When I started my career, I worked hard to make sure my bosses liked me and didn’t want to fire me.

I remember working late to take a conference call with Asia so they would see I was dedicated even though I really had no purpose to be on the call. I remember working through lunch and into the night to put finishing touches on work I hoped would be exactly what they wanted. I remember not arguing or pushing back because I was the employee and they were the boss.

Almost everyone can recall a time that they went…

In Enterprise IT, we spend a significant portion of our budget and resources managing end user devices and restricting behavior — time and money that would be better used to improve the business.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and we’re trending toward a future that allows our efforts and costs to be focused on supporting the business instead of locking it down.

What we’ll see in the next five years:

  • Laptops go BYO — Smartphones have paved the way. In the last 10 years smartphones have gone from an executive perk to ubiquitous. Laptops are following suit. The price of a robust laptop, Mac or Windows…

I’ve spent my career “knowing” that Cisco was the company to provide enterprise tech. I trusted that Cisco was the leader for network.

Over time, the combination of multiple acquisitions and problems with siloed product teams led to my frustration with the output of Cisco’s tech.

When I look from the outside in, I see the functionality I want to deliver a robust end user experience with simple management from a cloud platform. Unfortunately, today it’s in multiple products in overlapping business lines.

Could you put them together for me?

I need cloud delivered, cloud managed, complete network and collaboration…

Each day at work, I talk with my team about how to automate tasks to make life easier and more consistent. These are good conversations and often lead us to think more about what we’re doing in general. They make us think about the “why” of what we are doing, and not just the “how”.

The news is full of people talking about AI, automation, and how the world is changing. It’s a fun and interesting set of thoughts that feels very much like the future. …

Photo: Alex Proimos

It’s Wednesday and today is going to be full of meetings. It starts with a staff meeting, then four suppliers are in to talk about how they can solve our problems.

I’m looking forward to one of these meetings specifically. CoolTech (name changed) has been in the press recently, and I’ve read a lot about them. Their solutions seems perfect for us. Meeting time comes, and Hank, their sales guy, joins us on the WebEx.

Hank asks us to tell him about our company and goals. I’m used to this question and have a 3 minute summary to get suppliers…

It’s Thursday. I have my typical morning meetings, take a few phone calls, and check in with the team. A colleague walks in and starts a discussion on some strategic decisions.

My phone rings. I glance down to see if I need to take it. A random call from Utah, probably nothing. (I live and work in Oklahoma) I hit ‘ignore’.

Three minutes later, another call, another glance. Utah again. Ignore. That seems reasonable. They tried once, and then realized they needed to call again to leave a voicemail. Phone rings again. Utah. What is wrong? I wonder if this…

I think infrastructure teams get an unfair reputation for creating roadblocks to the business and Dev teams. It’s overheard in corporate hallways too often that the infrastructure team is “too slow, too unresponsive, too unwilling to help”.

However, when I talk to almost any infrastructure pro they tell me that they are focused on stability and delivery. They don’t want to be yelled at when the internet is down. They strive to have robust architecture that moves 100% of packets perfectly and provides 100% server uptime.

They take the job seriously, and sometimes it takes their time away from building…

I’ve managed many tech pros over the years, and have had a number of conversations with them about their careers and where they want to grow. Early in my career, I pushed them towards management. I said things like “management is where you’ll make the most money” and was confused by the looks of dread they gave me.

Why wouldn’t they want to be a manager?

Over time I learned there are a couple of reasons.

People usually go into tech because they like technology. As a manager, their focus shifts to dealing with people and administrative work which pulls…

The last few years have seen some important changes at Microsoft.

Every senior leader has been replaced. Satya Nadella has an entirely different bench than Ballmer had only a few years ago. (Updated based on the departure of Kevin Turner.)

Microsoft embraced the cloud. They invested billions of dollars into cloud data centers to support Azure and Office 365 and have indicated they will continue to do so.

Most important, though, is the philosophy change to adopt and enable technology from third-parties and the open source community.

You can run Oracle and Linux in Azure. I have a sticker from…

(Forward this to your boss)

I have managed tech pros for almost 20 years, and still have so much to learn. Everyday, I feel like I fall short of what I want to be as a manager. However, I work on it constantly and hopefully it shows to the members of my current team.

I have the privilege of managing a group of intelligent, capable, and resourceful tech pros. They teach me constantly. They challenge me constantly. They give me the opportunity to be a better manager. So I owe it to them to continue to work on myself.


Jarin Dykstra

Champion of tech pros. Cloud tech enthusiast. Go ☁ http:\\jarin.dykstra.io

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