DevOps Institute

[EP53] Conformity is a Sickness – Overcoming Adversity with Lonye Ford, CEO


On this episode of the Humans of DevOps, Jason Baum is joined by Lonye Ford, CEO of Arlo Solutions. They discuss her journey including being raised by the military, overcoming adversity, manifestation, advice, making success happen plus way more!

Lonye Nicole Ford is CEO of Arlo Solutions, a minority/veteran/8a/HUBZone-owned business headquartered in Washington, DC., providing Intelligence and Cybersecurity support to the US Government. With 20+ years of experience supporting senior government and military officials, Lonye’s quick wit to identify and solve complex problems, as well as her positive and astute business acumen, deems her a highly sought-after tech executive and teaming partner. Lonye’s commitment to Arlo, family, and community is none other than paramount!

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 SKIL framework.

Lonye Ford 00:17
Same thing in life, that you have to start with understanding what is your goal? Where is it that you’re trying to go? And you really have to have a very strong belief system.

Jason Baum 00:33
Hey, everyone, welcome back. It’s Jason Baum, Director membership at DevOps Institute. And this is the Humans of DevOps podcast. And I’m so excited to have you back here as a listener, and I’m extra excited today to be talking to Lonnie a Nicole Ford. So Lonnie is CEO of Arlo solutions and minority veteran eight a HUBZone own business headquartered in Washington DC, providing intelligence and cybersecurity support to the US government, with 20 plus years experience supporting senior government and military officials. Lonnie is quick wit to identify and solve complex problems, as well as her positive and astute business acumen deems her as highly sought after tech executives and teaming partner, Lonnie, his commitment to Arlo family and community is none other than paramount. Lon, yay. Welcome to the podcast.

Lonye Ford 01:26
Thank you, Jason. What I will say is long as bio is almost as impressive as your voice.

Jason Baum 01:34
Thank you. Wow,

Lonye Ford 01:35
ma’am. The perfect voice.

Jason Baum 01:37
Thank you. I’d like, you know, if you want I will do this for you around the country, you could just have me, you know, walk in, give your bio and walk out.

Lonye Ford 01:48
Appreciate it. Like I told you, as long as I have some theme music, man, I’m good to go.

Jason Baum 01:53
Oh, you got it? Definitely. Alright, are you ready to get human on today’s podcast?

Lonye Ford 01:58
I am. And first, you know, thank you for these conversations. Thank you for inviting me on to the podcasts I mentioned to you before, this is not something I typically do. So I guess I’m a podcast newbie here. But I feel like I’m in safe hands. And I am excited for the conversation. So thank you, again,

Jason Baum 02:20
we go easy. We just one or two questions we’ll throw in there that’ll probably throw you off. But for the most part, we go take it easy on

Lonye Ford 02:28
Yeah. Okay. I like that. Yeah, you know,

Jason Baum 02:31
it’s, it’s funny on this podcast, we don’t really talk about the podcast much on the podcast. But you know, we really do try to keep it human. The theme, obviously is the human of DevOps. But we don’t really talk about that concept enough. And I think that it, it’s what makes it different is that, you know, we’re not after technically the term paper, you know, we’re not after the lecture, what we want to know is what makes you tick. And so, I think that’s a good place to start for this episode, is, tell me a little bit about your background. Where’d you grow up? And what was the first thing that maybe sparked your interest into kind of where you ended up, or maybe it didn’t maybe that came later.

Lonye Ford 03:18
So I am from Chicago, Illinois, the South Side of Chicago, I’m very proud of seeing where I’m from, but I am more proud about the organization that helped raise me which is the Air Force so you know, and they were two totally different environments. So you know, coming from Chicago, you know, growing up in a, you know, predominantly all black neighborhood, underserved community. And, you know, being around people that look like me that spoke like me to talk like me that moved like me that listen to the same music that I listened to, you know, I guess was comforting and it was what I knew and then I was transported into this crazy place called Aviano, Italy. That was my first duty station and Air Force. And I was an anomaly. And I had never experienced that before just shows you how small your little portion of the world is and how much exhale. Exposure is so important. So I start there to say that, you know, I got to where I am number one because I was exposed to other things, other people, it really opened my mind. And I think that’s the first step in being successful or having a focus is really a shift in your mind. And so I think starting in the Air Force in Italy was a mind shift for me. So I couldn’t say necessarily, I knew where I wanted to be. I would say that I always knew that I was going to be successful. So always, yeah, I always knew that I didn’t know how. And I always had something internal that I want to leave people, you know, organizations better than, you know, when I got there, and I still have that same concept. Now, wherever I go, wherever, you know, the company goes, it should be we should be providing benefit to you as a person, you know, sometimes that means, hey, were you feeling down? Did I make you laugh? How did I make you feel when I left? And so you know, that’s always been our, I guess I would say my mantra, but I think the turning point was really having access, and just being exposed to what I was exposed to. In the military, my first duty station, I was a help desk technician. So I say, started from the bottom. It feel it will be it tier-one Help Desk is about where you know, is what I would say is probably starting from the bottom and it and I also was a cable dog. So I pull cables through buildings, I you know, I created cat five cables back then. So you know, but I think all of that grind, even from a from a, from a career perspective, starting at the help desk was so helpful for me, because it was still in alignment to what I like to do people hated the help desk, you know, I went to people is I’m crazy. I use the language everyone hates, they hated answering the phone. Everyone had an issue, you know, I loved it. Because again, I like to leave people better off than when I met them. So I had the opportunity. You know, when you started when you call the help desk, you are not happy, I didn’t have to do less to make those people happy. So I think, you know, that was in direct alignment again to my mantra, then I went in, you know, continue to an Air Force doing it by system administration work, and then transition to cyber.

Jason Baum 06:54
Where do you think that drive came from? Like your mantra, I love your mantra. And it’s like, I know, I’m going to be successful. You say, and I’m like, I believe you, you’re going to be successful, you are successful. But like, Where? Where does that come from? Huh? We get really personal.

Lonye Ford 07:12
No, I mean, I love it. And I love it is thought-provoking. And this is not, it’s not something I prepared to speak to, which means I always say, depending on when you catch me, especially if I haven’t had time to think about you’re gonna get a very direct answer, sometimes good, sometimes bad. But I would say that, you know, I think the, my childhood the struggle, and what I had to, I didn’t have a choice. You know, it wasn’t, there wasn’t an option for me, I didn’t have a sale. A failsafe, I didn’t have this environment where if I didn’t do well, you know, someone was coming to save me or to help me. And so I had to be my own advocate, I had to be my own motivation. And, you know, just very young, I knew that. You know, I’m not an athlete. And I told you before I struggle, how personal to get on like this. Because I always, you know, but I’m happy that we are talking about the human side of things. And I do think that hearing, you know, stories can help motivate others, and it also helps me or the person speaking, reflect on those things that you typically may not reflect on. But I think that again, I think the struggle I was young, I was, you know, pretty much homeless when I was probably about 12 or 13 years old. And so I was in an environment that, you know, I had to hustle, I had to hustle to eat, I had to, you know, hustle to have, you know, a roof over my head. And so that creates a certain level of resiliency, you know, those are situations is you have two choices in those environments, you either gonna fail, or you’re gonna succeed, there’s really no middle ground. And so I made the choice early on that the things that I saw around me was not what I wanted. Again, I hadn’t been exposed. So I didn’t really know how to dream big. I just knew I wanted to be successful. I didn’t know what that meant. You know, I’m gonna be honest, it sounds crazy, but I remember being young thinking, Oh, my goodness, I’m probably gonna have to, like marry a rich man. Yeah, think about it that

Jason Baum 09:43
way out, right?

Lonye Ford 09:44
Yes. But it’s crazy that I that at that time when I analyzed that now, that mean that I didn’t even have exposure to women that was successful. There were no women that were doing what I was doing on TV. You know, I only saw Barbie dolls that were nurses and I didn’t want to be a nurse or a teacher, right? And so I didn’t have exposure to successful women of any color. It didn’t matter what color you just didn’t see it. There were no women in real women in politics. There were no women, you didn’t see engineers that were women now was different, right with the internet, I guess that’s now oh, they do have access to, you know, to be exposed to a lot of different things. But when I was young, that wasn’t there. So I didn’t know I didn’t understand the possibilities. And so, but I knew again, that I wanted to be successful, you know. And so that’s really a tagline. So people that’s listening, go out there and do it, you’ll figure it out, go and do it. And sometimes your path is illuminated as you’re walking the path. And so I think that’s what happened for me, I knew where I wanted to be, I just didn’t know exactly how it looks or how to get there.

Jason Baum 10:51
It’s so inspiring. And it’s Yeah, I mean, obviously, I didn’t even think of the fact that it’s hard when you don’t grow up seeing people doing what you want to do necessarily look like you are. I mean, I remember when Kamala Harris was elected VP, you know, it felt so for my own daughter, like I’m always thinking about her future. And yeah, the more people who break that, that barrier, those barriers. I mean, it’s so important. And we talk, we’ve talked about that on this podcast we’ve had, especially with women in tech, it’s a conversation that, yeah, you know, it’s had frequently. But I think, I can’t remember who said it. Maybe it was my colleague, Evelyn, she, I think she said it like when we’re not having that conversation. It’s just natural. That’s when we’ve achieved like true, true movement, and when you’re not really having the conversation, because it’s become part of the norm.

Lonye Ford 11:51
Absolutely. And, you know, I, and I think I mentioned this, too, that I struggle with this type of conversation because in the rooms that I was in, I was already an anomaly. So I didn’t want to go through and say, hey, you know, look at me, you know, guys, I’m a woman in tech. So it’s almost like I really shied away from any conversations that were not about my knowledge, skills and ability was the only thing I wanted to talk about. But I also think now you know, that I’m where I am in my career, and I assess where we are, is almost a disservice. Because there are people that’s coming up behind me that maybe I’m one of the first black female CEOs that you may see this doing gov con, or that’s from the trenches of Chicago, not middle class like you can see, you know, I want those young ladies out there that really are coming from nothing to see that this is a possibility. And you can be who you are, you can wear braids you can speak how you speak, I struggle with that, you know, I will go places, and I will be speaking on panels and try to come because all of my colleagues, everyone I spoke to pretty much, you know, was definitely a white male-dominated field. So I will go in and try to speak like this and talk, you know, hi, guys, I wanted out i What happened was I missed the content, because I’m so focused on being something that’s not my authentic self, you lose you, you lie. Absolutely. So you’re focused on being someone else, when you should be focused on again, your knowledge, skills, and ability. And so I think that this is an example to, you know, young girls out there that you can be who you are, and your knowledge, skills and ability can still shine that still should be, you know, on the forefront. You know, I tell people all the time, I’m not necessarily, you know, very visible, I guess you would say in the fight, you know, I don’t go in and say hey, I’m a woman or I’m African American, I truly steel will always be well my knowledge, skills and ability point blank period. This other part for me is secondary, what others take that as their primary focus, that’s not that secondary I want, I want folks to know that they can still achieve what they need to achieve, regardless of how you look. But your focus has to be your knowledge, your skills and ability. And if you look like me, your knowledge, skills and ability may have surpassed many of your peers, just so that you are able

Jason Baum 14:22
to get in the door. I mean, it’s sometimes it’s as simple as like what we teach our children. Right, you know, like, like, what we teach my daughter’s we’re all different, and that’s a good thing. And, you know, and I do think that way, you know, when it comes to just my approach to meeting people, is I don’t want to meet the same people that first of all, we’re not all the same, literally all of us have something that makes us unique. But a fair shake, you know, I just want everybody should have a fair shake. And yeah, and it’s but that’s not the case

Lonye Ford 14:55
is not and we should

Jason Baum 14:57
talk about it.

Lonye Ford 14:57
I agree and I also we should talk about information and everyone has a different path. So to be honest, that really wasn’t a focus area for me. Now I’m saying in hindsight when I assess kind of maybe why this was difficult, or I didn’t see people that look like me, but I can’t necessarily say that in my journey, that was something I focused on actually focusing on my knowledge, skills and ability, I knew that I had to work harder, and be smarter and be overly prepared. But that was just to me, the, you know, the nature of the beast, you know, and so I never really focused on what will be perceived as holding me back. And that’s probably why I worked for me too, because I was sometimes I’ll probably was oblivious to it, you know, I just, you know, I knew what I, I’m very goal-oriented, and I’m very intentional. So

Jason Baum 15:52
focused, yeah. Yeah.

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Jason Baum 16:45
So, you know, usually, I ask this question later, but I feel like it’s so appropriate now, because I want to know the answer. So what would you say to someone who’s starting out, you know, who might be coming from a similar background? Or, or a different background, but has, you know, I guess, not the easiest path to getting to where they want to go? What do you say to that person? Do you do tell them to kind of embrace that piece? Or do you like what advice do you give?

Lonye Ford 17:19
Um, I think the major the primary advice I’ll say it this way, okay, if you if, if there are two separate people, right, regardless of background, and you both got in a vehicle, you know, one person got in a vehicle, they have gas, they you know, have their map, they know where their destination is, is they know what steps they have to take along the way even if they just know their destination is about nine times out of 10 they will make it there then you have this other person that gets in his vehicle does not know where they’re going does not have the destination does not have a map and they’re just driving around aimlessly, they will probably never get there same thing in life that you have to start with understanding what is your goal where is it that you’re trying to go and you really have to have a very strong belief system. You know, I am a self-help junkie so I read every book and listen to every audio and there are so many different philosophies but there’s one thing that’s all that is going to be common a commonality between every philosophy every book, and it is going to be a belief system you know it is going to be I don’t care how they say it I don’t care if they say what you reap what you sow, you reap what you sow, I don’t care if it’s you know the secret you know, you become what you think you’re going to come if you’re successful if you say you’re going to be successful, you’re going to be successful. If you think you’re not going to be successful, you’re not going to be successful. So not belong really you know, really think through and have a goal of where you want to be where you will run around live being aimless and you will start conforming to the majority of the population is not successful. Yeah, you know, conformity is a sickness, right and it’s the opposite of being successful. But if you get to the point where you at a minimum know where you want to go when you’re constantly reminding yourself this is where I’m going like I say I didn’t know where I want to go I know I was going to be successful is nothing that you could see on me to make me think I wasn’t going to be successful. I don’t know my destination was success. And so everything when you know I would guess what I’m gonna see I’m going to start seeing what takes me to success same thing you like, hey, I want to bins. You know, you may have not seen bins on a roll but soon as you say to yourself, oh, I wanted to see glass and then it seems like I want to see these bins everywhere. You know, it’s kind of what you start believing in Thank you, you start seeing it, the road and a path starts, again illuminating for you. So I would really say, you know, really devise a goal. You know, map out a plan, don’t wait to and then be decisive and go after it. Don’t be scared, you know, especially if you’re young and you start, you have so many options to fail, do it like Nike, just go out there and do it and try over and over and over again, do not give up because you’re gonna fail your way into success. You know, the first thing that you try may not work, but you might fail your way into, you know, into something else. And that really could have been your calling or your path, but you need to go through what you did to get there. So, you know, that’s what I will say, you know, setting goals, really, you know, mapping out a plan, you know, being intentional. And I will also say, Listen, what I mean by that is, you know, listen, I mean, figuratively, I mean, listen to people listen, to listen to when you’re walking in a room and listen to the energy that you leave behind in the room, listen to what people the feedback that people give about you because some things are transitional. And listen to yourself is something in Oh, I’m great with people, or people will be like, Oh my God, every time you walk in a room, you’re so great with people, you’re so start thinking to yourself, Okay, I realize I’ve heard this four or five times I’m good with people what’s what Corinthia? What can I do that I can still use this, this? This ability that I have, okay, people gonna say, Oh, you speak so well or you know how to think that through listen to that, listen to that feedback, or there’s gonna be things that you know that maybe you’re not so good at. I’m definitely not a firm believer that you can do whatever you want to do. I think that you could do whatever you want to do that you put passion behind. But I started things right, I’m probably gonna be Michael Jordan. Not probably I’m not

Lonye Ford 22:06
it’s like I do it I ever I want to do but you know, within the things that my within my goals, I can reach what goals that I set, as long as I put the right plan in place, I have passion behind them. And I go further than just my what I will consider my innate ability so your innate ability, maybe I speak well, that that how do you take that skill set and take it to the next level, I’m great at this, but now you have to put some training around it. So those are things that I would say people need to think through number one, have a goal, think through a path be relentless about it, you know, keep going, you know, listen to the feedback that you are hearing, listen to, you know, listen, listen to not only the feedback you’re hearing, but listen to yourself, your inner voice, there are things internally that you know, I’m great at or I want to do this or this fulfills me. Don’t discount your passion because your passion can lead you in ways that no skill set can. Yeah,

Jason Baum 23:08
I love what you said about conformity is a sickness. I think that’s I’m going to use that line that I wrote it down. Yeah, you know, last week we even we spoke with Farshad bossy, and he grew up in the Middle East and like he got into this business because his father bought him a computer but they weren’t allowed to have games, because they were banned. And so he made his own he created his own and it was like sometimes you just have that drive based off of what you don’t have. It’s like you’re aspire to have it you want to have it so you have this drive. It’s almost like entrepreneurs, right? They always tell entrepreneurs get rid of that life net like your day job. If you want to go do this you get rid of that day job and make it all about in don’t be afraid to fail don’t be afraid to lose your house was your whatever you need that drive to be able to get there in order to be

Lonye Ford 24:02
true. You know, we started so our low. My partner Her name is Arlene she’s ‘Ar’ I’m the ‘lo’ in ARLO. But we started our first four years we didn’t pay ourselves, we pass up zero, the year five I want to say maybe we paid ourselves 40 $50,000 So I you know is entrepreneurship is definitely not glamorous. But to me, it’s a certain level of I hate to say it this way but an obsession that’s required to be successful, especially depending on where you know where you’re starting. What your foundation is this a certain level of like doggedness, I can’t stop I have to do and not from external forces. Definitely not motivated by money because you will give up on it if that’s your why just to get rich you I’m gonna go try to find some money, you know,

Jason Baum 24:57
easy ways to do that.

Lonye Ford 25:01

Jason Baum 25:02
my favorite has been people are like, Yeah, I want to become an entrepreneur because I want to work for myself and I can have any hours that I want, I can work any hours that I want. Like, Yeah, but you’re gonna be working like 12 of those hours to 15 of those hours to you know, it’s your whole day your life.

Lonye Ford 25:16
Right? Absolutely. It’s, I mean, it’s a level of obsession that really can’t be described unless you’re that type of entrepreneur. It’s that level of passion obsession that you know, that’s, you know, really required especially in its infancy stage in the beginning.

Jason Baum 25:34
Yeah. So after after the Air Force, you know, did you go straight into Arlo or how did you get into cybersecurity? I mean, obviously, in the Air Force, you were doing that work, but how did that transition? What was that transition like?

Lonye Ford 25:48
So I always say I was in cyber before it was sexy. But I left the airforce with all his great training in cyber in it and decided I wanted to go back to Chicago and get into the retail space and so I went back and I became a general manager of a Sears so natural

Jason Baum 26:14

Lonye Ford 26:19
but again, I think it goes back to what I mentioned that my once you realize what your skillset is your skillset really is transition Oh, it is you making the choice one how do you want to use it so for me again, I like servicing people I always have it’s just a part of my nature I like I don’t mind I had been in retail like when I was younger, but I wanted to do it at a higher level. So I wanted to be like the general managers of seniors and I wanted to be I didn’t necessarily want to do seniors I wanted to get to a point where I was in some you know, amazing place like Macy’s or something. But I started there. Before I moved from that I want to say my hat is off to all people in retail. Those are the most especially right now. Oh, let me tell you they are we do not give them enough respect. That is those are some hard-working folks. And I definitely did not want to work that hard for that money but my head was off I think everyone should start it start their career as young adults in retail or waiting tables. But

Jason Baum 27:30
that’s a crash course into people it’s at my very first job on a 16 Kmart Customer Service Manager it was or worked myself up to manager but yeah, customers gratulate customers service at Kmart. A scary place by the way.

Lonye Ford 27:49
Yes. Oh and I came out of the military so the Sears employee we’re not ready for me and I am. People think I am like this because I have my business I can be overwhelming to people I am I strive for excellence in everything is just how I operate. I drive my wife crazy. So I definitely draw the people in and see her is crazy. And it was like, hey, I want people to come in and do a GI party and strip the floor. like wait a minute, I sell shirts. But then I left and I tried the banking industry for a little while I went to I went through I had to actually compete to get this job at a bank in Chicago. And I wasn’t comfortable in the banking industry because, you know, the military had gotten me so focused on the mission. And your success is based on the success of the mission versus your success is always based on something monetary. So I think transitioning from the military into the private sector was difficult for me in that way, especially banking know trying to get people to sell products that sometimes I didn’t think was ethical. And so that that was that part was tough for me and I had to do some soul searching. So then I came back to government contracts and I moved to the DC area. My first job was at DISA Defense Information Security. Agency. Yes. And from there, I just did a government contract. And so I worked for the DoD CIO, the army CIO, and some of the major army programs and then Air Force CIO then I started my own company. And I met my partner through her husband, who we he and I were doing marketing work. So I also was doing club promotions in DC at the same time, and so my partner in the club promotion side was he and I became good friends. He introduced me to his wife, which is Arlene, he kept saying, you know, your wife, you should talk you all hit it off. And that I think, maybe you A week after we met, we were somewhere on a lemon drop Martini. She’s like, What do you do? Oh, my, what do you do? And we just came up with this concept. And the rest is history lightning in a bottle? Yes.

Jason Baum 30:11
That’s awesome. So So I guess, you know, what are you most excited about right now for the future of Arlo for the industry? And, you know, what is your role in that? And yeah, I guess what’s what’s get gets you excited right now.

Lonye Ford 30:30
So I, what gets me excited on I’ll start first with cybersecurity. I have been, again, I’ve been doing this for a very long time. And a specific area that I focus on is risk management and risk management framework. So my focus area has always been how do you assess systems? And how do you authorize systems to, you know, to join a network to join a larger enterprise? So now, you know, as I continue to mature in my career, my focus has been like building the frameworks and policies I work with Eric, on behalf of the Air Force to be able to fast track ATO process, we’re looking at how do we assess an authorized cold coming from the cloud and maybe going to some of the government’s aircrafts. And so the exciting part now for me is so long cyber has been siloed. And cyber has been in his kind of it is I want to say in his own bucket, we weren’t considered a part of they didn’t look at us when it came to cost schedule and performance. We were that thing you tacked on it was so irritating me hated to see us coming, you know. So I think what’s exciting now is the integration of the different areas of not only assessing the authorized system but building system coding system, the operators who are using a system. So there’s a lot of integrations, a lot of discussions going on, that had not that hadn’t happened in the past. I think there’s more respect for cybersecurity now and the importance of it. Now, it seems so natural, but I’m telling you for a very long time, it was not is very difficult to to get decision-makers and leaders to truly understand the importance of cyber so that part is exciting to me. And it’s also exciting because we’re having these new this new energy and his integration. His fault is forcing us folks that have been in cybersecurity bustle some time to reimagine you know, we are accustomed to speaking cyber language and cyber talk that no one else understands control ac like what the hell does that mean? How are you going to tell a decision-maker what to do based on a control number? So I think it’s a it’s a forcing mechanism to get us to start communicating in English and you know, bringing people into the fold so all that is very exciting. And then you know, the other part of excitement I’m so excited about where Arlo was going. I’m so excited. We have been grinding for so long this year is the first year we’ve been taking the time to assess how far we’ve come we just made Inc 5000 for the fastest way thank you, but the fastest growing private company and we’re number 153 You know and I think we’re number two in DC for the fastest growing company and I actually get really emotional about that because thinking about where we came from to where we are in the struggles and the confirmation that I don’t know something about Inc 5000 was very it was confirmation for me not only that, you know we’re on to something it’s okay for you know the girl from Camden which is my apartment is girl from Chicago that you know I want to say almost that we made it you know we’re not where we want to be but it’s confirmation that you know being ethical having integrity doing right by people the grind and not giving up it pays off it really does pays off the good guys really do you know the good guys really do. They don’t finish last that’s not true. You know, and I think it was you know confirmation and my partner always sees this that is proved that you know the American dream is not so cliche. And I think we are an example of that out even though I’m telling you I get emotional when I talk about it and

Lonye Ford 34:38
the level of gratitude that I have. I can’t even express it so many people along my journey and I say so many people have given me a helping hand has given me words of encouragement. have opened door is also confirmation of community and we are here because As a community of people that also believed in us, community of people that gave us opportunities and chances that opened the door for us, we’re in the process of starting a mentor-protege program with Deloitte, which is, you know, just monumental. And we’ve grown even by at the end of this year, drastically in the last month. So there are so many exciting things that are, that’s going on for our law, and we have so many amazing employees, that’s committed to this vision. And, you know, as amazing clients that allow us, you know, to really tackle the hard problems in ways that we want to tackle them, which can be pretty unique. So I’m very excited about the future of, you know, the future of our loan. Very,

Jason Baum 35:49
I mean, congratulations on everything, it’s, and you know, what it’s, it’s, I think, not to analyze, you know, the value of the validation, it’s probably, it’s the validation that you feel, right. It’s validating that, that motto, that that driving statement that you said, at the very beginning of the podcast, you know, I’m going to be successful. And then I mean, you’re, you’re, you’re validated in that clearly, and which is awesome. And, and that’s not, it’s not every day that we get that. And so I think that when you do, it’s, it’s pretty special, so congratulations on everything, and, you know, especially, you know, having to go through hardship to get there. It’s not easy. So, you know, I, it’s, it’s awesome. And this was so inspiring to me, I’m inspired and ready to go out, and do so do something. I start my own company right now. But I don’t have that mentality. But I’m always fascinated when I get to talk to people who do, because I think it’s so inspiring.

Lonye Ford 36:49
But what you’re doing is allowing a platform for people to be inspired. You know, that’s, that’s huge. That’s, again, in this space. You mentioned it, when you started that you’re looking at the human aspect of this, we don’t really focus on the human aspect, when it comes to the IT side, especially if this government, DOD were taught you don’t talk about those differences. You don’t bring those up. And so what you’re doing is, is, is transformative. Because these folks out here we exist. But if there’s not a platform for people to hear, in this context, from this perspective, you know, you’re really not transforming lives. Right. And, you know, and this forces us to assess, I haven’t sat down and had these conversations, mostly because I, you know, I’m looking at how great Arlo was doing, and we’re talking about it. But to be honest, 15 minutes after, you know, it’s announced that you did great, there’s a new problem and if you wish to so you transition so quickly that you don’t have time to really think you know, it’s a sit-in sit sometimes sitting gratitude. And that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m working on to I am great at hustling I’m great at that. Now, how do you thrive, right? And that’s a difference that takes a different skillset and a different part of your brain to work on thriving. But I think what you’re doing is, again, transformative. I’m grateful for having the platform to do this, I’m grateful to you that you are allowing the opportunity for maybe some young person to hear this, not only me, but you know, whether it’s a person that was in gaming, it didn’t have the laptop, they could have games on it, whatever it is that resonates with that person, you’re providing that conduit, so, you know, that’s amazing. So thank you for that. Thank you,

Jason Baum 38:44
thank you for that. And, and honestly, if we all approach things with a different lens, and I think that the more we understand each other and where each other came from, and not afraid to have those conversations and really get to know each other. You know, hopefully, we put a little bit of kindness back into the world a little more understanding and then, you know, we could cut through the rest and just get things done and have fun doing that. Doesn’t that sound like nice? Sounds like a nice day. That sounds so simple to but for some reason we complicate it. We didn’t. We don’t. I mean, okay, so, so that that this was such a great conversation like I this is a question that I asked at the end of every podcast, I feel kind of silly asking it because this is so good. And we got so deep. I feel like we’re just got out of a session or something. And now I’m gonna I know I’m going to ruin it with a silly question, but Okay, so what’s one unique thing about you that no one knows that maybe you’ve never shared it could be like a hobby. It could be so I’ll share a few with you that we’ve had in the past while you think of yours. We’ve had actually a few people who have hiked the Himalayas. We have had a few DJs which was pretty cool. A few Former jazz musician. And so So what is yours?

Lonye Ford 40:05
Hmm. So I think I mentioned one of them a little earlier, but I’ll reiterate that, you know, I’m as a, I was a club promoter. And you know, and I also and I still do that work and I pardon our own a, my partner, a husband, you know, they own a venue in DC, and I’ve been promoting there for maybe like eight to 10 years. So I still am in that scene and still promote so I would say, you know, that’s one unique thing. That’s awesome. Yeah. I love love, love, love music. I mean, if I’m in another life, I probably was a rapper. I will people that you know, are Oh, solutions. I’ll say I’m a rapper. You can call me dumb solutions.

Jason Baum 40:58
I love that. We could spend a whole podcast talking about that. Because everybody that comes on, we always talk about music because I’m into music. And it’s it’s shocking to me just how many people in this field are musicians or love music or somehow have some kind of connection to music. I said we were gonna start a, the musicians of DevOps podcast or something because I think we could talk about it all day.

Lonye Ford 41:21
I love it. And then my other thing is, I love SoulCycle. I am a soul cycle junkie, like a fanatic. I go to SoulCycle like maybe four or five times a week. I’m not sure if people know what SoulCycle is. But it’s you know when you’re cycling, but you really cycling to the beat of the music again, I like music and the way that they do it is you’re in a room, you know, it’s almost like you have a DJ is dark. They’re playing music and you’re just cycling your little heart out. But

Jason Baum 41:50
I’m pretty good. All this energy. That’s what I’m so tired of listening to you describe it? Well, how do you have this energy?

Lonye Ford 41:57
So my other superpower is I don’t need to sleep much. So I speak about maybe four hours a day. And I can go and if and I operate, you know, at very high frequency. Even I have a lot of energy. So I don’t need much sleep or rest. So yeah, I use all of the hours in a day that I can use. Pretty much use.

Jason Baum 42:22
I don’t know how that is a superpower. That is definitely a superpower.

Lonye Ford 42:27
Now was that to look at it that way. But I didn’t use to think them. But yeah, it is helpful.

Jason Baum 42:33
Alanya thank you so much for coming on the podcast sharing with us getting deep, like truly being human. And I can’t thank you enough. This was awesome.

Lonye Ford 42:43
Thank you. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the invite. And again, amazing things that you’re doing.

Jason Baum 42:50
Absolutely. And thank you and it was an absolute pleasure to have you on. And thank you for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I’m going to end this episode, the same as I always do encouraging you to become a premium member of DevOps Institute to get access to even more great resources just like this one. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and most of all, stay human, live long, and prosper.

Narrator 43:16
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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