8 Bits with Stephen Luedtke!

8 Bits with Stephen Luedtke!
This week on 8 Bits we are joined by Stephen Luedtke, Senior Principal Technical Program Manager at Splunk. Join us as we learn about Stephen's journey from working on the FAA Telecom Infrastructure to becoming a self-proclaimed Data + Analytics Junkie at Splunk!

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Brandon Minnick  0:00
Hi. Welcome back to 8 Bits everybody, the show where we interview the people behind the Tech. My name is Brandon Minnick. And with me as always is my amazing co host PJ Metz. PJ looking good.

Pj Metz  2:15
How's your listen? Yeah, listen the week good so far, you may notice that my background is different for those of you who watch the live stream. And that's because I'm at a co working space today because my internet was not good enough for a live stream, which is fun. It's always fun when your internet when you're working from home and your nets like oh, it doesn't work today. Sorry. And normally I would have been like, hey, work. Can't do the work today because the internet's out but this is an important show and I had to find internet so I rode my bike to downtown Orlando and I set it up here and now I'm luckily I'm not in the middle like the common area because if I was screaming in the common area, I'm sure someone will get mad but I'm in a little telephone.

Brandon Minnick  3:01
Yeah, I'm glad you're able to make it I know you've been having lots of fun with your internet provider lately.

Pj Metz  3:13
There was water in the cable line going to the house is was the problem a few weeks ago. What? Yeah, the cable. The coaxial cable had water inside of it. And the technician that came out to help me he was like, we'll figure out what's wrong and a tech came out and he unscrewed it from the splitter and he went Oh, and like water came out of the cord and he went Oh, that happens sometimes and I was like it does apparently he's like yeah, sometimes a squirrel she was on the wire and there's a way for water to get in and it just floods it that's why even having slow speeds and I struggled to make like a surfing the web joke but it didn't work. And so I was just like, okay, so All right, thank you and then the internet was great after that.

Brandon Minnick  3:59
Wow. See, all of this would make a lot more sense to me if like if you live kind of up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere maybe you're off the grid and you're literally biking distance from downtown Orlando.

Pj Metz  4:13
Yeah, no, I live in a very popular part of Orlando like right next i Four there's lots of people around it's a well trafficked area. But for some reason, it's it's the internet cable is held together with like the hopes and dreams of orphans or something. It's just not a stable connection.

Brandon Minnick  4:31
Well, on brighter side, I've got a fun announcement. We finally released our first release candidate for the dotnet Maori community toolkit. Oh man, it's been about Well, it's been over a year in the making. But we've been really really working on the code for the last few months before then was getting all of the basically all the pull Vertical stuff done internally at Microsoft meeting with lawyers meeting with marketing meeting with the documentation teams. But yeah, we've got the release candidate up, we'll we'll push it to the person, I guess the first stable release next month alongside done at Valley. So it's, it's really exciting. And not coincidentally, now we're getting more bug reports coming in?

Pj Metz  5:26
Yes, of course, of course.

Brandon Minnick  5:29
Some are folks using it and finding legitimate problems. Some are folks fighting will say holes in our documentation that we need to do a better job of explaining how to use it. But But it's been fun. We've, you know, it is the community toolkit we've had we have dozens of open source contributors so far. But you know what, it's still in preview. Not everybody's going to try it out. But oh, yeah. When you put the release candidate tag on it, and that's when that's when things get real. So we push that last week, so I've been taking a little bit of time to celebrate until the team like, because, like, what are we going to work on now? Because obviously refreezing the features while it's in release candidate phase, I was like, just just relax, like, enjoy the weekend, guys. Like I got in a little bit of spring skiing, which wasn't good, at least. But yeah, that was my my self treat my self reward. Yeah.

Pj Metz  6:29
This is a pretty big, open source project here. As far as size goes like this, because the only other thing I can think of you've done a lot of open source stuff. You have some libraries out there. The big thing is GitHub. Oh, why can't I remember it

Brandon Minnick  6:43
gets good trends get trend.com.

Pj Metz  6:48
So this is a much larger initiative. And like you said, you've been working on it for over a year. But it's kind of feel really good to be at the finish line here. That's great. It

Brandon Minnick  6:56
does. Yeah. And, you know, probably, yeah, I'd say the majority of the work is getting the foundation set up. So creating our automation pipelines codes, all open source and GitHub. So being able to leverage things like Azure pipelines to automatically build things and putting putting in all those rules and all kinds of those, those guardrails so that when anybody commits code, it'll check all that stuff and kind of help nudge everybody along. And we've built a whole process whole workflow out on how we add new features and how we report bugs. And so it, it feels good. That was huge, because now it's so much easier just to add things, add code to the repo, because a lot of things automated away, and we're kind of protected from anything, right? Hopefully,

Pj Metz  7:56
like that we're safe, secure, it's totally fine. And who was I talking to? I was doing a guest lecture at Penn State Brandywine. And it was for a class of students that were learning about like, security and security features. And I was talking about the story that a lot of people know is that one time a casino was able to get hacked because of a Iot temperature device checker inside the aquarium.

Brandon Minnick  8:22
Well, I don't know that story. But it's

Pj Metz  8:24
it's a fun story. Literally Google, like, hack aquarium casino and it'll turn up. It's a very infamous story within security circles, but uh, yeah, everything you think secure, and then you got to make sure that your fish had the right temperature water, and suddenly you're compromised.

Brandon Minnick  8:43
Very, very true. Well, speaking of fish transitions.

Pj Metz  8:52
This is not the beginning of a great segue, but we're gonna take it anyway. And I appreciate your work on that. Brendon.

Brandon Minnick  8:57
Take us. We we have such a basic asset and I really want to bring him in. This week we are being joined by Steven Lemke. He's actually a longtime friend of ours of ours and super excited to have him on. He's the senior principal technical program manager at Splunk. self appointed data junkie. So without further ado, Steven ludtke. Welcome to the show,

Pj Metz  9:21

Brandon Minnick  9:23
I'm trying to think of your side effects.

Unknown Speaker  9:26
I don't I don't know what No.

Pj Metz  9:30
No, so Steven wanted to say something. We don't have the sound effects. Again, co working space. Here I'll do much better. That's a good. We're gonna clip that one and save that for posterity.

Brandon Minnick  9:50
Stephen, thanks so much for joining us this week. For anybody out there who doesn't know you. Who are you in? What do you do?

Stephen Luedtke  9:57
First? Yeah, thanks for having me. So my name is Steven latke. Let's see worked with a couple of companies in my journey to tech and excited to talk to you all about it today. It really hit me by surprise. I don't think I ever had any inclination or I don't, I didn't know I was gonna end up in tech. So it'll be a fun, fun story for you all to tell you how I got here. A little bit more more about myself, though. I live in Denver, Colorado. Used to be in Melbourne, Florida. That's where I met PJ and Brandon over here. Missy both, but we're all in different different places now around the country. And yeah, I think I've got a newborn. So I might look a little a little tired. Three year old son, as well. And wife and a dog go. And yeah, just living it up here in Colorado. And yeah, I'll tell you a little bit more about.

Brandon Minnick  11:03
Yeah. We appreciate you taking the time. Yeah. For the fill everybody in. When I was chatting with Stephen about coming on the show. We originally had just scheduled for fears this last week or the week before? And when we are scheduling, it seems like Yeah, well, that's two days before my wife's due date. But yeah, it should be fine. But you look right. Looks like he got at least two hours of sleep last, I'd

Pj Metz  11:35
say at least two at least.

Stephen Luedtke  11:38
That's an improvement, believe it or not? Ending in the right direction.

Brandon Minnick  11:45
Congratulations, man. You mentioned you didn't think you were going to even start in tech. So let's Yeah, let's go way back. What uh, what did you want to be when you grew up? Oh, yeah,

Unknown Speaker  11:59
sure. Yeah. So I mean, all started I think. I don't know. Never know what you really want to do. Even. I computers were fun. Right. I did a good amount of gaming back in high school. Gosh, you know, what was it back then? I think it was Counter Strike. And some Diablo, some other StarCraft all those fun things? Right.

Pj Metz  12:23
Starcraft two, I think was when we were in high school for sure. Yeah. Hey, go.

Unknown Speaker  12:27
So yeah. Anyhow, all that told me was I liked computers. And my dad was a pharmacist, I worked a couple summers in his pharmacy and just just wasn't for me, it's like people kind of yelling at you, like I need my drugs I need to. And so when I went to college, went to University of Florida, the computer engineering seemed like the right fit. I didn't know if I wanted to do software hardware. So that's why I did Computer Engineering versus computer science. But it was at least you know, in the realm of my interest. So yeah, I did both. Some software and hardware, really, still didn't know if I want it. By the time I graduated, I didn't know if I wanted to code or do hardware even after all that. But I did find, you know, during the last two years there that I was interested in more networking side of things. So at least, you know, there was a couple classes that that introduced me to networking in general. And when I mentioned that to, you know, trying to get an internship, Harris Corporation in Melbourne, they first took me on and they let me be a network engineer. So that was nice. It was a you know, let me work on some things that I was interested in, or at least thought I was interested in. Still got to code a little bit, but it just wasn't my super strong point, you know, so enough to be dangerous, but not to make really a full time career as a software engineer per se.

Brandon Minnick  13:56
You actually, you might be the first network engineer, maybe even the first hardware engineer we've had on here. So because we definitely were we typically interview a lot of folks in the software world. So how would you even define a network engineer? Like, everybody knows what Wi Fi is, but why do you need an engineering degree to make that work? Right? Like,

Pj Metz  14:18
I just plug it in?

Brandon Minnick  14:21
I got a cable I plug into my computer, we're done?

Unknown Speaker  14:26
Oh, that's a great question. And you just you made me think of a funny story that So Vijay is mentioning his outages, you know, with water seeping into the cable or you know, whatever, whatever else was the cause. So when I went into this job, it was for the FAA is telecommunications infrastructure. So they're entire all the aircraft control towers talking to each other, the planes, the radar that just the whole entire system is one big network right? And so being an engineer, a network engineer for that was was kind of exciting. But where I was going with the funny story connection was we have outages all the time due to

Brandon Minnick  15:12
the FAA has outages.

Unknown Speaker  15:15
So the engineering part of engineering redundancy, right, and, you know, multiple ways, multiple points to handle failures. And, you know, there's a lot of design and architecture that goes into it, which was, which was really fun. I enjoyed that. But every once in a while, you get these outages that that you get, you get the maintenance ticket, and you'd see the headline of what what the cause was. And every once in awhile, you'd see something that catches your eye, like a whale ran into a fiber line, what? Which, which happens, they they hit the transatlantic lines and stuff and, or, or there's, I've seen, you know, Hunter shot, tried to shoot out some squirrels went through something and hit a hit a Yeah, hit like one of the, you know, they didn't mean to, but it went through, like some area where they were housing equipment and knocked out one of the radars. So

Pj Metz  16:10
I love the idea that like a ticket shows up with something specific. And it's like, oh, well ran into the transatlantic lions, like, did you have a video of this? Like, how do you know? Is it the same whale that keeps doing it? And he's trying to like, just? I don't know, I was always looking out

Unknown Speaker  16:29
for those because there's just some really random ones that would pop up and you're going, huh, I bet they didn't think about preventing it, you know?

Pj Metz  16:37
You got to have a wildcard of that.

Brandon Minnick  16:42
And that's fine. Because I think that's something we all take for granted. Because I don't know if a lot of people realize like, the only way the internet works is yeah, we have these massive cables running across oceans, like across the Pacific Ocean across the Atlantic Ocean, the whole ocean. That's, that's literally how we do it. Like, I know, I personally used to think it was all done with satellites. But now. No better. I mean, satellite communication would take too long and to be too expensive. But yeah, we literally lay giant cables across the ocean. And now we can, but look at cat videos

Unknown Speaker  17:29
for cats, of humanity. Yeah, that was the really that was the really fun part about the network engineering side of it, though, was creating the redundancy on such a mission critical network, you know, where lives are at stake, obviously. You know, you'd have satellite comms underground fiber, regular use. Oh, what did what did Harris have to? Why can I think of it now? Not RF, but like, point to point. It's point to point. But what's the term for microwave, you know, inherits a lot of microwave. And so you have all these different networking technologies, and to make them all work where they can be redundant for you know, every single airport. And yeah, O'Leary crew, you got it up there, microwave point point. And so yeah, having having all those different technologies, making them all work together, failover correctly, handle the bandwidth that you need. And also keep it cost effective. I think we dealt with over 300 Different telecommunications company to make the entire thing work. So it Yeah, is a massive program and just super exciting to work on. And that really, yeah, one made me appreciate the whole network engineering side of things. And then it kind of started shifting me into the systems engineering, just making everything work together. And then this kind of starts leading into the overall story, which is learning that making such a massive network like that work, there's operations, there's engineering, there's finance, there's homegrown tools, there's COTS software, there's all these things that come together and hundreds and hundreds, maybe 1000s of people working on this and data ended up being you know critical for all those things they brought it all together how much were you paying for every single circuit are things up or down? What's the performance what's the just just endless amounts of analysis that that goes on in engineering to keep like something like that up and running but rest assured do I know I said outages with the FAA earlier but there's redundancy that that the design in there which is pretty awesome,

Pj Metz  19:46
don't worry your your bling bling Wi Fi on your Delta flight is going to be okay all its you'll be able to watch an episode of of, you know, boardwalk Empire no problem. Next time you're flying from Pennsylvania to Texas, it's okay.

Brandon Minnick  20:06
Let's really it does speak, you know, the fact that I was so surprised when you said that the FAA had outages, I think really speaks to the fact that it really doesn't you never hear like, oh, traffic at Atlanta airport was delayed five hours today because the network went down. Because of DNS. I don't think you've ever heard about that. So yeah, I think it really is a testament to the work you used to do. And the team that continues to work on it, maintain it, because that is mission critical. And I can't think of a point I've ever heard of it going down.

Unknown Speaker  20:42
Yeah, yeah. Now there's, there's a couple headlines. If you dig deep, you can find some interesting stories. I won't say more than that, but there is some information. And yeah, there's no maybe all

Pj Metz  20:58
did like to Wales run into the

Unknown Speaker  21:03
Exactly. And then let's say you had, you know, a, you have a bunch of different kinds of redundancy. But this is this is life. This is nature, right where you had to Wales hit a line share? Well, we'll use that as failure number one. And then failure to failure. Number two, at the same time might have been a train derailment, like crashed into some colo or something. And the colocation facility that's like a warehouse, all the telco equipment. Failure, number three might have been they were doing maintenance that week, replacing equipment. So you were already in a maintenance window. It's the perfect storm effect, right? So they Yeah, and I think their goal is something like five nines of availability or something, or it five or six, pretty high. You can't go down, right? It's just the way it is. But there are things that no matter how many levels of redundancy you have, if you have that perfect storm of stuff happening. And it's wild to see to see it happen.

Pj Metz  22:05
For sure, it's this mix of like exciting and like terrifying. At the same time. You're like, Oh, like this is the most serious work I've ever had to do right now. Let's turn on the coffee machine. And let's get to it. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  22:14
I without going into the crazy details of it. Because I probably can't talk about it was there was one of the years I was seven years I was there. There was one day I walked in, and you just walked into the door. And we always have a monitor of every single plane in the air and everything else and like what's going on? It's like a command center. Not Yeah. And you walked in? He's go. Oh, no, here we go. Yeah,

Brandon Minnick  22:42
yeah. Cancel your plans. I'm coming home late.

Pj Metz  22:47
I will not be making it home for dinner. see us sometime eventually.

Unknown Speaker  22:52
Yeah. And that said, there's stuff that is not even in our control, right? This like perfect storm of just all events somehow happened at the same exact time. And you're like that is once that just doesn't happen. Right. But

Brandon Minnick  23:07
yeah. In my experience, yeah. You basically, you choose your risk tolerance, right? Like, you'll have backups. But do you have backups for those backups? Do you have backups for those backups, and all that thing, all of that costs money both to implement to maintain? And so eventually, again, this is just my experience. I've never worked on the FAA, but you essentially get all the engineers in the room and you go, Okay, we're gonna have redundancy here. We're gonna have geolocation redundancy, where maybe we do things on two separate sides of the country in case a tornado or a storm happens. And what do you what's everybody think? Is everybody comfortable with that?

Pj Metz  23:49

Stephen Luedtke  23:52
And hopefully, you get the customer sitting there saying, you're

Pj Metz  23:56
sorry. We can afford to have these?

Unknown Speaker  24:00
Yep. Yeah, exactly. I mean, honestly, that was the I mean, that was the everyday problem that we worked on. I mean, it was always constantly figuring out the best design for the most cost effective way to do it. Right. That can tolerate that amount of risk. So,

Pj Metz  24:17
so both, both of y'all came from this background of, of doing something totally, totally, totally, totally different from what you're doing now. You both worked at Harris. That's how y'all met. I was a tertiary member of the people in Melbourne because I was a high school teacher. So I didn't meet you all through the work. But it's amazing when you talk about what you used to do, Steven and like, Brandon, I think about you and used to work on like communication stuff as well. It's like, this is such a big shift for both of you. So like how do we get from Paris and working on network engineering and system engineering to where you are now? Splunk?

Unknown Speaker  24:54
Yeah. So let's see. I think it was seven, eight years. At Harrison like I said, It eventually started turning into to make the best decision on something he required compiling and analyzing data from engineering, from ops, from finance, all at the same time, all those teams seem to work separately. So, for me, I had a really awesome time just bringing those datasets together using some of our traditional tooling. And once they saw that, hey, this guy really likes to just mess around with data and comes up with great insights. Let's make him do all of our BI stuff. And so then they kind of shifted me to continue doing systems network engineering, but also managing a lot of our business intelligence like back end. And I was also doing the front end creating reports just because I was finding way to correlate things and answer questions, answer hard questions that they weren't able to answer before. Then one day, good friend of mine, named McCurry. He's still at Splunk. He was at Harris as well. And he introduced this tool called Splunk. To me, he was an IT admin. And that's more back then more of a logging IT admin tool. I was a business intelligence guys like I don't I don't like this stupid thing. You know? He, yeah, so funny. I'm at Splunk. Now, and I love it now. But it's good, though, he's just give it a shot, right, give it a shot. And so I played with it more and more. And eventually, I found out that I could do without making make a long story short, it's I could do stuff in way more real time that bi was I could run reports way too slow. And operations love the fact that I could give them information from finance and engineering and maintenance, like this. And then just correlating a ton of horrible, dirty datasets, bi needs structure, and you got to sit there and just clean and manage and manipulate data all day long, if you're going to try to make it work, and no one could really create an effective solution. Because of that, I found with Splunk, I was able to just do it really easily, really fast, and just find ways to start saving them, like man who was like millions of dollars instantly, just just buying being able to correlate data, and then alert on it and do it in real time and just kind of bypass some of the traditional barriers of databases. So that got me into Splunk. And then, as I

Brandon Minnick  27:32
have some No, if you don't mind, we should. But what is Splunk? Oh, yes, it's

Pj Metz  27:37
a great question. And it's not because I'm a little confused. Thanks, Brandon. For sure,

Unknown Speaker  27:45
you know, this, this has always been a fun one to to say what does Splunk do, because I swear to this day, we still struggle with it. Most people know Splunk, if you've ever heard of it, or the tool, it's going to be like a logging aggregation tool. So if you have a bunch of systems, and whether it's it or security related, you're collecting all this all this logging from them to figure out, you know, why did something go down or are Am I having a breach. So basically, every single computer system or network switch or whatever generates generates logs. Splunk is like an aggregator all that allows you to just search through that data alert on it, if you see something, you know, try to be more proactive if something's going to fail in the future, and then also visualize it all in the same place. So I always say that the pitch for most folks is and why I liked it so much was all this time you spend on ETL, like extract, transform and load your information in, then you need a visualization tool, then you need an alerting tool, then you have all these different tools you put together. Splunk is is just one platform to say, data goes here, I can search it, visualize it alerted, do ml on it, do whatever I want with it. And I don't have to put a bunch of other tools together. I like to think to just I feel like I'm in the matrix just when I look at stuff going through swamp I used to be our customers ingest petabytes of information today. And you have this interface that allows you to make sense of that. All that streaming real time data.

Pj Metz  29:20
This is one of my favorite stories in in just in just business in general. Like you started out as a user of it and you started out first off, like not wanting to use it, then you try it. You fall in love with it. And all of this had to happen because you fell in love with data as part of your job. But now you're like, Man, I really liked it. And I bet you become like an in an in company evangelist where you're like, hey, is anyone else using Splunk it's really good. I want you to try it. That eventually leads to did you reach out to Splunk? Did spunk reach out to you? Was it this thing where you were like kind of a like a community evangelist for them. How did this work out?

Unknown Speaker  29:57
Yeah, I mean, that's exactly it. So the more work I did with them ventually there was a user's conference that they had, and they seek out like really fun, good use cases. Well, considering most use cases back then were just IT related or security related mainly it. When they saw that I was doing stuff around tracking aircraft and doing finance, you know, saving all this money and financial operations and engineering, you're like, What in the heck are you using Splunk for? So they invited me to go do a presentation at that conference. And once I went there, the rest is history. Because you meet all these people. You see this new world of AI, honestly, the biggest thing for me was, I was using Splunk to solve some amazing problems at Harris. But for one company and one problem, essentially. Whereas I was like, what if I could do this for a ton of customers in every industry, and I was like that, you know, that sounds pretty appealing. So they, you know, they eventually, Nate went first, because he kind of went through a similar trajectory as I did. I held back. Just because I had such an amazing boss at Harris. I mean, to this day, one of the best mentors I've ever had, it was really tough, tough to lead him. But eventually, it felt like it was the right thing to do. And I didn't know how to get into, I didn't know what role to do. So this is kind of this new, Hey, I didn't even know that even know what tech was at this point in human term. 10 years ago, like when this happened, I. So the first thing that the only way I sought to get in was to do consulting, because they needed people to be in the field. They had openings there. And they're like, Look, you already know how to use Splunk. Pretty well. Yeah, your your Linux isn't the best because you didn't, you know, you're not an you're not an IT administrator, like, like Nate was, but you can learn it. Right? Like, sure. Yeah. I mean, I can navigate my way around. I'm just not an X expert. So they said, Sure. Your heart, like let's go. And I also didn't mean, I don't don't take this career advice from me. But I did take enroll, to get in just said, Hey, I don't need the I don't need this level, I'll go one down. Just, I just want the job. I just want to go do this, right. Turned out that was the best decision ever made. I mean, that just career skyrocketed. after that. I mean, I owe I owe Splunk, a lot. Changed my life.

Pj Metz  32:41
I would say also, I would say also Splunk owes you a lot for showing up at a conference with an interesting use case. Like you're out there doing good stuff. So Splunk did a lot of great stuff for you. Absolutely. You're correct. But you've done a lot of work, too. So don't undersell yourself there, Steven.

Unknown Speaker  32:57
Thank ya, I was lucky enough that the CEO of Splunk, at the time came in and watched my presentation. And because it was just such an interesting, like, different use case. And yeah, so that I'm sure that helped, too. And, and they were just growing a lot at the time. I mean, that was right, where a lot of tech companies these days, you find them in that that that perfect. And Splunk was one of those at the time for sure. They I missed IPO by, I don't know, six months to a year or something. And that wasn't a problem at all, because we were on I mean, sure, I don't I don't know if things would be different. But all I know is it was just a freight train of growth from the day that I started, even after IPO. And it's just been awesome since. But yeah, so I started in professional services. That's really where it led had I went into the consulting side, learn what I needed to, well, they actually they threw me in the fire pretty quick. I think I was in one week or something. And it was it was pretty, pretty stressful. Because there were I mean, back then, we only really had our core platform. And if people were using it for cybersecurity, well you kind of needed to be a subject matter expert in cybersecurity and all the different, you know, endpoints and networks, which which was okay, I kind of knew some of that from network engineering, right. And then the IT side, you just had to pick that up as well and just solve problems on the fly right at the customer. But it was I think at the end of the day, you were there Splunk was such a great tool and if I left a customer and they're just like dude, you don't you understand how much time you've saved me now or you've changed my you This is awesome. And that made me really love professional services and consulting for a product you love as well. See if your customers love it too. So that was eight years ago, yeah, eight to nine years ago. And then it's an interesting trajectory, I think from there, but I'll, I'll take a break here.

Pj Metz  35:14
Yeah, this is actually a perfect time, we're gonna cut to a commercial real quick. And we'll come right back after this short break. Hi, if you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon MPJ. And we're here to talk to you about your product. And how it can help you in your life buy to do whatever your product does. So if you're an avid listener of the show, or you watch us on Twitch, then you will know that your product, your product is right for you.

Brandon Minnick  36:01
That's right, we are looking for sponsors. So if you would like to sponsor us on eight bits, shoot us an email Hello at a pets.tv. And we'll respond back and get something going. Now, house before the break. We're diving into all the cool things that spunk can do. And actually, before we even started the show, you shared with us some really cool links and blog posts and dashboards that you've built. And no pressure. But I'm curious, would you mind sharing those with with the eight bits community? Because, gosh, I'm seeing Ukraine crypto donations, dashboards. Dashboards monitor Aetherium. We're, where should we even start?

Unknown Speaker  36:49
Yeah, that's, that's the hard part. So maybe a little context into it. And then I'll just jump to some random ones. And I have like a little deck of some screenshots I can show because logging in and doing each one might be kind of tough. But after professional services, after a few years of that, I went into tech marketing. And that got into demo building and trying to deliver Splunk story and capabilities to our analysts, our investors and our conferences. I built stuff for our keynotes, actually, really funny story. They're one of the best keynotes stealing something from Silicon Valley, if anyone watched that show. And they how do I keep this PG rated? At the end of the first in and out algorithm, yeah. So I have to give Nate a shout out on this, you know, is he came up with the idea. And then we for a keynote conference, maybe was 2015 or something now 16 or 17. Anyhow, we made it. So it was like a real time demo with people in the audience where they had their phones. And they were going to generate real time telemetry to show off our new product features. Like we're going to collect it off from 10,000 people in the audience. And so we had them we had so the accelerometer from every phone in the audience was going to send that data to Splunk and show it in real time, like all the metrics and how hard people were shaking it and whatever. And we made it so like, hey, the harder you shake, we'll get the meter up, what's the dashboard I built, and it will shoot that spunks mascots are ponies, it will shoot homies out of a cannon and hit people. Anyhow, we, we, and we tried to get some of the Silicon Valley folks to actually make a commercial out of it. With limited success, either way, somehow that passed legal back then the entire audience like shaking their phones. Yep. Yeah. We I mean, and we had this middle, middle out algorithm, I think. And we shot we shot stuff into the audience. When? Yeah, yeah. So

Pj Metz  39:07
those so you were able to like, like, people are gonna like log in, you have access to the accelerometers. Everyone was shaking their phones, like a can of soda. I got you on the PG. And like, eventually, it like it made something happen. So this was how you were showing off what you were making. So this is like, this is amazing. This is really cool. But tech dashboards, and that's fun. So you're making like, dashboards and stuff like that now, right?

Unknown Speaker  39:38
Yeah, I mean, it's, that's so the, you know, dashboards being the front end of all of what Splunk can do, but essentially just making it easy to collect any, we call it machine data. So whether it's coming through your phone or Nintendo or a computer, IoT device Splunk collecting that and then just being able to build a lot of cool visualizations from it is where I just really is my favorite thing to do. It's what I did for tech marketing and help build keynote demos and build stuff for customers and so on. And what that turned into was not just doing our traditional use cases. But all of these. I guess, I was kind of an evangelist for all non core use cases at Splunk. So what could you do Splunk, IoT devices, aircraft, people shaking their phones, you know, water treatment plants, whatever that was, we even used to do track days at Splunk. And I was we built some stuff to track all the telemetry from cars in real time and use ml to predict what car it was just by the speed and the RPM. And, you know, it's just so so much fun. And so a lot of stuff I built was just all getting that data and making sense of it, and then building the front end in Splunk, or the dashboards to show all that information in real time. So let's see, I guess I can go through a couple fun ones here. And I, it's a little more boring that they're screenshots. But it'll allow us to just see more than than me logging in and doing one at a time. See if I can figure out how to share my screen here.

Pj Metz  41:05
There's a little box with an arrow on it that should be sharing your screen.

Unknown Speaker  41:09
Oh, good old MacOS we got. Do you want to give it permissions?

Pj Metz  41:17
Say yes. Say yes. I remember while you while you're finding that I remember when the world was doing when we were trying to figure out how we were going to deal with COVID. And we ended up doing all the Zoom happy hours. I remember, you built a COVID tracking dashboard. And I remember it was maybe like two weeks into the official pandemic. And you're like, oh, I have a dashboard. Y'all can like track stuff. Just put it your state. And I was like, you built this and you were like, yeah, no problem. I hadn't even started learning to code yet. And I was like, this seems like the most complicated thing I can conceive of in the entire world. I'm going to pull your screen and go ahead, you can pull up that screenshot.

Stephen Luedtke  41:58
Did that work? I didn't have to exit.

Pj Metz  42:02
You're good.

Unknown Speaker  42:04
Yeah, so there's this just eventually, I'm going to make some of this stuff more public. But I've got to figure out which ones I can and can't share most the ones that are all good. But let's see, let's just have so many fun use cases in here. That one just spelunking the garden. So I had some humidity sensors and water sensors, and, you know, just trying to not kill plants. And so I had just some alerts on when to harvest when to plant so on. I think this is Oh, man, I'm giving you guys tab hell up there. Let me get rid of that. So this was one where if I brought all the stuff I was doing at home together like all my energy, so every single braiding monitored in real time, my water usage, AC heat my network, I mean, every single thing around my networking side of things, I think PJ was telling me earlier about how I let the companies know when there's an outage, I send them like a report from Splunk saying, Hey, man, you've only given me 96% uptime this week. I don't like it. So you know it for cars.

Brandon Minnick  43:19
Going along, we're looking at this just insane dashboard, I'm seeing information about looks like weather events with rain and lightning and temperature and all of your home usage

Pj Metz  43:36
as a massive amount of data. But it looks so good. It's like clear, the color is fantastic. It's easy to read. And it just it looks so well done. Like it's I mean, obviously you're a professional, you've been doing this thing. Yeah, he's just so good.

Unknown Speaker  43:57
This this, this does. I mean, this is where I'll get on my little bit of Splunk bias. But it's it was one of the first tools where I found I could have this freedom of because the data behind this is really the hardest part, it's getting real time data, because this this dashboard, if I did pull it up, all this stuff is moving. And being able to get it in there and then still display it nicely. It's just a tough thing to do with a lot of the tools out there. And so Splunk just made it really easy. And once I figured out how to how to do it, you know, that's where like all these concepts just started taking off. This one that looks kind of like a space one. You know, in one of our newer dashboarding frameworks, you can create your own visualization. So stuff that's not out of the box, like these hexagons, you know, that's just taking an SVG, importing it in and now you can program any spunk search to it to change the colors. And that goes a long way. It's like, hey, I can create anything I want from an SVG and tie real time searches to it. Love it right. Now other examples was like tracking satellites and I actually get the ISO or the International Space Station fee and some other ones to just mess around with some basic orbital mechanics. I'm not, I'm not an expert, they're just

Pj Metz  45:11
messing around with data from the International Space Station.

Unknown Speaker  45:18
For any f1 fans, I've designed some stuff for their esports team. And then even I'm not sure exactly what some of the do on the actual team, but the esports team is using a lot of the data from the real race and then their simulators to build a lot of analytics around how to get better. So this has been a this was a super fun project to definitely not in the normal Splunk IT security use case. But again, it's just all data. It's just a lot of moving data. And so it fits in pretty, pretty well, if you've got a creative mind to you. Yeah. And then, you know, these days, I work on our blockchain team, and which is awesome for. I mean, again, I just love data. And I love new use cases. Well, there's a ton of public available data on Aetherium, and Bitcoin all your public blockchain. So I've built a lot of stuff around one keeping blockchains up and running, so the infrastructure aspect of it. And then also, you know, what's happening on the ledgers of the blockchains themselves. So there's just all sorts of really fun things that we built there, PJ, you mentioned COVID. When that first came out, we, you know, we have a Splunk for Good is what we call it. And so we tried to help, you know, contribute to that analytic space of tracking all that information, predicting things. We even had an ask for some of our customers when they wanted to go back to work, like, could you help build COVID readiness, you know, show how our facilities are doing? How many people have walked in, you know, like, just badge tracking and things like that. So that was a lot of that was a lot of fun. And this is more of the infrastructure related side. I know the viewers who can't see this, you're probably saying, man, you're showing a lot of dashboards. And I've probably gone through, like 20 dashboards now. So the point is lots of different use cases. And honestly, it might, my transition from the BI space to this was, what if you had no limits of what you could design, visually, because you're being held back by some data problem, or correlating things or you can't do it in real time? That's just, it's been so nice to not have those barriers with Splunk. I know it's kind of a pitch for it. And look, there's other tools out there. You know, there's there's open source alternatives. There's other things, but Splunk was just the best tool that I've come across, in this journey of creating these kinds of

Pj Metz  47:58
amazing concepts. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  48:00
And these use cases just go on from tracking wildfires, and helping public sector to wine cellars. And again, doing the racecar tracking and skiing. I think I tracked Brian and you would love this one. If I used to bring an IoT sensor with me when we'd ski and I could look on my phone and look at you know, stuff happening in real time. Now, there's an app for that. But this was, you know, six, seven years ago when I created those things. So it's amazing.

Pj Metz  48:26
Yeah, so it's Steven, we have a go ahead. I took your I took your screen off. It's back to us. What is this this Splunk? This dashboard you've built? That is about Ukraine crypto activity. What is what is that about? Yeah, this this

Unknown Speaker  48:45
was. So I think if you posted the link in there, hopefully it's still up and running on Pat leave, it might break without me. It. So this again, being on our blockchain team now. Ethereum is one of the public Ledger's that we can do analysis on. And so we found you know, what a great dataset to do examples on of creating analytics on something in real time and responding to things. So, you know, COVID was one and we thought Ukraine would be another one because you see headlines on Twitter and other things. There's like, Hey, 40, millions already been donated to the Ukrainian government within, you know, like a week. That's, that's substantial, right? So we thought that, hey, let's track that. Let's look for, you know, interesting activity and other things that happen on the ledger, because it's a very, very interesting dataset. We also, you know, one of the nice things with spunk is correlating all sorts of data, because it's all see if this is the right word implicitly joined on time. If you think of the old database days where you had to have a key, and you know that there's the only way you could get two datasets in the same place and all overlay things and look for aggregates, you know, analytics. And with Splunk, it's just every everything you put into it. No matter where it comes from, or what it looks like, no matter the format, it's joined by timestamp automatically. So you're never doing like, Oh, I got to join on a minute granularity or I got to join on 10 minutes or one second or whatever. It's just all done for you. And you think about that. It's like an automatic join. So news articles, Twitter feeds, the Ethereum ledger analytics, it just gets put onto a dashboard, you can overlay both sources and not have to ever really worry about joining them, if they didn't have a key to join them together. There's a lot of patterns you can find in data just by time alone. And so that's, you know, our inspiration for that one was like, Hey, let's compare news articles with the crypto data with price feed data. And then also start looking for scams because, you know, unfortunately, a lot of stuff in the crypto side of things in NF T's these days. While there's a lot of good, there's also a lot of bad that comes with it. And we could start predicting real quick, just by watching address activity and other things that hey, this is this is looking like a scam is happening here. And we should have blogged more about it. But legal and other I mean, I don't know, it's kind of a hard thing to I don't know, you didn't necessarily know what was going on in Ukraine just yet. So it's kind of a sensitive subject to really, yeah, absolutely. make too many assumptions is

Pj Metz  51:27
Yeah, absolutely. But yeah.

Brandon Minnick  51:30
Especially if you if you if something got labeled as a scam, because it tripped whatever threshold and it wasn't. And then now it just caused a big mess. Because, yeah, but on the flip side, catching the scams, yes. super valuable. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  51:49
Yeah. So that was just a really fun. And you know, I think this is the where, where things are going today is we can't, we can't wait a week, or even days to go do analytics on something. I don't want to have to wait, can I look at something pull in new data feeds, create visualizations, and alerts and like operational analytics on it like this? Like, how fast can we do that. And so that was one of our examples of just that's one thing I love about blockchain data is just it's public. It's fast. There's a ton of data, there's tons of blockchains, they don't even have really good solution yet to correlate all chains. And so I'm in a fun spot where these days are just letting me you know, like, give me as much as

Pj Metz  52:36
I want all the data. Give me? Yeah, it just sounds you're so you're so excited about data. That's what makes this job seem to work so well for you. You really are passionate, you've been at Splunk. You said about nine years, and you're still excited about it, and you're still loving it, you're still just getting really jazzed about it. So like, it's really cool to see. It's your passion. And it's something you weren't like, you know, you weren't 13 going I just really liked data a lot. It was there was something you found later, and you've turned it into something that benefits you in so many ways. It's a job it's a career. It's kind of a hobby, you're seem to be doing it for fun sometimes.

Unknown Speaker  53:17
Oh, yeah. Probably to my wife's demise. Like you nerd

Pj Metz  53:23
passport for our new child, we're going to track everything.

Stephen Luedtke  53:28
There were some thoughts around that.

Pj Metz  53:33
It's fun to see you be creative in a way that a lot of people wouldn't consider creative. When we talk about creative and creativity, it tends to be around like, you know, the arts or problem solving. But your creativity is really in, in a unique and a unique sort of subset of of problem solving. And it's just really cool to see like, it's you excite me, Steven, it's, it's exciting to see you get excited about this stuff. So fantastic. Oh,

Brandon Minnick  54:03
I'm excited for Splunk. If spunks ever looking to sponsor a podcast, we'd be happy to have him on board.

Pj Metz  54:10
We'll talk about Splunk all the time.

Brandon Minnick  54:14
But yeah, I'd love PJ, what you're saying about the passion because I can feel it too. It's coming through your passions coming through the screen, Steven. So I'm curious, what would your advice be to folks who are either new to the industry or want to break into the industry? How how can they? How can they get to a spot where you are where they are, they can do what they love and be super passionate about it and look forward to go into work.

Unknown Speaker  54:42
Yeah, I mean, it does come back to that kind of last stint at Harris where I just started finding something that like Hey, I think I'm think I'm kind of good at this thing for once I found something that I might be able to really bring some value on, on this data side. And so the more I pushed At the more than I explored, well, what is the best out there? What are the products I can I can look for. And again, I didn't actually like Splunk at first, but I gave it a chance. And that at least got me in the door. And then from there, you know, I didn't talk too much about this, but it was like professional services to tech marketing to almost going back into product management slash data engineering is do a little bit of both. And that was just because once you find something you're so passionate about, or a product, you can change roles, I think, much easier. Again, because you're behind, you're behind the product. So foot in the door with just the consulting side, which was scary, but they needed help. And I was like, I know how to use the product, because I love it. I'll learn everything else I need to and then from there, really moving horizontally. I think in most tech companies, I think I know Splunk it was relatively easy. But most companies moving horizontally, it's not not not too hard to do. I think a lot of companies are healthier when they promote that. So my advice is, yeah, look for something you're passionate about, go to the conferences. That's the easiest way to just meet people do some presentations you get seen. And I think any recruiter is going to love the fact that you did any sort of presentation write or something around the product, and find your way to get get your foot in the door. It might not be your ultimate role. But I didn't know that I consulting was going to be my ultimate role. I mean, I last think I did two and a half years of that before I went to tech marketing. And four years of that was awesome. But then after that, I said, I don't think this is my final role either. But I know it's still data right now. It's still Splunk What can I do next? At this company that will satiate my appetite?

Pj Metz  56:47
Yeah, that exploration is such a great theme and idea. And when you're when you're in college, when you're in a boot camp, when you're being self taught when you're when you're doing all this and you really only kind of see software developer, you only see engineer, there is a huge open funnel behind every career. That is so much more. And Steven, thank you so much for being on the show. We have loved having you here. It's been fun just to like have us all in the same room together even if it's a virtual room. And this has been a fantastic episode. I've loved it. Brandon, any final words? or what have you got? Do you love them? Do you love Stephen too? Because I love Stephen.

Brandon Minnick  57:30
We all love Stephen. Yeah, Stephen, for anybody that wants to follow along on your adventures or blog posts or dashboards? where can folks on the internet find you?

Unknown Speaker  57:41
It's on my to do list to start getting some more of this work out there. But for now, you know, some of the information will get out there at the Twitter handle at arbiter of data. But look for look for more in the future. Yep, there's a blog link. I did more back when I was in tech marketing. But I think once I come back from leave, they're asking me to start writing about a lot more of the stuff that I've been creating anyways. So yeah, those both the Twitter handle and the net blog link, you can take a look at that or reach out, reach out to me directly. I'm always happy to answer questions and talk about anything data. It's just again, it's my passion, and it doesn't necessarily need to be Splunk. This just day to day to data. So I think that blog, it says SRP you can reach out to me at S lucky@gmail.com

Pj Metz  58:31
if you wish. All right, and that's s l uedtke@splunk.com. And you can find his logs@splunk.com as well and we want to thank you all for tuning in to eight bits and we will see you all next time.