I’ve actually never thought about it that way. I’m even completely surprised that some of the posts that I’ve written have sort of gotten the attention that they have. It’s very new to me, it’s also very surprising, because like I said, a lot of those things were more for my own understanding, and it’s just very strange to me that something that I personally thought would only ever make sense to me is something that other people find interesting, as well.
I’m not sure why that happens or what it is that resonates… I mean, I’m happy to hear that it resonates with a lot of people, but I don’t know. For me, a lot of things — I’m not the first person to say this, but what I believe is happening right now is a lot of conversation, especially about a lot of tools and a lot of new technologies that are emerging, a lot of the conversation is being monopolized by specific people or specific groups of people, who present a very tailored narrative, or a very tailored perspective. What I feel is lacking is just a different story, a different perspective, or just a different side of the same story.
[00:11:53.16] I think probably – I’m guessing – the reason why some people think that some of the things that I say make sense or have merit is because it just presents this alternative viewpoint that probably isn’t being talked about a lot otherwise. I think that’s very true with — let’s for instance take the post that I wrote on schedulers. The main reason I wrote that was because it was meant to be an internal doc; it was never meant to be a public blog post. I didn’t start out writing that with that intention. We had just introduced a scheduler, and my service was the first one to be picked to be moved over to that paradigm of deploying applications.
One of the reasons why my service was picked was because it was like a fresh greenfield project that I was working on, so it sort of made sense to pick that – it’s brand new; if it fails, it’s probably not the worst thing, because it gives us a lot of time to test. We weren’t really changing anything that’s currently in production. So my service was the first one that was picked, which also meant that I could no longer just be on the sidelines, just sort of be hearing what people are saying about it and just reading these blog posts and these tweets about everything, but it really meant that I had to actually understand what it was and why we were doing this.
Like I said, I work at a startup, which means that not a lot of things are well-documented. I didn’t really have our SREs sit me down and explain everything from the beginning to the end, saying “Okay, this is how we are doing it, this is why things are not working, this is what needs to change and this is why we’re using a scheduler.” A lot of the information in that blog post was just me trying to understand how things are even set up for our work, and why things are set up that way, and why they’re even moving.
I think understanding that, that that kernel was very important to even understand why we need a scheduler, and then to sort of understand how things are gonna be changing. So the whole post sort of originated as me trying to just sit down, understand all these different moving parts that no one had really documented or written down any of that or properly explained, and to sort of demystify all of that for once and for all. Then once that post was done — it was an internal doc, it went into a wiki. Then I was like, “You know, there’s actually nothing here that’s super secretive, or that cannot actually be shared with other people.” It was extremely long – it was embarrassingly long, so what I thought to myself was that “Jesus, this is just so long… I just can’t possibly imagine who would wanna read it.” But then I thought there were some interesting ideas there, or rather, I wanted to know if what I was thinking even really made sense. I mean, it made sense internally to us, but a lot of times I think in software development it becomes very easy to validate your own viewpoint or your own biases, because you talk to other people – in my case it was my co-workers – who also all believe the same.
So I thought it would make sense to make it public, because that way I could get other people’s opinions. Maybe even if there was just one other person who read it, maybe I’d find out just what they think, and even see if some of our assumptions and some of the way in which we approach these problems really made sense.
Then I published it and then it sort of took a life of its own, which is still extremly surprising to me. So that’s how that came about, and the reason I believe those who liked it did so is again because it was just a different perspective, it was just a different voice. It was more about actually solving problems, as opposed to just using technology. That is something that I think about a lot, and that is actually something that I spend most of my time doing, solving problems, and technology is just like a tool that I use to solve different problems. But at the end of the day, it’s more about problem-solving.
[00:16:09.16] I think that a lot of tools, especially the standard opinions and the standard narrative that you get about a lot of these technologies is about, you know, “Hey, here’s this cool mutex. This is what it does, this is how it does it, this is how it’s super cool and this is why you should be using it.” And understandably, because every single organization and every single person is gonna have a different problem, and it’s probably not gonna be possible for someone who’s creating a tool to go around saying “This is gonna solve all of these problems in all of these different ways”, so at the end of the day it becomes the users of these tools; people like me, people like my co-workers, people at my company who actually use these tools to solve our problems, to tell our side of the story, to explain how it really makes sense and what are the challenges and what are the tradeoffs, and how things are gonna fit together.
Yes, I think that’s pretty much what I do. If all these things make any sense to other people, I’m guessing it’s because this kind of from the trenches story isn’t very widely told.