Complexity Sells

9 July 2018 | Comments Off on Complexity Sells

According to Roman philosophers, simplicity is the hallmark of truth. And yet, networks have become ever more complex over time. Why is this? Because complexity sells. In this short take, I talk about why complexity sells, and some of the mental habits you can use to overcome our natural tendency to prefer the complex.

Growing and Selling

4 December 2017 | Comments Off on Growing and Selling

A lot of people say just to save money, and watch it grow. There is more to life than just growing, though—you need to figure out what to sell, as well.

Learning to Ask Questions

13 November 2017 | Comments Off on Learning to Ask Questions

One thing I’m often asked in email and in person is: why should I bother learning theory? After all, you don’t install SPF in your network; you install a router or switch, which you then configure OSPF or IS-IS on. The SPF algorithm is not exposed to the user, and does not seem to really…

The Perfect and the Good

27 February 2017 | Comments Off on The Perfect and the Good

[time-span] Perfect and good: one is just an extension of the other, right? When I was 16 (a long, long, long time ago), I was destined to be a great graphis—a designer and/or illustrator of some note. Things didn’t turn out that way, of course, but the why is a tale for another day. At…

Metacognitive

15 February 2017 |

If I could choose just a handful of skills you must learn to be a successful engineer, being metacognitive would certainly be among them. What is metacognition? OOne of my favorite books on the virtue ethic applied to mental skills defines it thus— Metacognitive people are concerned not just with what they need to know…

Being an Effective Interviewer

27 September 2016 |

One challenging aspect of being an engineer is interviewing other engineers. The interview process is rife with various problems, including the discomfort of interviewing someone who you perceive as being a better engineer than you are, or figuring out how to draw out actual engineering skill versus simply finding out how much someone has memorized.…

Self-Improvement Through Time Travel

17 August 2016 | Comments Off on Self-Improvement Through Time Travel

There are some days I wish I could travel back in time and “fix” the time I wasted through an hour, a day, or a week working on something that really wasn’t worth my time, or just wandering through links on the Internet, looking at things I don’t really (ultimately) care about. My time management…

New Ways of Thinking

27 April 2016 |

Rule 11 definitely applies to most new technology that’s being hyped (and overhyped) in the networking world. But while some things stay the same, others actually do change. From one of my readers— Much of the current “trends” in networking are largely just new marketing-speak on old concepts, but some (I’ll propose) are actually new,…

DoS’ing your mind: Controlling information inflow

7 March 2016 | Comments Off on DoS’ing your mind: Controlling information inflow

Everyone wants your attention. No, seriously, they do. We’ve gone from a world where there were lots of readers and not much content, to a world where there is lots of content, and not many readers. There’s the latest game over here, the latest way to “get 20,000 readers,” over there, the way to “retire…

Think visually: How graphics skills help engineers

4 January 2016 |

Among all the skills I hear network engineers talk about, two that are often underrated are writing skills and graphics skills. There is some small slice of the networking world that is serious about writing (though I often think we make too big of a production out of writing, getting wrapped around tools and process…