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Buu Lam is a Community Evangelist at F5 supporting the growing DevCentral community. Beyond just the day to day work Buu does with F5, he’s a fantastic content creator and someone who embodies the value of customer and people first.

We cover a lot of what he has done in the transition from architect to SE to evangelist plus a deep dive into his video and audio rig! Make sure to subscribe to Buu’s channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtVH…

Plus check out what he and the team are doing on the F5 DevCentral channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtVH…

p.s. he has one of the best LinkedIn profiles ever because you can read it like a story. Seriously, check it out here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/buulam/

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Alright. Welcome everybody to the DiscoPosse Podcast. My name is Eric Wright. I’m going to be your host, and this is a fantastic conversation featuring Buu Lam. Buu is a community evangelist at F5 DevCentral. He’s also a budding YouTuber, somebody who’s taught me a lot about that side of the world. And just a fantastic human who I really enjoyed knowing professionally and now being able to spend time on the podcast so kind of really cool way in how we had been connected for a long time. You’re going to enjoy the show. I know I certainly had a really great time. Plus, he unpacks some of what he does in his equipment and really just approaching the technology community side and his own personal history that brought him there. Super cool. So, you’re really going to take this one. And I do have to of course, give a big thanks and a shout out to the folks that do make this podcast possible, including the amazing folks over at Veeam Software. And I say this because, hey, it’s that time of year – you’re doing your taxes, and you’re probably thinking, Am I protected? Well, make sure you’re protected in every side of the world, including your data protection, everything you need to cover your data center assets, your cloud assets, your SAAS assets. I guess they’re Saassets. Anyways, you wanted to check it out, go to vee.am/discoposse. It’s that simple. And you can check out everything they’ve got, whether it’s physical servers, cloud servers, even cloud native stuff. Hey, just because you got it running on Kubernetes doesn’t mean it’s safe. There’s a lot of persistent cloud native applications out there. As there should be.

All right, go check it out. So again, go to vee.am/discoposse and you can see what they’ve got to offer. I stand behind it because I legitimately use the platform and really, it’s truly saved my backside a bunch of times. Of course, while you’re saving your assets, make sure you enjoy just an absolutely stunning, devilishly good cup of coffee that you can get from the very own diabolicalcoffee.com. We got some really cool things. We got some shirts, we got mugs. We got fantastic coffee. And of course, we’ve got just building small business. I definitely recommend it. I’m also the co-owner. So, hey, let’s be honest, I can do full transparency there. Speaking of full transparency, let’s get right to the transparent goodness. This is Buu Lam from the DiscoPosse Podcast.

Hey, everyone, my name is Buu. I’m a community evangelist with F5 Dev Central, and you’re listening to the DiscoPosse Podcast.

The fun part, Buu, I’ve been taking in your content for a while, so it is a true honor and a pleasure to share a microphone with you for a podcast because we have a fun history, personal history that, thanks to the LinkedIn world, stayed connected. And I suddenly started seeing some really neat, dynamic, good video stuff coming up in my feed. And more and more, I saw kind of what you were doing. I then saw you doing videos about what you’re doing, and those videos got better. And I was like, Buu is on something. This is it. I love your progression to what you’ve been doing.

Thank you.

It’s cool. So I’m super happy to, we’re going to nerd out a bit on tech, which is natural for us to do. But I’m also excited about what you and the F5 team are doing. So for folks that are new to you, if you don’t mind, give a quick bio and an introduction about what you’re doing with F5.

Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, I got to say thanks for having me on because I’ve been watching your content as well, and it’s been really cool to see somebody deliver this type of content in this level of quality for such a long time as well. I think a lot of folks, I don’t call myself that unique right now, although maybe I am a little bit, but there’s a lot of people putting out really good quality content now. But dating back a couple of years, you know, you’ve been doing this for a while now, putting out great quality content. So I’m honored to be here. If I were to dial it back, maybe our history. I used to work at a reseller here in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I was a network security consultant there. And at that reseller I met a younger Eric Wright, who is a really great guy. And we got to look at a few things with your organization. And that was way back in the late 2000s at that point and early part of my career. So I finished school around 2004-2005 and got my first job in IT at that point. I learned a bunch of stuff, but that company ended up getting bought out by even bigger company. And then I moved on to do the whole consulting thing through a reseller. So I was doing that for a number of years. I was always in the network security space. And then in 2011, I moved to F5, which is where I am now. And my story at F5 is pretty basic, actually. I started as a sales engineer, and up until last year I was a sales engineer for ten years, working with the same sales rep, covering the same territory, almost exactly the same territory throughout those years, with a couple of spots of covering for turnover here and there for other territories as well. But I did that job for ten years covering F5 products, talking to a number of folks within British Columbia about F5 products. And just last year moved over to the DevCentral team, which is F5’s user community, which is really important to F5. We dedicate a number of folks to working on building that community relationship with everybody. And as part of that, we’ve been doing a lot of live streaming and video work.

But I was actually doing that prior to joining the team, and I was doing that for my customers. And I was doing that because of the pandemic. Everybody was at home. And I was like, okay, I got to keep engaged with my territory. And so we couldn’t have user groups anymore. We actually, at the start of the pandemic, had to cancel our user groups. So I was like, okay, well, let’s just do some of this stuff on video. And then, yeah, like you said, started making videos. And I looked back on my YouTube channel that I had started at that time, and I thought they were okay videos at the time. Now I look back, I’m like, cringing over time, keep putting out content, it gets better. And then eventually this role with the DevCentral community, they had a head count open after there was a bit of a shuffle there, and I was able to join the team and kind of do this at a level for the broader F5 just to help out with these efforts here. So that’s my background. If that’s enough info for you.

That’s awesome. And it’s funny that the progression to evangelist. I started to cheat the system when I came to then VM Turbo and became Turbonomic. I was working out on the West Coast for a few years. I moved back to Toronto, still working for the same firm, but I was blogging. And then through that piece of it, that was kind of the first layer of me just finding a problem, sharing a problem similar to what you’re doing now with that conversion of user group to a video format. And then in doing that, you’re like, oh, what if I just did more than just like, wait till I bumped into a problem to write about the problem and the solution? So I then started proactively building content and proactively reviewing stuff and getting involved. Next, you find yourself at an event and you’re sitting at a blogger table and you’re thinking about it more purposefully. And from there, then when I got the gig at Turbo, I got hired as the evangelist. And at the time, that was kind of now they call it developer advocacy or whatever, right? Like, we the idea was being not in sales, not in marketing, sort of spanning both the understanding of it, but really being in the customers world. In the seat of the consumer of your product. And having that honest outside voice to bring into it.

So that’s really what I was lucky enough to have that background in my blog. And it led me to that first gig again. So let’s map to what you’re doing and why I really dig the way you do this, Buu, is that you’ve always got the mind of the consumer, the user – like you’ve always been very human centric in your approach to technology, and your storytelling is really great. So this makes it easy to take in. And you’ve got a great delivery. So it’s a surprisingly rare thing to have both a creative mind and ability, as well as a strong technical capability. It is sort of a unicorn type of personality, which is good. And I’m glad that you’re finding a really great home in your role at F5, because it’s deserved. Because you’ve got a lot to bring, and it’s tough to find those gigs sometimes that gives you that freedom to be creative, but also you got to really get deep into the text sometimes.

Well, it is funny that you use the word unicorn. My boss would say that he has a team of unicorns, and we’re finding that out now because there’s an open head count on our team. We’ve got a couple of folks that are lined up and look like we’ll hopefully have someone pretty quick here. But yeah, to find somebody who wants to jump in technically, who is somebody who cares for community, that’s a huge part of it, like, really understanding the needs of others and being there to serve, as opposed to trying to serve yourself. And then also be someone who’s willing to jump in front of the camera at a moment’s notice and just be out there for everybody or somebody who can write and somebody who can produce videos as well. When I thought about it, I was like, I’m just kind of adding little bits and pieces onto my existing role. But now that we’re actually looking for that role, I’m like, oh, my goodness, how am we going to find this person like that? How many of these people exist? Because I thought there was a whole bunch of me, but it turns out there wasn’t.

You’ve broken the mold.

Right.

And it’s funny that I think even in today, like, literally today compared to what it was even two years ago, especially, like, pre-pandemic. YouTuber was a pejorative. Like, it was just like, you want to be a YouTuber? What does that even mean? Now you say “YouTuber”, and everybody can name multi-millionaire personalities. They may still kind of dislike that it exists, but they know it. It’s more name brand. Right. Back when we met, I remembered seeing this video of a guy who was someone with a camera was filming him, and he was going around and taking a bicycle, and he was stealing bicycles in New York City. And every one he would do, would start by getting on a bike and then just riding in a way and watching the reaction of people around it, and there’s no reaction. Right. Then he would get on one and he would, like, mess with the lock and then ride away. No reaction. There was one where there was, like, a cop standing right beside it, and then he was sitting there, like, with a Hacksaw sawing through this lock. And then somebody came over. The caption was, oh, finally someone is going to call me out. But instead the guy didn’t call him out. He said, you know, you should do you should be cutting the chain, not the lock. The chain is easier to cut. And so the guy basically held it for him while he cut it. Then he got on the bike and rode away. Well, that was Casey Neistat.

It’s hilarious.

It was like filmed on goodness knows what, like super early stage camera was. But he was doing these viral YouTube films before YouTube was even a thing. Like it was a brand new platform. And now I look years later and people are going to the Casey Neistat film class right now, which is a brand new thing that’s offered through monthly stuff like that and that influence. Now it’s there like we’ve got so much around us that has upped the game where if I don’t do a video that feels like it should go on YouTube and get paid for, I feel like I’m letting myself down.

Well, the hilarious thing is quite literally two and a half years ago at this point, I’ve told my kids, YouTube is not a career. Don’t get your hopes up that you are going to be on YouTube and actually make money doing this. That’s like a one in a billion shot to do anything like that. Lo and behold, pandemic hits. I’m on video all the time now and have pretty much set up a YouTube studio in my office. I’m like, I’m eating crow at this point. That’s okay. I will always admit when I’m wrong, even to my kids, especially to my kids. And so lesson learned. They saw the future before I did.

Well, I think the good lesson that we get out of it too, and I even tried it. I understand why when you say they’ve surveyed kids and like primary, elementary school kids and the top jobs used to be like doctor, fireman, whatever. Right. And then now the top job in almost every country they pulled in was YouTuber. But just like saying doctor, it’s no different. They see somebody that has a great earning potential. That’s why people became, when you’re a kid, you want to be a doctor because you think a doctor makes a bunch of money and they drive nice cars, not because they’re healing humans.

Right.

It’s really more about the importance of the job. So a YouTuber to that kid is an important thing. It has financial benefits. Never realizing that to get there is a grind.

Absolutely.

Even if you get a viral, if I got one video that went to a million views, the next video would go to 1000. Right. Nothing is guaranteed. You’ve got to grind it out for years and years. Even this podcast, this will be like a 216th episode. That’s 216 weeks of content. And I feel like I’m just figuring it out.

Your persistence is amazing to me to just keep pushing out content, especially like, for us in a similar space, looking for tech content, which isn’t, I’ll admit, it’s not always the most interesting thing to us. It’s interesting, and that’s why we do it. But to an audience, I think from an audience, how do I keep this interesting for them? How do I make this, maybe something hasn’t come out in weeks and nothing new like Hot and Shiny is out there to talk about? How do I keep putting out something that will interest them? And for you to do it for 216 weeks in a row is very commendable.

There was a gap in the middle where I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. Somewhere around. I think that’s why everybody I know, I got a lot of fantastic friends who are our peers in the industry. Right. And everybody had a podcast. And then about episode 11-15, the wheels come off the bus because it’s like easy just to grab your friends. We all have the same friends, so we all get on each other’s podcasts. It’s like having a party. But at some point, you have to actually seek out the subject. You have to seek out something new and be curious about it in that process. And that was really the differentiating thing was my sort of blind willingness to keep on pushing when there’s no listeners and no feedback. But I think, just like you, what we start to do is you translate what you do in true human interaction and learn to do it with a camera where even this, like, I’m actually looking into a lens. I’ve learned how to do this. Instead of looking down the screen so that you see the top of my forehead and me eyes pointing down, I have to learn to engage the camera. And so I do it for demos, and I started doing live streams. And your stuff is fantastic. I love your streams because it’s a different pace, it’s a different cadence.

But you keep the energy level like it flows. It’s not just as you can see, we’re going to go through you click on here, you hit F5, create content that you would like to sit down and watch. Maybe it sounds too just like, easy to say that, but that really is my approach to it. And again, to your credit, you’ve nailed that. And heck, I learned from you on a daily basis these days.

Thanks. One of the things I do, too, is think about the why. Why did I start this? Or why do I keep doing this? And my why at the start of the pandemic was maybe it wasn’t true, but I thought, you know what? My customers, they’re missing out on their user group, which was always a great time. Like, we would get as many people together. We’d sit down in a restaurant, and that was actually like a safe time for the customers. We’d be in meetings with customers. And yeah, we have a point to that meeting. We’re usually either catching up and then showing them our latest wares and seeing what they want to do. But the user group was like, oh, you’ve already bought the stuff. I don’t need to sell you anything now. So I get to talk to you in a safe place and say, okay, here’s the stuff that you bought. Here’s all the cool things that other people are doing with it. Let’s chat about that. And then hopefully that strengthens our relationship. And so that cancels, and we don’t have that anymore. And so I’m like, maybe I won’t go as far to say maybe they miss me, but maybe we’re missing this interaction now.

So how do we still maintain that interaction? So I always thought about that every week. My Monday morning ones, when I was doing it in territory, they were always like, ten minutes of actually talking about F5 stuff, maybe five minutes of talking about F5 stuff, maybe zero minutes of talking about F5 stuff. And otherwise it was like me and Daryl catching up on our weekends, because that’s usually something that we would do. Actually, every Monday morning, we just kind of chat about how our weekends went. So we chat about our weekends. We usually have a guest on, chat about what they’re up to. And then we’d actually just bring up current events, and they might be technology related, but not necessarily F5 related. And it was just like chat with folks. We just kept doing that, and it’s just trying to stay connected with folks and kind of left the business stuff to actual meetings. But that kept me going for a while.

I think the really good thing, especially when you look at that advocacy role and Evangelism role, it’s genuinely about being a peer to the people who are using products. Listening to them and giving them, like you said, a safe place where they can share ups and downs. And quite often you’d have, like, two peers in our group who would be like, We’ve got this weird thing we’re trying to do. We’ve got, like, a multi site configuration, and I’ve got this weird Edge site, and I don’t know what to do. They’re like, oh, yeah, we have the same thing. We’ve got one place that’s up, we’ve got one remote site that’s way out of the way. And this is the gear we use. This is our configuration. And you’re like, oh, Holy Moly. Like, they’re educating each other through real experience. And that’s so much more genuine than even read the manual or even a blog sometimes. Because quite often we have to create scenarios that will let us tell a story. And I do my best to try and always make sure it’s a realistic scenario. But every once in a while, you’re talking about a feature that no one’s actually used in real life, and you’re trying to be this is a really cool thing we can do and no one’s done it. But please tell us if it works.

But we made it so you can do it.

It’s like I would say, show me a successful spanning tree implementation and I’ll show you a network that went down on the weekend because it never goes right. It’s always the second run that that works.

Yeah, for sure. One of the recent things I did was document building my Intel Nuck ESX server, and it has nothing to do with F5 stuff. I’m like, hey, somebody’s going to do this at home. My scenario was that I have this old lab gear, ten years old now at this point. 4 years worth of lab gear that is super loud, consuming so much power, I’m sure. And like, okay, I got to consolidate this down. Took six months to get an intel knock with chip shortages, supply chain issues and whatnot. So I got the thing. I’m like, okay, I could install this in, like, an hour and be done. Or I could spend a week documenting this whole thing and putting together all the steps and doing a write up and stuff. And it’s going to benefit the community. It’s not part of F5, but it’s going to benefit the community. So I’m going to do that. And luckily, my boss gives us the freedom to say, you know what, if it’s going to benefit the users, then just do it. It doesn’t have to be about F5 stuff necessarily. If it’s going to help them, it’ll help us eventually.

Yeah, that’s been done.

As a management team. That’s a really good insight into the value that you can bring by sharing non-product knowledge. Because really what you’re creating is we always talk about this, like the trusted advisor, which is what such a loaded overuse. It’s like saying, you’re customer centric. Of course you’re customer-centric, everybody’s customer-centric. Yeah. But this idea of the trusted advisor, if all you do is go in and pitch the current availability of the product and the features that you’ve got coming up, that’s not really what you’re doing. By creating a listening space, by creating a collaborative relationship where you talk about things that are not related to your product, then what happens is they get that build up of trust and they’re like, yeah, Buu helped me out with this other thing. It was like, that’s really cool. I mean, I can’t dozens of times, probably hundreds at this point, I’ve ended up talking with people about, like, weird VMware configurations and OpenStack stuff and all these completely non product thing. But then when it suddenly comes up and they’re like, oh, actually, I got a quick question about your product. And now they’re free to ask.

They’re directing the conversation and they trust my answer because they know I actually kind of know what I’m doing. I ran a real environment so they build up that trust with you. And the same thing for your side, right? You design stuff at scale and they don’t see that sometimes. When you just come in, you’re like, oh, yeah, I’m an SE for F5. You’re like, But I’ve got ten years designing at scale systems. You don’t always get a chance to share that story, but when you do, then they’re like, oh, yeah, Buu is pretty cool. He knows what he’s doing.

You know what one thing I think about too, is? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of friends in technology. Like my personal friends before I ever got into IT, I have like one friend. Well, I mean, I used to work with them, so that’s how we’re connected through technology. But otherwise I don’t have friends in the IT space. And working at a vendor for a sales engineer, everybody’s your customer, too. And so my technology friends actually end up being their form through my customer relationships and many of my previous customers from before. I have a whole bunch of them that are actually personal friends now, but I think about it that way too. I’m like these people I’m building these relationships with. I don’t want to make them empty relationships. And I don’t have technology friends outside of work. So I’m going to make technology friends through all the people I get to connect with now. So that’s been a really cool part of community.

When you’ve got really cool stuff. So you and the team just came off of F5 Velocity. Nothing worse than somebody misses the name. And it was like Announcements galore, which is like my favorite time of year, right? It’s like you come off of company kick off and then you’ve got lots of product and community announcements. So you must be in like relieved now. You probably have the last twelve weeks were loaded with prep work. How does it feel now to be on the other side of that?

It’s a breath of fresh air. More than twelve weeks. Like, we made this acquisition of a company called Voltera just over a year ago at this point. And with F5 we often historically, when we make an acquisition, we’re a little bit quiet about it up front because we try to get a lot of integration stuff done first before we present something to a customer. And I think part of that reason is because F5 has been such a solid brand for what our foundational business is. We’re known for uptime and reliability. And so for us to take in a company and just shoot it out the door and say, hey, you guys start using this stuff, we got to slow things down a little bit because people trust us and we can’t break that trust. And so for months and months and months now, there’s a bunch of stuff that’s being worked on that I knew about, that I’ve been testing, getting trained up on and whatnot. And so all of this is sitting under your hat for months, and you can’t wait to tell people about it. And so, yes, when the 15th came around and all the press releases came out and all the stuff that now that I report into marketing now, even though I don’t consider myself a marketer, but so many people on our broader marketing team, we’re working really hard on getting everything ready.

And then to just kind of see 08:00 a.m. Pacific time, 08:00 A.m., everything just dropped. And it was kind of go go. As far as all the news and announcements, it was just like, this is awesome. It’s out there. Now I get to talk about it. The real work actually begins now. All this prep work happening now, the real work begins. But yeah, it’s been really exciting to drop new products. That Volterra stuff has become F5 distributed cloud. And so we’re able to kind of venture off into a new space for F5, where we were traditionally either in a data center or in a cloud data center. And now we can actually run compute in our data centers now that are spread out around the world. We can take those resources and we can run what’s called a customer edge, and we can run that into whatever their data centers might be or an intel knock, if you will. And then the first platform that we’ve got or the first service on that platform is a web service, which is Web application API protection, kind of the evolution of a Waft service. So that came out as well, which F5 has always had a strong pedigree in that space to deliver this on the new platform, tons of really great stuff that we’re able to share with everybody.

And then on top of that, being part of the community team, when I joined the community team, the biggest thing that we were working on was actually a new community platform as well. We moved on to kind of a best in breed community platform where everybody can get great rich interaction on there. And that was just consuming a lot of our time as well. Mainly my coworker leaf was just heads down, banging away at that, and he got it done in a big way and really delivered on a fantastic platform. And so that was being announced this week as well, which was a big relief for us to get to share that as well. So, yeah, this week was a lot of stuff just coming to a head. And on top of that, getting to interact with our customers because it was a virtual event. But we created lots of ways for customers to still get peer to peer and also kind of casual interaction with the Five folks as well. And so we were doing a lot of that office hours and whatnot. And yeah, it’s Friday now. Everything was kind of buttoned up yesterday and yeah, we’re all pretty relieved. But now the real work begins now.

Two things that are important. Number one, I always laugh at the joys of choosing acronyms that are going to line up. And whenever I think of Web API protection, Cardi B wrecked that acronym for us. There’s so many acronyms that we end up having to toss around. But functionally, it’s really really slick what you’re doing. And the idea of edge implementations again, sometimes an overloaded phrase. We talk about edge, but we’re seeing real implementations where real compute power that’s moving into that edge tier, and it’s finally accessible and it’s common as far as deployment patterns. It’s no longer the experimental big places with these massive diverse networks, you can see like everyday mid market, even SMBs have the opportunity to use this stuff and it’s easily accessible versus it seemed experimental probably not too many years ago.

Yeah. I mean, you’re probably seeing a lot of this as well. And especially if I don’t know how much you’re part of the IBM side of IBM and the Red Hat side of IBM. But like OpenShift, Kubernetes, those types of workloads now have enabled this huge expansion into those types of architectures now. So it’s really cool to see.  It’s like, even in that respect, all those architectures kind of came to a head. They kind of have met at this point now where we have modern application architecture and we have edge infrastructure architectures, and now we’re going to see the value of that over the next few years.

For sure. Yeah. It’s funny because I remember VMware a couple of years ago, they started to talk about obviously we’ve got Vsphere on NUC. So like MicroPC implementations. And it was always sort of seemingly limited because of memory limitations on the hardware stack and the massive footprint that a traditional little VMware data center, virtual data center would run. And then they talked about moving it down to a Raspberry Pi. And there was this weird moment where I saw the split in people who saw the future versus people who were thinking, I’ve been a VMware admin for a long time. They said, what kind of a VM can you run on a Raspberry Pi? Because there’s not enough memory to run a good sized VM. That’s because there won’t be VMs in this world. But what they’re showing is that the underlay that they can manage. Right. And that’s what Red Hat does with satellites. So it’s like just poke these endpoints all over the place. They run Kubernetes, they run OpenShift and then just use satellite to manage them all. Very simple, lightweight phone home stuff. But now you can run it. We used to joke about how you’re going to run an OS on a router. Like, no, you’re not. OS are huge. Not anymore.

Yeah, it’s super neat to see.

What’s the thing that kind of really made you jump up when you saw it coming that you now can share. Obviously, the community platform is huge because the interactivity is neat. But on the product side, is there something where you just want to take every customer and say, you got to check this out?

Yeah, well, definitely for the web application API protection stuff is that, I don’t expect you to have configured an F5 waft before. But let’s just say sometimes you have to go through a bit of training in order to get everything kind of dialed in properly on that. And credit to my customers before. Like, I had so many customers who put in the effort to do that, to learn the platform and to get really good at configuring their waft and did it well. But it was an investment in time to go learn what all the buttons and knobs were, to be able to turn on the different protections, to tune it for their applications, to work with the application teams, to actually learn or get a swagger file, get all the APIs if the application team even documented or created swagger file in the first place. And so all that work is like nobody’s going to be out of a job, but your job is going to become a whole lot easier operationally and it’s going to become more strategic than it is operational now.  Waff admins are going to move to something like this and be able to spend their time focused on do I have all the policies in place now that I’ve got protection upfront that I can configure really quickly?

Now let’s spread that out. Now, let’s get more applications under this because it’s easy to do. Everybody can trust it. It’s easy to architect into the application. It’s all automatable so we can make it part of the CI/CD pipeline now so that the application developers aren’t kind of reacting after something has been deployed. Maybe they can start testing this out behind there during development phase. So, yeah, I’m really excited to see this just move at such a greater pace than it was before. Sometimes we would sell a waft to a customer and we’d revisit in six months and they’d have maybe they’d have it enabled, but not in blocking mode. Maybe a year later they’d have it in blocking mode. Now people are going to be that much further along in that journey.

It’s interesting because how do you develop a user experience flow when there’s very few users who are ready for that type of implementation? So to the credit of the team, it’s like getting out there, spending the effort, letting people try it out, learning from how they’re using it. It’s often that whole thing of customers don’t ask you how your product works. They tell you how your product works. I’ve got engineers all the time and they’ll say, like, I don’t understand, like no one’s using this. Like, if you put in analytics on the platform, they’re like, I don’t understand why they don’t use this flow or the screen or this wizard. I’m like, because that’s not how they use the product. Ask them how they use the product and then they go, oh, okay. So the wizard should emulate the active implementation, not how you believe the product should be consumed. And it’s tough, especially with the complexity of doing that kind of API interactivity. Or like I said, on the back end, sometimes the developers don’t even think about self documenting APIs. If it isn’t self documenting, it isn’t getting made. Right.

Those are my favorite meetings too, was to bring a product manager out to speak with customers. And it was awesome because we could put the product manager in front of the customer. Like, see, that’s what they’re saying. I’m not just parroting lies to you. Like, they’re actually saying that they use it in this way. So hopefully this kind of helps and it has every single time, it’s always able to help shape the product. So for any folks out there who has a vendor who wants to bring a product manager to come see you, please take those meetings for the benefit of your product, because that shapes how the product comes out.

If you think organizationally, the one thing I wish we had was as an SE, you are a quota carrying person for the company. So you’ve got different commitments. You obviously, there’s greater upside opportunity in doing that. You also, you’re better at it in that you are really thinking true customer value and customer relationship. But some people don’t. They just think, I got to nail my quota at this quarter. But then on the back end, so in the developer advocacy and in the product management, there’s no quota attached. But I almost think, like, a customer meeting should be we should have quotas of true customer interactions as part of it to make sure that you’re out there and listening and learning.

Yeah, it’s an interesting thing to try to measure, actually, that’s something that we have been discussing internally. How do you measure the effectiveness of community? And there have been attempts at doing that. One company that we work with has a metric that takes a whole bunch of stuff off of our platform to give us an idea. But that’s just based off of the platform, really. For me, when I was a sales engineer for ten years, we always looked at it from a long term perspective. Like, you see sales reps and SEs that kind of bounce around different gigs. Maybe they spent two years here or three years here and they go from place to place. We were never like that for us. Yes, we have a quota and we’re trying to make commission, but at the same time, I will 100%, ten out of ten times I will value a customer relationship and my reputation and my brand over what F5 is trying to sell. Like, if there’s something that is going to damage my relationship with that customer, it’s not worth it for me because I’d have to look them in the face and say – you know what, that product that you bought there, we sold it to you because there was some sort of bonus or something for selling that. It feels terrible to do something like that. And I know I’m not saying that every vendor out there is slimy and is going to do stuff like that. There’s lots of great folks that have great reputation just like we did as well. But there are a couple out there that are going to try to do things that only benefit them, and that’s just not the best way to do business, in my opinion.

Yeah, for sure. And especially coming from the consumer side, I had a very different lens when it came to going to my team and saying, hey, this is how you should approach the situation. And I would sit on sales calls, and it was funny you mentioned my favorite phrase that I used a lot earlier is like, hey, look, I’m not in marketing. I was working for the marketing team. But my easy one on the calls was always like, hey, I’m not in sales. Like, if you buy this, if you buy $8 million worth of this, I get exactly the same paycheck next month. So I’m not vested in the success other than I want the company to do well. But my goal is to make sure you’re having a good experience and you’re actually getting value out of what we’re doing. So it gives them a bit of a disarming thing where they say like, oh, okay. So if Eric’s saying something, he most likely is genuine in his belief in it, versus I got a Spiff that’s making sure that I can buy my kids an extra motorized car this quarter because I got a bonus.

Yeah, exactly. Nice to be out of that space. At this point. We weren’t always out there just trying to make our quota and sell the spiffs. But at the same time, you have this number that is very daunting every quarter to hit. Moving on to not having that number has been nice and truly get to say, you know what? We’re just here to interact with the community and tell you about things that you can do with your product and help you out.

Yeah, certainly. I have an incredible respect for folks that do have to, as they call it, carry a bag. Right. That actually are quota carrying reps, sales engineers and systems engineers, and whatever the title is, the responsibility is to carefully land the line between customer happiness and family and wealth happiness at the same time. So I’ve always said I enjoy being on a call when it goes well and it turns into a deal. But boy, do I ever not want the responsibility to create that? It’s a big difference versus just being there when it happens, actually creating that business, it’s a huge responsibility.

Well, and one more thing to add to that is also shareholder expectations as well. And so I think about it this way. Like every quarter our numbers get reported. That revenue number that directly maps to the number that I brought in, I would bring in for the company as well. So you’re also serving the shareholders, which in a roundabout way, if you’re investing in your 401K or your RRSPs and you probably have an index, you’re probably investing in tech companies anyways. And so there’s this weird loop of like, hey, I have an interest in your company doing well as well, just kind of indirectly, because my retirement is actually based on tech stock.

Yeah, it is funny, especially that responsibility, too, is for the company layer, because you hit a great number, you have a great year or a great quarter. Well, guess what happens to that number next quarter, right? It goes up and there’s never a quota where you’re like, you know what? You did 4 million last year. Why don’t you do three and a half this year? Once you just dial it back, always four and a half, 5 million, whatever you do, then there’s the stretch goal, and there’s a mentality and a capability that’s attached to that role and that personality. Remember when there was like a real estate boom? I worked in an insurance, I worked in tech at an insurance company. And a bunch of my help desk reps all left, literally like 5 out of 15 help desk reps all quit because they took that like three weeks to get your real estate license course. But this was in like ’99. All you had to do was get someone to say, hey, I’ll let you represent me. By the time you’re signing the Inc on the MLS, it was sold. They didn’t have to market.

They didn’t have to advertise. They didn’t have to hold an open house. Houses sold themselves. So everybody got into real estate. And then in 2001, they were all going, hey, you guys still need any help with those people? Because they realized they weren’t salespeople. They were just standing beside the sale. Really in the end.

A little bit like that now.

Yeah. Things about especially goodness gracious, BC Vancouver. I remember buying. So I bought a condo in October of 2008. Which everybody would tell you was the dumbest thing you could ever have done. But I was lucky in that I worked in a financial services firm, and I had a pretty good insight into how I believed we were at the bottom. And I was both knowledgeable and lucky, and it worked out to be right. But real estate in the Vancouver area especially is punitively expensive. So the prices were coming down, and I was like, all right, I’m going to lock this one in and I hope it stays and it stayed flat for quite a while. But then it did go back up, which is kind of nice.

Yeah. Wild times there.

And you’re surrounded by water, mountains, bears, and just pure unusable real estate. So there’s nowhere to go but vertical or into the mountains. And it’s really amazing to think there’s no wonder the prices are going up because there’s no choice. Although now they’ve got this thing about the foreign real estate tax and occupancy limitations. So I think that traditionally there’s a strong amount of outside investment that was coming in into Vancouver, especially downtown, that all of a sudden they’re like, wait a minute, we’re going to start charging you annual taxes because you’re not living here. Then those investments started to dry up.

Yeah. Although if you think about it, it’s a safe spot for them to put their money. And if the city is going to charge you 2%, but the asset is rising 25% year on year, then you can have your 2%. I’ll take the other 20%.

Go ahead and take it. Now, the other thing I said when we talk about, hey, I’m not in marketing, right? And I remembered saying this to we had done an event and I went to VM World and it was kind of like, this is my backyard, right? I’m surrounded by my nerd friends and I was a blogger. So it was like people at one point they asked me like, are you from San Francisco? Because, you know, a lot of people here. I’m like, no, we’re like Carney’s. We go from town to town. It’s just the VM world is my friends. Just so happens they’re all here. But at one point, I remember talking to my chief marketing officer and she was amazing. Gita was somebody who taught me so much. And I said something about how I get kind of trusted in these conversations because I get to say like, hey, I’m not in marketing. And she’s like, hey. No, no, it’s not a bad thing. But to the technologist who’s going to talk with me, they want to know I’m a fellow technologist. And even in her reaction remind me, I’m like, oh, yeah, it is a weird thing when I work for marketing, but I’m not in marketing. And I learned very quickly kind of the respect of that knowledge that my team brought to what they do and that I was really on that train just helping in another area. But like that, recognizing the skill of that marketing team, what they do, I started to dig in and community and stuff like this. So I’m curious Buu, your experience as you made that transition, what was your path to kind of getting familiar with what they do on a day to day basis?

Yeah. I still feel like I don’t know what half of my broader marketing team does. And I’m slowly learning because I’ll book 15 minutes. We can’t meet in person, so I’ll do a virtual coffee with them and just kind of get an idea of what they do. But it has been interesting that in sales we kind of expected, hey, a product comes out, there’s all these materials and things that are all prepped for it. So now I actually see how the sausage is made, and I know the person that actually made that document that you use, that made that reference architecture that shaped how the product is actually positioned in the market. Because they can do a whole bunch of stuff, but we want it to you know, we think we have the best angle if we kind of take this route with the product. So it has been interesting to look at it from this perspective, and I really appreciate that so many of my broader teammates in marketing really value my opinion on lots of stuff as well when it comes to what the stuff is doing out in the real world, if you will. And that’s been fun to be able to contribute back to them.

But also I kind of feel like I actually get to give back to my former teammates in the form of being their advocate and getting that message across. There’s lots of other people that do that as well. I’m not taking away from anybody. There’s lots of people in marketing who are able to kind of feed in from that side, but I’m just an extra voice that’s able to put in on that. But it has been, I’ve cleared up some misconceptions on the marketing side as to what they think about sales and on the sales side as well, cleared up some misconceptions of what they think about marketing. I would say there’s far more people that move from marketing to sales, it seems like, than from sales to marketing. And so I’m hopefully filling in some of that gap there. But yeah, it’s been quite a change to have these teammates.

I’ve talked to a few people and coached a couple of people who’ve made your similar transition. And like I said, there’s a financial impact. We don’t want to say that’s the reason we do what we do. But you are moving to a point where if you have a great year, it will look the same as if you have a moderate year. But in a point where you have commission in addition to salary, you could get attached to a monstrous deal and you get a potentially life changing level of income increase over time in those situations. And so to take that off the table, a really strong somebody like you who could do and did do very well, obviously in the duration you sat in sales engineering, for you to step back and say, hey, I’m cool with this. It shows how committed you are to that role, and it’s not the money that kept you on either side. It’s like I did this company. I dig the customer experience. I want to bring those two things together. I got a big respect for being able to do that.

Yeah. You know what, I’ve gotten into these. I was on another podcast a few months back, actually, and we got into this conversation and I’d been an SE for ten years and we had many successful years. And I would give the advice to any SE – don’t blow all your money. Invest your money wisely. If you happen to live in a place like Vancouver and invest in real estate, that’s what I did. And later on, when the time comes, you don’t have to do things necessarily for the money. And you can do things because you have a passion for it and want to pursue it. And hopefully I’ve seen folks who get their first gig as an SE and they go lease a big BMW right away because they’ve got some sort of compensation plan for a vehicle or whatever it might be. And then, hey, you know what? That lease, it’s going to feel a lot longer than it is when you’re going through that. And if you have some pretty bad years, you’re still stuck with that, stuck with that car. So, yeah, if I can give any advice to an SE that might be listening to this is don’t blow all your paychecks.

Yeah. Don’t let your lifestyle adjust to your current income because things can switch

Absolutely.

Now on the creator side, as I’ve learned too, when somebody starts to do something, it’s generally they’ve dabbled. Right. And the one thing I did discover once I saw your content you were doing on LinkedIn, and I really liked the style you were doing. And I’ve seen the adaptation. It’s funny even, some of your more recent have gone from a video to a Vlog. You really have done the story setting, you’re doing J cuts. You’re doing stuff that’s very specific to a true filmmaker storytelling style. And then when I did a quick look a few months back, I was like, oh, I’ve got to find the rest of your YouTube videos. I found another Buu Lam channel featuring a whole bunch of really cool stuff about cycling. And I was like, oh, Buu has been at this for a while in this side of it. And now you’re coming up on the other side. So what brought you to initially want to strap a camera on something and then tell a story?

You know what, the funny thing is that if you kind of look back at the dates my personal YouTube channel was actually, I don’t want to disappoint my followers over on the personal channel, but that was totally an experiment. And you can kind of tell if you look at the earliest videos on there. I was trying to figure out what kind of stories can I tell on here? And I hit a mountain biking, actually, if folks want to laugh. I made something videos about my air fryer. I was pretty excited about my air fryer, actually. The gym I go to, there’s a bunch of folks who had picked up air fryers. It made meal prep super easy. So I was like, I got to get an air fryer, too. Got an air fryer. I was trying to think of, hey, what kind of video can I make to try to experiment with creating something? And I was like, I just got this air fryer. I’ll make a video air frying, and it hit really big on YouTube. And that’s how I started to learn about the algorithm and nailing in on certain subjects and stuff and kind of editing so that people don’t get too bored on the videos as well.

That subject wasn’t really of interest to me, so it didn’t really last very long. I did one other one, and that one did well as far as views went as well. And then I transitioned to mountain biking. I just got a mountain bike. And both of my sons were getting into mountain biking as well. I got this new bike, so let me make a video about a bike. It’s about a product so I can show that off. And then that video did really well. And so I did another video about my son’s mountain bike. That video did really well. And like, okay, I guess I’ll just do these mountain bike videos. And so I just started doing them, and then was able to incorporate story to them, looking at places that we’re going with them and things that we’re discovering because we’re totally new to mountain biking. I have no place, no way I should be calling myself a mountain bike influencer by any means. However, it was just fun seeing people interact with me on there and kind of trust what I was saying when I was actually just discovering things as I went along.

But that’s the origin of that channel and trying to learn it. And you’ll actually notice, like, I got to a point where I hit my goal was, what would it take to actually make a YouTube channel that could make money? And everything that I read was like, oh, it’s going to take two years to do this. You’re going to have to make a video every week or two videos a week, and then you’re going to get to that point. And I was like, okay, let’s just figure this out. Is it going to happen like that? And then I kind of figured out, okay, if I make a video kind of like this, a lot of people watch it, and that increases my subscriber base. So I just did it over and over and over again. And you’ll notice I kind of hit about 1000 subscribers. And then it started to slow down because then I kind of hit my goal. And then at that point, I was like, okay, now I can take everything I learned and then just transition that to work and then start doing that from a work perspective. But before that, I mean, I would just tinker around with cameras and stuff anyways, not full blown cameras, but just like my phone, and then take a video of the kids, but try to make a little bit more interesting, add some music to it.

Nothing too crazy or anything like that. And the kids enjoyed that. They like watching that. My kids would make videos as well, so that would be cool. I could just hand over footage to them. And my oldest really loves making videos, so he can work on that kind of stuff. And so, yeah, I just kind of started from home videos documenting what the kids are doing. And then we have nice memories for family videos and then kind of progressing from there to, hey, I’m making videos for my customers because we can’t do user groups. Let’s do that. And then kind of taking a bit of a detour and saying, okay, the YouTube thing could grow. So let’s learn the YouTube stuff, algorithms and how to make videos on there, and then kind of come back to work and say, okay, I’ve learned all this stuff now I can apply it to work and then work on developing this for customers now.

And this is the interesting thing of, like, you generally have to take in a lot of knowledge. Like, you’re learning about the algorithm, you’re watching other successful creators, who did you kind of watch what’s in your subscription list as far as people that you watch regularly?

You know what it’s like all people from Toronto. It’s like Peter McKinnon, Maddie, Chris Howe, Lizzie Pierce, guy that does all the camera reviews undone. Like those ones I could fill with the stuff that they release. I could fill a week’s worth of utilities.

There’s no shortage of content. It just by those creators alone, right?

Yeah. Then there’s a few other ones. There’s a guy named Potato Jet who I don’t even watch his camera videos anymore. He has, like, a Vlog channel, and he’s just such a funny, hyper guy. So I like just watching him. And then I like watching Casey Neistat. You mentioned Casey Neistat. I like watching him for, like, story composition and how he weaves things together in such a way that it just feels like he’s just documenting what’s happening. But you can tell from the shots that he sets up. You had to have set up that shot and thought about it and rehearsed it, or maybe not rehearsed it, but it’s ready to go to do that. So he’s super clever, and I like watching that and kind of now that I watch it from the lens of reverse engineering, it’s interesting to see.

Yeah, I forget which one it was. It was one of the videos he did about two weeks ago. Three weeks ago. And I was like, there’s a man who’s just watching a little nice stat. Like, it was funny. You had the nice, sort of low beats intro. And like, I’d have stuff that I’ve had to learn. I had no idea what any of this stuff even mean. I bought a camera, and I’m an idiot. So I purposefully bought a camera that’s really, like, manual. I wanted to somehow make it hard on myself so that I would have to figure it out. And I’m also a little bit different. So I thought, let me go. My wife has Nikon gear, and so she has this hardened rule. She says, Are you a photographer or do you have cannons? She jokes all the time that she’s like, no Canon allowed in our house. We’re a Nikon family. My father in law is a Nikon user. So I’m like, I wanted to get into videography, though, not photography. And so, like, Nikon, all I read is about is overheating and maybe they don’t do good 4K and a bunch of different stuff.

So I thought, it’s basically Sony. And she says, like, Why don’t you look there’s this other Blackmagic is another option. And so I was like, Sony and Black Magic. I went out to Twitter poll, and I was like, hey, what should I do? And everybody was like, definitely go with the Sony. I was like, oh, man, I’m going to be counterculture and get the manual camera. So I went with a Black Magic Pocket 4K. So Pocket 4K. Super fun. Great, but no stabilization. So that’s kind of a drag. No auto focus. Also kind of a drag. But for the shots that I’m doing, I like manual pull focus. I like that kind of thing. If I were to get a second camera, I probably may add a Sony to the group if I were to get a second one, just because it would be fun to have a different style. But I really dig it. And then I got to thank you, Buu, because I just put it out Raw. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m, like, just messing with settings. I don’t know what an ISO is. I don’t know what any of the stuff.

So I just dial in what looks decent. And you poked a quick comment into one of the videos like, hey, looks like, are you recording in raw or whatever? Yeah, totally. That’s what I’m doing. There’s no luts, there’s no post editing. I’m just like recording publishing. And you reached out and we chatted on Twitter and said I was like. And you offered you like, hey, dude, let me send me some material. I’d love to take a try a color correction. And that spurred me to go, he’s right, I should learn this stuff. So I took a little extra time and learned about color grading, and still obviously no idea what I’m doing. But thanks to you, it got better. And this is like, so I’ve learned how to add a lot to the streaming camera because that’s the other problem. I would do post processing and it was fine. But the way the platform I use for the podcast, both of us are on here. So I can’t apply a lot to the video because it would screw up your video. So I was still basically shooting raw half the screen. So anyway, I went way deep for camera nerds on this one. But talk about your gear because I’d actually love to hear what kind of kit you’re using.

Yeah, my kit is pretty – I’m staring at it right now. That’s why I’m not looking at you. But I think my kit is done at this point. I wouldn’t call it dialed in, but I think I’m done because I don’t know what else I can add to it. Everybody asks me about the mic, which if you’re into mic, you probably all recognize the shirt SM7B from podcast, from Joe Rogan. And this goes into an audio interface called PreSonus io 24, which is like relatively new. It’s a smaller one. Presonus does really big high end gear and this is kind of like a nice one that can just sit on your desktop. And I use that for the audio delay. Actually, this goes into something called a cloud lifter. These mics are not powered and so it uses a cloud lifter to give it a bit of boost. And then that goes into it goes XLR from there into the cloud lifter, cloud lifter, XLR into the PreSonus and then it gets additional gain from there, but it also gets an audio delay from there. I have an ATM mini for my HDMI switcher.

It has audio delay in it, but I was having some issues with my ATM mini in that. I think it was overheating and actually shutting down randomly and so I couldn’t trust it anymore. I went down this path of trying to get off of there and ended up with this audio interface instead. I actually had a different one that didn’t have an audio delay and I should back up. For anybody who’s listening right now and wondering why this guy keeps talking about audio delay. It’s because people will find out if you were to get into more of a higher end camera, audio signals reach your computer faster than a video signal will, and so you need to compensate for that with a bit of delay. ATM mini has an audio delay function in it. So I could actually plug this mic through an XLR output into a three and a half mil Jack on the back and then take advantage of the audio delay. However, because of unreliability – unreliability to the point where I had to RM the thing and to pay shipping and stuff like that, I’m used to like it products or enterprise It products where it’s like that’s all part of your warranty, man. We’ll send you way bills, we’ll send you boxes and everything goes like, just send it to this dress. Like, okay, are you going to send me anything? No.

Make sure you fill the customers form, right?

Yeah. Fill out the custom forms. Make sure you put in your own padding into the box, and we’ll get you a replacement. So anyways, I still like my ATM mini, but I didn’t like the unreliability of it. My ATM mini has a USBC out for webcam input, but I actually use the HDMI out and go into a Cam Link 4K just because I find that the color depth is a little bit reduced. It’s compressed over the webcam out, and so it’s uncompressed if you go at the HDMI out into a Cam link. So I do that. So I have four inputs on there. I have this camera. I had a B Cam setup before when I would actually do, like, overhead shots if I was whiteboarding for a customer. I don’t really do that so much anymore. So I don’t have that connected anymore. And then I have my laptop has an HDMI out that goes into another input on there. And then I have a Raspberry Pi, and it’s not configured right now, but I had a Raspberry Pi that could actually play preloaded videos on there. And so some of the streams I was playing with this, like, adding in stuff through switching of the ATM, and I could do overlays, or I could just take over the video altogether.

I don’t do it so much anymore because it requires, like, setting everything up. I should also say I’ll get into my camera for a second. I didn’t know any of this. I learned all of this from two people, Robin and Eric, who I work with at F5, who are gear nerds far more than I am. And they got me started on this path, and then kind of got me started, and then they’re like, okay, you’re on your own now. And then I went and did all this other.

Like, giving the kids the first cigarette and just saying, Here you go, by the way. You’re going to feel weird tomorrow morning, but here’s a place where you can buy more.

First one is free. And then they’ve unleashed this whole thing on me. So getting to my camera, I have a Sony A 6400, and that’s on a 16 millimeter Sigma Prime lens. It’s a 1.4 prime lens on there. I have two cameras, actually. I have an A 6600 Sony a 66 600 as well, with a few different lenses. And then I have a teleprompter with a 7-inch field monitor hooked up to it. And so right now, the reason why I look into the camera is because I have the screen for you.

Nice.

So I’m actually looking at myself, and you both on the same screen on here.

And you know what? You just wrecked my weekend, dude. Because now I got to go set this kit up because I have the problem where I’ve got literally the laptop is sitting underneath my camera because of. Yeah, I used the field monitor and that was pretty good. And I’ve got a small prompter, but then the problem was it wouldn’t get the output. So I needed the whole screen. And I was like, now I know you’ve given me my solution for this, which is awesome.

Yeah, you can grab a field monitor. I would not recommend the one that I have, so I’m not going to name it because I got burning from it. So it’s on all day. And I’ve got like ghosting on the image, unfortunately. So I’m kind of disappointed. I don’t know. I’ll get another one eventually. It’s okay for doing this, but I was kind of disappointed that it did that on me. Yeah, I’ve got a big video light. Sorry, go ahead.

Yes, I say I was going to check. Now, your lighting is really, really nicely done. So what’s your lighting setup?

Yeah, I have the video light is a Godox SL60, so it’s not a super powerful light, but like, it’s almost on full blast right now. But it’s good enough for this setting. I’ve got a huge 48 inch dome attached to it, so that would be like the sun basically hitting me. It spread the light out so that’s why it’s kind of big and soft. I played with different sizes, but bigger is better. Bigger closer, but softer is better. Yeah. And then I’ve got a couple of LED panels back there. They have soft boxes on them as well. So it’s not like harsh light hitting the walls. And then I actually turn off my lights in my office. I have overhead lights, but I actually turn that off because then it throws everything off. And I actually kind of just like this moodier. Yeah.

It’s funny. I should double check because I’m going into overtime with you. Hopefully you’re okay. Just to show you an example of that’s, my backlighting that I’ve got is from these GBM. It’s like a five, six, five Ford or whatever. If you go on to Amazon and say, buy me the LED lighting, that’s what you get. And I’ve got one over top of me, which is it is a pretty hard, harsh light that is coming down. And that’s what I was thinking about is like softbox or something. Because for the backlight, it’s one thing because it’s not in the frame, but this one, it really does shine a bit bright. It’s not too bad. I can take some stuff in the post, but I’m learning. And then the other one, of course, is the fun part is when you take out, it’s amazing what a difference is once you actually take out the backlights, it’s like surprising. Just like little tiny things of putting the neon and how much it can change the way the background looks. I’ve always been surprised by a little bit here, a little bit there, you experiment and you get your space set up.

But once you dial it in and once you know it’s consistent, I practically can put, like, gaffer tape down. And I know where my tripod has got to get set up. It’s a standing desk, but I’ve got a drafting chair for it. This way I can stand if I want to, but generally I’m sitting more than I’m standing these days.

Yeah. When you talk about the little details, it’s funny how when you start working on this, I didn’t notice any of those details. And I’m like, why would people add these little bits and pieces here? I don’t notice it whatsoever. And then you start doing it and you’re like, oh, you want a little light back there? Could actually help out. A little splash of color. I don’t have anything in the background there because I just paralyzed by analysis. By paralysis. Like, I keep thinking about, oh, what do I want it to look like back there? And I have thought about it for months and still haven’t decided. I don’t want to commit to anything. And it’s still kind of blank back there. But yeah, all these little things that you don’t really think about until you start doing it.

I remember seeing somebody. They did a breakdown, and I forget who it was. So great folks to watch for this is Peter McKinnon obviously. Maddie Happy Teppo, his brother, his twin brother, which is hard. Make sure you have to look at the channel to figure out which one you’re watching. Although Maddie sounds Canadian, Teppo sounds finished. You can definitely tell that Maddie’s been in Canada for a long time. And as you said, Lizzie Pierce, she’s also really solid on tips. But I saw somebody and they talked about their background, and they’re like, I like the natural light look, but I also don’t like the inconsistency of natural light. So that the window reflection that you see back there, and you see the frame of a window. He says, just a second. And he turns it off, and it’s an LED light with a fake window frame in front of it to put it on the wall as if it was window light. I was like, you magnificent bastard. It looks like you’re in a beautifully lit room, but then you know it’s exactly the same every time, all times of day, which is kind of stuff again, you don’t think about until you’re doing it.

And you’re like, oh, naturally, it sucks.

And then it’s like, 01:00 A.m.. And you’re like, how did I get to the point in my life where I’ve spent 4 hours watching videos on lighting? Here we are.

Amen to that. But it’s good. And so, like I said, as far as what’s possible, I always tell people, and you said it before, but I look back at my first step. I was like, you almost think like, maybe I should take it down. But you’re like, no, I look at YouTubers, filmmakers, you still have their old stuff up there, right? You know, you see Mr. Beast in his bedroom on iPhone 4, counting saying PewDiePie 100,000 times. He doesn’t take that down because he’s going to do 26 million views on his next video. It’s like it’s part of what got you here. So I’m not aiming for 26 million views. I’d be happy if I got 2600 consistent views. But it’s part of the learning process, and I kind of respect people that leave it up.

Yeah, it’s paying respect to the process. I would say it’s almost like lying to people. Not a lot of people ever started amazing right away. Maybe some folks that went to school or something, and then the first thing that they published was a project that they worked really hard on. Maybe that was really good. But outside of that scenario, everybody went through this journey. So it’d be disingenuous to not show a journey to other folks as well. I’m sure everybody just respects that you put the time in, and if they want to do the same, then they could just follow the journey as well. And they can see all the little improvements you made every video.

Yeah. I once read about somebody last time like, how do you get that really cool, like slightly out of focus, virtual background. It’s easy. A $3,000 camera and a real background. That’s how. I don’t recommend this is the path to do it.

Yeah. But they’re like, software could do it. And you’re like, but it’s a little different. So spend the $3,000.

Yeah. How jv am I, I still make the mistake. I’ll have so many ones where I’m like, oh, you’ll do a video and you’re like this, and you’re like, dang it. You’re like, scrap that one. Especially with manual focus. There’s no leeway. And I’ve done them where I’m like, I’ve got focus assist on my field monitor, but I still have to literally like, there is an auto focus on the software. So if I tap a button, it will find it. But it’s not continuous autofocus. Sometimes because the background is pretty full, probably more than it should be. It sometimes grabs another thing, and all of a sudden it puts me in front of it instead of being the focal point. So I’ll make mistakes like that, but I don’t mind. And I think people like you and a lot of other folks that jump in, they’re like, hey, this is really cool and, like, really good constructive thing, like advice on how to do stuff, and we all learn from each other.

I guess that kind of brings us back around to talking about community. People are genuinely interested in helping out other people. And as long as you figure out ways to gather those people together, you get great things out of it.

Well, in the end, what really does button this up perfectly is that many years later,  here we are completely different origin for both of us. And we will do this again. Right. Because I believe in you, I trust you. And whatever your email address happens to be, I know that your integrity carries to wherever you go. And this learning process and this community, it transcends the vendor names. And also just even inside a vendor, technology evolves. Right? I was a VMware guy for a long time, but before that, I was the Microsoft PowerShell guy and then I was the OpenStack guy and then I was the Cloud guy and I’m the Kubernetes guy. I’m like, I’m the same guy.

Already here about the OpenStack stint that you did.

Yeah, it was like an emo phase. We all did that. But it is proof that in this industry, we all find each other again. And the fun part is you see the genuineness and what people do and what they bring to it. I will have obviously links to your channel and people should connect with you on LinkedIn and see the really great content you create. It’s been an honor to be on this side of the camera. And like I said, now I got to go Amazon out. I got to get my field monitor teleprompter cheap. This is fantastic. How did I not think of that before?

Well, I appreciate you having me on. For me, it’s an honor to be on here and I appreciate all the free content that you put out there that helps the community as well. And hopefully these conversations, hopefully mine provides some value to folks, but it wouldn’t be possible without a platform like yours to share it on. So I appreciate you.

Thank you very much. Yeah. And for folks, if they do want to get connected with you, I guess I said LinkedIn and what’s the best way if folks wanted to track you down, Buu?

Yeah, LinkedIn is a great one. I think I’m the one with the most amount of followers under the name Buu Lam. But if there is another Buu Lam out there that has more followers than me on LinkedIn, then I’m coming for them. Otherwise you can reach me on Twitter, which is @buulam, and then over on the DevCentral Community, which is now called community.f5.com. It used to be DevCentral.f5.com but we’ve renamed it to community to kind of help reflect what it really is. So, yeah, between those three or if you Google me, I’m pretty sure I’m one of the top search results on there. So no matter what, you should be able to find me.

The funny thing is it was about a year ago, I think I was going through and I found a bunch of old business cards because I finally moved all the rest of my gear from Toronto down to New Jersey and I had this old school and it’s like my Microsoft contacts from when I was at sunlight it was like all the stuff goes way back and I had your business card in my homeless business cards. So there’s like a handful of people I was like here’s somebody that someday down the road this dude’s smart, I’m going to have to learn from him. And it is funny that we do end up reconnecting through different ways but it’s really cool to see that. Yeah man, you’re doing neat stuff so there you go. Get involved in the community. This is where the fun is.

Very cool.

Awesome. Thanks, Buu!

Thank you.

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Julian wood is a Senior Developer Advocate for the Serverless Product Group at AWS.  We discuss lots of great stuff around the serverless platforms, transforming IT (yes Digital Transformation is real) and transitioning careers and methods from “traditional” Ops to new was of operating your environment.

Check out lots of AWS Serverless resources here at https://serverlessland.com 

Follow Julian on Twitter here:  https://twitter.com/julian_wood