CIO of BMNC, Sam Marrazzo, talks about his tech experience and the importance of failing

This week I had the chance to speak with Sam Marrazzo, CIO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Sam has been heavily involved in the Buffalo tech community for many years now! In his free time Sam likes to ride bikes, garden, spend time with the family,  and Sam is heavily involved in Infotech here in Buffalo. He sat down to share some advice, tell me about his line of work, and speak about technology:

How did you get started in your field?

“I’ve been working in the IT field for over 25 years now. I did not originally start out in this business, I had an accounting degree. After college I was asked to learn about EDI (electronic data interchange), and that is how I got started in my career working with business systems. From there I really started programming and working on mainframes and more, and from there it continued. Accounting is very old school, it has been going on since a monk in Italy decided to come up with a dual entry system. I thought it was so archaic to use ledgers, so when I learned about technology that could do automatic ledgers, it was really efficient and it really intrigued me to think about my journey and creating technology that would disrupt organizations.

Biggest challenge you’ve faced?

“Right now the biggest challenge is really inspiring team members to think outside the box. Trying to get people to be more creative and be more technical. Being less focused on only the solution and more trying to challenge them to come up with new ideas.”

Thoughts on failing?

“Failing is good. I failed a bunch of times. I failed on projects, and on a lot of other work. What you learn from failure is courage. A lot of times failing helps you to build thick skin and develop the lion’s heart. It will usually happen after failing a couple of times. I want someone coming to my organization wanting to fail. If you come to me and say you want to fail and learn then you will get the best experience. I like to talk about a time when someone didn’t know how to do something. They were going to fail, but they were better off for it. Failing is only good if you can learn something from it.”

Your advice for someone starting out in tech?

“I wouldn’t start out in a corporation. I think the best option is to go with a startup to get as much experience as possible. Don’t run to the west coast right away. Do something challenging and you will have plenty of time to learn about the art of engineering and everything else involved in a startup. You can learn things about the business, how a company works, and still learn a lot about tech.”

What technology are you currently most excited about?

“The most exciting right now is blockchain. It is going to disrupt everything from grades, to conversations, to basically how we interact with people. The technology behind blockchain is really disruptive with everything it involves. I am also really excited about augmented reality.”

What are your future plans?

“We’re trying to build a collaborative between community academia and local companies. We want to build innovation around companies and bring a lot of activity around here. We are not just focused on startups, but all companies to build a sort of collision effect in the area.  The entire community, including mature companies, want to innovate and become part of the innovation wave that is happening in the industry. We want to build a localization model where resources are sourced locally and companies look to our innovation center as a hub to get work done.”


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