Cisco Blogs
Share

Black Sheep to Making ‘Millions’


July 9, 2018 - 2 Comments

Recently, I became a millionaire!

Well, technically I’m a millionaire, even though my bank account may reflect otherwise.

During a recent conference where I was talking about blockchain technology, I created a blockchain based crypto token in one of my DevNet speaking sessions and instantly made my “fortune”! DevNet is Cisco’s developer focused community with strong developer advocacy, where software, integration and APIs are key to making programmable networks and, of course, better applications as a result.

For anyone new to this technology, a blockchain is essentially, well, a database – but one that does not need a central owner and that anyone can write to and read from, knowing that the transactions are valid, but not have to trust any other users of the database. It’s great for anyone wanting to pass crypto money peer-to-peer or change assets between each other, as well as store application code and have others execute it for them!

So, I’m a millionaire in a token worth absolutely nothing. But, it was a fun way to explain to the conference attendees how Cisco is helping to innovate on this technology and how they could use it, too.

“Hold on!” I hear you say. “Cisco is talking about blockchain?” Correct! Cisco is continuously innovating with new technologies, especially now, as we move to a more software focused company.

Pushing the boundaries of technology is how we innovate, and how I’m empowered to bring my unique skills to Cisco using a combination of the following:

1. Calculated Risk – When I first joined Cisco, I thought I’d be something of a “black sheep” in the organization. I had a heavy software, API, and orchestration consultancy background across a number of startups and scale outs. At this time, Cisco was just beginning a transformation from network and hardware to include a more software and API-centric world.

A few friends had recommended Cisco as a place to work and I became intrigued when I learned more about their move to software-centricity. I took the plunge and joined the tech sales organization as one of a few that would be focused on software and service automation solutions globally.

No lie, for a while I had to explain what my expertise was as much internally as I did externally. Thanks to my calculated risk, and Cisco taking a calculated risk on me while undertaking a major change to their business, that’s all changed.

2.Use Your Passion – I’m passionate about strategic technologies and building mindshare around them. I love educating others and sharing ideas on what can be achieved when working with a given technology.

In that first role at Cisco, I’d often come across new methodologies and technologies I’d want to investigate or that would excite me as I thought about the possibilities for our customers, if they were to embrace them. They were the type of technologies that could spur huge industry change – like blockchain. My passions got others to be passionate about the same things.

As such, I’ve been able to write articles along the way to share my knowledge and educate others on adoption and architecture. I’ve also been invited to speak at a number of internal and external community events, as well as represent Cisco at government kickstarters and industry board work in the UK on the subject.

Within Cisco that has also led to some amazing strategic work with our customers and partners, where I will continue to have the privilege to work alongside some of the most knowledgeable and inspirational speakers in the industry.

3.Play To Your Strengths – After a chance conversation, I was introduced to the small but growing DevNet Team.

Not being able to resist my love for software and DevNet’s natural affinity to some of the latest technologies and trends, I joined DevNet to lead DevNet Sandbox, a global cloud platform that provides on-demand development labs for absolutely anyone at all – at no cost. It is designed to be easy to access, easy to design and develop new solutions on, and reserveable and accessible within seconds – in short, to make innovation easy for our fast growing DevNet community.

The Sandbox Team even won a Cisco Pioneer Award for the platform and innovation this year. It’s an achievement that I am immensely proud of the team for accomplishing together. Recognition is part of our culture at Cisco, and it shines through.

4.A Healthy Balance – Does this sound like all work and no play? It’s quite the opposite as some of my best, strategic thoughts and ideas hit me when I’m doing anything but working. Time away from the screen is so important for creativity and that blends nicely with the ‘work-life integration’ options I have open to me here at Cisco.

I often participate in Tough Mudder and Total Warrior type events that are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging obstacle courses. Usually, they’re in different parts of the world and it’s great to have the flexibility in my work to fire over to them and take some time away from the office. More often than not, I come back with some great ideas for platform strategy or team work that arrived in my head as I pulled myself through meters of thick mud.

It’s is a good analogy of life, too! One of the ideas I had at such a moment included helping people understand blockchain technology and development in taking them through the process of creating their own tokens – from chains to tools to tokens in an hour! It’s proved pretty successful and we’re also offering a blockchain sandbox to help out further now, too!

It’s great to be able to innovate every day at Cisco, to be encouraged to share my passions and ideas with others, work with an amazing team, form part of a fantastically open-minded and innovative group, and make a difference across different industries and communities around the latest technologies…and embrace and evangelize the next big thing to come our way in this world.

That’s a good day’s work for this token blockchain millionaire! 😉

 

Want to work at a company that encourages you to pursue your passions? We’re hiring! Apply now.

 

Want to make yourself a crypto token millionaire? I suggest familiarizing yourself with some common blockchain tools or buy DevNetCoin to learn the mechanisms of transacting on a blockchain (no real money required!). Visit DevNetCoin or DevNet to get started or to learn more about NetDevOps, Net Programmability, Blockchain and more.

Reach Tom on Twitter or LinkedIn to talk Blockchain, Serverless, NetDevOps and anything else that might just change the way the world works!



In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.

2 Comments

  1. Awesome! Can’t wait to see your shiny new Crypto Lambo :)

  2. Excellent points on a balanced perspective when it comes to the accelerated pace and momentum of emerging technologies, particularly cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. DevNet should be a good place to sharpen those skills first.