All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For September 2017


Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in September 2017.

Packet Pushers Weekly Podcast

Packet Pushers Priority Queue Podcast

Datanauts Podcast



I closed down the Hot Aisle newsletter after months of struggling to know what to do with it. Originally, the Hot Aisle was a way for me to express my individual voice about networking, design, emerging trends, and the IT industry without necessarily having that opinion attached to Packet Pushers, my company. It was also an unsponsored newsletter, which I felt was a nice thing to be able to offer readers.

Over the ~3 years I operated the Hot Aisle, things have changed. Packet Pushers is my full-time job, as well as a growing business. If not all people, certainly most people that know me in 2017 know me because of my writing on Packet Pushers or hosting podcasts in the Packet Pushers growing stable of technology shows. Therefore, I don’t think it is possible to have an “Ethan Banks” voice that is independent of Packet Pushers when I’m talking about technology. I and the brand I helped create are too entwined. Attempting to make a distinction is pointless.

Another concern about newsletters is that they are where ideas go to die if the newsletter is used for long-form writing. A newsletter that is used for capturing news bits with a short shelf life makes sense. A newsletter used as a writing platform hides that content from search engines and makes that content more difficult to share or reference later. I suppose one can forward a newsletter to friends, but that’s anathema to my inbox philosophy.

For those that received the final newsletter issue, you might remember that I also stated my difficulty finding what the unique value proposition of the Hot Aisle was. Considering just how much I podcast and write, I was struggling to come up with something for the newsletter that I couldn’t have shared somewhere else just as effectively, if not moreso.

That said, I couldn’t have been happier with how the newsletter grew and performed. Many subscribers seemed to actually read the Hot Aisle, which, as we’re learning at Packet Pushers, is hardly a given. The “open rate” for a newsletter is a metric of success. If you Google around, you’ll find that average newsletter open rates across a variety of interest areas is in the low to mid 20% range.

Almost half of the subscribers to the Hot Aisle actually opened the thing over its life in MailChimp, which is an outstanding metric. I’d used a different newsletter service prior to migrating to MailChimp and don’t have those numbers, but I think they were actually better. The higher the subscriber count, the lower the open rate tended to be.

In any case, my thanks if you were a Hot Aisle subscriber that actually read what I wrote. Writing takes time, and writers like it when people read what was written.

Per my promise in the last Hot Aisle, I have deleted all subscriber email addresses from the list database.

Parting Thoughts

  • I made a guest appearance on The Network Collective, Episode 11, a nerdy networking show hosted by smart people experienced as technologists functioning at a high level of competency. Good fun talking with this group of folks I’ve gotten to know over the last few years of traveling around to Tech Field Day events and to conferences. We went after some networking sacred cows, although we ran out of time to get to all the stuff I was hoping we might. A fun discussion, and a show worth your time to follow and subscribe to.
  • This month, I traveled to Network Field Day 16, a Tech Field Day event. I have a major amount of writing debt to catch up on because of this event, but I’ll get it done. That was a west coast and back to east coast run that involved a side trip to Seattle to take care of some personal business.
  • I did the backend work required to launch a new podcast on the Packet Pushers network. We’ve called this one “Briefings in Brief“. The idea is to share a 5 minute version of the many briefings we take from vendors in a tight, no-nonsense audio format. This will help us with what we call briefing debt. We are hard pressed some weeks to cover all of the technology announcements and vendor briefings that we think are interesting, so Briefings In Brief gives us another outlet to share with the community. Eventually, I’ll try to plumb BiB to the Amazon Echo ecosystem, which was the inspiration for this project in the first place.
  • This might seem trivial, but I also documented the process to stand up a new podcast on our network. The process is complex, involving graphics creation, WordPress taxonomy and menus, several podcast directories, RSS feeds, and automation systems. The document is four pages of text, and one page of virtual donuts.
  • I have no more travel scheduled for the rest of 2017, and so I am hunkering down to get a massive volume of work done. So far, so good.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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