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Category: Career

Solarwinds Geek Speak

Solarwinds Geek Speak

I’m sharing some articles I wrote on the Solarwinds Geek Speak blog.  I recommend you start with the 80/20 rule below post below before reading through the rest. The 80-20 Rule of Analysis and Optimisation Start with Continuous Improvement, then do DevOps The pain of network variation – part 1 The pain of network variation – part 2 A disclaimer: Solarwinds didn’t ask me to promote these posts –  I’m sharing them because they’re posts I would have otherwise published…

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The Feynman Principle

The Feynman Principle

Interviews will often start with softball questions like… So why are you interested in working for our company? This question gives the candidate an easy way to warm-up and could give the interviewer some insights into the candidate. I’ve asked this question many time and sometimes heard a reply like.. I really want to learn about large scale networks. My current network is too small and is limiting my progress.

Include the why

Include the why

I recently stumbled upon an interesting speech from 1984 by Charlie Munger of Bershire Hathaway fame. Charlie is Warren Buffet’s right-hand-man, and a straight talking genius in his own right. It’s a fairly long speech and Charlie has a few very interesting things to say, but one particular section on ‘explaining the why’ really struck home. Here’s a brief quote: ….if you always tell people why, they’ll understand it better, they’ll consider it more important, and they’ll be more likely…

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Thoughts on leaving Amazon

Thoughts on leaving Amazon

Hi All, I left Amazon in late 2015 to become an independent contractor. I took a contract working for a small managed service provider, which was closer to my home and offered a more family friendly schedule. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I knew that I was going to miss some really cool colleagues, some fascinating nerdy discussions and a very tough, but massively effective thought-system. The network I’m currently working on is tiny when compared to Amazon’s but…

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Career – Zen and the art of network maintenance

Career – Zen and the art of network maintenance

Getting Zen ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance‘ by Robert Pirsig is a modern classic.  When I first read this book I didn’t quite get the zen I was looking for. But then again maybe I was trying too hard which isn’t very zen-like.  It is a wonderful book and although I missed many of the metaphors I gleaned some solid advice on how to enjoy my work. I think Pirsig’s motorcycle maintenance tips can help us in our…

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Career – The network rockstar and the checklist

Career – The network rockstar and the checklist

We’re in the midst of a networking boom at the moment and new technologies are being released at a rapid pace.  So much so that network engineers need a suite of knowledge management tools to navigate the daily deluge of articles, documents, twikis and notes. That said, how much of your day-to-day activities are markedly different than they were two years ago? As I see it, the role of the network engineer is largely unchanged.  One still has to gather…

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Design – Pushing for true network requirements

Design – Pushing for true network requirements

All too often we engineers end up blindly actioning tasks without questioning the true requirements driving the request.  Even if you are ‘efficient’ at deployment, doing the wrong task well is not ‘effectiveness’. Picture the scene when a project manager walks into your workspace.  “Hey junior-engineer-I’ve-never-seen-before, I need to you to install a 3750E-48TS in the Phoenix branch office. It’s a straighforward task, so I expect it complete by Friday.”

Spiral & mastery learning

Spiral & mastery learning

 Spiral Learning I recently attended a curriculum night for my eldest son who is starting 2nd grade.  The teacher talked about a learning method known as ‘spiral learning’ and that the kids would continue to cycle through a range of topics in each subject, revisiting each topic at a deeper level later in the year.   I had never heard of ‘spiral learning’ before.   After a few passed I realised that I use the ‘spiral learning’ approach all the…

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Be judged or be ignored

Be judged or be ignored

Photo By Lestat (Jan Mehlich) under Creative Commons Being judged is tough but valuable I have wanted to start a network engineering blog for quite some time.  I had a long list of  reasons as to why I hadn’t started yet. I wasn’t sure what my colleagues would think.  Did I have enough material? Could I afford the time?  Then I read a post from Seth Godin a few weeks back that really hit home.