In this episode, we have a special guest, Anna Claiborne, the co-founder and CTO/CPO of PacketFabric, a network-as-a-service platform that aims to transform the networking industry.
We chat with Anna about her amazing career path from working as a network engineer at a bank when she was 14 to becoming a software engineering expert and co-founder of Packet Fabric.
We discuss how Anna keeps up with the latest technologies, how she approaches hiring and leading teams, and how she deals with being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Because what you think is big right now will be small in the future.
It all gets bigger. The impact gets bigger. The technology gets bigger the technology, the challenges get bigger.
Just think bigger.
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Make it a great day.
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[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. Welcome, imposters. My name is Chris Grundman and I'm here today with my co-host Security Maven extraordinaire, Zoe Rose. Hi, this is the Anna Claiborne episode and we're all going to enjoy it thoroughly.
[00:00:28] Chris: Anna is the co-founder of Packet Fabric, where she is currently both CTO and CPO, which I'm pretty sure makes her one of the most influential and innovative folks working in networking.
[00:00:41] Chris: Hey, Anna, would you mind introducing yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network?
[00:00:46] Anna: Well, you did such a good job. I'm not really quite sure how I could improve upon that, but yeah, CTO, CPO I've spent most of my life in, in technology, so this is maybe the natural spot that I would end up is in a role like this.
[00:01:06] Anna: I don't feel like you can be around networking for your entire life and not want to change just about everything about it.
[00:01:12] Chris: Uh, that's fair. I like that. to kick us off today, I found a quote from one of your colleagues from about 15 or 16 years ago, and it says, "Anna's ability to grasp concepts and methodologies was impressive. She had the ability to become an expert in numerous fields and in short time."
[00:01:33] Chris: So what I'd like to know is, you know, how does someone like yourself who could be great at so many things, choose an area of focus or, or really, I guess in other words, Anna, what I'm asking is how did you figure out specifically what it is that you are good at?
[00:01:47] Anna: I believe that quote is just a very kind way of saying, jack of all trades, master of none, or that you can't actually concentrate for long enough to make yourself an expert in one particular. I don't know if it's as complimentary as we all think it is, but actually I, I don't know. Uh, for the longest time, even though I did grow up around technology, I, I grew up around computers.
[00:02:12] Anna: I started working at a bank when I was 14 in networking, actually working on the LAN, working with Novel NetWare. I did all the upgrades from like Novel NetWare, you know, three, uh, to four. I was working on Cisco switches out at the branch locations, taking care of frame, relay, ISDN lines, all that good stuff.
[00:02:34] Anna: So I was very, very immersed in that world. But when I went to school, I went particularly for, I really thought I wanted to go into chemical engineering. That's what I entered college as. And then it switched to genetics because I'd always been really interested in genetics too. And I got a minor in computer science.
[00:02:52] Anna: So that's the very sort of long way of saying I have no idea that I ever did pick something , something sort of picked me. You know, just through, it's almost as you go through life, it almost becomes a natural selection that you have all these things that you think you wanna do, but gradually, you know, branches of that sort of become less likely or at least more difficult to execute.
[00:03:18] Anna: And so you're shuttled down a particular branch of which you seem to be finding success.
[00:03:24] Zoe: One that I had is, I, I, I've got a similar kind of approach to things is I don't plan necessarily, but that's probably cuz I'm not very good at planning , . Um, so I did kind of naturally get into the area that I'm into. But is there ever a time where you feel like, looking back, you're like, did I make a mistake or should I have pursued this?
[00:03:44] Zoe: Cuz the comments you made about, It's harder to get into something else, right? Yeah. So you naturally go this way because that way may be harder now that you've taken this other approach. And I know recently in my career, there was one thing that I was thinking, you know, I was like, oh, you know, if I had pursued this more, would I have liked that more or would I, would I have gone further there?
[00:04:04] Zoe: Do you, do you ever kind of have that retro reviewing, I guess looking back and thinking, should I have gone that way? And if I didn't, or if you don't, Is there ever a time where you are like, you've seen what you're good at and where you're going, and you thought, Hmm, I wanna adjust it a little bit?
[00:04:22] Anna: Of course.
[00:04:23] Anna: The grass is always greener. That's human. That's human nature right there. It's always, it's always about, that's why there's like a million poems about the path not taken and the road not traveled on. Nobody wants to. They're like, yeah, I know the road that I traveled on. Right? It's the one that I didn't travel on.
[00:04:39] Anna: That's the interesting one. That's where all the cool things are. The one that I'm on is boring. It sucks. . No. Um, yeah, of course. I wonder about about that. When I was in college, the big thing was shotgun gene sequencing techniques. That's the technique that actually allowed us to sequence the human genome, and that is what I wanted to work.
[00:05:00] Anna: Because with the combination of, you know, degree and genetics minor in computer science, I had pretty much done what is now considered a bioinformatics degree before that term even really existed. And so that's what I wanted to do was to go work for Genentech. And I did. I applied there and the recruiter basically laughed at me and was like, you need a PhD to work on this sort of stuff.
[00:05:23] Anna: You know, you have a bachelor's degree. And they're like, you know, you could be a lab assistant or something. And I was like, I cannot. You know, I was like, I cannot afford school long enough for a PhD or do I think I have the patience for it? And so I immediately went into software engineering cuz you know, that was like a skill that I had.
[00:05:40] Anna: So I do wonder, because that field is so fascinating, it was actually stagnant for kind of a long time. But with CRISPR coming out in the last 10 years, it's accelerated everything all over again. And the field is booming. And I'm like, man, did I, did I miss out on that? And that's a good, you know, it's a question I'll never know the answer to, and I mean, I could go back to it if I wanted to.
[00:05:59] Anna: I could, I could quit today and I could either start something else. I could start an, I could go after a completely another startup, or I could finally go work at Genentech. I could do whatever. I mean, nothing's stopping me from doing that.
[00:06:13] Chris: We spoke to Michelin Murphy recently who was on her kind of third act, right?
[00:06:17] Chris: She, she was a lawyer and then did something, or maybe did, she did something else before lawyering that I don't think we talked about, but like she had done, had like kind of a whole like 10 year career. Stopped, went and became a lawyer, had like a whole nother 10 year career, stopped and came and became a network engineer.
[00:06:31] Chris: So definitely possible.
[00:06:32] Anna: Wow, that's really, that is really cool. And that's such a big go from lawyer to network engineer. Wow. Yeah. Right. Why, why I, why I go, I gotta know why, and maybe I should just listen to that. I, listen, listen to the episode. Yeah, I'll, yeah, that's, that's an interesting one.
[00:06:48] Chris: It's, but speaking of that, I mean, you have made some shifts as it is through your career, right?
[00:06:54] Chris: So I. You know, you said, you know, you, you kind of started out as a network engineer at this bank, and then I think you pretty quickly went into software engineering for, you know, almost a decade. And then, you know, moved into kind of more operational roles and became a professional services director and then kind of parlayed that into product leadership.
[00:07:10] Chris: At least, you know, my kind of outside view of your career, maybe you can walk us through your career in 60 seconds or less , and then talk a little bit more about why those shifts, you know,
[00:07:20] Anna: in 60 seconds or less. I think you actually did the 60 seconds or less. Pretty good. I don't, I don't think I can keep it to 60 seconds, but fair, fair enough.
[00:07:28] Anna: Yeah, it's, uh, Well, starting so young, one of the funnest memories that I have from working at the at the bank and network engineering is I would always get stuck on the phone whenever we had a problem with the frame relay lines to troubleshoot is because it was super boring and nobody else wanted to do it.
[00:07:46] Anna: You know, still on the line forever with AT&T or Pro, or, oh gosh, it was a bell at the time, so no one else wanted to do it. And they'd be like, oh, no, no, no, we put, put you on the phone because you're so good at this. And I was like, no, I'm not good at it. It's just that you don't wanna do it because it's horrifically boring.
[00:08:04] Anna: So I, I really quickly sort of figured out that there was a lot of non-glamorous aspects to network engineering. Like in some ways it was really cool because we could set up the LAN to play, you know, these games of doom. And there was definitely really fun and entertaining aspects to it, but there was a lot of not so fun and entertaining aspects.
[00:08:25] Anna: Then when I figured out a little bit of, I started doing VB script and I was like, oh, the software engineering thing is actually, you know, it's a little bit more entertaining. You do, you have a lot less real world things you have to interact with, which is funny because I'm back to infrastructure now, but leaving that aside.
[00:08:42] Anna: But the point at which things meet the real world is where things become difficult. And so software engineering, you live entirely in the abstract. You know, you, you don't like something you've written, you just ignore it. That's it. Or you don't ever, you know, you don't work with that piece of code again, or you throw it away, or you totally change it.
[00:09:02] Anna: So it's a much more malleable sort of world to exist in. And that was definitely the attraction there. And it, it's really like, it makes me, you know, going back to genetic. It's like we're now kind of at the point where genetics has become that malleable thing where you know you can change it or you can actually do a lot of changes to genetic code and that.
[00:09:24] Anna: That to me makes it really interesting and exciting again, because it is almost like we're at the age of software engineering there, where you can make all these changes. But I digress back to the career path thing. So, you know, software engineering, it's great. You know, I, I still, I love software engineering.
[00:09:40] Anna: It is the best because it is truly a creative endeavor. You know, you get to be creative all the time. You get to bring things to life that never existed before. And to me it's, it's kind of more, it's like an art with engineering. I don't think it's pure engineering. Or maybe it is the most pure form of engineering because all engineering is art.
[00:10:00] Anna: And so that was really awesome. And then kind of getting back to the point again where I guess maybe looking for progressively more and more difficult challenges, again, you know, you, you come back to that, the really hard thing is interacting with the real world, interacting with physical infrastructure.
[00:10:18] Anna: And so, Just got to the point where, you know, all the hard problems were at the interaction with the real world. And so networking was naturally one of those intersection points of, you know, how do we use software to make this real world interaction with networking better? . And so that's sort of the, I guess the philosophical career evolution.
[00:10:44] Chris: Yeah, I dig it. That makes sense. So a lot of the software engineering at first, was it always related to network engineering or has that been kind of a comeback to join those two things back together? More recently,
[00:10:53] Anna: it's been a comeback. During college, I started working at Tower Records and it was basically me and about five, six other people that created tower records.com and at the time it was.
[00:11:07] Anna: Bigger than Amazon for music sales. It was huge. That's where everyone went was Tower Records. So it was pretty far from anything I'm doing today. It was really fun. I made the wishlist, like one of the first probably really big popular versions of a wishlist that we all know and love today on many websites.
[00:11:29] Anna: That was one of my fun things. I also did a lot of the credit card processing, so that was pretty. I don't know. Fun is the right word. I don't think that's the word I'm looking for. .
[00:11:39] Zoe: We all have our own definitions of fun. Yeah. Some are just a little bit more unique.
[00:11:45] Anna: Yeah. A little bit more eclectic. Yeah. It was an interesting world to be dealing with the credit card gateways and understanding how credit card processing worked and working out all the fees and all that.
[00:11:55] Anna: Anyway, it was, it was interesting and pretty far cry from anything that. Came before or followed after, but it was something that was attractive just because of the glamor of it. You know, tower Records was a huge name at the time. And I got to meet a lot of musicians that came through there. It was, you know, it's kind of like being roughly associated with the rockstar sort of lifestyle.
[00:12:22] Anna: So it was a unique experience.
[00:12:25] Zoe: One thing that you mentioned before we started was you really like the challenge of the harder questions, the live interviews. I relate a lot to that because it's, it's the part that you said about, you know, you like the challenge of a difficult job, which is the fun part, and then you like the challenge of answering on your feet.
[00:12:45] Zoe: My thoughts were how do you prepare yourself for that as well as, or, or prepare yourself for the scary moments, you know, the challenge of answering something that maybe isn't what you expected or is. Maybe very technical or maybe political, maybe a dangerous area to talk about. How do you prepare yourself for that, and what do you do with kind of building your confidence in preparing to present yourself as well?
[00:13:09] Anna: Well, I wish that I could say that I'd taken some fancy media training with like real experience because that would be the best thing. But instead, I just used the wonderful tool called the internet to educate myself. Media training and how to prepare for those sorts of things. And it's basically stick to your talking points, like that's it.
[00:13:30] Anna: Stick to your talking points and practice. If somebody asks you a question, which I did practice, you know, somebody asked you a question out of left field. And I don't know that there's actual, like that there's anything you can actually do to make yourself a better thinker on your feet. Aside from practicing it, I guess through giving various presentations and doing things before, I probably had a fairly decent foundation of thinking on my feet.
[00:13:57] Anna: And so you just have to be able to connect the lines from, well, here's the point that I was given in the question, and how do I connect that back to one of the points that I wanna talk about? And you have to be able to make that connection fairly quickly. You know, getting from point A to point B, make that connection, and then go on to talk about your talking point.
[00:14:15] Anna: And it's always just going back to your talking points. Sounds easy, but it's actually kind of hard when you have to rephrase things in like we, because you can't always say them exactly the same. You have to add a little bit of change, a little bit of flare, otherwise you just sound like a robot. So it is a challenge.
[00:14:32] Anna: It is fun and like anything else, it's practice and that's really, uh, I don't know that there's anything that doesn't come down to just practice.
[00:14:41] Chris: Definitely helps a lot of things. So is that a big part of your role? I mean, obviously I think, you know, not everyone probably totally understands what a chief technical officer does, let alone what a chief product officer does.
[00:14:54] Chris: So maybe you can tell us a little bit more about the day-to-day. I mean, obviously co-founder, CTO, CPO, hugely impressive title. What do you actually do?
[00:15:02] Anna: I just hang out and have people say my title back to me. I mean, that is . No, it, it sounds very, it's actually, it's kind of a mouthful. It is a bit overwhelming, but the two roles naturally go together.
[00:15:17] Anna: The reason I, I, I'm not even entirely sure why I have those two titles. I think they were just sort of given. It just sort of happened like, you know, a lot of things that we were talking about earlier. You know, life just sort of pushes you your direction and all of a sudden something's happening. But typically at a company, the, the CTO is the person that serves for the technical vision.
[00:15:38] Anna: And in larger companies you have somebody who's the, who's the cpo, the chief product officer. Who is like the vision of the customer and the product and where that should go. And in a smaller company, they're the same thing. So it's usually only the CTO who does both of those things. It's only in a larger company once you get to the skill of like Google or something that they're really differentiated.
[00:16:01] Anna: And so what does that practically translate to? Uh, it practically translates to doing anything and everything that needs to be done to keep the pr, to keep the company running from day to. And I will get very specific here cause I know that that's easy to say, but it means that, you know, I, I'm typically on, like, I'm on sales calls whenever there needs to be somebody who's speaking from a strategy sort of direction as to, you know, where the product is headed or answering any of the big questions.
[00:16:31] Anna: You know, I'm there to be on, I'm there to be on sales calls. I can also talk, you know, or if we need to talk hypothetically about what could be done with the product. I'm there for that as well. It means a lot of the tough practicalities of assembling a product roadmap, showing that to customers, getting that socialized internally so everyone knows what products are gonna roll out and when it means staying on top of what are the latest technologies, you know, how, how do we use those?
[00:17:00] Anna: How could they be beneficial to the product? How could they be competitive to the product? Understanding the entire landscape of any emerging technologies. Whether in or out of the space, you know, for example, ChatGPT is the thing that everybody loves to talk about lately, and the big thing is how is that going to change, at least for the effect to my company and probably a lot of other similar companies, is how is that gonna affect hiring for software engineers?
[00:17:27] Anna: If a software engineer can go and ask ChatGPT, Hey, you know, write me a function that does bubble sort you. Or write me the answer to Fizzbuzz or whatever the, you know, whatever the challenge is. And ChatGPT actually gives somewhat usable code back then. How effective are the software screening tools that we're using to test for code knowledge right now?
[00:17:51] Anna: If, you know, if you're going through and there's a lot of like, um, hacker, uh, gosh, I'm blanking on the name right now. Um, but it's the really popular one that everybody uses. We use a tool called Woven. That's the same thing that you asks a set of technical questions, you know, writing some code, troubleshooting some code, and if you can get ChatGPT to help you with those things, then how good of a test is it anymore?
[00:18:14] Anna: And we sort of came down to, you know, we debated this a lot internally and I, I know I'm going off on a bit of a branch here, but I think this is an interesting one. And we debated this a bit internally, and it comes down to, You can never forget your fundamentals. Any, any problem that someone has worked on in earnest and has really hit their head against a wall on a tough problem, they're gonna remember the details.
[00:18:38] Anna: So, as long as your interviewing technique is good, and you're not relying on just getting on, just having somebody spit back answers to, to code, or to debugging code, and you're actually asking them the hows and the whys they're gonna be able to give. Very detailed answers on that and be able to convince you that they understand the problem in a deep way.
[00:19:01] Anna: And if they're just getting the code regurgitated from ChatGPT, they're not gonna be able to answer those questions. So our final decision on it was that, you know, our, our technique and everything is still valid with the presence of ChatGPT. And no matter how much somebody may use it, our interviewing techniques are gonna screen for that.
[00:19:19] Anna: Yeah, and I, I know that that was to, that was totally random, but I wanted to give a very, a very specific and relevant example. You know, that's one of the things that I have to reason and work through on a daily basis. Then there's also a lot of, like, it's, a lot of, it can be a lot of very mundane, mundane things like are we collecting all the metrics on the products that we should, you know, what's a better strategy for collecting metrics?
[00:19:42] Anna: Is there a better standard set we could. And then also looking out into the market about positioning. How does the, is the product position right? Is it priced right? All these different things that go into how somebody's actually going to make their buying decisions and buy a final product and how we fit into that.
[00:20:02] Anna: And so that's, I think that's a pretty small slice. Um, one of the things I haven't done in a while that I really miss is writing any code. I don't think I've touched a line of code in like two years and. That's probably my least favorite part about the whole thing right now is that as you get to these more sort of customer facing and market facing roles is that you don't have time for maybe the very thing that led you there or the very passion that led you there.
[00:20:28] Anna: It's very interesting, or at least that's always been an interesting aspect to me, is that you have to leave behind. The thing that led you to the place?
[00:20:38] Zoe: Yeah, I, I, uh, talked about it. Another episode where it was kind of emotional, emotional decision for me is acknowledging that I don't get to be hands-on anymore.
[00:20:47] Zoe: I do sometimes, but not to the depth that I loved, you know, cuz I, I made that decision to become a manager and as a manager a lot of the times, the cool hands-on tech stuff that I really loved. I have to delegate. I just cost too much to do. But I really like the point you made about your interviewing and deciding how kind of the, is the approach working based on what's out there.
[00:21:12] Zoe: Because you talk about, you know, the roadmap for the product and the roadmap for this and that, but I think that actually really for me is you're identifying the direction of your business based on the people you're hiring. And the way you're hiring is how you get, like the type of people you're going to get in your team or in your company.
[00:21:32] Zoe: One thought I also had was from your role, what's the most important part to you in the way that you lead? I mean, you clearly make quite a bit of conscious thought on your hiring process, but also maybe the pr, the way that you lead your teams.
[00:21:47] Anna: Yeah, so hiring process is something that if you're not putting a ton of thought into it, you should be.
[00:21:53] Anna: A company, an organization is only as strong as the collection of people that are in it. And there's the only important thing you will ever do as a leader in a company is hire. That's it. But I guess maybe that's oversimplification. I shouldn't say that's it. Big part of leadership, to me at least, is to lead by doing, which is part of the reason why it's so hard for me to not be hands on and to not be writing software anymore is.
[00:22:20] Anna: If you look at, I love, I'm a big reader of like military strategy and um, especially in my first startup, Prolexic, we actually read a lot about how special operations teams function. Because we had these, we were working against DDoS attacks. And so we would spend, I mean, days in sleep deprivation, we were operating against an enemy who was also very, very motivated and who had a good means to destruction.
[00:22:51] Anna: And when you look at it, it's actually pretty similar to special operations warfare type things. And so we read a lot about how those missions operate and about how people operate within those misions. Just to help us, , to help us get through the day at first, and then it became ingrained in me is that, you know, the best, the best leaders are also some of the best followers, right?
[00:23:15] Anna: You have to know how to be able to change positions in a team. And any of the Navy SEAL teams, they often will have, you know, they'll have a team lead, but that, you know, there could very easily be another team leader for another mission. So you have to be able to take direction and you have to be able to give direction.
[00:23:31] Anna: And also once you have a plan. You have to commit to it because it's literally in, you know, obviously not so much DDoS mitigation, but in warfare, you know, you have to stick to that. You have to stick to the plan, even if you disagree, because lives are at stake. And you also have to know the appropriate time to improvise, to keep everybody safe.
[00:23:51] Anna: And so a lot of that, you know, we took. We took into the, the tech world and how we were operating, and I think I've carried that forward into just leadership in general is that, you know, you have to know how to be a good soldier in order to be a good leader. So you have to know how to take direction, and you have to always be willing to do, you could never send anyone into battle to do something that you wouldn't do yourself.
[00:24:14] Zoe: So the way you present yourself is you, you clearly very much like a challenge. Um, you're very focused on people and planning for the future. To me that screams, you know, you've thought about your personal brand and focused on, you know, the direction you wanna go in. But I am curious on what your thoughts are for people coming into industry and their, if they should think about their personal brand and maybe the direction they're going in, even if it is slightly more of a natural progress as well.
[00:24:45] Anna: It's funny. Personal brand, it's. That word has come up twice lately, and I don't think I've heard it, you know, all but maybe a handful of times throughout the rest of my life. It's funny how things sort of cluster at once. I don't think that I've ever consciously thought about my personal brand, but now it's come up twice.
[00:25:02] Anna: Oh, what do you think your personal brand is? It's like, wow, I, that's a. That's a fascinating question. My advice would be, you know, to not think about your personal brand. I think if you spend time focusing on how you want to be perceived rather than actually doing the things that you enjoy or trying to improve yourself, then your brand is always gonna be superficial.
[00:25:26] Anna: Like, if you think about, you know, personal brand. The equivalent to, to corporate branding, at least as far as I understand, and the best brands in the industry. If you look at any of the running brands, they, you know, Nike, just do it, even though I do not like Nike, but I'm using it as an example because everyone will know Nike.
[00:25:48] Anna: Is that they've built a brand that is consistent with a long track record of producing both quality items and cutting edge sort of technology, like the new vapor fly running shoes that, you know, supposedly give you this extra energy return and huge advantage. And so that's built off of what they've done.
[00:26:09] Anna: Not necessarily. I mean, sure there's a huge amount of brand positioning and everything. But it's built off of a solid thing. You know, what they've actually done and what they've actually produced, which you know, is a lot of shoes. And so it's like, that would be my suggestion is focus on what your strengths are.
[00:26:29] Anna: Focus on how to improve yourself on a daily basis, and that is a good brand.
[00:26:33] Chris: Yeah, I like that a lot. I think, to me it goes back to, I think it's some kind. Proverb from somewhere. The, the idea that, you know, be careful of what you think because your thoughts can become words. Be careful of what you say because your words can become actions.
[00:26:48] Chris: Be careful of what you do because your actions can become habits and be careful of your habits because what you do over and over again becomes your character. And I think that maybe is kind of the root of, of what you're talking about here, right? Which is, you know, don't worry about the end result of what people see.
[00:27:02] Chris: Just do the things that you know are right and that you know you should be doing, and, and people will see that hopefully over time.
[00:27:07] Anna: Yes, yes. That is, you said it far more succinctly than I did , and that's a great proverb. . But yeah, that is exactly, it is, you know, focus on yourself and, and who you wanna be and that directionally should be corrects to making a good, a good brand.
[00:27:24] Chris: Yeah, I like it. And it's important to pay attention to that stuff, right, because I. No one sets out to be the bad guy. It usually happens by accident. So, you know, paying attention to the effects of, of your actions is probably important too. Like what, you know, not just what you wanna do, but like what's actually happening based on what you're doing.
[00:27:38] Anna: You know, I read a great line the other day, which is, you know, every good guy is the bad guy in someone else's story. Sure. , I, I thought that was fa like, it's just, it's fascinating because it just goes to show. Perspective. You know, I don't know if like, there's always, there's stories that will turn, you know, good guys into bad guys and bad guys into good guys.
[00:27:59] Anna: So that's why when you talk about brand, you know, perception is everything. And if you really try to do the right thing, I think that people do pick up on that and it's important.
[00:28:11] Chris: Let your actions speak. Yeah, I like it. Unfortunately. We're just about out of time for today, so we'll have to leave things there.
[00:28:19] Chris: Anna, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your time and for joining us and sharing your story with the Imposter Syndrome Network. And thank you to all the imposters out there listening to us. We know that your time and attention are the most valuable assets you have and we really appreciate you spending them with us.
[00:28:36] Chris: Please consider joining the LinkedIn group to give or get career advice. And be sure to share this episode with a friend, family member, or colleague who might find it interesting or informative. Really quick, Anna, before we turn the lights off here, I do have one more question for you. I wonder if you could describe something that you wouldn't know or be today without some failure or mistake that happened in the past.
[00:28:59] Chris: Right. So like, you know, like a hard won lesson. Lisa, you know, on the working theory that mistakes lead to lessons tune us into one of yours.
[00:29:08] Anna: Wow, that's a tough one. I love it. a hard one lesson. Yes, actually. Okay. So I, I do like the hard, I think that this is very thematic to the podcast as well. The, the hard won lesson is to have, if I could go back and tell myself something, it would be to have more confidence.
[00:29:27] Anna: I really did, you know, when I was younger, especially being. A woman in a male dominated sort of field and often being, you know, one of the only girls in a, you know, computer science class or you know, being one of the only woman doing something, it was tough to have confidence and I had to tell myself a lot.
[00:29:48] Anna: Fake it till, you know, fake it till you make it, fake it till you make it. Just pretend to have that. I think it would've better have served me to have true, you know, to have real confidence, to know that there is no one smarter in the room than me. You know, that's not a thing no one else knows as much as y you, you think that they know, um, nor are they as important as you know.
[00:30:10] Anna: You think they are. Like, you've got this.
[00:30:13] Chris: I love it. I love it. And I think that that makes a lot of sense and it is on theme for sure. I've definitely found that to be true myself. I mean, even being, you know, a white male coming up through the engineering ranks, which was probably much easier still, I found that the more confidence I had, the more opportunities I was given and the more I was able to capitalize on.
[00:30:29] Chris: So I, I definitely wanna underline what you said there, which is, yeah, have more confidence. I think it's good advice for everybody.
[00:30:35] Anna: Yeah, and it's so, it's tough and especially for if you're just starting out your career. It is, it's intimidating because you think that everybody, everybody knows everything except for you.
[00:30:44] Anna: And really the older I get, the more I just figure out that I actually, the less, the less that I know. It is very true that I now, I'm pretty sure I'm at the point where I know absolutely nothing .
[00:30:57] Chris: Perfect. Well, I think, I think it was Mark Twain that said, all you really need to get ahead in life is confidence and ignorance, and then you'll be happy forever.
[00:31:05] Anna: Yes, yes. There you go. That, yeah. Yeah. I like that very.
[00:31:09] Chris: Are there any projects that you would like us to know about or, or highlight for the imposter network that you're working on currently? Or stuff that you should go look at or, I mean, it could be anything we volunteer, stuff you do or at work or whatever.
[00:31:19] Anna: So at work, we're coming out with some exciting new products in the layer three space, a round cloud router coming out with. Internet on demand, and then also the ability to connect to lots of different SaaS providers, security providers, all this, you know, in a very easy one click sort of fashion to have private, direct, secure connectivity to whoever your, your favorite provider of software services, anything is.
[00:31:51] Anna: I think these are really personally, you know, obviously I think these are very interesting products. They're taking what were previously really difficult concepts in the internet world, like peering, you know, and how to actually set up peering. So taking something that only a network engineer could do, and now taking that up to the customer level where someone who doesn't have a lot of the specialized knowledge about how BGP works or how an internet exchange.
[00:32:21] Anna: And they can get the same sort of benefit of, you know, private, direct, secure connectivity to whatever provider without all that knowledge. To me that's a really, it's valuable overall to humanity and mankind because the internet is ultimately about the exchange of information. And the easier we make that exchange of information, the more that we're benefiting every single human on this planet.
[00:32:48] Anna: So I know that that's like taking it up to an almost unreal philosophical level, but I kind of feel like that's why a lot of us are in the internet and are in networking is because it's just amazing. It's amazing that we have all of the knowledge of mankind just about in a little device that fits in our pocket.
[00:33:08] Anna: And the internet is what has made that possible. I mean, the internet is the greatest equalizer that exists. It allows. The uneducated to become educated, the oppressed, to see the whole big, wide world. It's an opener of doors and so any, even a small contribution is very large.
[00:33:28] Chris: I couldn't agree more. That's fantastic.
[00:33:30] Chris: Uh, we'll put some links in the show notes and, uh, some people can reach out and find you on Twitter and LinkedIn if they'd like, and maybe some links to those product release, uh, announcements if they happen in time. And, uh, We'll be back next week.
[00:33:42] Anna: Thank you so much for having me, Chris and Zoe. This is great.
[00:33:45] Anna: I really enjoyed the conversation.