As a motorcyclist, my time in the saddle provides a lot of opportunity for reflection. Although largely-constrained by Northern Virginia’s epic traffic, I have many favorite “standard” routes – sequences of roads that are both fun to ride, and provide pleasant scenery and waypoints to stop and meet interesting people. Some of these routes are longer than others, and depending on the amount of free time I have to invest in a ride, when my dog Maximus and I climb aboard the Harley on a weekend morning, we’ll choose which route we’ll take.
Being a Cairn Terrier, Maximus is as reflective as I am… although his snout is more sensitive than mine, and he is therefore more easily distracted. (Dogs – gotta love ‘em!)
Life being what it is, most of the time we select one of the shorter routes… returning us home by mid-day to tend to other tasks. And, because we statistically choose shorter over longer routes, we travel the short routes frequently. Along the way, from week to week, I might notice subtle changes in the scenery, but generally nothing that really stands out.
Occasionally, however, Max and I have an entire day to meander, and we select a “long” route. And, again statistically, that means that the long routes are those less travelled, less frequently. Here, the delta between “then and now” is more dramatic. On one of these rides, I might notice a new shopping center where once was a copse of trees, or the farmhouse up on the hill is no longer white but now red, or what was once a treacherous stretch of crumbling asphalt is now freshly-paved, inviting a more spirited ride.
There is a point here – indeed, almost an axiom: “absence highlights change”.
And so it is with our industry. I entered the industry in 1996, working advanced telephony, ISP, managed services / data hosting, and wireless communications. In 2005, I moved out of the web hosting / colocation industry to work in a “niche” technology (Powerline Communications [PLC]), which would afford me the opportunity to learn an entirely new set of technical skills and disciplines… so I have been “out of the game” for about six years with regard to the web hosting industry.
In February this year I returned to the industry as a new member of the Carpathia team, in the role of Sr. Solutions Engineer. And my six-year absence highlights the change and evolution in the field, to such degree that I thought it merits some discussion.
I wrote this Absence Highlights Change series to highlight this evolution: