Change is the only constant

Just wrapping up 4 weeks of taping shows in California.  It feels like the end of quarter rush is forcing a predictable cadence on us. We started the quarter (August) feeling a bit uncomfortable about how much taping we were NOT doing.  A perfect rhythm, something to strive for, is 3 parts research and prep with 1 part production....repeat.  This forced us into swapping those and having to get good at fast, overlapped planning. 

This last run started with a huge live audience show at the end of September (our second one ever).  Eugene and the Data Center came through again as these are a lot of work and a bit more expensive than a normal show.   We even doubled the room size and took on two big launches: ACI Anywhere and UCS Starship...which is now 'Intersight.'  

Polkageist joins us on stage for the closing

Polkageist joins us on stage for the closing

I had one week back at home to try and maintain a normal family live...complete with 3 Hebron High School Theatre performances with Zoe in 'Madea.'  Our volunteering life has gotten busier as we try to stay involved with the booster club so that required 3 evenings of enjoyable 'parenting stuff.'  

Hebron High school theatre final night

Hebron High school theatre final night

Monday, a rare day home during a taping week, included TWO meetings at the high school with the PTSA/Sophmore parents and, booster club, of course.  Tuesday morning was off on the normal American Airlines commuter flight to San Jose.

Wednesday, Oct 4 had two green screen tapings on schedule with Jack Chavez producing.  These were going to be simple, animated pieces in support of some recent findings supporting our competitive positioning in a Miercom report.  'Operational Insights and Resilience.' 

My body double getting prepped by Jack chavez

My body double getting prepped by Jack chavez

Effects shot in progress

Effects shot in progress

Thursday, October 5, was our Services Launch recording.  We got involved with this one late, Yaniv had noticed we had nothing planned for it and although we were already 'booked' for the rest of the quarter, we were asked to squeeze this in.  I am glad we did.  Despite the lack of script feedback during the planning process, we got to do the show with Joe Pinto (VP of Technical Services) and Bryan Palma (VP of Advanced Services).  Both were great fun to work with and brought some energy to a topic that is always hard for us to cover on TechWiseTV.  

Bryan palma explaining Advanced services

Bryan palma explaining Advanced services

 

Big Organization Changes Announced

Flew back out to San Jose on Monday, Oct 9, (Columbus Day) so that we could tape TWTV219 the Cisco ONE DNA Licensing Show.  This one had been plagued by strange, non-existent feedback in the week leading up to the taping...and then over the weekend, we were told that Pankaj Gupta would not be with us on our taping date...so we scrambled to re-assemble the show that was still taping on Tuesday, but would only have one guest.  Our plan at that point was to re-tape with Pankaj in 2 weeks...forcing yet another trip to San Jose for me at the very least.  As it turns out...Pankaj was one of the 60 people getting laid off of marketing (as I understand it).  We had an emergency org meeting with our boss, Yaniv on Tuesday and we learned that we would be all moving into the Corporate Strategy and Brand team.  We would be doing this without our manager as he was (choosing) to leave. 

Wednesday was our taping for TWTV220, Encrypted Traffic Analytics.   I had been looking forward to this show, not just for the topic but for the enjoyment of planning it with TK Keanini.  He was the CTO of Lancope which Cisco acquired a few years back and he is a smart, passionate, great leader to work with. He got us everything we needed quickly, communicated in advance of the shoot, etc.  I hate to admit how rare that can be...or at least how rare it was for these few busy weeks.  

TK Keanini explains the origins of Cisco's encrypted threat analytics

TK Keanini explains the origins of Cisco's encrypted threat analytics

Thursday, Oct 12 was spent with Jack Chavez in a green screen shoot again on the subject of Operational Insights.  Back home on Friday for the weekend...

Back out to San Jose, Oct 16 for what was finally the final stretch of these last few taping weeks.  

Lauren has been leading the writing of these last few shows....but there has not been much to work with.  We had Hank Preston as our primary guest on one show: 'TWTV222 NetDevOps' so I was not too worried. First, I had to get through a small presentation of 'Unscripted'...as I was hosting our 2nd episode, a live interview with Joseph from Avanade on the 17th.  I had mistakenly scheduled that for the same date and time as the 'live stream' of the services launch show (the one we taped a few weeks back...read above).  I was not really needed for that so time was OK I guess...but I was conflicted about tweeting heavily to ask for attendance of one show vs the other.   Either way, the interview with Joseph went really well.  

The day was not over...it was still morning and i had get over to building 8 to work with producer Christian as requested by his stakeholder, Ken Spears.  Ken had wanted a short set of videos where I thought I would be hosting UCS engineers...but I found out at the last moment that they were looking for sound-bites on green screen.  So I just hung out in the control room and let Ken ask all the questions (it is amazing how tired that can be)...and I listed to hear what kind of content they were going for (since I had not heard any details from Ken until the night before).  I was waiting to do opens and closes only...but by the time they finished up...Ken was tired and nobody had written any scripts yet...so I let Ken know that I was in studio for two more days...if he wanted to take a break, write some drafts up, that would give him time to think and me time to re-edit before recording....we finally recorded them in the TechWiseTV studio (four opens and four closes) on Thursday morning.  All good. 

UCS Engineer getting touched up before finishing up his soundbites

UCS Engineer getting touched up before finishing up his soundbites

For Wednesday, Hank was really great to work with.  We had him both with me for one segment and another with Lauren.  He lead the energy, took direction and overall, just nailed it.  We are still trying to get our developer series going...this would be one of more we hope to do, directly with Hank, where possible.  But we also had a show that was even less planned to tape the next day, Oct 18.  

Hank preston going through his netdevops demo with lauren Malhoit

Hank preston going through his netdevops demo with lauren Malhoit

TWTV223 DevNet Fast Lane Validation was our next in the developer series focused on things that I had covered with Jerome Henry awhile back (TWTV205) concerning our partnership with Apple and what it yielded for their devices when on a Cisco network.  So I wrote a set up for that (the same morning) and after we recorded with Tom Greer and had Ashtuoush in the lab with Lauren...we pushed ourselves to get the slightly more complicated open to the show completed before we broke the whole crew for lunch...and actually for the whole day.  It went well, and I like what we got. 

Tom Greer and I getting read to do a lounge segment...I decided no red couch for this one

Tom Greer and I getting read to do a lounge segment...I decided no red couch for this one

Ashtuoush Malegaonkar and Lauren as seen from the control room 

Ashtuoush Malegaonkar and Lauren as seen from the control room 

 

 

 

Bryan Cranston and Cisco Live 2017

Julie getting ready for the Keynote

I actually did not go that long..although it always seems to feel like that in Vegas.  I don't know how many of these I have been to now but it seems like such an important part of my year that I would be somewhat lost without it.  I love the live broadcasting we get to do from the show floor. I miss doing many of the deep-dives we used to do as part of TechWiseTV but now I feel like I am much more a part of the event.  It's a reunion of sorts as well as this is one of the few times I get to meet so many great geeks.  

The Bryan Cranston interview at the very end was certainly a highlight.   The closing keynote turned out to be a kind of fireside chat that he did with Chuck Robbins on stage.  Chuck did really well...it was informal, entertaining and did not feel scripted....which I love...but that was my angle!  I had to rush over from the studio and come up from backstage to try and pay attention to the content because now I feared that I would have nothing fresh to ask him about. Chuck asked great questions and I was scratching things off my list as ideas almost as fast as I added them.  You watch and see how I did:

As I had hoped, Bryan turned out to be an extremely down to earth guy...or in fairness perhaps...his role that day as a famous actor acting like a down to earth guy on a corporate gig...was spot on.  Either way, you can tell that he cares very much about his craft and appreciates the gifts he has been given. It felt like he was working hard to make me comfortable in my role....which I appreciate...and then worry that I was giving off a 'I need help vibe.'  Either way....I remain a big fan. I did not finish his book until a few days after this interview...but I recommend it.  He has a great writing voice and shares some great stories from his humble beginnings. 

The crew was largely the same this year...and we always feel like we fought a war by the time we finish.  The breakneck pace of doing a non-stop stream on facebook, youtube and cisco.com among a few others really kept us busy.  

Too Much Talent?

I really thought we had too many on-camera hosts this year...there were five of us including Steve Multer (the only outsider of the group....who has been working with Cisco longer than I have however), James Bedford, Shari Slate and for the first time, Lauren Malhoit.  Working with Lauren was bitter sweet.  She is our new host on TechWiseTV with me and as such I knew she could handle this quite well...but her role this year only came at the last moment as Cisco let Shraddha Chaplot go.  That was a huge bummer. Shraddha is great people and I really hope she lands on her feet and can show Cisco what they missed by letting her go. We needed every host at almost every minute due to the 'innovation talks' that were being done this year.   '

Innovation Talks

The Cisco Live team is always pushing for more and better...which I love...and this was a nice staging area not too far from the broadcast studio.  The ideas was that executives and such would be giving TedTalk style pitches that were limited to 30 minutes. These would start at the top of each hour.  The cool thing about this is that we would be doing live shows/updates between these times so we were handing off to that room from the live broadcast, (continuous show to the audience of course).  The challenge was that most presenters were ending their talk much earlier than 30 minutes...and we had to fill time almost every hour...which really added up.  I think the fatal error was that the room they were in felt very disconnected from the broadcast...there was nothing in there that indicated they were live with our thousands of viewers and so to them...their audience was small and maybe not that energetic...they would just end...no concept of the fact that the story was continuing.  It would have helped a lot if the live broadcast was playing in that room at a minimum...then they could see our set up and hand-off...plus their room would not be so quiet and boring between presenters. 

Filling Time with a Backstage Tour

As one example of trying to fill time...I was sitting in the back of our broadcast area and did get about 10 minutes notice...the issue was that James Bedford was on stage and they were still waiting for his guest to show up.  We needed to fill time and do it away from the stage so the crew could get the new guests mic'd up and ready to go.   Now you know what was happening...here is what it looked like as I made stuff up.

HyperFlex Celebration - LIVE

We pulled off our first TechWiseTV LIVE AUDIENCE format for the HyperFlex launch complete with a live band, and 4 simultaneous media streams on YouTube, Facebook, Cisco.com homepage plus our own registered site. We hit a number of records with this both for ourselves and for Cisco. 

We set out to drive a fun experience for our audience and to tell a simple story around the success of HyperFlex. We had the opportunity to do this with customers sharing their stories, CTO of Citrix, our engineering teams, live demos and an energetic audience of at least 200 people.

Watch the show now: http://bit.ly/techwisetvLIVE

As with all TechWiseTV shows, our objective was to both entertain and educate with a tone that implied we were talking amongst our peers.  This show needed to resonate with a broader audience however and be compelling to the c-suite as well.  

To make it interactive, we built much of the show around actual customer stories that we could then use as a base for showcasing a ‘how’d they do that’ point in our lab set.  We would go out to the audience, engage, and then send a key point back up to the demo team.  

Our third trip out was to engage with Christian Reilly, CTO of Citrix.  As planned, he started answering his question from his seat but asked if he could just jump up on stage and use our whiteboard to explain further.   This allowed more surprises for the audience who never had to feel like they were settling in for a long corporate droning. 

We teased some third-party testing numbers up top and finally revealed at the end showing proven architectural value for how our definition of simplicity affects anyone’s bottom line.  The bulk of the show was built around some carefully crafted live whiteboard and animation. Our goal was to show simplicity through automation on a cluster install, the logical beauty of the Unified Computing System as well as the short and long term benefits of a purpose built, log-based file system. 

Liz Centoni covered how the need for simplicity has lead Hyperconvergence to become such a hot market opportunity. Kastoubh Das (KD) revealed the four foundational pillars for Cisco HyperFlex and introduced the all new flash arrays, 40GB networking integration and the new HTML5 interface.

Big Thank you to...

First, Eugene Kim for his leadership of this launch. Robb Boyd for being the driving force behind the show. Our new and talented TechWiseTV co-host, Lauren Malhoit who made an outstanding debut and Chris Nichols, the storage specialized, white-boarding powerhouse.  Liz Centoni put in the right messaging foundation at the top of the show and Kaustubh Das (KD) came in with several technical beats that tied it all together. Big thanks to the faith and perseverance of Justyna Przygoda and Francoise Rees for working through the creative, the timing and logistics with customers. Vicky Arafa and Dan Pavlik from CiscoTV operating like a well-trained orchestra through all the cues and steps needed to pull it off.  Chris Winger’s streaming expertise on the social media outlets.  Sara Miller and Tawni Unite for their expertise in getting us on the new Eloquoa registration system, promo integration and of course the live Q&A. Gary Serda and Lisa Vera for coordination with customers and partners to fill the room and tell their stories. And to the social media team for driving engagements and amplification with our audience.

Tetration Analytics - Ep 200

Amazing and ambitious technology debut featured in this show.  This first iteration of technology is a hardware based solution made up of a very full rack of UCS servers offering a DVR for the Data Center.  The first real time monitoring and playback of any flow anywhere in the data center.  I am hoping we continue to bring this technology down market...ideally making it some kind of 'software as a service' since it seems quite valuable for just about anyone trying to grapple with how fast things are moving these days.  

Digital Transformation

This project was a one-off that was originally going to be an internal video explaining part of Cisco's digital transformation story to a broad base of employees.  It was all scripted quite fast as we developed visuals within just a few days. Not my preferred way to work but I was pleased with the balance of rushing it and maintaining a low budget.  Much credit to Dave Isaacs and team at ACG Multi-Media in Ohio for turning it around so fast. 

Episode 158 - Smarter Routers

Episode 158 - Smarter Routers

 We recently had a chance to showcase the new ISR 4000 Series.  ISR remains the acronym for this family as it stands in for ‘Integrated Services Router.’  I am sure we made this argument before, but one way to characterize this one is to see just how much the innovation swings towards the ‘I’ and the ’S’ these days.  It makes sense. 

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Episode 157: Inside the Cisco TAC

Initially, I was not too excited about doing a show on TAC, Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center.  This topic has been requested in various forms throughout the years and for whatever reason, we just never took the time to do it right.  Until now.  

Cool thing about TAC as a subject for us? It is TECH Reality.  This really can’t be a marketing show as they deal with deployments.  As much as I could now make an argument for why they should be a part of any pre-sale process - I get it. They truly live at that golden moment…when someone has a problem and they are either going to become a customer for life…or be lost forever.   (Watch the entire Show Right Now)

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Episode 156: Cisco ASA and FirePower Services

Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services is a new, adaptive, threat-focused next-generation firewall that delivers superior, multi-layered protection, improves visibility, and reduces security costs and complexity. It provides integrated threat defense for the entire attack continuum by combining proven ASA firewall skills with industry- leading Sourcefire next-generation IPS and advanced malware protection.

But haven’t  we heard this all before? 

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Everybody Writes

Everybody Writes

Top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.  Traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough. "Everybody Writes" is a field guide for those who know that great content is the key to thriving in this digital world.

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