But if that one had not gone right, I think it would've been a different 

[00:05:10] Matthew O'Neill: situation. So I think that's probably the earliest one that we've heard of on, on this, that that's really good.

[00:05:15] Matthew O'Neill: So what's been your proudest moment then from a professional perspective? 

[00:05:19] Zia Yusuf: That's a good question. There've been moments of pride, I would say throughout the thing that I. Enjoy doing and has been the most difficult days. I've, I've tended to switch industries fairly often and, and put myself into a situation, including honesty, VMware, where I, I'm not exactly coming to VMware with 20 years of infrastructure and cloud background.

[00:05:50] Zia Yusuf: As I mentioned before, I went from healthcare, the World Bank to Goldman Sachs and New York and investment banking. That was a big shift from Goldman to technology and, [00:06:00] and, and sap. That was a huge, big shift. Quit that and went to to Street Line, which was a startup 20% company. So I, I think the ability and my joy.

[00:06:13] Zia Yusuf: And curiosity more than anything else of going and trying something new. That's something that I'm kind of proud of. The other would be just kind of the startup piece of it, just creating something out of nothing. Out of all those different jobs, that was quite different and we sold that. Not enough for me to retire, enough for me to bump around for a little bit.

[00:06:31] Zia Yusuf: But, but that was fantastic. It's a great experience. 

[00:06:33] Matthew O'Neill: I read something where you said that you didn't wanna be remembered as the parking 

[00:06:36] Zia Yusuf: guy. Yeah. There was a real danger of that because we, we were the first smart parking startup, literally, and I remember there, there's extensive parking conferences in, in the US at least.

[00:06:47] Zia Yusuf: And I went to my first one and, and this was obviously about 10 years ago. So, And, uh, I remember we were at a table, we had an iPad and a sensor. We were putting sensors on the ground, and the booth next to me was selling orange cones, , [00:07:00] and, and I didn't quite appreciate that there was a differentiated market for orange cones, but they obviously was.

[00:07:05] Zia Yusuf: And the, and the booth next to us was selling those gates, and we were the only one in there that technology and app and iPad and, you know, et cetera, et cetera. So it, it was fantastic from that perspective too. I've always enjoyed. The challenge of rethinking and reinventing something, and that's only.

[00:07:23] Zia Yusuf: Excellent. Excellent. Ben and I did a real deep dive. All right. 

[00:07:29] Matthew O'Neill: Uh, let's get into it. 

[00:07:30] Zia Yusuf: We'll find out everything there is to know. 

[00:07:34] Matthew O'Neill: Recently I saw you on the cube and I thought it was a, you know, very interesting conversation, uh, that you had there around. Ecosystem reimagined. So for our listeners, obviously we want to get them to go and look at the cube and we'll put a, uh, a link in the show notes.

[00:07:47] Matthew O'Neill: But yeah, can you tell us a little bit about what does an ecosystem reimagined mean in the, in, you know, in, in, in the context of VMware and you're, and what you're doing here? 

[00:07:56] Zia Yusuf: I, I use the word ecosystem very deliberately. I [00:08:00] actually don't like the word alliances. It's one of those, like, if you really put it in a negative sense, it's like, let's go have lunch, dinner, sign a contract kind of thing.

[00:08:07] Zia Yusuf: It's not that, but, but that's how I kind of think about it sometimes. So for me, an ecosystem is, is a little bit like a spider's web. where no single strand in itself is that strong, but when you put it all together in a very thoughtful way, it can be a very significant, both offensive and defensive capability.

[00:08:30] Zia Yusuf: So what are those strands? It could be one of our hyperscale partners, aws. Google Cloud, connecting with and building a practice together with ware, with a Deloitte and Accenture, an hcl, whippro, whoever those partners are, and for us as ecosystem orchestrators thoughtfully, thinking about those connection points and, and focusing in on those.

[00:08:55] Zia Yusuf: So that's, that's kind of this ecosystem, spider's web concept [00:09:00] for VMware. It's a very interesting moment where we need to. Much more thoughtful, much more aggressive, much more deliberate in how we build our ecosystem capability. We have a rich history of working with the channel and a very successful one.

[00:09:17] Zia Yusuf: We have a rich history and a very successful one working with technology partners. We OEM products. We have such a long history of innovation. A lot of that innovation depends on technology partnerships, so that's. But as we go into the future of multi-cloud, of modern apps of the edge, we need to. More effectively invigorate different types of partners.

[00:09:43] Zia Yusuf: So clearly we cannot be multi-cloud without hyperscalers, cuz that is what kind of makes us multi-cloud. We have a rich, rich, uh, set of solutions and history with aws. We signed, uh, recent contracts with Google and, and, and Azure. We have that with Oracle [00:10:00] and, and Ali Cloud and so on. So pushing that angle.

[00:10:03] Zia Yusuf: Looking at marketplaces. So a multitude of ways that we need to work with hyperscalers to make sure that our customers can, can get that full spectrum of multi-cloud solutions with system integrators to take another category. System integrators, the large ones like Accenture and Deloitte or hcl, you know, um, Cognizant, et cetera, have a huge amount of.

[00:10:27] Zia Yusuf: Influence and, and a breadth of capabilities that they provide our customers. Mm-hmm. . And so working with those teams to make sure that the VMware hybrid cloud, multi-cloud message agenda solution becomes front and centered to their hybrid cloud solutions. is important. So we need to put a lot of emphasis on that.

[00:10:51] Zia Yusuf: We have a history of of that being more transactional and, and kind of, and we need to think about it in a broader context. And the last [00:11:00] thing I'd say there is we need to look at more verticalized solutions. And this is of course where the, the financial services piece comes in. Historically, VMware has not had to think about vertical solutions.

[00:11:12] Zia Yusuf: We, you know, we are in the virtualization layer. Partly who cares what, what workload is on top. But as you think about modern apps, as you think about, uh, edge solutions, we need to be more aware of the requirements and the demands from a retail company versus a financial services company versus a healthcare company.

[00:11:30] Zia Yusuf: So putting all of those pieces together is what we are seeking to do and and do much more effectively. So 

[00:11:36] Matthew O'Neill: then from a partnering perspective, especially with such significant partners involved and you name some names, how do you make it work being in between so many competing parties? You know, it sounds like it could be fraught with danger.

[00:11:49] Matthew O'Neill: It, it 

[00:11:49] Zia Yusuf: can be. Um, uh, so you need to kind of hide away when you can, but, but no, seriously, the, the one thing I love about technology and have always loved about working on [00:12:00] ecosystem topics is that is the very thing that you said, right? I mean, the world around technology is about cooperation. Mm-hmm. . And so you can have a very competitive stance with one of your most important partners.

[00:12:16] Zia Yusuf: Yeah. And. Three dimensional chess game, if you will, is what makes a partnership ecosystem type job in the technology industry so critical and, and so exciting as well. I think it's, it's about balancing different things. It's about getting them excited. It's about having them compete with each other to some degree for VMware's business, if you will.

[00:12:39] Zia Yusuf: But at the end of the day, our customers are looking. an integrated solution there, and it takes a village to deliver that. Mm-hmm. . And so again, we have to be thoughtful on how we put those together. Okay. So 

[00:12:52] Matthew O'Neill: given your pre VMware experiences and how do you see the, the kind of the restated mission for financial services firms that wanna [00:13:00] be seen and operate as a tech company with a banking 

[00:13:02] Zia Yusuf: license?

[00:13:03] Zia Yusuf: So, I'm not sure I completely agree. That framing, if you will. It's not about being a tech company with a banking license. I, I understand what you're saying, but I think technology, like many other industries is. far more of a differentiator and a competitive weapon in the case of a company seeking to provide, uh, a range of financial services capability.

[00:13:33] Zia Yusuf: Right. And that was a really roundabout way of saying, I, I, I don't think it's just a matter of flipping to become a tech company, if you will, but they are, you know, Very significant technology innovations and changes that are happening in the financial services industry, maybe to some degree even more disruptive than they are happening in other industries.

[00:13:53] Zia Yusuf: And so whether you are a large commercial bank, investment bank, mortgage house, whatever, whether it's [00:14:00] blockchain or ai, or you know, the advancements in mobile robotic process automation. It's a very significant series of, of, in some sense, a perfect storm of these technologies coming together. So any financial institution that isn't actively and aggressively taking a look at their technology capabilities is gonna get left behind.

[00:14:21] Matthew O'Neill: To a large extent, I agree that financial services is an easy place for it because pretty much the commodity is virtualized already. You know, money, money moves and it's just electronic, so, So you, you can kind of see that and how that goes. What about other industries then? I mean, do you see that, that kind of tech company thinking coming to every industry or, you know, you, you.

[00:14:43] Matthew O'Neill: What do think? So 

[00:14:44] Zia Yusuf: let, let's unpack what it means to have a tech company thinking, right? Um, because there's different layers of the stack that has different implications for that, right? So if you look at infrastructure and cloud technology, um, The tech company [00:15:00] thinking would be, let's move these products to the cloud.

[00:15:03] Zia Yusuf: It will allow us to build applications faster. Our cost of deployment and maintaining all this stuff will be cheaper. We'll be able to, you know, leverage capacity up and down and so on so that almost every company on earth in some shape of form is, is either born in the cloud or thinking of moving to the cloud, right?

[00:15:20] Zia Yusuf: If you look at mobile technology and what does it mean to be. Think product wise or technology wise, if you don't have a mobile first experience, uh, for almost every company that has, um, even if you're not a quote unquote consumer, even if you're a individual human being in a business to business type of scenario, a mobile app, and then mobile first experience is important.

[00:15:46] Zia Yusuf: If you don't have. User centric approach to how you build software and how you deploy software. All of us, you know, in our, you know, uh, certainly the people in, in your thirties or forties, [00:16:00] or people that are in their forties and fifties that are now in significant positions of. Of leadership and management.

[00:16:07] Zia Yusuf: Like I grew up playing Donkey Kong, you know, and, and Pacman, right? People five years later were playing, you know, starting to play sophisticated games, their experience of technology and all the consumer apps. And then you go into a business environment and you kind of maybe step back five years, right?

[00:16:23] Zia Yusuf: Yeah. And so, That user experience, that design thinking approach that's required is another kind of technology mindset that has to be there, right? If you will. The responsiveness from an institution. You can't call somebody, leave a voicemail, expect to get a call back two days later, we find, you know, so, So there's, I think the tech, your question on what does a technology kind of mindset be?

[00:16:48] Zia Yusuf: There's a technology. Answer to that, as I pointed out. But there's also very much a, how do you interact with your customers? How do you interact with [00:17:00] your partners? How do you interact with your supply chain? It is far faster, 24 by seven micro data, , I mean it, it is just a very different game, right, If you will.

[00:17:14] Zia Yusuf: Yeah. And you can. Oil and gas company, a financial institution, a you know, delivery service that's, you know, setting you your chicken candu or like, it doesn't matter, right? You have to think about technology as a foundational competitive capability. 

[00:17:29] Matthew O'Neill: So I love that answer. We've talked quite a few times.

[00:17:32] Matthew O'Neill: Around digitized versus digital. So that digital thinking and the design thinking and thinking from a customer and reimagining the whole thing. Taking the old broken process and just automating it. So if that's, then, you know, it's about reimagining the outcome and the journey. Um, you know, from the people that you've been working with, you know, this role or, or prior.

[00:17:56] Matthew O'Neill: Yeah, who, who can you point out that's really getting it right? Who are the leading lights and, [00:18:00] and who can we learn from? And you know, I, people obviously jump into, Oh, it's all about Netflix taking out Blockbuster, you know, but there's gotta be some, some more modern, more real example 

[00:18:10] Zia Yusuf: if you just look at your day to day services, and I'm not picking any one industry or, or one company.

[00:18:17] Zia Yusuf: If you look at how you travel today is foundationally different than even five years. Right. In terms of your digital experience? Mm-hmm. , travel agents, maybe , but I haven't kind of spoken to one in at least 10 years and so on. But how you get tickets, how you change slides, how you order food. I, I mean all of that whole thing.

[00:18:38] Zia Yusuf: And also from a retail perspective, very different kind of experience. Right. And I think that's been, it is just you, people forget that you had to call an. And go through pricing and go through different segments and book a ticket and give you a credit card. And then heaven forbid you had to cancel or change something.

[00:18:59] Zia Yusuf: You'd have to [00:19:00] call. I mean, you tell somebody you had to call somebody to change your ticket today, They'd be like, What are you talking about? This was not that long ago. Right? So foundationally very different. Um, If you look at the retail sector, you, you can't help but kind of look at what Amazon has done and, and other kind of retail stores.

[00:19:18] Zia Yusuf: Foundationally, fundamentally forever has changed the consumer experience and expectations. Right. And then I would say financial services, right? I mean, I haven't walked into a branch bank for years. Mm-hmm. , there's no reason to. It used to be the case that you had to go in to deposit a check. Now you don't even need to do.

[00:19:40] Zia Yusuf: you know, foreign exchange. I, in the uk uh, today, you had to take cash, go to a travel, you know, to a change person at the airport. You just go to an atm, take our local pump. I mean, it is just, and yesterday we were at a farmer's market in, in Kensington, just kind of paring around and they wouldn't take cash.

[00:19:59] Zia Yusuf: They were like, Take a card. [00:20:00] Right? And so it's. I, I think people forget how foundationally our lives have changed in a relatively short period of time, and I think technology has been, in some sense that great equalizer. There's a lot of people in the world that still don't have access to their digital services.

[00:20:21] Zia Yusuf: The digital divide is very real, even in the US is very real, but still great 

[00:20:26] Matthew O'Neill: progress. Well, I have to tell you that I think the digital divide is there still between the example you've just used and, and how we experience it because there's still a lot of, you have to phone up to get your airline ticket changed and, and I think there's also, um, this is just a.

[00:20:41] Matthew O'Neill: Pet peeve if you like, but I think a lot of, a lot of firms who haven't made the transition are still hiding behind the issues that Covid gave on demand and, and still riding that out. That you are now in a queue of a hundred and something people, and we're gonna be ages before we get to you because they haven't invested in know, digital [00:21:00] services.

[00:21:00] Matthew O'Neill: So I, you know, I, 

[00:21:01] Zia Yusuf: I, I think that's very true. Yeah. And, and look, I think c. Obviously a massive amount of negative impact on all of us, right? I mean, for the people that suffered and, and economic impact, health impact, societal impact. The impact on the digital side and the digital transformation journey was, was a little bit the opposite because people woke up and like, Oh my God, like our entire IT staff is now in 50 different cities.

[00:21:27] Zia Yusuf: They're not coming into work. You know, what do we do? So it accelerated. Digital transformation, it accelerated the move to cloud. It accelerated the demand for mobile technology. And then there's obviously the whole work from home thing, which is still kind of, you know, being figured out. Yeah, 

[00:21:43] Matthew O'Neill: yeah.

[00:21:43] Matthew O'Neill: Absolutely. So what about government and public sector? You know, again, you know, looking at different. Different places, different cultures. I've, you know, worked in a number of countries as, as a, as a view. There's a different level of acceptance as to what, as to, [00:22:00] you 

[00:22:00] Zia Yusuf: know, what be there. I I, I would answer it in, in, in from three different angles.

[00:22:05] Zia Yusuf: I think's three different angles. The first is, What I would say is, is citizen services. Yeah, so your driver's license renewal, your, you know, you have to pay this fine, you wanna complain about the pothole, and so on and so forth. Again, I think. a fair amount of, of, of improvement being made. Certainly in some emerging countries, they've been able to kind of skip a generation.

[00:22:33] Zia Yusuf: Absolutely, yeah. Right. I mean, in the, in the us different counties, different cities are different stages of this. In some places you still have to go in, in other places live in California, you know, you now you can, you know, renew licenses and all of that. So I think citizen services is, is one layer to.

[00:22:49] Zia Yusuf: Then you've got, you know, public infrastructure and the technology that's being used there on renewable energy, the technology that's being used on, on [00:23:00] roads and air transportation and so on. So that's a whole other layer of this that, that is benefiting that honestly, most. Countries in the world, maybe exception of China or Japan, has been underinvested on the technology related to, to that infrastructure, if you will.

[00:23:18] Zia Yusuf: And then there's the whole kind of defense side of it where there's all kinds of, of enhancements happening and on, on AI and, and augmented reality and, and so on and so forth. And so I think. On the citizen services and, and some of the things that would impact you and me on a day to day basis. It's a fantastic opportunity for governments, for cities, for states to dramatically increase the level of service they provide at a far lower cost.

[00:23:47] Zia Yusuf: I mean, the, the benefit ratio is so high in this situ. , and unfortunately in many cases you get stuck in where the, honestly, the RFP and procurement rules Yeah. Don't [00:24:00] match up and haven't been upgraded to what you can do today from a technology perspective. And my startup was in the smart parking space, so I spent a fair degree of my personal time kind of selling to city governments and so on, and.

[00:24:12] Zia Yusuf: And so laws have to be updated Yeah. To take advantage of the significant change in technology, including by the privacy laws, right? Mm-hmm. , I mean, there's, there's that, the other side of it, which is, which is 

[00:24:23] Matthew O'Neill: dangerous. That's, that's interesting as well, you know, that the whole gambit of what needs to change.

[00:24:27] Matthew O'Neill: It's not just the one bit that you're necessarily going after. So thinking back then to my question around everyone's a tech firm, do you think it's thinking or you know, do you think it can be done? And, and is it easy and should it, should it be. 

[00:24:41] Zia Yusuf: Well, again, I'm not sure I agree with the statement that every firm is a tech firm.

[00:24:47] Zia Yusuf: There was a phrase that was used where everybody's, every company is a software company, which is similar to what you're saying. But I do think that the component of software and technology is [00:25:00] probably the most significant component of differentiation for almost any company. And, and the only reason I make a slightly finer point on that is, you know, Is Starbucks or a United Airline or British technology is such a huge piece of what they.

[00:25:20] Zia Yusuf: but they're still in the airline business. Yeah, right. They still need to be able to provide an end to end. They still need to fly planes. They need to kind of land the planes hopefully as well. Uh, for a Starbucks or any other kind of retailer, Max and Spencer, there's a whole retail side of that. Can they leverage technology?

[00:25:37] Zia Yusuf: Should their ravish technology? A hundred percent, yes. Is there all kinds of things that need to do there? Yes. But they need to do it in service of their business model. They need to do it in service of the kind of a value proposition that they can provide to their customers in, in what they do. But, I don't think British Airways or Air France turns on says we [00:26:00] are a technology company.

[00:26:01] Zia Yusuf: So it's a very, It's a fine line. It's a fine line, Matthew. And because I've had this discussion as a senior partner at bcg, I advised a lot of different companies and, and I was leading the iot business. So including on the IOT side where you hire industrial companies or do we need to become an Yeah, but you still need to build generators.

[00:26:18] Zia Yusuf: You still need to build locomotives. You can leverage technology like crazy to get data and information in real time and. Real time maintenance in all of those things. But technology, I mean, I've spent my entire career in technology, but technology in of itself is not a goal. No, no, no. It's in the service of providing a valuable, cost effective product or solution or service to your customers, individuals.

[00:26:46] Zia Yusuf: And you have to keep that in mind. Yeah. 

[00:26:47] Matthew O'Neill: I, I, I'm fully with you. I've kind of talked this one through a few times as well, is that, that there's the, the thought that. Who would you rather put your financial wellbeing with? A tech firm that happens [00:27:00] to do some banking stuff or a financial services firm who's really good at.

[00:27:04] Matthew O'Neill: And I, you know, I, I kind of know which way of that I would go. For which way would you go, ? I'd go with the financial services firm that understands all about risk, understands all about what they, you know, their, their regulatory obligations. The, the, you know, everything they need to know about, about my privacy.

[00:27:20] Matthew O'Neill: And they, you know, they. Hopefully they've built their position in the market around trust versus a tech firm. Yeah. That, that, you know, can kind of see, oh, a smart UI and some clever offer. Now I'll worry about all of those other things. So, 

[00:27:35] Zia Yusuf: so I, I think that's, generally true. My follow answer would be true whether it's a, whether it's a tech firm versus an established incumbent in financial services or retail or healthcare or anything else.

[00:27:48] Zia Yusuf: Right? When you say tech firm, what I would say is, If you change that wording a little bit and say a technology disruptor, right? If a disruptor comes into the [00:28:00] market and you look at Stripe, what they're doing on financial services, Yeah. You look at what Square has done or what PayPal to some degree and so on there had a technology first angle, but more importantly, they were disrupting and are disrupting the business model and, and they're bringing down significantly.

[00:28:22] Zia Yusuf: The cost of, of transactions in this case and so on. So in that situation, I mean, you will have disruptors come into every industry, automotive companies and so on that generally have much more of a technology reliance in terms of what they're disrupting. Yeah, yeah. And they're doing extremely well. So for me it's incumbents.

[00:28:44] Zia Yusuf: With an established business model, it doesn't matter whether you're a financial institution or a farmer or you know, whatever, versus somebody who's coming in with leveraging technology in a much more aggressive, thoughtful way with a disruptive business model. Okay? And [00:29:00] especially when you think, look at things like blockchain and so on and so forth, right?

[00:29:03] Zia Yusuf: How much of that disruption is gonna happen in financial service? . Yeah. 

[00:29:07] Matthew O'Neill: Yeah. Well, let's do the crypto thing another time because I think we, we started a conversation on that a while ago. So, following on that though, and, and particularly your experiences living and working in Silicon Valley and thinking about FinTech and, and more, more broadly startups, where do you see that come, like the startup community gaining momentum with, with those established players and, and what strategies do you think the incumbents should be taking?

[00:29:32] Zia Yusuf: Complex, multidimensional question, right? The, the startup world is, continues to be robust, continues to have billions of dollars of, of money poured into it these days. It's a little exciting cause valuations have gone down, but that really doesn't matter. From that perspective, it's been incredible to see how.

[00:29:56] Zia Yusuf: People have looked at existing business models [00:30:00] and existing technology platforms and have said we have a much better, more disruptive way to do this. I mean, again, you look at the normal examples, Airbnb, Netflix, mm-hmm. , you can go on and on. Right. And they will be disrupted. I mean, Netflix right now is, is kind of, you know, suffering from, from a range of things and they'll have to look at this.

[00:30:19] Zia Yusuf: So I, I, I think the. It's a big question, but the startup communities will continue to disrupt the incumbents. The larger companies have had a range of successes to respond to this, right? Mm-hmm. in general. A large company, and this is kind of my, one of my favorite books of all time, is The Innovators Dilemma by Clay Christian right now.

[00:30:46] Zia Yusuf: He did before he passed away called, he wrote his book called The Innovator Solution, which I'm not sure kind of completely answered that question, but, But that innovator's dilemma. Concept is so true for a [00:31:00] larger company. You are weed to your business model. You're getting good returns from it. Improving that 10% gives you another $2 billion.

[00:31:08] Zia Yusuf: It's very difficult to go back and, and disrupt. Yeah. Your own business. And I mean, it, it, everybody has tried, you know, do startups, invest in companies, create separate divisions, but. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and uh, it's a very, very hard thing to do. Mm-hmm. , I like, I mean, I've been a startup ceo, but I also like working with large companies because the opportunity for impact is much larger.

[00:31:39] Zia Yusuf: Yeah. Yeah. You have a much larger customer base and, and if you can move the needle in a thoughtful way, And if you look at just the technology industry, the transition from on premise to subscription SaaS has been one of those foundational changes that has challenged the so-called tech companies, [00:32:00] and I say so-called because they're themselves who are the vanguards of change and.

[00:32:05] Zia Yusuf: You know, innovation have had a difficult time making this transition. So now imagine a company that's more industrial hasn't had that technology background, how difficult it would be there for them to make some of that 

[00:32:19] Matthew O'Neill: transition. So then with that in mind, how do you see platform plays and building ecosystems and maybe building marketplaces working out?

[00:32:28] Matthew O'Neill: Because it kind of sounds, it sounds. That could be quite disjointed for consumers. Is that the next battleground? Yeah, 

[00:32:35] Zia Yusuf: so I think you have to look at it again, industry by industry, but you mentioned the word ecosystem, marketplaces and so on, right? Let's just take the technology industry first, whether it's VMware or or any other large tech company.

[00:32:49] Zia Yusuf: You can only be successful if you truly leverage and put together a very significant ecosystem. Of complimentary solutions you look at. I mean, the [00:33:00] iPhone is successful because of the app ecosystem. Salesforce is successful because they've built up a huge ecosystem of partners on Same with Microsoft and so on.

[00:33:10] Zia Yusuf: Building that ecosystem, not easy, uh, we talked about this earlier, but has huge advantages in terms of the resilience of, of what you're trying to do. Marketplaces like the one that you know, AWS has, or Microsoft has a Google has, has been a fantastic innovation that allows for easy discovery of solution.

[00:33:32] Zia Yusuf: Allows for transactions and, and to do them quickly even for B2B solutions. And you see these hyperscalers doing a significant amount of business through these marketplaces, especially as their business model has required these kind of committed contracts and they use it to kind of draw down contracts and so on.

[00:33:49] Zia Yusuf: So for any company that wants to compete, any technology company startup or larger, It has to have a [00:34:00] robust ecosystem strategy. If you think you can do this just on your own, you're not gonna survive at all. Now, if you look at other industries, and it doesn't matter which one it is, the same logic applies.

[00:34:13] Zia Yusuf: Partnerships, especially at technology partnerships for more established companies have given them capabilities to accelerate their pace of innovation rather than just building it themselves. Right? And so it really is the name of. You will, in my view, be as strong as your ecosystem 

[00:34:28] Matthew O'Neill: is. So let's move on then and let's talk a bit more or talk about transformation.

[00:34:34] Matthew O'Neill: Sure. So it's a word that's used a lot and I think, you know, many, many billable hours have gone against, uh, that term. So from your perspective, what's it take to truly enable transformation? You know, we, we know about some call tech and a new mission statement, but you know, it is surely it's gotta be more.

[00:34:51] Zia Yusuf: Culture. It honestly, I mean it, it's a very non-techy answer, but when you talk about a transformation [00:35:00] journey, a lot of time is spent on the technology transformation and it's important. A lot of time is spent on the business process transformation and the business model transformation. Super important.

[00:35:12] Zia Yusuf: Not enough time is spent on the people side of it and the cultural transf. and that really is either the accelerant or the thing that keeps things back, and I wish more companies would take that more serious. , but people are interesting beings, right? I mean, they focus in on the, people talk about hard skills and soft skills.

[00:35:33] Zia Yusuf: I talk about hard skills and harder skills. , you know, people will gen gravitate towards the business discussion and the technology discussion and you know, we'll charge a revenue share versus real charge a cost plus and, and all that kinda stuff. And then you've got people that don't have the right incentives, don't have the skills, still are looking at their world very differently, Loss of power and et cetera.

[00:35:56] Zia Yusuf: So I think putting the [00:36:00] people related issues at the center of your transformation journey is probably, in my view, the, the single most important thing you can do to try and make that, make that happen. 

[00:36:10] Matthew O'Neill: Fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. We talk a lot about people, process and then technology and, and getting that combination.

[00:36:19] Matthew O'Neill: I think with people first, 

[00:36:21] Zia Yusuf: very important. Most companies don't do it thematic. Yeah. And most, most companies, They'll start with business model, they'll try and figure out what technology, and then we are like, okay, who do we have to go do this? Right? Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's a, it's a tricky thing. Cause on one hand, I mean, you really need to architect the social change as much as you architect the technology change or the business model change.

[00:36:45] Zia Yusuf: And that means, you know, having people that have the history and, and legacy of your business, they're very. , but also bring in then people that have more of an updated view on the technology and a perspective. Mm-hmm. . And it's [00:37:00] not that one is worse or better than the other, it's how do you use that combination in a different way than you have before.

[00:37:07] Zia Yusuf: So 

[00:37:08] Matthew O'Neill: do you think it's ever done? 

[00:37:09] Zia Yusuf: Yeah, it is done. It is done for sure. I mean, you, you have companies that have been through a transformation. You, I mean, Take a, you take a look at companies like Amazon and Microsoft. I mean, you started from Amazon, from books to everything on the planet that you can sell and, and you have Amazon Web Services, which started as a simple idea, is now a massive company.

[00:37:32] Zia Yusuf: So that's a change, right? A significant there. You look at Microsoft with Satya, the CEO coming on board. Very different view on technology and partnerships and much more openness, if you will. Clarity, mobile first. Cloud first. Yeah. That's it, right? Yeah. Yeah. Let's, let's move on. Right. And then the very hard kind of cultural change, and I would say, you know, VMware is, is very much on that journey as well, right?

[00:37:58] Zia Yusuf: We focused in on [00:38:00] multi-cloud, we focused in on modern apps with intrinsic security and, and you know, what we do for the mobile workers, that's a very clear strategy and approach. We're on that journey and we're on that transformation journey for, for. 

[00:38:13] Matthew O'Neill: So what about the change in methodology or the change in approach from the, you know, the heavily planned out waterfall to the more agile, let's get something out rather than wait and get the perfect solution out?

[00:38:27] Matthew O'Neill: You know, and again, in Fs f. There's not been a lot of leeway given by regulators for putting something out that fails. But equally there's, there's those startups and the people that are thinking differently that can get away with it. So, you know, how do you get that right balance and what do you, what do you think on that pursuit of something versus perfection?

[00:38:46] Zia Yusuf: Yeah, that's a, that's a good question. Right? And it has, it has multiple angles to it. I think SaaS technology, if I give you a technology answer, has allowed you to basically be on a [00:39:00] permanent beta . Yeah. Yeah, Right. I mean, if you look at the Google website, if you really know the Google website or anything else, or, or, or, it's constantly changing.

[00:39:10] Zia Yusuf: You just don't know it. I mean, the Amazon website is constantly doing beta analysis and so on and so. When you're delivering a single product to a lot of different people on a single source code, in most cases, you can experiment like crazy and you can see what happens there. I think broadly speaking, There is much more of a recognition, less than it should be with much more recognition of experimenting, of design, thinking, of focus on users.

[00:39:42] Zia Yusuf: The worst thing is to get a business plan that has six months of research that has a hockey stick and there's a big board meeting, and then you get approval. By the time you get that approval, things have probably changed. Yeah, Yeah. I would rather give a team, you know, a thousand dollars, 5,000, $10,000.

[00:39:58] Zia Yusuf: And say, go actually build [00:40:00] something on paper, go talk to people and, and come back in two weeks. You'll be so much more knowledgeable. Right. So call it agile methodology, Agile approach. Technology allows you to iterate much faster and much more cheaper than ever before. And I think companies kind of need to take advantage of that and, and they're due to some degree, but they're still not enough of.

[00:40:24] Zia Yusuf: Experimentation on business model, I would say. Okay. Now there, yeah, there's the regulatory stuff. So you, you certainly, if you're ind industry, it does limit you, but you can still run pilots and in all kinds of different ways without kind of putting it out in a big w. 

[00:40:38] Matthew O'Neill: Yeah, so I, I think what I took from your answer though is the, the importance of having the right architecture and the importance of having that try and fail, fail fast, fail forward, rather than get the perfect plan, get your back out, worked out, get, you know, do the whole, all of that, all of 

[00:40:56] Zia Yusuf: those.

[00:40:56] Zia Yusuf: I mean, this, this 80 20 thing, is [00:41:00] just phenomenal, right? I mean, it's just, uh, and, and we do it with our teams as well. 20% of the things answer 80% of the work that you need to do. So trying to figure out what impact you're literally looking for is, is really key. Right. Okay. Rather than the process and the activities, what, what is the behavior change that you're really looking for and what's the 

[00:41:19] Matthew O'Neill: fastest path?

[00:41:21] Matthew O'Neill: So one last question before we move on. You mentioned the word impact. What's your take on ESG in, in this whole context? You know, there's, there's a lot of things, a lot of things changing, but there's a big spotlight on ESG in firms now. So what's your take on ESG 

[00:41:35] Zia Yusuf: Look, uh, we only, uh, if you look at the e part of it, right?

[00:41:38] Zia Yusuf: Uh, I'm the governance piece. Uh, obviously there's a lot there. We only have one planet, certainly in the last couple of years. For the lay person who isn't deep into this topic, you notice just in your own life the impact of climate change, and I think people are just more, more aware of it. [00:42:00] The part that I wish we did better and I think would make a difference is the.

[00:42:08] Zia Yusuf: In accounting rules, , When we look at profit and loss and that profit and loss converts into people having a perception on the stock price, we don't today take into account the true cost of products. So the true cost from a broader economic perspective, and I don't just mean an environmental perspective, so a, a pallet goes from, you know, shes in to Shanghai, gets on a ship, goes to San Francisco, gets on a truck, you know, goes to whatever, Seattle, There's a cost that you pay the shippers and the cost you pay for whatever transportation.

[00:42:46] Zia Yusuf: But that PNL statement, that official PNL statement, Capture the carbon cost related to it, the economic impact related to it, and so on. So it, this may be a little strange answer to, but I think [00:43:00] the accounting and economics of how we run our lives needs to change. And if that happens, people will kind of understand that the true impact of that, we are custodians of this planet for the next generation and we're not doing a great job over it.

[00:43:17] Zia Yusuf: And, and unfortunately until many of us. , you know, have more hard days in the summer than we've ever had before. And you have floods like you do in Pakistan and other parts of the world. Hopefully that, you know, generates more change than not, but it's important piece of where VMware takes it seriously.

[00:43:39] Zia Yusuf: Seeks to play the role that, that it can, but it's all our respons. 

[00:43:43] Matthew O'Neill: All right, let's move on to the crystal ball then. 

[00:43:48] Zia Yusuf: I see the future really well, what do you have with crystal ball? What's gonna happen? Listen, if you know something, you gotta tell me. 

[00:43:56] Matthew O'Neill: What do you think will be one of the most significant [00:44:00] game changing technologies for 2022 and beyond, and how do you think that's gonna help or hinder financial services?

[00:44:08] Matthew O'Neill: I think 

[00:44:09] Zia Yusuf: there's only one answer to this question. Block. It's not blockchain, it's not crypto, it's AI and machine learning. Now, I mean that seeps into blockchain and crypto as well, but, but in terms of the impact of artificial intelligence on every aspect of technology is, is profound and, and I'll tell you the good sides of it, there's also potentially other sides to it, right?

[00:44:36] Zia Yusuf: Robotic process automation. Mundane or repetitive tasks that a bank need to do heavily impacted by ai, therefore reducing the cost of providing the service, therefore, hopefully reducing the fees and costs that you pay, higher level of service, mobile, et cetera. So I, I think the development of AI technology and AI infused [00:45:00] apps, no app is written today without AI infused into it.

[00:45:04] Zia Yusuf: Really kind of uplifting, especially if you combine that with quantum computing where the, the number of processing and the speed and complexity of the calculations that can be done will be, will be mind boggling. So I, I think AI in general is, is generationally transformative there. things that, things, apps, technologies that rely on that heavily, like robotic process automation like crypto and, and other things.

[00:45:34] Zia Yusuf: But at the kernel of that, at the foundation of that is, 

[00:45:37] Matthew O'Neill: Okay, well, so look, I joked about blockchain, but I thought you were gonna say something to do with iot. So, uh, so interesting from, well, I 

[00:45:44] Zia Yusuf: mean that in some sense would be my next one because, because I think even bigger than the internet is the conversions of the digital and physical space, right?

[00:45:55] Zia Yusuf: And. The word iot, is kind of in [00:46:00] some sense irrelevant. Now. We are surrounded by it. We're we are interacting with cars, we're interacting with machines on the street. We're interacting with all kinds of devices in the physical world. Far more significantly than people even realize today. And that will continue to converge.

[00:46:18] Zia Yusuf: And of course, again, AI is, is kind of keeping all of that together. Yeah. 

[00:46:22] Matthew O'Neill: Fabulous answer, Fabulous answer. Okay. Uh, let's move on. This is the final round. This is the fun round. This is actually the round. Everybody ready?

[00:46:33] Matthew O'Neill: Uh, we usually call it the lightning round. 

[00:46:35] Zia Yusuf: Okay. Welcome to the super awesome bonus Lightning. The lightning round begins now. Now, 

[00:46:44] Matthew O'Neill: so you are allowed to pass. But if you do pass at the next team meeting, we'll absolutely have some fun at your friends. So let's make a start then. What's your favorite book or movie?

[00:46:53] Zia Yusuf: Godfather. Oh, 

[00:46:55] Matthew O'Neill: okay. What would you be doing if you weren't doing this right now? [00:47:00] Oh, 

[00:47:01] Zia Yusuf: I used to play the, the drums in college not that good. And I still kind of parts around with the Congo drums and so on. 

[00:47:07] Matthew O'Neill: Oh, wow. Okay. If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or would you go into the 

[00:47:12] Zia Yusuf: future? A hundred percent back in time, I would go back to the in industrial age.

[00:47:18] Zia Yusuf: I, I just think it was just fascinating how machinery came in and, and just automated things. It, I think it was a magical period. 

[00:47:29] Matthew O'Neill: Okay. Nice. Of all the places you've traveled to, then where is your favorite place? I would 

[00:47:35] Zia Yusuf: say it's Africa. I mean, uh, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya. I mean, the, the safari piece of it is just a, is is just a magical experience.

[00:47:45] Zia Yusuf: You know, you're standing there and a, as a visitor and as a guest looking at what's happening is just all 

[00:47:51] Matthew O'Neill: inspiring. Okay. Uh, so another favorite then. So what's the favorite item you've bought in the past year? 

[00:47:58] Zia Yusuf: A favorite item I bought, [00:48:00] I got a, a, a set of glasses that also had a speaker embedded in it.

[00:48:08] Zia Yusuf: This was actually by both, um, very interesting and amazing sound quality, and with the microphone as well, by the way. And these are kind of nice looking sunglasses with embedded, embedded speakers in microphone. Very 

[00:48:21] Matthew O'Neill: interesting. Okay. A bit more serious then. Who's, who's your mentor or who have you been most inspired 

[00:48:27] Zia Yusuf: by?

[00:48:28] Zia Yusuf: Various people at different stages. I would say the, one of the former CEOs of SAP, who I work with, reported to for, for many years, Henning Coman, just. Brilliant businessman, but even more so kind of thoughtful, high integrity, and, and he and I just spent a lot of time together on how to move a very large, complex company and, and just learned a lot from him and, and continue to do so.

[00:48:59] Zia Yusuf: Okay. 

[00:48:59] Matthew O'Neill: What [00:49:00] piece of career advice do you wish you'd given to your younger self? ? 

[00:49:03] Zia Yusuf: I'd say rather than people overthink, Their career moves and, and, and I, early in my career, I probably did that as well. You know, if you're in your twenties, unless you strike it rich and stop working, which even if you strike it rich, you should not stop working.

[00:49:18] Zia Yusuf: You have 40 years to work. Mm-hmm. , it's a marathon. You have 5, 6, 7 different careers you can mess up. Couple of them, no problem. So think of. Life as a career, uh, with a long arc as opposed to a series of jobs and, and kind of how do I get the next job? Am I getting a raise? Am I not getting a raise? Think a few years out and you'll think about the world differently.

[00:49:48] Zia Yusuf: All 

[00:49:48] Matthew O'Neill: right. So what piece of advice have you taken, used, and then shared with others? I 

[00:49:54] Zia Yusuf: would say the piece of advice that I got was to. , [00:50:00] uh, it's thicker skin , if you will. This was a few years ago where you know not to react as much to what people say. Mm-hmm. things. Never as good as they seem, but things are also never as bad as they seem

[00:50:16] Zia Yusuf: Yeah. And, and so kind of giving people that I work with now to not react so much either one way or the other way. Right. And to step back and, and, and have a different perspective. So that helped me and it took me a while as well. And, and I hope it helped others. 

[00:50:34] Matthew O'Neill: Okay. What one thing do you wish you'd invented or, or wish you could?

[00:50:38] Matthew O'Neill: Internet, , 

[00:50:42] Zia Yusuf: the internet would've been, would've been awesome, or I think, eh, the electric car would've been fantastic as well. And those have been such, you know, transformative, at least in the recent, recent memory. 

[00:50:54] Matthew O'Neill: Okay, so what's the weirdest food you've ever eaten? 

[00:50:57] Zia Yusuf: Fish had curry [00:51:00] and it's not that weird. It just, and this was in, is in is in Asia and I was at a customer event and this big bowl came in where it was just the head and uh, and I just, Couldn't bring myself.

[00:51:13] Zia Yusuf: And so I ordered something else and I, and I told our customer, I said, I'm sorry if you get offended by this. You don't buy our software. I'm gonna willing to deal with that , but I need to order something else. , he'll laughed and he was fine. No, good. He did become a customer, so, but 

[00:51:29] Matthew O'Neill: even better. Okay. Uh, really serious question.

[00:51:32] Matthew O'Neill: If you were an ice cream, what flavor would you be? Cookies and 

[00:51:34] Zia Yusuf: cream. Ha. 

[00:51:35] Matthew O'Neill: Oh, okay. That's a, you've, that's, I think you've thought that one through. What was the, when was the last time you used cash and what was 

[00:51:43] Zia Yusuf: it for Farmer's Market? Probably five, six weeks ago in back home. In, in Palo Alto. Okay. All right.

[00:51:51] Zia Yusuf: And most of, most of them took cash. This one. Said no, which surprised me. So I had, I had like $6 in my pocket and worked out. 

[00:51:59] Matthew O'Neill: [00:52:00] Okay. Right. Final question, this is Brian's favorite. He always has to ask this to close the show. If you have to sing karaoke, which song do you 

[00:52:07] Zia Yusuf: pick? . I, I wish I'm, I, I think I've done karaoke once, probably Roxanne Police.

[00:52:13] Zia Yusuf: Oh, okay. Just the first piece of it. Right. 

[00:52:18] Matthew O'Neill: Oh, and in fact, you're the first one that's actually sung for us, so there you. Fabulous . Thank you, Z. So how can our listeners learn more about you and connect with. 

[00:52:28] Zia Yusuf: Look, the VMware website is there. I'm on LinkedIn as well, and, uh, look, thanks for the opportunity.

[00:52:33] Zia Yusuf: This has been a lot of fun. It's great to have this conversation and kind of think about a broad set of things, so appreciate it. 

[00:52:39] Matthew O'Neill: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Zia. As always, if we can help you in any way, please talk with your VMware account team, or you can connect with us directly through LinkedIn. Just search for Brian Hayes or Matthew and Neil at VMware.

[00:52:52] Matthew O'Neill: You can also follow me on Twitter at Matthew. Or our podcast on Twitter at D btb Pod and you can find our show notes. So [00:53:00] don't break the bank If you like our podcast and can leave us a review and comment on Apple Podcast, that would be really appreciated. And if you have any ideas about future episodes or even wish to appear as a future guest, please do get in touch.

[00:53:15] Matthew O'Neill: We hope you can join us again next time. Please do take 

[00:53:17] Zia Yusuf: care.[00:54:00]