Forecasting synthetic metrics.

November 5, 2019. Filed under infrastructure 34metrics 5reliability 3

Imagine you woke up one day and found yourself responsible for a Site Reliability Engineering team. By 10AM, you’ve downloaded a free copy the SRE book, and are starting to get the hang of things. Then an incident strikes: oh no! Folks rally to mitigate user impact and later diagnosis and remediate the underlying cause, but a bunch of your users have a very bad day. Your shoulders are a bit heavier than just a few hours ago. You sit down with your team and declare your bold leader-y goal: next quarter we’ll have _zero_ _incidents_.

Sending weekly 5-15 updates.

November 3, 2019. Filed under management 127

About a year ago I started sending public weekly updates to a relevant public (within the company) mailing list. I've found the practice useful enough to write a few works on the how and why. This practice is sometimes called a 5-15 report reflecting the goal of spending fifteen minutes a week writing a report that can be read in five minutes.

"Investing in technical infrastructure"

October 31, 2019. Filed under infrastructure 34speaking 6talks 4

A few weeks ago I got the chance to speak at SRECon EMEA 2019, and the videos are up! This is the video of my talk, Investing in technical infrastructure.

Healthchecks at scale.

October 27, 2019. Filed under infrastructure 34architecture 30

A couple days ago at Stripe's weekly incident review, we started a discussion on a topic that is always surprisingly controversial: healthchecks. I've been thinking about them since and have written up some related thoughts.

An Elegant Puzzle by the numbers, five months later.

October 23, 2019. Filed under elegant-puzzle 9

An Elegant Puzzle was released on May 20th, 2019. In June I summarized what I learned writing the book, which says what I have to say about creating the book. Instead of retreading that material, I wanted to recap An Elegant Puzzle by the numbers.

Founding Monocle Studios.

October 22, 2019. Filed under stories 9monocle-studios 2

Waiting to hear if I would be hired by Yahoo! in 2008, Luke Hatcher and I founded Monocle Studios. Between June 14th and November 7th, we designed and released our iOS game touchDefense. Unlike the stroy of Digg V4, this story has no relevance. However, it's a period I personally look back on rather fondly.

Nobody cares about quality.

October 12, 2019. Filed under management 127

You’re grabbing coffee with a coworker, and they’re caught deep in a rant loop, "Nobody cares about quality. They _say_ they care, but they don’t care." You helpfully decide to snap them out of the rant by providing some counter-examples, measuring your memories of the last few months and recounting some examples of slowing down for quality. Moments later, your contribution to the conversation is an easily traversed speed bump as the rant metastasizes, "They just don’t care."

A forty year career.

October 8, 2019. Filed under career 20

The Silicon Valley narrative centers on entrepreneurial protagonists who are poised one predestined step away from changing the world. A decade ago they were heroes, and more recently they’ve become villains, but either way they are absolutely the protagonists. Working within the industry, I’ve worked with quite a few non-protagonists who experience their time in technology differently: a period of obligatory toil required to pry open the gate to the American Dream.

Notes on data modeling from Handbook of Relational Database Design.

September 13, 2019. Filed under book 12

I’ve been working through Handbook of Relational Database Design by Candace Fleming and Barbara von Halle, first released in 1989, which ambitiously attempts to define best practice for both modeling data in a database agnostic way and also address implementation concerns for implementing and tuning databases. I’ll write up note for both eventually, and these are my notes on the first half of the book on defining data models.

Organizing team offsites.

September 8, 2019. Filed under management 127

Last week, the team I support had our quarterly offsite. I’ve been running team offsites more and more frequently over the past few years, and have finally been able to nail down an approach that consistently feels like an essential, effective use of time.