STH Q2 2021 Update A Letter from the Editor

PhoenixNAP Floor 1 Corridor
PhoenixNAP Floor 1 Corridor

We started the tradition of “A Letter from the Editor” in 2019. It has become one of my favorite articles to write every quarter. The reviews and content you see on STH are only 15-20% of the work involved with the site. This quarterly series is my opportunity to share a bit about why and how STH is evolving. We are currently in a period which is the “calm before the storm” where we are about to launch a few big projects that we have been working on for 2-3 months. Some of our readers may have noticed this, others may not have. I wanted to give an update on the behind-the-scenes at STH.

Previous Updates

If you want to check out how this series has evolved, here are the links to the first nine:

This update marks the tenth installment of the series.

STH Q2 2021: A Personal Note

A few weeks ago we celebrated STH’s 12th anniversary. As part of the STH Turns 12 and Some Thank Yous piece, I think we covered quite a bit about STH. Instead, I wanted to just give a personal update. Although STH is much larger than just me these days, at some point it is the case where I am responsible and have been a central figure. At this point, I am not a total robot, so my personal life indeed impacts STH.

Starting with the pandemic in 2021, I was at my mother-in-law’s place in Park City, Utah for a weekend of snowboarding. The plan was to come back to California for a few days before heading off again to Barcelona for MWC. Ultimately, MWC 2020 was abruptly canceled due to the pandemic and each of the next trips I had planned were as well. For some frame of reference, I flew around 144,000 miles just on United Airlines in 2019 and had travel plans for doing around 100,000 by mid-June 2020.

As the pandemic locked down California early in the US cycle, I quickly found myself trapped under a stay-at-home order. The world in Silicon Valley changed almost overnight with the first case being reported in a hospital only a 5-minute drive from home. Simple things became hard.

As I noted in the STH Q2 2020 letter, we lost access to the STH’s photo/ video studio that had just undergone a major upgrade. I spent an afternoon frantically taking down the old studio and getting a makeshift version in my home.

Over the pandemic, that studio morphed. We still had content I wanted to get done, but movement in the area was restricted for months. During some of the periods where California opened up between waves, the air was fouled for weeks due to large-scale wildfires.

Just to give some sense of how bad it was during some days and the duration, here is a shot from weeks later.

As a result, 2020 was primarily a lockdown year. STH still needed to press on, so what started as a bunch of cameras and lights on tripods.

Ended up becoming a full studio.

We have a piece detailing the studio coming very soon as it is about to be decommissioned and rebuilt in a new location, but the reality is that this was done under effective lockdown. As the process has started decommissioning that studio for a longer-term solution, I just wanted to reflect on how much it helped us over the past six quarters. That lockdown also had another impact that went well beyond the STH studio.

The first was that I lost both of my living grandparents during the pandemic. My grandmother passed away early in the various lockdowns. It was strange to know she was in the hospital and not be able to go. My grandfather was at a family celebration on Thanksgiving morning and fell off of the single step in the home everyone was in. He broke his hip and although he made it through hip surgery OK, he caught COVID in the rehab facility and passed. Both lived great lives into their 90’s, but it was part of the reason I personally tried to stay safe. I was more worried about potentially spreading than I was for my own health.

In Q3/ Q4 2020 my wife and I realized we had very divergent views on what we wanted our next 5, 10, and 50 years to involve. COVID probably was a point that made us sit down and have the discussion that our aspirations of many years prior were not where we are headed. As I am penning this Letter from the Editor it is the last day we are officially married since the divorce will be effective tomorrow, just shy of our 7th anniversary.

Aside from these bits, we also had some major health scares in the family that were the kind where folks were hospitalized for perhaps a week with a substantial chance they would not pull through.

On a personal level, 2020 and Q1/Q2 2021 have been rough. These combined to leave me with a fairly big choice to make. Either I could wallow in the situation, or I could take the blows and make progress where I could. I decided to take the second path which is really what our little STH YouTube channel and our studio have been for me. STH grew in 2020 at a healthy clip, but the YouTube channel was something different, albeit a lot more work.

What I can tell you is that behind the scenes since April/ May of this year I have been planning on the next generation of STH. I took stock of what I think the site needs to be in 1-5 years and then started executing on a plan to make that happen. We have been changing out some of our data center facilities as one example, but the bigger changes will happen in Q3. In this process, I wanted to give a special thank you to Joe, who made a cameo in our recent Touring the PhoenixNAP Data Center video. He has been a great sounding board.

Likely in mid-August 2021, we are going to start showing some of the results of these huge changes as some of the new space and facilities start to come online. We also hope to start hiring 2-3 folks in August/ September to help with the growth trajectory. On a personal level, it has been a huge investment and I am excited to share what is happening behind the scenes in a few weeks.

What I can tell you, however, is that I am not looking forward to the next 40 days. As we emerge post-pandemic social events are picking up as is travel. I think in July alone I will be in 9-10 states across the US. During this period, we will start to transition the current STH studio into a longer-term location as well as prepping space for it.

If things felt like they slowed down in May on STH, the hope is that July will be the month that gets us to a recharged state and in a great place to close out 2021.

STH Q2 2021 Call for Action

We are making so many changes behind the scenes that we are not going to be asking for new writers just yet. The hope is that in August/ September we will be hiring a few more folks.

That does not mean I am not going to still make an ask. As with last quarter, I have a simple one: Just do something nice for someone else. I know the last few months have been rough personally, but there are degrees here. I remind myself that my worst days would be luxurious and the best days of others’ lives.

While not a specific ask, you never know who you run into that has a lot of not great stuff they are working through.

Subscribe to the STH Newsletter

Did you know STH has a weekly newsletter that comes out Saturday with curated “Top 5” pieces from the week? We know you cannot visit every day, so we can deliver our picks for weekend reading directly to your inbox. Subscribing to the newsletter is easy. Here is the form.

Get the best of STH delivered weekly to your inbox. We are going to curate a selection of the best posts from STH each week and deliver them directly to you.

By opting-in you agree to have us send you our newsletter. We are using a third party service to manage subscriptions so you can unsubscribe at any time.

We are not selling your e-mail addresses and MailChimp is managing everything at this point so you can subscribe and unsubscribe from the list as you want.

We are not promoting the newsletter via overlays and pop-ups. Those are very effective, but they are bad for readers. I do not like them, so as long as I have a say, we are not going to have newsletter signup overlays. I run STH as something I would want to visit daily even if I did not work on it.


  1. Thank you Patrick for sharing – both of your own personal challenges, and your work towards growing STH into its next evolution. Your work is truly incredible, and I had no idea of your personal travails. And btw – the youtube channel is coming along great. Thank you again!

  2. One of my neighbors that’s on a fixed income mentioned that his WiFi didn’t work very well. He had an old Linksys router from the Dark Ages or something. I had a Mikrotik hAP ac2 that I wasn’t using, so I set it up for him and now he has a much better home network.

    That was about a month ago, but I’ve helped several of my neighbors by configuring the network gear they had or giving them some gear I wasn’t using.

    I have a Ruckus R500 that I’ll probably never use again. I’m a bit hesitant to give it to a neighbor because it’s EOL and I don’t want to have to worry about un-patched security issues, although Ruckus has been really good about that. The R500 has been unsupported and limited to older firmware versions for a while now, but they recently released new firmware with the patches for the FragAttacks vulns. I guess I’ll wait and see if I have any neighbors that are more tech savvy but need a decent AP.

    A couple of years ago I went around and helped any neighbors that weren’t sure if they had set a good password on their WiFi network or router, or had left it at the default. I was able to get them to the point where they could type in their new password and save it, and I also got several of them started with a password manager so they can use more secure passwords in general.

    I live in a development with an HOA, so it was pretty easy to announce at a meeting that I’d like to help people. This last year there haven’t been any meetings due to the pandemic, so I’ve offered to help the Board figure out what they need to do to have Zoom meetings. We’ll see how that goes.

  3. I’d have said you were a ski man, Patrick, based on the smile on your face. Because skiing is truly the happiest winter sport. Maybe I will send you my old rock skis, a pair of Line Darksides, very forgiving skis. You can see what you’ve been missing!

  4. Completely understand the scare and truly sorry for your loss. Almost lost my dad a month ago as he had some infections and the bacteria got into his blood, we were probably about a couple of hours away from losing him. He has cancer and gets chemo every 3 weeks (has done so for the last +1 years or so), so lockdown has been really hard as well. Couldn’t really go to them, afraid if i had anything he or my mom could get it and infect each other.

    I do believe that those marriages that lasted through covid where you were rubbing each others shoulders every single day come out stronger. But it has also been a time for reflection for many on where and what to do. (maybe that was a positive coming from covid, that many had an opportunity to stop and do some reflections)

    On the technical side – look forward to more videos :-) – that is about as geeky a topic as servers and storage is (as are the workflows. – it certainly calls for some looking into those stacks). :-)

  5. Thanks for your openness! You already wrote before between the lines of the hard times you had personally, and that certainly looks like an understatement now.
    And being open can be hard, it goes a long way for us readers to empathize with you and STH and thus build an even stronger bond as a community.
    Your humbleness is inspiring too. “I remind myself that my worst days would be luxurious and the best days of others’ lives.”
    All the very best for the next 12 years!

  6. I still remember posting on the STH forum 4 years back and you responded at 4am your time. Always been blown away by how hard you work Patrick. Your site’s a great resource and you’re clearly an inspiration. Some of the best analysis in both the technology *and* financial press happens here.

    If I’m looking to see whether to buy a server for my homelab, office or heck top up a position in INTC or NVDA it’s ServeTheHome I turn to. Best wises for 2021 and onwards.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.