Tom Hollingsworth – IT Origins

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Tom Hollingsworth, aka The Networking Nerd, has been leading Tech Field Day events since 2013. He is a CCIE, an active blogger, and a Scoutmaster!

You can follow Tom on his blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tech Field Day, and the Gestalt IT Rundown.

What’s your IT origin story? How long have you been in the field?

Went to college to be a DBA, got out during the Crunch of 2001-2002. Got work doing basic tech helpdesk stuff for Gateway 2000. Managed to luck into a VAR career in 2003. Parlayed that into Tech Field Day in 2013.

What’s been the biggest change in IT since you started your career?

Open sharing and discussion via social media. Having the ability to ask anyone on the planet how to do something versus going to the old gurus to keep relearning the same things over and over again.

Current worst trend in IT?

Besides “on-premise”? (Editor’s Note: ha ha) I’d have to say the Silicon Valley uniform – untucked button down, expensive blue jeans, and loafers. If you’re going to impress at least dress like it.

Current best trend in IT?

Valuing the opinions and experience of everyone on the team. No more top-down leadership and direction. Instead, people are realizing the gestalt has value. (Editor’s Note: Tom gets it)

How do you approach organization at work? What are your must use apps? How do you approach organization? What’s your ideal workspace?

Organization is tough. Thanks to apps like Things I can get some of it done. Pen and paper are a must for quick notes. Other important apps – Tweetbot, Airmail, Reeder, and Typora for writing.

Book recommendations for other IT pros (besides The Phoenix Project?)

“Say It In Six” If you can’t make your case in six minutes, you haven’t done enough homework yet.

First computer you owned.

Commodore 64. Between POKE commands and ,8,9 I got a lot of training in how not to use a computer.

What do you do when you’re not working in IT?

I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster and Assistant Cubmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. If I’m not behind a computer, I’m usually mentoring boys to enjoy the outdoors and become better leaders.

How do you caffeine?

Coffee in the mornings. Sweet iced tea other times. Gave up soda about 3.5 years ago.

Who do you want to see answer these questions?

SwiftOnSecurity, Larry Ellison, and Meg Whitman.

Best career advice you’ve received.

From one of my IBM Mentors, Renee Mullins-Curfman. “If you make yourself unfireable, you’re also making yourself unpromotable.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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