devPRops - better put PR in your backlog

Better put PR on the backlog

Art for no one, by no one. Art whose only audience is the collective pathos. Incredible. [AI culture problems as art]

The Gemini thing: the conversation around AI technology is now based on how it can navigate social and cultural issues, less if it “works.” These social and cultural issues eventually wear out - people forget - so you have to just stay alive and hold it back. Also, with AI (as with most technologies), you can fix the features/bugs that provoked the social and culture issues. In one way, the negative feedback is just “feedback” that you’d expect in the lean product methodology. However, with social and cultural issues, it’s difficult to accept failure as learning (product management feedback).

Social and cultural issues are usually negative, rarely positive.

Facebook means you can keep up with family and friends, previously we had letters and expensive long-distance phone calls. Now we bemoan screen time instead of saying “holy fuck, never mind a 1,000 songs in my pocket - now I have the Internet in my pocket!” I’d have to trust schools to adapt to my kid’s learning styles, pay a lot of time and money for private tutors, now they can ask ChatGPT to explain concepts to them in the style that works for them.

Also, with (business) software, the benefits are mostly boring: making it cheaper to run computers and software, speeding up or removing shitty office work (who wants summarize meetings that you didn’t want to be at in the first place?), removing the friction and bottlenecks of reaching new customers and interacting with newer ones (online bill pay instead of mailing checks; automating inventory instead of walking around with a clipboard and pencil). “People have forgotten, I think, just how big a deal having a common interface to all the storage arrays was with VMware like before,” Justin. When transferring money in the US is finally fixed (like it is in Europe), few people are going to writing and podcasting about that for months on end: “regional credit unions enable easy money transferring, yay!”

My point here is not to bemoan this - it is what it is! - but to be prepared for it, to weave it into your operational strategy, your product management. Put PR in the backlog, call up your marketing and comms people, and have them take a seat at your daily stand-up meeting. You’ll need them and their contribution will be as valuable as any technical thing. devPRops.

“Rude” is culturally relative

I’ve lived in the Netherlands for almost six year, and as a Texan, this is still a daily struggle:

From the most excellent The Culture Map.

Dreams of Having it Both Ways

Phase 01: There is too much vendor lock-in and there are only, like, two viable options for anything. Why don't these people innovate anymore?

Phase 02: Oh my God! Have you seen how many choices there for everything?! <insert CNCF Landscape lulz here>.

Phase 03: GOTO Phase 01.

Relative to your interests

  • 3 Ways to Help Struggling Open Source Communities - By supporting local meetup groups and sharing your time with organizers, you can help sustain our vital tech communities.

  • RTO doesn’t improve company value, but does make employees miserable: Study - ‘"Results of our determinant analyses are consistent with managers using RTO mandates to reassert control over employees and blame employees as a scapegoat for bad firm performance," the researchers concluded.’

  • How startups beat incumbents - “big companies don’t like to take big risks even when the outcome might be large. The fear of failure is an order of magnitude more motivating than the desire to innovate or even the greed of success.”

  • Sabre completes migration to Google Cloud, closes 17 data centers - Starting in 2020, now in 2024: “Over the course of this effort, we’ve closed 17 data centers and moved more than 40,000 servers, 400,000 CPUs, and 50 petabytes of storage into the cloud.” Congrats!

  • Public Intellectuals Have Short Shelf Lives–But Why? - Keeping thought-leader’ing fresh is difficult. // “why are so many public intellectuals capable of generating insight, originality, or brilliance at the beginning of their careers, but are utterly incapable of fresh thinking a decade later?” // “Old attitudes die because generations that hold them _literally _die off. Such is the stuff of progress and disaster. Such is also the problem of the public intellectual. A public intellectual’s formative insights were developed to explain the world he or she encountered during a specific era. Eras pass away; times change. It is difficult for the brain to keep up with the changes.”

  • Me: “I want to start seeing (only?) more analyst estimates of kubernetes usage by app/workload (not just if people are using it). Not out of some desire to see it be small and poke fun at it, but just as with public cloud in the 2010’s to just know what’s actually happening. We need that annual (quarterly would be better) thing like the storage growth/data explosion thing IDC and EMC used to do.1 That’d be great for the CNCF to start estimating. All opinions about how hard it is are besides the point now: adoption and migration of workloads (and also new workloads) to it are the only thing that matters and is interesting).”

  • How I stay (more) focused with ADHD - “I often go to a café to write, and it helps me a lot to focus on writing. As much as I loathe noise and distractions, the café noise and presence of other people (known as body doubling, see below) help me to focus on writing. Unless, of course, I can hear and understand what people are talking about — in this case, I must hear the gossip.”

  • Why Do East Asian Firms Value Drinking? - Also, a lot of charts and ideas from The Culture Map, a great book for understanding differences in business communications across the globe.

  • TikTok Is For Millennials, It Turns Out - Everyone gets old. // “it’s probably smart to not assume that the kids are the ones responsible for whatever new weird thing is on your FYP. Those videos are probably being made by weird adults.”

  • What It’s Like to Be a Sociopath - “Yes, [as a journalist conducting an interview] you are manipulating people to a certain extent — to your point — in the way that I might manipulate somebody in therapy, but I would never feel the need to justify it, and your justification came so quickly. That’s why I was like, Hey, what’s happening that you felt the need to defend your answer?”

  • Gemini For Google Workspace Plays The Long Game Gemini for Google Workspace Plays The Long GameAI Insights artificial intelligence - Office workers are the new kingmakers. // “If you don’t give them something sanctioned, they’ll use bring-your-own AI tools such as ChatGPT on the web, opening your organization up to security and privacy risks and rendering their activities unmonitored by your IT team.”

  • 30+ ways I’m using AI in everyday writing life as a technical writer, blogger, and curious human - Whole lot of prompts, many related to writing, but plenty of everyday things.

  • Legendary CEO James Keyes: Here’s how I saved 7-Eleven–and why I couldn’t save Blockbuster - Lesson learned: avoid being $1bn in debt during a financial crisis.


  • “It makes a sound like mixin' macaroni and cheese.” Here.

  • “parameters and pushback”

  • “Sam Altman tech CEO speedrun.” Here.

Conferences, Events, etc.

Talks I’m giving, places I’ll be, and other plans.

Executive dinner on Java Security, March 13th, Dallas; DevOpsDays LA, March 15th, Pasadena “We Fear Change” talk; KubeCon EU, March 19th, Paris; Tanzu (Re)defined, April 11th, Palo Alto.

Come to our little party at KubeCon EU, it’s Thursday night. Register for free here! And, if you’re going to KubeCon EU and haven’t registered yet, you can get 20% off with the code KCEU24VMWBC20.


I’m home for a few weeks, then traveling for two weeks: to the US for a three city tour (including DevOpsDays LA and that executive table above); the next week in Paris for KubeCon. I need to get on submitting talks to more conferences. I don’t know, man. Is there anything left to talk about?


It’s hilariously hard to find a link to these studies/PDFs some ~13 years late. But I assure you, they were a big fucking deal! It goes to show you how transient and, you know, PR-driven this stuff is. Also, the value analyst shops put on their work: only fresh for a year or two? Seems silly to me!,, @cote,,