• Type:
  • Duration:
  • Category:
  • Average Rating:

3| Cybersecurity and DevOps Expert, Michael Fraser

3| Cybersecurity and DevOps Expert, Michael Fraser
Half the City

 
Play/Pause Episode
00:00 / 01:19:45
Rewind 30 Seconds
1X

Michael FraserMichael Fraser is currently Co-Founder/CEO/Chief Architect at Refactr, Inc, a firm he co-founded in 2017.

At Refactr, he is building a disruptive cloud software company that believes that all MSPs and MSSPs should be able to visually design, deploy and manage secure multi-cloud IT solutions they can share across their organization through cloud + security orchestration and automation.
Starting his career in the United States Air Force in cybersecurity, Michael left after 9 years to start multiple technology startups in the cloud services and cybersecurity space. Michael has published many feature articles including in Redmond Channel Partners, featured on the cover of Channel Pro Magazine and has presented at numerous industry events, including: CRN, ChannelPro, Microsoft and RedHat Ansible. 
We talk about his expertise in loading missles onto fighter jets, conducting cybersecurity operations in NBC gear, surviving hurricanes, startup challenges, and his hot startup Refactr.

Show Notes

refactr | playbook.cloud

Follow Michael on social media:

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

Theme music by: Ruel Morales

Brian Schoenborn  0:01 

Hey, everybody. Our guest today is a cyber security expert, right? Kind of responsible for stopping people like Paige Thompson with the recent Capital One breach, and other things like that. Got his start in the Air Force doing that, and he’s recently started a new entrepreneurial venture. Give it up for my friend Mike Fraser. My name is Brian Schoenborn. I’m an explorer of people, places and culture. In my travels, spending over 20 countries across four continents, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in authentic conversations with amazingly interesting people. These are their stories, on-location and unfiltered. Presented by 8B Media, this is Half the City.

 

So yeah, how’s it going?

 

Mike Fraser  0:55 

Yeah. Spoken like a true cyber security expert.

 

Spoken like a true software engineer.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02 

There we go. Um, so I want to dive right in like, I want to start with where you came from right before you get to the before you get to your current business things. Air Force

 

Mike Fraser  1:14 

That’s the only branch.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:19 

All right. Spoken like a true Air Force guy. I don’t even know what to call you guys.

 

Mike Fraser  1:26 

The civilian branch. The chair force.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:30 

The chair force! There we go. I like it.

 

Mike Fraser  1:32 

Many, many names I’ve been called by other branches.

 

That’s all right, I get them too. Our friend Chileen was calling me a crayon eater the other day. That was fun.

 

That’s awesome.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:46 

Yeah. So I want to hear it. I want to hear some stories about your time in the Air Force doing cyber security and stuff like that. Kind of some of the stuff you did you know any crazy shit that happened. That kind of stuff.

 

Mike Fraser  2:00 

Yeah, well, there’s so much we want to have time to cover here. But I think, you know, from my perspective, I started out working on, I was actually supposed to go work on B-2 bombers. But I changed…They changed me over because I need to people on F-15, Cs and Ds, and right before I went to, or why when I got to tech school. So I ended up getting a top secret clearance even though I would end up working on F-15, C and D models, which was a pretty interesting experience.

 

Brian Schoenborn  2:36 

So yeah, so what are you doing on like when you know cyber security on F-15s? Like,

 

Mike Fraser  2:40 

No, no. So this is not cyber security. This is working on weapons systems.

 

Brian Schoenborn  2:45 

Oh, awesome.

 

Mike Fraser  2:47 

So yeah. So weapons, so in cyber security you have weapons too, but these are actual weapons that will kill people.

 

Brian Schoenborn  2:55 

Like these are physically dangerous weapons.

 

Mike Fraser  2:57 

And our motto is we kill people and blow shit up, so.

 

It’s pretty straightforward and to the point.

 

Very. That’s weapons. So, yeah, so I was weapons. I went through tech school and I was a, what they call a rope. So I was one of the leaders in tech school. So I end up marching people back and forth. I…

 

Brian Schoenborn  3:23 

Oh, cool, doing cadence.

 

Damn, dude. That’s that’s buck, man.

 

Mike Fraser  3:24 

Made sure people went to PE. And if they weren’t there, I’d go drag them out by there hair…I guess not really their hair, but more of their, whatever they’re wearing or whatever they’re not but I uh…and that’s actually where I started my first kind of entrepreneurship as an adult, so I was…got to tech school, I was 19. And I actually I got to tech school right before I was 19. I was 18 turning 19 and I started just trying to figure out because I had an affinity for computer repair stuff. So stuff like that when I was a teenager. And I got into talking with the chaplains and they all needed computer work. So I was like, “Okay 75 bucks an hour I’ll work on your stuff” and markup on all the stuff that I was selling them because they either go to the local computer repair shop or they could help an airman out.

 

Yeah, so that was it was cool because, out of it, I ended up getting…I never actually obviously didn’t do anything with those but I got recommendations to ROTC, recommendations the academy. So I was trying to line up things to like all right, you know, if I’m interacting with these, it’s al l chaplains are officers. If I want to go that route, this is the time to do it. Yeah, I got all that stuff put together. But then I started really kind of enjoying being an entrepreneur. And so after I got out of tech school and got to my first base, that was at Sheppard Air Force Base and in the shithole of Texas also called the panhandle. So just about an hour north of Dallas, an hour south of Oklahoma, and an hour not an hour far enough from being one of the shitiest places to live in the United States. But I made the best of it so I was able to kind of start building out my entrepreneurial spirit by doing stuff for chaplains on base and some other fellow airmans too. I built some computers there but when I got to my first base started actually building computers out of my doors. I was the guy building computers out of his dorm room. I set up a wireless network in my dorm and charged other airmen in the dorm, and airwomen a monthly fee. So I had I had DSL coming into my…

 

Brian Schoenborn  4:59 

…you’re like the first Cox or first charter.

 

Mike Fraser  5:51 

I had, I had DSL coming into my, my dorm, and so I got a couple of high decibel gain antennas and mounted them in my window. And then I would serve it up to the two other dormitories that were adjacent to us.

 

Brian Schoenborn  6:08 

So you’re hitting up everybody.

 

So yeah, making money off that. And then I had, I was doing computer repair or I actually built computers from people from scratch. So everybody I was working with, so I ended up, so I was working in aircraft armament. But I mastered that and like, as soon as I got to the base, which was a super easy job. But I was doing what we call load crew of the quarter.

 

So what’s that?

 

Mike Fraser  6:33 

So essentially you go and get every month you have to go get certified as going and loading up in our case on the F-15 Aim-9Xs, and Aim-120s, so different various missiles. So we would go and they would time us and we would go around and we couldn’t get any safety, you can have any safety violations so you have to do everything properly. You mount the missiles, you’d have a jammer. So I was a jammer driver, you drive the jammer up to the the aircraft, you’d get it up. Or you get the the missile up to the pylons wherever you’re mounting it to, to essentially engage it into the aircraft. And then you have to put in we call, they’re called explosive cartridges, or they’re called Cars, we call them cars for short, but they’re essentially these little cylinders that have pellets in them. And what happens is, there’s an electrical charge that hits them, and when it does, it creates a gas in the chamber and expands and then launches the missile off of the aircraft. So we’d have to insert those. So when we did our whole thing, we’d have to mount the missile, put in the cartridges, get everything hooked up. If it’s a Aim-9X we’d have to put in essentially argon gas, so there’s a lot of steps you have to do. Anyway.

 

Brian Schoenborn  7:53 

So is there like a like a everyday person’s term for that missle? Like, because it’s like I think when I when I think missiles I think of like, I don’t know, I think Patriot missiles and like Scuds. Because I don’t know anything about…

 

Mike Fraser  8:07 

Yeah those are ground, so we were so are the missile we were using were air to air, so they were like one aircraft to an other ones you’re talking about are ground to air like Scud missile are ground to air so you’re trying to take out aircraft on F-15, specifically on the C’s and D’s they are air to air. The F-15E also has the ability to do bombs so you can drop them. That was another, we called AMU, but essentially another unit in our wing that were F-15s as well. So we’d have F-15s, we had so the Cs and Ds, the F-15Es, A-10s. We also had F-22s just coming in and right before I got out of active duty, we were just bringing the F-35s.

 

Brian Schoenborn  8:08 

So what’s the F-35?

 

Mike Fraser  8:34 

As far as I know, it’s the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter but it’s also the most expensive aircraft ever built and still not fully into production. They’ve been spending a lot of money on that. I got out active duty 15 years ago, so they’re still…

 

Brian Schoenborn  9:16 

Really? I’ve been out for about 18, so I got a little more salt…

 

Mike Fraser  9:20 

…but I had a bunch of years in the garden too. So yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  9:22 

Nice.

 

Mike Fraser  9:24 

So I so so back to this, we did air, so we, we did monthly load crew. So I was there for, I want to say a handful months, and I was on a crew that we ended up getting load crew of the quarter, the first quarter. Then they asked, “Anybody want to volunteer for honor guard?” So I was like, “Hell yeah, I want to volunteer for honor guard. It’s something else that I could do.” So volunteer for honor guard got into that. And so I was on honor guard for almost a year.

 

Brian Schoenborn  9:52 

So what does honor guard entail for the listeners?

 

Mike Fraser  9:55 

So we do. So we did all kinds of things that you would think of a…you see military members that are ,so like at ballgames, you see them coming on posting the colors, the flags.

 

Brian Schoenborn  10:04 

Oh, cool.

 

Mike Fraser  10:05 

We would do funerals. So anybody that was going to have a military funeral, we would go to that. And then we would we would go to events so we’d be like, so this is in Vegas, at Nellis.

 

Brian Schoenborn  10:17 

That must have been sweet.

 

Mike Fraser  10:17 

We would do boxng matches, all kinds of cool stuff. But then on the flip side of that we had to do funerals, so that was kind of…the worst one was there was a, I say worse, we were obviously respecting our military veterans, right. It’s something that I really appreciate that we were doing.

 

Brian Schoenborn  10:36 

Yep.

 

Mike Fraser  10:36 

But we had one that the guy was morbidly obese and so we had to have like eight of us carrying this thing. We’re all like, trying to hold position…

 

Brian Schoenborn  10:47 

…and and you’re all Air Force dudes, which you guys don’t do anything but like sit in a gym anyways.

 

You got like a forklift or something? I don’t know.

 

Mike Fraser  10:51 

Yeah, we just sit in the gym. Yeah, we should have just had one of the robots we built come out and lift it for us. I don’t know what we were thinking.

 

Yeah, one of the drones coulda flown it in.

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:06 

Exactly. Flown in the body.

 

Mike Fraser  11:10 

So we so we did that. That was that was interesting. Very interesting. You could tell who’s the strong people who who weren’t. And then we ended up so I did a bunch of Fourth of July parades. So remember this in Vegas.

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:24 

Yeah.

 

Mike Fraser  11:25 

And then we had to go to Arizona as well. I think I did four or five parades. And in Vegas, and we did one parade in northern Arizona. And it was like hell on earth. I mean, we’re in our full blues your dress blues?

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:38 

Middle of July, early July, sorry. So yeah. I mean, I lived in Vegas for three years.

 

Mike Fraser  11:43 

Yeah so you get it.

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:44 

Yeah, I know, man. Like it’s, I remember like, I was there for three years. And I think like six months out of the year, it’s triple digits. And I remember about one day a year it’d hit a buck-20 and you know, I’ve never been to the Middle East or you know, so I don’t know, like, that temperatures like but 120 is fucking hot dude. I don’t care, like people are like, “Oh, it’s dry heat.”

 

Mike Fraser  12:05 

So it’s hot when you’re doing what, so we were doing honor guard. But it was also equally hot when I was working on the flightline. So you imagine the F-15s testing the the engines out and you’re just out there and if there’s blasting, and it’s just like, and you come in, and you have just sweat drenched. And the worst part is when you’re doing like, so we had to do that same load crew or load certification in the summertime too, in NBC gear. So we’d have the gas mask on. the coal, charcoal outfit on, the gloves and everything and having to go load the munitions in that. But the cool thing is, I didn’t win one load through the quarter. I didn’t want two load crews of the quarter. I didn’t when I went three load crews of the quarter. I went up for load crew of the year.

 

Brian Schoenborn  12:48 

You sound like LeBron and Dwyane Wade right now.

 

Mike Fraser  12:52 

If there was something for load crew people, but yeah, we’re gonna…I have stacks of plaques from all the load crew we won. And again, it was it was hilarious because I would have to go get recertified while I was an honor guard, so I wasn’t even doing the job and still winning load crew of the quarter.

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:07 

That’s awesome.

 

Mike Fraser  13:10 

Like, how do you do that? I’m like, this is such an easy job.

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:14 

So when so you’re talking NBC gear and just for the listeners, you know, because they’re not everyone’s military, right? So NBC is nuclear, biological, chemical, you know, protective. This would be protective suits to protect you from like inhaling bad gases or whatever, right?

 

Mike Fraser  13:27 

Exactly, yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:29 

Reminds me of in boot camp doing the CS gas qualification.

 

Mike Fraser  13:34 

Yeah. So I mean, we did that in…so I went to basic training right before 911. And so July, so I went in in July, and we had what they called Black Flag almost every day where about early, mid-afternoon they would stop everybody from marching because they want people passing out outside because ours is in Lachlan Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:58 

Okay.

 

Mike Fraser  13:58 

So it gets pretty hot. They’re to July, August. When we at the end of basic training we had I think we had three or four people fall out of formation were marching and doing…

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:10 

When you’re marching?

 

Mike Fraser  14:10 

Doing our final march, yeah. It’s like, doof! Okay.

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:14 

Sounds like the Air Force.

 

Mike Fraser  14:17 

All right. I guess you couldn’t hang. Like it was only six weeks. Come on.

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:23 

I know, right? Six?

 

Mike Fraser  14:25 

Yeah, six weeks. It’s now eight, but it was six.

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:27 

Oh, big, big changes. Ourswas 13. Just for boot dude, just for basic.

 

Mike Fraser  14:33 

You gotta see if you have the wherewithal, because it only gets worse from there.

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:42 

You think it’s gonna get better. You get that eagle, globe, and anchor, right? That title Marine, you’re like, “Oh, yes, I made it.”

 

Mike Fraser  14:47 

In the Air Force, you’re like how you get through that and you go to a really nice tech school where you have you know,

 

Brian Schoenborn  14:54 

So so when I was in the Corps, a 13 weeks of Boot Camp, 60 to 80 guys in one squad bay. So just imagine like a giant like almost like a hostile or something. Yeah, this shitty metal racks, bunk beds with a shity, shity mattresses, you know, a thin green sheet. Rock hard pillow, and you just gotta you’re just expected to sleep on that for three months straight. You get then you get like, you know, to school of industry, right? So then you go to SoI and it’s the same thing. Another 13 weeks, right? Everyone’s sleeping in the same damn squad day, shitty bunk beds. And once you finally get into the fleet, or you know you get assigned your unit out of school, then you know I was an infantry so I was assigned to an infantry area in Camp Pendleton. And, you know, then we got barracks, so it’s a little different. But our barracks were like, condemned housing.

 

Oh sure. Sounds like a dream.

 

Mike Fraser  14:54 

You’re doing I’m going from, you know, 30 trainees, you know, going to airman in you’re, in basic training. So everybody’s got you know, you got bed and your footlocker and so on. In the Marines, so that continues on for a long time. In the Air Force, you go to tech school and it’s like, oh, cool now it’s only 3 to a room in tech school, right? Maybe two to a room, depending if you get lucky. And then once you get to your first base, you may have to share a bathroom you might have to…

 

Oh, geez,

 

Brian Schoenborn  16:21 

They’re condemned housing. And there were two to a room and there were two, you know, each, each room there were two rooms next to each other and they shared a bathroom. So there’s four people sharing one bathroom, got to be up and ready for morning formation by like 0-6, you know six o’clock in the morning.

 

Mike Fraser  16:37 

That’s brutal. Yeah, we, the worst part about ours was we had brand new, brand new buildings in tech school for some of the people there, but I never got the brand new ones. I got one of the older buildings so it was like…

 

Brian Schoenborn  16:52 

Oh, like two or three years old?

 

Mike Fraser  16:52 

They ended up having to like kick us out for a few days because they had to then fixing this asbestos problem. That was that was the worst.

 

Brian Schoenborn  16:58 

That was the worst?

 

Mike Fraser  16:59 

It wasn’t condemned though, so.

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:00 

We lived in condemned housing.

 

Mike Fraser  17:03 

So like I was it, maybe like six months after I got there they were like, “Oh, you can go off base now.” So I got to go off base in pretty short order

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:11 

Like, live off-base?

 

Mike Fraser  17:13 

I wasn’t married I didn’t get married or anything. Yeah, no, no.

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:17 

That’s crazy.

 

Mike Fraser  17:19 

Like, I mean, you need to be, you know, respectable airman who’s you know?

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:24 

Sure, you gotta have your shit together.

 

Mike Fraser  17:25 

Like oh yeah, you’re constantly doing things that, remember when I was the load crew of the…

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:32 

Yes, you were the LeBron of load crews. That’s how I should have done the intro.

 

Mike Fraser  17:38 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:38 

Our guest today is the LeBron James of load crews.

 

Mike Fraser  17:43 

But it’s funny so I did that job. But then I went to support and which we essentially with you know, you check out tools to people but I wanted to be a part of like the IT side of the house, I helped them. We were putting in the, they were putting in the first wireless network on the flight line. And so we were working on putting in some of the laptop, the new Panasonic tough books, were doing laptops and stuff. So I was helping out a little bit with that. And then that’s how I set up everything for my first business where I could work mid-shift. And so that was after I was done with the Honor Guard, went to work and support. Again, I’m doing all this load crew stuff and still winning awards. But I worked in a different job.

 

Brian Schoenborn  18:22 

So you’re doing load crew, you’re doing mid-shift, which I don’t even know what that is. Because in the Marines, you just you’re always on.

 

Mike Fraser  18:28 

So there’s three different shifts.

 

Brian Schoenborn  18:29 

Oh, you guys got three shifts.

 

Mike Fraser  18:30 

Three shifts, and so mid-shift was the 11 o’clock at night to seven in the morning.

 

Brian Schoenborn  18:34 

Oh, graveyard.

 

Mike Fraser  18:35 

Yeah, graveyard. Mid-shift.

 

Brian Schoenborn  18:36 

Yep.

 

Mike Fraser  18:37 

So I worked that one no reason I did that is because I could I could, I wanted to start my first business. And I wanted to start going full school full time because I was a you know, crazy 19-year-old.

 

Brian Schoenborn  18:49 

And so you got like three jobs essentially.

 

Mike Fraser  18:51 

Yeah, essentially three jobs. And so I’m doing so I started up a mailbox store and a computer repair shop. 19 years old. And so I got a great story from that. So I start, we start doing the build out and we’re working with this other guy and we’re doing the build out in this new space. We end up getting was called a postnet so this is back before when like mailboxes, etc. was popular. Postnets are still around and so somebody had had completed their lease at a postnet and they didn’t want it any more. So we went over and looked at this place and they had like $50,000 worth of equipment. They had key machines, and all the mailboxes, they had just all kinds of stuff.

 

Brian Schoenborn  19:26 

…and they left it all there?

 

Mike Fraser  19:27 

All there, like a super industrial scale to weight all your shipping and stuff. So I was like, “This is cool.” So we got in we get the we get the place and we start remodeling the inside.

 

Brian Schoenborn  19:37 

And this was in Vegas, you said?

 

Mike Fraser  19:39 

In Vegas and so I have, so I’m in there one day with my BDUs on they come in to do the inspection for the fire extinguishers and make sure everything’s kosher there. And, and so they come in like “Hey, where’s the owner of the store? I’m in my BDUs and mind you…

 

Brian Schoenborn  19:55 

BDUs being camouflage. The blue and  light blue or whatever.

 

Mike Fraser  19:59 

No, no, we had the green, the old green cammies. So we had BDUs on, battle dress uniforms is what they’re called. And so I have that on and I’m in there. And the inspector comes in and says, “Hey, I’m looking for the the owner.” I’m like, “No, no, I’m the owner.” She’s like, “No, no, I’m looking for the owner of this place.” Like, “No, no, I’m the owner.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  20:17 

You’ve got like a baby boy face you’re like, “I’m the boss, bitch.”

 

Mike Fraser  20:20 

Oh, yeah. So I’ll show you my ID from back then. This is I mean, I literally look like I was 14 I would go on the Strip, and I would get the the the cops on bikes. They would come up to me after 10pm because in Vegas, there’s a curfew for teenagers. So they’re like, “You need to go to Strip.” Like, “No, no, I’m actually serving my country here. Base here in this base.” “Oh, we’re sorry, sir.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  20:44 

“We’re sorry, sir.” Oh my god, dude. You look like you were about 12.

 

Mike Fraser  20:50 

Yeah. So she’s in there and says, like, “No, I need to talk to the owner.” I’m like, “Okay.” So I had to bring out all of the paperwork and like prove it. She’s like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I’m like, “Why can’t I be a young person opening up a store?” It’s gonna surprise and you’re like don’t judge me for thinking that I’m like trying to put on a facade for you like I’m masquerading as somebody else. I’m like, “No, no, I’m legitimately opening up the store. Yes, I’m in the Air Force and yes,”

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:19 

…agism goes both ways.

 

Mike Fraser  21:20 

Yeah, I mean, I got agism constantly back then and all through my 20s Yeah, it was ridiculous. But I was I was doing I was in school full-time. I was taking four classes. I was running, I opened up the store, was running the store, and I was working mid-shift at the time. So I was just juggling all three of those for about 18 months and I got, I got pretty burnt out.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:43 

I was gonna say, dude, like, how do you keep going on that?

 

Mike Fraser  21:45 

You’re just. Yeah, just, just keep going.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:48 

How much were you sleeping at night? In a 24-hour rotation…

 

Mike Fraser  21:53 

Yean, I mean, maybe six hours if I was lucky, four to six hours.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:57 

Four to six?

 

Mike Fraser  21:57 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:58 

Six is okay, but four…

 

Mike Fraser  21:59 

Sometimes I’d get eight in if I can, I could time it right. But that was always like, oh, the people that were supposed to open up the store that worked for me were actually there. Like, if not I was there. So that always came back on me. But yeah, that was that was interesting. And I would never recommend anybody in the entrepreneurial. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you want to start a business, don’t do retail.

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:21 

And don’t also juggle that with a full-time military career. And a full-time college load.

 

Mike Fraser  22:27 

Yeah, but if you’re gonna do it, do it in 19. Although, you know, recently, I just did the same thing. So I fasttracked my way through my bachelor’s and master’s in…

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:35 

Oh that’s right, you telling me about thata.

 

Mike Fraser  22:36 

Yeah, so I went back to school, and decided to do the same thing where I was juggling that plus teaching plus a full-time corporate job plus my startup, plus a family. So that’s even more than I was going on it.

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:47 

That’s crazy.

 

Mike Fraser  22:48 

Yeah, the good thing that was I have a wife who was like, “Yeah, no, Michael, some of these things are gonna have to stop. And some of these, you need to finish because your GI bill’s expiring. So yeah.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  23:00 

Nice. I want to back it up a second. I’m not sure where this fits in. But I want to talk a little bit about setting up some tents or something with your NBC gear?

 

Mike Fraser  23:12 

Oh yeah, so so I um…,

 

Brian Schoenborn  23:15 

Are you talking about, are these like the Air Force tents that are like Club Med, you know? Private pools?

 

I was gonna say, I mean it sounds about right. That’s what I heard.

 

Mike Fraser  23:18 

Yeah, air conditioning and no private pools. Saunas and massage tables.

 

Only when you get deployed Yes, so I was I was active to about I was active for a little over three years and then I transitioned into the guard and then the guard I changed into a, essentially, a computer systems engineer slash cyber security engineer role.

 

Brian Schoenborn  23:50 

So that’s when you got into the cyber security.

 

Mike Fraser  23:51 

Yeah, yeah. And so, I was working. I was it was so I was working that role and or a starting that job and in the guard, you can do that before you even go through training. And so I was going, so I went and I started actually in the Reno Air National Guard unit and I transitioned to the guard unit in California. California Guard unit in a Van Nuys, California and so I would go out there once a month and we had…we ended up having to do NBC gear for training again. And so we’re in Southern California and it’s probably 100 degrees but it’s also fairly humid. And they want us to actually set up everything with our NBC gear on, so we end up having to put all the gear on and but then unlike the aircraft, you know, the armament stuff I was doing with weapons systems where it was like, you know, hey, I’m using like, a, you know, wrenches and you know, larger tools that you can, you know, still manipulate with gloves on and stuff. Now in NBC gear we had Panasonic tough books I’m doing you know, a technical stuff, and there’s no way to type on him so…

 

Brian Schoenborn  25:02 

…so, so for those who don’t know, NBC here it looks like think of like, maybe like Jurassic Park when they’re trying to touch these like, the radioactive material or some shit like these giant ass suits. These huge gloves, this hooded thing over your head right with nothing but like a plastic window kind of thing is,

 

Mike Fraser  25:20 

Man, it’s actual gas mask.

 

Brian Schoenborn  25:24 

So you’re sitting there in 100 degree heat, it’s like probably like 60% humidity, right?

 

Mike Fraser  25:29 

Probably even more.

 

Brian Schoenborn  25:30 

Maybe even more. Yeah. And you’re just you got this gas mask on you basically breathing into your own face.

 

Mike Fraser  25:35 

So doing you’re doing that and then you’re trying to think…

 

Brian Schoenborn  25:41 

…and you’re trying to like, tinker, right? Or whatever you’re doing.

 

Mike Fraser  25:44 

So the only way to actually do work on the Panasonic Toughbook was, we’re using the eraser heads of pencils on them,  because there’s no, you have no dexterity with the the gloves on and then Panasonic Toughbook because they’re made for industrial environments. The keyboard is completely waterproof, that also means that the keys are all you know, sealed together. So that mean they work independently but you have to like really push on each key to get it to input. And so there was…so anyway, long story short I mean it for every one hour of work and we’re spending hours and we’re trying to get stuff done, so I worked through an entire weekend through the training with NBC gear on. No sleep whatsoever.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:26 

The whole, wait, the whole weekend in this gear?

 

Mike Fraser  26:28 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:29 

Were you wearing this…

 

Mike Fraser  26:30 

No, wearing the NBC, yep.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:31 

You’re playing with pencil you’re, you’re basically finger pressing keyboards with the pencils. Yeah, the whole weekend.

 

Mike Fraser  26:36 

Exactly. Exactly.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:37 

No sleep?

 

Mike Fraser  26:38 

No sleep, no sleep.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:39 

Jesus Christ.

 

Mike Fraser  26:40 

Cuz I was like, well, we gotta get this done. Furthermore, you know, not to not to throw guard people under the bus. But you realize like in the guard, a lot of people in the guard, they don’t do the same job in the civilian world that they’re doing in the guard.

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:54 

Right.

 

Mike Fraser  26:54 

So if they have nothing more than tech school, they’re really not engaged. They didn’t really contribute a whole lot. And so it kind of sucked. But I mean, it was it was good and bad. The good part was, you know, if you knew what you were doing you, you get to, you know, do all kinds of cool stuff. The downside to it was you could work entire weekends without sleep, just because you’re like, well, we gotta get this done. We need to get through this exercise, we need to get this and we don’t get the exercise done. You know, then we could, you know, fail whatever we were doing.

 

Brian Schoenborn  27:22 

Yeah, yeah. Mmhmm.

 

Mike Fraser  27:23 

So it was one of those things where I was like, now I’ll put in the time. But I’ll tell you what, it also was one of the things you were just you get burnt out, because you’re just like, Oh, this is…

 

Brian Schoenborn  27:32 

I mean, I can’t even imagine.

 

Mike Fraser  27:33 

…so much. So much work that you end up doing. And so little time and again, you know, the guard is one weekend a month and two weeks a year so, and I was running my startup or my computer company as well. And so I would try to consolidate a bunch of weekends at a time. So I’d go out there for like, three, four days straight and just do all three, four days and then bounce back so I could do a few months at a time instead of having to go every single month.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:00 

I didn’t know you had that option.

 

Mike Fraser  28:01 

Yeah, well, yeah, you just have to try to figure out if you can, you can make that work.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:06 

Air Force is flexible. Air Force caters to you, I get it.

 

Mike Fraser  28:11 

The Chair Force, the Civilian Branch.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:12 

The Chair Force! Well, it’s cool. That’s crazy. Like, I mean, like I said, I couldn’t even imagine like sitting in a in a suit like that. In that type of weather conditions, you know, for three days, or whatever.

 

Mike Fraser  28:25 

Oh yeah yeah. It’s brutal.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:27 

I’m surprised, you didn’t like pass out from heat exhaustion or just sleep deprivation or whatever.

 

Mike Fraser  28:32 

That’s why you just keep on, keep on truckin.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:34 

Yeah. I hear that. For sure.

 

Mike Fraser  28:37 

Plus I was in my 20s, not in my 30s. If I tried to do that now, I could probably still do it now. But it would be more mental than physical. So I just like power through.

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:44 

Yeah. Yeah. I know, I hear that. What other kind of and they’ve got some other stores something about Keesler? Keesler Air Force Base?

 

Mike Fraser  28:55 

Yeah. So

 

Brian Schoenborn  28:56 

I know you were saying something about that?

 

Mike Fraser  28:57 

Yeah. So interesting story. So yeah, I was I was at Keesler Air Force Base and if everybody doesn’t know where Keesler is, it’s in Biloxi, Mississippi. And so,

 

Brian Schoenborn  29:08 

Which Biloxi is, I mean, just geograpically…

 

Mike Fraser  29:09 

It’s on the Gulf Coast.

 

Brian Schoenborn  29:11 

It’s on the coast?

 

Mike Fraser  29:11 

Yeah, literally on the coast. So we so I am, so I get, so I try to get my Guard unit to, to not send me to tech school because I have, you know, civilian world understanding of the tech school they’re gonna send me through and like, I already know all this stuff. And I’m like, nope, you so I’ll go through training. And then I say, “Well, I have my business too. And I’m literally like, the only person that has like an outside business said that I’m actually running. I don’t have a job. I actually have a business I’m running.”

 

And so they say, “No, you’re going.” So I ended up having to shut down my company, right in the middle of a couple projects. Yeah. Thankfully had a really nice family that let me go live with them for a little bit before I went in. So I was able to kind of, you know, I didn’t have to deal with you know, having a place or anything else. So I got my orders. Oh, and this There’s actually another funny story and then I’ll get into what the Keesler. So I ended up going to the airport. They ended up canceling my flight that day. And I was flying from Vegas up to Reno to get my orders to then come back to Vegas to fly out of Vegas. So I ended up hopping in my car and driving from Vegas to Reno which is a seven hour drive, to get the order to sign off.

 

Brian Schoenborn  30:20 

But that, but like that highway though. Like, I’ve taken that road like it’s just like long and straight. Like, like you can see like 20 miles ahead of you.

 

Mike Fraser  30:27 

You know, it’s it’s the…god forbid you break down.

 

Brian Schoenborn  30:31 

That, but I also remember like, I’ve driven up that way. I remember seeing like a semi. It’s like a semi coming the other way. And you’re watching it for like 20, 30 minutes and it finally gets to you.

 

Mike Fraser  30:44 

It’s so far down. But so, so so I get my orders. I turn around and I’m driving back right? It was all on the same day.

 

Brian Schoenborn  30:52 

Yeah. You drove to Reno and back?

 

Mike Fraser  30:54 

I drove all the way to Reno from Vegas and back then it gets better. So I’m driving back and I’m trying to get back as fast as possible. I’m going going pretty fast over the speed limit. And I get pulled over…

 

Brian Schoenborn  31:05 

We don’t need to incriminate ourselves.

 

Mike Fraser  31:06 

Ah no, no. This is a good story. So I get I get pulled over and the guy walks up and he’s like, “Where are you coming from?” I’m like, “Well, I’m coming from coming from Reno Air National Guard unit. and he’s like, “You how fast you were going?” and I’m like, “No, but you’re gonna tell me, right?”

 

It was like 20 over and he’s like, “You know, I could take it a gym right now but I’m just gonna give you a warning. And I’m going to call and I’m going to make you know put this in I’m gonna give you a warning and just going off and thank you for serving our country, but please be responsible.” So I’m like, “Okay.”

 

So I can ask as I’m driving so about two hours later, didn’t learn my lesson, speedin’ again, then I get pulled over again. And I’m thinking myself as the officers walking up like God, I hope you didn’t like put something on my actual record cuz I had no, I had notickets or anything. I had nothing. super clean, squeaky clean record. And you can walk up to the car and he’s like, “You know that we, you know fast you were going?” and I’m like, “No you’re gonna tell me, right?” Same thing. And I was going like really fast, and so he he comes he comes back and he’s like, “Everything looks fine but I’m gonna I’m gonna give you off the warning too.” And I’m like, wow, my god okay, but he’s like, “I’m gonna tell you this, right, you have two more counties you have to drive through. I’m radioing ahead, letting them know you’re coming, because we know all the cars are coming because you know there’s not that much traffic it’s coming in between Reno and there. So as long as long as you see the speed limit I’ll let you off.”

 

So he walks away and like oh my god I just, I just dodged another bullet, and so I I drive,  I start driving out of there. I put my car in cruise control exactly the speed limit 70 miles an hour all the way back, so I’m so after that so then I get I get it I get back and I fly out the next day so I’m like, Oh, that was that was crisis averted twice.

 

Brian Schoenborn  32:58 

Yeah, no shit. Like, I mean, they could have taken your car, you could have gone to jail.

 

Mike Fraser  33:02 

Yeah, yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  33:03 

Wreckless driving or whatever it is.

 

Mike Fraser  33:05 

Yeah, so ever since then I’ve been a very, very, very good driver and not deal with that again. But I was young and you know, I was trying to get back I was just like, “Good god, I missed my flight. It’s an hour flight to Reno. Now I’m driving 14, 15 plus hours back and forth, and I gotta fly out the next day.

 

Brian Schoenborn  33:23 

All because you missed your flight.

 

Mike Fraser  33:24 

Yeah, exactly. Like you can’t give me these orders? You can’t fax em to me? No, no, you gotta be here in person, like, oh my god. So I get so anyway, so I fly. I fly to Biloxi. I start, start my tech school. And that year before they had just finished our, our building our training building that we were in, and it was hurricane proof. So we started tech school and I’m going through tech school in 2005. Right?

 

Brian Schoenborn  33:51 

You had a brand new building?

 

Mike Fraser  33:52 

Brand new building.

 

Oh it must be nice.

 

So July, it was super nice. Yeah, Air Force. Air Force all the way.

 

Brian Schoenborn  33:56 

Marines don’t get anything new. We get whatever the Army or Air Force doesn’t want anymore.

 

Mike Fraser  34:01 

Yeah, we don’t want this anymore. You can have it. So we so we So, so we started tech school. And because I stopped my…

 

Brian Schoenborn  34:10 

I heard that in my microphone.

 

Mike Fraser  34:12 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  34:13 

So they’re playing nerf basketball in the office next door.

 

Mike Fraser  34:15 

Somebody alley-ooped. So they, so they do a…so, so we started tech school up and so of course I again I shut my business down, so they let me stay off base because they didn’t have any base housing and so we so I’m like, Oh cool. So I’m like at Howard Johnson right off base, and the guy who owns it, he owns like five different hotels and they have no Wi Fi. They’re all wired. So I’m like perfect opportunity. I’m going to serve, I’m gonna I’m gonna propose to him to install Wi Fi as a pilot, and if he likes it here during the entire time I have tech school I will do all of his hotels.

 

So I start getting everything set up. I’m going do the implementation in the in and then this one August end of August. They tell us, “Come, come on to the base because Katrina is coming. There’s this Hurricane Katrina thing that’s coming.” And we’re like, “Okay, and I mind you as a teenager I was in Florida, so I went through a few hurricanes.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:11 

Yeah, for sure.

 

Mike Fraser  35:12 

So I’m thinking myself, okay. But then they’re like, it’s category 5. I’m like, now there’s no freaking way. We’re going to the base and we’re going to start, we’re gonna start at school the next day. So optimistic. We’re in a hurricane rebuilding. We’re going to start up tech school the next day. I’m just like, yeah, that’s not happening. But it’s cool. I’m gonna bring some of, some of my gear, because we need to set up to have a LAN party so, and the LAN party is where essentially we all set up our laptops and we play games.

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:36 

Yeah, exactly.

 

Mike Fraser  35:38 

So I built, we built that the LAN, and mind you were all like nerds there. So it’s, so we set up everything. And we have, we have all our cell phone so we hooked up all the cell phones so we can we could talk through the LAN on IM, so we’re all talking til like 3am in the morning when the cell phone towers battery and generator batteries go out and when everything just down. But we were talking to there was no, there’s no further point of communication through the cell towers and that’s when Hurricane Katrina is coming full on.

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:05 

Yeah.

 

Mike Fraser  36:06 

And so it comes on full on, and we see like, even before the eye of the storm comes and knocks out you know, everything gets knocked out later on. The very beginning of the storm, I’m seeing, like, little buildings getting just lifted up out of the ground and flying down the flightline.

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:23 

No shit? Crazy.

 

Mike Fraser  36:24 

Oh, yeah, there’s like just massive debris everywhere. And we’re in this hurricane-proof building. So we’re all good, although it sprouted a leak.

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:32 

It’s not quite hurricane-proof, like, 99%.

 

Mike Fraser  36:35 

Yeah, it was hurricane-proof to the point that we wouldn’t die in our winds, right? You know, we could all drown from the water, too, but we had a leak and they were playing like you know, so we’re playing LAN parties and there’s a generator in the building so we’re playing that and we’re all good there. And the next day rolls around and the hurricane, you know, passes and the aftermath is just you know, obviously you know, now, devastating.

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:59 

Yeah, for sure. No joke.

 

Mike Fraser  37:00 

So we, so we, we walk outside and we’re just like yeah we’re, we’re not starting school up today and we’re also probably not heading home anytime soon. So for about the next two weeks we start helping clean up the base and so we’re having to flush toilets, you know, having to, like, not flush toilets if we, you know, for you know yeah conserve water. Eating MREs and they ran out food pretty quickly.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:28 

Oh you guys had to eat MREs?

 

Mike Fraser  37:29 

Yeah, it was tough.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:32 

What was your favorite one?

 

Mike Fraser  37:32 

Oh, man.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:35 

Did you guys use the steno cans? You probably did huh?

 

Mike Fraser  37:37 

No, we had the, the bags with the…

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:40 

The heating thing?

 

Mike Fraser  37:41 

Yeah, the heating bag. But it’s the bag so they we just throw in the bag and it heats up in the bag.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:46 

I mean, that’s high-tech.

 

Mike Fraser  37:47 

Yeah. Oh, man.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:48 

We had the steno can option but we could never use them. So we just ate all our shit cold.

 

Mike Fraser  37:52 

Cause you can turn them into like little bombs.

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:54 

Yeah, right exactly. Like my, god man, I remember the five fingers of death. It was the hot dog MRE.

 

Mike Fraser  38:00 

Oh yeah. Ugh. We had really we had we had we had really nice ones we had like beef stew and…

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:08 

I think I had beef stew.

 

Mike Fraser  38:09  

Yeah, we had we have a spaghetti and meatballs.

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:13 

Oh nice, that sounds awesome.

 

Mike Fraser  38:13 

Yeah, there was…Yeah, there was all kinds of some really good ones.

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:16 

That’s some quality food there.

 

Mike Fraser  38:17 

They have a, I wouldn’t say high quality. Higher quality than that…

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:22 

God, I remember the beef stew. Oy! We used to eat that shit cold because you know, when we’re in the inventory, we’re just we’re in the field, right? so we’re like camping out, like camping out and nothing but our sleeping bags and our weapons, right, and our backpacks. But they would say you can’t light the steno cans because that makes you a target, obviously, right? So we’re eating like cold ass like, you know, like, like beef stew like when it’s cold. It’s like you know, like if you ever look at like, like beef or like pork or something

 

Mike Fraser  38:49 

Yeah, it coagulates.

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:49 

It coagulated, right? So the fat is like thick and white and stuff. That’s what you’re eating in this beef stew.

 

Mike Fraser  38:55 

At least you can still recognize it’s fat though. So that’s good, right?

 

Brian Schoenborn  38:59 

Hardly. It’s a whitish substance.

 

Mike Fraser  39:02 

This is supposed to be nutritious, okay, fine. Yeah so we just and we would have they would have cookies and candy and ours and so we’d have some people are just like stockpiling that so you just like, grab as many…

 

Brian Schoenborn  39:16 

Like selling them, it becomes currency, like cigarettes in prison?

 

Mike Fraser  39:19 

So we’re like, okay, fine. So I end up, one…they had had all of the cars of everybody that drove there driven there parked between the hangers, and the hangers have old tar and gravel roofs and so they just became like projectiles. And we got out, it looked like somebody just taken a machine gun and just shot up the all the cars…

 

We don’t get to like yeah, we didn’t get to that becoming currency in Keesler. It was getting close. So, so we were there for almost two weeks and they come into and, you know, we hadn’t showered. We’re conserving water, the nice thing is we still had a generator so we’re still playing LAN and the Xbox is fine. It’s going constant, the PlayStation, all the way through but that got old too. And so finally we’re just we they come in, they give us orders that just say fill in your name and figure out how to get home.

 

Brian Schoenborn  40:12 

Jesus.

 

Mike Fraser  40:13 

…windows busted out and everything so one of the guys that I was there with, he was from Atlanta and so he’s like, he had still his windshield in tact, he had a quarter tank of ga. He’s like, “Hey let’s, let’s bounce.” We threw all our bags in the back of his truck and we roll out of there. When we get to Alabama and you know it is looking, so even before we drove out of it so we drove out of there, and two of the three bridges that connected the mainland to the beach side were knocked out, and so there’s just one bridge to fly over. And when I was driving over, I could actually see there was like a I think they got to Sav-a-Lot where people were like going there to get food, and you could see like fights breaking out like just full on like little riots, little fights happening down here and just like…

 

Brian Schoenborn  40:54 

You know what’s funny is like most people when when you think about Katrina, you think about New Orleans, right? You know, Biloxi and Alabama, obviously it’s east of that, like, at least me like I don’t typically think like those areas were as affected…

 

Mike Fraser  41:09 

Yeah, yeah but we had like this…

 

Brian Schoenborn  41:10 

…we hear about this stuff with the windows blown out and like you know people fighting over food and the Save-a-Lot and stuff like that like you know it was a big ass hurricane, dude.

 

Mike Fraser  41:18 

Yeah I mean, the aftermath of what happened in Biloxi was, was I mean the entire beach side there was like one there was a casino there’s a restaurant casino was like it was like an old pirate…It was like it looked like to be like an old pirate ship ended up like a mile or two down the road. I mean, it was like crazy stuff happening. The Hard Rock Casino got flooded on multiple floors and they were just about to open. That happened because I ended up in one of the casinos playing blackjack before it happened and they were all at Imperial Palace there, and they and they were like “Oh yeah we’re gonna start out here,” and then I was like, “Katrina is coming, like, no you’re not there’s no way. No way.”

 

And a there was like I think over 1000 people are supposed to start work there and they all got dispersed to other Hard Rocks around the world. So yeah, it was it was it was pretty crazy but the hotel that I was doing work at got completely wiped out too, and then, so back to getting out of Keesler. So we booked it out of there and we get to Alabama and pull into a, a gas station and there’s like 200 people deep because everybody needs fuel and they’re trying to get out, and so I was like, “Nah, we have pull up to the cops that are up there like trying to keep pandemonium from breaking out.” And the cops are like, “Oh yeah, you’re you’re come from Keesler? Yeah, we’ll let you in.” So they let us in. Everybody’s like cheering us on to like drive in the front. Get gas.

 

Brian Schoenborn  42:42 

They’re cheering on the patriots that are also trying to run from the storm.

 

Mike Fraser  42:45 

We’re trying to get out of here! We’ve already put in our two weeks. We just want to get home. So, so we so I get to the airport and he drops me off get the airport and walk up to the to the airline, and go to get a ticket, and I’m saying like 10 feet back because I smell like just yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:05 

Hell. Boiled asshole I think is the proper term.

 

Mike Fraser  43:07 

Yeah. Exactly. It’s a marine term.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:12 

That’s right.

 

Mike Fraser  43:14 

And so I was like, I just wanna I just want a first class ticket back home, and I want to get back home, so I ended up getting a first class ticket home. Booked at the nicest hotel they had there, the Crowne Plaza, Crown Point, crown crown something.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:28 

Yeah.

 

Mike Fraser  43:29 

Booked the hotel room got like 100 and some odd dollars worth of room service. I think I took like a three hour shower.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:36 

You’re making up for lost time.

 

Mike Fraser  43:39 

So it was just like, oh, man, so get back. It was just like, yeah, it’s crazy. And we never ever end up going back to tech school, because, I mean, it took them forever and a day to repair the base. At the same time, I think the the chief of, one of the chiefs at the base got like, dinged for looting too, looting the PX.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:59 

Really? Really? Really?

 

Mike Fraser  44:02 

There’s a full-on story about it, it’s like what? What?

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:05 

There’s a storm and he’s like, “We’re all gonna die!”

 

Mike Fraser  44:13 

That’s where your mind goes, I’m gonna go take some stuff from the PX. All right.

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:21 

That’s leadership.

 

Mike Fraser  44:21 

Yeah, yeah. Good times.

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:24 

That’s funny.

 

Mike Fraser  44:25 

Yeah. So I end up, so I’m leaving there, but that that’s…Yeah, so I was actually in Hurricane Katrina as it hit there in Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. So that’s uh, yeah, not too many people can have the kind of fame like said the only place closer could have been New Orleans. Yeah. I think Biloxi got hit pretty bad too. I mean, the fact that they couldn’t even get us out of the base for two weeks or two weeks couldn’t had to give us orders where we essentially just throw our name and there was like, no, there was no process. There was no there’s nothing anywhere just like, get out. We can’t deal with you anymore.

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:59 

So tech school’s cancelled.

 

Mike Fraser  45:00 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:01 

Did you got your did you get your certificate or whatever?

 

Mike Fraser  45:04 

No, never, never did.

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:06 

Nothing ever came from that?

 

Mike Fraser  45:07 

Cuz I was like, I’m not going back to tech school again. You want me to uproot my life all over again at a later point in time? No. That’s ridiculous. So.

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:15 

I remember I was in college, actually, this was after I was out of the Corps. I was in this business fraternity. And I was the social chair. And when Hurricane Katrina hit, it was pretty devastating. I went to school up in Michigan in the state of Michigan. As social chair, I threw this Kegs for Katrina party. And essentially,

 

Mike Fraser  45:43 

Why did you send any to to us at Keesler man? We would have been down with some kegs.

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:47 

We brought the people in for the drinks.

 

Mike Fraser  45:50 

We needed kegs.

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:51 

We had something like 500 people, we had two DJs dude. Like, it was crazy. And we were just charging five bucks a head and like, you know, so it’s like 20, what’s 5 times 500? 2,500 bucks? That’s not a huge amount of money, but we took all that money and send it the Red Cross and, you know, try to help people out in need. But that was a pretty crazy storm man. You know, I actually I lived, I lived through a hurricane as well.

 

Mike Fraser  46:16 

Which one?

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:17 

Hurricane Sandy. I was in Hoboken at the time. This is just before I left America.

 

Mike Fraser  46:23 

He’s back though. By the way.

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:24 

I’m back. I’m in Seattle right now. I was an agent for about four years. But I’m back. I’m in Seattle right now. I’ll be elsewhere soon. But I remember, so actually two hurricanes I survived. I was in Boston when Hurricane Irene came through and everyone’s freaking out, “Oh, my God, Hurricane Irene!” I bought a hurricane emergency kit, you know, in the form of pizzas and beers.

 

Mike Fraser  46:48 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:48 

Right? Me and my roommate, my girlfriend at the time and his girl, whatever. Like, we’re all holing up in our house. And they’re like, “Oh, the hurricane’s coming.” And I go outside for like hours and it was just like a mist. Like I’m drinking beers on the, “You call this a storm?”

 

Mike Fraser  47:07 

Like the calm before the storm.

 

Brian Schoenborn  47:08 

Like Lieutenant Dan and shit. No, no, but it never happened. It didn’t really it just like brushed over it. So then when I was living in New York like a year or so later whenever Hurricane Sandy…

 

Mike Fraser  47:18 

You were just like hurricanes a breeze. It’s not big deal.

 

Brian Schoenborn  47:20 

Yeah, right? I’m like, “This hurricane is gonna be huge? Okay, whatever.” So I’m in Hoboken and Hoboken is right, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.

 

Mike Fraser  47:30 

I know. Because I know Cake Boss.

 

Brian Schoenborn  47:31 

Yeah, exactly. I know. Right? Yeah. But it’s, you know, it’s it’s right next to New York City. Next to Manhattan, right? It’s just on the other side of the river. I went to the shore as the hurricane was coming in. And that one was no fucking joke, dude. I brought my girlfriend out there with me. She was from China. And she’s, she’s standing there. She’s like five feet tall, like 90 pounds. She’s going, “This is crazy! Why are you doing this to me?” And I’m like, “I wanna check this out.”

 

Mike Fraser  48:01 

You didn’t have your you have your hurricane-proof building that you were in, inside?

 

Brian Schoenborn  48:06 

Oh, I mean we went to, we went back there.

 

Mike Fraser  48:08 

But you went to the, did you go to the the amusement park on that roller coasters, right there on the beach right as it was coming in?

 

Brian Schoenborn  48:15 

I should have! I don’t know, we just went to the ,we just went to the little coast where you can go in the water whatever like a beachhead.

 

Mike Fraser  48:20 

No, you shouldn’t have because that whole thing got like completely annihilated.

 

Didn’t Sandy happened like, like close to fall? It was like colder then too?

 

Brian Schoenborn  48:23 

Yeah, I know. So like, we saw this coming in like, trees are like, blowing like halfway over right? There were like the, like the street signs were, like, flailing like hardcore in the wind. You know, so we made our way back to to our apartment. And we’re like, “Holy shit is crazy.” And at one point like this emergency alarm went off like a fire alarm or something. And like right after that happened, power gone. Cell phone towers gone. Electric gone. You know, we had a refrigerator full of food. But I’m like, “Oh, we can’t even cook this stuff.” I find out what, we had no power for like over a week. We eventually made our way, we somehow we made our way into the city, and it was like going from the Stone Age into the modern times.

 

Yeah i was just before Halloween.

 

Mike Fraser  49:15 

Yeah it was pretty late, yeah. It was like super it was getting pretty chilly…

 

Brian Schoenborn  49:19 

So we were wearing jackets when this happened. Yeah we were wearing jackets and then like a couple days later it snowed, right?

 

Mike Fraser  49:25  

Yeah, okay that’s that’s what I remember. Yeah, yeah, that’s like that’s like the epitome of like never happening ever except this one time.

 

Brian Schoenborn  49:34 

Well, and here’s the thing about Sandy was like, you know, it was raining hard right? Winds crazy, right? But it wasn’t the floo-, the downpour that caused all the damage. You know, we had American Red Cross, Army National Guard was there, CNN was there. Diane Sawyer was over there covering it, like that sort of thing. Um, it wasn’t so much the downpour. It was the storm surge up the Hudson River. So I remember watching the streets flooding, and it was coming up through the sewers. It was fucking gross, dude, like poop water. I’m not even kidding. Poop water just rising, it had rised up and we were like three or four feet flooded, dude. There’s people cruising around on little like rafts and shit.

 

Mike Fraser  50:17 

You should have been doing a backstoke.

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:18 

Oh, god, it was so gross.

 

Mike Fraser  50:23 

Something you couldn’t even be protected from NBC gear by.

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:26 

No! So I mean, you know, we survived a lot of people, you know, there wasn’t a lot of damage to our places were higher up in the apartment, but um you know a lot of people lost their stuff whole lives and things like that, you know it was terrible. But yeah, hurricanes.

 

Mike Fraser  50:40 

Yeah. Thankfully most of my stuff was in a a very well protected storage unit in Las Vegas.

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:48 

Oh yeah. Pretty much walked unscathed.

 

Mike Fraser  50:51 

I had a bunch of stuff at the hotel that got completely annihilated but it was just like, well, you know, I’m that’s insurance. So, that’s what you gotta do.

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:58 

Yeah. So what um, I want to, I want to shift back to your entrepreneurial stuff. We can talk about that for a little bit. You mentioned something was it was it the Was it the mailbox computer store that you had with the lease that there was like something going on with your house? Is that what happened?

 

Mike Fraser  51:18 

Yeah, yeah. So I, so I saw it. So this this is actually funny because it’s been 15 years now since I’ve actually talked to my stepfather who was a part of the story I haven’t actually told on any, in any forum of any sort other than just, you know, telling people that the actual story. And it’s interesting because I was actually going through a bunch of old paperwork, and I have this folder full of all the paperwork from this particular story that I’m about to tell you.

 

Brian Schoenborn  51:51 

Yeah.

 

Mike Fraser  51:53 

So I had my first store mailbox mailbox or computer repair shop and I was 19. And I had another business partner who was in his in his 20s but we both didn’t have credit, so we needed credit. So I talked to my stepfather said, “Hey, I want to open up the store, I want to be able to, you know, make a go at this.” And so he agreed to sign on the lease so he’d become an actual owner of the business. But then at front of me, Catherine, and it was all I was from all the work that I did from all the computers that I built from people and just generally speaking, saving money and getting a loan against my car. I opened up the store, so I so I did that.

 

And many, many or a few…I shouldn’t say many months later…a few months later, after the holiday season. He asked us for, he wanted us to start paying him money out of the business because he signed-on. We’re like, “Look, we’re just we just started this thing out. We’re trying to make this work. Nobody’s taking money out of this. We just need to make this a successful venture. We just came out of being able to, you know, pay to put up the sign and pay for various things that we need with the business.” So we did that. So we said, “No, we can’t we can’t do that.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:02 

So so so he’s just like, I don’t know where he’s like, “Pay me,”?.

 

Mike Fraser  53:05 

Yeah, pretty much.

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:06 

So I mean, but what was his function? Like, he just literally just scribble on at lease.

 

Mike Fraser  53:10 

Yeah, signed the lease.

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:13 

Awesome.

 

Mike Fraser  53:14 

Nothing. Nothing. So so I’m just like…

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:18 

He’s like a slumlord. To his own stepkid. Jesus.

 

Mike Fraser  53:20 

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. More stories about that but yeah, we’ll focus on this one. So yeah and, mind you, this is the same individual who, in order to leave to go into the Air Force, had me signed a promissory note for him for my bonus so that I could get transcripts because I was homeschooled.

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:42 

Okay, wait. So he paid you, or you, he made you pay him?

 

Mike Fraser  53:48 

He made me sign I never ended up actually paying him because his whole way of this whole falling out but yeah, he me said sign a promissory note. Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:54 

What? Dude. This guy, man.

 

Mike Fraser  53:57 

That’s some shady, shady shit. I’ll tell you.

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:01 

That’s a way to treat you. And what it’s worth, he wasn’t blood.

 

Mike Fraser  54:04 

No, no, of course, obviously.

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:06 

Clearly. Jesus Christ.

 

Mike Fraser  54:08 

But interesting, I have another interesting story around that and then I’ll get back to that story because it segues into this. So I, so I in the ASVAB I aced the ASVAB. So I went into the training for the ASVAB, got a 98. I got a super high score on the ASVAB as well. And, so, but I went into basic training, and the he, since I’ve had a son promissory note, gave the transcripts and so I get in. And he’s like, he had somebody call in, some woman call in, and tell them that, “Oh, no, his transcripts aren’t good.”

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:42 

What?

 

Mike Fraser  54:42 

So they call me in. So they call me in. I kind of, they pulled me out of formation. They call me into the commander’s office. I go in there and have to talk to him like, “Hey, what’s the story about this? What’s happening here? We may have kicked you out.” Wow. And so we’re like, “We’ll kick you out at the front of the gate and you just got to get home.”

 

I’m like, ugh. “So we’re going to review your stuff.” So I’m like, scared shitless. I’m not going back home. And you know, I’m going in the Air Force to get away from my house. So I’m there. And so, but they called me back in about two days later, and they’re like, “Oh, with your ASVAB scores Michael, we’re going to give you a waiver.” So I’m like one of the only people in the Air Force that got a waiver just for having ASVAB scores because in the Air Force, you actually have to be educated.

 

Brian Schoenborn  55:26 

Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean. Hey, I got a 97 on mine, dude.

 

Mike Fraser  55:31  

Yeah. Nice.

 

Brian Schoenborn  55:32 

Yeah. They said I could do whatever I wanted to do, and I said, “Fuck you, give me a gun.” Because I’m smart but I’m fucking nuts.

 

Mike Fraser  55:41 

So I, uh…so…nice. So I got so I but I got mine being homeschooled. So yeah. And even better. So So…

 

Brian Schoenborn  55:54 

I get it you’re better. You’re smarter.

 

Mike Fraser  55:56 

But more interesting that, I get my, I get my, so I get my waiver like you’re good to go. So I never actually went back to my GED or anything. So when I got to my first base was taking college credits Well, they assume everybody who was in the Air Force has a high school diploma, so they don’t even ask. Yeah, yeah. So I roll in and to start taking courses. And so I took courses back then and due to the entrepreneur stuff I was doing sir my businesses I just kind of tabled and that said, I’ll come back to school later on, because I got like, halfway through my, my I got enough credits. I almost had half, halfway through my bachelor’s, I was essentially like, like an associate’s. Yeah. So I did a bunch of bunch of classes, but I never finished and so I went back to school to finish in 2016, and finished my bachelor’s and then got a master’s in computer science.

 

Brian Schoenborn  56:46 

Three years.

 

Mike Fraser  56:46 

In three years, and I don’t even have high school diploma. And I don’t need one. It’s all good though. But I’m probably the only person that anybody’s ever known that has a has a master’s degree, bachelor’s and a Master’s but no high school diploma.

 

Brian Schoenborn  57:01 

Take that institutionalized education.

 

Mike Fraser  57:03 

Not saying don’t finish what you start.

 

Brian Schoenborn  57:06 

I’ve got teachers in my family dude, I get it.

 

Mike Fraser  57:08 

You know, it’s fine. But yeah, high school is not all it’s cracked up to be.

 

Brian Schoenborn  57:11 

No. Well just means I mean, you can be successful without it.

 

Mike Fraser  57:15 

Yeah. And if you if you have the aptitude and you can have the wherewithal to get through a program, you can do it. But back to the story. So when it comes to the store, so he’s asking for money, and so we can…so we say, “No, we can’t do it.” And so he says, okay, so he calls up the property management company that has the lease and says, “Hey, look, I want my name pulled off of this.” And they’re like, “Well, you have to get a guarantor.”

 

So my my, so the other guy that I’m with, we jumped in the car, drive to Santa Monica, because that’s where the property management. Like, “Hey, we really want to keep the store going.” And they’re like, “Sorry, you need to have somebody else to sign this lease. Because, you know, it’s a multi year lease and we just, you know, even though you’ve been running this thing and paying us, we really need to have somebody that’s, that’s older on it.”

 

So we’re just like, okay, well, and so we ended up having closed down the store. So we had a closed closed down the store.

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:04 

Because he was trying to extort you, essentially.

 

Mike Fraser  58:05 

Yeah, exactly. So we ended up closing down the store and he he ends up getting super super vindictive about it. And so, I don’t know, it’s a little while later, and I get stopped at the base, the gate and they’re like, “Oh, you have to come in for a drug test.” I’m like, “What? Okay whatever I’m fine.” So I go in for the drug test, and they’re like, “It’s a random drug test.” And then I go on for it, and I you know, completely pass and now you’re called the commanders, the commander of the base’s office. Not even my commander, like, of the base.

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:06 

So was he like a general or something?

 

Mike Fraser  58:38 

Yeah, General.

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:39 

Jesus Christ.

 

Mike Fraser  58:40 

In OSI so general general would at the time and it was eyes is investigating too. And so..

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:44 

Which OSI is?

 

Mike Fraser  58:46 

Office of Special Investigations.

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:47 

Good lord, man.

 

There we go.

 

Mike Fraser  58:47 

Yeah. And so they’re investigating to so I have to go and talk with them. I’m recording all these phone calls from these emails from him. He sends a letter to the base about telling him how I’m a drug runner and I’m a homosexual, all these things. I’m just like, oh my god. So I’m having to go explain myself and then at the same time, he contacts and then it’s, and then, he’s essentially saying that I perpetrated a fraud on the lease, right, by forging a signature, which funny enough…

 

…but he signed the lease. I put the date on there because he didn’t end up putting a date. Right? So he tried to use that as the, oh, well he dated it. I didn’t, so it’s a forged lease. So I’m like, “Dude, it’s your signature. And you agreed to this and you’re part of the, you are part of the business initially. So, okay.”

 

So they investigate, the North Las Vegas Police Department gets involved too, and says, “Hey, I, you know, he’s accusing you of fraud.” So I had to come in there and present all my stuff to them. And of course, everything gets dismissed because there’s no there’s no fraud. There’s nothing here.

 

Brian Schoenborn  59:46 

Yeah.

 

Mike Fraser  59:46 

So he turns around files a TPO against me, so I get served a temporary protection order. Yeah. Saying I threatened his life because I bought a gun from my roommate. So I owned a gun, I threatened him that his life was in danger.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:03 

Come on. But that guy’s scared shitless becaue he tried to go after you, and you’re like, Fuck that.

 

Mike Fraser  1:00:08 

Yeah, so then I’m just like, okay.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:11 

And you’re military, and you’ve got a gun.

 

Mike Fraser  1:00:12 

And he doesn’t show up to the court and they dismissed him and just like, what is happening here? But it’s one of those things where you’re just like, this is, this type of stuff. You can’t make it up, right? You go through it. And like I said, I have like a stack of things, or a whole stack of paperwork from this. So you’re just, it’s just like, one thing after another, and you can’t even believe that this is happening to you. I mean, I can believe it, because, you know, I knew my stepdad for a long time. So he’s a very, very vindictive, very evil person. But at the same time, I was just like, it was like blowing my mind like one thing after another. And it’s like, what what is happening here? And he’s just, you know, like, super, super major. So I haven’t talked to him in 15, 15 years.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:52 

Is he still with your mom?

 

Mike Fraser  1:00:53 

No, no, thankfully they…

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:55 

Well, at least you got reason not to talk to him.

 

No reason to be talking to him.

 

Mike Fraser  1:00:57 

Yeah. Yeah. None of my siblings.

 

…none of my siblings talk to him as far as I know. He’s completely checked out, you know, he’s now married to like a a mail order bride. He was like doing like these weird trips to the Ukraine, just hopping over there, yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:19 

So weird and wrong on so many levels.

 

Mike Fraser  1:01:22 

I don’t know. I say mail order, who really knows? All I hear is this crazy shit.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:26 

But if you’re flying to Ukraine to find and meet your bride, I’m pretty sure that’s textbook mail order.

 

Mike Fraser  1:01:32 

He’s like flying over there flying back, like, what are you doing over there?

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:35 

And next thing you know he’s married.

 

Mike Fraser  1:01:37 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:39 

I met someone over there. Yeah, that’s funny. But so you see okay, let’s that’s a crazy assed story. I want to hear more about that offline.

 

Mike Fraser  1:01:51 

Yeah, but I’ll show you all the documents, you’ll just be like, “Oh my god, this is ridiculous.” Like, you just start reading through and you’re just like, “He really sent this to the base? He really did that?” I mean I have all the emails, all his faxes, all the everything that happened for back then. And you’re just like, “This really can happen to somebody?” Like, like especially when I’m like serving my country. I’m at my base.

 

I tried, I tried to try and just make a life for myself and you’re just dealing with this stuff like and this is…

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:14 

You’re the LeBron James.

 

It’s such bullshit.

 

Mike Fraser  1:02:25 

One of many stories I have where you’re just like, I can’t even believe this is happening. Why, why, why is this, what, what is, what is happening? How did I get to a place where this is happening? And but eventually realize, Yeah, you bet also realize like, yeah, you know, you will have resilient…you’re able to be resilient. You’re able to have the wherewithal to kind of move past it.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:44 

Yeah, for sure.

 

Mike Fraser  1:02:45 

But at the same time, you’re just like, wow!

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:46 

But when you’re in it, in the moment for sure. You know, like…

 

Mike Fraser  1:02:49 

Like, I’m being accused of what? That’s the furthest thing from the truth but okay.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:54 

You’ve got the base general and the Office of Special Investigations breathing down your neck. You’re what, 19, 20 years old?

 

Mike Fraser  1:03:00 

20, 21 or yeah, 20 turning 21.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:04 

Okay, so yeah, but you’re still like basically a baby now. And you’ve got these guys breathing down your neck over, like, complete false accusations.

 

Mike Fraser  1:03:12 

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Especially accusations at the time where like, being a homosexual or even now, you know, being a drug runner, whatever. It’s like, those are things that, you bring them up to a base and they’re like, “What is happening here? What is he doing what is happening?”

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:28 

Because back then it was like, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

 

Mike Fraser  1:03:29 

Yeah, it was Yeah, you couldn’t? Yeah, at all. Yeah. And funny. I think my chief was your first sergeant or he ended up being chief master sergeant in the Air Force. Or somebody, there was a few people there that ended up being gay after the fact and you kind of like, knew a little bit that they were, but then after the fact, you’re like, Okay, I didn’t care but…

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:51 

Yeah, like, you’re all there for the same purpose. Like, who give a shit?

 

Mike Fraser  1:03:55 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:56 

People that want to put their lives on the line for the country, like who cares who you wanna fucking…

 

Mike Fraser  1:04:00 

Yeah, just like us. It’s like same thing of like a bathroom situation like I don’t choose what about bathroom I want to go in. Okay, fine.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:04:07 

When I’m at home, I got one toilet.

 

Yeah, you know when you’re out about you’re like, I’m not like looking under stalls going, oh that person has issues on they must be this they must associate this gender like okay.

 

Fucking weird.

 

Mike Fraser  1:04:20 

Nobody really should care.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:04:21 

So that first entrepreneur, that first business that first business turned into a bit of a unfortunate ending, I guess, for lack of a better term. What have you done since, like you’ve moved into this, I want to talk about this your your new startup now a little bit.

 

Mike Fraser  1:04:37 

Yeah, so I’ve had multiple companies since and all technology focus. I’ve been very focused on so last few years I’ve gotten back into, so I left the guard in 2010 officially, and I have had some cloud or some startups that were based on cloud technologies, also on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VDI. And then, about three years ago I decided to get up into the software world it’s also an when I decided to go back to school. So that’s where I have my my bachelor’s and after that app development and then my masters in computer science, because I wanted to fully immerse myself back into the, the software side of it because I worked a lot on the engineering ops side, not so much the software side of things. And so started refactr about two years ago and our whole goal was to build a, to make automating easier for IT service providers and managed security services providers. So companies that are providing IT services to end customers that could be a small business could be medium sized business could be an enterprise and so they’re more like, you know, outsourced IT or that’s another term that’s used.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:05:54  

So you’re like, automating outsourced IT?

 

Mike Fraser  1:05:56 

We’re helping them automate making provide services to their customer base. So at the same time that everybody’s trying to get into dev ops and dev psych ops and pushing that forward, the you know, in the in the end customers, they’re also looking for service providers to help fill the talent gap for them to bring people in. And so that’s kind of where we live where you can use our platform to help automate. So we built a platform to do solution delivery, so that you can take a software defined solution.

 

So you hear a lot of turns out there now, like infrastructure as code, or configuration management, or API integrations. And so we built the platform to be able to tie into the infrastructure as code and configuration management and, and API integration, so you can build a full solution. That way you can tie into the different systems or build the infrastructure you want to build and configure a solution and then iterate on it like you do in the software world. So in the ops side of the world, you’re normally used to working with servers and you know, racking and stacking physical hardware, but now that everything is becoming as code I like to call it as IT as code, which is My Twitter handle, okay, just just just to throw it out there.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:07:03 

@itascode.

 

Mike Fraser  1:07:04 

Yeah, exactly. But it’s it is code. That’s my mantra is everything shifting to being Software Defined or as code. And so we need to be getting people into the mindset that, you know, as service providers, for IT services to their customer base, they need to be focused on this modern shift towards IT as code. And so that’s what we’ve been building the platform we have in trying to make it easier for them, which has been interesting and fun because, and also challenging, because we have to change the culture and the mind shift of where people are at with how they go about doing their their day to day jobs and being able to understand that automations are really you know, people call, you know, DevOps, DevSecOps, you know, being able to, to, it’s a it’s a, it’s a shift in mindset and how you go about doing things. So there’s like a It’s called in the DevOps world. It’s called comms. So there’s a C is for culture. So that’s where you’re focused on changing the culture and how people go about doing things. The A is for the automation piece, so you can go about automating. L is for lean. So essentially, taking a leaan approach…

 

Eexactly, and then the M is to measure so you want to have something measurable outcomes to what you’re doing. And then the the S, for?

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:08:15 

Doing as much as you can with as little as possible.

 

Mike Fraser  1:08:30 

Oh, duh. Sharing. Sure. Yeah, collaborating. Sharing. Even though I think that’s the one thing that the, the DevOps world does, in some ways, if you’re like, contributing his community to an open source project,

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:08:43 

…like a GitHub or something?

 

Mike Fraser  1:08:44 

Yeah. So you contribute to a project other people have that, you know, they may publish on GitHub. But at the same time, a lot of times, the stuff that people build out in those technologies, they they don’t like the developer world and the software engineering world, people are always sharing stuff. So you can go to like Stack Overflow or other types of forums where you can, you can, you know, you can ask a question and you can get an answer pretty relatively quickly. The DevOps world is not quite the same, you can but it’s a little bit more guarded on the information that’s out there and what people are sharing.

 

So I would love to see more of that happening, which is why we pushed out their playbook.cloud, which is a, we took a an existing automation tool called Ansible. It’s made by Red Hat, which is now IBM. So I don’t know it’s a Big Blue, Big Red. Now they’re Big Purple. But now I don’t buy IBM but to have an Ansible as a service product offering. So we could take an automation tool and turn it into a SAS based software as a service based offering to where you can utilize it in the cloud. And the cool thing is, we’ve done it all in Azure too. So we do have a big push with Azure to be able to push that product out in the marketplace and get some, some more traction on it.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:03 

So that’s like a Stack Overflow or something but for development operations?

 

Mike Fraser  1:10:08 

 No, this is more of an automation tool for companies to be able to leverage Ansible. But in, in the public cloud, so they don’t have to.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:18 

Oh, you’re talking about your core, like your core offering?

 

Mike Fraser  1:10:20 

Yeah. For offer one of our one of our products.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:22 

Yeah, okay, gotcha.

 

Mike Fraser  1:10:23 

So we have two products, that one was the Ansible as a service product. And then we have another one called the cloud plus security architect platform, which is our solution delivery platform. So you can build the solution in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform. And then also you can configure it with we have a tie into Ansible with it. And then you can also tie into API. So it’s really about building a full solution, and architecting out a reference architecture that you can deploy, and then you can iterate on over time.

 

So if you want to add new cloud services, you want to make changes to security controls and say, you know, maybe a VM or whatever, maybe you can do that from a holistic architecture standpoint versus, you know, oh, I’m going to chain these multiple tools together. And I don’t even know what it looks like or how things work. We built that out into a platform where you can visualize it. But at the core of every single thing that you’re building out in there, it is. It is as code. So it’s either infrastructure as code configuration management as code, or it’s, you know, API integrations as code. So they all they all have to speak code in order to actually work but we we’ve created a visual layer on top, so you can vizualize it all.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:11:37 

Are they using like, are they are they all using like the same coding languages or they?

 

Mike Fraser  1:11:42 

Yeah, so we, we kind of we you don’t have to do any coding in our platform. So we’ve we’ve level it. So it’s what you call YAML or JSON, but YAML is essentially yet it’s called to play on words, but a “yet another markup language”. It’s a very user, it’s a very human-readable format to where it’s super easy to read it. It’s not actually code. It’s what we call declarative. So you’re declaring what you want, but you’re not actually having to build out actual code.

 

And so you can, you can, you can accomplish a lot of things. That’s all the code there is code, but it’s behind the scenes that you’re running. Or you could have scripts and code that you want to introduce into the the product offering. But the same thing with the infrastructure side of it, because you can build what’s called a cloud template. So like an Azure resource manager template, that template is in what’s called JSON, but it’s again, it’s another, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation, which essentially is a an object where you can have you can again, declare everything, it’s structured a little bit differently than YAML. But it’s the same concept where you can declare your infrastructure. And so it doesn’t you don’t have to have a computer science degree to understand that.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:12:12 

Okay.

 

Yeah, that’s what I’m saying…

 

Mike Fraser  1:12:56 

You have to have a little bit of the fundamentals of how JSON works. How YAML works. And then obviously, you have to know the OP side of it. So how it relates to what’s actually going to be built up from an, you know, an infrastructure standpoint, what you’re configuring on the infrastructure, understanding how that maps into the, you know, security control requirements you have, depending upon the compliance that the customer, your customer, the customer has in there. So it could be, you know, HIPAA compliance or the Center for Internet Security Framework that’s out there is that’s one of the frameworks people look at is another one’s called NIST. So we look at two different frameworks and say, okay, you can, you can build out stuff according to these frameworks, too. But at the core of it all its infrastructure. It’s the configuration of the infrastructure, it’s the applications you install. It’s the data that you’re creating. So it’s, you know, all the same things that you would have maybe in a data center, but now it’s in the public cloud. It’s in somebody else’s data center. Microsoft, Google, or Amazon mostly.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:13:58 

Interesting. That’s a lot of that’s over my head. Admittedly so. But I’m you know, but I’m

 

Mike Fraser  1:14:05 

I tried to like, keep it less techie.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:08 

No, no, it’s great. Yeah, I mean, I’m sure you could have gotten much more technical on it. That’s great. Definitely something. b2b.

 

Mike Fraser  1:14:16 

Yeah, totally b2b.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:17 

Yeah, so you’re probably dealing with like, if you’re dealing with clients, they’re probably more like, you’re dealing with the IT development.

 

Mike Fraser  1:14:26 

Yeah, IT teams. Yeah, they’re IT or service providers that are essentially providing IT services to different types of businesses. So yeah, that Yeah, and we’re totally hundred percent b2b.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:42 

How’s how’s business going?

 

Mike Fraser  1:14:44 

Pretty good. We’ve got we got paying customers we have released playbook.cloud, we got, I don’t know, over 125 users now. So we’re, we’re getting there at an older clip and some paying customers too. So…

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:57 

It’s awesome.

 

Mike Fraser  1:14:58 

It’s pretty awesome. And you see the growth and not and some of the stuff we’re working on now like with the Azure marketplace and stuff is going to be cool. We may be in another company. We won the pitch competition last year. 400 grand. Just cool. We’ve been talking, looking at getting into the the Connect wise marketplace. That’s the company. That’s where we won at the IT Nation Connect event last year.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:20 

Oh, sweet.

 

Mike Fraser  1:15:21 

That was pretty cool. To get some notoriety there. I’m going to speak again there. And also speaking in All Day DevOps as well.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:27 

Where is that at?

 

Mike Fraser  1:15:28 

It’s virtual. I’m presenting at that, too. There’s going to be, last year there’s around 50,000 people that attended us overall. So it’s a essentially it’s about 150 speakers. So I’m one of the 150 speakers. There are talks for 24 hours straight. Oh, so you can attend any of the talks. Obviously, my session will will be here.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:48 

Of course.

 

Mike Fraser  1:15:49 

But yeah, we’re going to do that. And uh, yeah, actually, you should be back up here for that.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:55 

I might. Yeah, I might be around. I’m a bit of a nomad.

 

Mike Fraser  1:15:58 

We could get set up and have like a fireside chat, that sort of thing.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:16:02 

That would be awesome. No, let’s talk about it.

 

Mike Fraser  1:16:05 

So I’m actually doing a talk on it is code for that. So yeah, around Dev psych ops automation, but yeah, should be pretty good talk, but then there’s going to be a ton of really awesome speakers in the DevOps world that are going to be there too. So that’s one thing I’m doing. I’m also doing a bright,, bright talk. Yeah, bright talk.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:16:25 

What’s that?

 

Mike Fraser  1:16:25 

It’s a it’s a forum for thought leaders to be able to present on different topics. Okay. I’m time presenting on DevOps and enterprise IT switch topic. Again, IT as code. We bring it is good ideas, good ideas, good ideas. And then I will be at IT Nation presenting on guess what? IT as code. No, I’m not a robot.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:16:52 

You’re programming the listeners.

 

Mike Fraser  1:16:54 

It as code. Not it as code Please don’t say that. It’s IT as code.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:05 

IT as code.

 

Mike Fraser  1:17:07 

IT Nation. Connect 2019 presenting there as well. That should be pretty good too.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:15 

You have a busy couple of weeks.

 

Mike Fraser  1:17:16 

Have a few things in the hopper from now to then but yeah should be should be pretty good. AAnd I’ll be I’ll be at Ansible fest too as well. So that’s in Atlanta.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:27 

That’s in Atlanta?

 

Mike Fraser  1:17:28 

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:30 

Right on. Is there anything else I wanted to talk to you about? Because if not, that’s a pretty good spot to this topic.

 

Mike Fraser  1:17:37 

Final Countdown. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. The Final Countdown.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:55 

Anything you want to plug before we wrap this up?

 

Mike Fraser  1:17:57 

Yeah. So just the startup we have refactr, that’s REFACTR, so no final O vowel.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:18:08 

Got it.

 

Mike Fraser  1:18:10 

And so it’s a play on words. We’re refactoring IT. So you can go there and check out what we’re doing currently. And then we also have the playbook.cloud, which is self explanatory. It’s actually the URL is playbook.cloud. You can check that out too. That’s the Ansible as a service product offering that we’re really excited about and building out for anybody that wants to get in you can sign up for free account right out the gate if you want to check it out. And if you’re interested in Ansible as a service and aside from that, you can look me up on LinkedIn under ITascode as well as on Twitter as ITascode as well as on Facebook as ITascode as well as pretty much everywhere as ITascode. They call me that pervasive ITascode guy.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:18:50 

Consistent branding,

 

Mike Fraser  1:18:52 

That’s true, yeah. ITascode.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:18:54 

Right on man. It’s been a pleasure swapping some of those stories and looking forward to seeing what you what you got going on the next couple of months and in the future man. The future’s bright, man.

 

Mike Fraser  1:19:06 

Thanks, Brian. Really a pleasure.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:08 

Mike Fraser, everyone, you’ve been listening to half the city with Brian Schoenborn presented by 8B Media. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast, share it with your friends, and leave a solid five-star review to ensure these stories get spread far and wide. For more information, as well as the listen to other shows, including “Relentless: a Survivor’s Search for Passion, Purpose and Inner Peace” and “Beyond Relentless”, be sure to check out 8bmedia.com. Thank you for listening.

Related Episodes

1| Green Beret Lt. Col. (Ret.)
Chris Schmitt

2| From Cult Escapee to Culture Consultant, Daniella Young

4| Marine One Corpsman to Design Expert,
Chileen DuRaine-Duncan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top