When I saw the notification this past Wednesday letting me know the newest episode of Datanauts was available, I was excited. Then I read the title of the episode and was completely bummed. If you’re reading this and are a regular listener, I know you understand the feeling. If you have never listened to Datanauts, you’ve missed out on something amazing. Fear not, dear reader. There is still hope.
At some point in early 2017 I stumbled upon the greatness that is Datanauts, and it quickly became (and has stayed) one of my favorite podcasts. I had listened to a number of the vBrownBag podcasts to help study for a VCP certification, but I was a total newb when it came to listening to podcasts. I happened to see Datanauts in my podcast recommendations (Shows You Might Like) list, and with a long commute each day, I thought it could be interesting. There was that, and I thought the name of the podcast was cool. What technology professional wouldn’t want to be a Datanaut?
The intro and outro music was catchy. I quickly learned that the hosts (Chris Wahl and Ethan Banks) took turns writing the hook at the beginning of each episode. That kept it interesting, and it was a nice touch to incorporate some humor both at the beginning and throughout episodes. I could tell these guys had personality. The topics of discussion and guests were interesting and very helpful, and there was a nice variety to the topics. So after jumping into the latest episodes, I wanted more. So I started at the beginning and caught up to the latest episode. At that point, once the latest episode was released, I looked forward to listening to it as soon as I could.
At some point the episodes started becoming less frequent. I wondered why but didn’t think too much of it. But I understand now after listening to the last episode. We don’t think about it and don’t always acknowledge it, but an ending of things like this is imminent (at some point). Instead of sitting here, writing this post, and sobbing quietly into my coffee mug I’ll switch gears. Whether you’re a long time fan or someone who has never listened to Datanauts, I want to share my favorite episodes as a tribute to the body of work Chris, Ethan, and the greater Datanauts crew have produced for people like you and me. This is not to discount any episodes not mentioned but to share those that resonated the most with me and why. If you’re a Nerd Journey listener, you probably are not surprised that some of my favorite episodes are focused more on career than specific technologies.
- Episode 57 – Thinking at the C-Level
- In my career I had struggled to communicate well with executives in a small / medium business environment. I appreciated the insight shared by Keith Townsend in this episode and feel like it has better equipped me to speak intelligently when talking with those closer to the top of the food chain at companies.
- Episode 61 – Trials & Tribulations Of Technical Blogging
- I think this one will forever be my favorite episode. I must have listened to this 10 times or more. I stumbled upon it around the same time some peers encouraged me to start a blog. I had been posting articles here and there in a forum called MangoLassi and in Spiceworks before that. But I didn’t have anything that was specifically mine. That, dear friends, combined with a number of conversations with peers and technology community members is part of the reason The NetworkNerd Blog was formed.
- Episode 63 – Unikernels Vs. Containers
- I have to list this episode because I had literally never heard of a unikernel before hearing this one. It’s an interesting concept. Unikernels are also discussed in Episode 114 if you’re interested. There is a vendor called NanoVMs that may be of interest based on these episodes, and there’s a good Packet Pushers episode on their solution here. If you are or know someone who is using unikernels, I would love to hear the use case.
- Episode 70 – How Media & Entertainment Handle Extreme Scaling Challenges
- I had little to no knowledge of exactly what types of systems were required in these particular industries and the challenges around scale. This one was just fascinating to me.
- Episode 77 – Transitioning To A Less Technical Role
- This is something many a technology professional fears. What if I don’t stay as technical? Would I like it, or would I even feel like me any longer? I appreciate the insight Tom Hollingsworth was able to give in this episode based on his experiences with moving to Tech Field Day. See also Episode 150 with guest Ken Nalbone for a similar but unique take on this kind of transition.
- Episode 89 – SRE vs. Cloud Native vs. DevOps
- If you have wondered what a SRE is and how it might be different than a Systems Administrator, give this one a listen. This was another one that was eye opening on how prevalent the SRE title is popping up in our industry and what the position really entails.
- Episode 93 – Erasure Coding And Distributed Storage
- I am by no means a storage nerd, but listening to J Metz talk about distributed storage and erasure coding was really interesting. Maybe it is my background in math that drew me to this one as well.
- Episode 101 – CIOs And The Business Side Of IT
- I liked Tim Crawford’s take on what the transformational CIO is and the mindset of such an individual. He dived into how you might groom yourself for this kind of role as well. There was a part of the interview where Tim discussed what a CIO should do if an employee is not a fit for an organization, and it reminded me of advice from Jack Welch to love employees on their way out just like you did on the way in.
- Episode 113 – Working In High Performance Computing
- This was another one of those episodes covering an area I knew little to nothing about, and I really enjoyed it.
- Episode121 – A Professor Takes Us To Machine Learning School
- I knew pretty much nothing about what machine learning actually is and how it may differ or be similar to artificial intelligence. And the fact that the guest was a professor made me even more excited to listen.
- Episode 130 – The Good, Bad And Ugly Of The VAR Life
- Listen to this episode for insight into a career path many IT pros may not think about when working on the customer side.
- Episode 131 – Masters And Mentorship
- This one really resonated since I was once a high school math teacher. It inspired me to write this follow up post with some advice for those masters out there.
- Episode 144 – Managing Work Stress And Cognitive Biases
- This episode explored the stress of working in the technology industry and is extremely relatable. This specific topic had been getting a lot of attention at the time because it’s not something we talk about as much. I would encourage everyone to read the blog post from Eric Shanks in the show notes, and then read the post from Eric Lee that he put near the bottom of his post.
- Episode 149 – Entering The DevOps World With Azure DevOps
- I didn’t realize Azure had the tools described in this episode. It’s very cool stuff. And I love the fact that there’s a company that can sell DevOps. It makes me chuckle.
- Episode 160 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To IT Travel
- If you travel a little or a lot for work, this show can offer some great advice. And yes, these guys use packing cubes.
- Episode 164 – When Is It Time To Walk Away?
- I can’t not list this one because Al Rasheed is one of the nicest dudes I know. In this episode he shares his very personal take on some interesting career situations. If you’ve ever wondered whether it is time to walk, give this episode a listen.
A Final Thank You
I want to express my thanks to Chris, Ethan, and the entire Datanauts crew for putting together this body of work. Listening to it has helped me so much in my career in the short time I have been a listener. I will continue to recommend this content to people who want to break into the tech industry and to those who want to learn about something outside their comfort zone. And I’m sure I will come back and listen to past episodes myself. And since I co-host a podcast in my spare time, I absolutely appreciate the time commitment needed for a show like this to be produced consistently.
I’d like to give a special shout out to Ethan for letting me persuade him to be a guest on Nerd Journey earlier this year. You can find his career focused episodes here:
- Nerd Journey Episode 42 – Ethan Banks and the Journey to Career Self-Awareness
- Nerd Journey Episode 43 – Ethan Banks on Podcasting and Turning a Hobby into the Packet Pushers
May your server lights blink, your storage spindles spin, and your cables be cleanly managed.
Nick, thanks for the kind words and review of your favorite episodes. That was a walk down memory lane for me, too. Brought back not only memories of digging into the topics to get ready for the recordings, but also the outstanding IT community we have. All these folks that are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. Outstanding humans.