Author Archive: Michael Miller

February 19, 2010

More Strange Dreams – This Time with Explosives!

So there we were at Lance’s New Year’s Eve party and all of us are having a great time and enjoying some of Sam F’s delicious 3-Bars BBQ. We at some point decide that it would be a good idea to jump into Lance’s pool for a little swim. This is when Lance whips out his fancy new scuba diving outfit that he has custom-fitted with a Camelbak that’s full of Miller Lite*. Why you would need a Camelbak full of Miller Lite while swimming underwater breathing a tank full of oxygen, I don’t know, but I’ve seen weirder and more inventive things with this group of people, so I move on. A few of us try it on and swim around underwater while drinking delicious Miller Lite from the Camelbak and we’re having a good ol’ time getting ready for the fireworks show. I then notice that there are a lot of people showing up for the annual fireworks display – a lot – like people are flying in on helicopters. This is when Lance announces his big plans for this year’s fireworks display to us all.

He has made himself a homemade rocket suit propelled by crazy amounts of giant fireworks. Once lit, it will thrust him straight up into the air. It should be noted that Lance is not a small man and the amount of fireworks strapped to his homemade suit was ridiculous in size and by no means safe, to him or anyone within a 10 mile radius for that matter. The fact that he had a SoftLayer-themed biker’s helmet on (I assume for safety?) accompanied with tons of explosives strapped to his body was also – ridiculous. I’m thinking Nathan, our CTO, had something to do with this idea. The idea was that Lance was to reach the proper altitude, and then the fireworks would be released from him like the space shuttle’s booster engines when entering orbit and the fireworks would burst into beautiful explosive visuals and spell out “SoftLayer” in fire in the sky. How he was going to get down safely remains a mystery, because at this point in time someone lit Lance’s rocket suit and sure enough, away he went, straight up into the sky as planned, leaving sparklers and pretty fireworks bursting in his wake.

It was then that I had woken myself up, giggling at the thought of Lance being shot up into the sky with tons of explosives strapped to him and in a biker helmet and I emailed myself the contents of this yet another strange dream.

June 3, 2009

Strange Dreams, Work and Hippies

So there I am at Softlayer Headquarters as Lance, Steven, Amanda and I are walking out to our cars to go home for the day and we begin walking to an underground garage. When we turn the corner I notice a lone hippie standing there. As we continue to walk I begin to see more and pretty soon there are about 15-20 hippies, the number ever growing. Some are sitting around cars dressed in elaborate hippie “outfits”. I find this rather odd and I make the comment: “hey look! hippies!”

Now as we all know from our friends at Southpark, “if you see one hippie there are usually a lot more you’re not seeing. You get a few hippies playing drums the next thing you know you got yourself a colony.”

southpark

As we approach the seemingly harmless, but growing colony, I notice that one of them has a baby elephant (yes, an elephant) on a leash that is dressed like the hippies. They all begin to glare menacingly at us as if we’re imposing on their territory. We stop in our tracks so as to not provoke them or their hippie elephant. Suddenly and without warning a SWAT team of police emerges and attack the hippie colony. The baby elephant is unleashed and begins to fight with the police as well. Tie-dyed colored clothing, necklaces, bandanas, sunglasses and bongo drums are flying through the air as the fight progresses. The SWAT team then pulls out their taser guns and begins zapping the Hippies. I yell “They’re attacking the Hippies! AHHHH – that ones tasering the hippies! Watch out – Elephant attack!” During the entire battle between the police and hippie colony Lance, Steven, Amanda and I are laughing hysterically at the insane situation that we’re currently witnessing.

The next thing you know it was over and the police, hippies and their elephant have completely disappeared while we were all doubled over in laughter. This is when I wake myself up literally giggling myself out of my strange and bizarre dream. Of course, I had to email myself the details to write this blog post so I’d remember.

Yes – my dreams are weird…

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August 13, 2008

Wrestling and Soundboards Improve Quality of Life

As a young lad growing up in Houston, Texas I was always fascinated, awed and inspired by Professional Wrestling. When I was little I wanted to be a Professional Wrestler, I even invited Hulk Hogan to every birthday that I had growing up, sadly he never showed up but that was ok because I could watch him wrestle in the WWE (WWF at the time) every weekend. As I grew older I started being able to stay up later and therefore began watching more coverage of the sports entertainment world such as ECW and WCW which were a bit more on the edgier side of programming.

WCW is where I found Ric Flair. What a fantastic persona this man has put forth - the arrogance, the superiority and the strength to back it up. Flair's vicious chest chops and figure four leg locks were legendary. This is the point in my life in my early to late teens that I began to like the bad guys (or heels to those familiar with the industry) just as much if not more so than the good guys (face). Back over at WWE I began to notice the main heel at the time going up the ultimate face, Hulk Hogan, was the Macho Man Randy Savage who had quite the personality himself. Cocky, brash, a bit insane, very entertaining but always able to back it up with his classic finishing move the flying mighty elbow.

Flash forward to now. Yes, sadly to this day I still love and watch wrestling on a regular basis across all brands, WWE/ECW/WCW and TNA. Current favorite wrestlers include Scott Steiner, Triple H, and of course the Nature Boy Ric Flair, who is still wrestling and entertaining at the ripe age of 58.

Now since coming to work at Softlayer I have seen my fair share of entertaining websites and ideas from across the internet as a whole. However, I have yet to find websites that are more entertaining, fun, ridiculous, can provide every day answers and overall explain daily life here at Softlayer than these two. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Macho Man and Ric Flair soundboards.

-Michael

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May 7, 2008

The Great Debate

Who would win in a fight to the death between a Grizzly Bear and a Great White Shark?

Yes, we here in SLales, particularly Daniel and myself, have these types of serious debates quite often. Now before you get all riled up about how this would never happen and there’s no way these two would ever even meet, etc, etc, hear me out folks. Daniel said it best during one of our many debates about this important issue:

“I win the lotto and I’m putting this show on Pay-Per-View.... greatest show on earth.”

IIIIIIIIIIIn the red corner weighing in at 5,000lbs, laying 20 feet long – SHARKY! AAAAAAAnd in the blue corner weighing in at 1,500lbs and standing 8 feet tall – GRIZZLY!

The setting would be similar to the UFC Octagon, only twice the size, instead of a cage it will be a solid metal octagon and filled with 4 feet of water so the Shark can maneuver and so can the Bear. Both animals are fully grown adults - the Shark is a female, the Bear is a male - predatory in nature and very aggressive.

My contention would be that the Great White wins this battle to the death for a few reasons:

  1. The Great White Shark has been dubbed “an efficient killing machine” on several occasions by many scientists and experts.
  2. This ain’t no Salmon Grizzly; this is 20ft and 5,000lbs of fury coming for YOU Bear!
  3. Sharky is HUGE, more than double the size of Grizzly.
  4. Sharky has rows and rows of teeth that are easily replaceable in a fight to the death, Grizzly has one set and that’s it.
  5. Great White Sharks are notorious for their thick skin; the bear doesn’t stand a chance with his teeth and claws.
  6. Yes, Grizzly will be more maneuverable, however one bite from Sharky and he’s done.
  7. There is a certain 80's rock band named after Sharky, none for Grizzly.

What’s you guys’ take on the outcome here, do you think Sharky or Grizzly would win?

Daniel, I await your side of the argument sir!

-Michael

***The views and expressions of these events are completely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. ***

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April 22, 2008

Buying a House vs. Buying a Server

Thinking of buying a house – don’t. I have been through the 7 layers of candy cane to get into the one I just bought. Not only did I have to search to find the right Real Estate Agent that fit my needs and my busy schedule, I had to search around for the right house, in the right location for the right price – sound familiar?

After all of that I finally found the perfect place, got my funds in order, and then I had to sign the rights away to my first and third born sons. Never in my life (or whole life for that matter) have I had to sign and initial my name to so many documents at once.

Yay, I’ve got the house, now I get to furnish it so I can actually live there. More. Fun. Now I’m out there shopping around for furniture, kitchen appliances, bedroom furniture, bathroom things and all that other good stuff.

I’m completely exhausted from all of the above and work on top of that. I now see where y'all (I’m from Texas, cut me some slack) are coming from when shopping around for a server. I miss my lease. The whole process was simple, efficient and for all encompassing purposes much much easier. Sure, a house traditionally appreciates in value with time and a server in all likely purposes depreciates with time and there is a difference between the two, however I did want to compare these two markets in my cool little blog here.

Leasing a server is a lot like leasing a house or apartment, of which after this whole ordeal I do very much miss. In a server and house lease you are not liable for any maintenance on either. We at Softlayer will take care of all of that for you, and the landlord takes care of the house/apartment if anything breaks. If something comes up then you can get out of the lease quite easily as well as the cost is 3-5 times less than actually buying outright. Leasing also takes less time. You can get into a lease in just a couple of days on a house/apartment or a server for that matter in just a couple of hours. Buying a house takes months of preparation, searching, getting funds in order, signing and moving in. On the other hand, buying a server can take days, weeks, and months even depending on your setup, co-location facility and how fast you can get it into a live production setting. There are literally a million different variables that go into both of these equations for time, but this is just generally speaking. I’m sure there are many of you out there that can buy both in a matter of minutes and have everything setup and running just as fast.

In the long run my house will in all probability appreciate in value so it will be worth it – aside from the hassles and giving up my first and third born sons. However buying a server and co-locating it somewhere for years will likely depreciate with value as technology changes so rapidly in this day in age. Likely your old servers will not work as efficiently as new technology comes out and will eventually become obsolete. In the housing market my house will be around and habitable so to speak (depending on how rough I treat her) for decades to come. However as I pointed out earlier they are very different markets but the lease/buy theory is still the same.

To sum it all up – don’t buy, lease, you’ll thank me later.

-Michael

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April 7, 2008

Another Record SLales Day!

Well, we’ve done it again! Last week we had a record SLales day and a monumental achievement for Team Softlayer. We sold and fully delivered 208 servers last Monday breaking our previous record of 117 in a single day. There will be no official press releases about this or anything like that other than this blog, this is normal day to day operations here at Softlayer, or as I like to call it – Monday.

We are indeed making quite a dent in the hosting industry, who else out there can claim that they can accomplish this colossal achievement? We are growing at a massive rate here and all the while keeping the same high level of service that we have worked extraordinarily hard to earn and maintain.

We’ve come a long way since the opening of our doors 2 years ago. However we still have a long way to go. We have our Washington DC datacenter coming online in May to offer better service to our East Coast and European clients and we have integrated our new API 3.0 for our clients to have even more control over there servers and our services never before seen in the industry today. 2008 is going to be an astounding year for our clients as well as Softlayer.

We’ve come a long way, and we still have a long road ahead of us but in closing, our better is better than the competitions better.

-Michael

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January 31, 2008

SL Headquarters

Life at our Corporate Headquarters can get a bit weird at times but is never short on fun. Every day I get to pass the Ferrari Dealership of Dallas on the way to work, often times there are a few whizzing on by my Honda, much to my envy.

When I get into the office where Corporate is located in North Dallas I sit in my cube with Superman as my sidekick and go to work. Sitting on my row is Daniel the gadget guy, Doug who never stops talking (ever), and Mary who manages to receive at least one package a day from various vendors even if she is not here - how she does that I will never know. In the next row sits Amanda from The 'Ville, Laude the Kung-Fu Legend and Patty Mac-Patty Mac. While wheeling and dealing sales on our services we are always yelling over each other at what, when and where we are selling for coordination of product placement and inventory updates, it's very much like the floor at the NYMEX, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So there we sit, 12+ hours a day in our nice massage chairs shouting at each other like heathens. Did I mention the story on the massage chairs? Daniel being the gadget guy that he is was always raving about how cool it would be to get office chairs that massage you while you sit there and work. So Lance made it one of our Sales incentives that month that if we hit, we all get massage chairs. We of course hit our team goal and now there is a general low humming from the chairs that resonate from the Sales section of the office - along with the yelling and screaming of course. More from Amanda on our cool new chairs.

Now we share this office building with several other companies and I would estimate that there are around 100+ people at any given time in this building. The restroom here has two stalls - you do the math. It gets quite interesting at times but at least they have elevator music playing in there. I guess.

After my day is over I like to go around and talk to co-workers to catch up on things. Then it's off past the dealership to my home for some more clicking away at my keyboard to tie up some loose ends from work and some much needed rest. And tomorrow I get to see some more Ferraris - how cool is that?

-Michael # 1

December 11, 2007

Record SLales Day

117 Servers in one day. That's right -- We sold and fully provisioned 117 servers yesterday. Words can't express how proud this makes me as we've come a long way from when I started at Softlayer just over a year and a half ago. When I got here I was the 25th employee and we were in a very small, weird office and I was always within (literally) arms reach of Lance and Steven and a good (great) day was selling and provisioning double digit servers. Now things have gotten much bigger and we are still humming along coming out with new products, new datacenters (Seattle and more to come) and innovating new and never before seen ideas and services in the hosting world.

We now have over 100 employees, nearing 15,000 servers in production, a new (bigger) office and record revenue being generated daily. Two years ago when we opened our doors for business we had zero (0) in all of the above categories. We have grown up fast while continuing to be the best out there with our innovation and services.

I'm just so proud. *tear*

-Michael

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July 30, 2007

Being in Sales

Being in SLales (SL + Sales = SLales - we're so clever), I talk to around 200 people or so a day via email/tickets/telephone/chat/etc. I like to think of our SLales team as the "A" team in the industry. Going along with Jason's “we wear many hats”, we must have detailed knowledge of every single product and service that we offer -- networking capabilities, what program/software/application works with what hardware all the while fitting what each particular clients unique needs are into their budget.

A typical day for the SLales team involves getting to work and going straight for the Monster or coffee (or both) depending on your preference. Get to our cubes and login to our side of the customer portal, chat and check our email. This is when the fun begins. Immediately we are engaging people on chat, catching up our shared SLales and personal email inboxes, talking to clients or potential clients on the telephone, verifying orders, IMing with different divisions, putting through payments, credit card changes and grabbing tickets from existing clients looking to cut a deal for upgrading and/or adding servers and services – all at the same time. We take multitasking seriously here!

On top of all of that we have to make sure that customer billing is accurate when ordering these services depending on the deals we have available, which are always going to be inventory-based. Also, we are making sure that everything is working correctly on each customer's server and if not, coordinating a game-plan to make sure that the client is satisfied and running along smoothly, as quickly as possible.

At the end of the day we want all of our clients to be comfortable, happy, making money and enjoying themselves – because if you are, we are too!

-Michael

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