Netli 2nd interview

I haven’t blogged about the second interview with Netli. I should do so before I lose short-term memory of it, but I’ll be terse compared to the first round.

There is only one person they would still like me to meet, and that is the CEO, out last Tuesday with a fever of 104F. I am not sure if they will still have me meet him but I told them my availability and the HR lady (closest thing to a recruiter I’ve seen) said she might contact me for another meeting. I was given information on their benefits but not given an actual offer. I believe the hiring manager was out last week so hopefully I will hear something from them this week.

Met with Clark.
Was asked about UDP, got good responses to my answers.
Asked about RRD, I mentioned both RRD home-brew and Munin. Good response.
Asked about distros, I mentioned Redhat, old-school Slackware, mentioned some familiarity with Debian. Good response if I recall right.
Bind setups? Mentioned AV home-grown, SGI split-brained monstrousity, old-school hand edit and Maintain. Good response.
IRIX/Linux key differences? Operationally, IRIX seems antiquated in terms of start/stop scripts and package management, but has the advantage of REAL control via serial lines (NMI, powercycle, etc) and ability to query the hardware to the nth degree.
I asked Clark about Netli’s plans to go public and what that might mean for SOX. (His answer elided because it may be covered by NDA)
Asked about whether there is a strong SQA presence. (Answer elided here)
Asked about what it is like to work with Engineering. (Answer elided)

Spoke with Boris.
I was asked about monitoring. Don’t remember the question exactly, but notes say we spoke about Nagios and a bit about mysql (may have been another question).
I wrote “DRM” in my notes but I have no idea what that conversation was about.
Asked about kickstart and netinstall, and how do you make postinstall scripts work. After you chroot to where your installed system is, everything should mostly just work, but it’s a bear to debug :) I said that you don’t necessarily need postinstall to configure IP networking, you could just feed it as part of the kickstart file or command line and the new system would have it configured.
Oncall? I am willing to be on-call.
There was a question here that I forgot to write down.
Apache, how do you configure it? I nattered about my various experiences with Apache on Redhat, how the configs and document roots have moved around, and configs have merged over time.
Creating my own RPMS? Other than downloading a SRPM and doing rpmbuild, and minor edits to the spec file, not much.
VMWare? I have used VMware on Linux as my main Windows machine for a long time.
Received generally favorable responses to everything Boris asked me.

Spoke with Clay.
Clay gushed about my resume and how he likes the layout and “punch” of it for several minutes. We also talked about SGI, whether they are still actually here, and what their business now is.
Clay asked me to compare Picard’s management style to Kirk’s. I said that Picard seemed to be able to delegate more freely and wasn’t as micro-managing as perhaps Kirk was, but that perhaps the “military” framework of command was different from how I normally understand management.
My own management style? Very much a working manager and that I rely on hands-on techniques when managing others.
Brief discussion of Netli’s business direction (elided here due to nda.)
Discussion of “archaeology” in sysadmin, decoding old scripts.
Wandered back to manager vs. individual contributor and management style. Said that I didn’t necessarily need a “manager” title to exert leadership and that I didn’t have a strong preference for one or the other — really it’s a spectrum where there’s a thin line between supervising others and “merely” training, mentoring, project managing, recommending good policy. I would expect anyone calling himself “Senior” to have some leadership *and* management ability.
What server do I have at home? Talked a bit about postfix, spam, and SPF.

Talked to Lu.
Example of dealing with someone who is abrasive? Example of conflict resolution? Gave “SGI Network Architect” as answer to both. Discussion of how conflicts were resolved and whether that worked well.
Discussed spam/abuse and what would happen if a customer started getting complaints about their outgoing email? I said that regardless of the particular business model, the subject would probably come up eventually and management would need to decide whether to take a loss on a certain customer or continue to take their money. Most honest customers aren’t nasty spammers but some might need coaching on what practices are problematic. If a customer proves clue-resistant, I would counsel cutting them off, because sooner or later they will get blacklisted, and even if we don’t carry their email, their webserver IP might be blacklisted too. That would in turn cause problems for other innocent customers who have their URL in their messages and their IP address is the same or close to the spamvertised one.
Documentation? Any docs are good docs, so I take what I can get. Estimate it’s best to spend around 5% of time on docs, though that’s a wild guess. I had actually brought a sample document with me (Ops guide to Barracuda) so I showed this to Lu as an example. My preference is to write docs that can be picked up and used by someone “off the street”, as in familiar with our trade and common tools but not familiar with in-house tools or specific design. Don’t make it too terse so as to leave them guessing, but don’t cover basics, except to provide pointers to other manuals or sites.
Example of troubleshooting a tricky problem? I gave the example of slow data transfers cross-country despite a fat pipe, traced back to a too-small tcp retransmit buffer.
I asked Lu what the QA story is. (Answer elided but I’ll note I feel good about the answer)

Talked to Monica
Monica gave me an overview of the company and its 5-year history. (elided here)
I was asked if I’m willing to consider management in the future; I am, and I would probably welcome it, but it’s not mandatory for me, I can be happy without it. Monica shared some details of the future expectations for the department (elided).
She gave me a rundown of the benefits available and deductions for each. Looks like they offer the same thing I’m getting now, mostly.
Need to meet with the CEO, but he’s out. I offered some times I would be available to return. She was not sure if I would need to come again to speak with him but that she would contact me soon.

0 thoughts on “Netli 2nd interview

  1. gregbo

    Akamai is buying Netli, so I hear.

    Clay asked me to compare Picard’s management style to Kirk’s. I said that Picard seemed to be able to delegate more freely and wasn’t as micro-managing as perhaps Kirk was, but that perhaps the “military” framework of command was different from how I normally understand management.


    I wonder what made him ask you that. I hope no one ever asks me anything like that because I haven’t given it any thought. In fact, I haven’t watched as many TNG episodes as I have TOS episodes (nor do I have time to).

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