Jeff, what inspired you to pen your first book, Foot Soldier In The Fourth Industrial Revolution? Everybody has a story to tell. I feel that way about every person I meet. But each person is wrapped in mystery and hidden from me. In my perfect world, there would be a book similar to mine for every person I meet. All I would have to do is read their book, and the veil of mystery would be lifted. In writing my book, I wanted to reveal my life to myself, my sons, and anyone interested. Today’s world revolves around technology, and I was lucky enough to have spent my life working in high tech. Also, my life is a human story with struggles, victories, and hope for the future. My life was a story worth telling.

What is it about? My book is a technology biography, part human story and technology history from my birth until today. My father was in the Air Force, so we traveled in the US and Europe when I was growing up. While at Utica College, part of Syracuse University, I started working at GE as a computer operator, and this was when I realized I enjoyed business. After I graduated from college, I went to work full-time at GE and started their 2-year Financial Management Program or FMP. I was now hooked on hi-tech and spent the rest of my career at large Hi-Tech firms like GE, ABB, and ASML.

Were you surprised when people called your book a page-turner? Pleasantly surprised. Since this was my first book, I didn’t know what to expect. But I knew I had a few things going for me. I had lived an interesting life.  And I knew from several books I had read about memoir writing that it is critical, to tell the truth about your life. The readers will know if you gloss over things you are not proud of or your painful experiences. And I had a good editor. So many people have told me they read my book in one sitting. And for me, it was the same. The day I got my first published copy on kindle, I started reading at 8 pm and finished at midnight. Even I couldn’t put it down.

You uniquely combined memoir with business. What challenges did you overcome to pen a book that US Review of Books said is “an engaging read?” First, telling the truth about challenges in your life is emotionally draining. That was the biggest challenge. For example, I tell a story about one time at work when I had a panic attack during a big meeting. Also, difficult to think and write about my two divorces. But to tell the world what happened and why required me to think hard and dig deep into what happened and try to make sense of it. It doesn’t come naturally to me to talk about my feelings. So, dealing with emotion was the biggest challenge. Also, I had to talk to many old friends to get some details right because I didn’t have any diaries. 

You say your book offers an honest reflection on not just your professional victories but your personal struggles, such as when you overcame depression, anxiety, and divorces. Why is it important to write of such things? As Voltaire said, “My life is a struggle.” Struggle is part of the human experience. However, we don’t talk about our struggles in day-to-day life. When you pass someone in the hall, they ask, “How are you?”. They don’t want to hear anything from you except, “I’m fine.” As we grow older, people get hurt and have hard times. And often, we become jaded. We don’t trust just anyone. And we keep our feelings to ourselves because we don’t know if we can trust people with our inner feelings. We are afraid to get hurt. But we feel validated if we can read a book and see that someone else also had struggles. We are not alone.

As you reflect back on your long career in the technology industry, what would you say has surprised you the most about how technology is changing the world? I am surprised by two things. First, the pace of change keeps accelerating. Change is occurring at an exponential rate. Second, I, along with many people, have been surprised by the recent developments in artificial intelligence. AI as a field of study started in the 1950s, and then there was an AI winter in the 1970s and 1980s when very little was accomplished. This lulled most people into believing that AI development would be very slow and even questioned if AI would ever amount to much.  But recent developments have dramatically changed that perception, especially when Open AI released ChatGPT and DALLE to the public. ChatGPT is like Google on steroids, and DALLE2 creates amazing images on request. VC funding for AI is exploding.