Interview with author Nicolas Windpassinger,

Digitize or Die

With 15+ years of computer networking industry experience, Nicolas Windpassinger is the Global Vice President of Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert™ Partner Program, whose mission is to connect the technologies and expertise of the world’s leading technology providers, pioneer the future of intelligent buildings and the Internet of Things, and deliver smarter, integrated and more efficient services and solutions to customers. The Channel Company, has recognized Nicolas as one of 100 People You Don’t Know But Should in the IT channel for 2017. For More Information Visit:http://nicolaswindpassinger.com/about-the-author. For more info, please see: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077HP8V4P

Question 1: What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?  Initially, I did not set out to write a book. I had merely wanted to find a book on the Internet of Things, but instead discovered it did not exist.  I did find a lot of commercial and marketing books but very often with a lack of strategic guidance, or anecdotal reference to what companies are facing. None of the technology books and blogs expanded on the IoT, beyond the pure technology element, in a way that would help companies understand how to transform, leverage themselves and supersede their competition. I have witnessed so much confusion and trepidation around the IoT with more questions than answers. I also wanted to help others understand what is coming up and the important changes that will occur in the coming decades.

Question 2: What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? I took me a while to define the audience for whom I wanted to write the book for. Speaking with manufacturers, partners, technology providers and so forth made me understand that there was a real education, knowledge, need at the CEOs, CDOs and employees of companies that have built a performing analog business and that are asking questions about what the IoT holds in store, good or bad, for their business. The book is intended to be used by senior leaders in manufacturing companies, resellers, software vendors and associated channels, in particular—CDOs, CTOs, and CIO/CDIOs, who are at the forefront of leading the digital transformation of the company.

Question 3: What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? Clarifying what the book is NOT is as important as defining what it is and what should remain with the readers after putting it down. I soon realized that:

  • I did not want the book to be a repository of all existing IoT norms, standards, technologies and applications (often called “Smart Something”).
  • I did not want the book to be a technical volume as there are plenty of white papers, case studies, and books available that go over this technology in detail. Instead, this book defines some terms and processes without going into detail; just enough technology will be described to ensure understanding.
  • I did not want the book to be a discussion about which technologies are likely to win or loss. Predictions about which companies will likely make it versus those that may fail are beyond the scope of this manuscript

As I wrote in a recent blog, I do not believe in focusing on “Smart Something” (Smart Energy, Smart Industry, etc.) as the industry has already moved beyond this concept and does not respond to the challenges which companies need to face in taking advantage of digital technology. Instead, I wanted to give the necessary knowledge to understand what is happening and, more importantly, what options the readers and their business should leverage this major milestone in digital transformation.

Inside these pages, the readers will learn:

  • What the IoT means to all businesses
  • Why the IoT and the digital revolution is a threat to your business model and survival
  • What you need to understand to better grasp the problem
  • The four steps your company needs to follow to transform its operations to survive

Question 4: What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?  I would tell them that the path is more important than the result. Writing a book is like a marathon, it’s easier to stop than to continue; the finish line is just a start to something else. Never give up. It’s true that the day you have, for the first time, your book in your hands is like discovering a new child: you’ve been dreaming about, you’ve been preparing for it; but when it’s there, in your hands, is a strange feeling. It’s true it’s as much pain as it is pleasure to write a book, but sharing and giving back to the community gives sense to each word, sentence and page I wrote.

If this books changes just one life, then it is worth the pain, effort and passion it took me to put it into your hands. You think you know a subject up until you write a book about it. Sharing what you and your interviews have in their brain is an incredible experience and journey. It’s as much an education journey for the readers as it is for the writer. For that reason, you should also try….

Question 5: What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Internet of Things, Blockchain, Quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence will change the world. The consequences will be massive unemployment, peak of electricity demand and drop in prices of goods and services. People need to prepare themselves. Two years ago, I took the decision to write;  I wanted to give back so much but did not know how to do it… So I said to myself: just do it, let’s start and do baby steps. I wanted to explain the new rules of the game and give simple and pragmatic steps to not only survive but succeed with digital transformation, to provide the readers with the essential knowledge to understand these new rules. I wanted to guide the readers and help them understand what the IoT may hold for them, as well as define a digitization strategy so they can put together an action plan to adapt and succeed. I wanted to give them the knowledge to understand what lies behind the fancy acronyms and digital mirage and give a simple, step by step method to assess where their current portfolio is today but more importantly what needs to be done to digitize it.

Question 6: What great challenges did you have in writing your book?  The pain of choosing a title; that has been a great challenge for me. Choosing the title of this book is always one of the most important and challenging tasks—as it was most certainly for me. My dilemma was: How to impart the urgency and the significance of this technological era, so critical, demanding, and fast-moving? Digitize or Die: It may sound overly dramatic or cliché, however it is simply the reality. If you don’t know the rules of the game, if you don’t spend time learning them, how can you expect to win? With my background as a telecom engineer, major account sales, branch manager, channel manager, global channel program manager, and even a start-up venture, I’ve lived through many of these transformations. Indeed, one of the reasons I’ve written this book is to share with others what I have learned along with my insights about what might be important coming, just around the corner. I have seen analog companies disappear, others merely survive, and some hurdle forward of their competition in markets such as the analog telephony to IP switch between 2000 and 2010, the video switch from analog to IP, and the current digitization of homes and energy/power networks. I saw companies that were analog leaders de-rank from leader to follower, with all the associated social implications such as employee turnover, massive layoffs, share price falling, and so on. Having been ‘up close and personally digital’ in a big way, enabled me to discern what causes companies to either disappear, or, ideally, to flourish and even leap frog ahead of their competitors. Finding an audience: seems simple… it’s not…

Question 7: If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Internet of Things, Blockchain, Quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence will change the world. If the readers want to understand how they can leverage those trends to digitize their business: Digitize or Die is the book they need.

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