Name: Steve Cotter\nTitle: CEO of the Crown-owned company REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand)\nTwitter handle: @SteveCotter\nHow long have you been in your current role? \nA very quick three years and four months. Time flies...\nWhat business technology issue is your role focusing on? \nNew Zealand deserves a level playing field to compete with the rest of the world. As a high-speed, advanced network, we\u2019re in a unique position to help researchers and educators eliminate barriers to collaborationand speed the process of bringing innovations to market. We\u2019re always looking for ways to connect our members using bigger, better, broader technologies \u2013 whatever REANNZ can do to help turn information into knowledge or improve researchers\u2019 ability to compete on a worldwide stage.\nWhat are your interests away from work? \nI\u2019m passionate about all kinds of technology, so I\u2019m never too far away from it. As they say, if you enjoy what you do, it isn\u2019t really work. My other interests are my family of course, cycling, travel, and reading (mainly non-fiction).\nWhat are you reading at the moment? \nI like to learn about all kinds of topics, so I\u2019m often reading several books at a time. On my Kindle, I\u2019m part way through The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, and Zero to One by Peter Thiel.\n If you really want insight as to where technology is headed \u2013 look on the university campuses. There you have researchers trying to tackle some of the most difficult challenges and a small city of early adopters just itching to try out the latest thing.\nWhat's the best piece of advice you've ever received? \nWhen I worked at Google I made a presentation to employee number 8. Thirty seconds into it, he said: \u2018Stop. To be successful, you have to think BIG. Plan for success \u2013 think five, 10, 15 steps ahead. Any decision we make today has to be flexible enough to achieve that end goal.\u2019\nHe then told me a story about a discussion he had with Larry and Sergei back in the early days, when they were trying to decide whether to buy servers. They chose to make their own instead of being tied to a supplier. It didn\u2019t necessarily make sense for a startup, but they were thinking big - imagining one day having a million servers - and knew they wanted full control of what would be an integral part of their infrastructure because it would give them a competitive advantage. Planning for success helped them achieve it - they passed one million servers in their data centres back in 2007!\nProfessionally, who do you admire most? \nFrank Moran. I worked for his firm, Plante Moran, while in grad school. He understood that culture matters. He turned a sleepy little accounting\/technology consulting firm into a major player in its industry \u2013 and ranked as one of Fortune\u2019s \u2018Top 100 Companies to Work For\u2019 17 years in a row. His philosophy: build \u201ca people firm disguised as an accountancy firm\u201d. He didn\u2019t micromanage and believed in a personal\/professional life balance. His Statement of Principles still guides Plante Moran\u2019s employees, long after his death.\nHow long have you been working in your field? How did you get into your role? \nI have a degree in aeronautical engineering, and spent the first decade of my career flying helicopters in the Marine Corps. I got out just before my first son was born, and found a way to transition into telecommunications. Because of my management experience as an officer. I worked my way up from managing a crew of linesmen to leading an entire construction division and then realised the networking side of telecommunications was the next big thing.\nIf you weren't working in your field, what would you be doing? \nIf I weren\u2019t working in my field, I\u2019d be pursuing my other passion: seeing the world. It\u2019s one of the reasons I joined the military \u2013 I wanted to travel and experience new cultures. Now, of course, I\u2019d travel with my family!\nCan you share one key pointer for keeping abreast of business technology trends? \nThere are plenty of social media sites you can go (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) that have lots of good information about trends and best business practices, but it is getting harder and harder to separate the gems from the rocks. I think if you really want insight as to where technology is headed \u2013 look on the university campuses. There you have researchers trying to tackle some of the most difficult challenges and a small city of early adopters just itching to try out the latest thing. That\u2019s where the Internet, high-definition video conferencing, cloud computing (just to name a few) were all born - and where you can get a glimpse of the future today.\nSend news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.