In this episode, we welcome Massimiliano "Max" Mortillaro, an IT expert with a unique journey in the tech world.
We discuss his early fascination with computers, his short time in university, his multilingual upbringing, and how his passion for role-playing games ultimately led him to move to the Czech Republic.
Max shares his first steps in the tech world as an IT trainer, later securing a role at the French embassy, where he gained exposure to networking and other new aspects of IT. He also shares insights into tackling digital security, privacy challenges, and the importance of managing one's digital footprint.
We delve into the value of learning from others' mistakes, career planning, visualization techniques, striking a work-life balance, and the crucial role of soft skills in personal and professional success.
You leave the breadcrumbs online.
These digital footprints are a new thing for our generation, creating a digital legacy that lasts long after we're gone.
Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!
We'd love it if you connected with us at the links below:
Make it a great day.
An AI generated this transcript, mistakes and all:
[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 with my always on time co-host. Zoe Rose. Hello. This is the Massimiliano "Max" Mortillaro episode, and I think you're going to love it.
[00:00:29] Chris: Max is an industry analyst, a public speaker, and a technology practitioner. He currently offers consulting and influencer marketing services at Tech Unplug. And he's also a colleague of mine at GigaOm, as well as an evangelist for fine Italian espresso.
[00:00:46] Chris: Hey, max, would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the Imposter syndrome network?
[00:00:50] Max: Hey, absolutely. Hello, uh, Zoe, uh, Chris and, uh, thank you for having me. I think that, uh, the one you got the best is really definitely the, the espresso evangelism thing. So I'm Max Mortillaro you said? Uh, I was born in, uh, in Italy.
[00:01:05] Max: I grew up in France, French citizen. Actually, I live in Prague, Czech Republic for now, 20 plus years. So that's it in a nutshell; married kids cats. And, uh, quite a, quite a crazy busy life.
[00:01:20] Chris: Nice. That's awesome. That's quite the range of, of, of countries to have lived in and, and, and be from and stuff. So maybe we'll dig into that a little bit more. That's, that's interesting to me.
[00:01:27] Chris: But today I want to actually start way back at the beginning of your technology journey. Can you tell us a little bit about how, and maybe also why you got into tech in the first place. You know, was it from childhood or in school, or was it later? Are there any specific people who ignited or inspired your love of technology along the way?
[00:01:46] Chris: Or, I mean, whatever, right? Just, uh, how did this start? Why are you in tech today?
[00:01:50] Max: Yeah, I think that like many people, I just, when I was a child, uh, we started you knowing these computers at school. We had these, uh, crazy projects in the eighties where each European country wanted to build their own computer system.
[00:02:03] Max: So in our case, in France, we had Thompson computers where you would learn to do basic or logo rather, you know, the thing where you would move a pointer and draw things. There was a server in the room and it looks like some crazy stuff. I really love that. We're playing, of course, computers at the neighbors.
[00:02:19] Max: We had consoles. I think that, uh, for me it really started when, uh, I mean, of course consoles were the first kinda introduction to computer, like technology. But at my dad's work, they had pc I think, and I was using there sometime one of the colleagues put there and I'll play like it would paint stuff on the.
[00:02:41] Max: On Microsoft paint and things of that kind. At some point we, uh, even got a computer at home. My dad brought a 286, and I think the first thing that we did together with my Dad, was we were trying to set it up, he went into the bios, we did low level formatting of the hard drive. And we think we saw that computer two or three weeks later when it was reinstalled again. So that was my first introduction to technology. And uh, as you know, when you, this job, I think you learn by mistakes, right? And I think that, uh, I've been learning a lot based on the mistakes I did.
[00:03:14] Max: So, uh, that, that's, that's been the first kind of introduction to that. And, and of course I think that the aha moment was, uh, at some point we wanted to buy a, an audio card, a sound blaster, uh, pro eight, I think it was back in the day. And the moment was when I suddenly understood it works that you need to set up some jumpers and install the drivers.
[00:03:35] Max: At this point, I was kinda hooked into it and I was like, my God, that's what I want to do all my life. So that's kinda how it started.
[00:03:42] Zoe: It's the, uh, figuring out, uh, puzzle pieces and putting them together. I really enjoyed that as well. I'd be interested in understanding your journey because I think, I've lived in a few countries and I know how difficult that can be to transition to a new country.
[00:03:58] Zoe: But I've not gone through the challenge that you've gone through where you have three native languages according to your social media, and then you are also on top of that, you know, Italian and you're learning Chinese. So I'm, I'm curious in the kind of the cultural influences there and the challenges we're facing, moving to different countries.
[00:04:19] Max: Oh yeah, absolutely. So it's gonna be fun because. I love talking about languages and basically I have a passion for everything which is totally unrelated to it, and languages and the history of languages and cultures and civilization in history and writing and all. I love all of that stuff. The thing is, I grew up bilingual because our actual trilingual, if I can say it that way because my family has, uh, Italian origins, actually both my father and my mother.
[00:04:44] Max: Yeah. So even if I'm a French citizen, there are Italians back on both sides. And at home we were talking primarily Italian, Sicilian, and French as well, because they moved very young to France. But I think I was around three years old. So, uh, that's how my mom learned to speak French, by the way, as well, with me and then with my sisters.
[00:05:03] Max: And I grew up in France until 21, I think. I think I was 23 when I moved to the Czech Republic. So French Italian. Sicilian, which is not really, which is a language, but it's, it's complicated. I learned that I learned English at school as well, and I was always more on the language side than on the mathematics and the science side, which is fun.
[00:05:22] Max: Look at what I'm doing as a work, as a job right now. But, uh, yeah, the languages were easy and when I moved to Czech Republic in, uh, 2002, it took me around a year and a half, two years to learn the language. I think I speaking fluently these days. So it's more matter of affinity. And of course there's more to that.
[00:05:37] Max: I mean, uh, Spanish understand I could, Portuguese, I understand a bit Polish, understand a bit of Russia, Ukrainian, blah, blah. I mean you name it. Uh, and Chinese is, uh, yeah, something I said like, yeah, let's try it because there's lot of thing going on there in tech and so on. I think it's, uh, it's going to be what I need, trusting countries in the next 20, 30 years to follow, you know?
[00:05:55] Max: So, uh, I wanted to be up to date as well on what's going on there. So that's it. Languages. But you have to stop me cause I talk too much.
[00:06:03] Zoe: That makes me laugh because when I started in tech, I had this guy tell me if I wanted to do security, I had to know five languages and or I had to understand multiple languages.
[00:06:17] Zoe: And one of them was Chinese. He's like, you have to know Chinese because of the hackers. And I was like, I really don't think I need to know Chinese. And then I've never actually needed to, but it would've been nice if I'd learned it. But, and your, your use case is literally, oh, I'm interested to learn Chinese because of what's going on.
[00:06:34] Zoe: Not the hackers, but what's going on over there. So that's really, that's really funny to me. But, um, I am jealous because my daughter is also growing up trilingual and I am not, I I barely speak English. So, yeah.
[00:06:49] Chris: Uh, languages are definitely not something, uh, that have been a strong suit for me. I mean, growing up in, in America, I think I have a slight disadvantage cause it's not really a normal thing, uh, to begin with.
[00:06:59] Chris: But I've tried to pick up languages and I know a little bit of a couple here and there. Spanish, I can kind of get around. Like I wouldn't be totally lost in, uh, in Spain or Mexico or, or, or or further south here in the Americas. But definitely not having like conversations at the level I'd like to, I feel like a child for sure. Which is embarrassing.
[00:07:16] Chris: So, you know, I think that's so super interesting, right? The, the move through the country. So what was it that brought you to the Czech Republic? Was that work or was it family or, or, or why, why make that move from France to the Czech Republic?
[00:07:27] Max: I, you're, you're not gonna believe me, but one of the things I was doing, so, uh, when I was in university and, and even after I used to play a role playing game, it's called, it's uh, have you heard about MUDs or multiuser dungeons?
[00:07:43] Max: Oh yeah. So it used to be like, uh, role playing games that you would play over tele nets. You log into a console, log in there, and you'll be playing. It's all text based, it was the, which I think still runs actually. And I still have, my character from 20 plus years ago probably still, still exists. I log in from time to time to check people. And I used to play a bad guy and there was .This character going on a, which I said hello to, and which I wrote me a mail to tell me that, uh, was, she was so happy that didn't kill her.
[00:08:13] Max: And so we started chatting and it turns out that it was a girl living in the Czech Republic. So I said, you know, well I'll come over and visit. And yeah, I mean, uh, it's, it's kind of started being a relationship and I moved over there and I mean, of course, life. Things change, you dis people. And so it didn't work out in the end, but in the meantime, I had secured a job as a sysadmin and that's, um, that's why I kind of stayed in Czech Republic and, you know, 20 years after, uh, I'm still around.
[00:08:38] Chris: That's awesome. That's a really cool story. I like that a lot. And then it kind of, you know, while you're moving around or, or, or doing these things, you know, I'm interested in kind of diving into your career a little bit as well. And I know obviously now you're doing a lot of, of research analysis of.
[00:08:52] Chris: Consulting and, and influencer marketing and, and those types of things. But that obviously wasn't your beginnings. I believe you started out as more on the system administrator side and working on compute and storage. So may maybe you can walk us through, you know, give us a snapshot of, of your career and how, what led up to where you are now.
[00:09:07] Max: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm gonna go bit backwards looking even at, uh, you know, university. Cause I think there, it's where it started, you know, looking into things a bit more seriously. Of course I was already kind of helping people with computers, fixing computers, doing things that I kind of developed a kinda a passion into doing things and hacking around with the machines.
[00:09:30] Max: And, uh, actually I, uh, I, I spent two years, uh, study low at the university in, uh, so France. But, uh, I was spending most of my time playing games and doing LAN parties. And going to the science university, which was just behind where I had my dorm. And there we had, uh, high speed access. We had T1 access, and you could go there.
[00:09:51] Max: They had Linux based machines and you could do whatever you wanted. Log onto AltaVista and stuff like that and things went well. I, I found after three years of failure, I went to, uh, a new class, which was computer based. Uh, work and second, second year folks will be able to get internet, I mean, console Linux access. They would get, it wasn't Linux, it was a Unix account actually.
[00:10:15] Max: And I kinda managed to talk the, the colleagues into giving a Unix account. The thing is that in my attempt to do experiments there, uh, started to read more and more stuff, and I thought, yeah, maybe this version of System five. Has a back there and if you do this in, you could crash the core and you could dump the passwords and things like that.
[00:10:34] Max: So I found myself in a kinda, uh, disc and I wasn't spending a lot of time on weird IRC channels. So, uh, I think there was a time where I kind of felt that it'll be better if I leave the university forever and, you know, start looking for a job until, uh, to avoid some trouble. I put it that way. It's not that I did anything really serious, you know, but, uh, The thing is that the folks at the university had the wall and that all of the name, all the logins and all of the passwords printed there so that you would know how to log in there and you were supposed to change your password.
[00:11:06] Max: The thing is a lot of people did't change their password. And I was like ok let's try it maybe it's going to work.. So I had to find a job and I secured a job as a so-called it trainer. So, uh, I was working for a smaller organization and setting up network with Windows machines and teaching people to learn, to use Windows and courses and stuff like that. It was interesting, but it was very quickly boring and I was looking more into doing stuff with networks.
[00:11:37] Max: I was at the time looking, exploring active directory and things of that kind. It was, you know, the time of when Windows 2000 was coming up, so I started getting disinterest on one side. On the other hand, my dad used to work at the Congress Center in Monte Carlo, and there was this very huge thing in the nineties, which was called Imaginea.
[00:11:56] Max: It was, uh, uh, kinda an expos show, uh, something like VMware VMworld, imagine VMworld, but for 3d, for virtual reality, and things of that kind. I have seen crazy stuff at the time.
[00:12:09] Max: I will get there by dad will work at night and I'll be there with him on weekends with the technicians. And so I could see crazy things that you would never see, like people working with Silicon Graphics, I work stations, huge things at the time. You'd have like four megs of RAM or eight megs of RAM on your computer.
[00:12:25] Max: And these guys were working with like eight gigs. 16 gigs. They had graphic cards, crazy stuff, desks, you know, with trays of processors. And I was like, I want to do that. I was so crazy into it. And so, just jumping around. I wanted to move towards a kinda a more interesting role. I was looking, looking at moving Czech Republic at the time. So I found this system administrator role somewhere, the French Embassy, and that's where the next step of the career stepped up somehow.
[00:12:54] Max: And, uh, and, and it was really cool because it was really a, a qualitative jump because the, it was much more interesting. I'd have to manage the network. At the time they had just computers running windows individually. So it was also first for me, I started building the network somehow build an active directory domain controller.
[00:13:14] Max: Uh, build the first servers there. Talked about print servers, network shares, starting to look at bit that security. Of course, if I look at that right now, it felt very primitive, right? But they had nothing. So, uh, it all started from there. I think that was my first experience. Also with networking, getting a firewall in.
[00:13:33] Max: Uh, trying to create a backup server as well, you know, so, uh, it was a big deal for me at the time.
[00:13:38] Zoe: Yeah, definitely. I like the point that you make about, there was this wall of passwords and accounts. Because I was looking at your social media and your, like, when I say that mean like LinkedIn and your blog and all that and your areas of interest along with I Italian espresso, of course are around privacy and security encryption and digital rights.
[00:14:00] Zoe: So I'm curious was. Your kind of roots of figuring out, oh my goodness, there's so many issues here, and oh my goodness, so many risks. Did that kind of inspire you to want to look more closely at security and privacy? Or is that something that you just kind of grew into naturally as well?
[00:14:21] Max: It's a very interesting question actually.
[00:14:23] Max: Uh, it's, it's something I think that grew kinda naturally as you know, as everything grew. I mean, if you look at the past 20 years, we kinda growing alongside the internet, various services and so on. You wouldn't really necessarily worry about securing privacy in the mid nineties. Where you would've your computer at home, which would probably not even have a modem, at least even at the time.
[00:14:46] Max: Right? You wouldn't really care about it because there wasn't really nothing to be really worried about. Not that someone wouldn't steal your credit card number, but you have amount of data, you know, the services were not there and so on. Now you're at the point where, It has become a kind of an industrialized collection of data, which is shared among many people.
[00:15:05] Max: You never know we are going to, uh, where your data is going to fall into and so on. So I thought, you know, it's not in so much that you need to protect everything that's, you need to be aware that it's your data, that it's your personal data. You need to protect it. You need to be concious about what you're doing with it, right?
[00:15:24] Max: It's not that, Hey, here it is. I have all the information about Max. Pick up for free. Do whatever you want. It's Max's information, or it's Zoe's, or it's Chris information and I'm in control here, right? It's my home. I decide who gets access to what. It's about it in the end. Being aware.
[00:15:42] Chris: Yeah, that's a really interesting point. Uh, I like that a lot.
[00:15:44] Chris: And you know, the internet society talks about your digital footprint. Right. And, and just because I think that's something too that, you know, some people think, oh, well I've got, you know, my data, my files are like stored on, on a drive on my computer and I'm fine. But it's not just that. Right? It, it's, it's actually you leave these kind of breadcrumbs behind as, as you move around online and if you do anything online.
[00:16:02] Max: Absolutely. Absolutely. You leave, the bread comes online and it's. This digital footprint is a new thing because the former generations didn't have that. Right. I'm doing some genealogy research for the fun, and it's hard to find information about people because you have nothing, right? But no, if you look about it, you could have said something 10 or 15 years ago, which is totally irrelevant, stupid.
[00:16:24] Max: You could look at it and say, what the hell did I say that? And it's, it's there because if it was on a website and it was archived, then you can go and you can find it. You could find. Probably all of these serve my tweets or your tweets or whoever's, if you were on the forum, then you're gonna find the information.
[00:16:40] Max: So if you're looking for someone and you want do some damage, there's probably a, a treasure trove of information you could find archived about that person. So that's one of the aspects of it. The other aspect is about not what you, let's say, leave behind you, uh, unconsciously, but what. You have created a MA in a master over the years.
[00:17:00] Max: Right? So it's your digital legacy. It's an interesting thing, which I was exploring as well. You create all of this data, you have to think about what happens after I'm gone. All the photos that you have, all of the files, and it's a lot of information You could have banks stuff, financial stuff, things that you may wanna leave accessible to wherever is going to survive.
[00:17:19] Max: You, the kids, the wife, your partner, wherever it is, and you have to think also about a strategy for that. Okay, what do I do? How do I give the access? I was looking into that and it's just so overwhelming. Where do I get started? You know? Do I stop by granting. Leaving a code to my safe where I leave a list of instructions, do I leave that to my, uh, lawyer, whatever, you know, and from where you take it.
[00:17:43] Max: Cause you also need to think that not everybody is going to be as technically literate as you, so they may have a hard time get access to information. It's crazy, this data driven era.
[00:17:54] Zoe: Yeah. Well, and the, and the idea of like, what you don't want left behind. I mean, yes, there's stuff that I want to stay. I, I want my daughter to have access to her photos.
[00:18:04] Zoe: I want, you know, my, if I were to be the one to leave first, I'd want my husband to have access to the money. But there's also the comment of, you know, There's some things that I probably wanna keep private. I can't think of them at the moment, but I'm sure there's something,
[00:18:17] Chris: a meme about deleting Bri browser history.
[00:18:20] Chris: Delete my browser history.
[00:18:21] Zoe: Yeah, that's, there we go. I mean, mostly you're just gonna find me trying to figure out how to spell certain words and how to, uh, what the actual. Definition of most words are, but maybe I don't want you to see how bad I am at that.
[00:18:37] Max: And, and you know, there was a research recently which was kinda really interesting, I think, I dunno, Chris, you've seen that, but I think that, uh, our friend John Collins from GigaOm was sharing that it's a kinda psychologist, uh, research on your, uh, digital person.
[00:18:51] Max: And when you're curating information, it was really interesting as well. You know, we are who we are and the friends who know us and the partners would know us, know us as a person with a lot of good sides and bad sides. We have our, you know, downsides. So you can, we can be kind, angry, whatever, uh, bored, I don't know.
[00:19:11] Max: And uh, when you're online, you kind of decide what you want to show us so you can be totally true to yourself and you just don't care and be as you are with all the advantages. Inconvenience. All you want to give out a more professional curated image, and then, I mean, you know, who you're presenting is not exactly who you really are in the end because you, it's like when you're at work, you put on a mask.
[00:19:33] Max: Yeah. Either you are, uh, you know, Michael Scott and you, you know, yolo, you know, and, and you're done like office style, or you're going to pay a bit more attention about yourself. So, I think it goes to what you said before, Zoe as well. You know, what do I wanna show? What do I wanna leave behind? Kinda ties into this.
[00:19:51] Zoe: Well, and also I can't remember where the research was, but there was also research done about innovation and how people's right to be private, their right to privacy. They feel safer to be more innovative. So if they feel like somebody's watching them constantly, they're scared to make mistakes and they're scared to, um, Try new things.
[00:20:12] Zoe: So actually privacy is beneficial to society in general because it allows people to be more innovative and fail more, I suppose, but in a good way. I.
[00:20:26] Max: When you're not watched, the things I was thinking, if innovative for you includes, uh, doing uh, big mistakes at work or things.
[00:20:34] Zoe: Yes. I am curious about that actually. Do you have a story about a massive mistake?
[00:20:39] Max: Oh, oh my God. I've had my share of those. There's been so many of these things. I think one of the earliest things I can remember about was, uh, so I was doing, uh, my first update backups and at some point I came across information that, you know, sometimes.
[00:20:54] Max: Tapes, when you use tapes, the quality of the tape degrades, right? So you, at some point you cannot read them at all. And of course, I was absolutely fully confident that these tape that I'm using for backups is fine. And I think I was, I had a set of seven tapes and I was rotating them almost every day or something like that, and at some point I did a test for recovery...
[00:21:13] Max: And of course, it was not readable, so I, there was no damage involved, thankfully. And it was a beginner's lesson, I think I was 24 or 25 at the time, so know what would I know? And uh, I very quickly ordered new tapes and then I was being a bit more diligent about that. There's been one of those events, there's been mistakes with routers that I had to sort out as well.
[00:21:36] Max: These were, of course, cause wasn't involving, one of the, the moments where I learned about the dark magic of networking was when I moved already another job I was working at a big bank, at, uh, the Prag branch and we were setting up a new VMware environment and we had set up, everything was working fine, but the configuration made by the integrator was kind basic, and we wanted to bring more stability.
[00:22:05] Max: So we had stood it carefully, I think in, in VMware the, the so-called heartbeat network is one of the most critical path. If you lose the heartbeat, then everything could go down or restart or whatever.
[00:22:19] Max: So we had planned everything ahead. We had check, and so we just did one mistake. I was so confident in the plan that would go well that I said, okay, we can do that during business day, you know, so I did everything, everything seemed to go properly, and at some point we started getting calls, everything went down, all the servers, everything.
[00:22:39] Max: Nothing was working, shares were not working everything. It was the moments when you get an an adrenaline rush and you're trying to figure out what's going on. Very, it felt like it was going very fast. We figured out everything was brought up very promptly. We had no, uh, what issues whatsoever afterwards.
[00:22:55] Max: It was just a brief five minute interruption, but we figured out afterwards that while everything was okay on the virtualization layer, we didn't account the fact that when you're changing switch ports on Cisco switches, there's a, a setting called fast-port. Which is about the port coming up very quickly.
[00:23:13] Max: Normally the port takes, I think 60 seconds to initialize or 30 seconds or something like that. I think it's 60 seconds. And VMware is a isolation response after 30 seconds. So basically we were 30 seconds short because the port wouldn't activate in time. So, and the vendor which installed the thing, didn't set the isolation response to keep running things.
[00:23:32] Max: It set it up to shut down everything. So there were mistakes made, but there were a lot of lessons learned that they, um, in terms of,
[00:23:40] Zoe: I wonder how many mistakes were due to timing and networking, because anytime I talk to a networking person and my own experience as well is it's always, it always has something to do with the number of seconds.
[00:23:52] Max: And, you know, the, the, the fun thing, I, I'm absolutely not a networking guy, but the fun thing about networking, I mean the fun thing, it's not fun cause there are people running it right. That it, it seems to be so complex and yet, I mean, it seems to be, I would say very, very stable in many cases. Of course, you run into problems, but I have not been for a long time, in an environment where there will be major networking issues.
[00:24:17] Max: But I don't know. You guys are the experts on network networking, so you tell me,
[00:24:21] Zoe: oh, I'm not an expert. You're mistaken here.
[00:24:26] Chris: See, security is the opposite of networking. Because if, if, if security had their way, all the networks would stop passing packets, right?
[00:24:33] Zoe: Things would just be dead.
[00:24:35] Max: You'd be sending pigeons.
[00:24:37] Zoe: Yeah. Well actually not really cause, but, uh, but no, yeah, it's, yeah. Um, on the topic of failure, I saw on your social media you wrote failed sportsmen. What is that about?
[00:24:52] Max: Uh, I think, uh, it's pretty much, uh, I would say, uh, I say that I think I, I, I really appreciate people who sport and people who are good at that.
[00:25:02] Max: For whatever reason, I'm not good at sporting and, uh, I'm, uh, a bit too overweight to, uh, I say put in the effort, that say I'm kind of walking and trying to do stuff. I'm actually trying to get back again into that. Cause uh, I think that, uh, my thirties were more, uh, Moment of family growing, a bit of neglection, you know, work, et cetera.
[00:25:21] Max: And, uh, by the time you start getting into your forties, like a, a friend, uh, said you're in the middle of a, of a river and uh, or bridge or whatever, and it's burning behind you so you cannot go back and you're, you don't know what's ahead of you, right? So, You think that you want to do what's best with what's ahead of you?
[00:25:40] Max: So that's, uh, that's the thing. And yeah, I mean, uh, definitely I think that, uh, it's easier for me to, uh, let's say start cooking a great meal rather than, uh, say, okay, I'm gonna hit the gym this morning. And usually the thing about hitting the gym is not about me getting the car and going there. It's all about kinda starting to plan logistics and where am I going to go and when and where do I need to park and this and that.
[00:26:04] Max: And I need talk to people's complicated rather than just, you know, if I want go out, just get the shoes and go out and walk in. Just happy with that. It's a bit easier for me somehow.
[00:26:15] Chris: Yeah, I think more people should bring back the, uh, the daily constitutional, I think, uh, People used to call it and just going for a walk in the morning.
[00:26:22] Chris: It's, it's pretty beneficial. Well, unfortunately, that is all the time we have for today, max. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your story with the Imposter Syndrome Network. And obviously thank you to all of our listeners, all of you imposters out there for your attention and your support. Uh, we have a LinkedIn group, if you don't know of it, for the imposter syndrome network that we'd love for you to join, to get and give career advice, mentorship or just general community support.
[00:26:47] Chris: And don't forget to tell everyone about this podcast. Well only tell 'em if you liked it. Before we close out, max, I am still curious and, and since we started the show at the beginning, I'd like to end there as well. If you could go back through some sort of trans dimensional portal. And, and give your younger self some advice right.
[00:27:04] Chris: Before starting your career, what would that advice be? What would you tell your younger self if you could?
[00:27:09] Max: So I'd say one thing, uh, I'll try to very brief, but when I was working for that financial company, hsbc, I was, uh, it was around, Since when my first kid was born around 32, something I found under their HR portal, they had the thing about growing the career and all, and I found really interesting thing, it was a kind of projection thing, which is the typical stuff, right?
[00:27:31] Max: Where do you see yourself in five years? But they had this thing very detailed, you know, write down what you would like to do as a job, which will satisfy you. What would you wanna have, what have you accomplished? And so on. And seeing that thing. At the time I was certifying for, uh, wanted to certify for vExpert, for, for, it's called, not the, for the vcp, actually, it was the training for VMware was into that.
[00:27:55] Max: And I looked into this and I told myself, yeah, I don't want to be here. I want to do something better. And I wrote that thing. And believe it or not, what I wrote down, I managed to, uh, to even go a bit better. So what I would advise everybody in it, regardless of your age. Is, give yourself a vision of what you want to do.
[00:28:17] Max: Even if you don't get there, even if you take a different route, it's good to have a plan. You know, even some general say that, I mean, it's about having priorities, knowing what you want to do. So think about what you want to achieve in your personal life, what you want to achieve professionally, what you want to learn.
[00:28:33] Max: Also, not just what you want to do, but what you don't wanna do. Right? Think well about, uh, things. If it, is it good for you? Are you in a good place? Is it toxic? I think it's also inspiring maybe to look at people around you, look at people which are positive people, which are negative. I think a thing that, you know, a thing that really made a big difference for me was looking at unhappy people at, at the workplace and, and always I didn't build myself in.
[00:29:01] Max: I want to be like this guy, but always was like, oh my God, I don't want to end like that. I don't want end in a, in a dead garage, you know, rail or whatever. I, I wanted do something different. Has important advice as well. When you are young, think about having a financial plan as well, puts a bit of money aside, even if it's a little, because as it goes on, it's going to grow and, and you will, you'll never regret having put that money aside probably.
[00:29:31] Max: So that's the advice. Think about why, what you want to do, where you want to be, what fulfills you. It doesn't need to be 80 at all, but think about what will make you happy, because in the end you don't want to do back in regret. You know what you did, you did do or did not do.
[00:29:45] Chris: I like that advice a lot. Max, I think, you know, the idea of, of that visualization tool you found early on, I mean that's really important I think is.
[00:29:52] Chris: Because it's, you know, I, I have found that really powerful is that, you know, thinking through what it looks like, right? Not just kind of what you want or where, where you want to go, but, but what does that look like, right? When you wake up, what do you do? What, what happens next? Like, what are you actually working on?
[00:30:05] Chris: Those visualization techniques really help, but I mean, to your other point. I think, you know, what you said, and I'm just kinda repeating here, is, you know, not to be paralyzed by that either, because I think I've talked to a lot of young folks who they get scared and, and they, they're like, oh, well I don't know what I want to do and like, if I choose wrong, it's gonna be, you know, this, this bad choice.
[00:30:22] Chris: And, you know, my advice is always, well, well, you know, no motion, I mean, is is worse than kind of slow motion and then you can change your mind. But having somewhere to aim towards kind of helps you set off, right? If you, if you have nowhere to go, you don't really go anywhere. And if you, if you head off in one direction and you decide you wanna change it, That's fine.
[00:30:38] Chris: Having a plan probably didn't hurt you actually. It, it at least got you, you know, off, off the couch, off your butt, out to do, into the world, do stuff.
[00:30:44] Max: Yeah, exactly. And, and that's very cliche, right?
[00:30:52] Max: Think about where you want to be, and as you said, think about the steps which bring you there. Okay. Do I want, for example, when I was a sysadmin, I wanted to be a senior sysadmin, and there was no way for me to jump into there. That's what lead me, led me to jump to my other job as a pre-sales consultant at the end.
[00:31:09] Max: The job sucked in a way, but it was interesting and it brought a lot of experiences as well. Really interesting stuff, which I used later. I mean, my plan was when I was a senior, when I was in and I was almost senior kind like in my team, and I was like, I would be an IT manager at the. And I was thinking about what it implies.
[00:31:28] Max: What skills do I need to understand what, what I need to master? Because it's not just that you're the best IT guy in the team and I wasn't, and you want to jump there and, and you don't. It requires an internal different of skills. You need to manage people, you need to have a bit of understand diplomacy, whatever.
[00:31:44] Max: So the skillset is totally different. And that's maybe the other thing as well for people who are listening to us. Is that you need to think about your soft skills a lot, because being good technically is a great thing, but it's not enough. You'll interact with people. You need to think about how to handle that.
[00:32:01] Max: You'll deal with angry people. You'll deal with people who are, we have dos and so on. I mean, in my case, the more older grow, the more frank and uh, honest. Open, not that I was dizziness, but the more open I am to tell my opinion, even if it's pleasant, even if it's, uh, yeah, whatever. But, uh, in the end you come to a point where you say, you know, I'm, I'm not being paid to be nice.
[00:32:25] Max: I'm being paid to express an opinion, to, uh, say things the way they are. If there's a major difficulty, if there's a major hurdle, I don't mind to express it. And then you take it and you make an opinion out of that, which makes sense. You know, there's always some risk in the business when you make a decision, should we have gone for this?
[00:32:43] Max: Should have we gone for that? So, uh, it's you, you cannot, you cannot please everybody. But, uh, being able to communicate, to express your opinion properly, to articulate it, to give a rationale, and I think it's not just about spoken communications, it's also about written communication. When I started working as sysadmin, I used to write very long emails about, yeah, we should do this and that, and here's the thing, and now I'm really trying to be as succinct as possible and get to the point.
[00:33:16] Max: I think that's important when you communicate. To get to the point, you can explain briefly what's going on. You can give an opinion on steps that need to be done. And I think the most important thing that a lot of people forget, what is the action intent? What is the takeaway? Who needs to do what? There is this thing which doesn't work.
[00:33:35] Max: Here's so we should fix it. What's the pros and the cons of each of the solution, and what is the next step? Right? Who takes the decision? Okay? Is it your manager who takes the decision, you know, involve the right people? Communication is one of the most, let's say, um, overlooked things in, I mean, incorporate communication and incorporate relationships.
[00:33:56] Max: And so that's, just another takeaway perhaps.
[00:34:00] Chris: Yeah. Ton of great insight, max. Thank you. That's great advice. Hopefully everyone takes a lot of that to heart. I agree with everything you said. Are there any current projects you're working on? Obviously we'll have kind of your blog and your website and all of your social profiles will be in the show notes, but is there anything else you wanna highlight for the, for the Imposter Network before we close out?
[00:34:17] Max: No, I just, I just say, uh, we're doing a lot of work, uh, of course with GigaOm, you know, that, so we have a quite a few, uh, project lines for the next couple quarters. Nothing special going on. Uh, uh, I think on, on the personal side, for the fun of it, uh, I'm gonna go into a very, uh, complex, uh, house reconstruction project.
[00:34:38] Max: So, uh, I may be out of the place where I live for the next six months, but it's sounds complicated, scary, crazy, super exciting. I mean, my wife and I and the kids are excited about what's gonna happen. The kids, the cats are not gonna be excited at all. But uh, the thing which is cool about that is that I will probably be able to build some cool sound system at home and I'm so much looking forward to that.
[00:35:00] Max: So like you say, you have your little LEDs going on your microphone and looking to have the old school view meters like nice on the ampl. So I look forward to that. Fantastic. And more cooking.
[00:35:12] Chris: Fantastic. Good luck with the project and we will be back next week.
[00:35:17] Max: Yeah. Thank you for having me.