Toby Knapp

Toby Knapp

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Hug an engineer and give some love to #TechSupport...


Baby Hay-Sus what a day today has been.

I spent about three hours on the phone with our technical teams working on a problem which had my home studio dead in the water since last night.

What happened?

Well, I got a new modem. A next generation WiFi Modem which took our wireless internet speeds at our place through the stratosphere. For a while, last night, it was pretty epic. Seeing unreal speeds, downloading and uploading... I was so pumped to get home and handle some work...

... and that's when poop went sideways.

For some reason, the new modem didn't like a security firewall which is in place at my place to keep the rest of the company safe. I've got some "proprietary" stuff at home which requires some added security, and, well, this new modem just was not having it.

I called Matthew, one of our regional engineers who used to be locally-based in my home market. I was lucky to get him on the phone for a few and he reminded me I needed to call the helpdesk/tech support to get my new IP address enabled so I could clear the security protocols.

So, I did.

Our corporate tech support operative and I ran through the issues... and we kept hitting a dead end. For whatever reason, the firewall and the new modem didn't play so well together. At all.

We called in the tech support team from the ISP... and they did the best they could, but, having our IT team also on the line, well, let's just say it was clear the customer service side of 'things' just transcended the customer service nature of the tech support we needed. Our IT team, clearly frustrated, asked for an engineer, asked to escalate the issue and wanted a supervisor... yesterday.

All the while, work I needed to update was being pushed to the wayside... because with no access to the 'net via the firewall, there was no way I could do some of what I needed to do.

I should point out the WiFi side of the modem was on fire. Blazing fast.

One solution offered by the ISP was to disable the WiFi's ability to be wireless.

That wasn't going to happen.

Meanwhile, our engineer and I tracked down the one change made which caused everything to go sideways -- the new WiFi Modem. If we could re-install the old WiFi Modem - which worked fine the night before, maybe we could get a heartbeat back... allowing my home studio to re-connect with the iHeart network, secured by the firewall, enabling me to stay connected, keep the company safe and our tech clear of any 'stuff...'

Now, there's a bunch more boring stuff which went on over the course of three hours today... but the lessons and takeaways are these:

1) Learn all you can about studios and tech from those who are more skilled than you at these things. So you can be helpful. So you can help find solutions.

2) New isn't always best. I should have remembered this... because the only way forward... was to take a step backwards to what was proven to work - and work well.

3) When you ride out into the unknown of tech, life or whatever, have people you can call to help you make sense of what needs to evolve or change... and do what you can to help make it happen.

4) Trust your engineers and your tech support teams. They are your best chance at finding a way to win if you are facing a certain defeat.

5) Have a stiff drink on standby.

So, let me now take a note to say thank you. To our Tiger Teams, our TechOPS teams, to the Support Teams who do so much to make the stuff behind our company do what it does. I'm blessed to make a living - and to send my kid to the school of her dreams - because I stand on the shoulders of giants... like the teammates who helped me out today. These men and women do so much, often times for ZERO thanks, while dealing with whining and complaining and at times disrespect.

We are - and I am - who I am because of the lessons I was taught by engineers along the way. From people who are way smarter than I will ever be at things which I'm thankful I don't have to fully know everything about.

The people behind the scenes make it all happen. If we - in this job or any job... or in this life ever forget it, we'll be doomed to fail. But if we can be helpful... and thankful, well, you might just be surprised at what you can pull off...

... even if pulling it off seems impossible.

InshAllah you will encounter some of these people along the way in life. When you do... tell 'em thank you.

-tk


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