Structure and Control
Do you really like winging it, or do you like more structure? And, of course, the emptying of the waste book and links relevant to your interests.
Suggested epigraph: “I don’t care that much.”
Suggested theme song:
<a href="https://shoppingfc.bandcamp.com/album/why-choose">Why Choose by Shopping</a>
Platform Engineering Follow-up Thinking
I think what I missed in my thinking out loud was:
I should just use that community’s own definition and work within the parameters of the intention and spirit of the thing. As with any concept you’re looking at from outside!
Here is that definition, from July, 2022: “Platform engineering is the discipline of designing and building toolchains and workflows that enable self-service capabilities for software engineering organizations in the cloud-native era. Platform engineers provide an integrated product most often referred to as an “Internal Developer Platform” covering the operational necessities of the entire lifecycle of an application.”
It does kind of seem like a dog who caught a bus though. That definition seems a lot more like “stuff you do with Backstage, build tools, and portal to get cloud stuff.” But, see #1 above.
It doesn’t have to be kubernetes, but it’s highly likely that it will be.
Structure and Control
Many years ago, a therapist told me that I like a lot of structure. This was strange, as I’d built most of my life around spontaneity and winging it. If you’ve listened to the podcasts I’ve done over the last 17 or so years you will have heard me doing that.
What I didn’t really understand is that I actually do have a tremendous amount of structuring: I’m just very quick to structure things, “in real-time” as people say. And when I am floundering about - again, you will know this from my podcasts - I am reworking the structure of the idea, but always towards a tight organization.
In my work and (so called) real life, structure is what makes me feel happiest. I want meetings on my calendar if we’re going to have “a quick chat” (I am looking at you, sales people). I want an outline to start with, even if it’s stupid and we’re going to redo it. And so on. It can sound like I want ridgid agendas and project management. Well…yes?…but no?
More than an exact structure, I just want to know that there is a structure. This is especially true when working with other people. Working with other people is the worst. Most of the time when you’re working with other people, you spend all of your time arguing about the structure. And if people aren’t even aware of structure as a tool, it will be very frustrating.
And then there’s the dependency of actually, like, working with them to come up with something.
This is the curse of thinking too much about “productivity” and “life hacks”: other people don’t and usually aren’t interested in systems thinking, building habits. These other people are often “in real life,” but also at work. They want solutions to problems right now, as those problems come in. They think of their “job” as solving those problems as they come, not building the system/context that, first, makes things better, but, second…like…is the system they want to live and work in. Here, I use the 2000’s nerd’s dream: use a kanban board for every big, multi person project on your personal life: weddings, trip planning, weekly family planning, etc.
Very few “normals” think to start a project by defining the tools they’re use to manage the project. Even fewer study all those tools.
This sounds arrogant, I guess, and it’s where the angst of needing structure kicks in. What you often find in these situations is that despite the lack of kanban, or whatever, things went fine: you got married, you had a good trip, you had a nice week. In real life, things just sort of work themselves out. At worst, you have no idea how much better things could have been, you just know that they happened and, chances are, they were fine.
For me, wanting to project manage this type of stuff is more about making the process of planning easier, less stressful. There’s something weird there: most of the structure isn’t about getting the results, it’s about improving the process of getting those results.
Above, “outline” is not the right word, because I don’t really ever start with an outline as you would have learned it in writing. What I mean is more like a story, a “narrative” as I often call it. I want to know a complete, end to end, idea of what is going to happen. …will have to think on an example later so I don’t loose my train of thought in the footnote.
Maybe what I mean there is to start with the end, and work backwards from there. You are taught over and over again to remove bias on your work: if you start with the conclusion you want, you’re biased by that desire. Instead, you have to be evidence and principals first, and let all that “data” kind of cook up into a conclusion. You’re supposed to do this weird play where you had no idea what would happen, your mind was clear of desire and bias. This had to be the case, because if you did, you would have influenced and biased the data.
This is good (I assume) in Science, likely journalism, and probably history. People in philosophy think they’re doing this, but never are (have you noticed that all Western philosophy up until Nietzsche amazingly concludes that the Christian God exists? How odd!).
And so on.
The trick to working backwards is to start with an end and figure out if you can get there. And then if you can’t get there - this is the ultimate life-hack - you come up with a different end.
All of this structure, I think, is about me controlling my environment, the life around me. And that is where the problems come in, the anger and depression. Once you need to control something, you’ve introduced a huge amount of fragility, a weak point.
I feel like this is what therapists are always trying to tell me: your problem(s) is that you want something you can’t have, and you want control over things you can’t control. Why don’t you just chill out, Michael? I mostly take this a form of gaslighting as I’ve mentioned before (if that’s the right phrase), but, whatever.
Current Mood Board
I put out several videos since last time. You should check them all out! We try Vico Monster Munch Gout Jambon Fromage chips; We try Vico Monster Munch Ketchup; Alejandra had an idea for a video called “Bread and Butter and Bread and Bread Sandwhich”; previously unreleased Garbage Chair.
14 hurdles videos: Bottom-up Change Doesn’t Work; How to solve the skills problem; Transformation without belief is waste.
Software Defined Talk Episode 380: No Free Lunches or Haircuts - This week we discuss why Google abandons products, the 2022 State of DevOps Report and Elon’s texts. Plus, some thoughts on glasses…
Tanzu Talk News, October 11th, 2022 - The Best Developer Conference, Platform Engineering, FinOps - This week we give a little previous of what will be at the SpringOne conference, then cover some recent conferences. We then discuss the sudden emergence of “platform engineering” as a thing, and finish out by discussing what the kids are calling “FinOps,” getting a handle on how much you’re spending on cloud stuff. Snazy new thumbnail, too. And, watch the video if you prefer that format.
“His portraits or sketches of shoes are often much better.” Mr. Deadpan.
“Hantasi is a master at making that slight-unneasiness you feel walking around an empty building into sonic form.” Liminal Spaces, e.g.: “Northwest Plaza.”
A song about the family dog: Doofus, doofus. Who’s the doofus?/Is it the one that shits outdoors?/No!/It’s the one that picks it up.
“Let’s have the meeting in the meeting.”
Now that I’m a parent, I realize that a lot of the fundamental truths and principles I have in my head are just some crap my dad said to stop me from being crazy and annoying at some random time during the day. They were like little tricks and spells, duct tape and paper clips, he was deploying to just survive that ten minutes with the wild animals in front of him (me and my siblings). Many of them were just to get the wild animals under control, sometimes sated so that they’d stop disrupting adult life. Don’t confuse truth with tactics to get the wild animals to stop fucking everything up.
“I reckoned we’d cross that bridge when we were past it” Tinker Tailor Soldier. And: ““Of Tarr, with a deceptive dreaminess, he asked…”
Shoot video in a corner. For a talking head video, instead of a flat wall in the background, have a corner. It will be more interesting. (Vic Barry)
Divide the communicating and analyzing ideas into three parts. Or: “draw a triangle.” (“Make it Bigger”)
To make notes useful, review them regularly. (“Spark files”).
‘It would be funny if “the blockchain” was just a euphemism for “an Excel spreadsheet.”’ Matt Levine And: “If you can identify a bubble, and you have some free time, the right move is to sell into the bubble.” This last bit is, I don’t know, the whole financial strategy of tech startups?”
I started using Canva. That seems real nice, esp. as an alternative to Adobe Spark (or whatever they call it). Canva can’t do both outline and shadow on text, though, which makes it so I can’t use it for my Tanzu Talk thumbnails. Maybe I’ll just change the thumbnail style.
Relevant to your interests
Liminal Space, Dreamcore, and Weirdcore. – Vapor95 - “Many Weirdcore and Dreamcore creators warn of feelings of depersonalization as a result of binging the content”
The X of Generation X - “Once someone becomes an expert in obscure musical trends and styles, they won’t use pop conventions to represent their own tastes (unless ironically). And they’ll take pride in these elevated tastes to claim superiority over wealthy elites.” And, then: ‘This brings us to today, where the loudest complaints about “cultural stasis” tend to come from Gen X adults whose cultural interests have long been anchored in obscure and openly-artistic cultural forms. From their perspective, today’s cultural capital does feel very tame. Being “with it” requires listening to top-charting albums, watching blockbuster movies, and being well-versed in internet memes. Compared to Gen X, Millennials who grew up on the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC would have fewer qualms about a pop culture centered around Harry Styles fandom, Harry Styles albums, and Harry Styles cinema gossip. Meanwhile Gen Z, in its rebellion against Millennials, appears to appreciate obscurity as a virtue again, but this is a new obscurity, not based in artistic complexity and historical knowledge but the discovery of amateur videos lurking at the edges of the internet.’
And, in another piece from the same: “the origin of almost all aesthetic conventions can be traced to specific status groups, developed most often as elite distinction (e.g. aristocratic detachment) or as an intentional rejection of mainstream standards (e.g. camp).”
Why do new cars look like this?? [“Wet Putty”] - “It’s a prime example of how a jawn that felt surprising and fresh in isolation, upon first encounter, can curdle into distaste once you realize it’s just one node among many in a broader marketing trend of which YOU are the demographic target.”
Related: the word “jawn”
“I’m not that smart” - ‘The correct thing to say is, “I don’t care that much.”’
Dreams of a European vacation - It me! “I honestly don’t know whether I even enjoyed that vacation at the time, but I get massive utility out of recalling the events, over and over again. Even more than 30 years later.”
Kid’s school lunch box therapy: “You can’t trust the evidence of a kid’s post-mortem lunchbox. No reliable witnesses. Bartering. Theft. Tales of bartering and theft. Fantastical lore of foodfights. Mysterious vanishings. It’s psy-ops of the highest order. We don’t stand a chance.”
good google, circa 2002 - “I used to work on Altavista.” And: “the amount of stuff we’re happy to be stupid about is incredible.”
What’s next for digital transformation in the cloud - “Google Cloud can instantly improve their sustainability profiles. For example, Salesforce has reduced its cloud carbon emissions for certain workloads by up to 80%; Etsy migrated in record time and is speeding up innovation to meet sustainability goals; and Carrefour reduced energy consumption by 45% by moving from on-premises data centers to our public cloud infrastructure.”