This week, our Focus Friday is shining a spotlight on journalist, entrepreneur and marketer Jon Oleaga. Originally from Spain, he thinks of himself as a “world citizen”, spending up to five months of the year in Madrid, and dividing the rest of his time between San Francisco, Colombia and various European countries.
Among his many hats, Jon is a professor of digital marketing and technology at IE Business School and the University of San Diego (USD) as well as a technology reporter for ABC Spain. He also consults on topics such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data, and digital transformation. Jon is currently in San Francisco working on the launch of Zapiens.ai in the US, a Spanish startup that has developed an app for mobile training and an AI bot that learns from the frequent questions employees ask. Technology is key to Jon’s nomadic lifestyle, allowing him to stay connected and pursue his passion for photography and gaming wherever he may be. Check out his Instagram to learn more.
Growing up, what’s the very first gadget or piece of technology you were excited about?
I loved my computer, a first-generation PC I got when I was around 11. I used it to play games and learn to code until I was advanced enough that my computer science teachers would ask me for help when they were stuck. On the other hand, I did accidentally create a virus that infected the whole computer lab – it took days to repair the damage!
When was the first moment technology helped you?
It really helped me when I was doing my first assignments at school. I had a laptop that I brought to class so I could access the Encarta encyclopedia. This was in the days before Internet, so it really made a difference!
In your current job, what technology do you find most useful and how do you use it?
I currently have two laptops, both from the Microsoft Surface line. One is the Surface Book 2, which is powerful but light enough for travel. I can edit videos, connect it to VR goggles, or link it up to a big screen to play games. But sometimes the big screen can be a barrier, creating distance between people. That’s where my smaller Surface Go, which is great for carrying from classes, to meetings, to coffee shops, or on short trips, comes in handy. I synchronize all my files using OneDrive, so I can jump from one computer to the other seamlessly.
What difficulties did you encounter before you had access to this technology?
Before using OneDrive, having different devices was a nightmare. I had to carry USB drives with me everywhere and it was really hard to keep up. Now, everything is in the cloud, so regardless of the computer or phone I’m using, I always have access to my presentations, files and pictures.
What does Microsoft technology allow you to do more of?
As well as my Surface hardware and use of Office 365, I rely on Azure a lot, especially during my classes. I have two assignments for which Azure has been really useful: one is a machine learning experiment to predict whether you and your classmates would have survived the sinking of the Titanic, and the other is the development of a social media sentiment analysis using AI and logic apps. My students love using it.
Outside of work, what tech do you love to use and why?
There’s no such thing as “outside work” for me! My job is my hobby and my hobby is my job – I’m a bit of a workaholic. I use the same tech whether I’m working or not. However, when it comes to my hobbies, I do have a soft spot for cameras. I have four different models, including a drone, and my phone has a great inbuilt camera too. And as a big gamer, I always travel with a portable console, so I can play anywhere.
What piece of tech could you not live without?
Like many people, I feel naked without my phone. But I also couldn’t live without my e-book reader; I read a lot.
If you had one piece of advice for people using technology every day, what would it be?As I tell my students, technology is fun. We’re surrounded by it. You can either embrace it, understand it and love it, or you can fight against the inevitable. We don’t need to be afraid of technology. In the end, it’s just a tool.
What technology are you most excited about for the future?
There are so many exciting things coming up: 5G, quantum computing, and AI are all breathtaking. As a big gaming fan, I’m especially looking forward to seeing ubiquitous gaming, where all you need to play is a streaming device. Some such technology already exists, but there’s a long way to go before it becomes an everyday thing.If you would like to learn more about how people across Europe get work done and foster a collaboration culture in exciting new ways, read more #FocusFriday stories here.