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One Year Later...

To Whom It May Concern,

If you're reading this right now, then, you know, it happened.

Wow, that was pretty ominous, yeah? Let's dial that darkness and creepiness back and start celebrating! The rollBak has achieved our first anniversary! It has been a long road and a ton of opportunity has presented itself. I want to start with the boring stuff:

There have been ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and the long, hard road. I wrestled in high school, and there was a lull period where some of us just weren't "feeling it". My coach said suck it up and do it, or enjoy massive regrets later.

"There are days I don't wanna lift and I don't wanna wrestle, but I do it. That attitude and discipline is what took me to the Olympics."

Of course, Coach used much more colorful language and had a lot more vigor and rage than I could muster, but his message hit home. Almost two decades later, I heard those words pounding in my head once again, as I had considered quitting The rollBak.

Fortunately, that consideration didn't last long. I suffered through some self doubts that impacted my enthusiasm, drive, and passion. However, I pushed through it, with a ton of support, and I am happier than ever that I did.

Personally, and I may be a bit biased, I think The rollBak fills a nice little void in the Podcast space. I also enjoy doing it and being a part of it. It's been a conversation piece in more than one interview. There is also a sort of "stay on your toes" mentality which keeps us on top of our game and constantly learning new things. One of the many things I have learned is that Coach was right: push through when you're not feeling it, because the rewards are immeasurable.

I had a few motivations and reminders of what started this journey. During the bad times, one quote in particular picked me up: "the temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed". I am not sure the origins, but that line resonated with me. Success is difficult to measure in this sort of field, or hobby if you want to call it that. But I think the inner joy and fulfillment experienced when shooting the breeze with some great friends and meeting new members of this giant community are what measure success.

The anniversary episode had a missed opportunity. I made a mention of motivations earlier, and I think a listing of our driving forces are in order. I can't speak for Mike and Phil on some of these, but I think they'll agree with me on more than one.

To What Do I Owe This Pleasure

Paul Joyner at Sysadmin Today. Paul has been a constant role model and benchmark in this journey. He taught me it's okay to take a break from the technical stuff and share some stories or laugh over some mistakes we made years ago. Paul also demonstrates what it means to be yourself, I think. He is incredibly humble, but his knowledge is beyond what I can hope to comprehend. Paul has been doing the I.T. thing since before Microsoft appended years to their products! Thank you, Paul, for always reinforcing our efforts and being a true supporter of the show.

Joe Zack, Michael Outlaw, and Allen Underwood at CodingBlocks.NET. These guys bring software discussions to a whole other level. I started listening to CodingBlocks several years ago, back when I was in the I.T. support game. At the time, I was studying Computer Science, but I still wanted to be a Sysadmin/Network admin. After listening to this guys for a while and getting a feel for what being a software engineer/software architect was like, I put the plans in motion to become more proficient at software development and engineering as a discipline. The topics ranged considerably from out of my element to out of my world, but the casual manner in which these topics are discussed makes it easy to digest and absorb. Thank you, guys, I wouldn't be where I am had it not been for you.

Chris Fisher, Wes Payne, Michael Dominick, and the rest of the JB gang at Jupiter Signal. The various shows and outlets from this bunch transformed my Linux curiosity into a full blown obsession. My little Ubuntu VM wasn't good enough, I dug into Antergos, openSUSE, Arch Linux, Fedora, and even took the Gentoo Challenge. I was running bare metal Linux on all of my machines, took my ESXi Hypervisor down and threw CentOS with KVM (now Fedora and FreeBSD ;) ), and got a job working with Linux full time. If you're ever looking for inspiration and projects, checkout Linux Unplugged for all kinds of crazy updates, ideas, and a great community. I hear there is even a live Q&A show you can dial into now... Calling KernelLinux! The JB crew definitely got me the buried deep into endless Linux projects. They are the reason I was introduced to...

Wendell Tron, Ryan, and Kreestuh at Level1Techs. My first exposure to the dangerous trio was their crazy zfs video. From there I was hooked. There was no end in sight when it came to hacking, tweaking, optimizing, automating, and, of course, Linux'in all the things! Nothing was ever good enough, there was always work to be done, something to be tricked out or overclocked, you know, all the things. Wendell's technical videos from then and now inspired our YouTube channel and my Linux Deep Dive series. The whole dynamic from all three is truly something special, and I am always looking forward to something new they're demoing, tearing apart, or discussing.

Then, of course, there is Mike and Phil. Without them I would not be where I am. I don't think I would have had the courage or dedication to continue this on my own. It has been an amazing project, with the perks of making some lifelong friends along the way. Their technical superiority and mastery give me something to aspire to. I am on the shoulders of giants it feels like. I don't know how much I swell with pride when they're stumped on something and I manage to stutter out a viable solution.

I am sorry I didn't have time or space to name everyone. Know that if you think you inspired us, you probably did, as we engaged and met new people every day that brought new insights, discussions, and ideas.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to giving the abridged version of this on Sunday and getting some input from the guys. I am looking forward to next year even more.

Happy hacking, everyone!

One Year Later...
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