Celebrating 100 Episodes of TechWiseTV

September 2, 2011 - 3 Comments

Five fiscal years ago, only 3 individuals remained as months of interviews and screen tests concluded.  None of us really knew what we were in for but it sounded interesting for sure.  I had been in the sales field originally hired as an account manager, survived the job cuts of 2000 by re-casting myself as a security expert and became the first Security PSS of the South.  I thought I was applying for a role in Cisco’s Speakers Bureau.

Felicia Ferrante

In August of 2006, Felicia Ferranti reached to introduce herself as the subject matter expert for our Unified Communications show.   Felicia had been killing it as a sales rep in Los Angeles and she fit the profile for what TechWiseTV was chartered with: To scale the best messaging on the broadest reach platform.

Our trio was rounded out by a non-Cisco engineer we had not met right away. We were already hearing rumbling of his expertise as you could tell even in the final interview rounds if someone had already talked to him…the questions got a lot harder.  We stole Jimmy Ray from HP where he was very well known as the engineer you wanted on your deals – did not matter what the tool or the technology was. He was (and is) the smartest, humblest, passionate SE you could find.

It was an incredibly confusing, tiring start to what is now, still tiring, but much more definable and certainly rewarding.  Many people played a part in the early years and remain rooted as lynch pins in our history.

Brad Murphy is still with us – he was on the team before there was even a show.  He was the only Cisco person on the team with any TV experience as he had worked with CiscoTV for a number of years.   Our executive sponsors – Rob Lloyd and Joseph Puthuserry had solid ideas that Brad had to convert into an actual series of shows.   He started interviewing production companies, setting a role description for what our SME roles became and helped hire Camp Creative, a San Francisco based creative agency that would oversee our multiple producers, writers, editors and so forth.  It seems like overkill today – but Camp was SO needed because we were SO green. Not only were we rank amateurs for doing production at the volume that was expected, our charter was very loose and we all had different ideas for how to do it.  Camp was our professional cat herder.

Jimmy Ray was a natural from the beginning making guest appearances on other shows we were working on.

Robb Boyd, Eric Cole, Jonas Tichenor

Too Cool

For the consistent and professional look of these early shows, Jonas Tichenor was hired as our host.  He was the only person with any TV experience that would be on camera and he was fantastic. Funny, quick learner and a fantastic energy – he helped set the slightly irreverent tone we still strive for today.

The first year was all about our silo’d shows, anchored by Jonas and driven by producers behind the scenes that would not let a deadline slip no matter what.  Our very first show for TechWiseTV kicked off with my security series, September 14, 2006 featuring security expert Eric Cole. Eric was on the first four security shows actually as he was our ringer – contracted prior to my being hired as everyone was nervous how these first shows would come together.  Felicia was building her own series of shows then with great help from Marlowe Fenne and Jimmy Ray was doing everything else with his series of routing and switching topics. We did not know each other then and we spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to turn out fresh content on a regular basis.  Great memories of producers that held our hand during these days include Josh Gingold, Rick Heeger, Jonathan Gruber, Jackie Markin, Richard Camp, John Summerlin and Harriet Evans-Lombe.

Harriet paints on the make-up

Top 10 Signs that you may have been watching too much TechWiseTV this year (from 2007):

10. You know the difference between a hacker and a cracker and feel confident that this is a great tidbit for cocktail party conversation
9. You’re amazed to find out spam is a food.
8. When asked about a bus schedule, you wonder if it is 16 or 32 bits.
7. Tech support refers their tough questions to you.
6. You find it difficult to communicate without a Whiteboard, tablet PC or Etch-a-sketch.
5. When you get in the elevator you double-click the button for the floor you want
4. If your answering machine says, ‘the kids are in bed and dinner is in the fridge’
3.  TechWiseTV host Jonas Tichenor is starting to sound like a Subject Matter Expert.
2. TechWiseTV Subject Matter Expert Robb Boyd is starting to sound like a host.
1. When you go into a computer store, you eavesdrop on a salesperson talking with customers and ‘you think: What would Jimmy Ray Do? So you butt in to correct him and spend the next twenty minutes answering the customers’ questions, while the salesperson stands by silently, nodding his head.

Valerie St. John

Great memories. Many people have moved on to other projects.  Valerie St. John took over as host for a transition period we went through as production costs had to be brought down. We made investments over time as we gained confidence in ourselves and eventually built our in-house team, which exists to this day.  Architectural hosts helped us make the right shows with Tina Shakour joining us as the first one as ‘Voice Chick’, Jennifer Geisler for Borderless and multiple Data Center specialists.

We were transitioned into a global role within Cisco over a year ago as we are now seen in as many as 47 countries averaging just under a 100,000 views per quarter.

Back when Jimmy Ray used to button his shirt...

Jimmy Ray and I continue to build ‘Technology you can Use from Geeks you can Trust’ handling all topics that come our way these days.  We are now producers ourselves, splitting our time between writing and proofing shows to recording them and guiding others – it truly is a dream job.  We have worked hard to keep it fresh and don’t want to waste this opportunity we have been given.

We rigged the numbers a bit so that we could record Episode 100 at CiscoLive in Vegas this 2011 season.  It seemed fitting as every year, this is THE event we have the most fun, meeting old friends face to face and talking to technology.   Hopefully this show never seems about the two of us however as we are simply two goobers trying to help as many Cisco experts tell their story as possible.

This seminal episode happened to coincide with Cisco Data Center success and the UCS turning 2 years old.  We thought that would be a fun topic and most fitting as we had chronicled the growth of Cisco’s success here across many episodes.

Thank you to all of those, mentioned or not here, for holding our hands and playing your part in making this show a success.   Most of all – thank you all for watching!   Without viewers, we have to find real jobs.

The anniversary show is embedded below.  Hope you enjoy it and the flashbacks to previous shows we put in the middle.

Child Prodigy.

Today we take in depth look at the incredible journey of the Cisco Unified Computing Platform.  This ground-breaking platform is just now celebrating its 2nd Birthday.  It was just two short years ago when Cisco revealed that it was getting into the server business, not to play on the same terms as defined by an already mature industry…but to say, ‘there is a better way.’  The unique proposition that this was more than a platform but an infrastructure that adapts to the applications fusing network in compute functions…well, this is hard to wrap your head around. Customers have applauded the incredible leaps in productivity with this innovation both matching and now leading the successful acceleration of a fully virtualized enterprise. Over 40 awards at last count and this 2 year old has the remaining two 20-Something vendors looking nervous. But this is not about servers…thats just one of many successful innovations that have characterized Cisco’s Data Center technologies and we were fortunate to have a TechWiseTV show illustrating it every step of the way. Today’s show, from CiscoLive in Las Vegas appropriately enough, marks our 100th episode.

So as we raise our glass and sing various combinations of Happy Birthday UCS and Happy Anniversary to the TechWiseTV geeks…we also look forward because this is only just the beginning.

What can you look forward to on this one?

  • Soni Jiandani joins our Data Center host, Anne Plese as they look at the incredible history of the platform, the crazy ideas that were ridiculed by the market, the overwhelming desire to say ‘I told you so’ and of course, what we can expect next.
  • Jeff Silberman joins Jimmy Ray as they tackle each and every myth still being attempted by our competitors.  This is a ‘must see segment’ for you competitive types…just take your notes and don’t share this video with your customer
  • Anne Plese illustrates the ingenuity behind ‘FlexPod’ as our ever growing eco-system brings us new new turn key, base configuration from NetApp, Vmware and Cisco
  • John McDonough shows Jimmy Ray how simple, open and mature the API model has become.  Anyone, from an administrator or a 3rd party developer has the same level of access to every object in the UCS as Cisco’s own developers.

Stepping even further outside the Cisco bubble, we chat with NetOptics and take a look at their Phantom Virtual Taps for kernel level visibility into the hypervisor as part of Feedback Loop.

Thank you for watching!

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  1. congratulation for the great success

  2. congratulations for this success

  3. Many congratulations on the completion of 100 episodes of techwise tv. I wish all you guys best of luck and expect more quality interviews and tutorials in the future.