The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Justin Ryburn

January 09, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 74
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Justin Ryburn
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Justin Ryburn, a field CTO for Kentik, a network analytics company.

Justin has a diverse background in networking, pre-sales, and software. He’ll share his journey from being a computer science student to becoming a field CTO and an author.

We talked about how he wrote a “Day One” guide for Juniper on BGP flow spec, what motivated him to do so, and what challenges he faced along the way.

We’ll also discuss his role as a field CTO, how it differs from a sales engineer or a solutions engineer, and how he acts as an ambassador for the brand and the community.

Join us for this fascinating and insightful conversation with Justin Ryburn.

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“If you’re the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room”
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Justin's Links: 

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Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially any of you who think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann and a shout out to Zoe Rose who can't be here with us today. Don't worry, she'll be back. This is the Justin Ryburn episode, and I think you're going to enjoy it.

[00:00:27] Chris: Justin has a lifelong passion for technology and considers himself fortunate enough to have turned it into a career. He's now been in IT for about 25 years or so. Most of his background is in networking, but lately he's been branching out and playing with other areas. Some of the things he's been working on recently include cloud architecture and design, data center architecture and design, virtualization, network automation, and taking that automation into the home with IOT and things like that.

[00:00:54] Chris: So a lot of the things I'm also passionate about.

[00:00:59] Chris: Hey, Justin, would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network? 

[00:01:04] Justin: Hey, Chris. Thanks for having me. I have to say, uh, it's an honor to be on the podcast. Just being here kind of kicks in my imposter syndrome a little bit. You've had a pretty impressive list of guests, but, uh, we won't, we'll pull it that thread.

[00:01:14] Justin: No, I think as far as the introduction, that pretty well covered it as a summary to get started and we'll probably dive into a few more things as we go through the conversation here. 

[00:01:21] Chris: Excellent. We will dive right in. One thing I know that we are both, uh, day one authors for Juniper. I don't know how many folks are kind of juniper fans and maybe followed the day one series.

[00:01:34] Chris: You wrote day one deploying BGP flow spec, which is pretty cool. I did a couple on IPv6. I wonder maybe you could talk a little bit about that kind of process. I mean, obviously these are, these are fairly short books and fairly technical, fairly hands on practical, but I wonder if you can talk a little bit about your experience with writing a book.

[00:01:52] Justin: Yeah. So it's interesting how that came about. So at the time I was doing a lot of like reading research, playing around in the lab and learning about BGP flow spec. Cause I had a customer engagement when I was working at Juniper where they were getting ready to deploy it and had a bunch of questions and there was not much out there as far as good public facing documentation and material and so forth.

[00:02:11] Justin: And so I was like, you know, I probably should just write this down because. you know, a year from now, two years from now, I'm going to forget it all if I don't write it down. And that way I'll, if nothing else, I'll have a reference material, but then maybe I can help, you know, those who come behind me and help out with their learning.

[00:02:25] Justin: So that was sort of the genesis behind it. You know, it was interesting, the, the guy who's sort of the editor in chief over at Juniper, he made an interesting comment to me. He's like, if you're writing this book because you're hoping you're going to make a bunch of money, I'm just going to like tell you, you're going to be a little disappointed, right?

[00:02:40] Justin: Like, It was a, it was a good experience, like to force the knowledge, to force the learning, but yeah, it's definitely not a least, at least writing tech day one type guides, tech guides is typically not a very profitable endeavor. It's not like we're going to be bestseller New York times type of, uh, authors.

[00:02:55] Justin: So I don't know if your experience was the same or not, but 

[00:02:58] Chris: it was, it was. And I actually had zero potential for making any money. The way I did it was just joint copyright with Juniper. So I, I have license to the material, but you know, anything they sold, they kept, and I think they, you know, they're selling them for like a dollar.

[00:03:11] Chris: So it's, it's basically, you know, printing cost or whatever. And we, we talked to Jeff Doyle on the show not too long ago and he, he said the same thing, right? I mean, you know, technical books is not where you make any money. You can get the, you can share your knowledge, uh, you might, you know, make back enough money to pay for your time.

[00:03:25] Chris: Maybe if you're lucky in some cases. 

[00:03:27] Justin: I think juniper gave me a bonus when it was done that, you know, maybe covered the time if that's nice. Not that they weren't generous, but it was, yeah, again, not a, not an endeavor you get into cause you want to make a lot of money. I agree with what, uh, Jeff said, 

[00:03:38] Chris: yeah, yeah.

[00:03:39] Chris: Well, you know, diving more into the present, you are currently the field CTO for Kentik. I don't know if it's the field CTO or a field CTO. 

[00:03:49] Justin: Yeah. We're a fairly small company, so there's only one. So yeah,

[00:03:52] Chris: it makes sense. It makes sense. I thought that was the case, but I'll check. And that's an interesting title, right?

[00:03:56] Chris: I think it's something I've seen evolve, at least from my perspective over the last, you know, maybe five, 10 years, I started seeing this type of role pop up. Previously, you were the VP of global solutions engineering. And so I'm wondering, you know, is this move to field CTO, was that just a straight promotion?

[00:04:10] Chris: Or is this a move towards being more of an individual contributor versus leading the team? Or maybe you can talk a little bit about kind of what a field CTO is and does and how that came to be. 

[00:04:18] Justin: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's a little both as far as a promotion, but also move towards more of an individual contributor.

[00:04:25] Justin: I have two architects who work for me and we kind of three of us, our little three man team kind of focused on a number of things. But I would say it all sort of summarizes up to being sort of an ambassador for the brand. A lot of other like software companies might call it like chief evangelist or tech tech evangelist, a little bit slightly different.

[00:04:43] Justin: That's typically part of marketing. But we're Really an ambassador for the brand. So go out and do a lot of public speakings, go to conferences and shows and interact with our larger customers, some of our alliance partnerships that we're trying to get going, you know, just kind of try and be involved in the community and build some community around, obviously, of course, around the company that's paying our bills, right.

[00:05:05] Justin: But, you know, the thing I love about it is. I'm really passionate about being involved in the community and trying to give back to the community as much as I can. You know, kind of like I was talking about with the day one guide, right? Like part of my reason for writing it was let it be a resource for somebody else.

[00:05:17] Justin: I want to do the work might as well, right? Like what, what do I got to lose? So that's the part I really, really like about it. 

[00:05:23] Chris: Yeah. And that's something actually, you know, I noticed when I was, you know, doing kind of our pre research for the show, your Twitter profile says something along those lines. I think it says technology is cool.

[00:05:33] Chris: And even cooler is the fact that I was able to turn my passion for technology into a career. You know, I, I think a lot of people who work in technology feel at least similarly, but I've never seen anyone kind of so publicly and so definitively state, right. You know, there's just this gratitude for being able to work on technology every day.

[00:05:49] Chris: And it sounds like that's something that's been part of your life. From really early, I think, you know, I read something about, you know, kind of some of your stories with your early computers when you were a kid and stuff. So where was that turning point from, Hey, this is fun to, Hey, this is a job. 

[00:06:03] Justin: Yeah. I mean, I say when I was growing up, my dad used to make the point that like, if you can figure out a way to get paid to do something that you're really passionate about, that you really enjoy, it won't really be a job.

[00:06:13] Justin: And so I think, you know, from a fairly young age with that advice from my dad, I was. Trying to figure out like, all right, what is it I'm passionate about? And how do I turn that into a career? Cause there's some things that people are passionate about that. It's really hard to make money at, you know, like I have a lot of friends who are really into music.

[00:06:27] Justin: I've never been a very good musician and you know, they would love to figure out a way to make money in music, but that, you know, at least historically has been pretty hard, I think modern technology might make it a little bit easier, but you know, that's still a tough road to hoe to make good money. The first kind of computers I can remember playing around with, my mom worked for a company called Radio Shack and they owned a company called Tandy and they brought home a TRS 80 model 2 that had like these big, I'm showing my age here, had like these big, uh, like I think they were 8 inch floppy disks that you like use to store stuff on and learn to write BASIC and I wrote a guess the number game, like that was the first program I ever remember writing.

[00:07:04] Justin: And I just remember being so cool. I'm like, I just wrote my own video game. Like it's so, so cheesy. It's so stupid. But it was like, I don't know. I just like, like lit this fire. I was like, man, computers are so cool. I want to figure out a way to like turn this into a career. And I guess just try and hit the high points here.

[00:07:19] Justin: But like from that, I went off to college and, and majored in computer science. I thought as a, you know, teenager who didn't know much about the world that computer science, when I learned all about computers, like how to build them, like how CPU and RAM and all these things like interact with each other, like more of the hardware side of things.

[00:07:37] Justin: And what I realized quickly when I got into the courseware was no, you're learning about how to program a computer, which, yeah, it's interesting, but I wanted, I wanted more of a broader perspective. So I, I changed my major. Ultimately got a degree in management of information systems because it was kind of the combination of business and technology.

[00:07:54] Justin: And that's kind of been the ongoing theme throughout my career from there on was like, I just, while I like solving a problem, I think you had Anna Claiborne on the podcast a while back. I remember her episode. She made the point like one of the cool things about writing software is like creating something from nothing, right?

[00:08:10] Justin: And like that high of solving a problem, right? I like that. I enjoy that. I don't mind doing that here and there, but I didn't want to do it as my, my day job. I really, I love like being able to do that to solve a problem, like marrying that, that business and that, you know, technology. And that's, I think why I really like like pre sales and some of the stuff that I've done mostly throughout my career is like, I want to be able to like meet with customers, talk to them about what their business challenges are, ask a few more questions, figure out what the, the problem is, the question is behind the question.

[00:08:40] Justin: And then figure out how we could build a solution to solve those problems. Like, that's what I really enjoy doing. It's the kind of the people side of it, I guess. 

[00:08:46] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. And it is interesting, right? I mean, at that kind of, I've, I've done some kind of pre sales work and consult, you know, kind of systems engineer type work.

[00:08:54] Chris: And, and there's two pieces, right? One is the diversity of problems you get to solve. I think it's quite a bit different than if you're, you know, in one place, right? Because I've also worked. And, you know, just at companies where I was operating a network or building a network, uh, which is great. And you kind of get this more sense of ownership, but doing the, the, the systems engineer thing, you're getting thrown at problems like, you know, maybe on a daily or at least weekly basis where you're seeing different things and digging in and trying to find it out.

[00:09:18] Chris: And there is a lot more of that people aspect to it. Yeah, 

[00:09:20] Justin: I had a similar sort of path that you did there were like I worked for and ran networks for, I don't know, probably 10 years and it was exciting. It was fun, especially like in the heyday of the Internet and like, you know, things are growing so fast.

[00:09:32] Justin: It's constantly changing. It's constantly dynamic. I had the same experience where I was like, this network that we built is cool, but it's only one of how many ever that are out there. Right. And like moving to the vendor side, I went to work for Juniper. It was like. Now I get to like work on multiple networks and I get to see different challenges that different organizations are faced with and try and figure out like, all right, every day it's now a different problem, a new problem that I might not have had if I was just on that one working on that one network.

[00:09:57] Justin: Right. So yeah, I loved that part of it for sure. 

[00:10:00] Chris: Yeah. While you were at Juniper, you won the high performance club or in high performance club three times. What is the high performance club? And what do you have to do to win that award? 

[00:10:10] Justin: Yeah. I mean, so for those who may not know when you're in pre sales, whether you're a sales rep or you're a technical resource, like I was, like most companies called SEs, uh, solutions engineer, sales engineer, systems engineer, the title kind of changes, but it's roughly the same thing.

[00:10:25] Justin: A percentage of your compensation is tied to hitting a quota. So the company is going to set a quota for, for you, for your territory, for your, for your sales rep. And, uh, then they measure percentage of attainment of that quota. And so the high performance club at Juniper was just the folks who had exceeded a hundred percent of plans.

[00:10:41] Justin: So the company set a quota at the beginning of the year. And by the end of the year, you are at least a hundred percent of that was how you qualified for the high performance club. So, 

[00:10:49] Chris: yep. That makes sense. Did you get anything? I mean, so I know some companies you do like they give like a trip away or do you get anything cool with that?

[00:10:56] Justin: Uh, it depended on the year and how the economy was doing. I think I never got to go to the president's club trip. I was never like high percentage enough to get to go to any of the really cool trips, but I do have a couple plaques here that they gave me and a couple really fancy like, uh, felt pens and star.

[00:11:13] Justin: What are the colors? Like a fountain pen? Yeah. Ink pens. Fountain pen. There you go. That's the word I'm looking for. A fountain pen. Yeah. 

[00:11:18] Chris: Cool. Hey, I'll also, you know, along those kind of career path things, I noticed, you know, before Juniper, you, you were did the, doing the sales engineer thing at charter for a little less than a year.

[00:11:30] Chris: And a little bit earlier in your career, you worked for Savvis for like six months and like Nortel for six months and you know, not to cast any shade there, but I just wonder if there's ever been a time where you felt like you were in a dead end or hit kind of a block career wise. Were those instances there when you kind of moved through those companies pretty quickly, or was, was something else going on?

[00:11:49] Justin: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a, it's a number of factors, like most things in life, you know, sometimes the situation just changed. And so the tenure wasn't as long as I might've liked if I had more control of the situation. But definitely, I think for me personally, like. I'm rarely ever satisfied and it helps drive me.

[00:12:07] Justin: It helps me like always want to learn something new, do something new, take on a new challenge, you know? So it has some positive benefits. The negative benefit, like it sometimes drives my wife nuts. She's like, you have the best job you've had in your entire career and you're sitting around, you know, griping and moaning cause you want more.

[00:12:24] Justin: You want to do something different. You want to take on more. You like want to like burn it down and start over. What's, what's the matter with you? Right? Like just enjoy it for a moment, you know? So. Sometimes there is like that burning desire in me. It's like, well, this is a good job, but you know, I'm getting bored.

[00:12:36] Justin: I'm getting stale. You know, definitely. I felt that way towards the end of my run at Juniper. I was there 10 years. It was a great experience. I would not, you know, I wouldn't, if anybody asked, Hey, should I go to Juniper? It depends on what you're after, but it's a great place to work. I saw some great challenges over the course of 10 years.

[00:12:53] Justin: I probably had four or five different roles, again, brought new challenges. But at the end of the day, I got to the point where I was like, ah, hardware's cool, but there's this whole SaaS software world that's like taking off and it's exploding and like, is really exciting. And I know there's some new challenges over there and I want to go check out some of those new challenges and was very fortunate to be able to come over here to Kentik and work with a CEO that had actually been my customer at Juniper.

[00:13:18] Justin: And that's how I originally met the CEO over here at Kentik. So. Yeah, it's just, it's been a great run. It's been a great experience. I just, uh, yeah, like you said, sometimes you get to a stage where you're like, I'm just ready for something new, you know, a new challenge that maybe I can't get at my current employer.

[00:13:31] Chris: Yeah. That definitely resonates with me. I think I fall into the same camp of, of not ever really being satisfied and also infuriating my wife with the same for sure. I think I actually remember this moment pretty clearly. And not to say that I actually decided this, but I thought I did when I was a kid.

[00:13:48] Chris: I used to get in trouble a lot when I was a kid. And when the detention stopped working, they started just sending me with like the janitors to help clean the school. 

[00:13:55] Justin: Forced labor. Yeah, there you go. 

[00:13:56] Chris: Yeah, exactly. And I remember, you know, so I got to know these guys who were, you know, men and women who were cleaning the school and stuff.

[00:14:03] Chris: And I just thought about the fact that like, you know, an adult cleaning up after kids just seemed like a really crap job. But you know, the guy I worked with a lot was super happy and seemed to have a great life and was stoked about it. And I just remember realizing that I would never be that guy because like, I just couldn't like, he was satisfied, right.

[00:14:20] Chris: He was happy with his job and that's great. Right. He had a happy life. You know, take care of his family. And I just realized at that moment, like that's not going to be me. I'm never going to be satisfied. There's always going to be a little bit of burning hunger. At the time I was naive and thought that that meant I would never be happy.

[00:14:34] Chris: I've since learned that with gratitude and ambition, you can kind of be happy and pushing for more at the same time, but at the time I was just like, all right, well, that's, that's just my life. I'm not going to be happy. I'm not going to be satisfied. Here we go. 

[00:14:44] Justin: Yeah. And I think, you know, it's one of those things I think if I could go back in life, probably would have given a younger me some advice is because I definitely spent a lot of years thinking I was never going to be happy.

[00:14:55] Justin: Right. And like you said, like, it's like, when am I ever going to get to like the, the summit where like, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm where I want to be. And I'm happy because I had these. You know, these goals and ambitions and things that I wanted to solve. And then I'd, I'd solve one. I'm like, all right, well, what's next.

[00:15:09] Justin: Right. And I, it took me a lot of years, I think, to realize that, like, that's just my personality and like, I just gotta be, I've got to have this balance where I'm not unhappy, I'm satisfied with where I am, but only to a certain extent, right. Not to the point that I'm not going to keep pushing, not keep learning new things, but I'm not like, you know, miserable about where I'm at either.

[00:15:28] Justin: Right. I have to like. Take a step back and have some perspective. Be like, you know, I got it pretty good. I'm got a pretty good reputation. I, you know, my employer respects me. I make pretty good money. I live in a, you know, a fairly comfortable lifestyle compared to a lot of Americans. Like you gotta have some perspective in life sometimes, you know?

[00:15:43] Chris: Yeah. I think that gratitude really helps. That's, that's what's helped me anyway, is it being able to exactly take that step back and just be grateful for what I have. Even when I want more, uh, which is always, yeah, exactly. Speaking of summits and gratitude and stuff, I wonder at this stage, right? Kind of looking back over your career, what would you say, or what do you feel is your greatest achievement so far?

[00:16:03] Chris: And of course that can be measured any way you want, but, uh, what stands out and what, you know, what do you think of when, when you think about that? 

[00:16:09] Justin: Ooh, man, I don't know. When I first joined Juniper, another reason that I joined them was I really wanted to achieve some certifications. And, you know, as a customer, you can obviously take certification classes, but you don't have quite the same access to information and.

[00:16:24] Justin: Like the same support at trying to go and get those certifications and stuff. So, you know, I achieved a number of certifications when I was at Juniper. I was pretty proud of that. Like that was a goal or an, an, an ambition of mine that was like, you know, I don't have at least a momentary piece of, uh, you know, like pride about achieving some of the certifications, some of the JNCIE type of certifications that Juniper had.

[00:16:45] Justin: So I was really kind of proud of that moment. At the time, but not to take us too off topic there. I have kind of an interesting opinion on certifications. I think they're, you know, they can be really good. And definitely at that stage in my career, it was a good way to set a goal, to learn something, build a structured training plan, to go learn that thing, be able to prove to myself and other people that I could master that material.

[00:17:09] Justin: I think sometimes as an industry, we overvalue certification. We're like, Oh, if you have this certification, you must be an expert. Know everything there is to know about a topic. And if that's why you're going to have certifications, I'm sorry to break it to you. You're probably not going to be successful at that.

[00:17:22] Justin: Right. Like, but it definitely is. It was, is good at setting a goal and learning. In fact, I just. Well, the last couple of years took a couple of AWS and Azure certifications. Cause I'm trying to, like you said in the intro, trying to learn cloud a little more and it was good to like make sure I had that, the foundations in place and so forth.

[00:17:40] Justin: But like, you know, I don't think I'm going to have an employer knocking on my door just because I have an AWS. You know, cloud certification on my, at this stage of my career, right? So, 

[00:17:49] Chris: yeah, I, I definitely have a similar experience. I think, you know, well, early in my career, I think, you know, at least, at least for my own personal confidence and going to apply for jobs, it helped to have the certification and be able to say, you know what?

[00:18:00] Chris: Yeah, sure. I've only been doing this for a couple of years, but look, I know what I'm talking about, but I think more than anything, that structured learning, right? It gives you this path and it lets you. You know, again, being kind of achievement oriented. If I go read a book, that's cool. Did I learn anything?

[00:18:13] Chris: Well, if I take the test and pass it, I know I did. Right. No, I'm at least to some extent it helps. 

[00:18:20] Justin: Yeah, for sure. 

[00:18:21] Chris: So, um, you are a leadership member at the Pre Sales Collective, which is a fairly new organization last couple of years. What is the Pre Sales Collective? 

[00:18:32] Justin: Yeah, sure. So the Pre Sales Collective is basically a group of folks that are trying to collaborate, build a community really around pre sales.

[00:18:41] Justin: Like we're talking about basically people who are systems engineers, sales engineers, whatever title. Their organization gives us role, share best practices, balance ideas off of each other. I mean, it's the same thing you would expect in any other industry community, but it's specifically designed for people who are mostly in business to business, uh, software and service SAS type of, uh, sales organizations.

[00:19:03] Justin: They've got a pretty impressive. Number of people. I think the last time I looked at the general channel on Slack, they were like, I don't know, 14, 1500 people in there. So it's a, uh, you know, or no, I'm sorry, 000 people in there. There's a lot of people in there, so it's a good size community and it's definitely been very, uh, helpful to me when I first took on running the SE team at Kentik, I was the only pre sales leader.

[00:19:27] Justin: And so I didn't have anybody internally inside the company and I go like bounce ideas off of collaborate and so forth. So having a. Community of people who did similar roles at other companies was really helpful to be able to, like, you know, bounce those ideas off of not feel like you're trying to solve every problem on your own in a vacuum, you know, 

[00:19:46] Chris: yeah, that that helps a lot.

[00:19:48] Chris: It kind of relates. We had Chris Cummings from ESnet on the show a while back, and he talked about. A book or article he read that was called like something about becoming a senior, like engineer too soon. And it was a lot about this idea that you can end up in these places where you'd no longer have anyone to learn from, right?

[00:20:04] Chris: You end up at kind of the pinnacle within, within a company or within an organization. And I've definitely found myself there a couple of times. And so having these kind of outside organizations, whether it was, you know, for me, it's been, you know, NANOG and some of those communities, RIPE, and that kind of stuff where I was able to go find some people who were way smarter than me and, and still keep learning, uh, even though I was maybe stuck in a weird spot, you know, 

[00:20:23] Justin: NANOG has been another big one for me throughout my career.

[00:20:25] Justin: In fact, we were, you know, talking before we started recording, I just got back from Nanog, uh, as we're recording this and. Yeah, it's been, it's been huge for me. Like you said, I like, I'm always, it doesn't help the imposter syndrome much when you attend a NANOG cause there's so many, you know, smart people that are, that you're, but another piece of advice, my, uh, I think, I think it was my dad that gave me, or one of my early mentors gave me was the, the way they phrased it was, if you find yourself to be the smartest person in the room, you're probably in the wrong room.

[00:20:53] Justin: Right. And it's this idea, yeah. Of surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you are just helps you get better, right? It like challenges you to learn more, to bounce ideas off of them, to get stronger. I can't exactly explain how it, how it works in practice, but definitely I, it's proven itself true throughout my career.

[00:21:14] Justin: That if I surround myself by people who are smarter than I am, like the rising tide, right? Raises all boats kind of thing. Right? So. 

[00:21:22] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, I agree with that completely. And I think there's two sides to it, right? One is. When there's smarter people in the room, you've got these people to learn from.

[00:21:30] Chris: But also I think just that mindset of approaching things and trying to find the people that are smarter than you, I think just helps with humility and just in general, kind of, you know, not putting yourself in your own place, but, but a little bit of that, right. Just making sure you don't get too big for your own britches.

[00:21:43] Chris: If you're trying to be the smartest one, you can turn into a real a hole, right? I think. 

[00:21:47] Justin: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And, you know, there's a number of people in this, this community that have egos and, you know, it's been off putting, I know, for people trying to get into it, which is unfortunate because, you know, once you get to know the people, they are really, really good people.

[00:22:00] Justin: They're, you know, they're really smart. They, you know, they want to be welcoming, but, you know, we all have. I think some amount of ego to us, right? Where we want to be able to prove that we, that we belong, right? That we're smart enough to be here and to belong. And sometimes that comes across as, you know, as a negative, but I don't, you know, most, most, I think most people don't, don't mean it that way.

[00:22:19] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, sure. Yeah. That's a funny story. I feel like I'm digging into my past a bunch in this episode, but there's another thing where. I was a kid. I re you know, I watched a lot of like James Bond movies and like John Wayne movies and Clint Eastwood. And there's really this black and white, good and evil.

[00:22:34] Chris: There's these bad guys. And in those movies, the bad guys always lose. And so again, in my childhood mind, I started questioning, like, why are there bad guys? Like, why would anybody choose to be the bad guy? You know, no one likes them and they always lose. It bothered me for a while. You know, later on, I realized no one chooses to be the bad guy.

[00:22:50] Chris: Like everybody's usually thinks they're doing the right thing and just maybe doesn't know any better. 

[00:22:54] Justin: Yeah, I mean, most of the time there's two sides of that story, right? They're painted as the bad guy, but if you really dig into the story, maybe that's not actually the truth of the situation. It's just portrayed that way, right?

[00:23:04] Chris: Yeah, interesting. So, hey, you know, looking back over this career, obviously, you know, 25 years is a long time. If you could go back and change things, is there anything you would change or what would you change about your career or? You know, whether it was, I don't know, is there anything you would change about your career so far?

[00:23:19] Justin: Probably not anything major. I mean, I'm a big believer that like, whether it was a good experience or a bad experiences, the experiences that we have in life are what make us who we are today. So, you know, I mean, I could probably go back and say, Oh, this was less pleasant. I wish I had done this, not done that.

[00:23:35] Justin: But the reality is probably with, without some of those experiences, it would, I wouldn't be who I am today or so. No, I can't really say. You know, there's anything I would change. Like I said earlier, there's definitely probably some advice. If I could go back and give younger me some advice, I would have gotten involved in the community earlier.

[00:23:53] Justin: Um, I didn't discover NANOG and some of these other communities till I was a little closer to mid career. And the first time I went to them, like, where has this been? Like, why, why have I not gotten more involved in this earlier? And then been able to benefit from mentorship and community and some of these other things that have really played paid big dividends in my career.

[00:24:10] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we are getting towards the end of our time here. Unfortunately, Justin, do you have any, uh, projects or causes, uh, either something we have talked about or something we haven't that you'd like to highlight for the network? 

[00:24:24] Justin: Sure. I think, uh, we got time of the recording. We've got a conference coming up called AutoCon and I know you're a helping organized through the Network Automation Forum.

[00:24:32] Justin: I'm really excited about again, community, getting a bunch of people who are passionate about network automation together and talking shop. I'm really looking forward to that event. You know, outside of that, nothing else to highlight, as I said earlier, part of my, uh, my, my new day job here recently is to be more involved in the community.

[00:24:48] Justin: So I am looking to get more involved in the community. So. Anyone listening has a program committee or a board that they think would be interesting for me to help advise for some nonprofit or some community organization, feel free to reach out to me. I'm happy to get more involved in the community. So. 

[00:25:03] Chris: Awesome.

[00:25:03] Chris: Great. Yeah. And we'll have links in the show notes for anybody who wants to reach out to your Twitter and LinkedIn as well as your, your blog and your GitHub account. So folks want to kind of ping you on any of that stuff. They should be able to find you. Justin, thank you so much for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network.

[00:25:18] Chris: And thank you to all of our listeners, everybody out there who's tuning in for your time, your attention, and your support. I'd really appreciate it. If you did find this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on.

[00:25:35] Chris: We're really on a mission here to inspire some folks, especially in the next generation. So if you know some young people who are trying to get into tech, I'd love for you to share this podcast with them. One last thing, kind of before we close out here, Justin, in the pre recording chat, you mentioned that you might have a story about Feeling imposter syndrome yourself.

[00:25:54] Chris: So I wonder if you have a specific instance of imposter syndrome that you could talk to us about maybe, you know, what, what brought it on, how you felt about it and maybe ultimately how you got through it. 

[00:26:04] Justin: Yeah. The story actually involves you, Chris. So when I first joined Juniper, they put us through an IPV6 training class because all of our customers were starting to either test it or deploy it.

[00:26:14] Justin: And so I went to this training class. It's been a week doing the training, went through and got a certification. So I was like, all right, I know a bunch of stuff about IPV6 and this guy named Chris Grundeman had just written a day one guide, like we talked about earlier. I picked it up and read the thing and realized, I don't know crap about IPV6.

[00:26:29] Justin: This guy, Chris is like on a whole nother planet compared to where I'm at. So, yeah, it's just a humbling experience. It's like, no matter how much you think, you know, there's probably somebody out there who, who knows something you don't, you just got to. Get okay with that in this, in this industry. So. 

[00:26:42] Chris: Always.

[00:26:43] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. And like we talked about earlier, I think, you know, even seeking that out, right. And even trying to find those areas where you don't know it's off. Uh, I find writing is really a good method of one of kind of realizing you don't know stuff like we're just trying to explain something. Right.

[00:26:57] Chris: Almost always when I go to explain something, I'm like, wait a minute, I don't, 

[00:26:59] Justin: I don't really know it.

[00:27:01] Justin: Exactly. Yep. For sure. 

[00:27:02] Chris: With that experience. I mean, did that spur any action on your part? I mean, other than just kind of being like, oh crap, like I actually don't, you know, know as much as I thought I did.

[00:27:09] Chris: Um, was there any kind of, you know, anything that followed from that or any, any outcomes or anything like that? 

[00:27:15] Justin: Yeah, I think just spending more time with it. Like I felt like I, I thought before I read those day one guides that I had gotten to like the pinnacle of knowledge on IPv6, and then it was like humbling, that's like, all right, there's still a ways to go here, but it was like a motivator to be like, all right, let's spend some more time lab and some of this stuff up.

[00:27:30] Justin: Let's play around with some of these, you know, things that we didn't cover in the training material that I went through so that I've got more knowledge on them and stuff. So yeah, it was just like, yep, you've come a ways, but you still got more to learn. So, uh, you know, keep, keep, keep learning. It was kind of the, the.

[00:27:44] Justin: The learning of the lesson from that. 

[00:27:45] Chris: Yeah. I love that. I think that's one of the best ways to handle imposter syndrome from my own experience and talking to other guests as well, is that the more we can use that as kind of fuel to, to get better and learn rather than a debilitating feeling. I think we're in a good place.

[00:27:59] Justin: Yeah. And the way I've described it, I think to others is like you. You have to continually improve and compare yourself to your previous self, not to other people, right? If you spend your time comparing yourself to, you know, the vent surfs, the, the Jeff Doyle, some of the impressive list of guests that you've had here on your show, you're always going to feel imposter syndrome.

[00:28:18] Justin: But like, if I go and compare myself now and myself. You know, 10, 15, 20 years ago, I can definitely see that improvement. And that's what I really try to focus on is like, who am I and where am I compared to where I used to be? Not who am I and where am I compared to some of these industry luminaries that you're surrounding yourself with?

[00:28:34] Justin: Right? 

[00:28:35] Chris: I love that. I think that's a great place to leave it. A great piece of advice. We will be back next week.