Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t written to much in 2010. It wasn’t because I was ignoring you, I had some really good reasons.
Reason #1 – Super secret projects
I have been doing detailed design work for a couple REALLY LARGE data centers clients (the type that dominate top 10 lists) . These builds were extremely sensitive, and inadvertently leaking internal information would not have been a good thing. Since I tend to write about what I am currently working on, I had decided to limit my posting just to avoid the chance of leaking any specific design elements.
Reason #2 – Business is booming
Things got really busy. For me the great recession of 2009 was spent aggressively marketing new product lines and attracting new talent. There is a saying that your marketing dollars go twice as far during a down turn. That saying is completely true. Every day was spent working my tail off to ensure that the region stayed afloat. During that time there were zero layoffs, as well as some key talent acquisitions.
During that same time many of the competitors in my region were forced to downsize their team, and limit the amount of time and money they spent helping their clients. While I can understand the business conditions that can force you to make the decision to lay off, it isn’t the best long term strategy to put your best talent onto the market. It is like burning your winter clothing in a blizzard. In the short term it seems like a good decision, but in the long term you will pay dearly.
Avoiding layoffs, doubling down on marketing, and aggressively supporting Cisco’s entrance into the server market all came together and resulted in my region dominating the stack rankings, taking and holding number one positions in Enterprise, Select and Commercial regions in 2010. In retrospect this could be written up into a case study how to grow a business during an economic downturn. Dominating the market however translates into your free time being dominated. Luckily I work with extremely capable and talented Sales and Engineering teams, which was the only thing that saved me from going insane from the amount of work this last year.
Getting to number one isn’t easy. Staying number one is harder still.
Reason #3 – Certifications
If I haven’t been in a design session I have been nose down in a book this year. I had to re-certify a bunch of my certs as well as add EMC’s Technical Architect and Implementation engineer to balance out my NetApp certifications. I also managed to create a nice amount of work for myself by contributing to design sessions around the joint VMware / Cisco data center certifications. Pretty much every suggestion I threw up on the board got implemented, and I ended up having to pass quite a few tests to fill those roles for my current employer.
Reason #4 – Getting healthy
The day I got back from Networkers in 2009 I had one of those life changing moments that was just the kick in the pants I needed. As of writing this article I am down 92 pounds from that day. I have changed my dietary habits to something resembling what humans are intended to eat, as well as started racing bicycles again.
Being competitive on a bike requires quite few hours a week, and that has cut into time that I had previously scheduled to write. Thankfully I learned a lot about effective training this last year, and I am making much better use of my training hours now. This is resulting in much more free time for writing.
What can you expect to hear about in 2011?
I would look forward to some very cool stuff. Most of the technologies from Cisco I have been working with have become public, and don’t have NDA restrictions around them. The NetApp and EMC (FlexPod and VBlock) solutions are both developing nicely and in the public domain now. There are still quite a few topics that are off limits, but now there are more things that I can talk about vs things I cannot talk about.
In short, I’m back. Expect more from me soon.