How can the lessons learned from a childhood of tinkering and a career influenced by tech visionaries like Bill Joy and Andy Bechtolsheim guide us towards a more sustainable future for technology?

We’re joined today by Adrian Cockcroft, a trailblazer in cloud architecture at Netflix, and a proponent of open source at Amazon Web Services, who is now channeling his expertise into the vital cause of sustainability in cloud computing.

Adrian shares his journey from the early days of building computers to his influential roles in shaping the tech industry, and how these experiences have informed his current focus on sustainability.

Together, we can build a future that is not only technologically advanced, but also environmentally responsible.

Early Career Experiences and Influence

Adrian shares the experiences that shaped his professional life, especially his time at Sun Microsystems, and the influence of visionaries like Bill Joy and Andy Bechtolsheim. He discusses the power of thinking into the future and anticipating trends.

“It was clear [Bill] lived five years in the future… that was one of those inspiring moments.” This experience alone highlighted the significance of forward-thinking and the impact it can have on shaping one’s career trajectory. It serves as a reminder to embrace curiosity and explore emerging technologies and trends, as they can lead to groundbreaking opportunities and shape the future of industries.
[Listen from 3:12]



The Power of Putting Ideas Out There

Sharing ideas can be transformational. Adrian and Barry, both authors, discuss the importance of writing and publishing, which goes beyond the unique experience of writing a book or the influence it has on the readers. It also shapes and influences their own organizations. Being open and vulnerable might be difficult, but the rewards are priceless.

“Everyone should write a book. It’s 10 times harder than you think.” Putting your ideas out there helps you overcome self-doubt and fear of judgment, and to embrace the opportunity to contribute your unique perspectives and insights to the broader discourse.
[Listen from 9:21]

Transitioning to a Focus on Sustainability

Adrian doesn’t just preach sustainability; he lives it. In addition to his current work, Adrian was also an early adopter of solar panels and electric cars. Professionally, Adrian shares about his experience championing these values within AWS and helping his peers understand the importance of transparency and accountability in addressing environmental impact.

Companies need to do more than give lip service to a better future. They must also align their actions to those values, and to actively seek ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Sustainability is not just a buzzword, but a fundamental responsibility that requires commitment and action.
[Listen from 32:03]

Challenges in Achieving Sustainability in the Cloud

Barry and Adrian delve into the challenges faced by companies in achieving sustainability in their technology infrastructure. It’s not enough to have accurate measurement and proper reporting of carbon emissions. Organizations must also ensure their supply chain adheres to the same standards and values.

Allocation and attribution of carbon emissions on a global scale can be incredibly complex, so if we hope to address emerging climate risks and create a sustainable future, complying with regulations and being transparent is key.
[Listen from 42:59]

The Need for Measurement, Reporting, and Action

Organizations need to go beyond measurement and reporting. Instead, the actions a company takes to ensure sustainability should be used as a measure of a company’s quality and care.

Consumers can take an active role in encouraging companies to be sustainable and holding them accountable when they aren’t. The mix of regulations, reporting, market demands and social pressure will cause companies to think about the future of the environment and take action, not just internally, but also in their supply chains.
[Listen from 45:18]