Meet Stephen Speirs: Data Center and Cloud Blogger Expert
Based in the Glasgow Cisco Scotland office, Stephen is a distinguished blogger from the Data Center and Cloud team in Cisco Services. Stephen joined Cisco in the year 2000 via the Atlantech Technologies acquisition and was Senior Manager within Product Management in Cisco’s Network Management R&D team, and he focused on IP/MPLS service provider network management.
During this time, he brought to market the unique Cisco MPLS Diagnostics Expert product, taking it from (literally) a corridor conversation through definition to launch, and on to win multiple industry awards. He has over 20 years of industry experience in IT, Data Center, and Service Provider Network Management which he shares with the world through his writing. By keeping customers’ new technology adoption challenges at the forefront of his mind and weaving novelty into his blogging best practices, Stephen has gained the popularity of many of his readers and established himself as a role model for many other Cisco bloggers.
Stephen’s Customer-Centric Vision
Blogging is no one-way conversation for Stephen. He has the customer in mind at all times and is always conscious of their careabouts. Prior to writing, he interviews customers and partners to better understand their viewpoints and present a more well-rounded perspective.
For one of his creative ideas, Stephen posted a poll on the Data Center Facebook page, asking customers, “What is your biggest challenge in taking an ‘architectural-led’ approach to your data center design?” Based on the feedback he received from voters, Stephen wrote a blog post analyzing results and showing how Cisco Services offerings can help customers’ challenges. Additionally, Stephen has been using the poll conclusions as feedback into new services development activities to ensure the company’s service offerings are best positioned and described via collateral to address such customer problems. After posting blog articles, he welcomes feedback and responds promptly to both positive and negative comments.
Integrating Innovation into His Practice of Blogging
In terms of using avant-garde techniques, Stephen enjoys experimenting with video and live blogging from events. During the Gartner Data Center Conference in London, Stephen posted a 4-part blog about his experience which sparked the interest of thousands of readers who followed him throughout his journey. Besides incorporating humor and a casual tone, he used videos to help highlight some of the key moments and partner activities from the conference as well.
By leveraging his extensive knowledge of new and existing services as well as his relationships with Cisco Services solutions architects who consult with customers on-site, this SME maintains a constant influx of novel ideas to write about which keeps readers on their toes. His creative, unique practices include interconnecting blog posts and craftily building on previous thoughts with his newer articles as well as drawing parallels between his expertise and interesting topics that are seemingly uncorrelated. Although his subject matter is very technical, Stephen writes in a way that is easily comprehended by even the most non-technical layperson.
Social Media Tip from Stephen“It’s really key to break blogs into smaller “chunks”. Everyone should be able to find 5 minutes in a day (usually at the end of the day or in the evening for me) to write down a few bullet points on a subject. Do this 4 or so times, and you have a blog outline that is much easier to convert into a polished article.”
Learn more about Stephen and his social media work:
- Stephen’s personal Twitter handle
- Stephen’s Cisco Cloud Computing Blog entries (public Cisco.com blog)
- Stephen’s personal LinkedIn page
“Meet Our SMEs” is a new blog series designed to acquaint you with some of our behind-the-scenes Cisco SMEs (subject matter experts) who have gone above and beyond to integrate social media into their day job. In addition to introducing you to their background and areas of expertise, we have highlighted some of their social media achievements and best practices. We hope you find these SMEs’ stories interesting and possibly even applicable to enhancing your own social media practice