Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't.
Today's guest is Dave Temkin, Head of Infrastructure and Cloud at Imperva.
In this episode, Dave shares with us how his first job as a helpdesk in a pharmaceutical company at the young age of 15 sparked his interest in network infrastructure and propelled him from a high school dropout up to a seasoned, world-class Technical Executive.
As an openly gay man, Dave emphasizes the significance of creating a secure environment in which people can openly explore who they are and what matters to them.
We discuss why, despite identifying as an introvert, he insists on the importance of in-person meetings, why you should always stand out and express what you think despite your insecurities, and why breaking things is critical to allowing your curiosity to roam free and find what you are passionate about.
You don't have to be gay to be supportive of someone who is LGBTQ+.
You just need to be understanding and supportive, you know.
It's very, very important that people feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work with them because that's when they do their best work.
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Make it a great day.
Transcript is automatically generated and may contain errors.
[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the imposter syndrome network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundman and I'm here with Zoe Rose our co-host.
[00:00:19] Zoe: Hey.
[00:00:20] Chris: This is the Dave Temkin episode, and I'm really excited to share it with you. Dave is a seasoned technical executive, a founder, a board member, an investor, and generally a mover and shaker in the digital infrastructure space.
[00:00:36] Chris: Hey Dave, would you like to introduce yourself to the imposter syndrome network?
[00:00:39] Dave: Sure. So, yeah, I'm Dave Temkin. I've been in the infrastructure space for almost my entire career started off and help desk, but always had a very keen interest in networks. Moved my way into networks and then really kinda expanded that to overall infrastructure, mostly from an internet perspective, but overall technology.
[00:00:59] Chris: Let's dive right in here.
[00:01:00] Chris: You are an SVP, you're the head of infrastructure and cloud. What does that even mean? Can you fill us in, maybe describe what you do in 60 seconds or less?
[00:01:10] Dave: So, in 60 seconds or less. What do I do? I lead a team that has an infrastructure around the world. We've got over 50 points of presence. Uh, deployed on five of seven continents.
[00:01:22] Dave: We have a team that's also globally spread all over the place from south America to Australia, to Singapore, to the UK, and, you know, so on and so forth and a very large team in Israel as well. I'm responsible for leading that team for, um, the uptime and reliability of our service and for ensuring that our customers receive great service worldwide for, you know, basically.
[00:01:47] Dave: Our two main products, which are Cloud WAF. So web application firewall. And DDoS mitigation. So protection against threat actors, that attack networks. I have, you know, people all over the world who are up at all hours, making sure that things continue to hum right along in that infrastructure.
[00:02:06] Chris: You know, one of the things I think that's really interesting about you, Dave, is, is just this kind of magnificent career you've been able to build here.
[00:02:13] Chris: Right? You built the open connect CDN at Netflix. Now you're an advisor to DriveNets and, and Catchpoint, I'm really interested in, in what that journey looks like. How do you go from network engineer to seasoned technical executive? How did you do that?
[00:02:27] Dave: If you had asked me where I would be in 20 years, 20 years ago, I don't think I would've answered any of this. I don't think anything that I'm involved in here would've necessarily been what I thought my journey was gonna be. And I don't say that with an ounce of regret. I've loved every minute of it. Well, most, most minutes of it. And I really from high school pushed into this space.
[00:02:50] Dave: I had a job, basically working help desk at a pharmaceutical company, when I was 15 years old. I couldn't even drive myself to work. I had to bum a ride from someone else, talk my parents into it. The moment I got a driver's license, I was driving myself to that job, but it really kind of began the process of moving into being interested in and learning more and more about infrastructure.
[00:03:15] Dave: And, you know, it'd be hard to compare the infrastructure of a pharmaceutical company, twenty, five years ago at this point to anything we do today. But I think I learned a lot about how to think about infrastructure, how to, how to build infrastructure, how to work with teams, to think about who should do what and how to do it.
[00:03:37] Dave: And, you know, I really was always very interested in not only the actual infrastructure, but the process that went into getting everyone together to build. And so I think I set myself on a path with help from a lot of people, a few in particular, but, but in general, a lot of really tolerant people to get me to a point where I could understand not only the technology, but the, the business drivers behind it.
[00:04:02] Zoe: The point you touch on is a lot of people helping you along the way. And we've talked about in a couple of different episodes about mentoring and sponsoring. Do you think that played quite a key part to your career and maybe, maybe potentially directed you in a different path than you maybe have originally thought you would go down.
[00:04:20] Dave: Absolutely. And I can, I can trace it back for sure. Back to teachers in junior high school and high school. I can trace that back to really my, my second boss, not so much, my first boss. Who really kinda saw something in me and stuck his neck out for me at that pharmaceutical company, I mentioned, which is Bristol Myers Squibb.
[00:04:40] Dave: He took a chance on a 15 year old to work an internship as a help desk like engineer. For a job that normally they would've put like college sophomores in. And if it wasn't for that, that was really the start that I got. And I think that that was the, the jump off point for a lot of things that I did from there.
[00:04:58] Dave: So I can point very much so at one person in that starting point. Then over the years, for sure, many, many people that I can think of helped me, you know, put up with my BS, uh, as you know, Chris I'm sure can attest to. Sometimes I'm not always the best person to work with from a communications perspective, you know, and really kind of taught me how to be better in those kinds of ways along that path.
[00:05:25] Dave: And so I would say that without, you know, real mentors, people who were had a true interest in seeing me blossom, I definitely would not be where I am today. And I find it so important to pay that forward in my career. Now, wherever I can.
[00:05:41] Zoe: One thing you mentioned was maybe the skill set that you're not the best at.
[00:05:45] Zoe: And that leads to the question of, you know, how did you figure out what you were good at, how you imagined a lot of failure, but, uh, tell us a little bit about that.
[00:05:54] Dave: Yeah. I mean, I, I failed at plenty of things along the way, and I think that learning to own those failures is how I learned to learn from those failures.
[00:06:04] Dave: You know, when I was younger, I think I was much more a know at all. I thought that, you know that no one could do something maybe, maybe not better than I could, but I knew how to do it and I didn't need to be, you know, I didn't need help. I would just figure it out. And in some amount of fairness to myself, that is part of, I think what has made me, who I am, which is that I am really, really good at just figuring things out.
[00:06:27] Dave: And, you know, the flip side of that is I remember breaking a lot of stuff along the way. Tinkering, um, you know, from, from my parents' stereo to core router at a major ISP definitely tinkering with stuff that went south quickly. But without that kind of curiosity and the ability to, to think about that type of stuff, I don't think that I would've necessarily grown in the ways that I have.
[00:06:54] Dave: And that really kind of extended as it got further along in my career to the more business process stuff. And you know, the thing that I'm sure maybe we'll talk about at some point here is I didn't go to college. And so I didn't get a lot of those pieces that people would get, even if they went for a Comp Sci degree or something like that.
[00:07:15] Dave: And that I really had to learn on my own, or I had to read to learn about, or had to, you know, learn from a mentor or something like that instead of really, you know, having that drilled in that kind process method drilled into my brain in, in school, the way that it would for a lot of people.
[00:07:34] Zoe: As a person that did go to college.
[00:07:37] Zoe: But interestingly started as an IT manager out prior to going to college, I'll let you in a little secret. It doesn't make a difference. I know, I know that a lot of people think a college degree means, you know, your stuff or a university degree knows, you know, your stuff. But I found that actually people that figure out themselves tend to know a bit better and it takes college people including myself more time to then get into the role and get the hands on experience.
[00:08:06] Zoe: So whilst having that degree is lovely and it does open a lot of doors for a lot of people. And gives you the depth or sorry, more of a vast view versus cuz I had to do things that I didn't think I wanted to do. I will say that, uh
[00:08:21] Dave: mm-hmm
[00:08:21] Zoe: I know for a lot of people that not having that validation or that piece of paper is scary, but yeah, it's.
[00:08:27] Dave: It took me a bit to get over that.
[00:08:29] Dave: I mean, I'll say I remember I'm guessing the year was probably 2007, 2008. I remember applying for a job at Google, which back then was, you know, much, much, much smaller company that, you know, I don't know, you could still call 'em a startup at that point, but they were a lot closer to a startup than what they are today.
[00:08:47] Dave: And I remember going through an interview process and I remember going quite well. And then them really realizing afterwards that I didn't have a degree and then getting rejected for it, for that role that I wanted. And I mean, it killed me at the time and I remember, you know, it genuinely gutted me. And even before that, you know, I worked for a few financials before I got into the internet space and my, you know, potential for advancement in those was severely limited by my lack of degree, for sure.
[00:09:17] Chris: Yeah. So I'd like to dig in there a little bit. I'm I'm a high school dropout with no college diploma. I've done pretty well for myself. I think without college you've done amazingly for yourself, even, you know, quite a bit of more success than I've had. And so, you know, I would like to dig into that a little bit about not going to college and then also the gatekeepers you're bringing up.
[00:09:35] Chris: Right. And, and then getting into a career in tech and then how those things are related. First off maybe going all the way back then if you're comfortable talking about it, you know, why, why didn't you end up going to college?
[00:09:44] Dave: Absolutely. So I come from, I'm a child of divorce. My parents divorced when I was 16, 17. I'm also a gay male. Uh, I was in just, you know, I, I wouldn't call my childhood, you know, in any way abusive or anything like that. It just was not great. uh, so if I think about my peers, my friends and things like that, um, I was definitely an introvert. I was a nerd. I was in the closet, you know, there's all these things with, with, you know, parents who are constantly fighting.
[00:10:16] Dave: And there's all these things that just made me want to get the heck out of like where I came from. And so because of that, I've really had this drive of like, I need to get out of my parents' house and you know, my parents love me. There's no, there's no, like there's no real like driving force. I don't have any like sob story there, but I just felt the sense of like, I need my independence and I'd always been a very independent kid from, you know, even a much younger age.
[00:10:44] Dave: I kind of, just to my point earlier, wanna just figure stuff out. Like I, you know, thought I could. And so, because of that, Um, I really started to figure, try to figure out like, Hey, how can I get like a job? And my first job I was, you know, my first, I dunno, wanna call it real job or whatever. However you wanna say I was a busboy at a local restaurant.
[00:11:04] Dave: Lasted like two months. It was fine. You know, I did an okay job. I actually made an okay busboy I think. I can still carry a lot of glasses to tables today. I'm, I'm good at that. So definitely, you know, lasting, uh, education from that, but I really just wanted to get the heck outta there and I wanted to get outta high school.
[00:11:20] Dave: Like I hated high school just was not didn't feel like the place for me. I've always had, you know, a touch of ADHD and it was definitely very much so untreated at that point. And like many people with ADHD; I took tests really well, but I would never do my homework. I just like would literally never do homework.
[00:11:40] Dave: And so because of that, I, um, really did not do very well in high school. And I heard a story shortly after I graduated, which was that my teachers like literally met a couple weeks before graduation and decided to pass me, even though I shouldn't have.
[00:11:58] Chris: Oh, wow.
[00:11:59] Dave: Mostly based on me, never turning in homework. And they did that because they knew, you know, that I was on a decent path and that if they had flunked me out, they would've just completely screwed up that path.
[00:12:09] Dave: So that comes back to, I guess, a little bit to that mentorship idea of like, they weren't directly mentoring me, but they saw a path and wanted to nudge me towards it. So anyway, the point of that being in that time, I was really active in the bulletin board community, the old BBSs, you know, dialup days, things like that.
[00:12:28] Dave: And I was good friends with, uh, someone who lived nearby, who was four years older than me, I think. And he had gotten, you know, he was a, a freshman in college and he had gotten this internship at Bristol Myers Squibb. And he, you know, the year before, and he apparently did really well and was in really good with his boss and pitched the idea of bringing me in as an intern while I was in my like sophomore year of high school.
[00:12:55] Dave: And this gentleman, Chris Baldwin, his credit, you know, met with me, I thought it would never go anywhere. And he offered me an internship and you know, it was a paid internship. I was like, as a, you know, whatever I was 15 at the time, it was crazy that I got that. And I did pretty well. I got there, they originally put me on help desk.
[00:13:16] Dave: I was not very good at help desk because I did not really like helping people fix their printers, but I grined and beared it. And Chris eventually saw that I had a real interest in networks and had me shadow two of the people who were network engineers at the time there. And then school started up again. I got back there.
[00:13:34] Dave: I was miserable. Was not doing well. Then they had the idea to send me to tech school for half the day, which is like auto repair and hair dressing. And like that type of stuff, not like computer networks. And I remember on my first week there, I got their frame relay circuit to the county up and running so they could get full-time internet access.
[00:14:00] Chris: Amazing. Yeah.
[00:14:00] Dave: I got that up and running, not the person who was supposed to be doing it. I don't even know how the hell I figured it out, but I did. And, um, maybe from some of my knowledge of Bristol Myers actually. And so they're like, why are you here? I explained it. And they're like, you know, you could go get a co-op somewhere and you wouldn't even have to come in here four outta five days a week.
[00:14:20] Dave: And so I was like, okay. So I, I think I emailed or called Chris and said, Hey, uh, I'd love to figure out if we could do something with this. And Chris stuck his neck out again as did the person who ran HR for the division. Uh, this woman, Lori, and, um, they got me in there as a co-op and I was literally going to high school for the morning where I'd have to go do like English and Phys Ed.
[00:14:48] Dave: And also an independent study in telecommunications, which was just a total scam to get a course, to drive my GPA up, um, which was conveniently my first period. So I could just show up late every day, once I got a car. And so anyway, I ended up then doing that in the morning and then the afternoon I'd drive over to Lawrenceville New Jersey, which is just outside Princeton and go work at Bristol Myers and I'd work from like one to 9:00 PM.
[00:15:13] Dave: I'd like, give him like a full eight hour shift. And that was paying at the time. I don't remember the exact hourly rate, but the total came out to be like $65,000 a year.
[00:15:26] Chris: Oh, wow. That's uh, that's decent for 15 year old. Huh?
[00:15:29] Dave: yeah. Well, I was at this point, I think I was 16 and a half or 17, but I was a junior in high school.
[00:15:33] Dave: They did this for two years. And so I'm making like 60, some thousand dollars a year as like a 17 year old. And, uh, and so yeah, eventually I get to graduation and, um, Of course, I'm not gonna go to college. I'm making more than like many college graduates do. And this is, you know, 25 plus years ago. This is really good money.
[00:15:55] Dave: And not only that I can work more hours. So it's like, you know, I'm giving them 45, 50 hours a week now at whatever that hourly rate was. And I'm really rolling in it. So, yeah, I had no motivation whatsoever to go to college. There was just not even any discussion of it whatsoever.
[00:16:10] Chris: Makes sense. It seems like a sound decision, uh, even now with hindsight
[00:16:14] Chris: at this point,
[00:16:14] Dave: uh, yeah, I can't even imagine what my career trajectory would've been.
[00:16:17] Dave: If I just paused for four years.
[00:16:20] Zoe: A lot of debt, I'll say that. I did go to college and I'm still paying it off and I was in Canada, so, wow. You know, , it's quite a bit debt, but 65, that's an impressive that I, I didn't make that much for many years. In fact, probably closer to five years ago, no less than that.
[00:16:39] Zoe: A couple years ago, I made less than that.
[00:16:40] Dave: In, in fairness, I was a contractor and so I had no benefits and I had like, you know, the taxes were very different and stuff like that, but still, it was a lot of money for a 17 and then 18 year old.
[00:16:50] Zoe: Totally.
[00:16:52] Chris: So based on that entry point into your career. Has that, you know, the knowledge of not going to college or not being college, I know you talked about, there was some gatekeepers along the way that maybe made it a little bit more difficult here and there. Has that led to your own personal feelings of, of being an imposter or not belonging, you know, not having that degree or that piece of paper, or, or has that not been a, an issue for you?
[00:17:11] Dave: Oh a hundred percent. I mean, every meeting I'm in, I'm sitting there at a, you know, even to this day, I'll sit in a meeting with some really brilliant people. And I remember for example, my career at Netflix. I'd sit in a room with, you know, people like Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos and Neil Hunt and Greg Peters.
[00:17:29] Dave: They're brilliant fucking people. Like Greg has a PhD, literally in rocket science and I'd sit there and be like, how could I possibly say something convincing if I disagree with this person, that's gonna make them believe me, right. This person has. Literal PhD in rocket science. Like what, what am I going to say here? That's gonna make this.
[00:17:54] Dave: And, you know, I would leave meetings all the time feeling like just absolute frankly shit. I would just feel like, wow, I probably completely bombed that. Whatever I said must have just not come out the way I wanted it to come out. And I, there's no way I made my point. And then, you know, my boss would be like, it was fine.
[00:18:12] Dave: Really, Dave, it was completely fine. Calm down. And so, you know, yeah. I think even to this day, that colors that, and I'll sit in a room with, you know, people from finance and I understand corporate finance. I've been in these roles for long enough now that like I can build, spend plans. I can understand corporate P and L. I can understand all the stuff that goes along with that.
[00:18:37] Dave: And really help craft strategies around it. And I still though will sit in a room with someone who maybe has a degree in that space and feel like, wow, there's no way I could possibly compete in providing value the way that this other person does. And the thing I'll say is the thing I've, I've taught myself sometimes, maybe to my detriment is like, you know, yeah.
[00:19:00] Dave: Maybe you feel like you can't, but you should just speak up anyway. And that has taken a lot of work to get me to the point where I'll do that. And that's something I've also, you know, the flip side is I have to temper, I have to like play through my head what I'm about to say, cause I wanna make sure it doesn't sound too dumb before it comes outta my mouth.
[00:19:16] Dave: But yeah, a hundred percent.
[00:19:18] Zoe: Oh, I do that. I triple and quadruple check and I write things down and I'm like, does that make sense? So I definitely relate to that. I wanna touch on one thing you mentioned earlier was being an introvert. And obviously with all that went on in the last, however many, couple years, uh, remote working, I dunno if you're a remote worker.
[00:19:40] Zoe: Naturally or if that was something that was introduced whilst we had other lockdowns, but my question is more: do you think that that has helped you be more, not maybe present at work, but more able to speak up because you're also kind of safe behind a computer? Or is it something that you think has been more challenging?
[00:19:59] Dave: Excuse me. I find it to be the opposite. I do find it to be more challenging. I was never the person who wanted to be in the office, you know, Five days a week, 10 hours a day or whatever. Even when I worked jobs that were in office, you know, when I was in finance, the earlier days of Netflix, you know, other startups I've worked at before, kind of the collaboration tools that we have today that allow us to work from anywhere.
[00:20:24] Dave: I still always wanted to try to find ways to, to not necessarily have to sit at a desk all day, every day. And I remember interviewing for roles and asking about that and, you know, in some ways getting laughed at, but now, right. It's table stakes for many people. And. The thing is to your point about, you know, me being an introvert.
[00:20:43] Dave: Yeah. I don't always love I'm I'm not good at water cooler conversation. I'm not good at just making stuff up to talk about. And, you know, that can come off to some people as being like brusque or uncaring or whatever. And it's really not. It's just like, my brain is not necessarily wired like that. And I've spoken with, you know, some super high powered, like, you know, I'm not gonna name names, but like, you know, billionaire executives.
[00:21:08] Dave: Who feel the same exact way and have literally had to go to like corporate style coaching, which is basically therapy to get them to know how to have these sorts of interactions. Cause it's the only way that people will understand that yeah, in the back of your mind, you are empathetic to them. You do care about them, but it's just not your style to talk in that way.
[00:21:31] Dave: So, you know, the office has always been a challenge for me from that perspective, but at the same time, the thing that I've learned, having taken a new role during the, this, you know, last few years, pandemic, is that building a global team without these in person touchpoints sucks. It is really not good. It does not lend itself towards people being empathetic to other people's causes.
[00:21:57] Dave: I find that, you know, as a, as a great example, to be very specific: the company that I work for, Imperva, now has a very large team in Israel, Tel Aviv and another city called Rehovot. When I started there in May of last year, travel to Israel was still severely restricted. We were not allowed to go there almost under any circumstance.
[00:22:18] Dave: Some of them were allowed to come to the US, but that, that actually wasn't fully open at that point again. And so we had a lot of misses in how we communicate with each other in those early months, until I finally was able to get on a plane and sit down with them in Israel and realized there was a lot more common ground between us than I think we all thought.
[00:22:41] Dave: And it took a lot of like the heat and the pressure out of the situations and the discussions we were having that before were very kind of contentious and were confusing and, and not really going anywhere. So I, you know, as much as I would prefer to just be like, Hey, yeah, I'm working from home. And you know, the thing I'll be clear about is when I went back to Netflix, which is a whole other story, I was there for two years and then quit and then was asked to come back.
[00:23:09] Dave: When I went back, I said, I wanna work from home. And I was one of the very first people to ever be allowed to work from home there. So it was important to me, but now I will say, I think, you know, we have to live in a hybrid world. People do need those in person touch points. Even if for like introverts like me, it can be a little painful.
[00:23:25] Zoe: I can relate to that as well. I also work at like, um, EMEA, so the European region. I work with a lot of people I have never met. And I do find getting that in person relationship built, makes it easier to talk remotely. So I like that hybrid approach as well. I'm hoping to get to all of the locations as well, because I, yeah, that would be nice.
[00:23:47] Dave: Yeah. I haven't been on a plane yet to our Singapore office. I really need to go. I've got a world clock, literally sitting in front of me with the, the main locations of my team. So I know what time it's in each of their locations. Try to keep that in mind when I'm trying to communicate with people, you know, it's just an interesting dynamic for sure.
[00:24:03] Dave: You know, Chris has seen me speak publicly many times at NANOG and other events. I think that those are hugely important as well. People getting that kind of face time. And again, as an introvert, those are tough for me, but I find them necessary by the end of like a NANOG week. Like Wednesday afternoon. I like go up to my hotel room and stare at the ceiling for a couple hours.
[00:24:24] Dave: Cause just like, it's just exhausting. The amount of interaction that I have with people, I'm actually fine with public speaking. I would rather get up and speak in front of a few thousand people than I would having dinner with a stranger or two strangers, you know, one on one or two on one.
[00:24:39] Chris: Me too. And no one can get that.
[00:24:41] Chris: Like wait, like how can you not make a phone call to the bank, but you can stand up and talk to a thousand people.
[00:24:45] Dave: Oh yeah, no, I mean, the phone is the fact that we're in a .World. Like I will literally go out of my way to do something digitally that would take me, you know, 10 times as long to do it digitally then as it would to just pick up the phone to resolve whatever the problem is, I hate it.
[00:24:59] Zoe: Well, working in the Netherland.
[00:25:01] Zoe: I have to use Google translate for everything. And I still prefer to try and understand something that is poorly translated in those situations. Then just get on the phone and talk to someone, cuz everybody here speaks English basically. So I always feel a bit guilty cause I don't know the language of the country I live in, but um, but no, I can relate to that.
[00:25:22] Zoe: But that point you made about having a clock for all of your locations, you know, for me that's... I like that because it makes me feel like, you know, you're genuinely caring about the people you're managing. Not that I think that's a shocking, but, um, it's important to provide that personal connection and also actively care about, okay, if I'm contacting this person at this time, what time is that to them?
[00:25:45] Zoe: And how can I, you know, help them with this conversation? Like I wouldn't, I have to talk to somebody that's not in Europe. And I always try to plan around their schedule because. It's not nice hours that we have to communicate. So that kind of brings me to the question of, it sounds like you enjoy being a manager, but what are the kind of things that you really like about, or, maybe you love about being a manager or being a leader?
[00:26:10] Dave: I'm a very results oriented, like results driven person. And I love leading a team towards whatever those results are. And I tend to, you know, be very humble in a way when it comes to that, I don't take credit for work that my team does. You know, someone applauds me for doing something that was done by someone on my team.
[00:26:32] Dave: I'm the first person to go, you know, thanks. But it was so, and so. I really enjoy, you know, coming back to the mentorship aspect that we were talking about earlier, I really enjoy feeling that I'm empowering people to do their best work and I want to help them get whatever is blocking them from doing that work out of their way.
[00:26:55] Dave: And that's what gives me satisfaction. One of my old bosses said like, I'm the best person he's ever seen when it comes to execution. You know, if he needed something done, he came to me. I made sure I got it done. And you know, that was a, a coordinated effort. It wasn't that I was, you know, then going and doing someone's job for them.
[00:27:13] Dave: It was, Hey, how do I get the right people engaged? How do I, you know, get them interested and to own whatever needs to be done here and, you know, allowed them to really feel that sense of ownership and feel that sense of reward when they do a great job. And that's really what drives me.
[00:27:32] Chris: That's fantastic.
[00:27:33] Chris: And it's refreshing to hear cuz I mean, Zoe said, you know, it's not shocking that you care about your people, but it's also not totally far off from shocking, at least based on some of the experiences I've had in the past. I think, uh, we're unfortunately running out of time for today.
[00:27:46] Chris: Dave, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and with the imposter syndrome network.
[00:27:51] Chris: And thank you to all of our listeners for your attention and your support. We do have a LinkedIn group for the imposter syndrome network that we'd love for you to join and get or give career advice, mentorship, or just general community support.
[00:28:02] Chris: Now, before we close out, Dave, I I'm curious, and I'd like to dive into one more topic with you.
[00:28:07] Chris: The banner on your LinkedIn page says be an ally. Can you tell us what that means and
[00:28:14] Dave: how we do it?
[00:28:15] Dave: Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, you know, I'm a gay man. I came out in my teenage years. The thing that I will will say is that I have strived throughout my career with a few exceptions here and there to be genuinely who I am. To talk about, who, you know, was in involved in my home life in the same way that any other person would.
[00:28:38] Dave: Talk about my friends and what I did on the weekend without having to be, you know, having to swap pronouns or whatever, you know, covering behavior that people, people tend to do. And wasn't always easy, especially earlier in my career. And I can tell stories, you know, there's a woman who I work with, who I brought with me later on to Netflix.
[00:28:58] Dave: Who was one of the very first people I came out to professionally and I had to do that, cuz she had needed someone to cover for me in a very awkward situation. That's not really worth getting into on this podcast, but um, it involved a strip club and I'll just leave it at that. Not my thing just to be clear, but she did a good job of helping me out and I was like, okay, that was a lot easier than I thought that was going to be.
[00:29:20] Dave: But what really became important to me was that representation. Because over the years I've had numerous people come up to me and say, Hey, like, I can't believe that you got up in front of this huge meeting and mentioned your boyfriend, or then your husband or whomever, or, you know, whatever other story you told that is something I could never have imagined doing.
[00:29:46] Dave: And because of that, I think very differently now about I do wanna come out at work. I do wanna be my authentic self. And, you know, they spent years in hiding and, and decided no, like, you know, clearly if you can become an executive wherever it was, whether it was Netflix or here at Imperva, or even at Yahoo, clearly, like if you can be your authentic self and become that executive, I can do that too.
[00:30:11] Dave: And so, you know, I think I'm going to try to live my life a little more authentically, and obviously I'm paraphrasing the, the numerous different conversations I had. But really, you don't have to be gay, to be supportive of someone who is, you know, L G B T Q, whatever, in that spectrum, you just need to be understanding and supportive.
[00:30:33] Dave: And provide people with a safe space to talk about who they are, and who and what is important to them. And, you know, that stretches beyond sexuality, obviously for a multitude of things. But in general, it's very, very important that people feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work with them.
[00:30:51] Dave: Cuz that's when they do their best work. And, you know, lots of companies talk about all sorts of diversity and inclusion efforts. At the end of the day that's because that helps them attract and retain talent. Right? It's not that they, you know, they of course want everyone wants the world to be better, but you know, it is also about results for them.
[00:31:11] Dave: But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also be gratified by the fact that, Hey, our employer does care and does find this to be an important dynamic of my life and wants to support it. And so being an ally is wherever you are within that spectrum, making sure that people have the space and the freedom and the security to bring their authentic selves with them.
[00:31:32] Chris: Awesome. Thank you.
[00:31:33] Chris: Are there any projects you're working on or involved in that the network should be aware of? And also maybe the same answer? Uh, how can folks connect with you if they wanna chat?
[00:31:42] Dave: Sure. So I'll be honest. I've taken a big step back from a lot of the projects that I was involved in. Much less involved in things like NANOG and community IX.
[00:31:51] Dave: I am now the president of NYNOG which is the local New York network operators group, which is great. If you're in the network or even infrastructure space in the New York metropolitan area, encourage you to check out nynog.org. Join us at one of our events. We've got a few coming up. And then if you wanna get ahold of me, I'm @dtemkin on Twitter.
[00:32:12] Dave: I think same thing on LinkedIn, always happy to chat, you know, chat, work, chat, whatever, you know, feel free to hit me up.
[00:32:18] Chris: Fantastic. We will see everyone again next week.