Archive for cpanel

Jun
06

My Methods For Interviewing

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I would like to start this blog with a thanks to the folks at cPanel. Special thanks go to Nick, Aaron, and Keelie. Also a shout to Keith and Derek from Ping Zine who joined me at ground zero. If you were not aware I was in Houston for a few days interviewing the one and only Nick Koston. If you do not know the name I am not surprised. Not because he doesn’t warrant fame, if anyone I would say Nick is in my top 3 for individuals who have had the greatest impact on the Internet of all time. Luckily, I found myself in the fortunate position of interviewing.

For this blog I wanted to address how I interview. I will rarely email questions. Honestly, I find emailing questions on par with just quoting sales material. Canned questions give canned responses and I prefer livelier discussion. In fact, most of my interviews are more conversation like. I want to know not just the answers but the reasons, thoughts, and emotions behind them. You can see them in the way someone gestures, facial expressions, the speed in which they talk, and those expressions lead me to my next questions.

It would be far easier for me to simply build an interview form and send it out to everyone I thought was interesting. I could have asked dedicated server provider Superb.net’s CEO, Haralds Jass, softball questions to entice “perfect” responses. But in either case, comes out sounding rehearsed as opposed to something more impromptu.

I often bait my interviewees. I admit it, and although sometimes I feel bad about it, there is sometimes no other way to get the information I want. As a for instance, when interviewing Barbara Koston, it is clear to anyone that she is very proud of her children. But if I just made that observation it really wouldn’t be quotable or even an interview. I can suggest it, but I might end up with a few word answer. Both of these are the exact opposite of what I consider the standard. The standard is find something amazing that your interviewee can say and let them say it… and sometimes you better get the hell out of the way cause they might have a lot to say. So I bait a little. In fact, I baited Barbara about whether she was proud of her son. The question riled Barbara a little and for that I am sorry, but I received the perfect answer and I could ask for none better, so for that I am eternally grateful.

When I first get an interview assignment I do two things: I research the topics involved and I research the person I am interviewing. The process can take several days to several weeks. As a research I ask myself questions, along the lines of what would I want to know. As the research goes on, I look at what has been said and what hasn’t. Can I fill in the gaps? I would certainly hope so.

Most people don’t know this, but I am scared crazy going into an interview. Though you would think I would be use to it by now, I am not. I always wonder if I will end up asking the wrong questions or push too far or not push enough. Will the person I interview understand I am trying to not just fill in the gaps of information on them or their product/service, but also to give them the opportunity to voice details they may not have thought of or didn’t think important?

If life is a journey then so must an interview. I prefer to trace the path of someone through dialog then to merely ask questions. Although I want who I am interviewing to feel at ease, I will delve, I will even make myself look stupid, in order to bring out the details. In the end, it doesn’t matter how I look or how others see me, it’s about presenting my subject in a way that is new and fresh. And hopefully, in such a manner that others will see them as fondly as I see them.

Categories : Features
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Oct
10

cPanel Conference 2009: As I Saw it

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For those who use to watch Bullwinkle and Rocky let me add an extra part to this title, As I Saw It or Dave Swallows Some Humble Pie. See now all of a sudden you are interested in this blog, shame on you. So this was my first cPanel Conference and I was pleasantly surprised.

You can tell a lot about a conference from the atmosphere found within the first hours. Will it be a power play? Will it be overly commercial? Will it be casual? Will it be unorganized? Will the sponsors work hard to support the attendees or will they act like its the attendees privilege to attend? Essentially from the moment you step within the boundaries of a convention the wee hourglass starts, ticking away with in your mind and it braces you for what mindset you need to be in.

Unfortunately, overly formal events and those that have plenty of marketing end up making people closed off. And that leads to less opportunities for networking, or asking questions during sessions, or to having less openness period on the exhibit floor. Conversely, if the atmosphere is overly casual it could lead to attendees not taking it seriously, which inevitably leads to them leaving and having a mini-vacation. Lastly, those who put on the conference need to have an eye for detail. We, as attendees, might not understand the lack of certain things or we might not be able to say what is wrong with something but we can always tell when a conference lacks polish. Its like listening to music that is missing a good bass line; you might not be able to identify it as missing the bass line, but you will definitely notice something is missing.

Now after this extremely long intro lets talk about cPanel’s conference. I arrived early and was able to watch cPanel set up and it was very telling. Everybody was looking for perfection. It wasn’t just one person wanting others to work at the highest of quality everyone desired to work at the highest level they could. Employees were asking questions and many of the spouses signed up to help out in any capacity they could. But the atmosphere was not rushed our stressful; there was still a good supply of humor. The conference wasn’t seen as a chore, but an opportunity.

The networking events were fun. I enjoyed myself immensely and that feeling didn’t stop throughout the entirety of the conference. Another thing I found interesting was I learned something, a lot of somethings really. I am not one to brag, but most conferences I attend rehash material I learned months sometimes years prior. At this conference though I spent more time taking notes on the subject matter than I did on writing up articles. I had less time to observe my fellow attendees and that is also telling.

Ok, now for the second title of this article. I dislike control panels. I have used almost everyone and I found them to be unwieldy and archaic. Often times they carry for more things than I need or care for. For the most part, if I have a problem I go into Apache or IIS and solve them myself the “manual” way. Now this is not to say that I don’t see a point to control panels, quite the contrary I believe the software can help those who manage a great deal of accounts, but for someone like myself who only has about 20 or so to worry about, manual works.

After the sessions, and a good portion of my mead notebook being filled, I have been wanting to get cracking at my cPanel box and unleash a wee bit of my newly acquired know how (or lack thereof).

Categories : Conferences
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cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial is an excellent book for anyone that wants to learn how to get every ounce of productivity, usefulness and power out of the popular, Unix Web Hosting based control panel. Beginning with the basics, Aric Pederson explains each cPanel function clearly and in good detail by combining easy to understand explanations with plenty of screen shots and illustrations. Read More→

Categories : Uncategorized
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