The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 1 year ago

Mike Pfeiffer, Founder - Sharpening the Skills of Millions of Technologists


For this Founder, getting out of the cubicle and teaching completely changed his life and his career.

We’re talking to Mike Pfeiffer this week on The Founder Formula. He’s the CEO and Founder of, the most immersive cloud and devops learning community in the world. Mike realized as he was working in tech support and cloud architecture that his true calling is to teach, but on his own terms.


Our conversation on this episode covers:

- The importance of training and evolvement for businesses and individuals in technology

- The learning experiences that ultimately lead to entrepreneurship

- How to build an audience and continue impacting that audience

- The real scoop on authoring a book

- And, the rules of the dog park, as told by Todd Gallina and Sandy Salty
Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website. 

I think podcasting is the best way right now to connect with your potential customers. Had value to your community, because people are busy and if I can listen to something and learn while I'm doing a dishes mopping, working out and whatever, it's a massive, massive value. The founder formula brings you in behind the curteys and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. All right, hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. Of course we're thrilled to have you here. My name is Todd Galena, and with me is the chief marketing officer here at trace three, sandy salty. Hi, Todd Galina, hey, how are you good? It's good to be here. Yes, it is great. This is actually a monumental moment because you and I, the cohost of the founder formula for this episode, or in the same room at the same time. Yeah, she's like, what's the person how exciting. She's physically scooting gun right now. No, but I mean I think there's this there's this notion that when when people get together for a podcast, yeah, they would all be like in the same booth area. There's the the post, the cohost and the guests. Yeah, and, as you know, technology has gotten us to the point where, you know, these podcasts generally recorded remotely across the board. But I think it's awesome that we can both be we you know, we can look at each other, we can, you know, we so much fun to like be here and feel energy, like the real energy, you know. Yeah, the office is opened up, so our recording booth here at the office or some other people moving around. It's to feel normal again totally and great to have you back. The last time you and I were together recording an episode, we had trying to remember the guests that one to normally no one Bush. No, Oh yeah, yeah, the highlight of my twenty. I said that before. Yeah, two thousand and twenty is a it was. It was a highlight, huge highlight for me, but for two thousand and twenty, of course, we've joked about this. It's a pretty low bar, but Um, you know, I want to share with our listeners before we start to talk about our guests coming up. But I want to share our listeners a little bit about some of the impulsive things you've done in two thousand and twenty. You've made like to a lot of people, bought houses and moved into new houses and stuff. Sandy didn't do that. She made two major purchases, neither which is a house. Perhaps you'd like to share one could be considered a house on wheels. It's a sixteen foot camper. That's camper, which has been Super Fun. I can't say we've taken it very far, but we definitely export some local areas and done a little bit of camping and meet I think the best part of camping right now is that we get to take our second covid purchase on those camping trips with us, which is our puppy. Puppy, his name is alive and she just can be. He's been so much fun to play with. I've known you for a while and I never really thought that you would be a dog owner. So what happened in two thousand and twenty that kind of hasten this purchase for you? You know I'll tell you, like I am not actually a dog person. Your spot on, but like this thing is so damn cute that, like, you don't have to be a dog person to fall in love with his puppy. It is the cutest Labor doodle and he'll charm the heck out of anybody he needs. Yeah, I know I've seen some pictures and super duper cute dog, but the dog owner... is a very strange world. I know this because I taken my dog to a dog park where the whole premise of a dog park is you let dogs run around and play with each other, and I've managed to break almost every single possible rule a human being can break. And a dog park, which is like managing my dog. It's like I have to parent my dog when I'm at the dog park, when I thought I just let him run around the do whatever he wants with the other dog. Yeah, you know what's amazing? Is like when we go to the dock park and and there is a super aggressive dog, which has happened to us by the way, now in those doc parks, because in my mind I'm like you are like, as the owner of the dog, you probably know he's pretty aggressive or she's pretty aggressive, and you're basically unleashing a killer in the middle like an open field of puppies. We've had some funny stories and dock parks, for sure. Yeah, I know, and I've also my dog is also a whimp. The two dogs that we've brought have been on the whimpy side and very rarely my dog will appear to be a dominant dog. Uh Huh. So I get the whole thing what you're saying. You know, my my sense is if I have a dog that is a rowdy dog, let's just say, not a killer. Like you say, what a rowdy dog? Where else you gonna take them? That's why they were invented. Like, do you want your rowdy dog in your backyard barking at everybody all the time? Are you taking new dock part and them run around until least tired and bumping to some other dogs and Russell other dogs? All roads lead to death. This is this is the puppy death podcast. Sorry. Okay, so today we have a very unique guess coming on. I won't say his name because we'll do that for the whole intro, but this gentleman has built a business around education, mentoring, and I know that for you you have a big passion and this business, that we're in the technology business. You have a passion around helping people up level their skills. Yeah, and I know that you and a few other people here at the company have launched a pretty cool project. It's very related to our guest. Perhaps you'd like to share with you what's going on? Yeah, I mean, I think one of the more exciting programs we've launched recently is the Ludgen's program and they'll just program is really like it's taking technology leaders and technologists and and providing them with a program that will take them from foundational knowledge all the way to practitioner. And the cool part is that this program is really like it's Ingratis to anyone who wants to take it. And I think the reason I'm passionate about that stuff is because, like empowering people and uplifting our clients and prospects and partners and team members like that's what we stand for as a company and it's always what we stood for as a company. Beyond the technology solution selling and consulting and everything else that we do services, it's really about lifting it's the human experience. It's like lifting other human beings up like that's that is actually the essence of what we do as a company. It's a higher calling, you know, to a degree. I know it sounds a little bit cheesy, but it's true. Well, if there's a practical business reason for to you lift. You lift human beings, you you lift the business, you lift the industry. Yes, all boats rise totally. But knowing you as I have, I also know that you personally take a lot of interest in individuals you know, within the business or not, and are always looking out for others and trying to help them along in their careers. Yeah, takes one to see one, I think. Thank you. anyways. So the recent phase of legends, Phase One, huge success. We had over five hundred people register for that. Yeah, we have three hundred of those moving on to phase to. Yeah, so all systems go for sure. I mean there's a huge appetite in the market for programs like this, and especially because we're not trying to monetize it like truly, like this is for the people. And so, yeah, we're seeing a tremendous amount of interest and a lot...

...of the folks, you know, the three hundred that you mentioned just finish their phase one. Are About to get into phase two of the program which is obviously a higher level that builds off of the clock foundation's course in phase one. So it's been awesome. That program is currently led by the office of the cteo to any old actually a lot of our podcast listeners know well, and Aaron Shaver. He's our field CTO as well, and you know those two guys. I think what makes the program cool is that it is absolutely one part education, it's one part mentorship, it's a whole lot of collaboration amongst the participants and they get people like really engaged and they're super fun. They're funny guys. Yeah, you know so for sure. It makes learning experience bearable. Yes, at the very least, a very least. Yeah, we invite you to go check it out. The easiest way to do that is to find tracery on Linkedin, and we promote this quite a bit. Watch our feed and you'll see some stuff there and we'd love to have you participate. Absolutely take advantage a bit while at lasts. Are you are ready to get to our guests? I'm ready to roll. Let's do it. Okay, joining us today as an entrepreneur, author, podcaster and influencer who spent over twenty years in the IT industry, working at places like Microsoft and Amazon web services. He's founded in is a CEO of cloud skills dot io, an education and advisory platform one hundred percent focus on cloud and devops, where he's trained over half a million students. In addition to that, he's the author of six books and hosted over one hundred twenty five episodes of an extremely popular podcast that's listened to in over one hundred forty countries, and on that podcast he offers career advice to folks in the tech industry. So he's done a ton. Please welcome to the show, Mike Piper. Welcome, Mike Piper. Thank you so much. I am really excited to be here, so I'm looking forward to the conversation. Mike, you have one of those names that has to be said in its entirety, like I can't just call you Mike, have to call you Mike Phifer. You know that about your name. Well, it's interesting because most people can't pronounce my last name. So I'm sure that there's people out there that are saying it the wrong way, but I appreciate you getting your right. So. So, Mike, tell us about clock skills dot io and why you started it. Sure, I got into well, here's the thing. I was working at Amazon and two thousand and sixteen and I was thinking about getting back into teaching because I'd spent a lot of time, starting around two thousand and ten, doing classroom training and then I got onto Microsoft and as part of my career at Microsoft as an engineer I taught in the field and then went over to a ws and was an architect. There was teaching workshops with our partners and customers. I was a lot of fun and so in two thousand and sixteen I was like I'm going to go back and doing teaching again full time and I go back and write some more books and and when I got out I was doing live trainings, like traditional stuff. So you know, if you've ever gone to instructure led training, type of class, five day training right, you're sitting there for the entire week, and I was teaching those kind of classes and over there. You know that couple years after two thousand and sixteen I was teaching as your architecture in the early days there was like nobody in the class, couple people on the front row and I was about it. But as the years went on, more and more people started coming through the classes and I just realized that the way that we were doing the training wasn't going to scale, just wasn't sustainable. I was tired at the end of five days and the people that are sitting there were kind of staggering out and I was. I was basically focused on doing two things. Number one, how do I solve the issue for myself, as I can't, you know, stand up here for five days straight every week and, you know, explain all this stuff in number two, more importantly, how do I set something up in the explain this in a way that makes sense and it's absorbable over time? And cloud skills has been that experiment. We you know, we're basically a blended learning platform, which means we got live trainings, we've got prerecorded content and we have a driving community where we encourage our...

...our members to really get in the game, and so we're trying to figure out new ways of delivery training. That is why I started the company. I love that and you know, training and development is is super important to our company trace. Three actually guides are our mission statement as a company. Our mission statement is securing and lifting the lives and careers of our of our clients, employees and partners. Let's play a little game of truther. You're introducing a game. I love it, but let's play. Let's play a little game of factor fiction. Would you agree with this statement that technologists and technology leaders need to keep their skills sharper than ever before? Yeah, you know what, I would really agree with that, because every company is becoming a technology company, whether they want to, want to or not. Right, if we just look at the pandemic and pressure that's put on businesses to get more into technology than they ever had before. Absolutely so as a leader. And it's interesting too, because now I'm having conversations with folks that I didn't use to talk to about, you know, cloud architecture, implementation, building teams to support this, closing the skills gap and and so yeah, now, more than ever, executives all the way up to the CEO, which people might didn't really spend a lot of time talking to in the past, also got friends that are kind of telling me they're having the same situation. It's really interesting so, yeah, this is the time for all business leaders to really understand the opportunity and this is a massive shift as well. It's going to change the way that we do everything. So, yeah, you need to be able to understand. You know, how to make sure you're not going to spend too much money and build the right team, make sure that you're going to be able to keep folks engage, because the technology changes almost every day and so yeah, it is a really interesting challenge. So I think for myself I'm always thinking about, you know, what's happening in tech, but also how do I evolve kind of the culture the company to keep up with that? Yeah, and for the listeners that aren't in the industry, Mike, can you help them understand what cloud is in the context of at the enterprise? Yeah, absolutely. I like to explain cloud because you hear it all the time. I'd like this explain cloud kind of like this. It's to somebody that's maybe not aware, maybe not even a ninety. So think about it this way. Every business over the last couple decades, all the way back, starting in late s when I got into it, filled up these giants rooms with computers, and so that's what I people do. They go in there and make sure that everybody in the company can get to those computers, all that kind of fun stuff. And so what the cloud is is that an opportunity for us to move all that infrastructure off to another place, and that would be providers like Microsoft and Amazon and Google, and so you kind of think about it this way. Imagine a cost go size warehouse full of computers and you know, everybody's mobile phone just goes over the Internet connects to maybe a data center, a Costco Quote Unquote Sized Data Center right full of computers, and that's kind of like what the cloud is. It's just these gigantic facilities full of infrastructure that companies can now lease in, access and, you know, build their applications on top of instead of having to do it themselves. So it's a massive shift because we're trying to move all this stuff into these cloud platforms. And you know, think about it this way as well. If you ever streamed in Netflix, who hasn't? Right, that's accessing that cloud. So netflix is very famously used. Amazons cloud have got their own stuff, but ultimately that's what it is. It's businesses outsourcing a lot of the infrastructure and doing it in a more cost effective way than challenge is the cloud platforms that we use are completely different than anything we've ever used before. So there's a massive shift happening. People are having to skill up learn things that they've never done before, and that's where all the opportunity is. Yeah, I always wonder. Yeah, I always wonder why. Why the term cloud? Who came up with it...

...first? Why did it stick so well? There could have been so many things you could have called, you know, a giant Costco sized data center in the middle of the desert. Well, you know what it is? Uh, it's because in the in the architectural diagrams, back in the old days, we would use a cloud is the the icon to describe the external networks that you were leaving. So you're leaving the local environment, the local network, to go out to some other thing, and stuff we use on the architectural diagrams was a diagram of cloud. So there you go. Awesome. So cloud represents that external leading the perimeter, basically. Yeah, exactly. And these days you can treat it just like it's, you know, local, because there's a ton of security implementations you can do. But yeah, that's kind of the story. So not the most descriptive name, but yeah, that's kind of the backstory. Mystery solved. Yeah, there you go, Mike. Take us back to pigs, back into I don't want to say your childhood, but but did anything happen in your life where you kind of saw yourself running your own business? Was this something that, like you said earlier, you know you just happen to be an engineer, you hated going through courses and you just want to start your own course. Take us a little bit behind the scenes as to what you saw in yourself that made you believe you can run your own company. Yeah, I love that question and I get the perfect moment. I right here in my head. I remember working on a project, says, one of my first consulting jobs, whatever first consulting companies I work for, and this is early s and they came in and said, hey, we got this new project and it was like this really complicated project and old arc Kaic mail system that I had to move over to the new like way of doing things. And I did that project. I pretty much project management, did all the project management, I did the technical implementation. I followed up with a customer, I close the project out, I did the documentation and then I really sat there after that because it was really, you know, and challenge me in so many ways. And as it was decompressing in the weeks after, I'm like, Hey, pretty much the only thing that the company I'm working at did was get the customer and and to be honest, it was a little naive in the sense that thinking, Hey, if I could just go on my own and do it all by myself, I could do this whole thing. But I recognized that, you know, if I could close that gap, then that's the solution, right. I wasn't at that time. You know, this is like in my late S. I wasn't really appreciating everything that goes into running a company. However, you know, I did. I did do that. So I did leave the consulting company and I spent about three years doing a consulting business here locally, in Phoenix, Arizona and in and I was like quickly humbled and I learned a lot and then it wasn't what I wanted to do. So I kind of kept that in my pocket. End Up cashing out that business and had a partner in that consulting company, but it was a big learning experience and and for me I think that that was the kind of nudge in the direction of really embracing and in liking the idea of entrepreneurship. And what I'm really excited about today is that's the barrier entry creating company is so low. Now it's a lot easier than it was when I started the first company and I think with a lot of the success that we've had at cloud skills is due to the fact that it's easier than it's ever been to start a business. If so true, I remember you had to put your fictitious business name into a newspaper classified ad till really start business. Crazy stuff, you know. Remember we mentioned you know, the hardest part was getting a customer. Do you remember when you had to get your first customer? Was it hard or did your partner do that? Now? It's interesting. Actually it was hard. It was way harder than I'd ever imagined. And what the way that I had got the customers for that company we started out was by using search engine optimization. The search engines were, you know, still fairly new back in the early s and it was kind of well, it was much easier back then to show up on page... of Google when somebody searched for something. And I would not recommend putting all your eggs in one basket for a lead acquisition right but that's kind of how we did it and it was funny because for a long time the phone would just ring all day and Algorithms Change One time and the phone stop ringing. So it's that was kind of something interesting to work through. But yeah, that was how I we got that first customer over there at that company. That topic like, would your current businesses? Do you find that your podcast feeds your your training and develop business, or or your training business feeds, you know, followership on your podcast, or both? Well, I was actually asked that question a couple weeks ago in a call with a bunch of people. They asked me about it was. It was one of our coaching programs. So we got over a cloud skills and everybody on the call is working on technical skills but they're also building up their personal ran and figuring out how to get out there a little bit more. And a question came up. Would you if I was doing personal randing when I start a podcast? And I said, well, let's take a quick let's find out right now, and I asked the whole group who here was a listener of the podcast before they side over this thing. Every single person on the call raise their hand. And so yeah, that again. That would be my answer here. It's I think podcasting is the best way right now to connect with your potential customers. Had value to your community, because people are busy and if I can listen to something and learn while I'm doing the dishes, mopping, working out whatever, it's a massive, massive value. And if you look out there, you guys, I'm sure, know this, but podcast are just exploding. And so yeah, absolutely, and I would go as far to say if you're in business and you don't have a podcast, that is a huge problem you need to fix. I can't believe that every student raise their hand. That's that's that's impressive. Which leads me to another question about you know yourself in some ways. I don't want to overhipe, but your kind of a modern medium mogul in the sense that you've got a mix of traditional in new forms of communication. was most of this deliberate, or did you learn this along the way? What additional advice besides the podcast would you give to a listener if they're simply interested in building an audience? That's a really good question. When it comes up building an audience, you have to have some kind of consistent way of sharing your message. So if I circle back a little bitter, step back a little bit, my first thing would be is you have to have something worth sharing. Not Be step one, and I think that that can be scary for people, so I'll come back to that. But number two, like you got to get your message out there and it's got to be done consistently somehow. For me, so they answer your question of is this all deliberate? Yeah, for in a sense, like I had a framework in mind and I knew that the podcast was going to be a huge part of that, and that's why I started podcasting every single week, starting on January first, two thousand and nineteen. Now we're over a hundred twenty episodes and so we've missed a couple weeks of there, but to me that was the consistent like thing. If I'm only going, if I'm not going to, let me say this, thinking like I gotta put something out right at least once a week. That's just my thought if I'm building audience right. So, number one, what's the message? Number two, how are you going to get it out there? And you can start small. So if you're scared about the idea of or maybe you're resisting it because you're like, well, I don't really have a message, you do. Yeah, absolutely do. The message could be how you're figuring us out and then you just share that. And so it's an interesting time because you have to figure out how do I artfully share what I'm doing to build that audience, you know, because they're seeing people are scrolling to their feet, are seeing the same things over and over. So you have to have, you know, something that can catch people's attention and you have to have consistency to give your listeners or your audience that expectation of okay,...

...these guys are going to keep showing up every week, I'm going to subscribe and get into this. And so those are just a few things that I know I'm kind of going all over the place, but just to answer your question, I think that's it. It's like you got to decide what am I going to be talking about, and then you got to have a consistent schedule and pick a modality? Is it audios at video? Are Going to blog? But those are my thoughts and you know, it's a lot of work. It's not easy. It definitely is. Yeah, Todd with no HA. There you go. I'm curious about like the business that you're in has probably, it has got to be a gratifying business in the sense that you are impacting people's lives and in such cool ways, like you're up leveling them and their skill set and their careers, and I just want to dig into that topic a little bit. Have you had is there any one story that kind of sticks out in your mind where you feel like the impact you've made on a podcast follower or a student or a client was just so incredibly memorable and material? Absolutely, I have more than I have time to share and it's unfortunate that I can only pick one. But yeah, so there's a guy named Luke Oriana who started out as just one of our boot camp attendees. He was a vm where administrator. What that means is he just worked in kind of a traditional it job and he came into one of our programs. I quickly recognized his his ability and, you know, just wanting to learn and already had a great skill set and I think there's a lot of people out there that have that, which, you know, they've got a ton of skills and they just need a couple tweaks to move into cloud. But anyways, he came in and what he was able to do was figure out like the new technology and get certified and all that. But I gave him an opportunity to start blogging on our platform and then that went really well. He's a guy that works on something called terraform, which is an emerging, very popular technology, and in it, and so that went really well for him blogging about that experience. And then, you know, along the way he got another job of great you know, went into a cloud focus kind of position. Now he works in any switch jobs again. Now he works at Microsoft as something called a site reliability engineer and Sari, which is kind of like one of the very very cool and sexy technical positions you can have in modern it and for an honestly, you know, I'm not he did have the work, or maybe even more all the work, but that's kind of what we try to do. There's a lot of places where you could go learn all this binary information. You know, the documentations got it, it's on Youtube, it's scale, and so what we try to do is, you know, basically just Orient People to start going in a little bit more of a different direction. And so, you know, obviously looked at a ton of work on that and we've got a bunch of stories like that. I've got to do a better job of surfacing those in the future and we're working on that. But yeah, you know, it's being able to do that kind of impact is what's kept me going in intact. Yeah, Imagine, I've pretty much done all the technical stuff that you could do in a career, and so this is a cool way for me to be able to help other people because for me, the biggest reason is I got a chance when I was younger. I had no business being in tech support. that a woman named Glenna Martinez who gave me a shot because she knew that well, she had a feeling I think I would work out, and so that's what I'm trying to be for the folks over a clouds gills. That is so cool. Thank you for sharing that. South out to Glenda. Yeah, yeah, totally. I don't know where she is, but she has probably no idea how much impact. She's out of my life. So not what I try to do with with the business, you know. So it's not easy to do, but it's so worth it and and...

...we're just getting warmed out. I'm excited to see what happens. That's great. In your first story, is he still blogging for you? He's actually. That's an awesome follow up question. He became our lead terrform instructor and he's helping me with we have a as your dub ops refresh. We have a bunch of content around as your DUB OPS and a easy four hundred servication for anybody listening that's very connected in the Microsoft technical space. But yeah, he's like one of our instructors. Now, that's great. It's a huge success story. That's awesome. Yep, but keep an eye on him. He might become a competitor. Yeah, that's okay, I'm cool with that. Are you getting good? Yeah, I mean, I always tell them like my goal is for you to pass me at some point. I would love that. It's great. Hey, let's take a quick transition to the book stuff. You know, not that it was a big deal, but I don't even know if you know the sandy that I was a technical editor in a book way back in the day. It was on. It was on the time macromedia Flash, which soon became a Dobean amy. But anyways it was. It was a terrible experience, tell you so. And that was just being the technical editor right, and I couldn't imagine, you know, being at being an author. And I'm sure a lot of people fantasize about that. In fact I hear it all the time. I should do a book on this or I should write a book. So give our listeners like the real scoop about authoring a book. Sure, my experience of authoring a book is all in the technical side. So I haven't done anything like you know written. Have not written like a biography or a Harry Potter or anything like that. All my stuff is really nerdy and probably put most people to sleep. But my first book was in two thousand and eleven and I spent all two thousand and ten writing it. And so what I can say about writing books, specially in the technical spaces that you know, it's not it's going to be something to make you rich. It's really more of a marketing thing. It's really nice to be able to say that you're the author of this book and get your name out there. Well, it's you know, I spent almost a whole year writing that first book and the challenging part in tech today is that tech change is so fast that you you know, sometimes you write stuff and it's already at a date before it goes live. My last two books that I've done with Microsoft press have been successful and awesome. We've actually been able to give away a bunch of free copies, which I'm excited about. But it's pretty funny because the first one we did came out at Christmas time, I think it was two thousand and nineteen, and then Microsoft came back, actually the publisher came back, Microsoft press technically, you know, a little bit different thing when they came back and they're like hey, Microsoft change of serfication, so we need to rewrite the book and I was like, oh, but that's been like three months. Yeah. So, like the pace at this point in tech, in my opinion, is so fast that you don't have time to write a book, I think. And so that's why I mean technical step by step, like the one you were say, you addit a todd like with you know, screenshots and stuff. It's so hard to do these days because it changes like almost every week. And the other thing is, like I said, you're not going to make a ton of money in a text base writing a book unless you self published. So I will add an asterisk that that if you self published, you got a shot at making some decent money. But, and when said, it's a job. So you have to make that thing work and sell books. But that's the upside. So if you're looking at it as a financial thing, self publishing would be in or, you know, writing a Harry Potter in getting in a big publisher. That's a different story. But yeah, that's kind of my my take on it. It's insanely hard. It's time consuming. I'm actually about I'd love to write. I started as a writer getting into like when I got into the technical communities and stuff, twelve, thirteen years ago, I started as a writer. So I've always loved writing. But yeah, it's not easy. It's a passion, of Labor of love. It's nice to have a book on your name, right, but I don't think it's for everybody. Well, Mike here, you're a super humble guy and I'm going to ask you to just put your humility aside for this next question. What do you think you're like on the map? Moment was in your career? was there a point in your life...

...when you were like, Yep, I'm feeling it, like I'm there. What's it more? Gradual? It's definitely been gradual. I think there's been different seasons where I've had that thought. And so when I was younger, I think I really had that when I got my first certifications. I started in tech support at remember gateway computers, like the cow boxes and stuff back and then now, of course, of course great art. Yeah, and a AOL too was kind of a place where I started. But I remember when I was at gateway there was a guy that I was into like a little training class thing, and the guy was like he was all like patted up, like he had tattoos all the way down to his wrists. He was a punk rocker like I was, and I had no idea that people like that existed in corporate America. And he said, you know, you can be as technical as you want to be in this industry, and that really just resonated with me and I knew and that and I just had a funny feeling. As I owe, I can choose how much energy I put into studying and doing all the stuff. So that was kind of a big one for me because I'd made it into that company despite the fact that I did not have the technical skills and before that I didn't even I was scrubbing toilets at the ski area. So I didn't really know what was going to happen. So I was young and I was like a moment where like I made it. I'm in tech support. That was because you got that's because you got started right. No, dot was just centers. Now. That was it happened. I got certified while I was working there. Okay, I actually knew Glenda Martinez from an older job that I'd done. She knew I was good on the phones and that's why she gave me the shot and tech support. It's awesome. So but yeah, that was the first one and I would say probably later in my career, when I got into teaching, I kind of stagnated and I would say around two thousand and ten I was just sitting in a cube. You know. I would get my work done in the first couple hours of the day and I built all this technical capability and I wasn't using it, and so I'm actually an interpreted person. I'm not. Everybody that knows me from the Internet and stuff and from all these events and stuff may not realize that, but when I go to places with my wife and me, her friends and stuff, a lot of times they're like hey, what is your husband never say anything but like you's like me, talks all day on a podcast. Exactly. But I mean to me, it's not my default right. So getting out of the cubicle and in going and teaching completely changed my life and my career and I'm so glad that I did it. So that was kind of like my biggest moment, if there was one, of figuring out how to get out of the Cube and express myself and start leading other people. So there's a huge game changer for me. Great Answer. What do you think? And is next? Is there something in particular that you want to chase a little later in your life or even as a next chapter in this life? Yeah, I think I always I'm always going to be a businessman of some kind. I think I always have some kind of business going and I haven't really decided yet. You know, long term what we'll do. I'm going to write another book some day that is non technical, but I think in the short term the stuff that we're doing over a cloud skills is really interesting to me and I'm going to continue to like get right on that. I think there's a lot of opportunity to take the framework that we've created and use it in other ways. I'm really excited. We got something coming up here by the time this podcast goes live. It'll it'll be up. We got something called the cloud Skills Academy where we're not just, you know, giving people the technical stuff this pass the exams and stuff, but really trying to do what we did with Luke and create those opportunities and give people the tweaks that they need to go out landed jobs or tons of jobs out there that need qualified people, and a lot of times it's just getting past some of the mental barriers. And I did that, like I didn't apply at Microsoft for five years because every job requisition always said must have a college degree. I dropped out of college, so that kept me from doing it. And I think that there's a lot of opportunities out there like they're being missed, because it can people just need a little bit of a tweak and I think that's like that for...

...lots of stuff. I think that going forward to my care I'm just going to continue to do that. I'm just going to continue to like have ways, whether it's writing books or doing these coaching programs trainings, to help people move forward and shave their goals. That's great. You have a place that we could send the listeners to for Cloud Skills Academy, or will that be something we can kind of promote when this episode goes live? That would be great. Yeah, I just send everybody, if you're listening, head over to cloud skills Dioh our website, and you'll see under products cloud skills academy. Also, we do weekly podcast, like you guys mentioned. So cloud skills DOT FM. You can hit that in a browser. We live stream the episodes on Fridays right now on Youtube, so youtubecom cloud skills. Those would be the places to go check us out. And Mike, how does it feel to be on the other side of the table being interviewed rather than interviewing? It's such a relief, if I'm honest. You just sit here an answer questions. So yeah, it's awesome. Thank you so much. Okay, so now I'm going to really put you on the spot. So your non technical book that you want to author fiction non fiction? If fiction, what genre? Give us some insight here. Hah Yeah, that's a good question. I haven't really decided yet, but I'm saying I think that my first non technical would be non fiction. I think that that would be my Goto. I'm gonna let to share their but, like I said, I'm a writer. That's kind of like my original thing, how I see myself, and so, yeah, it'll be interesting to see what happens. Do you want some advice from the marketing folks? Know now, please see, I go ahead. I was gonna say true true crime is really it's like literally, you cannot miss. He's still your joke with the no answer so much better at this night. This has been incredible. We've learned so much and it's so funny that sandy and I were both hired by a fellow name name has. He's been a guest on this podcast and you know, some of the things you you were discussing sound very similar to some of the things that that he imparted on Sandy and myself and his whole thing was in life to be a kingmaker. Your job is to make kings out of others and try to help them on their journey to becoming a king and for crying out lot of really sounds like you're doing that a ton. Absolutely. I love that advice and I appreciate that and I can't agree more. I think that that's where we're supposed to be doing. I know that from my experience. Just like going out there and testing stuff and trying different things. That is the feeling that I've got. I think that's the right way to go. Perfect eight. So is there anything else that we didn't cover, Mike, that you'd like to share with the audience before we close out here? Go to cloud skills. That IO CHECK US out. We're on Youtube, so youtubecom SAE cloud skills and we put we're putting a ton of free content out on the Youtube Channel. So, for example, on June thirty, not sure when this episode is going to go live, but June thirty, I'm doing an old day, one day as your administrator certification exam prep session. So obviously it's not going to teach you everything you need to know, but it will teach you what you should study for it for the exam and some stuff you need to know. So if you're a technical person, definitely check that out. And I also understand that you guys have some similar legends right where you get people ready for as your certifications. We do. Yeah, it's a three face program all the way from foundations to architect design, with a specific focus on the easy nine hundred, three or two and three or four. I love it. Yeah, I think that the that's what I've learned in doing cloud skills and, by the way, we're kind of known for being advanced in our training, and so I love that that you guys are focusing on the easy nine hundred and bringing people all the way up to architect it's it's really hard to do, so it's awesome. Thank you so much. That's like. Yeah, we're going to be this will be posted, I think, just after the fourth of July, so that'll all be up and running for our listeners to check out. Amazing. Yeah, and we're going to be doing some other stuff. So check us out and really appreciate the opportunity to come on the show today. Love that you guys are doing and you know, maybe who have some of your folks back on cloud skills up and we had Chris Nicholis over there from tracery. So, like I said, appreciate you guys as mission and what you're doing. Thanks...

...again for the invite. Thank you, Mike. Has Been Tremendous. It was literally our pleasure and you're welcome back to anytime. Thank you for being such a good friend to the business. Awesome. Thank you so much. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been listening to the founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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