CTO Sessions: Debra Danielson, Digital Guardian

How do you align your technology use to meet business goals? “Using metrics. If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it.”

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Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I could answer with some specifics about the timing for a particular product or the choice of a job or a technology selection, but every choice I’ve made over my life has provided me one of two things (or both) – either an opportunity to achieve or an opportunity to learn. The achievements are always more fun, but I get better and wiser and more experienced from the mistakes. I’d give up an achievement before I’d relinquish painfully acquired wisdom. So outside of buying GOOGLE in 2004, I’ll keep my life as is.

What are you reading now? I’m a big Sci-Fi fan and I’m currently reading Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire (well, listening since I spend way too much time in front of a computer, so audio books are my go-to).

Most people don't know that I… have Amish friends in Southern Michigan. It’s been a year since I’ve seen them, as they don’t have access to the internet for zoom (Amish on zoom?!?) or have phones in their homes. I’m looking forward to a pizza and singing party once we’re all vaccinated!

In my spare time, I like to…kayak in the Boundary Waters. I think it’s critically important to step back on a regular basis and get out of 100’ or even 20,000’ and move to 50 miles. I do that best in a kayak in the wilderness.

Ask me to do anything but… read emails with spelling errors. I’m a bit of a fanatic about it. If you don’t have time to spell check (and fix) the emails you send to me, why should I invest the time to read them? Also, taking a moment to re-read an email before sending it gives you that one last opportunity to check the content for appropriateness and check the to: and cc: lines for unintended recipients. We all have stories of hitting that send button and then cringing as we realise that it was reply-all. Ouch.

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