common time-management mistake: rack & stack

Jeff Wheeler jsw at
Fri Feb 17 07:29:36 UTC 2012

Randy's P-Touch thread brings up an issue I think is worth some
discussion.  I have noticed that a lot of very well-paid, sometimes
well-qualified, networking folks spend some of their time on "rack &
stack" tasks, which I feel is a very unwise use of time and talent.

Imagine if the CFO of a bank spent a big chunk of his time filling up ATMs.
Flying a sharp router jockey around to far-flung POPs to install gear
is just as foolish.

Not only does the router jockey cost a lot more to employ than a CCNA,
but if your senior-level talent is wasting time in airports and IBXes,
that is time they can't be doing things CCNAs can't.

I was once advising a client on a transit purchasing decision, and a
fairly-large, now-defunct tier-2 ISP was being considered.  We needed
a few questions about their IPv6 plans answered before we were
comfortable.  The CTO of that org was the only guy who was able to
answer these questions.  After waiting four days for him to return our
message, he reached out to us from an airplane phone, telling us that
he had been busy racking new routers in several east-coast cities (his
office was not east-coast) and that's why he hadn't got back to us

As you might imagine, the client quickly realized that they didn't
want to deal with a vendor whose CTO spent his time doing rack & stack
instead of engineering his network or engaging with customers.  If he
had simply said he was on vacation, we would never have known how
poorly the senior people at that ISP managed their time.

With apologies to Randy, let the CCNAs fight with label makers.
Jeff S Wheeler <jsw at>
Sr Network Operator  /  Innovative Network Concepts

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