They say, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”, whomever they are.

I’ve read my fair share of blog posts and articles about this quote. My own interpretation is:

Don’t become complacent, just don’t. Nope, stop that…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s how dangerous complacency can be. I’ve seen many people make mistakes (and fail), not when they’re taking risks and pushing the boundaries by trying something new, but when they sit back and relax.

I’ve seen talent wasted due to a lack of application or insight – “Technology X has always worked for me, why change the way I architect/design/develop.” Conversely, I’ve seen people succeed across many fields by taking risks and moving out of their comfort zone.

These are the types of people HSD endeavour to hire and, I’m not ashamed to say, we’ve been good at it.

As HSD’s General Manager of Technical Services, I embrace the fact that I’m often not the smartest person in the room.

A few years ago an existing client approached HSD with a problem in the Lawful Interception (LI) domain. The customer was wrestling with the problem of how to filter network traffic to deal with the ever-increasing volumes of subscriber traffic. (Think BitTorrent and video-on-demand services.)

We started by running an evaluation of a selection of network appliances which implemented Layer-7 DPI (Deep Packet Inspection). The conclusion of the evaluation was that none of products tested were able to solve the customer’s problem.

This decision spawned BitBouncer. BitBouncer is an AVC (Application Visibility and Control) network appliance developed by the IPF team at HSD. Over time, it has evolved into a versatile AVC network appliance.

I am extremely proud of the way the team rose above the technical issues to build a product that solved the customer’s problem. This is a testament to the quality of people at HSD.

Recently, Paolo Frigo, one of HSD’s talented System Administrators, who maintains his own blog, wrote:

“Programming it’s like any other technical ability that requires a lot of practice. You’ll need a very balanced mind set to master it like a martial art, where the best approach is keeping your enthusiasm and discipline at the same level and learn it day by day with a very simple and easy approach.”

This quote outlines my philosophy for HSD: Be enthusiastic, practise your skills, learn new skills, and don’t be afraid to be wrong.

With this in mind, I’m proud to launch the HSD Technical Blog, where you’ll get to hear from HSD’s people across a wide range of topics.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they’re the “smartest people in the room”.