Wow, I have really been neglecting the blogging. It’s the same old deal, the more you have going on that might be good to blog about, the harder it is to make the time to actually do that writing. Then you feel bad because you’ve fallen so far behind. So you declare blog bankruptcy and just make a quick summary update, like this one. After all, outside of my work hours at the office, I am lucky these days if I can string together two minutes worth of coherently related thoughts. I’m no Steve Yegge, obviously.
Back in February I changed jobs. I had some history with this company, but in its earlier life when it was doing very different things. Since then I had kept up on their doings in the media and while they seemed to be doing really well and would be a great place to work again and much more stable than when they had to cut me loose, I was convinced I no longer had qualifications for the technologies they were working with now. But as 2013 wound down I was beginning to work on a lot of positive changes in my life, and eventually I was encouraged to apply. Any outsider who knew the history involved (or noticed that my LinkedIn profile sports an old recommendation from the company’s CEO) would probably be a lot less surprised that I landed the gig than I was.
Probably one of the first notable things to happen there was that barely two weeks after I started, we were acquired by a legit big corporation. The results have been markedly different from the usual acquisition horror-stories you hear about. The CEO and CTO both stuck around to head up the new division; very few others quit afterwards; the parent company worked hard to integrate us without making us assimilate too hard or too fast, and really acted as if they understood that the way we work and the kind of people we attract was one of the most valuable assets they were getting on the deal. We get to keep innovating just as we were, but with the cred and resources that come along with their name. On our end of the bargain, we have to figure out how to make our products and platform scale from supporting thousands of users to potentially millions. We also are expected to try to scale up the company culture we came in with; I see management’s project at this point as nothing smaller than figuring out how to scale up agility, something many have said can’t be done. It’s all tremendously exciting.
As for how this has affected my then-nascent tech blog, well obviously you can see that it has meant several months without a post. I’ve had to change my personal life and routine a lot, and working blogging back into it is something I’ve reached only now. On the other hand, I have been learning tons, and I have even made honest-to-goodness open source contributions in the context of my job to meet needs we have. Along with that, new personal developments have occupied my time and energy, including my second child, born this June. So I’m learning to scale myself too.
For the future of this page? Assuming I can get back into the swing of things, you can probably expect a lower proportion of Ruby content and a whole lot more Scala. Though truth be told, I’ve still ended up doing a fair bit of Ruby too. We have a very polyglot mentality; I’ve recently discovered a potential good excuse to code some Clojure. Also I’ll probably end up writing a bit about Docker and Mesos and Kafka and a whole lot of other new hotness like that.
Funny anecdote related to Kafka: My co-workers seem to be evenly split over whether it’s pronounced with a short or long a sound in the first syllable. Of course, anyone familiar with the author for which it is named (one of my favorites) knows which pronunciation is correct. Then Samza started to find its way into our toolchain as well, which is of course named for the main character in one of Franz Kafka’s most well-known works. Now, even more recently, related to Kafka, we’ve started working with Camus, obviously another author name from the same era, and everyone at work keeps pronouncing it “kam-uss”. I’m a bit older than all of them, and one day I had to ask, don’t you guys actually know who Kafka and Camus are? You didn’t read The Metamorphosis and The Stranger in high school like I did? No, they said, they didn’t. In mock exasperation, I replied, “What are they teaching kids now? See, this is what’s wrong with America these days: we’ve taken existentialism out of our schools.”