The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Steve Dodd

April 30, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 90
Steve Dodd
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Steve Dodd
Apr 30, 2024 Season 1 Episode 90
Chris & Zoë

In this episode, we chat with Steve Dodd, a seasoned network engineer with a career spanning over two decades.

Steve shares his accidental stumble into networking, his growth through working on increasingly larger networks, and his current role at Slack, where he navigates the complexities of cloud-based networking.

We explore the parallels between his passion for skiing and his approach to networking, emphasizing the importance of consistency, practice, and being open to coaching and feedback.

Steve also reflects on the influence of mentors and thought leaders in his career, despite never having met them, highlighting the impact of their writings and presentations on his professional development.

Join us for this insightful conversation with Steve Dodd, as we uncover the lessons learned from both the mountains and the digital landscape.

Rock climbing is a practice of failure.
You fall a lot, but each fall is an opportunity to learn.
It’s not about avoiding failure; it’s about mitigating risk and having a backup plan.

Steve'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

In this episode, we chat with Steve Dodd, a seasoned network engineer with a career spanning over two decades.

Steve shares his accidental stumble into networking, his growth through working on increasingly larger networks, and his current role at Slack, where he navigates the complexities of cloud-based networking.

We explore the parallels between his passion for skiing and his approach to networking, emphasizing the importance of consistency, practice, and being open to coaching and feedback.

Steve also reflects on the influence of mentors and thought leaders in his career, despite never having met them, highlighting the impact of their writings and presentations on his professional development.

Join us for this insightful conversation with Steve Dodd, as we uncover the lessons learned from both the mountains and the digital landscape.

Rock climbing is a practice of failure.
You fall a lot, but each fall is an opportunity to learn.
It’s not about avoiding failure; it’s about mitigating risk and having a backup plan.

Steve'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 imposter syndrome network podcast where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and this is the Steve Dodd episode. Steve was a terror since the modem pool era. He's been a network engineer for at least 20 years working on some brand name networks, such as Salesforce, Facebook, and Slack.

[00:00:31] Chris: He's smart, humble, hardworking, and collaborative. Uh, as long as you don't call him on a powder day.

[00:00:40] Chris: Hey, Steve. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network? 

[00:00:44] Steve: Uh, yeah, sure. So I, you know, uh, that was a great, great intro. Yeah. I kind of stumbled into networking as a career and, um, you know, definitely grew and, and gradually worked on larger and larger networks throughout the course of my career.

[00:01:00] Steve: Yeah, I'm currently at Slack working on, you know, not even my own network. It's all abstracted away and basically AWS cloud. So it's been quite the journey. 

[00:01:09] Chris: Fantastic. Well, let's dive into it. I'm going to start, um, maybe in an odd place, but we, I believe, share a passion for, for the mountains and for snow, for Although I do think that you unfortunately have failed to evolve from skiing to snowboarding, but we'll let that go.

[00:01:24] Chris: Do you see any parallels between skiing and networking? Or maybe a better way to ask that is, have you learned anything from skiing that you apply in your career? 

[00:01:33] Steve: Um, for sure. I think consistency in practice is like something that translates quite well. It's funny. Uh, You know, I think there are definitely like prodigies out there, um, both in the networking world and in the, you know, skiing or, you know, whatever athletic or technical endeavor it might be.

[00:01:54] Steve: But I think sitting down and kind of having some introspection and looking, kind of reviewing your performance is definitely worthwhile and has behooved me in my career. And I think it's just definitely of benefit to kind of. Yeah, just look at how you're doing, look at the, what you could do better and maybe also like, I think this translates well to kind of the concept of coaching or like external feedback and like if someone sees something and says, Hey, you could make that turn a little more crisp by getting more on your edge or like, Hey, this design has a particular shortcoming in this edge case.

[00:02:32] Steve: Have you considered this? Just being open to that feedback and being receptive I think that's a, an important like, uh, Not, not, not just a skill, but like an important way to like operate. And if you don't do that, you just kind of get really myopic and maybe, you know, miss something really important in whatever activity it is that you're doing.

[00:02:52] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, I, I agree with that completely following onto that. I mean, has that something that's been a big part of your career? Have you had any or many mentors who have really influenced your journey so far? 

[00:03:03] Steve: I definitely had mentors. You know, it's funny. A lot of the people that I would consider kind of like formative in my career.

[00:03:11] Steve: Um, I actually haven't met, but it was more of their writing style or documentation style or presentation style that I take from. So, um, V. J. Gill. Comes to mind, like he did a presentation on, I think it was AOL's migration from OSPF to ISIS. I remember that presentation. Yeah. Yeah. And, um, you know, it was, it was funny and it was technical and it was really well done.

[00:03:36] Steve: And I actually, you know, basically ended up doing a very similar migration at, um, one of the places that I, I worked early in my career. And it really gave me the confidence to kind of outline the plan. And, you know, as a junior engineer, I think taking something kind of that foundational to the network and like, you know, potentially impactful to the business.

[00:03:57] Steve: That's, that's kind of a scary thing to do. So it was really cool to kind of have that path be documented and have something kind of, you know, just available to follow, um, as a blueprint. Not necessarily network related, but like Joel Spolsky, um, and like the Joel on software blog, like really early on.

[00:04:13] Steve: While I was still in school, even, um, I used to read that, that blog a lot. And like just the kind of insights into productivity and what it took to kind of like do your best work as, um, in the software field, I found like super fascinating. And I think a lot of those insights or spicy takes have like still aged fairly well.

[00:04:35] Steve: Um, and, and are like still fairly like applicable in the workplace today. 

[00:04:40] Chris: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And it definitely is. I mean, I was going to say it's a sign of the times, but, but I guess this is something that's gone on for a long time. Right. I mean, I guess there's been people wrote down things and put, you know, whether it was letters or books or newspapers, or, you know, there's been a way to kind of absorb knowledge and experience from other humans for, for quite a while.

[00:05:00] Chris: The level that we can do it now is, is pretty amazing. Right. As you said, like this idea of, you know, blogs and recorded talks and this kind of stuff where you don't ever have to meet somebody and you can really share their experience in a lot of different ways. It seems fairly unique to our, our time of existence.

[00:05:13] Steve: Yeah, totally. It's, it's a very like a passive form of mentorship. I'll, you know, I, I think there's a lot of people that have had outsized impact on the networking world. I think, um, I'm going to butcher his name, but Ivan, um, like, I think he nailed it actually. I don't know for sure. Sweet. Uh, you know, prolific blogger, um, you know, shared a bunch of.

[00:05:34] Steve: Insights wrote tons of books and like, just that, that impact and like being available and, um, but more importantly, like just kind of the, the sharing of that knowledge and like, at least like passing it down and not having it be totally tribal. I think it's gone a long way. Yeah. And, you know, he's a, he's a great example of that.

[00:05:54] Steve: There's, there's tons of other people. I'm sure, you know, I couldn't enumerate them all, but he's a great example of, you know, someone willing to share very deep knowledge in the networking field. Yeah. 

[00:06:04] Chris: Yeah. Which is interesting. I mean, that's kind of a totally different skillset, right? The communication side of it, to being able to package it up and kind of give it to other folks is quite a bit different than, than just doing it yourself.

[00:06:16] Steve: Yeah, 100 percent like being able to articulate, uh, that concept, um, in a relatable way and, you know, and take something that's hyper technical and like kind of distill it down to the explain it like I'm five and then just make it consumable, um, for something that is hyper technical. I think that's a real skill.

[00:06:34] Steve: Not a lot of people. So it's really neat to see that, like, you know, actually get exercised. 

[00:06:41] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So speaking of highly technical right now, you're a staff engineer at Slack. What does that mean? What is, what is your day to day kind of look like? What does a staff engineer at Slack, you mentioned the fact that kind of the network you work on has become much more ephemeral or not owned, which I think is a really interesting trend.

[00:06:59] Chris: Also, right. This idea that, you know, we, in large part used to, or in some cases work on kind of physical infrastructure that's racked and cabled up and stuff, but now a lot of networking, uh, you don't own the infrastructure at all and you've still got to make the packets flow, uh, reliably and predictably.

[00:07:13] Chris: So that's, that's interesting. But. But going back to the original question, maybe, you know, what's what's the day to day look like? What are you actually doing there? 

[00:07:20] Steve: Yeah, so I'm on a team called Demand Engineering. We're basically responsible for the ingress traffic side of Slack. So you're running a Slack client on your computer or on your phone.

[00:07:32] Steve: You want to send a message. How does that traffic get back to Slack's infrastructure for processing? And let's say that you did like a, an app channel or something. So it's an announcement. Like, how do we. In a timely manner, get that notification pushed out to everybody else, you know, in that channel or in that workspace.

[00:07:51] Steve: So there's, there's the ingress piece that kind of gets the traffic from, from a client to the Slack infrastructure itself. And then, uh, within Slack's infrastructure, we run a service mesh that, you know, there's a whole bunch of different microservices or, you know, Kubernetes or EC2 based services that, um, like you said, they're ephemeral, they come and go because it's running on someone else's computer.

[00:08:07] Steve: So there's, there's a whole bunch of different microservices or, you know, Kubernetes or EC2 based services that, um, like you said, they're ephemeral, they come and go because it's running on someone else's computer. How do we keep track of those endpoints and make sure that traffic is able to flow between those services in a consistent manner.

[00:08:20] Steve: So that boils down to, you know, our, our technology stack isn't particularly, I wouldn't say it's super unique. We use console for service discovery. We use envoy for service mesh. Um, there's a little bit of magic glue for, uh. The actual service mesh library for a thing called rotor that was an aqua hire and then yeah, the rest is just DNS, which will fail you in all sorts of interesting and unique way.

[00:08:45] Chris: Yes, yes, indeed. It will. And then I see that you're you also at least and I don't know how full time this is. I mean, different people do different things here. I see you've got kind of a company or project called Idaho hood where you do some consulting work. That's been going on for what the past decade or so, is that something that you actively work on or is it kind of just between jobs or how does that work for you?

[00:09:04] Steve: It's kind of like 

[00:09:06] Steve: take and take 

[00:09:07] Steve: a lot of the time, like I have a pretty good relationship with some of my former employers going, going way, way back and a lot of them are like very tiny rural telecom companies, so they don't necessarily have like the particular expertise that's like super deep on. like an MPLS implementation on a brownfield network or the BGP policy framework and like how to structure that to get their best bang for their buck for their transit and their peering.

[00:09:33] Steve: And so a lot of times it'll be kind of these just real point engagements where, you know, there's a specific project and kind of a pretty tight scope of work. And it's like, Hey, can you help us out with this thing? And so I've done that over the years quite a bit. I think if I could do that like full time, that would be the most like rewarding for me.

[00:09:51] Steve: I think building, you know, infrastructure for real people in rural communities and like, you know, for me, having DSL or broadband just available in general, like as a teenager, really kind of shaped my path within within the industry and kind of like. Really set me up for a great career and, you know, great life in general.

[00:10:15] Steve: Um, and so being able to like pay that back or pay it forward is a really neat experience. So just any way that I can kind of like help enable some of those, uh, rural broadband initiatives, I find like super rewarding. 

[00:10:26] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. I can totally see that. It's definitely something that's where I kind of started too, was, was, was rural broadband and kind of building networks out in the woods and the mountains and stuff in Colorado, in my case.

[00:10:36] Chris: And definitely still has a very strong piece of my heart in that. 

[00:10:39] Steve: Yeah, I totally get that. Like, yeah, it's very similar. Like Idaho and Montana. Like those were kind of where I cut my teeth and like got to do a lot of. I like to use the term cowboy engineering, but it's kind of like just, you know, they're not a lot of established process.

[00:10:52] Steve: You're doing a thing. Yeah. I got to make it work. You have the four hour maintenance window or whatever, and you get a cobble, something working back together by the end of that. And, you know, I think that's, it's definitely exciting and unstructured in some ways. I think he can, you know, if you do it forever, you can get really burned out doing that too.

[00:11:11] Steve: The lack of structures eventually catches up to you. So there's, you know, different facets kind of depending on your, your age and stage in life too. I think 

[00:11:19] Chris: fair, fair, for sure. I think that's, that's definitely true. So is that how you got started in tech? I mean, like, what was that? Maybe you can talk a little bit about your progression.

[00:11:27] Chris: Yeah. Into kind of networking. I mean, was it did you go and work for a rural telecom right away? Or did was there kind of stepping stones to get there? Or how did that all start for you? 

[00:11:35] Steve: Uh, no. So I, uh, I was a student helper for the network team at University of Idaho. Go Vandals. And so basically that was like replacing failed equipment and wiring closets or like doing upgrades.

[00:11:50] Steve: And then you know, Um, that was, I started that my summer of my senior year, basically. And then a few months into that, one of the guys knocked on, I was like in a little closet that sat underneath the stairwell and that was like my, my office guy came and knocked on my door. He's like, you know, we have a full time position open, been open for a while.

[00:12:10] Steve: It's like, Oh, you know, that's cool. And he's like, well, if you were to get a full time position, you know, halftime school is basically paid for and you could just finish. Oh, okay. I see where you're, you're going with this. 

[00:12:22] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:12:23] Steve: So I applied and eventually got the position. Um, but I, I like totally fell into networking as a career.

[00:12:29] Steve: You know, I had done a, like a CCNA type program in high school, but I had never really done much with that. I had, I had done like help desk at a local ISP back in the day. Okay. But then I was a math student, so I really had no plan once I was graduating. It was either kind of go to graduate school or, or figure something else out.

[00:12:49] Steve: And, you know, opportunity presented itself. And then, yeah, I worked for the university for about three years. And then that was right around the time where like, The NANOG mailing list was still kind of like in its prime and kind of the place to be. So I was reading about all these service provider technologies and then a local service provider called Serenity Networks in Idaho had a position come up and that's, that's where I transitioned over to the service provider world.

[00:13:16] Steve: And they were, yeah, that was right when kind of the transition for cell carriers from 3G to 4G was happening. So everybody was throwing fiber in the ground. Everybody was doing Ethernet over. You know, some sort of tunnel, be it Ethernet over Ethernet or Ethernet over PLS, I got to build out basically a decent sized MPLS network, supporting a bunch of wireless carriers and kind of other tertiary use cases.

[00:13:42] Steve: Yeah. And that's where, yeah, I think where I really saw that, like, Building something for your local community was, was super cool. 

[00:13:49] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That's very cool. And it's interesting, you know, one of the things that struck me there, maybe the, maybe the least relevant to you, but when it's interesting to me is, you know, that idea of that, that Nanog mailing list and it's prime, and, and this is something that I've, I think about quite a bit, especially talking to other folks that are, you know, somewhere near my age, right.

[00:14:06] Chris: You know, plus or minus 10 years. Just how we've lived through this kind of change in communications technology that you and I just talked about a little bit before, I think one of the reasons that the Nanog mailing list was so amazing at that time, and not that it's kind of gone away or now it's that there's so many other avenues and options and things now, right?

[00:14:25] Chris: So. You know, I don't know about you, but when I first started reading the Nanog mailing list, like there wasn't, there wasn't the YouTube to go look for networking videos on YouTube. There was no Tik TOK, there was no Twitter, right? I mean, so this Nanog mailing list was that, that was where you talked about, you know, maybe before that IRC and like the pound IX channels and some of that stuff, but, but like the Nanog mailing list really was the only place to go talk about service writer networking for quite a while.

[00:14:46] Steve: Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely like a very hyper focused, like, yeah, like gathering point. And I think there was some, yeah, like you mentioned, even fewer blogs or just, I'm trying to think at the time there were, you know, maybe some people's like blog spot, like my CCIG journey type blogs, but that was about it.

[00:15:05] Steve: Yeah. And then otherwise it was just very condensed and not diluted. And so you, you kind of. You know, if you wanted to absorb some knowledge, you, you ended up getting redirected to the Piper mail archive one way or the other. And then it was like, Oh, I might as well just subscribe. Right. And you know, there was a lot of, not necessarily like maybe not applicable to your problem, but just a lot of adjacent networking problems.

[00:15:29] Steve: And, and again, so I think it was, yeah, for me, like really piqued my interest because I was not in the service provider world and I was like, Oh, all these tunnels that people keep talking about, that's, that's interesting, like what's going on here. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:15:40] Chris: Which is reminiscent of kind of the early internet in a lot of, you know, just this idea that like, you know, I don't know that anybody surfs the web the, the way that we used to in the early days.

[00:15:49] Chris: Now, like, where are you going to, you know, cause there was no search engines, right? So you're just kind of following hyperlinks around and stumbling into stuff and finding like weird, interesting things. And anyway, I see some corollaries there in the kind of, where you'd see some topic pop up and you're like, Oh, that's really interesting.

[00:16:01] Chris: And learn all about this thing that had nothing to do with your job, but what was really interesting. 

[00:16:05] Steve: Yeah, I think the closest thing like maybe in modern parlance is like the the the Wikipedia rabbit hole, right? Where you just like keep clicking down a thing and you you know You're way off the initial subject that you started looking at but you you know, you get sucked into something But yeah, it's I feel like information is a lot more available nowadays so it's it's much easier to have kind of the maybe like I don't know less respondent it's just It's more instant reward or instant gratification of like, I'm trying to do a thing and even maybe like more so now with like chat GPT or something, you like type in your question and you get, get an answer, whether or not it's a convincing lie or not is an exercise kind of left to the reader, but, uh, yeah, uh, it's just a lot more immediate in kind of that, getting that information provided.

[00:16:53] Chris: Yeah. Now you just have to fight off all the ads instead of trying to dig for the information. And then the reason we can even have this conversation is, is because we are kind of of a similar age. You've been doing this for, for 20 something years now. Um, you know, with the career you've had, I think, you know, you've had some really good, some great projects and really cool achievements.

[00:17:11] Chris: And, you know, at this point, 20 years in your, your staff engineer. And so I'm sure there would have been some opportunities maybe to move into management or kind of take that different track. And I'm interested in kind of what, what it is you like about being an individual contributor and why you've kind of stuck to more of the kind of pure engineering versus going off on a path.

[00:17:28] Chris: You know, other folks have ended up maybe in marketing or even in sales or like I said, management's a clear path after that long of a career. Not everyone sticks with kind of more pure engineering. 

[00:17:38] Steve: Totally. I think it's interesting. I did a, I did an engineering management program. Like master's thing at, um, University of Colorado, thinking that I was going to maybe transition to management at one point.

[00:17:51] Steve: And I think what I found is there's just really different skill sets. Like I'm good at the engineering side. I'm not great with like managing people or careers. I'm a little selfish, honestly, when it comes to like my time and my interests. And so I'm still, I think, The technical side, you know, I'm still really interested in the technical work that I'm doing.

[00:18:13] Steve: And then outside of it, like outside of work, like I really just want to put it down and go skiing or go climbing or go like hang out with my family. I'm very compartmentalized in that regard. And it's not that I like, don't care about my coworkers. Like I think they're great and fantastic people. It's just.

[00:18:29] Steve: I think ultimately I have enough trouble managing my own career that it's 

[00:18:33] Chris: You need to be responsible for them, right? You can care for them without being responsible. 

[00:18:36] Steve: Yeah. That like that, that responsibility externally, like I'm a, I'm a dog guy and that's it. 

[00:18:42] Chris: That makes total sense. Yeah, I like it. Looking back, you know, what role would you say you've, you've learned the most in?

[00:18:49] Chris: Is there, is there one job or one role or one project where you kind of really accelerated your learning and, and, and came away and be changed even? 

[00:18:56] Steve: Yeah. So I think, um, I talked about the Syringa networks role, so that was, that was the career place where I did the IGP migration from, well, to tie SIS and rolled out, uh, in an MPLS network and.

[00:19:10] Steve: Yeah, really just like that, that company was on a rocket ship trajectory as far as growth goes. So it was like, you're always deploying something new, always like adapting to a new customer requirement or deploying a new technology or trying to, you know, basically respond to whatever the sales guys had sold.

[00:19:26] Steve: We had to go do that thing like right away. Um, and, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way at all. Like they were, they were good at that. So we were like always augmenting. And I think that was, I think it was really good for me to see kind of the intersection of the technical and the business side in that regard.

[00:19:43] Steve: Um, and just see how to drive, you know, actual revenue growth with the portfolio of the products that we'd offer and like, understand the operational impact of, okay, if we're going to offer this new thing, We have to be able to support it. You know, what does that look like? What processes do we need? What training do we need?

[00:20:01] Steve: You know, it's not just create a config template and you're done, right? Like that's, that's not a sustainable way to operate or, or you can do that until the first outage and then the business dies. So like really getting close enough to the business to understand where the paycheck was coming from, I think was, was really beneficial for me.

[00:20:19] Chris: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think, yeah, that, I think that is a leap forward in a lot of people's careers, right? When you've, when kind of tie, because there's, there's this kind of, I don't know, historical animosity between sales and engineering teams. It feels like, at least I, I was kind of raised, quote unquote raised that way through the first parts of my career and then eventually kind of figure out, okay, well, you know, I don't get paid if they don't do their job, which is interesting.

[00:20:38] Chris: Um, but then also to your point, right? I think I was the same way, right? Like working at a value added reseller systems integrator and, and handling customer works was just flying at you from all different directions is definitely a place where I learned a ton, right? You get exposed to so many different environments so fast, and you're kind of solving these different challenges is really, really interesting.

[00:20:56] Chris: Yeah. I like that a lot in there. You mentioned kind of, you know, planning that lasts maybe until the first outage. Is there a time in your career where you've completely failed? 

[00:21:04] Steve: Oh yeah, I feel a lot. I think, you know, it's funny, but, uh, see, we talked about skiing and how that translates a little bit. Um, so I think rock climbing for me translates even more.

[00:21:15] Steve: So I'm, I'm into sport climbing, which is, uh, with a rope and you go up and you like, try to climb her out and then you'll fall off because you can't do the move and you have to like, Rehearse the move and try and figure out a sequence to get you past that high point to you, to get to the finish. And on a really hard climb that can take you dozens, if not like a hundred tries, if you're trying something like really hard at your limit.

[00:21:39] Steve: So like failure for me is not like a bad thing. It's always a learning opportunity. Um, I think failing and being able to mitigate risk is like the more important thing. So I've had. definitely like some bad outages in my career. But I think the quick lesson that I like really internalized from those outages was like, it's important to have a back out plan or a saving throw of some kind, whether that's console access, or you know, somebody on site to go, you know, reset a node back to a known good state that you can access or like, you know, all these different risk mitigation techniques.

[00:22:19] Steve: And so that's definitely something that was Like a harsh lesson early on, uh, my, my funniest like outage story that I think I can share, I think is, um, uh, we'll protect the name of the innocent. Yeah, I just, uh, I won't mention which state it was, but we were rolling out, uh, We had this management network and it used VPLS and I guess for those that don't know VPLS is a, it's a layer two overlay technique using MPLS, but it requires a full mesh normally amongst all the nodes.

[00:22:56] Steve: Um, and that's to basically to emulate like, uh, an Ethernet segment and avoid loops. Um, so you avoid loops by, you know, you receive a frame and you set it out everywhere else. Thanks. But if you want to scale that, you break that full mesh and you do what's called hierarchical VPLS. And all of a sudden you've deliberately introduced the potential for loops.

[00:23:18] Steve: Or in my case, I actually introduced a loop. Um, and I took down this management power for an entire state. And fortunately we had, um, we tacked down a CEO tech who could, you know, go out there and unplug the box and like, get us back. But that was, you know, kind of a harrowing 40 minutes of, uh, trying to get ahold of somebody.

[00:23:36] Steve: Fortunately, it was just the management side, right? Not actually, um, just we're impacting, but definitely, definitely an exciting afternoon. 

[00:23:44] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It's an understatement. Well, you know, unfortunately, although there's much, much more, I'd like to cover and talk to you about. We didn't even get to the, you know, a lot of things I wanted to ask you, but we're about out of time for today.

[00:23:57] Chris: Steve, do you have any projects or causes or anything you'd like to highlight for the imposter syndrome network? Maybe something we've talked about or something we haven't. 

[00:24:03] Steve: You know, 

[00:24:03] Steve: one 

[00:24:04] Steve: of the things that I've gotten more into, I just talked about how I like, uh, I'm not super into necessarily the like management side, but, um, I think the mentorship side that we talked about, like that's, that's becoming more and more important to me as I like get further into this stage of my career.

[00:24:21] Steve: So. I really encourage people to like mentor junior people on your team and not just on like the technical stuff, but on like life stuff, I've had really interesting conversations about just compensation and like, you know, our, our, did you know that we have a 401k match? Like, you should take advantage of that.

[00:24:41] Steve: Like that's free money. Um, and some of these like, kind of things that might seem very obvious if you're a little further into your career, but, and can make it like a very. It's a really positive difference if you're early in your career, um, and you like start some of these compounding effects. Yeah, it's really interesting to me to just talk about some of the generational wealth shifts that have happened with the tech industry specifically, because I think the opportunities there, if you're willing to work really hard.

[00:25:08] Steve: Um, and so I think it's just really kind of the American dream, if you will, um, at the moment, at least, or, or it was our latest gold rush. Right. And I don't know what the new one is, but 

[00:25:20] Chris: yeah, yeah, right. Yeah, that's a very good question. I'd love to be able to put my finger on it. Some people say AI. Others are waiting for medical advances to kind of be the next thing.

[00:25:30] Chris: I mean, who knows? Right. It's also, but, but it definitely has been computers and networking up to this point. I think, I think for a while longer, um, we've, we've got some roadmap to, uh, to do some good work. And 

[00:25:38] Steve: I don't think, yeah, I don't think the run's over. I think just the word's out. Right. So there are more people trying to do it.

[00:25:45] Chris: Yeah, that makes total sense. Um, well, Steve, 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, uh, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on.

[00:26:04] Chris: But I do have one more question for you, Steve. I'd love to understand, or I'd love to know what you think kind of most valuable lesson you've learned in your career so far is if you can put a pin on it. 

[00:26:17] Steve: Uh, most valuable lesson. Um, I think for me, like be able to defend a decision with data, but recognize that people might have an emotional response to whatever thing you're recommending and like, try to be empathetic and understand what that, like where they're coming from with their response, because humans aren't rational ultimately.

[00:26:42] Steve: And so I think there's, you know, you could, You can be right and, and not get your way a lot of the time. Um, so I think being able to navigate that space is a real skill that'll, that'll help you in your career. 

[00:26:54] Chris: I think that's a huge one, especially for those of us who work in technology, you know, where, where, you know, a lot of us maybe, maybe working with humans isn't always the easiest thing, right?

[00:27:03] Chris: Working with machines has been a little bit easier, which may be why we fell into networking or, or storage or computer, whatever it is we work on kind of in the digital infrastructure space. I really liked that, right? Being able to have the data to back it up, but But understand that emotions are going to be at play probably.

[00:27:17] Chris: Yeah, 100%. Yeah. I like it. Well, Hey, thanks again. And, uh, we will be back next week.