Meet The Manager of The MATRIX : Jim Maholic!

Jim Maholic - The Manager of The Matrix!

Jim Maholic has written the Benchmark for all CIO's and IT professionals for the next 100 years.

It would be an understatement to call it a "book"-- it is a veritable CANON!

You will LOVE his S.E.A.R. framework, indeed you will NEED to apply the SEAR framework to basically EVERYTHING you do in the IT World!

The SEAR Imperative:

He also includes a huge chapter about PRESENTATIONS and how to pitch executives successfully.

Indeed the breadth of this book is too HUGE to do justice in just one interview, it is BOOKS WITHIN BOOKS!

I had the pleasure to interview Jim, (with 20 years CIO experience in MEGA companies!) and pick his brain about:

  • The IT world in general and in DEEP
  • The transition to C-Level CIO 
  • The Matrix
  • Hackers/Hacking
  • Bitcoin+Blockchain
  • Edward Snowden
  • and much more!


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Show Notes

Your book is HUGE - a canon! How many words is it?

Roughly 125,000 words (not counting the Table of Contents and Appendices)

Why did you write it?
After the first book, I had a lot of good content left over that didn’t fit in the first book.  As I reviewed that content, it was clear that it was the beginning of this book.  So, I took those remnant pieces and started framing up this book.

How long did it take?
This book took six years, start to finish.  Keep in mind that I work full time and I had to fit this in during downtime and personal time.

What’s a bigger challenge - emerging tech. Or government regulations?
I think the biggest challenge in successfully executing a transformative IT strategy is people.  As a rule, people resist being told to change.  And getting them to embrace the change while leading them where they may not want to go is the biggest challenge.  Technology is rarely the reason these transformative projects fail.

Future proof the company!

Is the IoT going to be the Matrix? (yes like in the movie!)
You’ll laugh, but I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment.

Have you heard of Iota - and the tangle?
I’m not familiar with either term.
Edwards Snowden - Hero or Zero?
That answer is largely polarized based on one’s political views.  Politics is not a relevant topic in my book.  I do devote an entire chapter to cybersecurity, but more as a thought-provoking guide to readers to ensure that their environments are tightly controlled.  Snowden’s actions expose the weakest link in any company’s security framework - people.  Many, many security breaches are caused by internal people with sensitive access who take it upon themselves to profit from taking things that aren’t theirs.  Whether Snowden is a hero or zero will be left up to the historians to sort out.

SEAR - let’s get into it…
It is important to me that readers - especially tech readers - understand how non-IT executives think.  Non-IT executives evaluate every proposed initiative based on its perceived value to the company.  Executives aren’t concerned with cool technology unless that technology gives them some appreciable advantage in the marketplace.  That advantage is measured by The SEAR Imperative.  Does this initiative help us increase sales, cut expenses, optimize assets or mitigate risk?  If it does not do those things, it will not likely receive much consideration.

After your many years of experience, can you attempt to gauge the unknown unknowns?
If you’re asking about Vexations, these are a natural condition of contemporary society.  You know there are things that will blindside you.  Unless you’re clairvoyant, you won’t know exactly which future events will be most unsettling.  But you must have given some thought to the reality that in the course of a single day your world could turn upside down.  Some basic planning - What will we do if “X” happens - must be on every CIO’s mind.

What are your predictions for Bitcoin and blockchain technology?
I find cryptocurrency to be an interesting debate.  Until its introduction, all currency was priced and valued based on the creditworthiness of sovereign governments.  The US dollar was valued more highly than other currencies based on the comparison of the creditworthiness of the governments being compared.  Cryptocurrency is not bound by any sovereign government.  Its valued is market based, like stocks.  But more like penny stocks than blue-chip stocks.  Recent bad press about hacks and manipulation have weakened the market for cryptocurrency.  

Regarding blockchain, I think an interesting conversation is coming.  Blockchain’s great appeal is the immutability of the database.  The data in a blockchain cannot be edited or tampered with.  Very compelling to security-conscious people and financial auditors.  Colliding with that is the privacy act in Europe called GDPR.  As I understand GDPR, Europe requires that any organization that stores my data must enable changes to my data if I file an appropriate protest about a purchase or some other piece of data.  Watching how GDPR and blockchain coexist will be an interesting bit of theatre over the next few years.

What are your predictions for VR/AR?
To me, these are just additional technologies that will both improve lives and potentially harm lives.  All technology has that potential.  The internet, for example, is an excellent tool.  It allows civil users to learn more and be more productive than before its widespread use.   But it is also a tool for cyber-criminals and sexual predators.  So, VR/AR have that same potential - to be simultaneously helpful and harmful.

What got you started in writing?
I guess I’m a teacher, at heart.  I have the ability to observe complex things and explain them in a simpler way.  Take my diagram on page 65.  I didn’t arrive at that diagram immediately.  It took me several months and several different diagrams to settle on that as the one best way to communicate my message.  That one diagram explains all of the necessary considerations for a successful, transformative IT strategy.  One picture.  And when you see it and have it explained, it makes the daunting task of creating an enterprise-wide IT strategy not so daunting.  

I enjoy doing the deep thinking it requires to explain complex things simply.  

Tell us about your book launch (Paul Brodie etc.)
I have high praise for Paul’s approach.  He talked me through all of the steps necessary to promote my book and his success speaks for itself.  In July, my book was Amazon’s #1 bestseller in multiple categories.

What’s your #1 tip for aspiring C-Level CIO’s?
Get beyond technology and learn as much about your business as you can.  Strive to be the most knowledgeable executive on how your business sells its products, stewards its cash, and advances in its market.  Learn all you can about your major competitors.  The same things - how they sell, how they steward cash, etc.  This will make you a valuable executive in your company.  It will make you valuable beyond IT.  

What’s on the horizon for you? Next projects?
For the immediate future, I’m planning on recording an audiobook version of IT Strategy.  Nothing else formal, but many ideas are percolating. 

If you could eat dinner with ANYONE past/present/future--who would it be?
The Apostle Andrew!

What’s in your pockets right now?


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