Takeaways – USS Carl Vinson


Here are the greatest influences that the USS Carl Vinson, US Navy, and it’s crew had on me.

First off, they are a hugely diverse group of people. Each personal or a group have a very specialized set of tasks and skills.  These men and women are able to perform these tasks with extreme precision and skill.  This performance from each sailor comes from a need being on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier at sea.  Seriously you have a nuclear power plant, next door to 1000 lb pounds, which is on top of many metric tons of JP-5 fuel and add that they float in the most hazardous areas of the world.  I was seriously sheltered, as we were only a hundred miles off the coast of Mexico, on that boat but still with all of those dangers I have never felt more protected.

These sailors and officers run an extremely tight ship with high precision and great agility.

There were many reasons each crew member had for joining and continuing their service with the Navy.  The Navy rewards ships for retention as at the end of the contract any sailor can leave without repercussion. Many of the officers and sailors stressed that they try to create the greatest workplace by both being rewarding, structured, and empowering.  Even though the USS Carl Vinson may not have won the coveted golden anchor it still was a very refreshing workplace to see.  Each sailor had more questions for myself and the group than I could ever ask them.  The crew was there not only for a job but to see and experience the world. The ship was there to not only give those experiences, but change many sailors lives for the better.

Lastly, many of these sailors are kids my age.  For one example was LT Tyler Sargent, one of the helicopter pilots, was identical to my age of 23. Imagine living on a multi-billion dollar ship, flying a multi-million dollar helicopter all before the age of 30. I may not know Tyler personally but his professional life is absolutely extraordinary. Another sailor I met out on the bridge, Coddy Huddleston BMSN, was out on the bridge catwalk monitoring the open ocean for vessels.  He may not fly a helicopter like Tyler but sure has a hell of an awesome job. He was just as friendly and just as curious as every other sailor I met on that carrier. I could barely ask any questions as he kept wondering what my story was which was slightly awkward.  I was there to learn the life of Coddy and Tyler not for them to know what mine is. Yet just by answering theirs and the sailors’ questions I was able to learn a little more about the character of the ship.

This experience actually had me questioning whether skipping the military was the right decision.  Where would I have been if I had decided to join the Coast Guard or Navy. Either way I can now better understand where my ex-military coworkers come from.  They were shaped into highly efficient workers who can better use the freedoms we are graced with in civilian life.

While being dragged away, not really, I realized the huge respect and a sincere gratitude I gained.  These sailors have earned every ounce from each member of USS Carl Vinson embark group.

Christian Rahl

Open Letter to FCC Tom Wheeler for Net Neutrality


On May 15th Chairman Wheeler will be having an open forum for all discussions concerning Net Neutrality.  I felt that a letter to the Chairman, my senators and representative was warranted for the issue. Please have a look and feel free to use any part.

This is a significant issue to us all and will impact the internet from here on out.

The rise of machine knowledge


 “I have always believed that the things we know — that knowledge is an absolute good, that the things we have learned and carry with us in our heads are what make us who we are, as individuals and as a species.”

-Ken Jennings

 This is an important point to remember from this talk. Our daily interactions include cultural intricacies and assumed common knowledge.  Where as our daily work includes a plethora of facts and complicated combinations something that can both benefit from prior knowledge but can easily be expanded at any moment. With that last part machines like Watson and tools like search engines give us the ability to use information that is outside of our normal abilities.  In some ways what the industrial age did for human strength, the knowledge age is expanding allowing us to overcome limitations of our brains.

Christian Rahl

Shortly catapulting my way to USS Carl Vinson


I am so excited for this trip!!!!! 

First I have to thank Dennis Hall for planning this.  The U.S. Navy have been very welcoming and very helpful throughout this process, plus they are only charging $50 for the entire trip!  Lastly without Cisco Systems I doubt I would have ever been selected to embark.

I will be heading out to leave for San Diego on Jan 19th.  I will have some time to explore which is always fun!  Once there I will be meeting 15 other bloggers and professionals to head out to the boat.  The trip is only an overnight on Jan 22nd – 23rd which will be enough time to see everything but not enough to get in the way of the boat’s operations.  I will be posting pictures, summary of activities, and hopefully some video.

There will also be write up about the network on the boat and the network Cisco Tacops uses. If I am really lucky I will get the Cisco Blog to post it!

Jump after the break for a picture of CVN-70 and some stats!

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2013 Regrets, 2014 Ambitions


I hope to make this an annual occurrence.  New Year’s resolutions are very much a good thing, however I think I forget to look at the past. However when we set way to many goals or make them way to general

First my regrets for 2013!  Items that I wish I had improved in but never had the chance or motivation.

  1. Physical health. Do not get me wrong I do go to the gym every week.
  2.  Professional and educational development.  I love to learn and I do it in short spurts, a reading here, an article there but nothing of significant value.
  3. Consistency in life.  I am a very inconsistent person, keeping a routine whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly is very difficult for myself.

Now my ambitions for 2014!

  1. Learning to build and maintain a very specific routine at this point I would like to keep it small.  Monthly budget reviews and expenses. Weekly house inspection which includes cleaning and maintenance. Trying to achieve military grade quality here! (kidding that I could not do yet)
    1. Along with this I will be building out my checklist on evernote to make it easier on remembering what I need to do.
  2. Educational development.  Try to involve myself in some sort of course whether it is at the local community college or online. Sites like https://www.coursera.org/ or http://www.thegreatcourses.com/.  I have already used “The Great Courses” for some financial classes and they have been extremely beneficial. Ideally I would like to have 4 multi-week courses for the year.
  3. Lastly this blog.  1 posting every week at a minimum.   I might do more.  I will also be building up drafts that I will work on over long periods of time. So as I continue to work on this blog the posts will get better and better as I complete longer articles.

Now with putting this down on paper (digitally that is) and in a very public manner I will hopefully remember to continue doing these items listed.

Any tips or tricks would be appreciated and can be left below!

Christian Rahl