E42 - Malcolm Booden at MNB Networks

James Dean
Malcolm Booden

By James Dean & Malcolm Booden

On our 42nd episode of The Route to Networking, James Dean invited Malcolm Booden, the Founder of MNB Networks to the show. During this episode, they cover where it all began for Malcolm, his progression into the industry and some of the exciting things he is working on over at MNB Networks.

Malcolm has been in the industry for over 20 years, and he started his journey by falling into IT. Malcom left school with minimal qualifications which led him to do an apprenticeship in tiling. Shortly after he discovered this was not the career path for him and spoke with a college advisor about his options.

One of the things he was good at during school was technical drawing architectural buildings but if it was a career he was to pursue, it meant many years of academia ahead of him including 5 years at university followed by a further 3 years to qualify. With the prospect of that ahead of him, it became an unappealing option and so had a rethink about his options. He said that his brother was doing a Computer Science degree and at that time they were pushing for people to get into computer-based courses because they could see there was going to be a high demand for it in the future.

Malcolm decided to take that path and did a college course in IT and then progressed to a degree in Computer Networking. During his studies, he was fortunate enough to find a job working at an IT Help Desk, and the rest was history.

He then decided to take the plunge from the customer side of the fence to the provider side when he set up MNB Networks. He never saw himself as a business owner, and it was not something he decided to do overnight. It has been an ongoing process growing over the last 2 years.

The Networking industry is going through its biggest change so at MNB Networks they are helping customers understand the newer technologies but also migrate them into the cloud and it all comes under the application experience for the customer.

Some of the major changes he thinks we will see over the next 10 years are that there is going to be more of a cloud-first internet-first strategy. With a cloud-first strategy, instead of a private line, they will deploy it in a container in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environment in the cloud. Not only this but the WAN will be critical to everything in the Network and the time scales of deployment will come down.

The advice he gives to anyone who wants to get into the design side of the Network and more importantly wants to pursue the CCDE certification, he suggests you deploy most of the things you are designing. To do this, get involved with projects, and ask if you can get involved, the chances of them saying no is very slim because people in this industry want to help you. Try and get as much exposure to as many networks as possible.

When looking for new employees, the three non-negotiables that he looks for are honesty, integrity, and customer focus. Pay attention to these qualities when interviewing new employees, because you cannot always see them during the interview stage. He looks for people who will do the right things for the customer. Integrity is particularly important, because if you can’t be honest with your customers, you may cause damage to your reputation. The team must work together. He invests in his people to make sure they have the right skills and cultural fit within the team, so they can work well together. And he looks for people who are easy-going and friendly – this is because he wants everyone to enjoy their jobs. And the last thing is people who are easy to work with in a team.

To hear some great answers from the quick-fire round, make sure you tune in now to listen to the full episode!