Building the business case for an app platform: money & happiness
Also: the great social media panic, ancient weblog posts, annual planning for developers, and a picture of juicy brisket.
I talked with Kerry Schaffer last week about building the business case for platform engineering, more broader, platforms. She’s worked at OneMagnify for awhile building and running their platform, so she has a lot of experience to draw on. There’s all the usual money stuff, making sure you’ve got the capabilities, and so forth, but what she spends a lot of time discussing, for a business case, is developer happiness. We also discuss internal marketing and getting more women in tech. It was fun, you can watch the full video above, or subscribe to the podcast to listen.
Relevant to your interests
Protect Elders! Ban Television!! (Social Media Panic) - Things to worry about, circa. 2023: ‘My head swirled thinking about the pandemic, the rise in financial instability and food scarcity in some communities, the rising costs of college, the rise in visible hate speech, anti-trans and anti-abortion legislation, the fear kids have of a mass shooter at school, and a slew of other trends that I hear young people angst about. But apparently regulators preferred a different interpretation. They looked at this and went: “blame social media!!!”’
ChatGPT Productivity - “the productivity and quality improvements are likely due to a switch in the business professionals’ time allocation: less time spent on cranking out initial draft text and more time spent polishing the final result. If this analysis holds up under more detailed qualitative research, it seems that ChatGPT’s main contribution is to save users substantial time on the production of rough text.”
Crap Products in Social Ads - “The products shown in targeted ads were, on average, roughly 10 percent more expensive than what users could find by searching online. And the products were more than twice as likely to be sold by lower-quality vendors as measured by their ratings by the Better Business Bureau.”
Self-reflection - ‘Sometimes reflection takes the form of speaking directly to the self, of giving advice, encouragement, or bits of philosophic wisdom. I call this self-helping, healing, guiding voice the Silver-Lining Voice of the diary, since it often appears in times of stress as a voice of hope. At first it may speak in adages, such as “Keep on trying. Don’t give up,” or “You have to believe in yourself.” As it is allowed to be heard and to develop, it can expand into the most important guide in your life–your voice of inner wisdom.’ // That’s a lovely though. Myself as a comforter, encourager, and coach.
Why Media Can’t Quit Twitter - “It showed that media folks weren’t pulling back from Twitter despite much handwriting and mock outrage, just as they didn’t move away from Facebook. The switch to Mastadon made for a grand narrative, but like most of the stuff on Twitter, it was great marketing.” // You have to go where the audience is.
How to plan as an engineering executive. - Lengthy advice on annual planning, focusing on R&D budgeting. The idea to keep it static - avoid asking for more budget during the year - is good: it means you focus purely on execution (and what’s possible) rather than letting yourself starting scheming for more.
Tweeting Effectively - ‘Recently I learned a way to do this more effectively, where by “more effectively” I mean “more people see it.” Tl;dr: Don’t put any hyperlinks in your post – if you need them, post a thread with the links in the trailing tweets.’
Resisting Deterministic Thinking - “I just returned from a three month sabbatical spent mostly offline diving through history and I feel like I’ve returned to an alien planet full of serious utopian and dystopian thinking swirling simultaneously. I find myself nodding along because both the best case and worst case scenarios _could _happen. But also cringing because the passion behind these declarations has no room for nuance. Everything feels extreme and fully of binaries. I am truly astonished by the the deeply entrenched deterministic thinking that feels pervasive in these conversations.” // This is a sentiment that could happen at anytime, and it sums up the short-term mind versus the long-term mind.
DevOpsDays Austin is coming up fast, May 4th and 5th in - you guessed it - Austin, Texas. I was fixin’ to finally give my talk on how to us AI to cut through business bullshit, but sadly I can’t go this year. You need to go, though, it’s one of the best DevOpsDays out there, and longest running. This is the 11th year
Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. This coffee falls into your stomach, a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination’s orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.
Calling Cards from 20 years ago
I’ve been browsing my old blog entries and republishing stand-alone pieces. In the past five years, I’ve had a habit of deleting my blog from the Internet, and also just moving from platform to platform. Sometimes it’s driven by potential mild embarrassment: if you look at my first years of blogging in 2000 and after that, it’s what you’d expect from a 23 year old.
Most of that infosuicide is due to moving back and forth from different blog platforms (blogger.com, WordPress, Tumblr, micro.blog, whatever - now this newsletter) and losing a lot of the images, formatting, organization, etc. That is, I’ve got 23 years of mess. Recently, I’ll do it because of, like, this desire on my point to disappear into the wilderness of the Internet. (I think I understand Robert Brook a little more each time I delist my blog.)
Thanks to ChatGPT I’ve been able to get some python scripts to clean-up that mess: convert WordPress archives to Hugo markdown files, if you can believe that! I’ve put those markdown files in Ulysses which can publish to microblog.
I’m finding the original content I wrote and publishing in on my blog. There’s a lot of links, quotes from books and articles, posting links to my 451 and other work, videos and talk recordings, and tiny commentary of articles. I’m leaving that all unpublished: do I really need to include links to 2014 articles about Citrix virtual desktops?
While this whole thing makes me feel like those old men who fill their retirement years organizing their papers, even trying to write some memoir, I think it’s a valid activity. It’s certainly entertaining, and a bit therapeutic.
I’ve been searching for better sparks of passion recently. Looking through these hundreds of posts (for about a second each), I’m remembering how much fun it was to read the internet and fill out my notebook. Being an analyst for most of that time, and in my current role (which I started in January of 2015), I did a lot of stuff and moved around a lot.
Right now I’m on 2014. I’m looking forward to 2004 and 2005. Those are the years where I got to know RedMonk and was discovered by them. What was I writing back then that made them hire me as their first analyst hire?
I recorded my 15 minute talk for PlatformCon today. I have an excerpt I might share tomorrow.
KubeCon is next week and I’m thinking of typing up a “How to Have Fun in Amsterdam, Nerd Edition” post. The kinds of things I’d want to know if I was coming. I feel like I’ve written this before, but damned if I can find it.