Tackling Today’s Challenges for Tomorrow’s Technology

Tackling Today’s Challenges for Tomorrow’s Technology

We’re out in California right now wrapping up NTCA’s Telecom Executive Forum and my brain is a little bit on overload from the many topics that we found a way to cover at this meeting.  From “hacking” your customer’s brain, to reinventing the consumer experience, to mergers and acquisitions and other interesting business models to the top consumer tech trends to working wonders with wireless (that still needs wires!) to attracting talent to your company to creating a culture of good to ending on the note of looking forward with a preview from our fabulous Futures Task Force group on their work on where the industry will go into the future and how to create a road map.

The conversations were really engaging  – both inside and outside of the meeting rooms.  I simply love what Paul Bunyan Communications is doing with their Gigazone big gaming extravaganza and what Norvado is looking to do to get recognition for their ability to create a telecommuting environment in Northern Wisconsin.  Eric Cramer from Wilkes and Jim Costello from Lynxx share different mergers, acquisitions and horizontal and vertical integration that is growing their companies and Ryan McCarty absolutely wow’ed me with what is takes to create a culture of good….something that I actually think a great deal about at this divisive time in our country.  As he noted “Imagine what your world would be like if all employees were given permission to care about not just their job but also their colleagues, your customers and a cause they are most passionate about in life.”  Indeed, I like that image!  We ended today on our CyberWise Management Training Workshop focused on what every rural telco should know about cyber risk assessment and mitigation as well as strategies for threat response and recovery.  We also shared more scoop about NTCA’s Cybersecurity Bundle and the tools we have put together to help out our members.  I loved seeing the room full for that final event of conference.

On a final note, my favorite session of the meeting might have been the 2018 TEF Top 10 session that Jeremy Graves from Pivot helped to facilitate that took pre-submitted topics from attending executives and had folks around a table discussion and share thoughts and best practices.  Typically, when I would introduce a session like that, folks would very slowly pick up their phones and head for the door…pretending they have calls to make or other business to check on.  No one really wanted to sit around a table with a group of strangers and play the sharing game.  This year, the room was packed, people moved to fill up half empty tables and the ensuing dialogue was robust and constructive…and it certainly didn’t hurt that Pivot had prizes donated for those tables who chose to share!  I learn so much about what our rural broadband providers have on their minds when I hear this session…

CBOL opportunities and challenges

Evolving corporate culture to a comprehensive sales environment

Attracting Talent to the company and community

Developing internal innovation programs and practices

Public/private partnerships….were among those topics that topped the list.

I am all ready think of topics for our next executive gathering and appreciated everyone hanging in there with a very soggy west coast stay!


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