I had an opportunity to sit down with one of our ATM Insiders, Jonathan Davis, to get the inside scoop on what he does, what he’s looking forward to at the conference and the future of technology. Be sure to follow Jonathan on Twitter at @Subnetwork and check out his “It must be the network…” blog.
PK: When you’re not hanging out at ATM18, what’s your day job?
JD: I’m a senior network engineer for a large municipality. I focus on wireless, but I work across all areas of networking. I have a diverse background, which is a key strength when I get pulled into issues relating to systems, applications and databases.
When I got started in IT, I worked in every aspect other than networking. I took a position with a global manufacturing company, and shortly after I started, they asked me to be the networking person. I was considering getting out of IT. I was burned out, and hadn’t done anything that clicked with me. I figured if networking wasn’t a good fit, I would truly know that IT wasn’t for me.
I went to a couple of classes, and networking grabbed a hold of me. That was about 12 years ago. I can see myself doing networking for the next 20 years.
PK: What motivates you to do what you do?
JD: I love learning new things. I’m an expert in networking, but I also learn about everything else.
Networking is complex. There’s a running mantra that it’s always the network. The network touches all areas and aspects. For someone who doesn’t understand it, the network is a black box.
But I get a 20,000-foot view. I see all the streets and roads and houses, and how they fit together and work. I really enjoy that view.
PK: What is the first thing you’ll do when you get to Vegas for ATM18?
JD: I love the social aspect of conferences. We have a great group of ATM Insiders attending. Once I get settled in my room, I’ll see who’s around and get together with them. I’ll meet new people.
PK: What’s the coolest part about ATM18?
JD: The thing that most excites me most is delving deeper into the Aruba products.
PK: What technology are you wearing right now?
JD: An Apple Watch. I use it to keep track of workouts and it’s great for notifications.
PK: If you weren’t in technology, what would your life be like?
JD: I’d be in the military. I was all set to be a nuclear engineer in the Navy, but I hurt my ankle and it would have been two years to restart the process.
PK: Who do you see as the undisputed guru of technology innovation?
JD: Elon Musk is making people excited about innovation. What we’re going to see is a lot of people dream big because of him. It’s been awhile since we’ve had someone do that.
When I think about tech innovation, I think about all of the teams of scientists working on carbon nanotubes, which is a form of carbon that has a cylindrical nanostructure. It’s quite astounding. Carbon is the third most common element on earth, and it can replace silicon and lithium.
PK: And who would you want to have dinner with?
JD: I’d like to have dinner with a team of scientists who are working on carbon nanotubes.
PK: What will be the most life-changing technology in our lifetime?
JD: Carbon nanotubes. One day, silicon is going to be something in the past. Batteries and processors will be more efficient. Ultimately, we’ll be using an element that is very abundant.
PK: In what market segment will we see the next big disruption?
JD: Energy. It will come out of carbon nanotubes. The US is a little bit behind the curve right now. The energy transition is going to be similar to the digital transformation that took place in the 1990s. It will change our lives.
PK: What is your current favorite meme/GIF?
JD: Gremlin dunk tank.
So often, in our jobs and life in general, you can be put in that situation. You’re between a rock and a hard place, and sometimes you have to laugh about it.