Splunk Upgrade! Ken moves to Splunk Global Security

Well, it’s been a busy couple of years since I started contracting at Splunk!

When I came in the door, I started as a contractor and worked on a few different contracts for my first six months, first for Security Operations, then for SplunkZero, then for IT Operations. They loved me and loved the versatility I provided between different departments and projects.

Karma has been such an enabler of all this success! There is ZERO chance I could have pulled this off without her massive, continued and amazing support. It’s every day, all the time, and makes all the difference in the world. It allows me to put the vast majority of my focus into the work, allowing me to really exceed expectations.

When they offered me a full-time role in the fall of 2016, they attached me to the IT Project Management office under the CIO reporting to the PMO Director. This allowed me to serve the Security Operations department, IT Operations, SplunkZero, IT Project Management department and finally Business Applications. I was the first technical writer at Splunk that was not directly attached to the documentation department and I was doing very well in my new role.

About 6 months later, Security Operations got a new CISO, a SUPERSTAR by the name of Joel Fulton who ultimately split off the security functions from the CIO to his own silo. My IT PMO manager at that time, Brian Spanswick took a new role under Joel as his Director of Strategic Initiatives. I was very sad to see that work move away from my IT PMO department as it was the most interesting work I had performed to date. My new director was a wonderful woman and I enjoyed working for her a lot, but I really missed the security work.

I kept performing well and bringing good value to my role (all performance evaluations at 100%) and watched the career openings to see if any opportunities in that department might be a good fit for me.

In the meantime, I started a couple of social clubs, the first being the Splunk Paper Aircraft Association and the second being the Splunk Science Society. This raised my visibility tremendously and I got sent kudos privately by our CEO and my efforts were mentioned in the company all-hands meetings as sterling examples of great Splunk Culture. I ultimately was recognized with the David Roger Carasso Award for my efforts.

Flash forward to this spring and a perfect role opened up in Splunk Global Security (SGS), the new name for what was Security Operations. In fact, the role was directly modeled on my position in the IT Project Management Office! Instead of dedicating the role to an individual manager in Splunk Global Security, they anchored the role to the Strategic Initiatives office under my old Director, Brian! That means this role can serve all the different departments under SGS.

I applied almost the second the role became available and I was scheduled for interviews with three of the new managers that this role would be serving. They liked what I brought to the table and I had a fourth surprise 1 on 1 interview with the CISO Joel directly! Talk about pressure! Fortunately, Joel is an amazing leader, was able to put me at ease immediately, and cut to the heart of who I was as a person and what I would be bringing to this role with great questions, follow-up and just casual conversation about his goals for the organization. At the end of the interview, he told me that there was no need to leave me hanging and that they would offer me the role.

So I got the position! This ends up technically being a lateral move as I maintain the same title of “Sr. Technical Writer” but in actuality, the scope, the importance, and the visibility of this role is far more elevated. There is a ton of great work being accomplished in this org right now and my new role is central to everything that is happening. I’m working on presentations that are going to our executives, I’m driving communication plans for the entire company, I’m building out our security library, and I’m creating a face for SGS within Splunk so that the entire company will be able to see what we are accomplishing. This means crafting the organization’s internal website, creating a newsletter, and managing all communications out of the org.

It’s a big step up with a lot more responsibility and it even has some upward mobility as I continue to do well. One month in, I am being excitingly challenged, I have lots of really happy customers in my organization and I am building a bright and shining future both in my role and in my life with Karma. Honestly, I don’t know how I could be doing any better than this in a corporate environment. This is the best.

If you know of anyone looking for a great role in cybersecurity, Splunk is always looking for exceptional talent. Here is a current listing of the opportunities in my organization:

http://kenandkarma.com/SGSCareers

Happy Days indeed!

-Ken@Splunk

Old Haunts and New Discoveries

Both of us fondly remember eager anticipation of trips into the city to have fun at Pier 39 as kids. Honestly, the San Francisco waterfront has always had a very special allure for both the young and old alike. Who can forget the cheezy wax museum, Ripley’s Believe it or What?, the amazing seafood restaurants with the daily catch and the world famous sourdough bakeries? Lots of street performers busking for the tourists. So much to do and see.

Our first Friday evening in the city, we decided to play tourist and stroll down memory lane on the SF waterfront. Past the tourist traps, past the fresh crab steaming in the pots, past the ever-multiplying sourdough bread bakeries and down to the old pier.

There was a lovely little relaxation store that sold water massages in a machine and fancy aromatherapy with oxygen boosting. We had been doing a lot of running around so it seemed like a great idea and it was absolutely super fun!

Everything was much as we remembered it but Pier 39 seemed backwards. Ken remembers the carousel being indoors on the land side of the pier along with the arcade. Now it’s been relocated outside over the water at the end of the pier and the arcade is down with it. The huge magic shop was also relocated into a much smaller storefront. I guess magic tricks just aren’t selling like they used to.

We did run into an old friend though. Does anyone remember Zoltar?!?

Rhythm of a Splunker

Where week one was about landing and getting our feet, week two was all about getting into the rhythm of this incredible city and our new lives here.

By week two, Ken was starting to get productive in his new role at Splunk. He did quite a bit of FedRAMP training online in between other tasks in order to learn the documentation formatting and content requirements that this incredibly detailed framework requires. It’s fascinating work and his boss and the team he’s working with are super supportive and positive.

Splunk headquarters is just unreal. This was pretty much Ken’s first day:

http://tinyurl.com/kensfirstday

splunk signThe offices are really beautiful. They took a historic building, kept the brickwork and renovated the interior dramatically. They are finishing another huge renovation and are expanding next door in a couple of weeks to more than double their available space. The buildings have a very modern aesthetic and decor with good lighting. The layout wraps around an interior courtyard with outdoor seating and a basketball hoop.

The sheer amount of catering that shows up to this company on a daily basis is inspiring. They really care about staff and keeping everyone well fed. All the catered food is gourmet and all varieties are featured, usually at once. Indian, vegan, Mediterranean, Mexican, Thai and various kinds of yummy street food all make regular appearances.

splunk food

Each floor has it’s own lunch room. Each lunch room is stocked with all kinds of cold cuts and breads for sandwich making, tons of different hot and cold beverages, a huge snack wall of dispensers with all kinds of healthy and delicious snacks such as almonds roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary, or dark chocolate covered pretzels, beef or turkey jerky, chips, and much more. Conspicuously absent are the candy bars, cookies, and M&M type snacks. We really appreciate their efforts to provide healthy foods.

Here’s just one day’s selection of options:

Ground Floor Kitchen – Salad / Sandwich Bar
As stated on placards
2nd Floor SOUTH Kitchen – City  Smoke House

Entrée

  • Pulled Pork Bowl – GDNES
    Whole pork shoulder smoked for 14 hours with apple wood
  • Pulled Chicken Bowl – GDNES
    Hand pulled rotisserie chicken seasoned with roasted garlic and house seasoning
  • Grilled Portobello Bowl – GDNEV
    Grilled portobello mushroom with City Smoke House special seasoning

Salad

  • Mixed Green Salad – GDNEV
    Blend of Romaine, Red Leaf, Mache, Frisee, Radicchio and Mizuna

Side

  • Cole Slaw – GNSV
    Crisp cabbage and carrots with homemade creamy dressing
  • Potato Salad – GDNESV
    Potatoes, celery, onions, and carrots tossed in a creamy dressing and garnished with chopped parsley
  • Mac and Cheese – NSV
    Three cheese blend of cheddar, sharp cheddar and monterey jack topped with toasted panko bread crumbs

Sauce

  • Bbq Sauce – GDNESV
    Homemade slightly sweet and tangy BBQ sauce
 
3rd Floor NORTH Kitchen  – Edoko Japanese Resturant 

Entrée

  • Chicken Teriyaki – DNE

    Grilled chicken breast with lite teriyaki sauce served with steamed seasonal vegetables and brown rice

  • All American – DNX

    Alaskan, Hawaiian, California roll

  • Special Roll Platter – DNX

    Dragon roll, dynamite roll, Lion King roll

  • Sunshine Platter – DNX

    Spicy tuna roll, California roll

  • Golden Gate Platter – GNE

    Salmon/cream cheese, salmon/avocado, salmon/cucumber

  • Nasu Dengaki – GDNEV
    Miso glazed eggplant
  • Sakura Platter – DNV

    Seaweed salad, veg. temp roll, cucumber roll, avocado roll, mushroom roll

  • Bonsai Platter – GDNEV
    Cucumber roll, avocado roll, kobocha, edamame roll, bonsai roll> lettuce, cucumber, avocado and daikon sprouts
V – Vegetarian | Ve – Vegan | G – Gluten Safe | D – Dairy Safe | N – Nut Safe | E – Egg Safe | S – Soy Safe | X – Shellfish

splunk beerDid we mention that every break room has kegs of adult beverages on tap? From top-shelf microbrews to assorted ciders to gourmet kombuchas to non-alcoholic and even non-gluten options, Splunk has something to offer for all tastes.

splunk pinballThey also have some vintage arcade games (perfectly restored and fully functional), a shuffleboard table, a pair of electric go-karts, a couple of vintage pinball machines with unusual dynamic features that make them special and extra fun to play (all free of course). Ken doesn’t eat all the foods or play all the games but he sure does appreciate having the options that this company offers. They sure are good to their people.

At the end of week two, having settled into the cottage in Pacific Heights, we were looking forward to our first real chance to get out and exploring the city over the weekend.

 

San Francisco | week one

Getting Our Footing in the City

Week one in the city started with a short-notice green-light, directing Ken and Karma to head to San Francisco for Ken to start work at Splunk in the SOMA neighborhood as a Compliance Consultant doing some highly detailed technical writing.

We landed in San Rafael at first, at Karma’s cousin’s house. We’ve been trying to avoid hotels, as there is no effective way for the cat to go outdoors. This is a lovely house up on a hillside with a green belt immediately behind it. Latte has been having fun exploring though she is less fond of the male Siamese cat that already lives here named Taco. He’s a real sweetheart of a lug, but he’s large and intensely curious about Latte, and she isn’t at all interested in making new feline or canine friends. There’s been a lot of intense staring contests from across the living room. All in all though, Latte has been doing great!

We examined our commute options and discovered a jet powered catamaran ferry that docks nearby in Larkspur and goes into the heart of the city. The first week of commuting was glorious. Coming across the water in the sunshine, into the city was a perfect introduction. Ken then has a little walk along the waterfront, under the Bay Bridge, and he’s at work.

under the bay bridge

first week walking commute under the bay bridge

 

While Ken was hard at work, learning about the FedRAMP framework, Karma was busy scouting the city for housing opportunities, banking options and so forth. Since Ken only has a two month contract, we couldn’t take the risk of signing a longer lease at this early juncture. Karma decided the best thing to do would be to place a Craigslist ad herself, describing us and stating we are looking to sublet for a couple of months.

Literally within five minutes of posting our ad, Karma gets a call from a woman named Summer who had the absolutely perfect little cottage with a secluded little oasis back yard in the heart of the city in Pacific Heights. They talked and set a time for us all to meet and see the space later that evening.

oasis 1

Summer’s little oasis in the heart of the city

 

chalkboardNear the corner of California and Fillmore, this cottage turned out to be a little slice of paradise. With high walls covered in night-blooming jasmine, and a little grassy area with mixed shade and sun, it’ll be ideal for Latte. She will be able to climb, to hunt, to play and to sleep, all outside, all protected in her own yard.

We told Summer that we thought the space was amazing and we’d love to stay there. She thought we were super cool and thought we would be excellent tenants to stay in her place while she does some traveling.

A win-win for everyone.

After Summer wrote up the contract for the sublet, we decided to meet to exchange signatures, cash and keys at a little neighborhood hangout around the corner called Palmer’s Tavern. The decor was brassy and traditional, the cocktails were average, the appetizers were amazing and the company was really fantastic.

Summer brought her boyfriend as well as the next-door, upstairs neighbors to meet us. They were all really interesting people with colorful lives. One was a tech guy who is running a company he founded that uses computer vision to count people, cars, or other objects for companies, cities, government, helping better plan traffic response systems and so forth. His girlfriend is an MMA fighter from Chile who has fought all over the world. Really interesting, as I said. Summer’s boyfriend is a trainer for Adobe but has worked for years doing sales engineering (the role I have been targeting). He’s a super cool character and extremely well-connected. He brought us a rare, intact sand dollar that he found, cleaned-up and bleached from Ocean Beach earlier in the day as a gift. So thoughtful!

We had great table conversation while we all enjoyed our food and beverages.

After dinner Summer asked us back to the cottage to confirm that all the new keys worked and to show us a couple last things before we move in on Monday. While we were there, Alex invited a few other tech friends and financial professionals over and we ended up at an impromptu party.

A perfect ending to a perfect week. We’re so excited to be moving into the city proper and be able to hub from our oasis out into the neighborhoods as we explore, rediscover and enjoy our new home.

 

Our San Francisco Dream is Realized!

Ken and Karma have been working toward moving to San Francisco for a couple of years now. We moved to Yreka at the end of 2014 in order to be closer to the city (driving distance) for job interviews. It’s been a challenging transition period. Ken had not marketed himself in the bay area before, and it took the entirety of 2015 to figure it out, which positions to target, and where to look for jobs.

san francisco

By the end of the year though, Karma had worked Ken’s resume into a stunning infographic presentation style. This gave Ken’s submissions visual punch and helped him stand out from the crowd. Ken also started targeting “Sales Engineering” positions as they are a difficult niche to fill and are a perfect match for his background. This targeting started bearing immediate results. He also submitted his information to some engineering boards and have had recruiters contacting him as well.

At the start of 2016, we moved to Redding to do some work on a resort property there for three months. While we were there, Ken continued to do interview after interview, all of them very positive. Now we are finally seeing the results of all our efforts.

Ken just landed a lucrative contract-to-hire Compliance Consultant position at Splunk in San Francisco! We just got word that he starts tomorrow. It pays enough to live in the city and the company is looking for lots of good talent, long term.

splk

Splunk is a San Francisco-based machine data analytics company (of about a thousand employees world-wide) that is growing rapidly. They’ve got a couple of buildings in the South of Market neighborhood two blocks from the embarcadero at the base of the Bay Bridge.

Ken will be working on some really esoteric technical writing pertaining to ISO certifications, governmental certifications, HIPAA HITECH, PCI Compliance, and so forth. This is just his first project though. Once he proves myself, he believes there will be lots of opportunities within the company moving forward.

splunk 1

So we’ve loaded up the car with our stuff and the cat and we’re on our way to San Francisco for Ken’s start tomorrow morning. We’re beside ourselves with excitement and anticipation. Thanks so much for all of your support!

More to follow….