Ep#84 F5 DevCentral from Black Hat to the Community

August 29, 2022

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Buu Lam Headshot

About the Guest

Buu Lam

I have developed the ability to present highly technical topics to any level of business; and I can do it in a meeting or on a stage, over audio or video, or through media produced myself.

For the majority of my career, I've had the fortune of working in direct-client facing roles where I get to experience technology use across a myriad of organizations: enterprises, government, financial services, high-tech, health care, service providers, hosting providers, web monsters – and everything in between. I have moved through engineering, architecture, sales and marketing roles.

I have been exposed to and am versed in a wide variety of technologies, protocols and product vendors. I incorporate this into my work through storytelling, community building, organic social growth, video content strategy and overall content production.

I also possess an entrepreneurial, growth mindset and exercise this through my own endeavours and exploration. Everything I learn from that, I then apply to my professional career.

Episode Summary

#jonmyerpodcast #jonmyer #f5devcentral #myermedia #podcast #podcasting

Buu Lam is no stranger when it comes to community involvement, including growing the F5 DevCentral Community. Buu just returned from the BlackHat Conference in Las Vegas and is still generating content. He sits down with us to talk about his career in sales to one of the largest technical communities in the industry.

We get to discuss his setup, content creating, and for some reason, we are talking about shoes.

Guest Links Blog - community.f5.com

Twitter - @buulam

LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/buulam

Interesting in learning more about Brand Relationships and Content Creating. Check out my podcast with Corey Quinn HERE!

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Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Guest: Buu

I was, uh, you know, talking about shoes and fitness level. And after RSA, I'd been to RSA, walked a ton of steps at RSA and realized, Hey, I gotta get new shoes. If I'm gonna be walking around with stuff on my back all day. Um, as opposed to I had some comfortable like van vans, basically type shoes, not, not quite vans. Um, and then for black hat, just didn't think about buying a shoe ahead of time and then wore the same shoes, which are comfortable normally, however, you know, not gonna do, uh, the, the 15,000 steps a day with 20 pounds on your back. And so this is putting that post out there on LinkedIn is my mark in the sand, my line in the sand saying I'm going to get shoes so that I'm comfortable during these events as opposed to, I had blisters at the end of the week.

Host: Jon

Joining me today is Buu lamb community evangelists for DevCentral, an F5 technical community. Now, today we're talking about not only community personal branding content and F5. How about you? Join me welcoming booth. Did a show. Buu. Thank you so much for joining me.

Guest: Buu

Thanks for having me on this is, uh, really exciting for me. I've I've watched your content for a while and was like, oh, I'd be love. I'd love to collaborate with you at some point. And so I'm super glad that you reached out.

Host: Jon

So that was totally weird because when I reached out to you're like, oh my God, of course I wanna do it. So I had an imposter syndrome. I'm like, wait a second. I watched your stuff. And you're like, you watch my stuff. And it's so weird how that works out. We're we're a big fan of each other.

Guest: Buu

It's like that Spider-Man meme where the Spider-Man's pointing at each other,

Host: Jon

Perhaps, uh, the three of them who is the real Spiderman.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. Yeah. Grab Eric for the third one.

Host: Jon

Oh, speaking of that, I don't wanna spoil out now, but I tend to come out Wednesday. We're doing a live stream with Eric. I'm actually going to a studio. We're sitting down having a whole bunch. You gotta check it out on the disco POI podcast. We are just gonna have a blast or planning, reinvent. So this is our test phases leading up to it.

Guest: Buu

Oh, very cool. Yeah. I would love to hear how that goes.

Host: Jon

Well, you'll, you'll watch it either live or you'll have to watch your recording, but let's get to ours a little bit. Let's talk about first. I wanna jump to black hat because we were talking about it just before, uh, kicking things off on the show you had that last week and now you're here on the podcast. So you're definitely drinking from the fire hose of getting back and forth. How was it?

Guest: Buu

It was really cool. It was, uh, it was amazing to see all those people getting together again. And especially like that week of Vegas is besides black hat and then Def con. And so you catch people at black hat, they're kind of in the middle of it. They haven't gone on to like day six or se, uh, six or seven or eight in Vegas at that point. So you still still catch people while they're, um, in a good mood and they, they're not, uh, super well. They, some of them are, you could see in the mornings, they're a little bit tired, but you know, it's not quite as quite like Def con where they're probably well into a full week at Vegas. And that's, that's never a good idea

Host: Jon

As much, much as people say, like Vegas, oh, you're there. You're having a great time. I'll tell you what and you and I live it firsthand. It's up early to bed, late editing content, putting together stuff, getting ready. And then you're doing two or three core recordings early morning to get it out on social. And it's just, it's, it's complete chaos. It's fun. We enjoy it. Or else we wouldn't do it. But I mean, isn't that what your typical day looks like?

Guest: Buu

Yeah, it's, it's a rush and you know what, I, one of the things that, uh, so I, I worked in sales for a long time, for 10 years at F5 and then moved to this role to be more dedicated to creating this content. And one of the things that I always tell people when they ask me, do you miss sales? And one of the things I miss is good, good or bad that end of quarter, rush of trying to get some stuff done and, and needing to, you know, there's deadlines and there's revenue to bring in and within a certain amount of time, um, your heart rate spikes at that time, and not quite the same, but black hat and doing these events is kind of like that. It's like, okay, we got the footage, let's get, you know, let's hit editing, let's get it.

Guest: Buu

So that it's all polished and ready to go to get published. And so you do have that little bit of a rush of, of working through that. The, the, the consequences of not hitting publish at a certain amount of time at, at a certain point is a little bit different from missing a huge PO that you were, you were promising to bring in for your sales manager, but at the same time, it's, it's still super fun. It's fun to, to do all that. But yeah, it is a lot of work. It's a lot of hours, uh, but I enjoy it. This is, uh, this is what I'm living for right now,

Host: Jon

Are those deadlines self-imposed because I'll give you my answer after you tell me, because I, I really feel sometimes they are, but you wanna make it on that specific time.

Guest: Buu

Yeah, it is definitely self-imposed. I think there is, there's a, a certain amount of timeliness to this kind of content when you're covering events. And so you want to get it out there when to be a part of that whole buzz and, and not kinda show up late to it. There's advantages to showing up late to it, because you could put in more time perhaps, and you can Polish that content even further and make it even look more special. Uh, but it's also self-imposed. But, uh, you know, I think for people who do self-imposed that kind of stuff that the, the goals and, and the timelines on themselves, I think part of that is just, you want the best, you want to have the best content. You want it to be released with everything else. And so you hold yourself to a higher standard. And, uh, and luckily the team that was with me, we all hold ourselves to that standard and we want the same thing. And so, so yeah, we, we impose it on ourselves, but, uh, luckily we're able to make it,

Host: Jon

I think I do the same thing when I'm at a conference and I do a quick podcast recording, like an improv one. Uh, as soon as I'm done, I'll go sit down at a table and I'll start editing and cut it up and get it right out and start uploading. And I'll walk around with either like my laptop and hand while it's uploading, so I can publish it immediately. I agree with you. There's a certain, you wanna get part of that Buzz's going around. So you wanna drop that content right away, why the buzz is happening because afterwards you might not get the same views, reaction and information out there to the audience. What were you guys doing at black hat? What was your whole goal?

Guest: Buu

Yeah, we were, um, having chats. So one of the things that I think about when doing these events is I kind of wanna honor the people that put on the event. So we have, uh, uh, our event staff or our event organization team, who actually, um, does all the coordination of the event and, and puts it on and figures out how it's logistically gonna work. And they put a ton of work into it. I've seen it first hand at this point. And so I want to honor them first and foremost, we're making a presence there. I want to honor the company itself, uh, you know, F5 puts in a lot of dollars to be able to, uh, show up to these events and to be able to interact with folks. So I wanna make sure honoring that, and then I want to honor everybody else that's involved.

Guest: Buu

So the people that are working in our booth and they're out there and they're interacting with customers and I wanna make sure, Hey, uh, whatever they're doing there, I wanna show that to the entire world. Um, and then I want to also talk to organizations that are affiliated with F5 and some of them aren't affiliated with F5 as well. Um, getting their message out there because a lot of them have joint solutions with F5 and, and black hat. And these events are time to show off that kind of stuff. Uh, and then I also, you know, the underlying story of that entire in entire, um, um, set of things that I'm trying to honor is just blackhead itself. Like, what are we there for? What are we talking about? What are the conversations that are happening? And, and I use the word conversations because this is a time where, Hey, you can, you can consume content, but these conferences are actual opportunities where people converse and have conversations. So I just want to take that cuz that's the unique part of it, those conversations, and then take that and share that with everybody else.

Host: Jon

I think more happens when you're in person at a conference, the conversations, the actionable items that follow an example, going to any of the summits or events that happen around the world. You could try to do as much as you can virtually, but you can run into 10 people at a conference and get 10 things accomplished and more progression than you can virtually. And I think that's what I value is not only talking to the folks there, but networking on, on a couple of things, I'm gonna switch gears and talk about your personal branding because I want to talk, how did you get into podcasting? How did you get into being an evangelist?

Guest: Buu

Yeah, that is so if I back up a little bit, I, I mentioned that I was in sales for 10 years. I was a solutions engineer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, covering British Columbia customers and a couple other parts of Canada as well. And, uh, you know, back in 2020, everything's going fine. And then all of a sudden everybody sent home. And one of the things that I cherished in my time as a solutions engineer was I got to organize the F5 users group in Vancouver. And I loved that, cuz that was a time where, Hey, everybody's here is a fan of F5. They're already customers. I don't have to sell you anything anymore. We can actually just gather as a group and just talk about how cool F5 is, which, which is a, a subject I love to talk about. And we can talk about the coolest things that my customers are doing with their F5 S and I can give them more knowledge and it's a really cool and safe setting.

Guest: Buu

And I love that. However, all of a sudden March, uh, yeah, it was March 20, 20 hits and then everybody sent home and I had a user group that was booked for, I believe it was June. And all of a sudden it was like, oh, we're start. We're already in the planning phase, the venue is booked. And all of a sudden we have to figure out that we figured out that we had to pull the plug on it. Now, what are we gonna do? Everybody's at home. Um, and, uh, and we're not gonna be able to communicate with the people that I, I really enjoy communicating with. And so first things, first people started spinning up these, uh, hap virtual happy hours. And so I was like, you know, me, me as a person, maybe I can start up one of those and, and have a chat with, uh, have a chat with folks. And I actually did that with a colleague of mine, Peter Scheffler. And the two of us started this virtual happy hour. And yeah, there was some alcohol consumed on there, but that was totally optional. You didn't have to do that, but that

Host: Jon

Was in your own home anyway. So it worked out

Guest: Buu

<laugh> absolutely. Yeah. It's not stuff that's hiding back here. Oh, I don't see anything <laugh> yeah. And that was a lot of fun. It allowed everybody to connect and, and we kind of took that and, and that was just of service. There was nothing that I wanted back from that. That was just, Hey, I just want to connect with folks. Everybody's feeling a little bit lonely right now. We can't go talk to each other. So let's do that at the same time in a parallel track is what are we gonna do with this user group? And so it really just evolved. I had this, this, uh, happy hour that I actually called Booz hour, uh, Peter and I decided that that was a pretty good name for it. And then when it came to the user group, it was like, okay, well, you know what, I'm already doing all this video stuff.

Guest: Buu

I'm on these happy hours all the time. Uh, I don't expect people to turn their video on during those happy hours. And so it could have been just me just on video, but oftentimes there was, we had upwards of 50 people that were joining them. Oh, nice. Just all chatting about, um, and then took that idea and then just turned it into more video content, but just more geared towards the things that we would talk about at our user group. And we did that weekly for a year. And so we would stream, we would have one live stream that was just, um, chatting, more casual type stuff, things that we would banter over, over a coffee or over a beer. And then we also had more of a technical focused one that I would run as well and just bring people, tips and tricks. And some of the experts that we would bring into town on behalf of F5, we would bring these experts from, uh, our broader team into town to talk about certain subjects.

Guest: Buu

Hey, I could bring those people to you and have those conversations. We'll just do them over video. So I did that over time. And as I was creating all that stuff, just kind of putting some branding around it so that people would have a regular expectation of here's the Monday thing that's gonna come up. Here's the Wednesday thing that's coming up. They're they look like this, they have a different look and feel, and I happen to be the host of it. You know, it's not all about me though. You know, I'm just there to get people introduced to the folks and, uh, that they need, uh, and the information that they need. But I, I just happen to be the face of it. And then kind of in that journey, the DevCentral team, which is F5's broader community, not just the local user group, they were also doing live streams. And then serendipity happens. They had a headcount open. It was like, oh, you do this and you do this. Well, why don't you just do this stuff on that team? And, and it made sense for me to pop over there and, and end my 10 years, uh, as a sales engineer, which was the funnest time of my life, but it was, uh, a good time to do something different

Host: Jon

Now for a quick interruption, a huge shout out to our friends beam for sponsoring this episode, being backup for AWS can easily protect all of your Amazon EC two RDS and VPC data. Wait a second. They can protect my VPC data too. Yep. That's right. Simplify AWS, backup and recovery while ensuring security and compliance. All right. Now, back to our episode, a sales engineer turned evangelist. Hmm. Somehow that's a nice fit because you bring in a, uh, you bring on all that knowledge that you have of the product and how to use it and how to fix things for customers. And really kind of bring out the best of them. Part of the stuff that happened during the pandemic is most of, you know, you were kind of thinking, oh man, this sucks. The good came out of it. You came into this role, it's like a calling to you because I would've never thought you were in sales, by the way, you don't come across as a salesperson come out as somebody who wants to share their knowledge a and out there and really build that community.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. That's the funny thing is people think that moving into a sales engineering role, we, we would call it solutions engineering at a five moving into that role. They think, oh, I don't want to be in sales. And, and, you know, I've, I've spoken to a few people in trying to get them to look at opportunities with F5. Um, and, and they're like, I don't wanna be in sales. And I'm like, I, I never really felt like I was in sales. I, to be honest, and I'm not gonna share this with a lot with a lot of people, I didn't know how much any of the stuff cost. I was just on there on whiteboards, drawing out the thing. Hey, if you wanna solve that problem that you're talking about, here's some things maybe it's not all of the F5 stuff, but here's some things that you can use from F5, if you wanna solve that problem.

Guest: Buu

And then kind of hand it over to the account manager. The account manager knows how much all that stuff costs and he can put together bill materials. And that allowed me, that freed me to just talk about technology and talk about how it would help people. And then the most rewarding thing was, you know, a couple months later and I go speak with the customer and follow up with them. And they're like that solved the problem. And we can move on the business have, has moved forward and we're able to do X amount of things more efficiently now, or I have all these things that I can do now, or, or, or really that customer turned into the hero at their company. And that's, that's super rewarding. And so as a technologist, you know, if you're, if you're working in a company you're probably already doing that already, helping out your coworkers and making sure that they're successful along with yourself, making sure that your entire department is successful. And really my role as a solutions engineer was just making other people successful. It happened to be using F5 products, but I'd also have conversations where it's just about industry stuff in general. And maybe there's some things that I've brought from, uh, conversations that I've had with other customers that I can share with them that might give them insight on things that they can do next to solve, uh, problems. But, uh, yeah, and it just never really felt like sales. It was just, just felt like talking about stuff that I was passionate about.

Host: Jon

Did you ever think you would be doing this? Like did the pandemic ultimately, um, you know, bring this out of you, it was a turn that you never thought you'd be doing, or would you always be as a sales engineer?

Guest: Buu

I never thought I would be doing this whatsoever. And so my quote, I, I tell my, you know, I told my kids two years ago before I ever moved to this role. I, I told them because kids these days, they look at YouTube and they're, you know, I think there's like a stat or something where kid, you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up. And they say YouTuber. And I told my kids clearly remember telling my kids, give up on that, go, go get some real skills out there, cuz you're not gonna be a YouTuber. That's not a real job, low and behold about a year after that. Um, you know, a meeting Crow and I, I am actually, uh, on YouTube and making videos, uh, for a living now. And that's how I put food on the table for my kids,

Host: Jon

Dude, virtual high five right here, man, because let me tell you <laugh> two years ago, pandemic hit, we're sitting there. My kids are all on YouTube and I say, Hey, pause, how many views on this? And how many subscribers I'm like, you'll never find me on YouTube. I have eaten my own grow just the same. That's why I am laughing. That is my same exact story. I have like 200 plus videos already on there and I don't have any plans of stopping. So, so my word of advice to those who say never, never say never, uh, for that now I'm not saying you can't make money on it or don't do it just for money cuz you and I, we do it for our passion though. You do get paid to put yours on YouTube, but Hey, that's another story, but it never say never I'm right there with ya.

Guest: Buu

My entire career, I think has been stuff that I never thought I'd be doing. Like I actually, I went to school, I took the Cisco networking, uh, academy at that time in the late nineties. And I just, I, I took it cuz it was interesting to me, but I didn't think that would be my career. I actually went into sciences outta school and then I dropped out of that and did some other stuff and then went back to school and took technology stuff. So I got a job in technology, but I thought, Hey, I'm never gonna move out of the small town I was in. I'm just gonna go get this schooling done. And I'm gonna come back to my small town and I'm gonna, I'm gonna start my career there. Well, I eat Crow there cuz I actually ended up moving out to Vancouver because I couldn't find a job in a small town doing technology stuff.

Guest: Buu

And then I'm working in that job and I see all these people that are consulting for us and they're super smart and they're helping us out with these things and challenges that I never thought I'd be able to, uh, solve on my own. And then low and behold, um, I get laid off because, well I didn't get laid off technically, but our company got bought out. And so I was out of a job or knew my job was gonna be done soon, ended up working for a consulting company and doing consulting, um, and consulting for people that I had actually worked with before as well. And then I'm doing that and I'm like, well this is fine, but I'll never be able to get into sales. That looks like a really cool role. But you know, it's probably not something that I can do. Lo and behold, I ended up doing that and, and somehow finding my way into that. <laugh> and so yeah, a whole lot of serendipity through my entire career. Maybe I shouldn't resist it anymore and just go with the flow.

Host: Jon

Can you tell me the next thing that you say you won't be doing so I can write it down and place a bet that you will be doing it? <laugh> yeah,

Guest: Buu

I gotta think of something really good. Like I'll I'll never be a billionaire <laugh> that'll never happen.

Host: Jon

<laugh> that some of those I'll never be a billionaire at YouTube. Hmm. Yeah. Let's talk about your setup just a little bit, cuz I wanna get to the community billion and the content, so, and I'm sure the content's gonna be talking about the setup right now. You're all, by the way, we, we had a discussion about this. You have a nice plant in the background. How'd you come about that plant man

Guest: Buu

<laugh> yeah, this plant, this is a, this is a gift or a throwaway. What, however you wanna look at it from my wife. And so this plant was actually out on our back patio and it was beside our barbecue and any time it would get wind, it would get blown over. So this plant has been beaten up quite a bit. Anyways, I was looking for a plant for my office to put in the background for something interesting and something different. And I'm looking around at fake plants and they were actually pretty expensive, like way cheaper. If you just go out and buy some seeds and try to grow that plant yourself, yourself, however, who knows how that will turn out. And so I was zing up this plant in the backyard and then one day my wife's like, ah, I need to get rid of this plant. I'm like, I'll take it. <laugh> so that's how that plant ends up here. I don't know where that plant came from. That just showed up in my office one day and oh, you can't quite see it.

Host: Jon

I, I can see it. Yeah. In the back point. <laugh>

Guest: Buu

Yeah. Little shrub there. This is also fake just in case

Host: Jon

Everybody's wondering. Oh, I was actually gonna I'm like, wow, you clipped out. Pretty good, man. That looks nice.

Guest: Buu

Yeah, no that that's a fake one as is that one, but yeah, I have, uh, I have a couple plants now hopefully uh, uh, hopefully it makes the scene a little bit more interesting.

Host: Jon

I'm not sure. One day. I'm not sure I wanna put a plant in mind just because of the, the I'm symmetrical one would have to be on the other side. I'd have to have two plans to even, yeah, we won't get into the OCD tendencies. I have. What kind of Mike you got?

Guest: Buu

So this is the classic sure. SM seven B that, uh, everybody knows in love, you know, one day I just actually just went on and Googled, uh, because I used to listen to the Joe Rogan podcast a lot more. I got, you know, I, I started listening to podcast a long time ago and that was one of the ones that I was into and I just Googled what does Joe Rogan have? And then I was like, oh, I'll just grab that, that and that. And maybe it'll sound similar to him.

Host: Jon

I have the road NT USB mic and is great for traveling. Uh, I thought about the sure. But then I'd have to change some things. This, I I'll travel with it. So I'm hoping the sound quality comes as well as yours because uh, everybody likes the she, but I'll, I'll say it has a nice little tripod to travel with, but we'll go there. What kind of camera are you running? Yeah,

Guest: Buu

So I have an a 6,600 Sony, a 6,600 and I have a Sigma 16 millimeter, 1.4 aperture lens on there.

Host: Jon

Okay, man, you are like one up of me on those. I've got the road. I have a Sony 6,400, then I'm running. So you got the 60. All right. All right. Can't complain. What's your setup look like? What are we looking at? That's on how many monitors you got the teleprompter what's going on?

Guest: Buu

Yeah, so I am a one monitor guy. I used to have dual 20 fours or whatever, but you know what, I don't, I don't know about you, but I just find that when I have two monitors, I'm just always focusing on one and the other one I'm using like 20% of the time. I'm not using it enough to, to have two, but then I got one ultra wide and I actually use the entire monitor now. And so even though, and I think it's actually less screen area, like physical screen area than the two 20 fours that I have, but I actually use the entire thing. So I'm big fan of one single ultra wide monitor. Uh, I'm looking into a teleprompter. So I have a glide gear teleprompter, and I have like a, I think it's an 11 or 10 or 13 inch, um, uh, field monitor attached to it. And I think it's oversized for what it was supposed to handle, but it does fit on there. Yeah. Uh, luckily I kind of looked at the specs and kind of eyeballed and said, if it doesn't work, I'll just duct tape it in. Cuz I really want a, a big teleprompter. I used to have a five and a half, five and a half inch teleprompter and it was really hard, uh, to deal with,

Host: Jon

Oh man, that's like squinting there. Well's it going?

Guest: Buu

Oh yeah. You could not, could not read anything. This is, this is absolutely wonderful. Uh, for me at this point, um, I've, I've taken a picture of it. So I'll send you the picture of this, uh, of this setup afterwards as well. But this is, I love this, uh, setup at this point. Um, but for people, you know, if people are looking at gearing up and they're just starting out, you start off with that five and a half inch, it gets the job done. It was just reading text on there that wasn't, uh, for me, but you know, you there's workarounds for that. Just have a second monitor right beside if you need to, to read text. Uh, and then beyond that I have a 48 inch, uh, big dome light with a go docs, 60 wa uh, video light on there. That's like just the one main light. And then I just have a couple of these. There's a little L E D panel, um, down there to fill in the, uh, lighting.

Host: Jon

It's a nice setup. I think we might have the same color wall. Maybe it definitely brings it out. Yours might be, I don't know if yours is a little darker. I got too much lighting. I'm not sure, but it, you got a nice setup, man.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. It's actually a gray wall. So that, uh, one of my colleagues, uh, told me that the reason why it's called, uh, a movie theater is called the silver screen is that the screen itself, um, is meant to be silver because that absorbs the most amount of RG and B. Yep. And so if you are a fan of using colored lights in your office and you want to color your, your wall, it's really effective. If you just make it silver and then you can shine whatever L E D light or whatever RGB light on there. And it'll, it'll absorb that a lot easier.

Host: Jon

I was gonna paint my wall white, uh, by the way, I knew nothing about, you know, white balance at the time bucket in hand about the pain I was talking to a colleague of mine. He's like, no, you gotta paint it dark here's for the light. And he's telling me, he explained to me, I go, oh, okay, well, I'm so glad I didn't paint it that day white. And it turned out the way it is or else I'd be repainting around. Yeah. It would be a total thing, but yeah, it's, uh, it definitely a learning process when it comes to equipment, you, I, I must be on my third or fourth iteration of changing things around and I took a cue from you, by the way. Uh, I pulled out my teleprompter. Yes, I have a glide. Uh, and that's what I'm directly looking at with two monitors on the side, I had 49 inch curve, single one, but I went with separate ones because my camera was above and it was, I was looking like I was looking up or right into the, the monitor. And mm-hmm, <affirmative> it, wasn't a direct view to my audience.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. The, so what I do well, not really what I do for that, but I have two, two setups. Basically. I have a standing desk and the position that it's in now is this position here. But when I'm sitting normally and doing work, it's actually at the height, that's more optimal for the monitor. And if I was on a zoom call and people who are on zoom calls with me normally like day to day, they'll see that I'm actually looking up the entire time. So right now I'm in my, my, um, podcasting position,

Host: Jon

Your recording position, speaking of recording, walk us through how you're creating content, whether it was at black hat or you create content for DevCentral, what does your process look like? The thought process, the idea, and through the whole creation.

Guest: Buu

Ooh. Yeah. So that's a good question. The first of all, the thought process really starts with the, the audience. Like what is, what am I wanting the audience to see? Or what does the audience want to see? That's super important. I think that's the pitfall of so many people right now is they put out the stuff that they purely want to see and they kind of forget what the audience is actually gonna want to see. Yeah. And it seems obvious. It seems totally obvious when you say that, but it's not like people, people will put out stuff that they, they think, oh, you know, because I like this, everybody else is gonna like this and I'm gonna do this in a certain way and present this in a certain way, but that's not what people actually wanted to see. Like you'll, you know, I, I, and I, I'm not picking on any particular person, but sometimes there'll be stuff out there where people have created these elaborate intros or they've, um, spent a whole bunch of time just talking about themself before they get to the point of what's inside of the video.

Guest: Buu

Um, they'll put on a whole bunch of music on there that is music that just, they like, and, and they put it a little up a little bit too loud, cuz they were really digging that song when they're looking for music, things like that. Not really thinking about how does that come out to the customer. That kind of goes back to when I was in sales and when I was talking to people, you know, I know, I know I'm there to talk about F5, but that's what I want to talk about. That's not what the customer wants to talk about. The customer is there because they have an issue. They, they showed up to this meeting because one, they want to hear from us. But number two, in the back of their mind, they have some problem and they're not, they might not be thinking of it during that meeting.

Guest: Buu

That's my job to talk through it and, and figure out what issues they're dealing with day to day. But they have a, a problem that they need to solve. And so when I think about the videos, I'm like, doesn't matter that, Hey, we have this new fancy widget that came out. How does that relate to my customer and, and the content that I'm gonna create for them. So that's number one is coming up with, um, what is the content and, and how does the person, how does the viewer want see it? And, and um, you know, what is it gonna solve for them? Why would they wanna watch this? And then kind of going from there, we have a couple different types of videos that we're creating these days. We have these event coverage ones, which are, um, set up to just, you know, shoot some sort of, of conversation with somebody.

Guest: Buu

And we're really trying to get at, depending on what it is. It might just be, we interviewed a lot of people at the F5 booth and they had a lot of conversations with folks inside of the booth. They had conversations with cus with customers. And I just wanted to bring out those conversations to everybody else and broadcast them without giving away any sort of secret stuff that, that might have been shared just solely in between those two individuals. But we wanted to bring out that kind of content that was really easy to shoot, just run up and, and hold a mic in front of somebody and grab that content. Uh, we grabbed some content that was with our partners. So that kind of content was more discussion style. We want to get out from them, you know, um, what, what are the, uh, value?

Guest: Buu

What's the value that you're gonna be able to deliver when we go to market with a, a partner like this and, and we have a customer using our joint solutions. So we talk through that and talk through the benefits of them, because if they're, if they're watching from the F5 channel, they might know a little bit about F5 at that point. So let's focus more on our partners and what they bring to the table. And, uh, hopefully it's the scenario where one plus one equals three. So we go through that. Um, we have our Lightboard videos as well. And, uh, we're just getting back to those. Those are filmed in the locations where we have light boards. So we have them in a couple of our offices and, and a couple of the guys actually have them in their office. Uh, that's built out if they have the space for it. Um, and then we have, uh, we have content where we can actually just write using, um, using a tablet and just do, uh, overlay writing on top as well. So that's a, that's a possibility. Um, so I mean, between all that, did you wanna talk about like the tools I use, I guess,

Host: Jon

Or yeah, I would. So I use DaVinci resolve, but what do you use to get this done and how do you share it with the rest now? I don't, I don't do a collaboration with anybody else, but I know there's some tools out there that allows you to work, uh, as a team remotely and to share whether you have to upload it, download it, or it's a cloud thing. So how, what kind of tools do you use to edit, to make the process simplified in order to get these out in an expedited fashion?

Guest: Buu

Yeah. Uh, good old sneaker net <laugh> so we, uh, we did the memory card exchange at the end of day and then, uh, copied off each other. I gotta say black hat was the first event where there was two of us that were shooting video at the same time. And so we haven't actually encountered that before a lot of it before it was just shoot the video and edit the video off of, uh, one, one person would do that. And so this was the first one where we did that. There's frame IO, that I was just having a conversation with somebody else earlier today on the advantages of using frame IO to kind of centralize where everything is. Uh, but yeah, we were just using Sneakernet for, for black hat in particular. I'm an Adobe premier user though. Love it or hate it. I am, uh, really close to trying to learn to, uh, da Vinci resolve at this point that there's a couple things that have irked me about, uh, using Adobe premier. But I think I've solved that by at least cranking up my auto save interval. So it saves every two minutes good or bad. It's just gonna

Host: Jon

Save me. Oh, did you run into an issue where you didn't save?

Guest: Buu

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And the, and the, uh, the save interval by default, I think is 15 minutes. And so what, 15 minutes is a lot can happen in 15 minutes.

Host: Jon

Oh my God. I would stress me out. I think mine's auto saved after just like a minute or two and you, you hit the close button and it's ready to go. It's already autosaving it. But I'm just not trying to point you towards Vinci resolve. I mean, you could always get one of these nice little speed editors too for DaVinci resolve. Just,

Guest: Buu

I would love that. Yeah, that is, uh, that would be super nice to have I've yeah. There's advantages to DaVinci resolve in that. Uh, we do a lot of like everybody else that needs to edit videos that F5 is also on sorry, advantages to Adobe premier. There's a lot of other people at F5 that are on Adobe premier. We have licensing for it and everything like that. So there's, there's that

Host: Jon

It's actually not bad. It's not bad. I've used it. I've, I've played around with it. Uh, you know, you know, having a monthly fee though for an individual, like maybe just wasn't, you know, up the par where DaVinci resolve has a one time fee, uh, associated with it. Uh, Adobe, premier, I did like the masking capabilities and then the tracking of it. But I've learned that DaVinci resolve has the same thing you just have. It's just different terminology. I think each person's tools may be different, but the outcome is what they're expecting or looking forward to. And if they're missing something they don't, they're kind of doing without, and they're okay with it.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. At the end of the day, like, you know, if you can just get the message across, I know between resolve premier final cut, everybody is able to make fantastic videos out of them. It's just spending the time I invested the time into Adobe premier so far. And so I'm gonna hold onto it for a little while longer. I think once, uh, you know, I'm on an Intel MacBook pro right now, I think once I get onto the M one M two, uh, style stuff, I think that will also alleviate a lot of headaches, uh, for me as well.

Host: Jon

Yeah. It, it's definitely a, a cool tool to kind of get into, but I really enjoy it. Um, not only using the product, but how quick you do, but I, and I just learned mine over the holiday break. So, but talking about the content you're creating, how much of it is storytelling from podcast to demos to hands on, or even the groups? How much does storytelling play a role in this?

Guest: Buu

Oh, it's everything it is. Uh, and that was my entire time at sales as well, is that you could, I could walk up in front of a customer and I had the slide deck that was like 130 slides long. I didn't show it to everybody, but if people wanted to, we could just sit there and read off the, the stats and the data and, and stuff that,

Host: Jon

Wait, wait, wait, did you ever get through an entire slide deck in a call?

Guest: Buu

Uh, yeah, there was times that I would at the beginning, um, when I was really reliant on slide decks, I'll admit that for sure. Uh, towards the end, the slide deck was just there for imagery or to say, Hey, we're talking about this subject. Here's a picture of the thing that I'm talking about right now. There's no text on there. I just have a picture for you because you expect to see something on the presentation board right now. But, uh, but yeah, a lot of that was, was, uh, just to help guide a conversation along or help move a conversation along. Really, when I spoke to customers, it was really trying to talk about what is the impact here? What is this gonna get you again? The customer is the hero at the end of the day. I want my customer to be the hero.

Guest: Buu

And so how do, how do we get you to that point? So let me tell you about the products that and what can happen. And then ultimately you become the hero. And so when it comes to content, I think of it in the same way in that. Yeah, we can, we can jump on, we can talk about speeds and fees, but really we need to talk about taking you through, Hey, the, the outcomes here that are going to happen and the customer who is the hero let's talk about. And, and let's weave a story around how that actually happens, where the pitfalls that are gonna happen. And then how do you overcome those challenges to become the hero?

Host: Jon

I think so whole, the whole part of a podcast or a demo or a sales thing is a storytelling aspect. And living the story, having the actual, not taking somebody else's story and making it your own, but you've experienced it now. You can also make a story, Hey, the beginning, middle and end in a whole, like one sentence, or you can make it a compelling story that sits there and resonates with your audience, that they go, wow, I'm I really, I really dig that story and they start to feel it emotionally. And that's where they're gonna get attached to you as a person and the product and helping 'em through it. So what do you have a story you can tell us what, what's your best story that you tell?

Guest: Buu

Oh, wow.

Host: Jon

I know I put you on the spot for this one.

Guest: Buu

Let me think one of, I mean, one of those stories that, oh, that one is a, I'm trying to think of how to modify this story. So don't incriminate anybody <laugh>, but the, the story is somebody who, let me try to abbreviate it here, because if this person were to hear it they'd know exactly what, who it was. And several other people would know exactly who it was. It was as well, but it was somebody who did not have backups on done properly on their F5 there. And there's a bunch of different, I, and I don't blame them because there's a bunch of different ways to do backups on your F5 big IP. And they didn't, they happen to have the type of backup that they normally do fail, but there was more appropriate ways that they could have done backups as well.

Guest: Buu

And so that person encountered a situation where, and if people are experienced with F5s, they know that F5 similar to a firewall, a lot of traffic, if not, all of your traffic goes through this thing. And so, or set of F5s. And so the, the F5s went down, did not recover with their configuration due to another issue that they were encountering, that they didn't see. And so monitoring and backups were an issue there. And so I ended up going there, I'm, I'm editing this part a little bit as well. I ended up going there and, and sitting with the customer for many hours as they rebuilt their configuration. And ultimately they got to the end, they, they rebuilt it, they got everything up and running. And then a couple weeks later, we went in for a little bit of a, uh, postmortem and we talked through it and they identified, they owned up and they're like, we didn't, we didn't monitor the things properly.

Guest: Buu

We didn't back up the things properly, tell us how to figure it out or tell us what the solution is. And so I drew out again, get on the whiteboard. I draw out the things that they needed to do. And then they said, okay, let's just buy all of that at that point. And so, I mean, that's a, that's a story for me in, in going through a sale, but that's a story for them in that, yes, we got to the, we got to the end, there was some issues that happened along the way, but they got to their resolution in the end.

Host: Jon

But I am feeling that as a, so I grew up as a server, traditional server admin backups were part of the process of doing it and validating your backups and making sure that they work or going through a proper test phase was always key. But how I often did you do that? There were some times I ran into the same issue and you never want to, you don't want it to be an afterthought. And I actually, just from that short story that you all I'm thinking about is crap. I've been through that same scenario. Buu. Let's talk a little bit about community building. And I know we touched on it in the beginning, but what are you building? I mean, what is your entire role for DevCentral and building this community?

Guest: Buu

Yeah. The, so the DevCentral community has been around for a long time at this point. I think it's coming up on 18. I, I could be wrong here. I think it might be 15 years. Hold on. Wow. I'm gonna do, I'm not gonna do them justice. <laugh> at this point, I think it's 18 years that they're coming up on. There's a

Host: Jon

Disclaimer on this, that we're in approximation of time and how long it's been around. He's on the spot. No, I'm just kidding.

Guest: Buu

Depends on when you're watching or when you're listening or watching this, right. It could be. Yeah,

Host: Jon

Yeah,

Guest: Buu

Yeah. It's, it's been around for a long time. It's been around for a long time to the point where this'll this'll date. It is that DevCentral F5's technical user community was actually originally the place where they put in information for their API. Now we talk about APIs now, and we talk about APIs in the sense of rest APIs or G RRP C. This was when this was this predated soap. So the API was actually wow, something else. And then it migrated to soap. And then, so this is the age of the DevCentral technical user community, but it was created back then because we didn't have like, uh, discord or Reddit or, or GitHub at the time to collaborate on code. And so they created DevCentral and they were able to bring the community on there for eye control. And I rules eye control is the API for big IP, the big IP appliances.

Guest: Buu

And then IRU is the data playing scripting language that we have, uh, for F5. And so people could collaborate on their solutions on there. They could share stuff, you know, but with both of those things, it's not like F5 is creating F5 creates the tool, but we can't tell people use the tool in this way. You know, it's a free, it's a programming language at that point. So just do whatever you want with it. If you break your F5, undo the thing that you built and put it back to the point where we created or to the state that we created it in, and then hopefully everything's fine. And so people needed a place to collaborate on there. And then off, you know, obviously it's really easy for once you're in there to talk about that. You could talk about everything F5 at that point.

Guest: Buu

So we have tens of thousands of users on the DevCentral user community because of that. And we have this long history on there and we've always had evangelists on there. So one of my teammates, Jason rom has been with F5, I think for 13 years at this point always been on the DevCentral team. He was actually DevCentral, ran a eye rules contest that was like, Hey, solve this challenge using an eye rule, whoever has like the, the most Premo code is gonna win some sort of award. They were actually given away pretty nice awards at that point as well, not just the shirt or anything he won, uh, and he beat out some heavy hitters on that as well, back in the day. Other people that have, have since come to F5, but, uh, following not too long, following that Jason ended up joining, uh, the DevCentral community.

Guest: Buu

So he's been on there for a long time with we've had a couple other people kind of come and go. Peter Silva has been on there for a while now, uh, at this point as well. Um, but he's always kind of broadly being an evangelist four F5, with what he's doing and never, you know, in the early days it wasn't his exact job, but he just did it because it needed to be done. And he did a lot of the video stuff, even though he was actually in sales as a, as an overlay owner, our security solutions, uh, myself and, and Aubrey are the other, uh, evangelist. And so we're just continuing to develop the DevCentral community. Uh, we have a community platform that we have just, um, up upgraded from a previous platform. We had, uh, we had another platform that a lot of people, if you've been on DevCentral in the last, last couple years, you would've complained about the platform that we had migrated to because it ended up slowing down the site.

Guest: Buu

And so we moved on to a proper platform first in class, and it's back to being super fast. Everything's searchable on Google and whatnot. So we're just there to grow that community. Uh we're we're also there to help the community broadly though. We don't have to always talk about F5 solutions. We have we're, we have the fortune of F5 being connected to a lot of different technologies out there. And so as a result, I get to learn a lot of other different technologies and some people might not, uh, have all that same knowledge. So I can actually, um, share that knowledge with everybody else as well. Even though it's not part of F5 proper, like I built a, I built a Intel Nu ESX server. And so I documented that made a video about it. And people seemed to like that, nothing to do with F5, I mean, F5 paid for my Intel N but yeah, it's, it's content and there's lots of people who are building Intel nuts for learning.

Guest: Buu

I, I want to get into that actually helping kind of the next generation of technologists get up to speed, uh, on stuff. And so, so yeah, we're just doing that, building out content, uh, trying to engage the community, uh, once they get on the platform, then we have, um, I have other, uh, teammates who actually really focus on the engagement with our customers or with our users on there as well. Uh, but we're all about just kind of building that. We're not there to sell anything. We don't have a quota or anything like that. We're just there to, to work on community, which seems to be a theme these days with SaaS companies is that you have your Del rail or your developer advocates who are just out there to serve everybody else. If it happens that, Hey, you like, uh, you know, you're talking to a, or you see a Kelsey high tower and he is building out solution and you see us running on GKE. If you want to be like Kelsey high tower, you're gonna run your apps on GKE as well. Maybe that, you know, that same kind of thing happens with other folks as well.

Host: Jon

So if you're like, Buu, do you, and you like him, do you go out and buy yourself an F5, a big IP just for your, no, I'm just kidding for your company. Like, yeah. You know what? I really like what he's doing here. I think we need to, uh, get one of those. I love this content.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. My, my office isn't hot enough. So let's just run some big IPS in here.

Host: Jon

Oh, I actually remember having the server racks here in my office with some HPS running at a high speed. And when they turned on, it sounded like a jet. Oh yeah. I'll tell you what, you didn't need heat down in the basement at all.

Guest: Buu

Yeah, that's what I love about the Intel. Nu though. I don't know if you run that in your home lab at all. But I went from, I had two, two U servers and I have this Intel Nu now that is, it's got, uh, it's got 64 gigs of Ram in there. Yeah. And a terabyte. I think a terabyte that I put into there of SSD. And I just, you know, I was slowly dwindling down the workloads that I was running at home anyways, but I could, I moved it all onto Intel knock and it's silent. It's amazing.

Host: Jon

Nice. So, but how does one join DevCentral or get ahold of you? What are some places that they can reach you?

Guest: Buu

Yeah, first of all, the community is on community dot F5.com. Uh, we organize everything. That's like the central hub for everything on there, but then otherwise DevCentral has handles on all of the things, uh, YouTube, uh, is where we deposit most of our videos and kind of grow our live streams from there. But you can also find us on LinkedIn and on Twitter, uh, and even on Facebook as well. The engagement is a little bit different on there. There's actually a Reddit for F5 as well. If people want to go on there, that's more for technical folks. Um, I mean, all of it is for technical folks, but I see a lot of people asking technical questions on Reddit. We try to hint to them. Hey, there's actually a ton of people over on community F5.com, but that's okay. You can, you can ask on Reddit. Uh, and then personally, uh, there's not a lot of other Buu lambs out there that are doing the same thing as me. So if you just Google me, you'll find me on, uh, LinkedIn is, uh, one of the primary spots in Twitter is the primary spot to interact with me as well.

Host: Jon

Nice. Where are you gonna be next? What's the next event you're gonna be at?

Guest: Buu

I don't know. <laugh> I think, you know, conference season has kind of, uh, passed through at this point. There's a couple other smaller ones that, uh, we may or may not end up at, but nothing on the books right now. So we'll see, I got a lot of other stuff that I do have to produce in the meantime. And so I'm looking forward to this, this time at home to just kind of crunch through all of that and, and get a bunch of other stuff out.

Host: Jon

Well, I suggest everybody follow you on LinkedIn. Go ahead and check out the YouTube channel also on Twitter. You'll know what's happening next, Buu. I got one last question for you. Where can we get the shirt?

Guest: Buu

This shirt can be found on the engine X swag store. So this little guy here is a cat. I don't know if that can come out on camera, but, uh, I just found out that this is, this cat is called jinx and this is actually an engine X branded shirt.

Host: Jon

Oh yeah.

Guest: Buu

Swag store. They got really cool shirts on there. Like if folks follow me on LinkedIn, they'll see me posting with my, this is my favorite conference shirt, which is actually, I saw

Host: Jon

That favorite sold. Right? When you went to black hat, right? You had it, uh, you had it on, on the plane or whatever desperate.

Guest: Buu

Yeah. I, so I wear that when I'm traveling and then I go to CU I'm in Canada. So I go to through go through customs and they're like, what are you coming into the us for? I'm like, can't you see?

Host: Jon

<laugh>, that's more one of those. Here's your sign literally. Oh, pretty good. Well, I, I gotta put a link in the description below for any time you want those shirts. I might have to grab one myself, but thank you so much for joining me. This has been awesome.

Guest: Buu

Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to have you on. Hopefully we can collaborate more,

Host: Jon

Uh,

Guest: Buu

Pleasure for me to be on here. I,

Host: Jon

It it's, you know what actually, is this your podcast or mine? No, this is pretty cool. Thank you for joining. I'd love having you on. We gotta do more of these.

Guest: Buu

Absolutely.

Host: Jon

All right, everybody. Buu lamb, community evangelist for DevCentral at F5. This has been the Jon Myer podcast. I'm your host, Jon Myer. Don't forget to hit that, like subscribe end notify, because guess what? We're outta here.

 

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