What’s the difference between a bike engineer and a network engineer? In this case – there is none. Today we’re talking about changing things, busting ghosts and living on the road with one extraordinary Extreme Hero. Make some noise for Polina Larina from IPS-ID!
Hello Polina, how are you? Hope you stay safe and healthy!
Hi! I’m fine and… head over heels in work. Even on my holidays I couldn’t resist taking a wireless design course – despite a 10 hour time difference, two airports, 14 hours in the air and a massive jetlag to boot. But it was a great adventure, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
What do you do to keep your spirits up during these strange and unprecedented times?
Oh, nothing in particular – I definitely have no free time for negative thoughts. My work, daughter, friends, motorcycles, horses and travelling take up all my time and sometimes I even dream about a 30-hour day just to be able to sleep it all off. But even if I’m going to stare at the four walls, it doesn’t mean that these walls are closing in. I always knew that the restless mind will win.
We asked a fellow Extreme Hero, Vera Lebedeva, about diversity in IT. You’ve been in the industry for over 13 years now. Would you agree that a lot has changed since then? Do you think women have a stronger representation in the networking business nowadays?
The networking business has seen a lot of changes over the years, that’s for sure. Nowadays there’s a lot more people in the industry than 13 years ago. So yes, women do have a stronger representation now. There were a lot of them back then, but they were not always visible.
What was the most challenging project in your career? What project are you most proud of? And what project was simply the most fun to do?
Difficult things are the most interesting ones for me. Like, for example… a ghost hunt in an empty warehouse. I'm not kidding, the customer even wanted to call the priest! Imagine this: all shelves are clean as a whistle, access points are mounted at four meters above the floor, no one’s inside. You are standing directly under the access point, wireless connection is good, ping to the gateway is about 1 ms, everything seems fine. And then you take two steps in any direction and the connection fails.
Looked almost supernatural, right? Eventually, it turned out there were smooth iron sheets in the floor. But I’m always proud when I have a chance to help people facing all kinds of problems and challenges.
How do you celebrate your personal victories? And how do you react to defeat?
To be honest, I don't get hung up on either of these things.
Some victories provide a great excuse to get together with friends at the bar, talk about the project and all the other stuff. And when I suffer a defeat, I try to remember this quote:
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
What is it that you like the most about Extreme? Do you have a product or solution that you particularly like to work with?
I think that the EXOS’s CLI is awesome. 😁
Did you have a chance to join Extreme TechTalks 5.0? Any particular session caught your attention? Excited about any of the product updates?
The ExtremeCloud IQ session was very interesting and I’d definitely like to put my hands on it!
What was your journey to the Extreme Hero program like? Why did you want to join this club?
Extreme has always been relevant for me. I set out on this path a long time ago with the ENA and wired infrastructure. After that, I continued with wireless networks and Motorola, which later became Extreme Wireless. From that point forward, things pretty much fast-forwarded, all this curiosity, excitement and voilà – before you know it, you’re sporting a purple belt.
We know for a fact that you’re quite a moto queen! Tell us some more about your passion! What bike are you riding?
In Russia we have an old saying: “if you like to ride, you must enjoy pulling a sleigh”. So I ride and I do like to spend some time in my garage indeed (with a 90% to 10% ratio, no more than that, haha). I own a Harley-Davidson Sportster. In US it’s called a girl’s bike, so I guess everything is in the right place. 😉
What’s the farthest place you’ve ever been to?
That would be Altai, about seven thousand kilometers round trip. A long way is like a meditation – you are neither here nor there, you just keep riding, singing songs, no need to spend time thinking about anything. The task is simple enough: you just need to reach your destination in the same way as you started it. 🙂
What’s your fondest memory from a bike trip?
My fondest memories from the bike trips are always about the people I share the road with.
One of the most memorable trips was to Kazan. We met on the web message board and instantly decided to ride together. What happened to us was afterwards was everything bikers can be afraid of: we were riding in pouring rain about half the time, collected every road construction there was, tried to fix the breakdowns literally on the side of the road. These incredibly long eight hundred kilometers helped us to become good friends. By the way, she is a woman in tech too!
What’s the first thing you always do after coming back home from a bike trip?
Whenever I come home, I just lay down on my bike for about ten minutes and try not to think about anything. It’s like a passage through another state of consciousness. Only when I’m done I come home, have some food, enjoy shower and some other pleasures of life.
If you had to compare Extreme Networks to a bike, what kind of bike would that be and why? E.g. a cruiser? A sports bike? An off-road?
Oh, it’s a custom, definitely. Made from different parts of different motorcycles and fitted seamlessly by the engineering genius.
In one of your Facebook posts you’re mentioning that the road is more important than a destination and some goals are meant to be chased forever. Where is your road taking you?
You never know when luck’s going to come your way. My road is taking me higher and farther to the untraveled adventures and new friends.
Do you feel like a Hero sometimes? 🙂