Kentik - Network Observability
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Network AF  |  Season 1 - Episode 13  |  March 15, 2022

A deep dive in public relations with Ilissa Miller

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Ilissa Miller, CEO of iMiller Public Relations, joins Network AF to talk about her start working in infrastructure communications, and her advice for companies interested in engaging more with her customers and media. She talks about challenges on the people side of public relations, competitive differentiators of great PR professionals, and lessons learned in running her business.


Hi, and welcome to network a f. In this episode, I talked to my friend and network wisp or Alyssa Miller. Alyssa runs a PR firm working with folks in the networking industry. I've had a a great career in the industry starting, doing consulting and working in the product.

And we talk about how she got into the field, how she learned, sees people learning what it's like to start a business, how she got into that, how to work with people how to work with, especially journalists and people, covering the field. And a little bit about community, how how to help people break in, how to basically be great people. So please join us as we, listen to Elissa's story. If you like network AF, you can find us on, iTunes and other podcasting services.

Please like us, follow us and download.

Hi, and welcome to network I'd like to welcome a friend of mine and fellow network whisperer, Alyssa Miller. Elizabeth, could you give us a little background on, Well, first, what that background is, and, where you are and what you're up to. Sure. Well, thank you so much for having me on your program. It is an honor and a pleasure.

I have been, my name is Alyssa Miller. I am the CEO by Miller Public Relations.

I'm also the president of Nidas, which is an association, that talks about convergence for wireline and wireless, communications infrastructure.

And I also work, with a company called DECix, an internet exchange operator, helping them with their North American partner and marketing initiatives. So a wide range of, things there that I'm, in the midst of, and my background is that I've been in the industry for over twenty five years now.

I didn't go to school for, engineering at all. Like many of the folks in our space, but I was an early adopter of, internet relay chat when I was in college.

And, I loved Internet Relay chat. And, when AOL came out, I loved all of that. And when I had an opportunity to enter the field of communications infrastructure.

It was in around nineteen ninety six right at the after the deregulation act was passed, and I had an opportunity to work with a consultant and learn the industry. Everything from, you know, trading minutes to networking, to subsea cable capacity, data centers. It was a really wide range of exposure, for about four years and working with an engineer, it was fantastic because I got a chance to ask questions, even though silly dumb questions. Right?

And we would, map everything out on a whiteboard. Foundational foundational questions. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Thank you for clarifying that.

Whiteboard everything. He gave me the books to read, telegeography was, like, the Bible back in the day, and it still is for many.

And so yeah, that's that's how I got into the industry.

And then, it it took off from there, which, I'm blessed for.

Cool. You know, it's funny. I as someone that still runs USNet servers, I have to say IRC, the, you know, sort of the always keeping the window open to summon, never worked for me. But in our industry, many of my friends, you know, on the engineering side, you know, it really worked for.

And I know some that are still using it, but you don't still use. You're not still on IRC. No. No.

No. We don't need or we don't need to know all that code and everything. But Well, now there's just, like, eight different chat things, but you have to be on for people to summon you on. So I mean, the the time period you're talking about ninety six, you know, to two thousand, there was, like, eight new things a year.

It was I mean, there's a lot going on now, but there was definitely, you know, a lot going on then. So so when you when you got into it, it was the consultancy that was your, you know, sort of break into networking.

Right. So, his name was David Mayer. And David Mayer was an executive at IDB World. He ran their international group. And when he left the company, he started his own consultancy because he had some great relationships and leveraging those relationships he became, a strategic advisor to them on, how they were expanding their networks, putting deals together, introducing network operators to other network operators, bringing in investors.

So it was a wide range of services that we provided, including managing, data gathering meetings for the launch of AC one back in the day. So I was involved with that.

You know, sometimes I I often joke around that I'm kind of like the forest dump of the industry from in period because I was in so many closed door meetings with executives being privy to information about the deals that were going on. But I was there.

It it was really an incredible time and an incredible way to learn the industry.

No. That sounds really cool. I you may you may have been more gumpy than I.

I had a weird experience once when I caught a ride from Boston DC with the enron folks.

And I was talk we're because they were trying to do peering and, you know, making it trading and basically doing network as a serve what we call network as a service which we've actually built, but it wasn't buildable by them back when they were doing it. And I told the story about WorldCom, you know, in UUNAT, and how everyone suspected that they were actually, that they were actually, you know, stopped selling May Eastports because UUNet asked them to stop having people, you know, as potential peers. And he opened up his laptop, and he pulled up the memo that he wrote. But he was thinking you'd to do that.

I'm like, oh, I am with the dark side. Okay. I got it. Wow. Wow. So, yeah, it's like some things that you suspect that you just draw the dots to.

Well, I mean, was it all was it all, like, you know, sunshine and roses, were there things that were frustrating or difficult?

It was yeah. You know, David really wanted his daughter to come and work for him. And I was the next best option, right, that came through the door and interviewed for the position. And so it was kind of like a father daughter type relationship and he would, you know, yell out to me what he needs and I would yell back, you know, slow down.

I can't do that or whatever it was. Right? Cause I would be writing all the reports and all the notes and, you know, making sure that, the communications were going out. So, yeah, it wasn't always easy and sunshine and roses, but, I loved working and learning.

I will tell you that I was, you know, a young person really impressed with all of these executives that got to travel the world, go to places like Hawaii, Las Vegas and Monica and etcetera. And, I thought that was really pretty cool that you can get a job that you can travel and do all these things. And so, Yeah. Be careful what you wish for.

Yes. You know, it's funny.

You can make travel.

Otherwise, I describe it. You know, people like, oh, it must be awesome to travel everywhere. And it's like, well, the times when you're home for you know, you're trying to get home for a week, solid. You know, I say you can make it so that it's it's it's good, but it's, like, that's good on average you know, you and you have to do a lot of prep work to make it so that, you know, compensate for the planes and the time zone adjustments and stuff like that.

But Right. Right. But, you know, we all forget how cool and new everything is, you know, from early in career when we're you know, when we take these things for granted that we can just pick up. And it's like, oh, I'd like to see my friends, you know, in Australia.

Maybe I'll a conference there and go to.

Did you find the those networking conferences to be easy to get into and, you know, form relationships. And, you know, they feel like welcoming spaces.

So when I went to the events with David, he was a great mentor.

And he was the one I was in meetings with him, and got introduced to all the executives from that way.

They were very kind to me. I don't know if they knew how much I understood or didn't understand at the time, but they were certainly welcoming.

And when I did want to leave, David's group, but I spoke to David about it. You know, it was time to move on. And he helped me get my next jobs Wow. The next, yeah, the next job I got, was working with a company selling data center space. In nineteen ninety nine.

It was a building across from, Penn station.

And, because of the contacts and the relationships that David had exposed me to, I knew who to call to offer that space to and within six months. We pretty much booked up that space.

And, I ended up calling Bandex.

I don't know if you remember right at Enron Day Right? When you mentioned Emerald, banned it. After invisible hand.

Justin actually worked at Exactly. Co founder Justin actually worked at Invisible Hand. So so it was after that, but yeah. Right.

Right. So Bandec they had launched in nineteen ninety seven, and they were only operating out of London. But in May of two thousand, they opened up in New York. And somebody had mentioned that he was going to work there.

And I said, I wanna go work for Bandex because I thought it was so cool that you can do this. Internet exchange. Yeah. Right?

Where if it was transit, Internet, but, you know, one to many, right, doing BGP.

And so, I called up the CEO, Jamie Martino, and I said, I wanna come work for Bandex. He had no idea who I was. He interviewed me and he said, well, what would you do for me? And I said, I'll do business to go and marketing because I had so much experience and so much intellect about, you know, the strategy and the vision for the in industry it's really hard when you're, you know, kind of exposed at that executive level to figure out how do you gain that professional experience for yourself.

You gotta get that hands on experience. It's not as much that I knew all that stuff. I had to get into the industry and learn it and, and, and see if it's something that I could actually, you know, help advance. And so, yeah, I was with Bandex until they sold to Arbonette, in, two thousand four.

And that's really where I cut my teeth as an individual, separate, and apart from David.

Where I was the one, you know, working and bringing the company to market and also closing up operations because of the dot com bubble burst and, you know, bringing the company to profitability so that they could ultimately sell that to Arbonnet. So there were only four of us left at the very, very end. And I was one of them. So that was a great honor.

So, yeah, I mean, that's part of the life cycle of businesses sometimes, you know, I I have seen that as well. When we did the first version of packet fabric, we were fortunate in that we made money during it, but we decided to shut it down because one, none of us were focusing, like, full time on it And two, you know, and and Equinix was just like, maybe you shouldn't be competing. This is before they had dropped their exchange prices. So it was actually cheaper at the time to if you had an exchange in multiple buildings, it was actually cheaper for p two people to connect in the same building and, you know, under Cuting standards versus not our goal.

Our goal was to make New York consumable, let's say, you know, we train all the buildings.

But still, you know, it was no fun. People that said they were gonna use it weren't. It was too early, you know, in the market.

So it's interesting to do that translation, as you said, between the executive level engineers.

Sometimes I struggle because, I think that people want the answer, which is the nanog person standing behind my shoulder pointing out any inaccuracy.

But you actually need to give the idea answer and pitch the value and how it's gonna change their lives.

You know, it's it that's why that's why I introduced you as a network whisperer, right, helping us helping people understand.

Were you ever tempted towards the dark side on technology, or you like that intersection of you know, making it useful for people and helping people understand. Well, I did. So, the closest I got was product management.

I went to Telstra after Bandex, and I was a product manager for, international private lines, MPLS, and voice over IP. And I will say I loved that job because product sits in the middle of everything.

You have to work with all the departments, operations, legal, sales, all of it because you cannot bring a product to market if you cannot invoice for it. If you cannot support it. If you cannot, you know, service it. And so that job was a matter of designing the product capabilities, educating the team and giving them, all materials and tools so that they can sell it, but making sure back end operationally.

We can deliver it. Customer service was aware of it and legal.

And, I was responsible for all the RFPs for the, enterprise customers who were looking at those products.

And I thought that was a great opportunity. Again, for me to just understand how these large organizations work, I came from a start right Bandex. And even though I worked within that entire organization, and at Bandex, I was I was the escalation point for any network outages. So, yeah, I did get three am calls. Okay. I was there.

But I wanted to understand how everything all work together because that is the key to helping companies. If you know how companies work, then you can navigate them and get the right team, you know, aligned with you on what you need to do and move it forward. It's an interesting question.

Which is the more valuable set of learning sort of about people and companies and how they organize and, you know, I'll say politics and and and motivation or the actual technology of the industry.

I don't know which is the more interest. Do you have an opinion?

I do.

And I would say that the people side of it is definitely more challenging.


Yeah. There there's a lot of psychological and understanding how to position and and speak with people and how to, inspire them to help you.

There's a, you know, were changing as a society, but there used to be a lot of people who felt that their knowledge was just for them, and they would hold it. And, that was their value, and you can never get rid of them because they had all of that knowledge.

And I have the opposite approach where I think whatever knowledge I have, let everybody and anybody get access to it because we're so individual as people that each of us process whatever information we get taught to us very differently. And so you're always gonna be unique and always, you know, an individual with whatever you know. You're no two people that know the same thing are ever going to be the same and never gonna be able to use that information in the same way moving forward.

I I agree. I mean, there's a corollary in the startup world, which is, you know, people that are afraid to share their idea because someone else is gonna do it. It's like, well, it's really about the execution of it. You know, having the idea doesn't help you make it. So, like, it's it's a lot it's and everything is more complex when you actually try to go do it.

But I mean, I I think it's definitely true in the nineties.

There was an attitude that was summed up by some.

That was summed up as the clue on the internet is constant, which I always disagreed with. Meaning, if you teach people bad things will happen or either it's fine. You know, it's like there there only will need to be forty computers in the world. It's fine if there's only fifty internet engineers.

And the the at the time, people are saying, well, but if you teach people BGP, then they'll explode the Internet. Even though it was big networks, it did most of the exploding. You know, of things. So, it's it's, yeah, it's it's definitely interesting.

You know, the people side of it, making it so at Akamai, a lot of the times, the biggest challenge, which people had difficulty, learning was when we wanted a carrier or a big, big enterprise, to do to to do something that we actually really thought made sense for them and made sense for us. We had to actually learn their way of thinking enough that we would say words that if you just listen to them, we would say, well, that's crazy. Why would you believe that? But that's you still have to translate to the framework of these of organizations that come up with their own way of doing things.

And you know, to say that, I don't mean Akamai is uniquely awesome. When I look at Akamai Facebook, you know, as a technologist, I look at the biggest companies and how they do tech, and they all do some stuff that's super amazingly awesome, and some stuff that's like, oh my god. What the hell are you doing? Why don't you fix that?

So, you know, it's just the nature I think of how humans, you know, behave and organize that that skill set, you know, is really valuable. And as you said, will say, you have to ask foundational questions because, you know, these organizations, they have their assumptions and that just they assume, which is We can talk about it later. It's a challenge for people breaking in is, a lot of this is not in books or blogs, even among people that wanna educate a lot of this sort of tribal knowledge, and you know, how do we how do we, get into that?

Well, you know, interestingly enough, right, when you're asking questions. Right? I call it being curious.

And the biggest problem that I think we have as an industry is that we make a lot of assumptions.

Right? So, you know, you broke up back in line. Right? I can assume that Akamai, you know, it's a CDN and and they do x y z, but the assumptions that I have may be based off of old or outdated information or a construct that, you know, they've altered because they've been around for a long time. And so I find that the problems happen when people aren't asking enough questions, when they aren't aligning, what their thought process is about what Edge means with another company that may be talking about that, and getting curious about, well, when you say that, and it doesn't show that you don't know anything. It shows that you're trying to understand and align and and look at the world from that person's or company's perspective.

Well, I have it's it's almost a disability because I run a company which sells to, you know, large enterprise.

And while I religiously believe, like you were saying, actually the paths SaaS is teaching people and and making great resources available, it is true that that practitioners speak more in features and they sort of get it. And, you know, executives speak more in value and what it does for the business.

And when I want to understand that industry, even my own, sometimes I can look at a company and I know what they do, but the way that they're marketed, especially if they have a traditional enterprise marketing approach of I think you have this problem. We solve it. Would you like a demo versus making, you know, the technology available. Like, Cloudflare does a good job of of doing both.

But when I was at Akamai, people would say, I know what Akamai does, but I can't figure out from the website what to do. And so, like, how do you bridge that gap? So when I go to trade shows, I do what I call vendor torture, which is I'm trying to figure out what they actually do because I can't reason about something unless I understand Well, they all say, as you said, they all say their edge, but what actually, you know, is it? Or they all say, you know, it's like, well, okay.

Service mesh versus network mesh versus all these things. So, I wish that I were a little bit in the middle and not always going towards, you know, the features I'm trying to construct from the ground up, and that's why we have an awesome marketing team who helps with that, translation as well.

So, you know, and PR firm, I think, you know, like, the industry that you're in. So so how did you decide to start your own business? I know, I guess, we're skipping over stages of of companies to work with. But So, the truth is, I didn't decide.

Someone decided for me. I was after I was a director of marketing at TelX.

And I left Telox to join a small PR firm.

At the time, they only had one and a half clients. And, the person who founded it went off to get married for a month and left me with the business. So when she came back, we had five clients.

You know? Mirrorless and call people up and say you need to be my customer. Right. Right.

Or people who knew me and what I knew said, you know, you need to help us. So, you know, that was that was great, grew that business, but, you know, as in any kind of partnership, I guess, you know, she she, she didn't like something I said or did. And one day I woke up, and I didn't have access to any of the information, any of the email systems, nothing. And I was a partner And I didn't get any answers.

Nobody would was allowed to talk to me. So I called my clients, and I said, Hey, this is what's going on. This is really bizarre.

But you have a thirty day out. And so how about I support you for free for the next thirty days and I will send you a contract with my new company and you can join me, in a month. And four out of six of my clients joined me. And that's how I started my business.

They believed in me so much that I called them up and said, I know your business better than anybody else. I have nothing. I had no systems, no people working for me. I didn't even have a company name, but they believed in me so much, and I'm so grateful for that, that that's how I started my company.

Well, I'm sorry that happened to you, but I guess I'm glad that happens to you. Yeah. You know, it's always bad when you have a situation like that. And It can take a lot of maturity to face conflict head on.

But it sounds like it didn't happen, in that case.

So looking back, actually, I'll I'll switch topics. So because because you said something that that interested me. It's a big challenge to find a PR agency that tries to really know not just the industry, you know, but the business. Has that been a big is that the biggest, I I guess, competitive differentiator for you? And and part two, how do you hire people? That that have that, as you said, curiosity or intellectual curiosity, to be able to do that.

Right. Lots of, lots of tough things in there. So, I really value the history of our industry. The evolution where we were to where we are today.

Right? You know, from the Bandex days to, you know, the subsea days and the dot com crash. And so I focus a lot on making sure that I set a foundation with my team to understand a bigger picture and so that they're not just focused on the linear, the here, and the now. We have to have that in context.

And that's really hard to do, because there's only so much time in the day, and there's a lot of work that needs to get done.

Hiring people who are naturally curious helps. And in PR, writing is one of the big skills.

I'll tell you, you know, it was it it's been a learning lesson for me. I'm in my eleventh year now. And, I've gone through various types of iterations of different types of skills. And as a PR firm, it is a different skill set. It's more strategic.

It's being able to be a translator. You mentioned that earlier. I I I talk to, you know, companies and say, we translate technical into business speech. That's what we do. And we have to understand not only our client's business, but their target market, and what's important to their target market. And that constantly changes and evolves as things go on, but a message for a company has to be consistent.

You can't just keep changing that message every three months because you're gonna confuse your market. You have to stick to a message and build on that foundational message to expand on that and grow with that to make the marketplace, you know, be sure that they understand you.

So hiring people with who are writers, they're naturally curious because they have to write about so many different things. That they have to, you know, kind of deep dive and do some research and understand things.

We're also at phase in the industry now that we're very fortunate that some of our children are of age to join companies.

And consideration.

Right. And if you have someone, let's say, you grew up literally in the data center space, you know, who's had project management experience, who's interested in, you know, supporting companies. Well, you know, those are great types of people to look at. People who've been exposed to it their entire lives. They don't appreciate how much they know often times.

And so, you know, helping them to, you know, open that up and and realize that they are more comfortable in space than they than they know for themselves is really exciting to see too.

It's funny. The I'm told I shouldn't use big words and say the osmotic learning, but the but but but my wife, Gail, is brilliant, but her passions do not lie towards internet infrastructure yet, you know, at any given time, she tell you which vendor I prefer or not because, obviously, you know, she's friends with my friends, and we're at conferences, and we're talking to people. And so you know, people you do pick up a lot of that. Again, we'll talk about it later, but that sort of tribal knowledge, which can be really hard to get I guess, two PR specific questions. Is it hard to find people who are willing to write in a natural voice, or is that part of the, you know, get them young and, you know, don't have to un unlearn sort of, you know, gobbledygook speak.

Right. That is where I probably spend most of my time is, helping people articulate, and writing things without it being too marketing without it being, too nebulous, because it can be, you know, confusing if some and I'll know right away if somebody does not if somebody is too surface with their knowledge and be able to, you know, go in and provide them guidance on where they need to go deeper And it's a constant process.

And there are some really strong writers, but there are also writers who have learned bad habits.

Using, you know, more, creative type approaches to writing versus business approach.

And it's easy from that standpoint to kinda help correct them.

When you can point out to them you know, you gotta write it in a certain tense or, you know, making sure that you're not using adjectives too much because, they need we need to write more factual and more matter of fact. And oftentimes, we have to simplify a company's message in order for it to get understood. If you get too technical, most of people that, you know, will read it will will not understand it. Yes. I have a proxy when I review things, which is I glance at it. And if I can sort of pick up this if I can just sort of scan through it and get it, then I'm like, it's okay, but if I have to slow down and stop and read something about something, which I'm pretty familiar, then as a proxy, I think, wow, this is gonna be difficult for someone else.

Now some of the tools that are dual use because you can also use them to, for example, review for job postings to make sure that they're they're friendly for a diverse audience you know, but there's writing tools that you can use, but they don't they they, you know, they get how complex is the sentence and things like that. But still sometimes whether it's jargon or the ideas are not connected enough. I I had my I had my knuckles beaten in on, you know, expository essays with the you know, three paragraphs, and the first paragraph could be the last paragraph, but it's really more of an intro.

And the first sentence is an intro and three sentences, and you could you know, like, all that stuff. But, at at the same time, you know, when I do wanna get creative, I have difficulty because I was trained in So, you know, but, yeah, it's it it can be difficult, you know, to find that it's something, you know, that we work on. I know a lot of companies that are working on that. So the the second, I guess, PR, I'll pick your brain, expertise, to I don't wanna say settle a debate, but provide another input.

One school of thinking, especially in SaaS is don't do a press release unless it's, like, you know, major news. So, like, don't do, you know, triples of stuff about a customer signed up, and we're gonna be I guess, I we've never done anything, which is like a word of trade show. You know, only save it for, you know, and usually those people say, well, and one cares about press releases anyway. But I guess, you know, in terms of importance and frequency, do you have any opinion, or is it situational, or do you have any general rules of thumb? Yes.

Awesome. So there are various different approaches to getting your news out.

There's, a press release, and there's also something called a media alert you know, or a media advisory.

It doesn't go over the wire, but it's it's information that the medium may be interested in because you never know what type of stories that they're going for. There's also the pitching aspect of it, right, being able to just write a pitch and get an interview so that this third party can write an an article or a blog or or something about it. There's also article submissions that you can do. And there's great platforms like medium right now that help.

Yeah. Right. Right. Forbes tech counsel and and medium that allow you to publish things, you know, by yourself, right, without it being too commercial, of course, but Those are different channels.

And when you are thinking of your PR strategy, you do wanna think about all of the avenues and channels that you have access to. Even, an email newsletter or, you know, an announcement to, you know, your, your customers, And how relevant that's going to be to the market and what is the purpose you're trying to get by getting it out there? Oftentimes, people will do press releases just to get their brand, their name recognition out there. And that's important, right, just to be part of the conversation.

But, yes, you can get too noisy. It could be, you know, uncomfortable sometimes to get things that you don't feel are relevant for you to get.

I'll tell you. I've got an email from, a media person just yesterday.

We were talking about, you know, traffic, stats, and all that type of stuff. And he basically was like, that's not interesting to me anymore because everything's going up. And, you know, it's a great perspective to be able to get because we too have to get into the head, the journalist, the analyst, to understand how they're going to process the information. And while one company thinks, you know, this is a great customer announcement.

You know, this is fantastic, and it's gonna really blow us up, the marketplace doesn't really appreciate that unless it's in a case study format, unless it's something that is relevant to a specific industry, and that is revolutionary.

And so, yeah, you have to really think through how you're doing things, but all of this matters And this is why.

What happens when you leave a customer meeting or a prospect meeting? They're going to Google you And if there's not enough third party verification or information out there about what you're doing, and if they cannot substantiate what you've just told them, Then it's going to be harder to win that business. So that's why PR is that secret weapon for companies because you are putting information out there in a regular and consistent way that hopefully, you know, your sales team and you are consistently sharing that information, and it shows the marketplace that There is, momentum, and what you're saying is viable.

That makes sense. I think it is definitely broader than just, you know, press releases. But, I try not to extrapolate only for myself because I don't consider myself to be a good proxy for, you know, sort of everything, but, you know, when I'm when I am researching something, I guess I do prefer to see, you know, a medium article talking about what a referenceable customer doing or especially if it's written by the customer, then, you know, just a press release, but, you know, it can be interesting, you know, interesting info.

I think I can think of a lot of websites where they really could tie all the things you mentioned together better, you know, to reference each other instead of being silos as you said to help the the prospects, you know, understand and and and see.

So when you think about what is interesting to journalists.

You mentioned, you know, the no. That's not interesting. And Michelle, it can take us almost got me to, look in advance and say, will this be interesting? Is it news But if not, she's there to keep you honest.

But, how do you think about building relationships, with them so that they feel that they're not just being pitched and that you have, you know, companies that you know, they'll say, hey, I'm looking at this. You know, do you know anybody that can or that a company can, you know, what strategies can a company do to build those things. I did an interview with Doug Maduri who works for Kentech who has done that over the decades, but I'm just curious what your take is for for companies to execute So education is the key thing, educating anyone, whether it's a journalist and analyst or, you know, your customers, and approaching it from an educational standpoint, highlighting the facts, the details, really, you know, the meat of what matters from getting to that really quickly helps a lot because they'll quickly know if you're wasting their time or if you're not.

If you bury the lead, if, you know, you're bearing facts and data points and you're you're being too, you know, nice and reaching out, you're not gonna get your point across, and having conversations with them. Finding out what they're most interested in, what's, you know, the topic du jour, looking at their media kits and understanding what kinds of topics the publications are gonna be writing about and timing information with those publications that's going to be effective and and symbiotic, for everyone.

And the truth is mentoring them.

I can I can tell you that there have been many journalists in the industry that have come to me, that I've had the pleasure of mentoring? Right? I remember one time, I did a press junket, in Italy, and this young, media person was invited and and was there. And, we were talking about technology and networking, and he comes up to me and says, what is Ethernet?

And, you know, being someone that's they're comfortable coming to, that I'm going to be able to give them the answers and provide them with you know, insights and point them in the direction of of information that's going to help them. It's really a pleasure to do that. And, you know, you build that trust, in that way. And that's really what it is. The trust matters.

You know, we're not wasting people time, we are delivering on our promises.

And the hardest part is in running a PR agency is that we are reliant also on our clients to be responsive.

Mhmm. And so if we have a relationship with a journalist and a client keeps canceling, Right? Those interviews, that makes us look bad. Yeah.

And it makes them look bad. And it hinders our ability to have another client of ours interview because it's a hassle to go through in scheduling. Yeah. You know, there are some challenges there that you need to be aware of and it requires education on both sides education to the client, as well as the journalist.

But, you know, the nice thing is that most of you know, the key publications that cover data centers, for instance, like data center frontier, data center hawk, and you know, data center dynamics. I mean, we've, you know, we've all kind of grown up together in the industry and have a good sense of things. And I they do learn a lot from the PR people because we're introducing new technologies, cutting edge solutions, new approaches to, you know, how companies are doing networking, etcetera.

And that's important for them to know.

Have you ever had to fire a customer? You could decline to answer, and please don't be specific about customer names. But Yes. Okay.

There was, a customer, so this is a twelve dollar fifty cent, you know, ISP user, at my ISP back, and it was I wasn't the only ISP anymore, but I was one of the three. And I had to tell him, like, perhaps you would be happier with a competitor. And I inch I said I offer. Actually, I said, I've arranged with my two competitors.

They would both be happy to offer you the first month free. I was like, no. You need to change your service to do this. And, you know, there's a point even as nice as you are.

You're just like, that's not my model. You know, no. Thank you. Thank you for the feedback.

Which is business speak for no, but no.

Foundational question, because I I've heard the term. I think I know sort of what it is, but I have an expert. What is a media kit? You mentioned media kit journalists and, you know, what they're looking for.

Right. So a media kit is, you know, a real straightforward way of sharing information with a journalist that gives the storyline and the trajectory of that company's positioning, some context. Right? So it would usually be an overview of the company if you have digital assets, like an interview with an executive that helps to crispy, crisply tell that story.

Those are great assets along with any kind of product information, and press releases.

So they can see what has been written. They can, you know, review all that information and get to know the company a little bit better than just receiving a press release, looking at a plate and then go into a to to the website. And you can create digital press kits, you know, on your website to make it really easy for them as well. So you don't even need your PR firm to to yes.

I can go find it. You don't. I mean, you do, but you don't. Right? What what's what's the value of a PR firm?

You know, we've got relationships.

We know the trends. We have a big picture view on what the market is. We can help, you know, piece things together because it's not just a standalone, you know, tunnel vision type approach to to something. It's in context of how everything else is working, and that's really important also in communicating with the journalists.

Why does something matter? The why why the why matters is important. Right. Or the as, Jamie who's, on our board, but she has a marketing background.

So what? You know, that's what she says, which is slightly less polite. So what? You know, even when it's like, well, the internet went down.

So what? You know?

And we see a lot of Unfortunately, authoritarian regimes doing things. And then, you know, it becomes easier to connect.

But, you know, some of the more esoteric things that you do, it's like, well, or what's the day in the life? Like, who's the person? Because the journalists are not, you know, from, you know, of the background. So, no. That's is there a way? Is there a standard way that you can find out other than do do you press outlets, you know, whether it's a a website or, you know, online, you know, physical paper hybrid, Is there a way other than by just following, the journalists and the things they've written that you can see what they're interested in? Did they put out you just have to have the relationships so they'll call you up and say, hey, I'm researching this, or, you know, is there a way you could find out?

It it is about relationships and, yes, you can have conversations with them and ask them and, you know, typically, you know, if you're doing media briefings, you're on the call waiting for a client come on. Those are great opportunities to have those types of, conversations, a little trick of the trade, building that relationship and trust right there. You know, if they're coming five minutes late, it's great. You just have five minutes of a conversation, you know, to help set up that call while learning about what's important to them.

And oftentimes, we are the ones that you educating them because we tend to be the first to know. Remember, we're launching products. We're launching companies. And so, you know, that's really exciting.

To journalists and to the analysts. The analysts are really important as well. We could talk about that.

Because they need to know what the trends are and what's on the and where things are going. And so when you're launching a company or a product, that's that's fairly new and different. You wanna make sure that it's in context and why the why matters is important and ins that inspires the journalist to wanna know more and they'll do research before coming back and say, yeah. This is the first time I've heard of this.

This is the first time I've mentioned it. Yes. I wanna talk to them. Okay. Interesting.

But you can't you're limited by also I don't wanna say limited maybe the wrong word. I could say to a journalist, well, this network is a services.

It's basically a telco. It it's it is about automation and convenience and connecting things, but it's also just a telephone company that people haven't learned to hate yet. Like, it is a network, but it's designed for the convenience using SAS principles. But if that's not the messaging, of of the company you're representing, you are in some ways, I guess, limited by some of the things that you could say as you be true and honest and and help them.

Right. Right. And, you know, when I mentioned the analysts, and I wanna go back to that because it's very important to understand the role of our entry analyst, right, from Omia to Gartner to Forrester, etcetera.

They are known as industry experts.

And they are studying the market and doing deep dives and and getting insights on products and the technical details of things and their writing reports and they're writing summaries, and their customers tend to be enterprise customers who are paying them for this information.

But also journalists in the media go to those analysts to substantiate information. So if I'm launching a product and, you know, let's say, you know, it's something new. They may call an analyst friend to say, is this new, indeed?

What should I know about this? Did you hear about this company? And they can potentially get those research notes. And so oftentimes, I will start with an analyst briefing strategy for clients that are coming out the gate because you want to make sure that they substantiate what you're doing when they get the phone calls.

If you skip that step and just go straight to the media, Yeah. You you could get some success. That's not gonna be a problem, but you're better off doing it with the analyst as well. Because that analyst is an influencer with your target market, and they need to understand things in order to be able to position you your solutions, you know, better than somebody else's or provide a fair evaluation to their clients.

You know, it's it's interesting.

It's a it's an interesting and subtle distinction because as a startup, you look at analysts, and I've seen a lot of startups and they like, as my mother put it, they try to argue with city hall. Like, they try to convince them that their, you know, guide should require things that the startup is seeing is proving the customers want. But the structure of some of these the biggest analysts is I'm gonna say in a and I don't mean this in a negative way to be behind the market. It's what are people actually offering and buying at large scale now.

And then they have separately the, emerging, you know, where they cover sort of the emerging trends and Again, I won't pick one analyst, but, you know, the the the trends and where things are going. And so it can be confusing because, you know, you can be recognized as emerging and and and cool and awesome yet, you know, especially if you're disrupting a very large industry, but that isn't innovating fast. You're like, well, but that should be a requirement because look at all these customers. So I think what what's been most helpful for me is, the the customer side of it.

Like, is that Is that part of your strategy? Like, just connecting people with the the customers to help them explain to the analysts.

Why and and what the gaps are and and why they're excited about the new way. Whatever the new way is, there's always a new way. It's always great. Right? That's why we we use case studies.

But you don't always get the opportunity to have a customer, you know, be your rabbit fan and, you know, speak in the market. And the other issue we have, in the technology industry is that takes a long time for customers to adopt new technologies, and new ways of doing things. It's a it's a very long cycle much longer than we think. Right? And, you know, it requires a lot of education, a lot of consistent messaging out to the market.

And, engaging, not just your customers, but engaging those analysts. When you're on those calls with the analysts and you're giving them a presentation about things, you have the opportunity to ask them, you know, what what things are going on. And that's what I remind our clients is that it's every conversation you have should be a two way street. Right? And you're you're providing me information. So I I don't have to ask a lot of questions and back because we're having a conversation.

But it should be a back and forth, discussion when you have those briefings.

Right. Yeah. I I do think it's important.

To ask those questions. And if you're a client, then, you know, you can do the, you know, asking them even about product, as you said, being a product manager, you know, as you're thinking about a space, One of the challenges as I'm now in SaaS and not, you know, necessarily pure networking is, when I look at Kintech, I look at other other companies, also that start off with some of the you know, best brands, but that are not corporate, that not enterprise, or not corporate IT, that doesn't resonate as much with, the big bigger analysts and who their clients are so that who their following. So it took us a few years until we started getting major enterprise customers and corporate IT as well as production networking.

And we're like, We were I again, I was kentech, I've learned so much. I I also have a decade that was, a career that was decades before I started kentech, but, there's always an infinite amount to learn. So I've learned a lot, you know, even, especially at Kentech.

But, yeah, you need to, like, why do we have all these impressive customers, but the analysts don't wanna talk to them? And then it's like, yeah. You need to find the people that are like, for whoever that is. Like, their customers and, you know, for them to be most interested.

You know, for us, we've decided as a strategy, there's one analyst who said network observability is not a it like, is is not a thing. It's like, okay. Well, you know what? I have three hundred customers that are super impressive including the ones that are their clients that will just say that it is as opposed to one vendor I've been Boston who sued a big analyst, which is not what I would recommend.

Right? If you have a position and you wanna educate the market, just go educate the market. So, Right. And and to that point, know where you have your allies and know where you don't, and spend your time where you know you're gonna have success versus, you know, trying to get to win somebody over.

That's a lot of time and effort right there, and there's just so many others that will be open.

And, that that's where you wanna go for sure. On the other hand, if you get an inbound email from a firm you've never heard of, heard of, that sizes the market that you're in at forty times the size that you know it is. You should check with your friendly local AR or PR a person or PR firm, and they will tell you, like, no, this is not a good use. So do not do not use this market sizing that they will write custom for you.

So Right. There is a lot of, vanity awards and you know, vanity editorial opportunities that, you know, are solicited to executives.

And, you know, hey, you too can be, you know, on the cover, If there's a reprint fee mentioned in the pitch, then it's probably not something that people are going to respect. We did one of them from a vendor that has two names with an end in the middle, but they'd actually written something that was a very good product marketing piece by putting together all our stuff. So it was like a guide that was almost a white paper. And so we didn't value it necessarily as the Oh my god. You know, Jill has said we're awesome, but they wrote a good piece for us and we negotiated it down to, like, three thousand dollars or something. So we bought it. But He did You know, I'm glad you mentioned that because there are strategies where paying for something actually will help advance you.

Especially if you're a startup or if you're a young executive who wants to get on the speaking circuit, somehow you have to start to a establish your market based credibility.

And, even though they are pay for play, oftentimes the market does not know, it's a pay for play situation.

And therefore, it helps to build up your resume.

And that's usually what I recommend to young speakers who don't have a lot of credibility. It's hard to pitch them. It's hard to land them, a speaking gig. Sometimes you have to sponsor something and prove that, you know, you're worthy of being invited in the future.

Interesting. Yeah. I I think that is it's something we've talked about, you know, for the people that live it I look at crunchbase and I could look at the tea leaves and see. I could look at a startup website and see that the the only awards they have or the kitty play, and I draw something from it.

But you know, as a way to explain and most people are not going to. They don't live in this world enough to see that. So I guess that's a good point. But still Remember.

Yeah. So if your local before paying money because Exactly.

You don't wanna have someone where you're paying them, and then they say it's something that's so patently ridiculous you know, that the that the network observability market is gonna be four trillion dollars next year. And then, you know, people will turn off, you know, if you do that.

So so looking back at, at I Miller and running your own business, what are the what are the best things about getting to run your own business? And then what are the things that people should consider that are maybe not the best things. You know, if they're considering it What are the best things? Wow.

You get to do what you love, what you're passionate about, and you oftentimes have choices, about, who you can work with, who you should work with, wanna work with, etcetera. Include a customer. Right. Exactly. So you don't always have to work with, you know, customers that don't treat you well or you don't believe in their solution or technology or philosophically, the approach is different.

There are companies that confuse marketing NPR, and they will put out press releases that are more marketing focused And, for me, that's kind of like a sucker punch in my stomach. It's like, oh, god. You're, you know, that's not what PR is about, and it's very frustrating.

And when you find clients that are like that, sometimes you just have to let them go. Mhmm.

But on the challenging side, I will tell you. That's where I've learned the most.

I think in my earlier years, you know, where you play the good cup bad cop sometimes.

I would let my management team be the good cops, and then I would come in as the CEO as the bad cop. And that really, was challenging to a culture. Mhmm. I learned that the hard way, because when you know, then the managers are like, well, see, the CEO said this, so you have to this.

And that doesn't help to foster an environment where people really wanna work for that company. And, you know, again, and learned it the hard way. And so by switching it into being more of a positive influence to the team and a mentor and, you know, a guide and and someone that they can go to, in a safe way.

Definitely changes the culture.

I now have, my finance guy as the bad guy. And it's a much better place to be because businesses are about making money. And if you have a good partner in finance who understands that and knows how they can track that and then communicate to the team where he needs them to help. So all that, that bottom line at the end of the day.

I can, you know, nurture a lot more people and and, you know, encourage them to think in Yeah. In different ways, when I'm playing the good cop. Thank you for sharing that, Alyssa.

You know, I think people sometimes think, you know, running your own company. It's all sunshine rose isn't awesome.

It's a it's a we've had a lot of people that I interview, you know, to come to Kentech.

And, and I ask, you know, where where do you think you wanna go and Actually, some of them some folks will say, actually, I wanna I think I wanna start a startup, and then eighty percent of the time, if I when I check-in in six months or a year or certainly by two years, they're like, no. I don't wanna do a startup anymore. I don't wanna go start a startup and do a startup. It's it's too.

There's a lot of uncertainty. There's a lot of, you know, it could be a lot of stress, but Everybody has to find the thing which they, enjoy. For me, when I get frustrated, I just go talk to customers. It's like we're the thesis was we could build something.

We'd love it. And so if that's true, then, you know, no matter how frustrating it is, if you're building things that people are using, then that's you know, you can get validation for that. But everyone's gotta find their own path there. Right.

And remember, we're all reliant on the people that make the magic happen for companies.

And those people matter, you know, you see all these, articles about the great resignation and you know, why is that really happening? And I hear people all the time talking about, you know, oh, you know, my manager is this, my manager is that. Listen, in our industry, we grew up with tough people. We did.

I I'm sure you've had as many tough managers as I have the language that they use. Right? The, you know, the threat Right? If you know this, we gotta hit our numbers.

Right? The stress involved in some of these companies is really high and it's real.

So, yeah, I had to I had to stop that and kind of, you know, rethink of who am I really and what kind of team and company do I want. And when when it's flipped in that way, they're not looking to hurt me on the way out. They're looking to help me on the way out. Hey, how much time do you need?

Do you need, you know, a month of notice? Instead of, hey, I'm gonna give you two weeks notice if you're lucky. Right? Because as those people come and go in the organization, it it's very disruptive.

And the buck stops here. You're the one Yep. That has to be responsible for that.

Yeah. In hindsight, I'll say I had a good time at the company, but I I remember, the one, I guess, the most difficult manager I had when I decided to quit was when I, needed to make a decision because a decision needed to be made. People were arguing literally about what color the cable should be for different things.

And it was marketing versus engineers and everybody was like, okay. Well, we've, you know, loop detection. We've we've it's been five days, five meetings. The decision is this. And then one of the old timers went to the, you know, CTO The CTO has sent email, said, Avi is confused. Do this. I was like, you, like, you've just undermined my authority.

And, you know, like, you know, and at the time, this was right before I I I went to Akama actually and Ultimately, I was actually just, like, really intrigued by what was next. And, you know, the idea that at Akama, you could run networking But you you, like, you could run networking, but never be paged. Like, you you and I have been.

So, I mean, there was a time when I could just, like, wake up like an intern and, you know, just clickety clickety without any time. Now it takes me, like, ten minutes to get going You probably wouldn't want me configuring anything for ten minutes.

So, I guess, yeah, that's another conversation. I do still configure things, but, So, speaking about that topic, you know, people and community.

And, you know, one of the things that you mentioned Alyssa, which is the difficulty that it can't, you know, there's been so much history of of why things are the way they are, which isn't in a book. Like, even just peering and the fact that it's not just technology, it's not just, oh, okay. I want to peer. We'll do this. It's the social and the political side of it.

As you look at things and and and bringing people on in your community and your company and as we try to be more welcoming in in Nanogg and our broader, you know, communities.

Any ideas about how we can really help with education, making people feel welcome, comfortable asking those foundational questions. I've had, you know, shared on on this podcast that, you know, he came to Nalog as a deep technologist and saw, again, you could imagine, you know, even me and someone else just, like, passionately arguing about whatever the hell our religious geek binary ideas thing is. It was like, wow. That's intimidating.

These people are using all these terms and all this stuff. Like, what what do you think, we could be doing better? And, you know, if I can help let me know, but Yeah. It's it's a good question.

And, you know, I don't know that I have, the answers, but I will tell you if you are If you ask someone for help, that person is going to help you. Period.

It's the hardest thing to do right to say, hey, I don't know, you know, what this technology is. I don't know how this works. Can you please explain it to me?

And, you know, going to NanOC for so many years, right, even back to the Bandex days in two thousand, that's the one thing that I so appreciated about that entire community is that I can go up to someone like Martin Levy and say, hey, I heard you talking about this.

Right. Right. Well, why does this matter? Right? And and he would take the time to really explain it to me.

And there are so many other people that would do others will snicker, of course, right, because, you know, who are you to ask a question plus I'm a girl. So, you know, what do I know?

But The truth is, the more you know, the more you're confident, the more you can recall and engage with the topic and the information, the better off you're gonna be. And I know pretty quickly, at least with my team, you know, who's going to be the winners and and who may not be the good fitters, right, for the organization.

If they are unable to, have the aptitude, to understand, to retain, to connect dots after they've been told a couple of times, they're not gonna be a good fit because that's the foundation for this entire industry. Right? It all works together.

And you have to understand how all of those the pieces of the puzzle combine, and that's with everything and anything and how we're communicating as well. So, yeah, asking for help is key, and knowing who who to go to for help, Google's great, you know, to, to learn, you have to read reading is everything.

I will tell you that I know when I'm reading materials, you know, particularly from my team who hasn't been reading you know, because they're not using this. Yeah. They're not using the same, you know, language and, you know, they're they're talking about things in in a way that just is does not sync, you know, with the target market that we're going after.

I spend about an hour a day on Phebly scanning huge amounts of stuff, but that's just because, an info war, you know, and it's not just networking. It's, you know, actually I follow storage and and crypto and poker and other stuff too. But, but, you know, we're trying to think about how we formalize that.

Actually, we have our communications group and actually our PR agency helps by, I think it's really important for the whole company, customer news, industry news, And, we've been behind, but really wanna actually help break that down for people so that they can, as you say, you know, hit the pattern matching, and learn. So I'll I'll tell you what I did, and you you could easily do it yourself. Is I created a internal web page pulling RSS feeds from all the major texts. And they're all in one location.

So my team can just go to that link and see the news headlines of the day and click writing. I've been thinking about doing that with FEbly boards, but you have to curate those, you know, so actively. And someone has to pick that it's interesting to appear on Actually, maybe that's not true. I need to go look at that again.

See if we can do that using feedly boards, interesting. Yeah. And then you can point them to the publications that you're reading that really matter to you.

Yeah, having that that news page for my team, my, you know, we call it the the news feed. Has been super helpful.

And it's a rare person who actually just goes think think think clickety, clickety, you know, however many hours a day. So it can be a good way to when people do wanna take a break be able to do something which is, you know, related to, you know, us learning around.

And it's it's it's interesting because everyone comes at it from a different approach.

For me, the way I describe it is you know, enjoy getting confused where you you just have to be able to start reading things that you don't understand and just start as you said, like, you see the words appear, but I don't really even understand it marketing has been that journey for me, you know, especially at Kentech.

And, you know, be uncomfortable with that. But a lot of people that, come from a culture of a background where, you know, that's not valued or where, you know, asking questions is, makes you, you know, gets you dinged reputationally. And so, everyone's gotta find their way towards it.

But, to be able to to do that. You mentioned that, I guess, at least a few times, you've had people, that you thought didn't react well because you were female.

Is that getting better, worse, you know, was it an impediment when you got started? Is it, you know?

You know, it was I would say I didn't think it was an impediment when I started. I just didn't think in that way. I just thought, you know, if I was the smartest person in the room, then I was gonna be qualified for what I was gonna do, and that's what I aim to do.

Over time, it became, you know, clear in some of the roles that I had. I had, you know, some male managers who were not, kind of respectful, particularly in customer meetings.

And, you know, when I started to, you know, notice that, it became uncomfortable. And that's when I would leave jobs, of course, you know, when It just was not a situation where I was going to be, you know, allowed to be that smartest person in the room. Right? I'm gonna get cut down no matter what.

It's interesting. I was talking to, to someone, you know, I guess about some of my experiences at these conferences and events, especially in the age of the me too movement.

I am shocked still at some of the behavior that I see or exposed to. Now I'm pretty cool. Right? Like you know, I can, you know, withstand a lot. But if I'm gonna send a a thirty three year old, you know, gal to a conference and be exposed to that, I can't, if expect that person, you know, to be more understanding and, you know, kind about those, reactions And so, yeah, we have to do better.

It is about, being qualified to do the job. It isn't about necessarily whether you're a man or woman or, you know, or they. It doesn't even matter. You have to be qualified to do the job.

And, I, as a woman, I also don't want to be awarded business because I am a woman, I think that that's the opposite side of where we need to go, as as a society.

But There is equal there should be equal opportunity for everyone and anyone that are Fair shot based on your, you know, how what you do, what you can deliver.

And a could be hard because, growing up in an ethnic household, my mother had to educate me that, in ethnic households, one, expresses clear and open communication loudly and frequently.

But that's not the way of the business world.

And sometimes it's the opportunities that you just don't get or don't see, that you have to almost develop a sense for, which is unfortunate, But, you know, again, there are lots of different cultures. There's some cultures where you just have to, you know, be able to sense that. So well, I do have to give a big shout out to mom, my mother. Because when I was eight, she went back to work And she was a manufacturer of sales rep, and she worked from home.

Okay. And, she grew her little business over the years and became very successful in a male dominated industry. Now I didn't know any of this. Right?

You know, as I was seeing her go to trade shows in conferences, and I was helping her and you know, watching her world. So when I got into the business world, I had no idea that being a girl, being a female, right, was potentially not a good thing because I saw my mother, right, just, you know, out there doing it. And it's funny when we talk about, you know, some of my experiences and, you know, the trade show stuff. Yeah.

She's she's sharing some of her stories and experiences as well. And, you know, sometimes you gotta let it roll off your back, she said, you know, and, you know, just sit there and just you've gotta be resolute, incompetent in yourself.

And know what your boundaries are. It's it's it's pretty much that simple, but it's hard to constantly hold up those boundaries.

Yeah. It was a learning experience for me too. My mother, well, we are Jewish, and and my mother was an attorney, just at the point where you didn't have to be in a Jewish only firm, like, maybe within ten years. And since you joined a, you know, a a white shoe, you know, firm, And, I just never saw it because she was like you, indomitable.

In Taekwondo, they say indomitable spirit, you know, a force of nature. And, you know, she mentored people and whatever, but later on, I discovered she had a lot of those frustrations that she had to deal with. Some of it quite overt.

And so, yeah, no, it's interesting. And, you know, because you a couple last questions because, you know, I I was gonna ask how can someone break in? And you talked about you know, you need to hire me.

And, you know, I think that can be challenging for people that, either don't come from a culture where, you know, that's what you do. Or there are people that will react, you know, differently if it's a if it's a white dude calling up, you know, and saying that. But you know, what would your advice be to both, people entering, you know, the workplace? As you said, you know, sort of you can tell.

You know, you know, how how can you tell? How can someone demonstrate that? And, you know, how do you How do you work around that if, you know, if it's a new culture or new environment, or, you know, you're not in the majority, you know, any any advice or tips or or tricks Yeah. So, you know, I look at all different types of people, but I do put an extra emphasis on anyone who has music, sports, or any type of team activity, whether they were on the debate team or something like that, That illustrates to me a sense of, being part of something larger than the self.

And the ability to know where their strengths are within the context of, you know, the game or the orchestra and be able to be the best at what they do in that role, that team spirit, and the idea that, you know, people do have ideas. Right? They wanna bring and be creative and and add value and they wanna be heard.

Being able to communicate why or why not that doesn't work within the team, you know, context, is helpful. And I'm a I'm a music person. I wasn't a sport person, but I'm a music person. And so I I oftentimes will think of myself as the maestro.

Right? I've got all of these different, you know, groups of people with different skills and different capabilities, bringing them together. Right? So that the music plays, right, in the most beautiful way possible to get the results you're looking for you know, is kind of how I approach what we do.

And so, yeah, being able to identify and illustrate, if you're going into a company and if it's a team environment, that you are a team player, that you are able to share provide information, transparency.

That's really important to me.

And so, you know, for people looking for for positions, know where your strengths are. Right? If you are an individual contributor, that's great. Go for jobs that are individual contributors, like sales.

If you are a team player, go for jobs that you're part of a team, right, developing products that you're, you know, programming and and you're doing things that, requires more than just you to accomplish it. And that's that would be my advice is to know where your strengths are and be honest with yourself.

Interesting. I think that's a great advice.

Although we do even look for, team, especially early in career, I would say even on the sales side, But, there's something about being able to excel together, you know, that can create the right spirit, and, unless you're really lucky, the team doesn't always win. So getting trained in how to live with that. I mean, sales, recruiting, SDR, you know, you have to get comfortable with a huge amount of rejection.

Absolutely. Which can be hard. I I, you know, again, it's like, I am willing to do any job in the company, but that would be that is, you know, sort of, the hardest and, you know, can be hard for people that, have had a lot of success, you know, let's say, coming just from academics and, you know, could be a shock coming into the workforce. So Sounds like you've had a fantastic career, but if you could go back in time and give yourself some advice as you were, you know, entering, with the consultancy or even a little bit before any any tips you would you would give young Alyssa.


Remember to be kind.

Remember to show appreciation.

I mean, you know, I've I've evolved into that type of leader. Thank god. I learned the hard way, but, people you have to inspire people no matter what. Right? Whether they're working for you, whether you want them to write a story about your client, whether you want someone to hire you, or or choose your product or service, you have to find a way to inspire people, and you do that through kindness, and honesty, and appreciation. And so, yeah, I would I would I would have been more kinder earlier.

And if I were, you know, aware of the, masculine approach to management versus the feminine approach to management earlier, I probably would have appreciated, that that better.

Very interesting.

I had a early mentor at a company. I worked at after high school who said, Avi, you have to understand it's not sufficient to be correct.

Right? You have to you have to care about the outcome, not just like are you technically correct, and you see this in people who argue with customers and clients and, like, no. But you got the word wrong, and that's not it's like if you are just abrupt, then and it wasn't that I couldn't understand, you know, people. It was that I came from, you know, sort of that was the school that I went to was we argued about stuff and we were super nerds and sort of like, you know, networking can be sometimes, you know, you see a couple people arguing ferociously about stuff and then still going to dinner.

You don't see the still going to dinner part. You just see that. So, remember to be kind. Awesome.

Well, thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your story, the good parts and and the frustrations.

And, hopefully, that can be an inspiration, especially for people to see that There's lots of different ways to bring networking to the world, not only, you know, on the technology side.

I so appreciate this opportunity, obviously. It's a pleasure to always speak to you. I still appreciate the opportunity to tell my story. And, technology is great. It's it's gonna be here for the rest of humanity.

It's a great career opportunity for anyone, encourage everyone to to look at this as a growing field to join. So thanks for that. And how can they find you? They can find me, LinkedIn.

My website is also I Miller, pr dot com. Pretty simple.

Yeah, anyone who could reach out to me anytime. I'm always happy to speak to anyone about anything. So thank you for for reaching out in advance.

Thanks. And I am, Avi Friedman on Twitter and LinkedIn avi at avi dot net and avi at kintech dot com. And, thanks for listening, and Alyssa, thanks for joining. Thank you.

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About Network AF

Network AF is a journey of super-nerd proportions into the world of networking, cloud, and the internet. Avi Freedman, self-described internet plumber and podcast namesake, hosts top network engineering experts from around the world for in-depth, honest, and freewheeling banter on all-things-network — how-tos, best practices, biggest mistakes, war stories, hot takes, rants, and more.
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