Three years ago, Navid Khodayari, President of Idelji Corp., and Kristi Elizondo, CEO of Connect Worldwide, started an ongoing conversation. Throughout their travels, to various TUGs around the world, they continued to craft ways that promote and invest in the next generation of NonStop practitioners. In 2016, an informal breakout session was held at NonStop Technical Boot Camp in San Jose. Navid remembers that he had no agenda for the meeting other than to get people together and see what everyone wanted to talk about, “everyone started talking and, just like that, NSU40 was born.” He became the first president, and establishing the first Board of Directors came next, including representation from customers, partners, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Education and marketing were high on the list, and the door opened for an online message board for member engagement.
The NSU40 Mission Statement
The NonStop Under 40 mission is to bring HPE NonStop Server awareness to a new generation of professionals by fostering professional development through relationship building, education, and information sharing from the NonStop Community.
Fast forward a couple of years when Navid joined the Connect Worldwide Board of Directors. He opted to pass the presidency along to another NSU40 member. An election was held, and Daniel Craig, Managing Director – TCM, is now president. In Daniel’s tenure, NSU40 has fostered many social relationships among the new breed of NonStop talent through events like the annual NSU40 Pub Crawl, and new to NonStop TBC this year, the NSU40 Hackathon. Members create their own committees to organize events, and many new bonds have been created. Navid adds that “We continue to meet at the NonStop TBC and ETBC, allowing members to share experiences within the NonStop world and brainstorm on what the group will do next!”
Daniel Craig, President of NSU40, tells us more.
Connect: Beyond the annual Pub Crawl, what business values have you seen from the formation of NSU40?
DC: Ah, the Pub Crawl. I think my legacy as NSU40 President will be that I took a group of hard-working, young NonStop professionals – professionals who in the years previous had built websites, promotional videos, and support forums for their fellow members – and turned it into nothing more than a drinking group! Ha-ha. I really hope not.
The Pub Crawl was never an end in itself; we came up with the idea as a means of broadening and strengthening connections within the group. We realized that a more casual, relaxed event may make it easier for NSU40 members to get to know each other a little better. We took inspiration for this from the wider NonStop group. It’s part of the NonStop/Tandem folklore that there was always an emphasis on friendship and camaraderie outside of the office, and it’s still very apparent today. We wanted to build a similar eco-system between the younger or emerging generation of NonStoppers. The actual age of our members doesn’t really concern me; I think the key thing is where they are on their NonStop journey. The value of the group has to come from what it can offer someone who is still at the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and successful career in NonStop. NonStop can feel a bit alien to someone coming into it from another industry or platform. The NSU40 group aims to help get over this initial disorientation, and one of the simplest, yet effective ways to achieve this is by linking together a host of people all going through much the same thing. It certainly helps to hear from colleagues that they share the same confusion or frustration at times, it normalizes things and creates something of a safe space to air everything, but also, and more importantly, create a space to work together and find ways to combat the negatives and improve things.
Once you move people past the slight shock that comes with NonStop’s steep learning curve, you can loosen them up to think a little more freely and bring new ideas to the table. The NSU40 group tries to facilitate this, and indeed, the 2019 Hackathon was one such outcome of this free-thinking. The Hackathon was a great project, involving people from all across the NonStop community (both under AND over 40S!) and it perfectly exemplified what the NSU40s is all about. It harnessed the collective curiosity of the group, and it channeled this to understand if we could learn or develop something new. I see great value in being part of a group that is actively looking to ask questions of NonStop and where it might go next.
Connect: Do you have an organic growth strategy outside of the NonStop Technical Boot Camp for NSU40? (i.e., how do you guys communicate)
DC: Admittedly, communication can be difficult. We have evaluated a number of different methods but haven’t yet quite cracked this. Inter-group communication became a topic of discussion at the latest SIG meeting at NonStop TBC. Good communication relies on the commitment and involvement of a number of key people, but also from the group as a whole. It can be a challenge as regular communication is vital, meaning we need to continuously develop content, which is time-consuming, and all of our contributors are doing this in a voluntary capacity. We discussed the idea of a Communications Committee to help develop a strategy and means of communicating effectively. This included ideas around content and interactions that are meaningful and relatively achievable in terms of their derivation. Again, this presents an excellent opportunity to involve wider members of the NSU40 group. I am hopeful that we can build a team from members based around the world, in different roles, industries, with different levels of experience, etc. I am also interested in the opportunity to perhaps interview and showcase various NSU40 members and learn a little more about the individuals that make up the group.
Connect: Can you share the basic demographics of the NSU40 member?
DC: I don’t have much in the way of demographics to share, at least anything of great interest. Most are under 40 years old, and that’s about it. Ha-ha. One thing that I did discover at this year’s event and found interesting was the split between technical and non-technical people within the group. I’m not sure where I expected this split to lie, but it turned out to be almost exactly 50:50. It was interesting because NonStop TBC is obviously a technical conference, yet it shows that the appeal really is broader than just the varied educational events. Many organizations see NonStop TBC as an important business event, sending sales and creative staff to attend. From the NSU40 perspective, this high proportion of non-technical attendees brought greater focus to the perceived barriers to ‘getting’ NonStop, as it can be even harder to understand from a purely conceptual viewpoint. If nothing else, a lack of technical footing can make it difficult to interact with many elements of NonStop TBC, and of particular relevance to the NSU40s, even the Hackathon, which was purely technical in nature. At the SIG meeting, we discussed this, with many mentioning their willingness to take part, but obviously not being able as they didn’t possess the necessary technical knowledge. The suggestion was made that the next Hackathon should introduce an additional business/creative element, meaning participants from various professional backgrounds could take part. The entire group backed this idea, with some of the technical-minded attendees commenting that it benefits them when they have closer ties to their sales or business counterparts as it can help to deepen the knowledge of why a technical solution has been called for, i.e., understanding the business need, not just the technical aim. It’s an exciting idea, and we intend to incorporate a business requirement that must be satisfied by a technical solution to the 2020 Hackathon. It really opens up the event and should push the creativity and inventiveness to a whole new level.
Meet the Board of Directors
Daniel Craig President
“Dan’s introduction to NonStop was through weekends spent in the empty offices of Tandem’s Glasgow premises, where he would accompany his father for a spot of on-call work. His reward was free reign to roam the halls on his scooter, go wild with the whiteboard, the photocopier and the stationery cupboard. Pretty awesome when you’re 4 years old.
NonStop has been ever-present in Dan’s life. He has witnessed first-hand how the NonStop community nurtures and supports fellow NonStoppers, including his father when he left Tandem to start TCM in 1996.
Since formally joining the company back in 2009, Dan has undertaken a variety of roles for TCM. Now as Operations Director he is responsible for developing opportunities and designing solutions to meet the needs of TCM’s customers. Much of this role involves maintaining close ties with the NonStop community, learning about the latest developments and looking for ways to innovate and grow.
With a deep-rooted appreciation for NonStop, Dan is passionate about welcoming in the next generation of NonStoppers and continuing the great traditions the current community is renowned for.”
Vanessa Kaupp HPE Representative
Vanessa started her career within HPE Germany in 2008. During her NonStop journey, she held different positions in EMEA like NonStop Presales Consultant, Category Manager and Program Manager. Today she is responsible for NonStop CEE Sales.
Vanessa is a NonStop member by heart and excited to be part of this outstanding community.
Steve Tcherchian Partner Representative
Steve Tcherchian, CISSP, PCI-ISA, PCIP is the Chief Information Security Officer and SecurityOne Product Manager for XYPRO Technology. Steve is on the ISSA CISO Advisory Board and a member of the ANSI X9 Security Standards Committee. With almost 20 years in the cybersecurity field, Steve is responsible for XYPRO’s new security product line as well as overseeing XYPRO’s risk, compliance, infrastructure and product security to ensure the best security experience to customers in the Mission-Critical computing marketplace.
Jeroen Wallaard Customer Representative
Jeroen is Product Owner for the HP NonStop Platform As A Service (PAAS) within ING. His DevOps squad provides an HP NonStop PAAS towards the Application Owners within ING. His squad manages all facets of the service from second line operations, platform security and compliance, backup and archiving, disaster recovery to engineering new software components and installing and upgrading servers.
As PO, Jeroen has over 15 years of experience on the HP NonStop platform and the ambition to integrate the platform into the modern configuration management tooling (Ansible, Python) and Continuous Delivery environments (Jenkins).
Navid Khodayari Connect Representative
Navid began his journey in NonStop in a small Los Angeles garage while still a college student. Since then, he has witnessed many changes in the NonStop world.
As Director of Business Development for Idelji, Navid travels the world for all things NonStop and is excited about the integration of new technologies on the platform.
The website (www.NSU40.com) includes a Knowledgebase where the group is currently working to make educational videos and host online classes, as well as a forum for people to discuss all things NonStop. It is a work in progress, so we welcome your involvement and feedback, as well as your help to spread the word. Please register at https://www.nsu40.com/forum/ to start participating today!