Nerd Journey 044: The Nerd Journey First Anniversary Review

Welcome to episode 44 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the one year anniversary of our podcast launch, a review of topics we have covered, and where we plan to go from here.

Original Recording Date: 06-01-2019

Topics – The First Anniversary Review

1:33 – One Year Since Launch!

  • Did you notice the change to the intro?
  • Reflecting on the launch
    • John tells the story of how the podcast came to fruition and how it morphed into having a career-centric focus.
      • This was an attempt to give advice and speak to some of the things we heard others in the industry saying about the need to progress but feeling like they have reached a dead end.
      • Until we stepped out of IT operations, neither of us understood all career path options for those in IT operations.
    • As John says, when you start doing something, you will definitely be bad at it. We decided to just start podcasting. Listen to how many episodes we needed for practice before releasing.
      • Can you find the episode Nick mentioned having "release candidate" mentioned in the intro?
    • The opening has evolved from its humble beginnings. John discusses specific changes and the reasons for them.
    • Fun Facts
      • The Nerd Journey logo was created by Nick’s wife. What two cities form the skyline in our logo? Tweet us the answer for a chance to be on the show!
      • The intro and transition music was created by John’s wife (who happens to be a musician).
    • In the beginning, we had some concerns.
      • Could we sustain a weekly cadence?
        • John went to local podcast meetup groups for ideas on this. Would it have been best to release a season at a time?
      • Many of our ideas were the result of life experience and continuing to doing the podcast regularly.

13:56 Episode Retrospectives

33:15 – Lessons Learned

  • Nick
    • Carrying a topic on the air is more challenging than he thought. Preparation is required, and it can’t be all improvisation.
    • Being on the podcast has been like taking a master’s program in the evenings.
    • Nick is always on the lookout to promote the podcast to different groups and in different circles.
  • John (#shallowjohn)
    • Organization and preparation really does help. The vast majority of our time is spent coming up with the ideas (brainstorming) and then developing a structure around it.
      • The idea that we could do this on the fly was squashed.
    • Being accountable to someone else was helpful to keep things on track.
    • The process and practice of interviewing people is different than John thought it would be.
    • The nitty gritty of producing a podcast (engineering, editing, etc.) was new to us.
      • There is an endless hole of audio engineering one could pursue, but we went for "good enough."

38:33 – Proposed Topic Report Card

  • Potential future topics we mentioned in previous episodes…did we cover them?
    • Preparing for your next role
      • This one is pretty constant throughout the episodes.
    • Getting into blogging
      • Episode 8 on raising your impact radius
      • We have not done anything specific to how to start a blog, but maybe we could in the future?
    • Strategies for using PTO
    • Developing the people under you
    • Pros and cons of working through lunch
    • John said he would renew his VCP
      • Mentioned in Episode 7
      • His VCP is now valid again per VMware’s new certification policy. John is looking more at the design track as a possible future path (i.e. VCAP).
    • Goal of having a professional network
    • Why the change from Systems Engineer to Solution Engineer?
    • Review of Amanda Blevins’ career talk from VMworld 2018
      • Not yet covered but mentioned in Bonus 1
      • Idea – review this session on the podcast and have Amanda on as a follow up
    • Avoiding IT burnout
      • Mentioned in Bonus 1
        • Episode 3 on work / life balance
        • Bonus 1 – see link to vmunderground talk on this
        • Interesting idea – bring on a mental health professional?
    • What should a typical 1-1 consist of, and how should it change based on company culture, proximity, etc.?
    • Asking managers challenging / interesting interview questions
      • Mentioned in Episode 11
      • We addressed it to some extent in the same episode, but perhaps we should do a follow up with more depth on this.
    • On-air mock 1-1 with direct manager
      • Not yet covered but mentioned in Episode 12
      • This one is challenging to do, but we are open to ideas on how to make it relevant.

46:48 – A Glimpse of the Future

  • Future topics we plan to cover
    • Top delivery pizzas
    • Management as a career path
      • Looking to get additional perspective on this from multiple people
      • Decision to move from individual contributor to being a manager
    • Strategy for using PTO
  • Things we hope to do better
    • Conducting interviews
      • Work on asking focused questions instead of wandering off topic
      • May require studying others and how they handle it
      • Chasing the squirrels brought out some very interesting content we didn’t expect
    • Interviewee prep
      • When we ask someone to come on an episode, we need to clearly communicate the thesis of our podcast and the general listening audience.
        *Ask potential guests to give options on some of our most popular topics
        • Resume writing, interviewing (early / late process), 1-1 manager meetings, asking for more money or a promotion, etc.
    • People who have asked us to be on the podcast
      • We need to help them with their idea for a show through the lens of our thesis.
      • It’s on us to help the guests structure their thoughts.
      • We’re open to having people share their stories.
    • If we approach you about being on the podcast, don’t be nervous. It’s just a conference call with John and me.
    • If you have a podcast topic but don’t want to be on the show, please let us know!
  • Listener number goals
    • Should we look to grow from over 100 downloads on the most popular episodes to 1000?
    • Our hope is that the content is relevant and helpful to listeners.
  • Check out Nick’s one year reflection post for more insight on what the past year co-hosting a podcast has been like.
  • Check out John’s one year reflection post for his additional thoughts on the origins and evolution of the podcast.

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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