Category Archives: About Chuq

Come join us at Cisco Live

I need to apologize for the extended quiet here on the blog. No time or brain cells to write, and  I finally hauled myself out and fired up the cameras for the first time in six weeks on Sunday, but I haven’t yet had time to process them….

l’ve been busy getting going at Cisco and with the planning for Cisco Live (my high water mark happened today with two Webex meetings on two devices and five simultaneous chat sessions on various things). In any event, I’ll be manning the DevNet zone with the team at Cisco Live next week, so if you’re going to be there, wander by the DevNet Zone and say hi. If you’re in the area and curious about what all of this is, you can visit us with the $49 Explorer Pass so you don’t need the full membership.

What’s DevNet Zone? DevNet is a new developer community for Cisco technologies, and the DevNet Zone is where developers can come and learn more about what’s going on — it’s a little developer’s conference within Cisco Live, taking up a big chunk of Moscone West. You can find out more about the Zone and how to attend on this page. One neat feature is we’re going to be doing a 24 hour hackathon during the conference with some really nice prizes, and I believe there are still seats open.

Normal chaos will resume here on the blog soon after the conference (I hope), although the week after that Laurie’s headed off for her post-semester trip to Reno and Lee Vining, and she gets back just in time for me to head off to my long-threatened trip to Yellowstone the first week of June; the hotels are books, the time is reserved, and I’m more than ready.

I’m having fun at Cisco — this is “good busy” — and I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to the Zone next week. We’re already taking a few notes on things we can do (more! better!) at future events. For now, the focus of everyone is making sure this one goes well and everyone goes home ready and motivated to do great things with us…

So sorry, and I’ll surface soon.

First week done at Cisco….

One week in at Cisco. The week started with with “hi, here’s your office, here’s your computer, we’re late for a meeting”, and never really slowed down. Nobody’s wandered into my office and yelled “you’re a fraud!” in my face, and that’s a good start.

Seriously, I’m stepping in one month out form a major event (CiscoLive!) where we’re rolling out some big, new things (DevNet Zone at CiscoLive!) and there’s an incredible amount of stuff we need to get done before that happens.

I did get my badge (although I didn’t have time until Tuesday morning) and I have filled out my papers so I’m official and enrolled in all of the things I need to be enrolled in, but so far, it’s been a fascinating and non-stop whirl of figuring out who people are and where they are (much of our team is remote, and I started the week talking to Birmingham england and Austin and ended it in a discussion with Shanghai) and man, I’m really enjoying being back in a distributed team situation, although I need a bit of breathing time to get the home office going this weekend and get the home office gear ordered.

It is going to be a busy few weeks as we roll into CiscoLive!, and if you’re going to be there, please try to come visit at the DevNet Zone and say hi. Not sure how many brain cells I’m going to spare to blog, but we’ll see.

And about all I can really say at this point after one week is that I’m having a ball, and that I feel like I made the right choice, and this is going to be a hell of a ride.

And not boring.


Back at it….

The Interregnum is complete, and by the time you read this I should be back at it and under the yoke of employment. As much as I enjoyed Infoblox and intended to stay there, I’m looking forward to this next round. I’m at the point in life where I can look at it and think ‘maybe this will be my last kick at the can’ and if so, I hope I can make a difference.

And that’s why I jumped at this one. A few times in your life, if you’re lucky, you have an opportunity to ‘move the needle’ — my last project at Apple was like that, where my team built something that allowed them to completely redefine how they interacted with customers and did marketing using online systems instead of paper and the U.S. mail. By the time I left we were estimating that the revenue being generated out of that system was around $100 million a year — at least. One special project I did took two weeks to build and pulled eight million in costs out of the company the first year. Another took about four hours and made the entire “buy the album and get early access to tickets for the concert tour” possible, back at a time when they were still trying to make iTunes relevant.

Same reason for going to Palm — we had an opportunity to reshape not just the smartphone world (which, at the time, was iPhone and rumors of Android and a bunch of folks figuring out how to fight back against Apple) but mobile computing. As it was, Palm took the opportunity and fumbled it, then kicked it into a storm drain and skinned their knee trying to get it back — but it was still worth the try. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you get sold to HP, and then sold again, and.. But having said that, if you see what’s starting to show up out of the ashes in LG, there’s some really nice technology appearing that looks to be both good and viable driving TVs, which is a new and interesting emerging market, and I’m damned proud of the ones who were willing to stick with it and make that happen, and that shows that what we did at Palm wasn’t completely wasted.

This new gig has that same feel to me; an opportunity to help reshape how a big company does a part of the business that is going to be significant moving forward. I might be wrong, I might be right. We won’t know until I’m far down the path. It’s a much bigger thing for me than I’ve done in the community management universe — the scale is what attracted me and what may well be my biggest risk at failure. This is definitely a stretch job for me but one I’m really chomping to get at, not worried about doing. It’s going to be a distributed team, and I’m looking forward to that again, and hoping some of what I learned at Palm about that will help. It’s clearly the biggest challenge for me personally since I left Apple.

Heading into the time off I did what I normally do, which is build up a schedule way too full of stuff I want to do. When I got back from Yosemite I realized what I really needed to do was back off and unplug and unwind so instead of running around the bay area playing tourist, I caught up on some reading, I hauled my Elder Scrolls Online character to level 15, and I slept, and I finally started digging into the long-on-hold garage project, where about a year ago I started rebuilding the shop, and then stopped, and never got it started again. The reality is I have at least a dozen other projects where the first step is “I can’t really move forward without getting the garage straightened out”, so I realized I really needed to spend time on that. A few hours here and a few hours there, and most of the crap piled up into the “I need to deal with this” pile is now dealt with and I finally have the space where the shop is supposed to be cleared and started forming it. Probably the best use of my time, in reality.

These times are also good times to make changes to habits, because your habits are disrupted anyway, so I’ve been tweaking the diet and meals to try to shift things so it’s lower in carbs and higher in protein — which sounds like a simple task until you actually try it and want it to carry forward longer than a week or so. No idea if it’ll stick, but we’ll see.

I expect to continue not to talk much about the work side of life here; there’s very little upside and way too many risks to make it worth doing. Remember, kids, those “I am not a spokesman for….” disclaimers may make you feel better, but they’re ultimately worthless the first time some troll with an axe to grind chooses to chase your words.

So, onward in the new regime. Great hopes, great expectations, and no guarantees, but then, that’s life, right? And part of what makes it so much fun, because if you aren’t always reaching for the next brass ring, why bother get on the carousel?

See you on the other side….