c-suite talk tech
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C-suite talk fav tech: Rich Green, SugarCRM

Name: Rich Green

Job title: Chief Product Officer

Company: SugarCRM

Industry: Technology

Location: California, USA

Years’ of experience: 28


What is your favourite personal gadget?

My current favorite is the Amazon Echo. As a consumer, the home automation capabilities let me connect and control many items around the house: my garage door, the heating/AC system, all the lights and changing channels and sources on my TV. Plus just playing music by request is very natural. As a kid, I imagined that technology would get to a place where we had wall sized TVs and a simple way to automate everything. It took longer than expected, but we are finally there.

The Amazon Echo is also a good example of edge computing.  Edge computing pushes computing power to the edges of a network, so instead of devices pushing raw data to the cloud and burning bandwidth, they can perform some tasks locally and process data prior to cloud interaction to save bandwidth. The IoT sensors of the smart home combined with the Echo are one of the first consumer examples of devices “thinking” on their own.


Do you have a favourite piece of personal software?

It’s Google and everything in the Google ecosystem. It’s a cliché to say we can’t live without our phones, but we really can’t live without Google. Delivering a significant percent of all the world knowledge as needed in short moments and subtly tuning and improving the experience using machine learning through all the features and applications is a profound change in how everyone thinks and learns. We tend to think of things from a first world point of view, but think about the importance of Google in a place with no books and no access to education. If you have a basic internet connection and a smart phone, you have access to as much information as every other person on the planet. We’re seeing the effects of the rebalancing of knowledge access every day.


What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about?

I’m a geek from way back, so without a doubt it’s computers. I’m talking about the old mainframe computers from the 70s that were as big as your living room. When I was at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, I was one of four students that had an opportunity to do programming on the computer at Brooklyn College. You would write out a set of instructions and hand them to the attendant, your code would be entered and a printout returned to you. It felt like a magic trick at the time, and I was instantly hooked.


What device improves your life most at work?

It’s my MacBook, which I use as a viewport for everything that is going on inside and outside of SugarCRM. Many of my colleagues prefer their phones or tablets, but the large screen size is functional for me. I rely heavily on my mobile device as well but such use is skewed to reading where my Mac is for reading and writing.


What software keeps you most productive at work?

Chat apps for fast one-to-one communication and Google Docs to collaborate with many people simultaneously to get things done. 


Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect?

I can’t think of any particular technology that I’d want to bring back, but I can think of many that I’d like to see become extinct.


Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal)

The TOR browser because online privacy and security are so important today. TOR gets a bit of a bad rap because it has been linked to the dark web. However, it’s good for online privacy and location masking, essentially creating anonymous interactions. Before people get the wrong idea, I’m pretty boring in my use cases. I use TOR when I need to share personal information online: credit card and financial transactions and personal information shared with family and friends. But the challenges of maintaining some sense of personal privacy, safety and anonymity grow every day so relying on tools like TOR make perfect sense.


Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues?

In my personal life, I’m an early adopter. My wife calls me a walking alpha test site. In my professional life, my colleagues are surprised by how “low tech” I am. My job at SugarCRM is to help invent the future, so I’m always looking ahead and get excited about what’s coming. But, what is here now just isn’t that interesting to me. The current tech products and apps that I use are just appliances so I can focus on the next thing.


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