The Fort Podcast: Marc Ganzi – CEO @ DigitalBridge – $70B Company Investing Globally in Digital Infrastructure

Marc is Chief Executive Officer at DigitalBridge and has been an investor and operator in the digital infrastructure sector for over 25 years. He has led DigitalBridge’s transformation to become a premier platform for digital infrastructure and real estate investment.

Marc founded Digital Bridge Holdings in 2013 and, as its CEO, built the firm into a leading global manager of digital infrastructure assets with more than 20 billion in AUM, until its merger in July 2019 into the current public company, DigitalBridge Group, Inc.

On this episode, Marc and Chris discuss:

  • How the industry has evolved over the decades
  • AI’s impact on this industry
  • The different verticals of data centers
  • Value add digital
  • Lease structures & Cybersecurity
  • Digital real estate

Listen on:
Apple Podcasts


(00:00:00) – Intro

(00:03:36) – Marc’s early career

(00:07:28) – The world of cell towers

(00:17:05) – Gauging the needs of small providers vs. large ones

(00:20:18) – How has the industry changed over the past few decades?

(00:24:08) – Is there going to be an increase in demand for AI data centers?

(00:26:54) – The different verticals of data centers

(00:31:03) – Do Amazon and Microsoft dominate the cloud industry?

(00:31:48) – How far out can companies see how far out on how much data they’ll need?

(00:33:32) – Is all data equal?

(00:36:13) – Value add digital

(00:38:15) – Is your work spec build or do customers commit to a location first?

(00:40:27) – Data center lease structures

(00:41:52) – Cybersecurity

(00:43:13) – How do you enhance a fiber optic cable?

(00:44:02) – Can offices be converted to data centers?

(00:46:01) – Will electric vehicles be an issue regarding power availability?

(00:48:30) – Is crypto putting a dent in the industry?

(00:49:44) – The US’ strength in cybersecurity

(00:51:28) – How do you run your business ops in the Middle East and Asia?

(00:54:08) – Digital real estate

(00:56:03) – Were there any shifts coming out of covid?

(00:57:02) – What’s the bear case for digital?

Episode Summary

In an insightful episode of Chris Powers’ podcast, guest Marc Ganzi, a pioneer in digital infrastructure, shares his deep expertise in the field. The conversation provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution and future of digital infrastructure, particularly focusing on cell towers and data centers.

Marc Ganzi’s journey into digital infrastructure began in the mid-90s, sparked by his realization of the burgeoning need for cellular towers amidst the shift from analog to digital telephones. He co-founded his first tower business, capitalizing on this opportunity, and witnessed the rapid expansion of tower locations across the U.S. This experience laid the foundation for his understanding of the digital sector’s transformation over three decades.

Ganzi discusses the evolving challenges in cell tower placements. He explains how advancements in technology have led to changes in tower locations and designs, including zoning difficulties and the trend towards lower-height, more concealed antennas. This reflects the industry’s need for adaptability and foresight in the face of technological shifts.

The conversation then shifts to technological milestones that have significantly impacted the digital infrastructure industry. Ganzi highlights key developments such as the transition from analog to digital, the Telecom Reform Act of 1997, the rise of cloud computing, and the emergence of AI. He underscores the transformation in data centers, emphasizing changes in power consumption, security, and design due to AI’s demands.

Delving into the data center sector, Ganzi explains the different business models catering to various customer needs, from managed IT services to private cloud data centers. He details the uniqueness of each model and their place within the digital infrastructure ecosystem. The discussion also touches on the role of customers in data centers, particularly in server maintenance and cybersecurity.

The final segment of the podcast addresses the future-proof nature of digital infrastructure. Ganzi talks about the ongoing challenges and strategies surrounding energy consumption and the potential of repurposing office buildings as data centers. He underscores the importance of transmission infrastructure and advocates for the robust growth potential of the digital infrastructure sector, particularly in the context of increasing demands from cloud players and AI providers.

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