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A Challenge in Review

Level 18

With the new year upon us, I wanted to take one more post to thank everyone for their generosity and support of the December Writing Challenge. Over the course of 30 days, this event has gathered more than 17,000 views and over 1,500 comments (a number that continues to climb), and has provided our THWACK users with a unique channel to share personal stories and create connections and a sense of community that is all but unique among IT forums of its kind.

As a final look, I wanted to share the way in which your comments and essays have affected the SolarWinds team.

Diego Fildes Torrijos (Product Marketing Specialist) wrote:

I found that Peter Monaghan’s comment on my article on “Change” very insightful. He said the following:

I've been in IT for 20+ years now. That's a pretty long time now. Every year along the way I have read an article stating that, "...IT is Changing Now More So Than Ever..." It's cliché! The technology has always been adaptive so I figured I should be as well. I stopped trying t be an expert in anything and learned to know technology just enough to be adept. That allowed me to keep up with all the moving, and changing, parts. Change is constant. Something else I learned. Take everything on your résumé that refers to anything prior to 2000 and delete it. Nobody cares.

I felt that this comment really nailed the current state of IT: ever-evolving change. It really made me think about how everything I’ve learned in IT these years (I previously worked for a CMS company) is temporary, because in 10 years it may be obsolete! Wow… so that means that my adaptation to these constant changes is critical for me to be knowledgeable of RELEVANT technology, literally. And even though in my post I suggest something similar, Peter’s post really reinforced this message and made me think about where I will be in IT if I’m lucky enough to be around for +20 years.

Rene Lego (Corporate Marketing Director) said:

What stuck out for me is how many people actually looked up and posted the definitions of words.

Václav Janištin (Product Marketing Specialist) commented that a few things which touched me in some way. I wanted to understand everything not only from IT pros perspective, but from the point of human being

  • “You have to be willing to abandon your preconceived notions and start over - again and again if necessary. You have to accept that the solution which worked for another person in another place may not be your solution.” (SEARCH)
  • “I feel like we don’t live and die by the choices we make, you live or die by choosing to stick with your choices.” (CHOOSE)
  • “Forgive, this word has helped me grow as a person and I just wish that I would’ve figured this out at a younger age” (FORGIVE)
  • Forgive yourself all faults and all other hurts that someone did to you, because everything in live is a choice and you could choose which path lead you to wherever you want to be, but remember – stick with the previous choices doesn’t meant the right thing everytime.

Ondrej Skacel (Product Marketing Specialist) submitted a collection of quotes that caught his imagination:

The tools are out there. The question is “Is the desire and ability to learn inside of us?”


Learning is even more expedient in IT security because the dynamics change all the time. You wonder why a lot of people like, love or dream of Thwack monthly challenges, because it is such a great opportunity to constantly learn. Thwacking = Learning!


The ability to "accept" results that are not perfect in the Security realm is hard to do at times but vital. This is especially true when one is new to an organization and sees current holes in security.  One must make progress to fix the holes that exist but be wary not to try to do it all at once.  One must make a multi-phase approach where there is a clear roadmap to a final solution.  While on the path, it is ok to "accept" certain risks as long as the exposure is not vital to the company.  This was a hard lesson that took some time to realize.

- dcalkins0924

“But we should believe - meaning to take as an article of faith that requires no proof, and which cannot be dis-proven by a single less-than stellar outcome - that we are capable of extraordinary things when we are willing to work for it.”

  - adatole


(Leon here) Once again, thank you to everyone who came, who read, who commented, and who shared.


I enjoyed the results of the word a day challenge, and found a ton of interesting things to read therein. Nice work adatole​ !

Level 14

Gave me the motivation to knock the rust off m inner poet. 

Level 11

adatole​ you made yourself a star again.

Rock it mate... keep it up..

I'm quite annoyed with myself that I missed this challenge. I will enjoy going back and reading what was said, as it looks like this was one for the books!


Thank you adatole​ for a wonderful series that allowed many to express themselves in a manner that is not the usual banter.

Hey adatole​ you should try to get your weekly summaries and the purpose for this months discussions published in a Tech magazine. 

adatole​ this was an excellent mission not just from the inspiration to write aspect but also the fact it allowed us to see a side of the many contributors to this community in a new light.

Level 11

adatole​ i thought its only me and couple of ladies (from another blog) are your fans but looks like many many MVP's are your fans.

Way to go mate..

If you are in an election for Solarwinds (for some post LoL) i am sure you will get more vote

I appreciate the write-up and the input from those "outside the loop." It helps put all that we wrote into perspective. We are all more than just our IT acumen and experience. These entries goes to show that. And after reading much of what was entered each day I hesitate to suggest this... but we may have to drop the "Geek" label and go with something with a deeper meaning. Like "Warrior Poets" or something...  🙂

Lovin' it.


you realize that you have set the bar pretty high for the next time now

That isn't a bad thing though.

Level 20

Basically jack of all trades and master of none is part of what makes one good at IT.  Kinda like studying for the CISSP exam it's miles wide and a foot deep.

Level 11

adatole has a bunch of fans in the building as well!


I too missed this challenge. Some great stuff was written. What Peter Monaghan has said rings so true. I've been working in IT since 1989. I didn't know a single thing about computers at the time but since then I've learned a lot. Whilst some simple concepts have remained, everything keeps evolving. I've got certifications that were impressive at the time (CNE anyone?) but mean nothing now. I'll keep growing with the flow.

Level 21

I find it both interesting and awesome that the so many other people in different roles within the SolarWinds organization were following this.  I love how connected to the community SolarWinds continues to be.

Just curious... when are the points being awarded? I am looking to jump up a level... 😉

I believed the points for this were all awarded by January 7 or earlier.  I participated daily, and saw them increment accordingly.  If you didn't receive points, and your entries were submitted within the deadline, check with adatole​ and ask for assistance to see what didn't work as you expected.

I didn't receive any and I was even mentioned a few times on the weekly wrap-ups.  Not sure i have been waiting to level up as well.   I would be that much closer to Corn Hole by my birthday....  which is only a few weeks away.   Need my points. 

DanielleH​, how about Jeremy's points?

Level 11

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to assure you all that we have not forgotten about awarding points for participating in this challenge. It is a very manual process so unfortunately it is quite time consuming. However, the goal is to have them all awarded by the end of this week. We apologize for the delay and thank you all for your patience!

Many thanks, Lindsey!

Level 13

it's nice to see a different side to techies...

About the Author
In my sordid career, I have been an actor, bug exterminator and wild-animal remover (nothing crazy like pumas or wildebeasts. Just skunks and raccoons.), electrician, carpenter, stage-combat instructor, American Sign Language interpreter, and Sunday school teacher. Oh, and I work with computers. Since 1989 (when you got a free copy of Windows 286 on twelve 5¼” floppies when you bought a copy of Excel 1.0) I have worked as a classroom instructor, courseware designer, desktop support tech, server support engineer, and software distribution expert. Then about 14 years ago I got involved with systems monitoring. I've worked with a wide range of tools: Tivoli, Nagios, Patrol, ZenOss, OpenView, SiteScope, and of course SolarWinds. I've designed solutions for companies that were extremely modest (~10 systems) to those that were mind-bogglingly large (250,000 systems in 5,000 locations). During that time, I've had to chance to learn about monitoring all types of systems – routers, switches, load-balancers, and SAN fabric as well as windows, linux, and unix servers running on physical and virtual platforms.