One of the my old Sales Managers had a saying – “Don’t tell me what you did yesterday, tell me what you’ll do for me tomorrow!”.
Of course, he was referring to how much business I was going to book in the next quarter, but it works just as well for New Year. I don’t spend a lot of time looking backwards but….
Last year has been professionally exciting. Through blogging and social media Iíve become involved in a whole other group of people. Importantly, we share the same interests.
- I joined the Gestalt IT Tech Field Day and helped to setup the first Network Field Day in San Jose on 15th November, 2010.
- I started the Packet Pushers Podcast back in April/May with Ethan and Dan. Now we have about two thousand downloads per show and people have been giving us positive feedback. Plus itís fun. And Iíve made good friends with Ethan and Dan.
- HP Networking took me to Sacramento to brief me on their products – an early introduction to new vendor has been valuable.
- I attended VMWorld in Copenhagen.
- EtherealMind continued to grow. I even wrote some good material.
- met loads and loads on new friends on Twitter and got to meet some them.
Taking a Sabbatical
As†twittered last year, Iíve left my full time position and am taking several weeks as a professional sabbatical. Which begs the question – what is a sabbatical ? Firstly, itís not a holiday or a break. Secondly, I have a list of projects and tasks that I want / need to achieve within the time I have. Thirdly, Iíve been having some minor health problems and taking a break from the pressures of daily work may help.
Basically, I have stepped away from corporate life to give myself a chance to complete some personal projects that I havenít been able to achieve. Doing them piecemeal in my spare time hasnít worked out.
Network Field Day
Although most network people meet regularly at Cisco Live events, the Networking Industry is dominated by Cisco and this leads to a lot of repetitive debate about the same topics. The Network Field Day is part of listening not just to Cisco but the entire Network Industry – there is more to our business that just routers and switches. There is a lot of change happening in networking this year. We expect to organise two more events this year.
There are two projects that Iím willing to talk about publicly today. There are more (hopefully) to come towards the end of January. The first is a book on tips using Microsoft Visio to make Network Diagrams. The second is recertification time for my CCIE is due.
HastyGuide to Network Diagrams with Visio
Iíve talked a lot about documentation and the value of the diagrams. But there isnít much material on how to use Visio to draw network diagrams. Everyone seems to learn as they go along, picking up bits and pieces, working out some things. Some people take the time to learn their tools, and some people donít. Iíve had a few people tell me that my Visio diagrams worked out well, and my preparation is quick. One thing led to another, and Iíve been mapping out the outline of the book for a while.
That formed the basis of some blog posts on how to create Network Diagrams. These were very popular and much discussion followed on. They have remained popular and Google seems to love them, so other people must be interested.
Because the guide is intended to highly practical (there are plenty of Visio books around after all), I’ve decided to call it a Hasty Guide – which pretty much sums up the approach. It’s a quick guide to achieving a narrow task. It’s not a reference text, it just about getting something done.
Right now, Iím about halfway through creating a book in practical techniques for using Visio to create Network Diagrams with tips, tricks, techniques and methodologies for getting good results with minimum effort. I intend to publish the book using Amazon / CreateSpace.
Iíve had to think hard about this for many reasons but Iím due again for recertification. Iím going to go around again because I like being an engineer (and the temptation of management is not yet appealing to me). So, itís back to the process of learning the details for what Ethan correctly described as the ìCisco Networking Trivial Pursuitî game.
Iím not complaining about the content of the written, in general I agree with the approach. But there is a lot of material that I have not used or exercised and it takes a lot of effort to memorise the necessary material. And I need to refresh that knowledge because I’ll need to use it.
Yes, I’ll keep telling myself that. Over and over.
More Podcasting at Packet Pushers
A standout for me last year has been the fun of doing the Packet Pushers. Although it started simply to put some discussion in the networking community around topics that matter to engineers (and not so much on paid for marketing messages from big corporations), itís developed in some interesting directions.
Iím hoping to spend some time improving the recording process, improving quality, and locating more guests with the big companies. We had some brilliant discussions with Cisco, Juniper and HP last year and I think we need more of that. Iíd like to engage more with the product managers and discuss their processes and products. Thatís a big part of the networking.
The other side of podcasting is that it costs money, and now that Iím not earning an income Iím going to be looking for ways to get some sponsorship and cover some of the costs. So, if you see changes to include advertising, I hope youíll understand and support the sponsors.
To be fair, I donít much know what this year looks like. In the next couple of months, Iíll pursue my projects as part of my sabbatical . I may take some short term contracts if people ask and its convenient (get in contact if you think you I could work for you). And Iíll be keeping an eye out for the ìperfectî job as well ( it is always a possibility right ) .
Iíll still be writing here. Iím hoping that a few more senior networking people might want to join in and post content here. You can post whenever you like and thereís no pressure to keep writing if you arenít interested. Everyone has got at least one blog post in them. Even if you have your own blog, feel free to post a couple of articles so that the Networking Community can find you and your blog. There are more than 2500 RSS readers to give you some exposure and the site rates well in the Google / Bing etc.
Iím also considering implementing more features for EtherealMind.com. Iíve been looking into hosting some forums and user groups so that we can have proper discussions. There are times when 140 characters on Twitter isnít enough, and it would be valuable to have long form discussions using a forum based approach. If I decide to do this, I hope to have it done by mid-January. If you think this is a good /bad idea, leave a comment on your thoughts and it will help me to make up my mind.
The advertisements you see have been generating a small amount of income. I’ve donated a significant amount to my childrens school, but most of it now goes to support Kiva where I loan money to entrepreneurs in Africa. Just this week I made my sixty fourth loan and now have USD$600 balance. I’m a little bit proud that and thank you for helping to create that money.
If you are still reading then well done and thanks. Thanks for your support, comments, twitter following and replies, the emails, and listening to me drone on or rant madly in podcasts. Iíve enjoyed the last three years of blogging, and itís taking me in unexpected directions.
Hereís to doing more of that. Cheers.