In the Clouds with…T-Mobile’s Marcus East: “Freedom and speed are essential”
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Welcome to our new column “In the Clouds with…” We'll be hearing from IT leaders about what keeps them up at night and their secrets to success.
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Marcus East is a senior vice president and chief digital officer at T-Mobile, leading a team of designers, digital marketers, engineers, product specialists and technologists with the mantra of “technology in the service of people.” Marcus and team create experiences that allow T-Mobile customers to seamlessly manage and enjoy their relationship with the company, removing friction in the pursuit of the goal to simplify and digitalize—one of the Un-carrier’s top priorities.
Marcus brings a wealth of experience from tech companies like Apple, Google, and IBM, as well as major consumer brands including Marks & Spencer and National Geographic. He joined T-Mobile from Google, where he was technical director in Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO, helping its largest enterprise customers harness the power of digital transformation.
1. What business challenge is keeping you up at night?
In a competitive landscape like ours, the freedom and speed that cloud gives us is essential, and the way that cloud is allowing us to accelerate our transformation. Instead of having to update multiple legacy systems, we’re able to use the cloud to abstract functionality and experiences away from them and deliver compelling customer experience without having to immediately fix the underlying systems.
2. How deeply is your company invested in the cloud? What about in five years?
We are all-in on cloud. We have been investing heavily in the cloud for a number of years and employ a hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud strategy. We leverage the cloud to enhance our scalability for major events like product launches and holiday season, and also extensively use cloud-native services like BigQuery.
3. Tech has always faced talent challenges, from scarcity to diversity. What’s your advice for recruiting top talent in today’s climate?
I think that engineers and developers increasingly expect to work in teams and organizations that have strong cultures and where they feel that their values are aligned. Here at T-Mobile, our strong culture and focus on employee experience have allowed us to not only retain top talent, but also to attract top talent too.
4. What are the two biggest technologies that will impact 1) your industry, and 2) the world in the next decade (and why)?
I think that we are only just seeing the potential for IoT and that in the next decade the advent of 5G will usher in a new era of connected devices that really change our lives. I’m particularly interested in personal health, and the way in which things like fitness trackers and smart scales can integrate to help us better manage our health. I use a service called “Forward Health,” which is only available in Silicon Valley and Bellevue right now, and which allows my doctor constant access to my health information through Apple Health. I communicate with the medical team regularly based on actual data streaming from my devices, allowing them to deliver preventive care, and to provide more accurate diagnosis. This is the future, and 5G is going to unlock it for everyone!
5. Every executive has their “top secrets of success” they know they’ll repeat when taking any new job. What’s yours?
My top secret would be to make sure that you spend time in a new role listening to your team and peers, and really absorbing the culture. Many times I’ve heard of executives that have started new roles and came in with a clear view and pushed hard without taking the time to truly understand the organization; that’s something that I strongly advise against.
6. What is the best advice you ever got?
“It’s not all about you. You’ll become a great executive when you realize that your primary responsibility is to inspire and motivate others!” I got this feedback in a performance review in my early 20s, and I’m so glad that I did.
Here at T-Mobile, our strong culture and focus on employee experience have allowed us to not only retain top talent, but also to attract top talent too.
1. Book on your nightstand? We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook.
2. Lunch with a leader living or dead? Steve Jobs.
3. Favorite way to R&R? Spending time in nature.
4. RTO, WFH or Mission to Mars? RTO.
5. Three apps you can’t live without? YouTube, Gmail, and Apple Music.
6. Your motto or mantra? Always be delivering!