The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Dinesh Dutt

December 05, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 71
Dinesh Dutt
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Dinesh Dutt
Dec 05, 2023 Season 1 Episode 71
Chris & Zoë

In this episode, we chat with Dinesh Dutt, a network expert and author, the founder and CEO of Susie Q, a network management app that uses network observability.

Dinesh shares his journey from Cisco to Cumulus Networks, where he worked on network disaggregation and open source. He also introduces his latest project, Susie Q, and how it revolutionizes network management and monitoring.

We learn how Dinesh juggles his passion for network innovation with his role as a business owner, a parent, and a lifelong learner. He reveals the challenges and motivations that inspire him to make an impact in the world.

We’ll dive into Dinesh’s insights on network design, network observability, network disaggregation, and network automation.

Join us and listen to his stories of learning from failures and successes and growing as a network professional and a human being.

Be humble.
Make your life about learning, not about knowing, and every day can be so enriching.

Dinesh's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Dinesh Dutt, a network expert and author, the founder and CEO of Susie Q, a network management app that uses network observability.

Dinesh shares his journey from Cisco to Cumulus Networks, where he worked on network disaggregation and open source. He also introduces his latest project, Susie Q, and how it revolutionizes network management and monitoring.

We learn how Dinesh juggles his passion for network innovation with his role as a business owner, a parent, and a lifelong learner. He reveals the challenges and motivations that inspire him to make an impact in the world.

We’ll dive into Dinesh’s insights on network design, network observability, network disaggregation, and network automation.

Join us and listen to his stories of learning from failures and successes and growing as a network professional and a human being.

Be humble.
Make your life about learning, not about knowing, and every day can be so enriching.

Dinesh's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network Podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann. I'm joined by the only Rose that has no thorns, the one and only Zoe Rose. Cheers. 

[00:00:25] Chris: This is the Dinesh G. Dutt episode and it's gonna be a good one. Dinesh is a well known industry expert and author of three very popular and well regarded books on data center networks all published by O'Reilly.

[00:00:36] Chris: The most recent is titled Cloud Native Data Center Networking. He spent 20 years First working for Cisco Systems, where he started as a software engineer and finished as a Cisco fellow, the very top of the pile there. Also while at Cisco, he was one of the key architects behind many of Cisco's mega switches, including the Catalyst 65K, MDS storage switches, the Nexus 7K, and the Nexus 5K family of switches.

[00:01:01] Chris: Quite a bit. And then after that, he kind of flipped it and went from big iron to network desegregation as the chief scientist at Cumulus Networks. He's the co inventor of VXLAN. He also had a hand in Trill, I believe. And he's a co founder and principal at Stardust Systems, the creators of SuzyQ. 

[00:01:21] Chris: Hi, Dinesh, would you like to introduce yourself any further to the Impostor Syndrome Network?

[00:01:25] Dinesh: Ah, thank you, Chris and Zoe. Thanks for having me on the show. Yes, the only thing I would add is, yes, I feel like an imposter all the time. 

[00:01:35] Chris: Well, I was gonna say awesome. It's not quite awesome, but it is always refreshing to hear that from somebody with such a kind of prestigious career so far. It's really cool to talk to you and have you on the show.

[00:01:44] Chris: And I think we'll just dive right in here. I actually, we try to kind of avoid super technical topics and definitely avoid direct promotion, but I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Suzy Q fan boy. And so I'd love it if you could start by giving us maybe a really brief and high level overview of what SuzyQ is and perhaps even more relevant to this podcast and kind of our audience, you know, why you helped create it and released it as open source.

[00:02:08] Dinesh: Sure. Thank you, Chris, for letting me talk a little bit about my latest passion, so to speak. Something that ties back to the start of the industry for me, but nevertheless. So SuzyQ is. A multi vendor agentless network management application, which aims to improve dramatically the operational efficiency of network teams, whether they be CLI jockeys, GUI lovers, or DevOps ninjas.

[00:02:38] Dinesh: And it does that by using network observability. And the basic idea is not focused on should we do troubleshooting, should we do something specific. It's focused on answering questions such as, I want to renumber my VLANs. How do I go about it? What interfaces do I have? In my network that need to be renumbered, how do I do it in a way that's most efficient?

[00:03:00] Dinesh: Because if you think about it at the end of the day, a huge part of what's going on in the network industry started back maybe in the 2000, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 area time. 12 I would say mostly because I joined Cumulus at that time and I saw it really blooming when OpenFlow took off. Is this whole story of network automation and People wanting, people say network automation, but that's a technology, that's not what the problem is.

[00:03:28] Dinesh: The problem is really, how do I run my, operate my networks efficiently and easily? How do I make them work in a way that's actually predictable, robust, and does what it does? So, people, you know, talk about the fact that when 9 11 happened, within an hour, internet was restored to all the areas around it, apparently.

[00:03:49] Dinesh: And how do you deal with an un, how shall we say, predictable, such an unpredictable black swan event as 9 11 and turn that into a network that was designed in the 80s, which was not having necessarily that thought process, but still come back. And then you look at the cloud operators and how efficient they are, and how is it that they manage to run such humongous networks where enterprise people with a hundred devices seem to fail all the time.

[00:04:15] Dinesh: So I think that particular thing, I saw Cumulus being at the forefront of trying to manage that wave by trying to do what the hyperscalers did. But I think just as open flow was an attempt to do it. But I think approach it in a completely wrong angle. It's like someone saying, I wanna write good applications, and me giving you an assembler versus the fact that, you know, people don't change the world doesn't change as fast as we like to think it does.

[00:04:46] Dinesh: And therefore trying to work within the constraints of whatever it is that a person has is far more important. So I wanted to write a tool that would help people work, make their networks efficient, operate their networks very efficiently by dramatically reducing the time they take to do a lot of things and to do it confidently and comfortably.

[00:05:08] Dinesh: So that was the final part, the main thrust of my, uh, focus into Susie Q. When I was done, I started it as a labor of love for me. I felt like network operators needed something that needed to be done. And I thought by putting it in open source, it would be helpful, but people want to have a company around me to have a company in order for them to deploy.

[00:05:28] Dinesh: So I started a company. Can't have a company without paying some people to do more, have to have an enterprise, la di da, la di da. So there we are. So that's a very short summary. I don't know if it was very short of why I started Susie Q and why I'm here. Yep. 

[00:05:44] Zoe: Nice. And before we recorded, you mentioned a little bit about, you know, being a parent and obviously we related on that topic.

[00:05:52] Zoe: Oh, I guess all three of us, I do. Well, but I'm curious on your thoughts from the perspective of being, you know, running your own business and being a. What a parent and the challenges that you've seen there. 

[00:06:05] Dinesh: Oh, uh, so your question Zoe is a very interesting one. The challenge of trying to run a business on your own and trying to also be.

[00:06:20] Dinesh: Very present parent and a present husband and a present friend etc is a really hard one I think as the world has evolved we've kind of become more and more specialized so that we have all learned to be really good at one thing and Pretty much suck at most other things and that could be in your job It could be in the combination of your job and your house or whatever else and people talk about work life balance But you know, for me, I have always found it kind of a strange thing to kind of talk about work life balance.

[00:06:57] Dinesh: I feel like it's a balance between all the things that you love doing. I think work and the way people look at it is kind of Something that I don't completely Ascribe to. My favorite one and you'll see me do this a lot by the way So I apologize if this is too much but one of the things that I look back on is I read this little poem by Robert frost a long time ago called two tramps in mud time Which is, But yield who will to their separation.

[00:07:29] Dinesh: My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one And the work is play for mortal stakes Is the deed ever really done For heaven and for future sakes. I felt like I want that always to be part of me. My family, my wife, my kid, my friends, and my work are all somehow united.

[00:08:02] Dinesh: They are not somehow a separable part that I can kind of focus on. So I try and do that. So what ends up happening? The short answer to your question is I take a lot of stress on myself. I sleep a little less and maybe I don't do everything as well as I could if I just focused on one, but I don't let that be the definition of success.

[00:08:25] Dinesh: That is how far I could go in one field. But what I could do in terms of trying to balance all of them together. So the short answer is it's very hard. I don't think I have a good answer. It's very specific to each person. Work very hard. 

[00:08:42] Chris: Yeah. And that, well, that's an interesting thought process too. I think the idea of.

[00:08:46] Chris: At least it's something that I think of fairly often, right? What if I focused on one thing? How great could I push it? How far could I take it? I'm just not built that way for one thing. So I know that it's fairly unrealistic. I typically need to have three or four projects going plus being a husband and a father.

[00:09:04] Chris: Or I, I kind of scatter off, but, but it is an interesting thought experiment. Right. Cause I, cause I sometimes think, well, what if I was just focusing on this one project? Like, would it be further ahead? I'm not sure. I don't know for sure, actually. Cause you know, like I said, for me, I kind of need that distraction.

[00:09:18] Chris: I need to be able to go work on something else. Go sit down and play a game with my son or, you know, plan a vacation with my wife or whatever it is and take my mind away from the work long enough for the subconscious to do some work. I think there's something to that. 

[00:09:33] Dinesh: Absolutely. I think there's a lot of data, both scientific and anecdotal, which actually, you know, validate your thinking process.

[00:09:41] Dinesh: I think the way we think about work and how it is, is very much a after fact of. The industrial revolution and the manufacturing economy. It is not how people thought about work or did things in the past. And so the artists might have actually a more clued in perspective on what we call work than we who work have a thought on.

[00:10:04] Dinesh: I think we kind of tend to do this kind of, uh, completely immersed in one thing to the exclusion of everything else, very much like an industry assembly line. 

[00:10:14] Chris: Yeah, I think you're right. And, and since you went down the philosophical path a little bit with some poetry, I feel comfortable admitting that I try to think of my entire life as, as a brushstroke across the universe, right?

[00:10:26] Chris: I want the whole, the whole of it. I don't know who's going to be able to zoom out far enough to see it, but I'll know that I may, I left this beautiful mark somewhere on the universe. 

[00:10:35] Dinesh: That's the only thing that matters. Yeah. That's the only thing we can do with the life we've been given. It's a privilege and to try our best to give back in some measure what we have received.

[00:10:46] Chris: So we know that running a business is a challenge, especially a brand new one. But on the flip side of that, what do you love about what you're doing right now with Stardust and just being a business owner and getting software out in the world and the whole thing? 

[00:10:58] Dinesh: So if you had asked anybody who knew me four years ago, They would have all said Dinesh start a business never he said it so many times: Never. And I think I would have echoed that sentiment But I think part of being a grown up is to pick up and do the things that need doing With whether you like it or not, and that's how I look at what i'm doing with respect to a business Unlike Suzy Q, which is a labor of passion, I don't believe Stardust Systems for me is a labor of love the way Suzy Q is a labor of love.

[00:11:36] Dinesh: But I also believe as a grown up, you pick up and do the things that need doing. You don't just say, I do the things that I like. I mean, that almost feels like you're still a teenager or you're very much still in school. So, I believe what was needed in order for me to push my labor of love further along was to start a business.

[00:11:55] Dinesh: And so that's the genesis of pushing this business along. So for me, I see that as something that needs doing. I don't enjoy a whole bunch of things about it. I have to read RFQs. RFQs. I have to read all kinds of RFs other than RFCs, which also got boring after a while. But in any case, they were all things that I don't enjoy doing, but they need doing very much like a dishwasher needs loading.

[00:12:23] Dinesh: And so I can't say that I look at it with a lot of passion, the way you, you and I can get started on what's the algorithm for endpoint tracking. Uh, but it's been very interesting to learn about. You know, they say don't make comments about somebody till you walk a mile in their shoe Don't judge anybody's life And I had a lot of judgments about a lot of people and what they did and why they did till I started the business Because it's then when you sit down and actually talk to them and you are in the shoes of somebody and you see them from a different perspective than just a technology perspective, that you realize that there's a lot more to a decision than just a good technology.

[00:13:06] Dinesh: And that, you know, cliches are kind of boring because they say like, oh, they state the obvious. But it nevertheless is. This remains a surprise to a lot of people that they say it's a cliche, but because I think we still get hit by the fact of realizing a lot of these things, that technology is not the answer.

[00:13:26] Dinesh: So what have I enjoyed doing the business about? It's about learning that there are lots of aspects to a business and kind of looking at the mom and pop shop owner who kind of starts the shop and kind of looking at them as. Casual heroes, you know, the fact that they put, took a chance to do something and put their life on the line.

[00:13:46] Dinesh: I think there's some casual hero ness to that, that I think is not appreciated as much. And so in any case, so I like the fact of trying to understand the world from a different angle than just the technological angle, which is what I spent a large part of my life doing. 

[00:14:01] Zoe: Yeah, no, I definitely agree with that.

[00:14:02] Zoe: And, and actually, I'm curious on, again, before we started recording, we had a little bit of a quick chat about training because I'm doing training right now and your comments on your preference on your learning path. And so I would like to discuss that as well because we do talk about certifications here and there for people, but considering you've got this.

[00:14:25] Zoe: Long history of your career, and now you're self employed, I'm curious on your opinions on what's the most effective way for you to learn and why you might prefer your preference being a little bit less traditional, less Formal settings and more hands on. 

[00:14:41] Dinesh: So, the answer to your question, Zoe, about what's the most effective way to learn.

[00:14:48] Dinesh: For me, the most effective way I have always learned is by taking a task and saying that this is the task that needs doing and then working in the context of the task. So for as a educational background, I grew up in India where you pretty much learned rote learning passing the exam was important and you were stood up in class and said You got rank number one, you got rank number two, you are the last rank.

[00:15:16] Dinesh: And, you know, I love my parents, and as parents we always put our neurosis in our kids. Every kid grows up with their parents neurosis, no matter how good they think their parenting. And the neurosis that my parents put in me is that I was only as good as coming first in class. And a lot of my behavioral patterns can be kind of tracked into that one aspect of me, that I was worthy of love only if I was the top of the heap.

[00:15:44] Dinesh: And as a consequence of that, it put a lot of stress on me that I didn't recognize when I was growing up as a child. And so I push back very psychologically against a formal training. I like to learn things on my own. And so when it came to work, I always found, my very first job I joined, it was to work on a data, it was a giant mainframe and we had to build a run time for a database that they had.

[00:16:13] Dinesh: And so they were developing and so. They gave me this huge manual about how the operating system worked, what all the commands were, etc, etc. And asked me to go read about it. 10 minutes later, or maybe 20 minutes later, I went to my boss and said, I'm done with this. Give me a job. He's like, but you got to understand how the whole thing works.

[00:16:30] Dinesh: I said, I will figure it out. Give me the task. And they said, do you know how to write a lexical analyzer? I said, yes. I didn't know how to write a lexical analyzer, but I needed to not give them yes as the answer because then It would be a problem and right there You can see the start of the imposter syndrome That I took on a task that I did not know how to do but I said I knew how to do Because I felt I could figure it out.

[00:16:56] Dinesh: So I always like to learn By trying to have a task at hand, because that helps me shape things around it, rather than directly just reading, because I've seen a lot of people who like to read everything about it, they watch 20 million videos about a particular thing, and then they get to doing the task.

[00:17:14] Dinesh: I can't do that. I watch 25 minutes of the video, I get the general gist of the landscape, and then I dive in. I want to know where the desert is, I want to know where the mountain is, where the ocean is, where the valley is. I'll figure out the rest when I get there. So that's the way I like to learn. I, hopefully that answers your question of how I like to learn and what's most effective for me.

[00:17:35] Dinesh: I found that there are just people with different learning patterns and you just got to go with what's comfortable. The most effective thing I see at the end of the day is to predict, are you going to be better at it using the method you have, or can you learn tricks from the other side of the school as well?

[00:17:51] Dinesh: So I always look at people who are doing things differently from me and go and say, why are you doing it this way? Tell me what is it that you do? How do you do this? And then listen to them. And if I can incorporate it into my toolkit, I try. So, yeah. 

[00:18:04] Chris: Yeah, I like that. I want to underline like two pieces of that, at least, you know, for me, one, that idea of the toolkit.

[00:18:10] Chris: I use that analogy a lot. And, and, you know, the idea to kind of go along and be able to take the tools that'll work for you and fill your toolbox with those tools, wherever they may come from, I find them in, in religion and philosophy, as well as in best practices and anecdotal advice and, you know, all those things and try it out and if it works for you, you know, keep it.

[00:18:28] Chris: And if not, you know, there's no reason to carry that thing around. It's heavy. And the other piece I want to underline of what you said is. You know, just that whole, like it's that learning process. I mean, I don't know, for me anyway, I definitely find a very similar path and you're right, there are many different ways to learn and different people respond differently.

[00:18:46] Chris: However, there is a lot of evidence that shows kind of one of the best ways to actually retain information and be able to recall it is through kind of self testing. And I find just doing the thing, as you said, A really good way of self testing because you're kind of applying the knowledge as you're gaining it, which I think kind of solidifies it definitely, definitely works for me that way as well.

[00:19:07] Dinesh: Yeah, people are different. I mean, I've seen people who kind of just sit, observe, observe, observe, and then when they actually act, they're much better than I am when they start off. So their ground is much higher. I start off at the very bottom, flapping my things, doing everything really badly and then slowly work my way up.

[00:19:26] Dinesh: But as other people start off at the base, that's different. I think people are different and the world can benefit from both ways of being. 

[00:19:32] Chris: For sure. For sure. That diversity is helpful in almost all situations. One thing I'm curious about, I just kind of looking at your, your career path, obviously you started out as a software engineer at Cisco and worked your way up through the ranks.

[00:19:44] Chris: You were distinguished engineer for several years and then became a Cisco fellow. But you weren't actually a fellow that long before you left and went to Cumulus. And I'm wondering if you can maybe talk about, was that a career move? Was that a technology move? I mean, I'm curious as to, I mean, you kind of got to the pinnacle, right?

[00:20:00] Chris: You're at the top of the box at Cisco and you're like, ah, I'm going to go try something else. 

[00:20:03] Dinesh: Yeah, I guess I was like the orangutan in Jungle Book. I've reached the top and I've got to stop and that's what's bothering me. No, that's a funny way of putting it. The serious, the correct answer, the technical, not technical, but the Actual factual answer is I became a fellow on the strength of the fact that I was pushing this model called Vinci Which was supposed to be the data center strategy for Cisco.

[00:20:27] Dinesh: What happened was MPLS at the time who formed NCMA and part of the way they We're planning to do the forwarding inside Vinci are not part of the way the way Vinci is forwarding work What in CM is forwarding works was basically the way I was suggesting forwarding works in the data center strategy that I was pursuing So they called me and they said can you come over and?

[00:20:54] Dinesh: Join us And I was one of the people pulled out and I had worked with them all my life, you know I've all my entire career in cisco. I was under mario premium luca in one form or the other I started under the catalyst 5000 And I was then in the mds then I was in the nexus 7000 then I was in the nexus 5000 So I was all my time I was with them I wasn't with them directly though.

[00:21:17] Dinesh: They were phenomenally supportive of me I was with them primarily through two people silvano guy and tom etzel were the two people that I was with all the time So in any case That's how it was and I had become a fellow and then they called me and they said can you come on over and they Were offering me so much money that basically all questions stopped and I said sure I don't care about anything else Just tell me where do I sign except I still have to look after my daughter So I'm not gonna work full time and they said that's fine, but you need to show up.

[00:21:46] Dinesh: So I signed But two weeks later, I realized my vision of where I wanted the industry to go, because I had seen by that time what you see me doing now, which is, networks are hard to operate, and the real problem in solving it, it's like saying like, hey, you know, I'm trying to put this thing together, and I'm not able to build a robot out of this little thing, and what I give you is a perfect, is a formed, well formed robot.

[00:22:09] Dinesh: Well, that thing does what the one thing that the designer of the robot figured out, but it doesn't do a bunch of other things. Plus, you now have to play the robot maker for this one thing, and you're not really changed the building blocks. You're not fixed the problem underlying you just. Change the question and given a different answer.

[00:22:25] Dinesh: So I did not like that. And so with a lot of difficulty I didn't sleep for two weeks. I had to say bye bye to that money and I left and at that point I was actually done with technology I was not interested in technology anymore because I felt like I'd done everything there was to do and I was not interested When JR the one of the founders of cumulus called me and said Dinesh, I want you to come work for me We are doing this at Cumulus, and I think it'll be very interesting for you.

[00:22:51] Dinesh: And I love that. I'm a open source bigot. I love Linux. I've been downloading floppies of 0. 99 version with Slackware in India, where you could download one floppy at a time on a day. So using that and using that as my primary, my wife wrote her MD on a Linux laptop using Emacs, not laptop, but as a desktop machine using Emacs.

[00:23:16] Dinesh: But in any case. I went to, I went to work with Cumulus because I thought that that's a thing I want to push. I want to push the network disaggregation. I want to make network more accessible to people. I want to make network more operatable because I'd seen by that time and heard a lot of customers tell us the difficulties they had operating large networks.

[00:23:35] Dinesh: That's why I did not, you did not see me for very long as a fellow. And you know, that's one other thing that kind of touches upon. Maybe you'll talk about, ask me that question, but tell me to stop if you're going to ask me that question. Another place. I never saw my life as a series of career steps, right?

[00:23:53] Dinesh: I did not join Cisco thinking I will be a distinguished engineer sometime, or that I'll be a fellow sometime. That never really drove me except maybe at times of, uh, imposter syndrome or insecurity when I saw somebody else who I thought was completely. Unqualified to be anything, getting that title and saying like, if they can get it, why the heck not me?

[00:24:13] Dinesh: But other than that, I almost never really focused on that. And I always focused on doing a good job and enjoying what I was doing. So I always wanted to be on the technical ladder as well. Like I like to joke, I don't know what you did, but when I was growing up, I watched James Bond movies. And I don't know any kid who said he wanted to be M, but wanted to be James Bond.

[00:24:39] Dinesh: So that's me. In a way. I don't care if there's a M telling me what needs to be done, but I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it well, so to speak. So that's one of the reasons why I, you know, when they asked me to come join them and said that you have to be I, I didn't care about the fact that I was a fellow for three months, didn't bother me.

[00:24:58] Zoe: Oh, that's fair. And it's a good point. I mean, looking at motivations, I mean, often people say, Oh, you can't just be motivated by money. But, you know, as a parent, I am more motivated by money now than I was in the start of my career. Not that that's the only thing that motivates me, but that's not a bad thing either, right?

[00:25:17] Zoe: So I think acknowledging what motivates you is partly what's going to help you find Success in your feeling of achievement. I know one of my old colleagues, well not old, because he's not old, but like, ex colleagues, uh, said his motivation was a fancy car, you know, I'm going to work up to the point where I can get this fancy car.

[00:25:36] Zoe: I think he had a specific type of car, but to me it's a car, so I don't know. But it's fancy, I knew that, um, you know, and so knowing, knowing what's motivating you is very important. On that as well though, I'm curious as to what you would classify as your greatest achievement in your career. Could be something small, it could be something, I don't know, massive, I don't know.

[00:25:59] Dinesh: I don't know. Again, I think if I were to look at the various things, there are so many aspects to it, right? There isn't a single story. So when you say a career, people expect me to probably give out an idea, maybe say VXLAT was my biggest achievement or, you know, designing the Monticello chip was the biggest achievement.

[00:26:19] Dinesh: I don't know if I have that kind of an answer. The way I look at it is, when I started off, I had an idea of who I wanted to be, that if I could look back on, say like, you know, as a kid, I think I'd be proud that I was where I was. And I think to me what motivated me a lot was trying to find this balance between not giving up or not compromising too much on family versus work.

[00:26:48] Dinesh: I wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do, but I wanted to love everything that I loved without having to give up on anything that I loved in a way. And, at the same time, I was not a very humble person to begin with. I was a big egotist, because remember, I was the guy who came first in class all the time, so I had this huge ego riding on me.

[00:27:08] Dinesh: And so, I was not a very humble person. I was not a person who was easily approachable, I felt, and I wanted my life to be not about that. I wanted to be, at the end of my life, to be somebody who people could look back and say, you know, he was easily approachable. He was somebody. So, that's why when I look at things, I look at I don't look at any specific person as a mentor, because I've learned from so many people.

[00:27:33] Dinesh: But if there was one person I can pick, it would be Silvano Gai, because he was this phenomenally renowned person in Italy. He was one of the youngest professors in Italy's history. And he was this really bright chap. And when I spoke to him, he never, ever gave you the sense. That he was this phenomenally bright guy.

[00:27:58] Dinesh: You spoke to him like he was your friend. And it wasn't just me. It was anybody. There are people who are very bright, who are accomplished, and they don't miss a chance to tell you they're accomplished. And you better know what you, that you're talking to a very accomplished person. But Silvano is like you would never know and he was so bright and to me that humbleness of attitude was something that I wanted to develop and in him and a couple of other friends of mine who are there at Cisco at that time, I felt I wanted to develop that attitude of not being arrogant, not being.

[00:28:34] Dinesh: Thinking that I'm the best or that I, as the keyword is important rather than we as a team is important. So I think my biggest success is in trying to hit the goals that I set out for myself in terms of trying to balance life in all the things that I love and. To end up being a person who cared more about learning than about knowing.

[00:28:58] Chris: I like that a lot. That's, that's really beautiful. Unfortunately, we've used up all of our time for today. Dinesh, do you have any other projects or maybe something we already talked about or causes that you'd like the Imposter Syndrome Network to know about? Anything to highlight? 

[00:29:13] Dinesh: Yes, I would say the one cause that I think is an important one is For us to remember that we have achieved a lot in this world, what we call progress by using science as the method by which we advance knowledge.

[00:29:30] Dinesh: But the one domain in the world that we don't use science on is the domain of values. You know, how I learned to value something as a consequence, I think that a lot of the difficulties we see in the world and the way we address things. is half assed because we don't have the scientific approach to the value system.

[00:29:48] Dinesh: So that's a cause that I'm very driven by and I like to think about. Pushing the I idea that as policy makers, as influential thinkers, as influencers, whatever it is, that we continue to use science as a method, which means you never know anything for sure. There is no truth with a capital T and that everything is an experiment and therefore trying to say this is how it shall be for eternity, kind of dumb.

[00:30:15] Dinesh: And that you live with building it better and working on making things better by. Better than random by prediction, using that as a method by which we make sense of the world and build our value system and our social contract is something that I really am passionate about. 

[00:30:30] Chris: That's fascinating. We might have to find some other time sometime to dive into that deeper.

[00:30:35] Chris: It almost sounds like kind of going back to more of a classical version of philosophy, right? Which I think, at least in Roman times, a lot of philosophy was the idea of like, how do I live a better life? And actually at least the Stoics, right. Folks like Marcus Aurelius, like actually we're trying things and experimenting with like, how do I be a better person?

[00:30:51] Chris: How do I, how do I become better at all the things I do? And anyway, super interesting. I like that a lot. Thanks for that. And thanks for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network, Dinesh. Uh, also thank you to all of our listeners for your time, uh, your attention and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, please do consider paying it forward by letting others know.

[00:31:13] Chris: About the show and the great guests we have on. Now before we totally shut down the recording Dinesh I have one more question for you. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career so far? 

[00:31:24] Dinesh: I would say two. I can't give one And the first one I think and this is specifically true for as a technical person again.

[00:31:35] Dinesh: I go back to Art as a way to make the point people who know me well have heard this before which is I like what Dizzy Gillespie said, it took me all my life to know what not to play. I think as a technical person, it's important to understand when you come up with a solution, what problems are not worth solving.

[00:31:57] Dinesh: Trying to solve something a hundred percent, for a hundred percent of the cases, sometimes complicates your solution to the point where it is actually worthless, hit 80%, hit 90%. That's better than a hundred percent. A hundred percent is actually. Or you know, as they say, the better is the enemy of the good.

[00:32:14] Dinesh: So that's one lesson. The second lesson I would say is, be humble, make your life about learning, not about knowing. And you can, every day can be so enriching. I don't think I practice it as well as I keep saying it, but that's what I strive. That's the lesson I've learned. Every time I've turned to and said, rather than saying that the junior most person in the room doesn't know what they're talking about, if I could just keep my mind open and listen, I usually find either something in what they're saying as useful.

[00:32:48] Chris: That's excellent. Thank you again. And we'll be back next week.