Being Thankful, Always Hopeful

27 Nov , 2008  

I love irony, qwirky humor and interesting things that bring a unique twist or different perspective to our world, which you can probably see in many of my blog posts. At my core I’m a very positive, optimistic person and I believe in the possibilities in life. I love people, helping people succeed and seeing the great things that can happen when you combine ideas, people and passion. Is this all some type of blog confession or something? No, stay with me for a minute and you’ll see where we’re going. Lately, we are all bombarded by messages about troubles in our economy, frozen credit markets, home foreclosures, failing banks and businesses, and more hard times ahead. Those are all euphemisms for saying that many people are dealing with some tough financial situations, have been laid off and are looking for work. It effects all of us in IT and technology.

My message this Thanksgiving is to keep our eyes on the prize, be hopeful for the future and thankful for all each of us have been blessed with. Markets, businesses and jobs grow and retract. That’s a natural part of an economy and sometimes that means we might have to tighten our belts, focus harder on doing our best at work, or look for work if you’ve been laid off. But don’t let the messages in the press and on TV be what dominates your thinking. Like the saying, you are what you eat, well… I believe you are what you think. In so many ways you get what you give back… oh, that’s so true. Let those external things get you down and you’ll be down. Be positive about the opportunities and challenges in front of you and guess what, you’ll probably break through them faster than expected.

I’m so thankful for many things this Thanksgiving holiday. But notably as I’m reflecting back now, none of them are really “things”, as in possessions. First and most important in my life is my wife who is doing very well and had some very good news about her health. That’s an amazing gift, as she is to me. Next is the birth of my grandson, Jonas. Yes… I’m too young to have a grandson, at least that’s what I tell myself. Remember about that “thinking positive” thing I was just saying? I love my two kids and enjoy every chance I get to be with them.

I’ve been fortunate with my business, Converging Network LLC, this year. And we are blessed with a wonderfully supportive and vibrant church, BUMC, where I work part time leading the contemporary music ministry while our leader is on sabbatical. I also play at a larger mega-church, SECC, where I’m able to play, grow, and bring back new ideas and experiences to help our church up north. I get to play my guitar nearly every week and I’ve been a part of a new recording recording project this summer and fall. I’m thankful for my wonderfully supportive friends and business partners.

So much of what I’m thankful for aren’t things I’ve sought or earned, like a position in a company or a new car. They are things that have been given to me, most of the times unasked or I couldn’t acquire by asking. They are gifts, blessings, acts of friendship, faith and love. I only hope I’ve been even close in equally giving these things and more to others. And I thank you for following and participating as part of this social community of bloggers, readers, security professionals, etc.  Whether two people or 200,000 see and read what I write, it’s still about sharing ideas, debating them, and moving the ball downfield. I’m very thankful for you too.

So next time you get in front of your computer or pick up the phone, do something for someone else. Do it unsolicited and without expectation of anything in return. Make an unsolicited introduction for someone looking for a job. Write a recommendation on LinkedIn for a friend or co-worker. And most important, let those around you know how important they are in your life, and how thankful you are for them.

Blog, Podcasts, Security

Podcast 61 – Steve Goodbarn is all about DNSSEC

27 Nov , 2008  

Our guest on SSAATY podcast #61 is Steve Goodbarn, former Janus Funds CFO and now CEO of Secure64, maker of highly scalable and deployable DNSSEC products. DNSSEC has been in the news a lot lately, (Network World seems to be the place where it's covered most), largely because of Dan Kaminsky's talk this summer at Black Hat 2008 in Las Vegas. Now you frequently see articles and blog posts explaining how cache poisoning exploits can be used to hijack not just individual servers but entire domains, right up the path to .com, and . root.

Fortunately solving DNS security isn't as ginormous as stopping global warming but to truly secure DNS then DSNSEC would need to be fully deployed throughout the Internet and will happen in steps over time (as discussed in this blog post.) That's where Steve and the other experts at Secure64 come in. They've developed technology that can both handle the high speed demands of very large DSN infrastructure (and small) and makes DNSSEC much easier to deploy. Both of these challenges are obsticles DNSSEC has faced until now. Secure64 is not only a client on Converging Network LLC (my company) but also someone who I think will be a winner in the new era of domain sercurity services.

In the podcast Steve gives Alan and me his take on the DNS security issues and how Secure64 tackles these problems for their customers. Steve and some of the technical leaders are getting into blogging, with a little prodding and assistance from yours truly. Steve's blog is at Secure64's CTO, Bill Worley, and VP of engineer, Joe Gersch (read more about them both here) also have their own blog at

If you'd like to learn more about the social media strategy and product innovation services of Converging Network LLC, please contact me directly.

Check out the podcast here. Enjoy the podcast and email us with any comments, ideas or suggestions. Blessings!


Biden is really Walter

23 Nov , 2008  

Joe Biden's kind of been left in the dust as Obama's begun putting together his cabinet team. So, I thought I'd put up this little post to brighten all of our days. One of the funniest comedians I like is a ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. His main puppet is an old crotchety guy named Walter. Walter likes to say it like it is, not holding back much. Kind of like…ah… Joe Biden, and he looks like Biden too!

It's clear that Job Biden and Walter are one in the same. No wonder Biden was so good at mouthing Obama's talking points during the presidential campaign. Also, Biden's pretty good at "rhetorical flourishes", similar to Walter's no-holds-barred, outspoken behavior. Yep, they're one in the same.


May 8, 2009… The Wait Is Over – Star Trek Movie

20 Nov , 2008  

Okay, I'm a totally knock-kneed, bad body odor, greesy haired, pizza eating nerd when it comes to Star Trek. I've been to Star Trek conventions, I watch the shows and have all the movies. When it comes right down to it, I'm really a fan of the classic Star Trek, more so than the other series (though I've watched and enjoyed them too.)

I remember when I watched the original Star Trek TV series on my parent's black and white TV on Friday nights. I was nine. I loved the show but it of course went away, forever I thought at the time. Next I was to rediscover Star Trek around 1975 in syndication while on vacation in Colorado Springs, CO, when we checked into a hotel room and turned on the TV. My brother, who is 5 years younger, thought Star Trek was a scary show and continuously cried unless I changed the channel. I wasn't about to, so I smacked him and made him watch it. After a few minutes he stopped crying and discovered Star Trek wasn't scary but was a cool show. From then on Star Trek was back and something I'd watch on TV and see in the movie theater many years since.

I'm excited about the next movie in the Star Trek which takes us back to earth before James T. Kirk was in the Kirk we knew on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Young Kirk was a renegade, someone who didn't feel like he fit in on earth and who was somehow destined for more. Spock was of two worlds, human and Vulcan, and left his family to make his mark. Both meet up in the Academy and the story takes off from there.

We'll have to see where the story line takes us but just like Batman Begins restarted the whole Batman story by taking us back to its roots, Star Trek looks to do the same for the Star Trek world.

So sit back, enjoy the trailer and cross your fingers it will be a good (hopefully great) movie. You can also visit the site website at

Star Trek Exclusive spot


Thinking Too Small – Dare To Think Big

19 Nov , 2008  

I had an interesting ah-ha happen this morning. Last night I had emailed my editor because I had blogged about Jerry Yang stepping down as CEO of Yahoo!. I caught the news Monday evening and had blogged about this pretty early in the news cycle so I thought there might be a chance I’d get some “link love” if Network World had something on the home page about Jerry’s news. That’s the kind of story that would usually get some attention on the home page, and being a promoter type of personality, I’m always looking for ways to get ideas, thoughts and stories out. Last night I checked the NWW home page and there was  big picture of Jerry Yang but I didn’t see a link to my blog post in the list under the main story link. Thus, my email to my editor Julie, who is always great about helping get the word out about what I write.

 This morning Julie emailed me back both saying she’d check to see about getting a link to my post about Jerry, and then I had a second email back from her letting me know that I actually was already linked to on the home. The main storyline was a link to MY blog post, not the usual article that might be written by a reporter. Doh on me! And wow for me too! I’ve got the lead article on the NWW home page. Sweet! That’s cool but I’d almost missed it. I’d set my sights too short, only looking below the story to see if my blog post had been linked.

It’s so easy to look short and come up short sometimes in life. I’m realizing how often I look below the storyline for my story (in the proverbial sense) and not shooting for the stars. I should have set having a lead story on the NWW home page as a personal goal for me, and I never had. And that’s only a little goal. There are much, much bigger things I want to create and accomplish (and I’m working on some of those now!) I’d been thinking too small… I had been thinking too small, expecting my post would only ever fall under the main lead article. I hadn’t considered having the lead link a possibility, and it was, as is so much more.

So, note to self: Think big, shoot high and set big and even scary goals. You’ve accomplished great things and you will continue to accomplish great things in the future because you are will to dare and think big.

And a note to Jerry Yang: Thanks for thinking big, shooting high and setting big and even scary goals. You’ve accomplished great things and you will continue to accomplish great things in the future because you dare to think big.

General, Social

Real World Experiences In Product Strategy, Creation and Social Media

18 Nov , 2008  

Social Media – Fad, Fame or a Valuable Pursuit?

Remember the days when having a web site was something every business was supposed to do, but nobody was sure what to do with a web site?

Now, having a social media strategy is in vogue. Every business should have one, at least that’s what “they” say. But social media brings about a whole new set of questions:

  • How do I go about blogging?
  • Corporate blog or personal blog. Which is better and why?
  • Is it my blog or the company’s blog?
  • Should my blog be led by marketing, product managers or individuals?
  • Should I hire a traditional ad agency?
  • Everybody’s suddenly a social media consultant, but are they for real? 
  • Who writes the content? Marketing, engineering, management, or me?
  • How much of a time investment am I committing to?
  • What should I write about and will anybody be listening?
  • How should I involve marketing in my blog?
  • Besides a blog, what about podcasting or sites like Facebook, Digg, Twitter and so many others?
  • How would I know I’m getting any ROI from my social media investment?

Those were all questions I had when I first began blogging as CTO of my network security product company.

MRA_portrait_thumbnail Hi, I’m Mitchell Ashley, founder and principal consultant of Converging Network LLC, technologist, product creator, entrepreneur, blogger and podcaster. I’ve been blogging as a technology executive and product spokesperson in the networking and software industries since 2006. Through those experiences I’ve learned a lot about how social media can benefit businesses, their customers and individual thought leaders. In addition to my own blogs and podcast, I also blog and podcast for Network World where I frequently reach forty, fifty and as many as ninety thousand readers per month.

I’m sure there are lots of smart people out there who can tell you that you need a corporate blog and then go about setting up a blog site for you. Just like that first web site, a blog is pretty useless if you don’t know how to use it,how it can benefit you …and more importantly… how it can benefit your readers. Few have the hands on experience neccesary to help you determine if social media activities like blogging, podcasting and social networkings sites are even for you, can show you how to develop an online persona and a personal voice using social mediums, help you pursue unique areas of personal wisdom that create thought leadership and attract the attention of customers, press and analysts, and setting you on the path to successfully creating an online community of readers.

Converging Network LLC offers packages and personalized programs to help corporate executives, technical leaders, product managers, marketers and individuals gain the many benefits of blogging, podcasting, and social media sites.

Contact Converging Network LLC to learn more about how you can accelerate your social media learning curve and inject new life into your existing social media strategy.

General, Social

Blog Shoutout –

17 Nov , 2008  

A very dear friend, business partner and superbly bright entrepreneur decided to give blogging a try. Meet Shawn Davision, who writes at his new blog

Every chance I get, I always encourage people to share their wisdom. I believe each of us has unique wisdom that is worth sharing. That’s one of the reasons I encourage friends, colleagues, clients and readers to pick up blogging, write a book or find some way to share what’s inside them. I’m super pleased Shawn has decided to start blogging and use his blog to share his unique wisdom.

If you read my blog, you know I’ve written about the value of investing in and growing the people you work around and with. I believe in people and the capabilities they possess, including the potential they and you don’t even know about. Amazingly infinite things are possible. I’ve known Shawn now since the early 1990’s when we began working together on a product called City Services, a very  early Internet service. It took only a few seconds after meeting Shawn to know this was a guy I wanted on the same team with me.

Shawn was also one of the first people to join me in starting BoldTech Systems back in 1996. Shawn then went on to successfully create and Store Perform, and he’s accomplished many great things since. More recently, Shawn was the featured partner speaker at the Microsoft PDC 2008 where he stood on stage, following Ray Ozzie's keynote, talking about business process trading networks using cloud technologies like Windows Azure.

So I invite you to follow Shawn as he explores the medium of blogging. Blogging is kind of like sailing. You start to develop a voice, or your “sea legs”, as you get more and more posts up. It become easier and more natural as you do it (and your stomach gets a lot less queasy.) 

I know Shawn has some fantastically valuable knowledge to share about his hobbies, vocation and views on life, and I look forward to what he’s going to share with us. If the benefit you receive is only half of what I’ve gained from Shawn, then you will be a truly enriched person.