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DevOps Institute

[EP47] Humans are Hard, Code is Easy [Unplugged] with Tom Henricksen

Culture and Human Skills, Humans of DevOps, Podcasts

August 16, 2021

On this episode of the Humans of DevOps, Jason Baum is joined by Tom Henricksen (@TomHenricksen), Technical Professional, Founder of Agile Online Summit and DevOp Online Summit and DevOps Institute Ambassador. They discuss his popular talk, “Humans are Hard, Code is Easy,” his background, lessons learned and more.

View the entire “Humans are Hard, Code is Easy” presentation here.

Tom is an experienced and talented Software Developer, Scrum Master, and Manager. He’s worked with organizations to solve their technical challenges in a myriad of industries.

The lightly edited transcript can be found below.

Narrator 00:02
You’re listening to the humans of DevOps podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas and learning, or the SKILframework.

Tom Henricksen 00:17
Really, I think, you know, with all the changes in technology, I think it still has to come back to the ability for us to to enable humans to do more things.

Jason Baum 00:33
Hey, everyone, it’s Jason Baum, Director of membership at DevOps Institute. And this is the Humans of DevOps podcast. And I’m really excited today to be chatting with Tom Henrickson. Tom, in addition to being a DOI ambassador, is a community builder and is the founder of both the DevOps and agile online summits, when he’s not creating and fostering communities. Tom’s Tom is a software developer, as well as an agile and DevOps coach. Tom, welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for being here.

Tom Henricksen 01:09
Thank you, Jason, appreciate the introduction. Always good to be here.

Jason Baum 01:13
I tell people I’m gonna if you would like as a side project, I can follow you around and give the introduction. If you want, whenever you meet people.

Tom Henricksen 01:22
That would be interesting. I’m sure my family would love that.

Jason Baum 01:27
So Tom, are you ready to get human today? You bet. You bet. Jason. Awesome. So I know, you were on our skill of day circuit, a few few few skilled days ago, and you gave a talk humans are hard code is easy. Which was, which was a very popular talk. And I know you’ve given this before. So tell me a little bit about the talk and the talk behind the talk. You know, maybe a little bit of backstory as to you know, how you put that together and why you felt it was important to go out on the speaker circuit and spread this, this message?

Tom Henricksen 02:07
Yeah, that is a good question. Jason. I guess a lot of it starts with just, you know, being in the space, the IT space, being a developer and kind of working through the, I guess, the trials and tribulations of coming up through the ranks and doing various things. And as I talk about in the speech, you know, there’s various points where, you know, things went well. And, of course, Jason, there’s also a lot of things where things didn’t go so well. So that’s where a lot of this comes from. But the title humans are hard code is easy. It’s funny, I, as I give this talk in various venues, people, even people outside of it, kind of like oh, yeah, that makes sense. Or, you Yeah, that’s something a lot of my, the people I work with, and it needs to hear. And it’s, it’s one of those things where, you know, I go through, I guess, making some mistakes, being a developer being, you know, in a couple of different roles really, in technology, being a get even into the speech, where I talk a little bit about where being into a manager, and some of the issues there, but how important those, you know, I think we, a lot of us in the technology area, I see really want to focus on and I’ve been guilty of this myself, I want to learn new technology, I want to learn something new, you know, some new technology, but we forget sometimes about those other skills that are so important. And then we wonder why, oh, my career, it’s, it’s kind of stagnating, things aren’t going the way I want. And so that’s kind of the impetus of why I put this together.

Jason Baum 03:38
And I feel like there’s a point in, in your, in your chat, where you mentioned how frustrating it can be on the IT side, when speaking to someone who maybe isn’t on the IT side, or perhaps different segments of the tech world. And really, you do speak different languages, right? And it’s kind of you need an interpreter at times to say what you want.

Tom Henricksen 04:12
Yes, yes, that is true. That is true. You remind me, Jason, I saw I mentioned, I’ve given the speech a few places. So I gave it recently to a security conference. And we were talking, we kind of chatted after the talk, we had kind of a q&a session. And just even like, you think about within the space that it can, as you mentioned, we kind of have to translate because that, you know, say I’m a developer and somebody insecurity, they’re talking, they’re looking at different things. Same thing, you know, like, for instance, like, I’ve given this talk to some quality assurance group. And it can be somewhat of a similar thing where, you know, they’re looking for things in a different manner. And that’s, I guess, that’s one of the things I tried to share in the speech and I think has been helpful for me is, for instance, like, I go back to a story I don’t actually don’t share this in the speech, but there was a QA person I worked with name was Nikki. And I remember one time she sat me down, she’s like, Tom, come sit next to me, I want to show you something. Because she kind of walked me through how they would look at it. And I think it’s, you know, as whatever our role is, whether we’re a DevOps engineer, or we’re an SRE, or we’re a developer, we need to kind of sometimes think about what are the other person’s vantage point? How are they looking at it? As you mentioned, Jason, sometimes people with the business, you know, what, what are they? You know, how are they kind of attacking a challenge? Because I think, you know, for instance, one time in my career, I was trying to persuade somebody about something. And I was thinking, you know, this is just really neat technology, we got to do this. And this person, all they cared about was dollars and cents. And it’s like, Okay, I gotta think, think or look at it from their vantage point. For them. It’s like, I don’t want to pay for this technology. I don’t even know if that’s gonna help us.

Jason Baum 05:51
Yeah, that’s funny, because I think at the end of the day, right, we all speak a different language. However, it’s really what is the intent? Right? It’s finding out the intent. And I think sometimes, depending on which side you’re on it or outside of it, or depending on your specific segment of it. It’s, it’s, I see the end of the project. Yeah, but I don’t understand all the steps to get there. And I think maybe that’s where the communication breaks down. And then it’s it is that intent, right? At the end of the day, if it dollars, that’s the intent if it’s XYZ at the end of the project.

Tom Henricksen 06:35
Yeah, yeah, we kind of have to think about it from their perspective, what are they looking like you mentioned? Is it dollars or maybe you’re talking to somebody from the customer experience, you know, angle that they want to say, Okay, we want this, this experience to be easier, because I don’t know about you, Jason. But a few times in my career, they’ve, wanted me to mock something up, and it was the ugliest thing, ever. But as a developer, you know, usually, I don’t have those UX chops. For instance, I worked I remember, there was a guy named Tom bony that I worked with who was a great UX person. And he would design things. I remember working with him, like, oh, this was great. But if he would even teach me a little bit about, okay, these are some principles, because I think that’s some of the things too, if we, we are curious, and try to understand what perspective they’re looking at it that can help us, you know, kind of see their vantage point.

Jason Baum 07:22
Yeah, so thanks for walking me through that. I like to kind of add in the past two podcasts, I’ve actually been working backward. And we kind of, we kind of started the where you’re at currently and work your way back. But I’m the more I’m curious to learn more about how you got started in the field. What was interesting, what interested you in DevOps? And then even before that, what was your interest in tech? How’d you get interested in tech?

Tom Henricksen 07:52
Yeah, yeah. And I kind of go into this a little bit in the speech. But my career journey is kind of an interesting one. I started out kind of, and I’ll tell more about this later, but a different career path. It wasn’t it. But I kind of stuck out in that career path. And then a friend of mine in high school and reached out and said, Oh, there’s Tom, there’s a lot of opportunity in tech. The odd thing about this, though, when I went to college, I didn’t study any technology originally. But as a kid, I think, I think it was an eighth grade, I had this math teacher, and I wasn’t the greatest math student, but he, he knew I had a computer at home, he’s like, Tom, if you put some of these problems in, you know, in your maker, basically write a computer program for these problems. I’ll give you extra credit. And he started doing that. And that was something I was like, Oh, this is easy. And I figured out so I’m dating myself, but my mom bought us an Atari, I think it was a 400 computer way back when. So that’s one of you know, that was one of the things that kind of started me. So I Jason I had a like a detour there where I was probably kind of going down a technical path. But then in college, I, I think my original degree was in management. So it wasn’t even tech-related. So but that’s kind of where I went into detour and got into tech and then started as a developer. Many years ago, actually started out with working on C programs and C++ and a whole bunch of old stuff like that.

Jason Baum 09:22
And what took you off the path? To go towards management? What was what made you detour?

Tom Henricksen 09:29
Um, you know, to be honest, when I first got into there was an opportunity to work in a different company as a manager, but as still as a developer. So that’s one thing. I’ve never been like a full-on manager. I’ve always been a manager. Like for instance, I had to do development to I tell the story. This is something a lot of times in the Agile space people talk about like the scrum master role should be that should be your only role. Well, I was actually a scrum master, a manager and a developer on the same project. Wearing three And it was, it was pretty crazy. But I learned a lot and of course made some big mistakes doing that as well. So, but yeah, that was kind of the original just kind of it was an option and kind of want to, you know, see what that was like so.

Jason Baum 10:15
So how did you find your way back to tech? What? How did what was your first, I guess, job in tech? And did it shape where you are today? Or was it? Was it another detour?

Tom Henricksen 10:29
You know, my first job in tech, like I said a little bit earlier, I was way back was before while right around the year 2000. I think I got into this, but there was a I was working for a small, I suppose medium-sized company in the Midwest, and we were doing conversions for y2k stuff. They had a there’s a customer that had a like a it wasn’t it was an old Unix machine that they wanted to convert. It was basically this company that sold like, metal to fabricators. And I remember like, this is the funny thing. It was they had they wanted to, if you’re familiar with I Sam files and V Sam, they’re basically these flat files before we had racial relational databases. So the system, even at that time was really old. But this customer was Torricelli cheap. They wanted to add a fax number and email address into these V Sam files. We had to recompile all these and it’s something I I still to this day, I’m like, wow, that is just like a technology that was good. It’s in the past. I’ll just say that.

Jason Baum 11:32
y2k, nothing happened. There was nothing, the biggest, biggest nothing, which I guess is good.

Tom Henricksen 11:41
Yeah, nothing happened. But you know, a lot of companies spent a lot of money, much more trying to get ready for it. Yeah, just like, it was crazy. I remember. So the company I worked with at the time, they were a big Oracle provider, and they were trying to move everybody to Oracle databases. And it was interesting to watch these companies spend all this money and like you said, nothing happened.

Jason Baum 12:03
So so that’s what you’re where you got your start? And I’m sure so today, I mean, with with what you do. Does that managing? I wonder if that managing background has come into play? As you said, you were the manager on one of your projects, or you have a lot of your projects? Yeah, and DevOps is such a blended space.

Tom Henricksen 12:24
It is, yeah, that’s the thing with being kind of having a little experience there. It helps. Like you mentioned before, doing like the community building, I do, I think helps in that regard. Just trying to, you know, work with people and Influence People. It’s funny, I remember, there was a guy, I remember, he was talking about management, that you we should treat all of our employees, like, as their volunteers, like you’re running, like, you know, you’re running the Red Cross or whatever, some volunteer organization, because, you know, at the end of the day, people can leave, you know, Jason, if if you, you know, you and your, your manager don’t get along, you’re gonna look for something else. So you know, you have to treat people with respect, kind of give them some autonomy. I always think back to Daniel Pink’s book, drive and that aamp autonomy, mastery purpose, giving people that I think that’s where people can really excel. You know, and I think for me, when I work in organizations, those are things I look forward to.

Jason Baum 13:22
Yeah, that’s great. I do too. I think it’s interesting right now, we’ve never been in a world where employees had so much. Oh, yeah. Say, and it’s been really interesting. And I’m sure you know, within the DevOps space to mean with all the principles. Yeah, I feel like they’ve never been more valued than they are right now. Or

Tom Henricksen 13:42
should be valued. So true, Jason. So true.

Jason Baum 13:46
So as you were coming up, did you have a mentor in the space that helped you? Or

Tom Henricksen 13:52
several? Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, that’s actually in the first part of the speech, I talked about a couple of my mentors, for instance, like, there was this DBA Doyle, who taught me a lot. But as I say, the speech didn’t say much. So I kind of had to infer and learn from, you know, trying to figure out what he would do. Because seriously, he was like, come to my desk, he would fix something and he would be gone. And I’d be like, okay, you know, I’d have to kind of backtrack and see, okay, what did he do there? And then there was another, a couple of other people that I’ve had that along the way have been really good mentors, few developers, few managers that have really been helpful to kind of get me to understand kind of what to value and I think this is something to that I talked about a little bit in the speech. So there was a point in my career where I got I got fired, I got let go. And I talked about that in the full length of the speech. I think in the SKILup Days talk I’m not sure if I got into that part. But that was something one thing I learned getting let go was the importance of clarity. So one thing I try to strive for any time I’m talking to someone now, with work or with anything, try to under Stan, because like you were talking earlier, Jason, you know, sometimes it seems like we’re speaking different languages. And we need to ask kind of step back, ask questions and make sure. Okay, is this what Jason wants? Or? Tom? Tom, are you sure that, you know, just so we’re all kind of on the same page? Because, you know, that was a kind of the feeling that I had especially when I got Legos, I thought I needed to focus on X, when, in fact, the company wanted to be focused on why and you know, that was, that was the issue. So that was kind of important and good learning for me.

Jason Baum 15:34
Yeah, that’s great. I was about to ask, Was there advice that you wish you had, but I feel like you just told me the answer that question. Yeah. Did Were there any other challenges, major challenges that you had to overcome? In that earlier part of your career?

Tom Henricksen 15:48
Yeah, I think, really is I, you know, I talked about this a little bit, and it’s kind of the main topic is the soft skills. Early in my career, to be honest, Jason, I was focusing on okay, what, what skill can I look? So I was one of these people that would go out and like, okay, I get a book on like, for instance, I was originally a Java developer. And then I tried to get Java certifications. And then I tried to work for Oracle providers I mentioned earlier, I tried to get some Oracle certifications. And that was one of the things where I saw how I’m doing all this work, but it’s not, I’m not my career isn’t progressing like I want it to. And then that’s when I started to realize, okay, I need to work on kind of have a balance to my personal development that I can learn some tech stuff, but I also need to have some, some of these soft skills and work on them, especially like communication is one I’ve tried to work on. Obviously, being a speaker, but like originally got into Toastmasters many years ago, that was helpful just to kind of get through the arms and the eyes that a lot of people will stumble upon when they first tried to give a speech. So that was kind of a good track to go on to keep a balance.

Jason Baum 16:50
So many notes, I got so many notes when I joined Toastmasters, and I’m still not great at it. It’s learning it’s really tough, right? Yeah. See, there we go. Every time I go to ask a question, but they say you take a beat, right? You’re supposed to take a beat before you before you speak because the M is a filler for the empty space, which I do all the time. And no matter how much I participate into Toastmasters, I can’t shake it. So if you know the trick, please, please let me know.

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Jason Baum 17:59
So were there any other interesting stories, I guess, along the way, that might maybe were in this in the talk, but you didn’t get to say the whole story that you could share with us?

Tom Henricksen 18:12
Sure, sure. I think one of the big things, and I go into this a little bit, but is the importance of relationships. So I talked about this a little bit in the speech that there was a, he was a VP of it at a company that I worked with, his name was John, and he was excellent with kind of teaching me how important relationships were, I did some work with his team. And we kind of put together kind of a training program for them, really, but he was really helped me understand that importance of relationships, through your career. And that, you know, for instance, if you maybe you leave a company or go to some different part of the company, it’s important to keep those relationships. And that’s one of the things for instance, I told you earlier about the story about me getting let go in the speech, and I also cover this, as well. But when I got let go, I realized how important that network was. And I had actually built a pretty decent network that I was able to have multiple job options, once I got let go. Because I had previously to that, you know, I worked at a couple different companies and had a pretty good reputation. So people were reaching out to me, you know, to say, oh, you know, can you help, you know, we’ve got a spot for you here. And that was one of the things that, you know, anytime you maybe leave, it’s important to not, you know, burn bridges and think about ways to you know, keep those relationships open.

Jason Baum 19:33
I preach that concept all the time and tell everyone I know because networking is so so, so important just to not just your career and career growth. I think it makes us all better at what we do because you learn from each other. But then and don’t quote me on this percentage, but it was told to me earlier this year, but something like close to 80% have jobs are filled by people who have made it who, through their connections through their. I’ve heard that to network, which is which is crazy because it almost seems like well why are we posting jobs in the first place? Yes. Seems like that’s a waste of time. But it really is about who you know. And. And it makes sense because you hire people you trust and if you know them,

Tom Henricksen 20:25
yep. Or even along the lines of maybe I don’t know you Jason but somebody you know, we mutually know refers you Oh vouches for Jason’s a good guy, you got to bring him in at least give them an interview. You know, if somebody if you have a good friend that says, of course, you’re gonna bring him in. So yeah, that’s important.

Jason Baum 20:41
Yeah, not to be an advertiser for LinkedIn. But I mean, LinkedIn makes it so much easier than it used to be. Because now you don’t even have to go anywhere. Used to have to go to like the, you know, the local meetings, I mean, and meet people at Toastmasters, for example. Yeah, a DevOps Institute chapter meeting, which, which I think is still I will always go back to live meetings, especially when they come back, I can’t wait for it. Yeah, I think there is no better networking than the kind that you could do with a handshake. Although I’m a germaphobe. For anyone who’s listened to the podcast before he knows. So this is already a thing for me. No handshakes. But, but really, you know, being able to put a face and oh, yeah, conversation.

Tom Henricksen 21:24
Yeah, that’s important. It’s, it reminds us about a friend of mine back in the Midwest, he wrote a book called networking ties that bind, and he kind of walks through how his career was basically built, because of the connections he made. And I think, you know, that’s so important to, like, you mentioned going to little chapter meetings. I know, for instance, I’m involved with a few groups locally, that in the DevOps space in the Agile space, that I connect with people there. And it’s so important, those are, you know, for instance, like I have larger things like the DevOps online summit that has people from all over the world, but still, you know, being in a group in your local areas so important to connect.

Jason Baum 22:02
It’s the blend of everything, and especially now that we’re in a digital world. I mean, we’ve all been doing it for the past 18 months. Yeah. Yeah. So now we’re much better than we used to be that used to be like an online chapter. I don’t understand that. So take me to founding the DevOps and agile online summits and and the, what do you find so important, with community building that made you want to set up both of those?

Tom Henricksen 22:27
Yeah, you know, it comes back to one thing, I think that I’ve always tried to be really curious about things that I’m learning. So for instance, I originally got into kind of this agile space. Quite a few years ago, when I mentioned, I think I was a manager, a scrum master and a developer on the same project. That was Boy, that’s probably, boy, I think that’s more than 10 years ago. So I got into that space. But I’ve always been curious about agile, and then into DevOps, I’ve actually done some DevOps work, and then got, so basically, it’s that curiosity that I was like, you know, for instance, like, I couldn’t go to some of these conferences, but I’m, like, you know, I could, I could interview a couple people and ask them questions. And I found that people kind of like to be like, sitting over my shoulder and kind of tuning and kind of like the people today that are gonna listen into our conversation, Jason, like, Oh, what are they, you know, what can they learn? And that’s, that’s one of the things along with that the people in the DevOps and the Agile space are very overall, I would say, like 80% willing to give, have a conversation. Reach out to them, they’re more than happy to especially, you know, is this is with the DevOps Institute, the people there are great. I’m, I’m an ambassador, I work with a lot of ambassadors. They’re a great group of people that want to share, share their knowledge, and just kind of really, it’s kind of along with the networking, but also to kind of like, hey, you know, I made this mistake, don’t you make the same mistake, and kind of share the knowledge? So that’s, that’s one of those great things.

Jason Baum 23:55
I think that’s the best way to learn. That’s how I learned and I didn’t understand it early on, but I, you know, I would rather attend something that says, Here are the 10 things I did wrong. So you don’t have to get them in. I would show to that 10 times over then. Something else? So yeah, and I think your comments on DevOps Institute are right on not to toot our own horn, but it but yeah, no, I think that’s great that you feel that way. And I’m relatively new to the community. And I’ve been working with communities for 16 years, and I think this one is is really fantastic. The ability to put competitiveness aside and being able to help one another. To grow an industry. You don’t get that in a lot of all industries. You really don’t True.

Tom Henricksen 24:44
True. That’s true. Yeah, I would agree.

Jason Baum 24:49
All right. So so we’ve kind of established where you were, how you’ve gotten to where you are, and the soft skills which I find To be, you know, if not more, I think those are just as important right as, as everything else. What over the past two or 18 months? Have you taken from this pandemic that you could apply to, to the talk and apply to kind of what’s going on?

Tom Henricksen 25:20
Yeah, I think one of the big things is, you know, I think we’ve learned obviously, all of us have learned how resilient we are, the human race is very resilient. And I think it’s one of those things where part of it, I think, an important thing is in that resilience is we need to focus on what’s good, and what’s working, as opposed to, you know, all the things because I think there’s a lot of things that we could focus on and say, oh, you know, like, like you were talking earlier, Jason about, you know, we haven’t been able to go to an in-person event. That’s, that’s a given. But hopefully, as you mentioned, that they’ll come back. But, you know, think about some of the things that we’ve been able to do, for instance, like, doing some of this online stuff, I’ve connected with a lot of people that I might not have connected with, because of this, so and I am not, you know, I guess, not trying to gloss over that people have been, you know, lives have been changed because of this. So it’s a serious thing. But I think we need to think about all the things we’ve learned, all of us, I think, have been have learned how to become remote employees, whether we want to or not, because which is interesting. I’m sure, Jason, you probably see this too, as organizations are trying to figure out what’s next for us. Are we gonna, you know, do we want to have everybody come back to the way they were? Or do people want to come back to the way, you know, I know, from different people I’ve talked to, you know, organizations are kind of wrestling with that, to see what does that new world look like? And so it’s it’s been a, as I talked about before, I’ve tried to be curious and understand there’s a lot, a lot to learn here. And I’m sure there’s going to be more as we go through it.

Jason Baum 26:57
I think resiliency is a great word. And the ability to Pivot. Pivot was like the keyword back in like, April. I mean, I remember the talks, because Because remote work was starting to become more popular for sure. As opposed to the previous decade. But I think, but I think it was really starting to pick up. And then all of a sudden, everyone had to, yeah, and it’s amazing. When when you have no choice and how quick companies adapted?

Tom Henricksen 27:29
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it reminds me of the book that was that Sutherland put together, I think it’s worked remotely from every anywhere or whatever. She’s, she does collaboration, superpowers. And she, she was on this thing before waiting for all this happened. And I just remember, I think I saw something I talked to her a little bit kind of in the midst of when it was just starting the pandemic. And she was just like, you know, going crazy trying to help organizations, you know, do that. But like, another thing in the DevOps space is a company called Get Lab, which is a completely remote company, you know, it, which is an interesting thing. That’s the one thing I always say, how many companies are going to run that model? You know, some I’m sure will be hybrid, some will, you know, some will probably try to go back to Office centric, which is another term, a lot of people I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that, like Office centric work. And kind of that I’ve heard people talk about that. That’s like, that’s kind of an interesting concept to say, Okay, do we need to be office-centric for certain things? You know, I think a lot of companies are going to find out ways to change.

Jason Baum 28:30
I think it’s imagined that the students coming out of college right now. And yes, the world they’re walking into, and they have no idea perhaps what it was like to work in a real off. It’s I know, I know that it’s a crazy concept. And especially because I don’t know as you said, I don’t know if we are going to be going back to how it was, you know, I think hybrid seems to be every time I see those LinkedIn surveys, which are Yeah, absolutely not official, but it seems like more people tend to say hybrid than anything else. Yeah. So what are you most excited about? For the future of DevOps right now?

Tom Henricksen 29:08
Really, I think, you know, with all the changes in technology, I think it still has to come back to the ability for us to, to enable humans to do more things. I look as an isolated developer, I know as listening to somebody kind of talk about, for instance, Jonathan Johnson is a guy that I’ve worked with a little bit, he’s a Kubernetes expert, he was kind of talking through, you know, when you think about Kubernetes, and how it’s abstracting all these things away. But it’s, it’s, you know, I was listening to somebody else talk about about the complexity, you know, we deal with a lot of complexity, especially us in the DevOps space. We try to have all these abstractions and you know, I think, I think there’s going to be a lot of change where we’re gonna have to reset and make some things simplistic enough, where people can essentially conceptual conceptualize, easy for me to say it a big concept because like Kubernetes does a lot of things. But if you don’t understand all the parts of that, you know, that’s a problem. Another thing, too along with that, is Jonathan brought this up. And I think this is an important thing. As a technology person myself, sometimes we, we look like, for instance, I just learned Kubernetes, I have to apply this, you know, the technology has to be right for the, you know, your organization. And I’ve done that myself where, like, for instance, early in my career, I went to a conference. And I remember coming back on Monday thinking, How do I get my boss talked into all these new technologies? Not even thinking, does this make sense for our organization, which, of course, most of it didn’t. So it’s, you know, you need to kind of think about from that mind, mindset. So I think that’s kind of an important thing to hopefully we can bring that back in the technology area to bring that focus. Great,

Jason Baum 30:45
I appreciate it. So let’s, let’s go back. Now we’ll go to personal questions, because I feel like we’ve got a good sense now of, of who you are. And that’s what this podcast is all about. So what’s one unique thing about you that maybe you’ve you haven’t shared with colleagues before?

Tom Henricksen 31:07
Yeah, well, the one thing that I find, that is, I think, surprising for a lot of people as I started in, in sales, and I alluded to this a little bit earlier, but is, as a technology person, a lot of times we like, oh, sales, that’s disgusting. And it’s funny is I’ve gone through my career, I kind of felt that way. Initially, when I got into technology, I don’t want to be anywhere near sales or anything. And not that I, you know, I guess one of the things I think when we think about it, as I’ve gone through my career like you get into management, or even if you become a senior, you know, say you’re a senior DevOps engineer at your team, people look up to you, and you need to, essentially you need to influence. So that’s one of the key things I talked about my speeches influence, which is really sales, like, if you want, for instance, like I was just talking about Kubernetes, maybe there’s some technology you want to influence your team to use, you need to be able to influence them, but not, you know, it’s not like, kind of berate them to do it, you know, you have to think about ways to become connect with people and build that human connection. And then, you know, get them to see the merits of what you’re trying to say, as opposed to, I think sometimes people think, Oh, if you’re, you know, say you’re a manager, or you’re a senior, your team lead, you know, people just have to do what you say, Well, no, they don’t. And people, as you mentioned before, I think the workforce is changing, and people want to have more input. So I think that’s one of the things where we have to have more conversations and build those relationships. And then that’s, that’s one way we can kind of influence. But we have to be, you know, be willing to have that given take

Jason Baum 32:43
validation. Validation is crucial to that process, I think, yes, yes. Understanding the problem first, right. That’s classic sales, sell, sell the mess, not the vacuum. You know, what’s, what’s the problem? Here’s a solution. And this is why the solution is going to help you because I understand that this is a problem.

Tom Henricksen 33:05
Yes, exactly.

Jason Baum 33:07
So what have you been doing over these 18 months, other than the giving talks and working? What do you do to escape? Because I think we’ve all we all need our escape. Yeah, listen to the podcast, mind his music, what what is your go-to,

Tom Henricksen 33:23
you don’t really, it’s just to get outside, go for a walk, try to get fresh air. Occasionally, I do some biking, but it just enjoy. I’ve done a little hiking too, over the pandemic, but just try to every day, I try to have some time to get outside, get some fresh air, even, even if it’s really hot. No, it’s summer here, where I live here in the northeast, or in the winter, I still try to get out, you know, and get out and get some fresh air. Because I think that’s one of the things that really helps me get away kind of get away from the technology, and get some fresh air to kind of help reset, because I think sometimes, you know, when we’re working on a technology issue, sometimes we can think, Boy, this is the worst thing ever, you know, we can kind of get in our heads, like, get away from it a little bit and kind of think about like, okay, kind of gives you a better perspective, and helps you kind of center what you’re working on.

Jason Baum 34:16
Definitely, I think that’s what we all need is that is that reset so that we’re able to get back to it? Because sometimes it can be hard, especially you’ve never worked from home before. That can be it can be different. So yeah. Well, Tom, thank you so much for being on the podcast today, sharing with us, and giving us a little bit of personality. And walking us through why? You know, humans are hard, but coding is easy.

Tom Henricksen 34:43
You bet Jason, I appreciate the opportunities to talk with you.

Jason Baum 34:46
And thank you for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps Podcast. I’m going to end this the same way that I always do encourage you to become a premium member of DevOps Institute to get access to even more great resources just like this one. And until next time, stay safe, stay healthy and most of all, stay human, live long and prosper.

Narrator 35:07
Thanks for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Don’t forget to join our global community to get access to even more great resources like this. Until next time, remember you are part of something bigger than yourself. You belong

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