The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Doug Madory

April 02, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 86
Doug Madory
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Doug Madory
Apr 02, 2024 Season 1 Episode 86
Chris & Zoë

Our guest today is Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Kentik.

He shares his journey from being a curious kid who transcribed games from magazines to becoming a world-renowned expert in Internet measurement and data analysis.

Doug explains what Internet analysis is and how he uses data to uncover the secrets and mysteries of the Internet infrastructure. He also talks about his work at various startups and companies, such as Renesys, Dyn, Oracle, and Kentik, and some of the patents and publications he has authored or co-authored.

We discuss the value of asking questions, learning from mistakes, and supporting your salespeople. We also delve into the challenges and benefits of remote work, especially for new hires and interns, and how to network and connect with people at conferences.

I'm here to lobby for the role of an analyst.
Going  into a a data set and figure out what's interesting and be able to tell that story to other folks is, I think, an underappreciated skill set.
I intend to be doing it until the day I die.


Doug's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

Our guest today is Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Kentik.

He shares his journey from being a curious kid who transcribed games from magazines to becoming a world-renowned expert in Internet measurement and data analysis.

Doug explains what Internet analysis is and how he uses data to uncover the secrets and mysteries of the Internet infrastructure. He also talks about his work at various startups and companies, such as Renesys, Dyn, Oracle, and Kentik, and some of the patents and publications he has authored or co-authored.

We discuss the value of asking questions, learning from mistakes, and supporting your salespeople. We also delve into the challenges and benefits of remote work, especially for new hires and interns, and how to network and connect with people at conferences.

I'm here to lobby for the role of an analyst.
Going  into a a data set and figure out what's interesting and be able to tell that story to other folks is, I think, an underappreciated skill set.
I intend to be doing it until the day I die.


Doug's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

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 those of you who think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and this is the Doug Midori episode, which I think you'll love. Doug is the director of internet analysis for Kentik, where he works on internet infrastructure analysis.

[00:00:27] Chris: The Washington Post dubbed him, The man who can see the internet for his reputation in identifying significant developments in the global layout of the internet. Doug is regularly quoted by major news outlets about developments ranging from national blackouts, to BGP hijacks, to the activation of submarine cables.

[00:00:46] Chris: Prior to Kentik, he was the lead analyst for Oracle's internet intelligence team, which was before that Dyn Research, and before that was Renesys. So yeah, long career, internet observability.

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

[00:01:04] Doug: I think you got it. Yeah. I've been at this since, uh, about 2009, starting with Renesis and I've been doing something very similar during all that time, and I still do the same kind of thing now. 

[00:01:13] Chris: Awesome. Awesome.

[00:01:14] Chris: Well, let's dive right in. As far as I know, you have at least three patents with your name on them out there. While I was working at CableLabs, I had the opportunity to file and ultimately receive several patents myself. I know a little bit about the process and kind of what goes into that and kind of how that plays out.

[00:01:30] Chris: But I have to assume that many, maybe even most of our listeners have never really had that pleasure slash pain. So maybe you can tell us a little bit about what it's like to identify an innovation as something that is even worthy of trying to file. And then the process of, I don't want to give it away too much, but explaining that to lawyers and getting the whole thing filed.

[00:01:49] Chris: And maybe you can talk to us a little bit about that process. 

[00:01:51] Doug: Well, I'm the beneficiary of other people doing a lot of that work. So. And just to give some background on that, you know, when, when you're at, I think those are mostly filed when I was with Dyn to DynDNS, when you're at startups, patents become important to, you know, kind of prove some intellectual property.

[00:02:09] Doug: And, you know, if you're in the process of getting courted for acquisition or something, it's nice to have a patents that show that you've got things that you. And so we, we were in the process of innovating lots of stuff around, uh, internet measurement and creating lots of techniques for doing, I think we've got one geolocation and traffic steering at one point, Renesys had the, one of the first or the first patent on, uh, uh, BGP monitoring because it, and it was, it's quite broad.

[00:02:37] Doug: I'm sure it's completely unenforceable now. If you're in a brand new space, then you might want to, uh, you create a new product in that space. You make a, um, uh, you get a patent and then, uh, I think that patent still exists, but I, I'm not a patent lawyer, so I don't know how valuable those things are. I was, like I said, I, I just would read through what, uh, the folks who were responsible for submitting those.

[00:03:00] Doug: Would write and make some corrections, but I didn't have to do a lot of the work. So I'm, uh, I have to confess that, uh, I had, you know, I had the benefit of someone else doing more of the tedious, uh, you know, administrative stuff there. 

[00:03:14] Chris: Nice. That's always good. Yeah. Yeah. When I was at cable labs, we did have like legal counsel who did the majority of the work, but I found just the experience of.

[00:03:22] Chris: explaining our technical innovation to a lawyer and then seeing how he wrote that up and gave it back to us. And then we had to kind of try and figure out if what he said was actually technically accurate or not. Was it just an interesting process to see the two languages kind of being merged there?

[00:03:36] Chris: Yeah. 

[00:03:37] Doug: Um, yeah, so I remember doing, doing that, uh, like I said, we, we, I think, I think there was, uh, there was a motivation from the company leadership that if we've got a bunch of innovations, which we were like constantly inventing things, um, get some in patent form. And so then I think we figured out a few that were worthy of that.

[00:03:55] Doug: And then my name got added to those. 

[00:03:58] Chris: Awesome. That makes a lot of sense. As far as skipping right up to now, I think we'll go back through some of that work in between, but you're the Director of Internet Analysis at Kentik. The last few years now, and obviously that, that kind of, as we talked about in the intro, right, that's an extension of work you've been doing for a long, long time, but it's still a very, I think, unique title.

[00:04:19] Chris: There's probably not very many director of 

[00:04:21] Chris: in the 

[00:04:23] Chris: world even. So maybe you can tell us a little bit about, about what that means, what, you know, what, what does the director of internet analysis do? 

[00:04:29] Doug: Yeah, sure. I mean, I, so I made up that title, uh, I think when I was a Dyn and partly because. So when it was Renesys, and it was just, you know, like 20 some folks, so the Renesys for people who didn't know.

[00:04:42] Doug: It's a very small startup that BGP monitoring, one of the early, you know, startups doing BGP monitoring, BGP analysis. We have products based on this. I had gotten hired into the company to be, to do like data QA, all the things, the existing technical experts didn't really want to deal with. Uh, so writing stuff was kind of a chore, um, and they didn't want it.

[00:05:01] Doug: So, so I would take that on, uh, doing data QA to try to show where, where are we, you know, misclassifying things, some of the grunt work, and then I kind of I got into it. Yeah. I thought it was a really fascinating topic. I can spend a lot of time going through all this data and living in it and then, um, got, got to be pretty good at it.

[00:05:18] Doug: So then we didn't really have titles cause we're such a small company. So then, you know, when I would go and present at a conference, they'd be like, all right, you, you need to have a title. And I'm like, all right. Um, and so I was thinking of like previous jobs I'd done. So I, at one point I was. Senior analyst, because that was a job title I had had in the past and also kind of suggests maybe there's multiple analysts and I'm the senior one, but in reality, I was the only one and then with, I think, while we're at Dyn, uh, I was giving, uh, for a little while, I would do, I would, I would go to submarine cable conferences and do, uh, Talks there.

[00:05:49] Doug: I was pretty tight with the guys from telegeography and they had really impressive titles and they were a similarly small company of 20 something people and they were either, you know, director of this or vice president of that. And, uh, I was like, I think I need a more impressive sounding title. So, and they're like, you can have whatever you want.

[00:06:05] Doug: I'm like, all right, well, how about director of, you know, internet analysis? Cause I feel like that's the most, I don't remember what they rejected. Options there, but, um, so we settled on and no, there isn't, to my knowledge, there's not another director of internet analysis out there. And I kind of, um, I've not through these acquisitions and then moving to Kentik, I just kept the same title and it's, it's kinda, it's kinda just me, uh, that does the particular thing that I do.

[00:06:32] Chris: So what does that look like today? I mean, maybe what's, what's a day in the life of the director of internet analysis, uh, these days. 

[00:06:39] Doug: Yeah, I guess on my schedule. So I've got a couple of conference presentations coming up. Uh, I'll be speaking at Nanog and Apricot. Last week I was in Atlanta for a couple of talks.

[00:06:50] Doug: And so I do, there's a fair amount of presenting some of the insights that we develop or we can see in our data. I think the, where this comes from is that our company, like others, You know, we're in the data business and there's a lot of fascinating insights that are that lie dormant and undiscovered in all of our data, especially when you can aggregate it.

[00:07:14] Doug: Across the multiple companies. And so, you know, my job is to try to, um, use that to use that data to try to understand greater things about the internet and, or, or advise, you know, how can we improve our products to capture some more insights, uh, that we. It's clearly, there's a way to do it out of the data.

[00:07:32] Doug: There's an insight in the data we're missing. I guess I've got both an internal type of work where I work with our own, uh, product managers to try to, Use the experience I had from those previous companies doing similar stuff. And then my knowledge of the, of the data that we've got, the internet measurement data, at Kentik we have a lot of NetFlow advisor products.

[00:07:53] Doug: And then also another form of that is to present, uh, conferences or speak to the media, there's like a public, uh, side of that. Yeah. So I don't know, on any given day, uh, it definitely, it definitely Skips around from one day to the next, but a lot of the tools to do both, uh, advisement on product management or the analysis that ends up in conferences or in the media, a lot of that, those capabilities are similar.

[00:08:21] Doug: There's a lot of overlap there. So the same set of data, the same set of tools can accomplish those varying tasks as well as I work with some of our sales folks as well to do data prospecting to figure out like, all right, you know, somebody we're engaged with. And, um, you know, it's always, always puts us on a good footing.

[00:08:37] Doug: If we can come up with some kind of insight that they didn't know about their own network that we can see. Um, and then we just, you know, whether they can buy that capability or not, at least puts us in a, a ground that we're, uh, we're a capable, uh, company. We have a lot of depth where we've got this, you know, Which would seem we have this bullpen of experts that can draw from the, it's not a fly by night operation.

[00:09:00] Doug: And we're pretty smart folks that look out for others on the internet. So there's a, there's also a third function. That's a sales enablement, some kind of sales assists. And I, I like sales cause that's how, that's how I get paid. I want the sales guys to sell their stuff. So I want the company to be successful.

[00:09:17] Doug: So. You know, it's a team effort, but yeah, I get, I kind of bounce around between those three different categories, uh, in a given day. And I try to, yeah, I just try to use my judgment to figure out how can I help the company the best on any good day. 

[00:09:31] Chris: Awesome. Yeah, that's nice. I like that, you know, a bit of freedom there.

[00:09:33] Chris: And I appreciate that perspective around sales. I think that in network engineering and maybe it more broadly digital infrastructure in general, like a lot of technology professionals don't quite make that connection. I think at least in my experience, there's been a lot of friction at a lot of places I've worked between sales teams and engineering teams.

[00:09:50] Chris: And, uh, and I think ultimately realizing that like, If you want a new router, if you want a new switch, if you want a new, you know, server, a new storage array, your salespeople have to go do their job. You want to get paid, your salespeople need to go get their job. Supporting them is pretty important.

[00:10:03] Chris: Actually, 

[00:10:03] Doug: I think it's, I think it's a, uh, you, you reach a stage of enlightenment and you're like, Oh, uh, salespeople aren't dirty. Salespeople are how all of this works. Like the whole, this is all private enterprise. This is all a very successful industry. Because you've got smart salespeople making, you know, it's not just all, I think there's a, you know, I think in general, culturally we have a, an aversion that, you know, like salespeople are trying to, as a used car salesman trying to trick you into buying something you're not supposed to, you know, like that is, um, not a, not a good attitude to take.

[00:10:33] Doug: There's, there's a lot of value that, you know, sales folks, uh, offer the industry. So I'm pro sales. I would like our guys to be making sales every day. 

[00:10:42] Chris: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's good to maybe make those distinctions, right. I mean, this is kind of maybe the classic problem of. Stereotypes or categorization or things.

[00:10:49] Chris: I think that there's, there's probably some really terrible sales people out there who you don't really want to talk to. They're going to, you know, pick your pocket just like there's probably bad engineers who you don't want to let in your network, uh, or they're going to break something, but there's also a lot of good in, in both areas.

[00:11:01] Doug: Yeah. Like our companies don't exist if we don't have solid salespeople. And there's, that's a, that's a skill unto itself of just the. Just understanding, you know, how to, how to set a price to negotiate, be able to ready to walk away, all that's like, there's like a psychological thing. So a great salesperson is so useful.

[00:11:17] Chris: Absolutely. So I want to go back to something you said a little bit earlier. I think kind of when you had that kind of first, uh, you know, senior analyst role or analyst role at, at, uh, at Renesys. And I think what you said is, is you kind of started doing my words, like some of the grunt work, right? Some of the stuff that other folks who were there didn't want to do.

[00:11:33] Chris: Yeah. And then that kind of like, I think maybe exposed you to some of this, you know, kind of deeper analysis work and, and that kind of, you know, I don't know, maybe we can talk a little bit more about that process of kind of going from, you know, coming in as, as the new guy and doing the work that needed to be done to kind of driving that into doing work you really wanted to do, which I think is what, what happened.

[00:11:52] Doug: Yeah. So I arrived, you know, like I said, in 2009 to Renesys again, I got to describe to me a few, you know, data QA. Types things that we did as relationship classification that occasionally was wrong. We have to understand why it was wrong and to understand why it's wrong is you have to understand how does it work?

[00:12:10] Doug: How does the internet work? How does internet routing work to understand when something's wrong? And then, yeah, I felt like, uh, I would just ask a lot of questions to the folks that were there and I also kind of thought like, all right, well, I'm just going to, since I'm completely new to this domain, I just need to, you know, for like in my head, I was like, all right, well, I just need to put like six months of just reading papers, reading other people, like asking questions.

[00:12:35] Doug: And then also like being willing to be wrong and saying like, I think. You know, is this, is this, you know, is it like they get this right? And you're like, no, you got it wrong. And here's why, like, okay, let me keep at it. And, um, just knowing this is, this might take a little while to get the hang of. And then I think with the, uh, the data analysis, at some point I arrived at a point where I realized that I'm spending a lot more time in the data and trying to understand what's happening in our data than anybody else.

[00:13:02] Doug: So we have, you know, PhD software engineers and stuff that, you know, writing our production code that assumes a lot of things are going to work like they're supposed to work. And then I'm in the data saying like, no, no, like I've got example, counterexamples here that don't fit our understanding. And so it's like a, the same techniques that are used for data QA to find problems.

[00:13:24] Doug: Or also the same techniques that are used to find big novel discoveries. You've got something that doesn't fit your expected pattern. So either it's an error and needs to be fixed, or you've stumbled onto something that's really interesting. Either one is good for me. Yeah. I think my whole time there, you know, I, Before I left, uh, Oracle in 2020, I never stopped doing data QA, like geolocation, uh, QA was, you know, that's something you'll, you'll, you have to do forever.

[00:13:52] Doug: Like it's, so it's never, it's a problem that will never be solved, but I, I found it kind of cathartic sometimes just to go in and just get into the data and find all the, uh, we had techniques to identify and correct. It was geolocations. I go in there and just like, you know, just spend some time again.

[00:14:05] Doug: Like I said, I would find like. Really fascinating errors, uh, that I'd be correcting and be like, wow, how did this happen? And I've learned something about, you know, a new entity on the internet that's doing some sort of like v4 broker sales or S or something where the address space from one country is moving to another.

[00:14:21] Doug: And that's a really interesting development. Uh, it's beyond just data QA says now you're discovering something that's a behavior of the internet, the people that know about, so. Yeah, I'm big on, I'm big on data. I don't know why there aren't more people who do this at companies like ours. Um, uh, of, you know, this idea of you start off with data QA, but then, uh, build up your ability to do analysis and then support the company by, uh, public outreach, you're writing, writing blogs, doing presentations, and then also, um, yeah, uh, help helping advise, uh, product management.

[00:14:53] Doug: I think, um, it's a. Uh, with all that data, there's kind of a untapped potential there for other people to do similar work, I think. 

[00:15:00] Chris: Yeah, I would, I would have to agree. And I think, yeah, I think you're right now that I'm thinking about that, right? I mean, more and more, so many businesses, all kinds of different businesses are collecting more and more data and, and I mean, I guess I assume they're at least using it internally, um, but maybe not as much and definitely not very much external.

[00:15:16] Doug: What I guess what I find is that, um, and this is true, you know, I don't know, there's a lot of like, it's, it's one thing to build the tool and to collect the data. And you kind of, there's this assumption that somebody is going to figure out something out of all this data that we've collected. And, uh, um, I don't know that that's always true.

[00:15:31] Doug: I think a lot of we're, we're collecting data for data sake and we're, uh, building tools sometimes and people aren't using them. And, um, I guess, uh, I'm, I'm here to lobby for the, the role of an analyst is really important because that is sometimes a, um, a skill set all unto itself to, uh, you know, go into it, uh, a data set and figure out what's, what's interesting.

[00:15:55] Doug: And I'd be able to tell that story to other folks is a, um, I think it's an underappreciated skill set. Um, I intend to be doing it until the day I die. 

[00:16:04] Chris: Awesome. Yeah, very cool. So rewinding back a little bit, you know, I'm really interested in, I think one, I know you kind of, uh, at least my understanding is you kind of got into technology in the air force, but I don't know if it maybe even starts before then was was technology something that was a part of your childhood or where did that, you know, tech bug really bite?

[00:16:23] Doug: Yeah, it was. It was. So I grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, and my dad worked at IBM. So the mainframe plant there. And so he, uh, designed, uh, mainframes for IBM, uh, wrote, uh, you know, low level code, uh, so we had in the 1980s, we would have computers in the house and that was kind of unusual at that time. We had a, uh, Texas instruments, uh, computer, so not IBM, but I remember my older brother typing, um, programs in from, used to get a magazine and you, you would like in the magazine, you'd like transcribed, uh, like, uh, games and stuff out of the pages of the magazine.

[00:17:01] Doug: And you have to hand type these in and save them onto cassette tapes. That's, we always had all these like 10 minute cassette tapes around the house. And I actually wasn't doing, I was kind of like just a spare pair of hands for my brother who was doing, I'd go and fetch another tape. 10 minute tape or, um, I just watch him, you know, do that.

[00:17:16] Doug: Then we play the game afterwards. So yeah, I guess I, so then I guess that that connection with my father, but you know, I, I think I, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my mom as well. So obviously my, my dad is probably where I saw a lot of technical stuff and computers, my mom is not technical remotely.

[00:17:33] Doug: She is someone who's fascinated with journalism, so she was, uh, the first female, uh, graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and always had a, you know, worked in, worked in that space for a while. And, uh, I think, um, I am an interesting mix of those two passions now having this public function of journalism.

[00:17:54] Doug: Giving quotes to the media or breaking stories, that kind of thing. I think there's a, there's a technical piece to it and there's some sort of a version of journalism in there as well. So I like to think I'm a blend of those two backgrounds. Yeah, 

[00:18:07] Chris: that's super interesting. I like that a lot. And that's interesting.

[00:18:09] Chris: I think I've found a lot of I guess insights in learning more about journalism and kind of the practice of journalism and the idea of kind of finding the lead and understanding. And I don't know, there's some really interesting aspects of journalism that I think translate well to at least communication around technology, but in general, um, and finding better ways to communicate, uh, that that's, that's pretty cool.

[00:18:29] Chris: So from there, I mean, I guess. Coming out of the air for me, maybe we talk, maybe we want to talk a little bit about your experience in the air force. I think you were a chief of Unix administration, which sounds pretty awesome. I don't know what that is though. 

[00:18:42] Doug: Uh, yeah, this like military terminology. So I attended the university of Virginia, uh, that I went to engineering school there on a ROTC scholarship to pay for school.

[00:18:51] Doug: Like we just didn't have. I don't know. It's weird to look, I've got teenage boys now and we're looking at college, you know, thinking ahead to college and the, the, uh, the amount that I, we were worried about in the nineties college is like, you know, one year, 

[00:19:04] Chris: we've got an order of magnitude change in the generation here at least, right?

[00:19:08] Doug: It's really hard to, um, anyways, hard to, uh, It's going to sound strange to people now to be like, Oh, I didn't think I could afford, you know, 10, 20, 000 a year. Um, but, um, anyway, so we, uh, I, I got a, uh, uh, applied for, and I got a full ride from the U S air force to pay for all my school, you know, I benefited a lot from that, but, um, when I got into the air force, my first job was in San Antonio, Texas at what was at the time Kelly air force base.

[00:19:36] Doug: Now it's part of Lackland air force base. And it was at the information warfare center, which now it's changed his name. I don't know, six times. I don't know what it's called now. The role was very analogous to what would. You would find IT network admin shop. So, you know, even though I wore, you know, camo into work, the first year was just learning Cisco gear, pulling cable and ceilings and just doing all the things that network engineer would do, uh, did the, uh, certification track.

[00:20:04] Doug: They had money for training. So I went to those one week, you know, Cisco classes and got up to, um, CCNP, you know, before I kind of stopped working on that stuff. And my second year, we had a few different teams in that group. There was a network admin guys, which is where I started. And there was a windows or Microsoft admin team.

[00:20:22] Doug: And there was a Unix admin team that was like the, uh, the black sheep, like nobody wanted to be a part of that. And it wasn't in good shape. And then, um, at some point I made a comment to the head guy. And I was like, I was like, I'd work there. I'd be in charge of that. Or I'd be, I'd be interested in doing that stuff.

[00:20:35] Doug: And I'm like, really? Like you'd want Unix? And I was like, yeah, no, I would want that. Like, you're crazy. And I go, give it to me. And then, so then we ended up, I was the head of that. Like the terminology was chief, just like some kind of a, That's a, that's a lower form of a leadership position in the air force.

[00:20:49] Doug: But, uh, so I was ahead as a junior officer. I was ahead of, you know, like I think we had a civilian, a couple of enlisted, a couple of contractors. So we had a, just a small group, but it was a, it was one of my happiest times of just, we had like really sharp folks. We were really good team. Uh, we turned this thing around and by the time I left, like everybody wanted to be a part of the Unix team and we had just a lot of team pride.

[00:21:12] Doug: You know, just went from, you know, like I said, it was just, it was not in good shape when we inherited it and we cleaned it up. Um, anyway, it was kind of, kind of cool. 

[00:21:20] Chris: Yeah, that's awesome. That's awesome. I've worked on one or two teams that kind of felt like that, where everything kind of gelled and we got a lot of stuff done and made some progress.

[00:21:26] Chris: And just like, at the time, I don't know that I recognized how amazing that was, but looking back, in fact, 

[00:21:31] Doug: I, I think that was, you know, partly when I was trying to decide where to go in my career, I was like, well, I like being a, a small team of sharp people. The, you know, we were all, we all had some, something that we're extra good at.

[00:21:45] Doug: But then we could rely on each other. That was, I was like that, that's the, also I ended up learning so much in that kind of environment as well, which is like killer, you know, more than you can read in a textbook or attended a class. If you've got a team of sharp people and everybody's working together, uh, yeah, the right type of environment like that is so crucial.

[00:22:04] Doug: And you, like I said, you just learn so fast. When you're in a, um, a good team like that. So that I remember thinking, you know, later on trying to decide what I was like, I would like to be, I don't have to be in charge. Uh, I can do it if I need to, but, uh, I like being in a small team environment where everybody's, uh, dependent on each other.

[00:22:23] Doug: And then, uh, yeah, after that, I, I did well there. I got a bunch of accolades. And so then they gave me a command position. I was in charge of, I was in a air control squadron, which is basically a, uh, ground radar, mobile radar unit. Uh, the ploys. Into a, you know, a combat environment, setting up radar to control the airspace.

[00:22:39] Doug: And then, so I was in charge of all the communications and, um, uh, had, uh, 55 enlisted, uh, folks, uh, were in my flight were under me, including, uh, you know, the guy who was in the industry, Sean Ligon, uh, who's, uh, he's at Juniper. Uh, he was one of my airmen. It's kind of funny that we're, we're now in the industry together, but yeah, we were in Italy, uh, you know, I was stationed at Aviano air base in Italy for, for three years doing that.

[00:23:02] Doug: And, uh, ultimately we ended up going, uh, Sean and I and the rest of the group going to Iraq in the first year of the war, as challenging as that was from a technical standpoint, it was actually kind of, it was a positive experience. We had like very hard things to do. We had a lot of smart people to do it, you know, small teams of elite folks that were really good at what they were doing.

[00:23:19] Doug: And so I, I gained a lot from that. It was a positive experience. 

[00:23:23] Chris: Awesome. That's really cool. And as you're talking about that, you know, I'm struck by, you know, my memories also have kind of some of these similar experiences with small teams and they usually were, we were, we were working close together, not just on projects or, you know, like on, on, on the things we were working on, but also physically in the same space.

[00:23:41] Chris: And, you know, I, I wonder a little bit about whether the world we're in now, this post COVID world, I guess, right post pandemic world where distributed work has been really adopted by a lot of companies and people are really kind of demanding it, which, you know, I've kind of fought for my whole career, but there may be A missing ingredient of that, you know, collaboration and camaraderie.

[00:24:06] Chris: I don't know what your thoughts are on, on remote work and how that affects, you know, people getting started and working together. And yeah. 

[00:24:12] Doug: Yeah. I think of it a lot. Let me, the company I'm at now, Kentik, uh, we don't even have an office anymore. You know, we, I think they let the lease run out and SF in 2020, cause it was, everybody was home and just hasn't been a need plus everyone's distributed all over the world.

[00:24:27] Doug: So there's, there's, you know, huge upsides to that. Like I can sit in, you know, a random place in New Hampshire and work in any of these companies. So that's a, that's a huge benefit to me personally. But I guess I think a lot about, um, the, when I was with Renesys and Dyn, I oversaw our internship program and, uh, I think I had maybe 15 or 16 interns over the, You know, summer interns over the, over the years, I really liked doing it.

[00:24:52] Doug: I liked working with the young folks and, um, everybody benefited from it. I got a lot out of it. The kids got a lot out of it. And, uh, and we would never allow a remote intern. Like we were at that time, we had an office, uh, in Hanover, New Hampshire, and we would require that the person, you know, it's a college town.

[00:25:09] Doug: So they would get a, get a sublet from some college kid and come into the office and then just be there for all of the spontaneous conversations and just spontaneous, anything. If nothing else, just to witness this, you know, small band of technical misfits, uh, just living, living their best life, you know, like, I think it's just great for a young person to see, like, Oh, well, that could, maybe that could be me and I could follow one of these paths or do this kind of work and, and it'd be really happy and joyful.

[00:25:38] Doug: And then, you know, around lunch, they'd ask questions about, you know, like, should I go to grad school? Should I do this or that? And. You know, collect up people's opinions, varied opinions on these things and very hard to recreate that in a remote environment. I feel like myself now, having worked, you know, gone into office for two and a half decades before going remote, I missed that less.

[00:25:56] Doug: I need, I need that less. But I, I think a lot about the young folks coming up and how they, how do they, um, how do they get those experiences? And I wonder if they're not missing out on. What's some of us benefited from, so I don't know what the answer to that is, but it's something I think worth calling out because I don't know how I would do a, uh, an intern right now, because it really, really helped to be able to pull the guy in the office and just draw a bunch of stuff on the dryers board and just, you know, like, uh, do you get everything?

[00:26:23] Doug: Do not, I can just, and then, and then go off on some tangent, you know, like, and there's no, like, I don't need to hop off the zoom call. We're just in the office together. And if, uh, if we ended up the conversation goes somewhere random, uh, Yeah. But anyway, it's not, I don't know the answer to that, but it's something I think, uh, we should be thoughtful about.

[00:26:39] Chris: Yeah. Joint whiteboard sessions are maybe the one thing I miss about going into an office with other people for sure. That's interesting. One thing, I mean, maybe this is just devil's advocate, but you know, I wonder if the reason there is some nostalgia for how we were introduced to these communities through being physically present.

[00:26:58] Chris: Is just that nostalgia and maybe there are, you know, maybe, maybe people will just adapt to finding ways to be interns remotely. I don't know if that's true or not. I don't know if that's true or not, right? 

[00:27:09] Doug: Maybe, maybe, maybe. I think it's a, I think it's a, it can be kind of difficult. There's something kind of intuitive when you physically go into an office and you're, As opposed to you overhear things, you catch people's eye.

[00:27:19] Doug: There's, yeah, but, uh, but maybe you're right. Maybe, uh, maybe there's a, maybe people will adapt and then I'm the one with the problem. I, uh, I, uh, uh, it's my, my lack of vision to see how this can, isn't an issue. Maybe that's it. I don't know. But 

[00:27:32] Chris: yeah, I don't know. I don't know. Cause you know, I've also thought about, and this is maybe totally different, but it, but in my mind related, the idea of kind of network automation and things like that, where the more we automate, cause a lot of what we're automating is this kind of grunt work.

[00:27:45] Chris: Which is a lot of what we had like it help desks do or are doing today. And if you, if you automate some of that grunt work away, then like, how do new people get into this stuff and get exposed to all these things? If you've just got, you know, machines taking care of all the basic stuff, then there's, there's, you've broken this learning path in some ways.

[00:28:02] Chris: Which is different, but kind of a similar problem. I think, I don't know. 

[00:28:04] Doug: No, no, it is similar. And, uh, we were living in this moment in technology and this has been a process going for many years, you know, with our cars, there was a time when people were a little more skillful at fixing their own stuff and now we're not, we've lost that skill, but we're still driving, still, we've getting the car from point A to point B and we just, uh, you know, take it to the mechanic for.

[00:28:26] Doug: Maybe some things that we can fix on our own, or maybe they've gotten too complicated, uh, too computerized for us to have a shot at it. I don't know. I, I think about that as well. It is, it is kind of related, but maybe it's, uh, maybe it's not as big of an issue as we're making out to be. 

[00:28:40] Chris: We'll probably find out one way or another.

[00:28:42] Chris: Yeah. So speaking of that, like in that kind of, you know, how things kind of played out. I mean, is there anything looking back over your career? Is there anything you would, you would change about how things went down from kind of the very beginnings to now, if you could, 

[00:28:57] Doug: I don't know, I don't know if that's a tough question because like, you know, all of your experience that you are, you're, you're present, you are, or the accumulation of all your experiences that good or bad.

[00:29:06] Doug: And, um, I don't know, I guess I've had a couple of things that are like, Oh, I probably would have, you know, like I, before I got into Renesys, I was working at a hospital doing it security and it just wasn't a great situation without getting into a tangent. And I think I recognize that. Pretty early on, but I thought I could just, you know, push through it and win, you know, some sort of, um, inter office rivalry.

[00:29:29] Doug: And I think as an older man, I can look back and be like, no, there was, there was a problem. It wasn't going to get fixed and it was time to time to leave. And I probably could have left earlier. I don't know. I really don't dwell on those kinds of things ever much. Because, um, even some of the bad experiences you have are helpful to inform your outlook on, you know, make you appreciate when it's good and.

[00:29:55] Doug: Yeah, I don't know. I don't, they probably are, uh, but I, like I said, I don't dwell on that as far as regrets. 

[00:30:02] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, that's fair. That's totally fair. I tend to live the same way. The only regret I do have is that we are out of time, uh, for today. Uh, Doug, do you have any, any projects or causes or anything you'd like the folks listening to know about or pointers to things that are going on?

[00:30:16] Doug: Let's see. Well, right now, one of the focuses that I'm interested in is routing security. So BGP security, and I've given a lot of talks in the last couple of years on where, where we're at there. And I guess, uh, I would say with RPKI ROV, which is, you know, the latest security mechanism, I think it's arrived at a point where if you're not already rejecting invalids and signing routes, you should be.

[00:30:40] Doug: Cause there's a lot of benefit. It doesn't solve all the problems, but it, Yeah, even this outage that we had with Orange Espana a few weeks ago kind of shows the power of, uh, of classifying a route as invalid because it really will get blotted out of the internet and that, that wasn't always the case.

[00:30:56] Doug: That's a, that's a fairly recent. So anyway, I, I think, uh, improving routing security is something, um, I care a lot about, I write a lot about it and we've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot there that we haven't, haven't solved. So that's my, my technical area of interest. 

[00:31:11] Chris: Yeah, it makes sense. Uh, plus one to, to paying attention there.

[00:31:13] Chris: Well, Doug, thank you so much for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network and thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention, and your support. If you found 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.

[00:31:31] Chris: Um, before we shut the lights off, Doug, I am curious. You know, maybe flipping that question I asked a little bit ago on its side a little bit. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned throughout your career from your perspective now? 

[00:31:43] Doug: Oh, let's see. I don't know if this is the most valuable, but maybe I just give an insight into like conference going.

[00:31:51] Doug: So I think when I first started going to Nanogs, you know, like 15 years ago, I felt like it was, it felt a little clicky. Uh, it felt very intimidating as a new person. And, um, I think it's gotten better over the years. Uh, there was certainly a time when you'd have, you know, questions come up and won't name any names, but they say bullshit to your whole thing and cut you to pieces.

[00:32:13] Doug: It's, I think it's gotten not, not as, not as tough as it once was. And I kind of steer clear of it for a little while as a result of that. But now I'm someone who's a little more established in that space. One thing that I do, and maybe other people can, can do this too, is, uh, you know, if you're at a social thing and you're at a lunch and you see somebody sitting by themselves, uh, often like a, maybe a younger person who doesn't know.

[00:32:36] Doug: A lot of people at the conference, like go, go sit with them, go over and introduce yourself because 99 times out of a hundred, they're going to be so appreciative. And a lot of these people are actually really smart and have a lot to contribute. So it's something I learned when I was going to security conferences, which is not my area.

[00:32:53] Doug: And I don't know anybody there, but I'm self assured enough to just go up and be like, all right, I'll pick somebody who doesn't seem like they know what anybody and go up and talk to them. And I've made a lot of great contacts that way. So that's not the biggest lesson, I think, but it's a good, it's good, uh, to, because we have a, we have an industry where you're going to have a lot of people who are not as outgoing as others, but they're, but they've got lots to offer, uh, even if, even if they're new to the space.

[00:33:17] Doug: So I know I do that. I make a point of doing that now. And I think others should as well, just like go up and, um, go talk to these folks. Cause I think they would, They're gonna come away with a much more positive experience and both of y'all are gonna benefit a lot. 

[00:33:31] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. Uh, I, I agree with that.

[00:33:34] Chris: That's great advice. And we'll be back next week