Axe the intro paragraph analogy if you don’t refer back to it

Often, when you’re writing about tech stuff, you’ll make a reference to some mainstream culture thing. Well, or, like, science fiction, you know, I, Robot and stuff. You might also make an analogy to cars, road systems, whatever. 

Here’s one making an analogy between traffic laws and enterprise governance:

Dotting the landscapeof the world’s highways and freewaysare signs declaring the speed limit. While these limits vary based on geography, population density, and from country to country, they are a shared concept in that speed controls correlate with safety.

In tech writing, using analogies to real life stuff is great. Software and governance concepts are so conceptual that it’s a good start. However, in writing, if you don’t come back to that analogy, you should cut it. For example, if the text after this opening paragraph comes back to “you know, like speed laws that are adapted to the regional context they’re in,” leave the text in. But, if you never return to that analogy, just cut it and start with the tech stuff.

Monday Links

  1. Getting Cloud Foundry on-top of kubernetes: Vision for CF on Kubernetes
  2. “More than 75 percent of businesses are now using multiple cloud providers, according to Gartner.” Multicloud, yes or no? Former PayPal head engineer weighs in.
  3. New CNCF kubernetes survey, haven’t dug into it yet. Here’s my write-up of the last one. Feels like just yesterday! I haven’t checked out the Red Hat kubernetes security one yet, either.
  4. How Committed Is Big Blue To The IBM Cloud? – He’s not bullish on IBM public cloud, and instead shows that IBM cloud stratrgy is likely just switching EULAs to subscriptions and porting IBM Software to AWS.
  5. KubeCon EU 2022: From Kubernetes to PaaS to Err What’s Next – this looks like a great presentation.

You should check out DevOps Loop, a conference I’ve helped put together for the 2nd year. I’ve spent a lot of time with many of the speakers on their talks to answer my eternal question: “whatever happened to the dev in DevOps?” I’m looking forward to it, for sure! It’s free to attend, an online, so super-easy. June 22nd! Register for free.

Inspiration for developing a style and aesthetics

“We hired you for what you know, not what you don’t know.”


This was the best career advice I got early on, that I can remember at least. It worked. I did excellent work at RedMonk and thrived.


In addition to a lot of consulting, the job was a lot of self-driven writing, doing all the work myself end-to-end, which I loved. I’d finally become a professional writer, if not exactly in the Great American Novel style I imaged of in my teens.


When you write two, three times a week, you end up thinking a lot about writing style, tone, and the workflow of writing.


I’ve fallen out of practice over the years of writing a lot. My job now is different. But I think about writing a lot, and here’s two people that shape how I think about style: Susan Sontag and Joan Didion.

Susan Sontag

If I can’t bring judgment against the world, I must bring it against myself. I’m learning to bring judgment against the world.

Susan Sontag wanted to be a critic. She had strong, tediously reasoned out and deep context. She inspires me because she gave herself the freedom to chase her energy and passion, never questioning what she wanted to do and her taste in culture. 

You can see her in diaries that, planned or not, she worked over decades on her project of explaining what was happening in the arts, books, and culture. 

Her certainty, “conviction,” inspires me too. She had opinions!

Having read her diaries and books and biographies, you can see that she worked on coming up with those opinions, they weren’t fickle. 

Sontag was from an era when people would say, simply, that something was good or bad, aesthetically. But she did the work to figure out what she thought and she was great at showing her work.

As I’m thinking this I realize that it’s slightly frowned on to have opinions now about culture. To many people with shit-opinions have an outlet now, so we see a lot of shit. In the pre-Internet works, though, the shit could only get so high. I say this not to be an old man talking about the good ol’ days, but to make the point that despite all that shit-talk out there, you need to trust yourself to have opinions, a culture aesthetic, and state them, when needed.

Joan Didion

And then there’s Joan Didion. 

Her style is so clear and so crafted and it inspires me all the time. 

She will use a phrase like this all of the sudden “I am telling you this because…” 

Her craft is part of her craft, she is part of the story. 

Although she’s from the same generation as Sontag, what I like about Didion’s style is its indifference. She covered murders, movie stars, her Californian heritage, and, most of all, herself. Even when she’s telling you the report on her mental breakdown, the take on most everything is always sort of “well, that happened…”

Didion’s style is very…warm? You could say it was cool, but it’s realness and her inserted opinion (often through writing style and structure, not direct comments) make it warm to me. And part of it is her role in the story – she’s very gonzo without all the machismo of Hunter Thompson. 

What inspires me as a writer is to see the fingerprints of how she works, often deliberately left in the text, as with the packing list. When I look at this list, I identify with the utility of it, planning out how the writer will engage with the subject, try to pass in different circles, and then do the actual work of writing it down.

I like the see the artists fingerprints on their work. Like the way the fur in The Fantastic Mr. Fox moves around imperfectly, all of how Wes Anderson makes films. Knowing that there’s a lot of work, opinion, and persistence that goes into something that seems effortless is a good reminder. 

All of these people had to find, experiment, develop, and work on their selves, their style. You can see that play out in their journals, their work, their biographies. 

Knowing how all these people thought and worked reminds me of the more important thing: if you have a style, and opinion of how things should be done, how they look, the work can be fun because the work becomes you. This isn’t that American phrase of “live to work,” nor is it the other side, “work to live.” Instead it’s about eliminating the idea of “work” entirely and just having it be life that you happen to be writing down.

Of course these two struggled financially and in their personal lives – they were writers! And, you know, people. But they worked long and hard to find, develop, and defend their style, their tone, their life. They did great work all throughout.

Living Through Writing

I want to spend less time chasing what people want me to do, complying to their priorities and needs, compromising what I’m good at, what I enjoy, and my mental-space to satisfy others. I too often doubt my convictions, my style, because I’m not certain what other people want. Or worse, because I don’t get any feedback once I click publish, good or bad. When I think about Sontag and Didion, they both lived by their own style and fit their work to what they knew was needed. And, at some point, you can see that they were writing to please themselves, or at least, to figure things out.

So, that makes me evolve that initial piece of advice I got. Now I think of it like this: “We hired you for who you are, not who you aren’t.” I’m hoping that’s a good tool to make sure I’m in a state where I can do work that makes happy.

How to Give a DevOpsDays Vendor Pitch

When you sponsor DevOpsDays, you get a 1 to 2 minute pitch. I used to give a lot of these, they’re fun if you make them fun! Here’s the advice I gave a co-worker who’s doing one soon:

To say that you “should not do a pitch” is not helpful. Of course you should give a vendor pitch, you paid for this! You just need to pitch it like a person, not “stay on script.”

You have two minutes, do something like this:

  1. First, thank the organizers for putting together this event. It’s all volunteer done so it’s a huge investment of time for those people.
  2. If there’s someone (including you!) talking at the event, mention their talk – the speaker’s name, topic, and time of the talk.
  3. If you know the topics people have been talking about, narrow down to your pitch starting from there. “Well, there’s been a lot of talk about getting kubernetes up and running, focusing on building a ‘platform’ for developers, and, as always some observablity.”
  4. Then, “let me tell you what we’re doing at VMware. We have a full-on application development stack now, and tools for managing and running kubernetes, as well as an open source kubernetes distro ready for you to use. We’ve got a stack with everything – well, most everything – you need to help out your developers and operators when it comes to improving how they do software. You know, getting software out the door weekly, if not daily to do all that ‘digital transformation’ stuff.”
  5. “We have developer tools and frameworks like Spring and API management; the developer support and services you layer on-top of kubernetes to make it all self-service and developer toil free; and the operations tools you use with kubernetes to keep it up and running and secure. And, if you want, we’ve can hook you you up with a kubernetes distro, or you can use whatever distro and public cloud services you want. Our stack will work with all the great ones!”
  6. “If you’re curious, you should start with the Tanzu Community Edition (go to tanzucommunityedition.io), it’s free and built on open source components. We’ve got all sorts of stuff you can pay for if you’re into that. Just come by the booth and check it out.”
  7. If there’s free stuff (schwag) at the table/booth, mention that in a flippant way: “we’ve got some free stuff at the booth, like some pens and stickers, and some weird charger – come get them, we don’t bite and won’t make you talk with us. We have to ship this stuff back, so we’d prefer to get rid of it.”
  8. Thanks!

Try to be as normal as possible and be as off-brand as you feel comfortable being. Don’t, of course, say bad things about VMware (or anyone else) – more roll your eyes at hype-y phrases and ideas. Act however you’d act when you’re relaxed with friends. The people at DevOpsDays are an extremely friendly crowd, they want you to succeed and even be your friend if you seem normal.

Finally, if you can hit the time limit a few seconds under, it will be impressive and cool, and that good feeling will be your reward.

Engaging with People at the Table/Booth

At the table/booth, people will be hesitant to come up, so if you see someone looking at the booth, say something like “want a free sticker/book/pen/etc.?” Tell them they can take two, or three even. If they stick around, they want to talk. 

Ask them “so what do you work on?” Some people are confused by this question, so you can clarify by saying “I mean, like, at work.” This usually gets them to start talking. You just ask them questions like “what do you think of that? Is it fun?” Always give them an out to leave – that is, let them keep asking questions instead of you. Then remind them to take more stuff and say “well, enjoy the rest of the show!”

Originally from my newsletter.

What is DevSecOps?

In this longer blog post, I go over how I’ve finally come to think about what DevSecOps is.A summary of what the post covers:

1. A secure software supply chain – This is a fancy way of saying “we know all the components that went into building and deploying this software and trust those components.” It also includes the actual CI/CD pipeline that you trust and that’s resistant to third parties including malicious code, as we’ve seen happen in recent years.

2. Improved culture and collaboration – Increasing collaboration and understanding between developers and security staff. As with many governance practices, with security, the governed (developers) and the governors (security staff) usually have an antagonistic relationship. Developers see security as unstoppable masters of “no,” and security people see developers as clueless coders. Well, that relationship isn’t helpful! As with DevOps, transforming “culture” to be more helpful is part of DevSecOps.

3. Automation and guardrails – Automating security policy enforcement, and providing defaults and templates to make it as easy as possible for developers to write secure code and applications configuration from the start. Historically, verifying that developers are writing secure code has been a manual, error-prone process. Much of this can be automated now with good platforms.

Read the rest!

Napkins, Ice, Toilets, and Passports

Allow me to indulge in some trans-Atlantic compare/contrast’ing. I was back in Texas and Chicago for a few weeks recently, so of course noticed some difference between Europe and America. It’s the tiny differences that stack up. Talking about them can be an annoying tic of expat people. But, whatever. It’s been over two years since I’ve been back, and here’s things that stand out:

All the small talk – now that I understand most of the talking I overhear (unlike in the Netherlands), I’m hearing all the small talk people have. “How’s the weather?” “ooohhh, yeah? you’re from the UP too!”, rolling over their 401(k) to an IRA, and that kind of thing. That said, even though I barely know it, hearing Spanish is so nice. It used to surround me, growing up, and it’s so rare to hear it in Europe. (I mean, except in one of the countries, obviously).

Free napkins – I joke a lot about how spare Europe is when it comes to food. No free drink refills, no free ketchup or mayo, no free anything. But in the States, all those small things are free (or refillable). Napkins are the most notable. When you order food in Europe, they assume (or act like) all you’ll need is what Americans would call a cocktail napkin, or even the equivalent of two sheets of toilet paper. Those thin, toilet paper like napkins are often paired very poorly: with those cones of fries topped with a cup full of mayonnaise. In the states, you get more napkins than you can deal with: thick, large, almost sensuous napkins. Having lived with napkin poverty for four years now, like my depression era grandparents, I hoard these extra napkins in my bag.

The border – going through passport control in the States is a shocking experience. The agents there are very official, brusk, and, well, not very nice and welcoming. “What are you bringing back?” they stonely ask me when I say I’m coming from Amsterdam. My answer is always the same: “uh…stroopwafels…?” which is always true. That straight-faced gruffness is sort of, unfortunately, the culture of government officials with guns in the States, and it’s really not something you realize until you experience similar people abroad. When you enter the Netherlands (and the UK), for example, the people look the same, sometimes even more militaristic, but they’re so much more friendly. The passport control people in Schiphol wear big bullet proof vests, uniforms, and have guns. The men often have military haircuts and often steel arms (based on the commentary I read – rather have read to me by my wife – in Facebook expat groups, they could make very profitable cheesecake calendars)… but they’re _so friendly_. They’ll joke with me about not knowing enough Dutch, and even say “welcome home!”  

Bikes – well, I mean, there’s no bike lanes out here in the suburbs, obviously. In Chicago, there were bike riders, but they mix with the cars. When I make a right turn in the rental car, I find myself dramatically looking for a bike coming up on my right, an instinct you built up in the Netherlands. I laugh a little bit each time because, you know, there’s no bike lane, no bikes to look for there. Crosswalks are similar: in the US, crosswalks without a stop-light are mostly meaningless. In Europe, if someone is standing/waiting at a crosswalk, traffic stops: they’re actual things there. Austin has some pretty beefy bike lanes on some streets – I’m curious to see how much they’re used. Seems cool.

Trucks – I one of the highest status levels with Avis, so our rental got upgraded from a mini-van to a full on Chevy Suburban. This is a huge – MASSIVE – “car.” Up here in DFW, it doesn’t stand out too much though. The Suburban would be impossible to use in the Netherlands – it just wouldn’t fit in the cities, you wouldn’t be able to park it anywhere. To be fair, I wouldn’t have been able to park it in the garage in Chicago either. I had a Ford Explorer there and driving around in the parking garage was a little scary not he tight turns. In contrast, the most numerous cars in Europe are what we used to call “hatch-backs” and station wagons.

Ice – we have endless ice in America. Europe likes to put one or two cubes of ice in your drink (that you get no refills on), but ice in the US is everywhere. We bought a bag of ice at Sonic twice, maybe we’ll do it again. I’m reminded of long passages in early Hunter Thompson where he lays out his method for rum drinking: fill a tall glass with ice and pour rum over it. I mean, simple recipe, but when you’re used to little to no ice, it seems like a treat. (I won’t be drinking a tall glass of rum, don’t worry.)

Empty Space – especially when it comes to Texas, there’s so much empty space. This could be huge yards and parking lots, parks, or just land left alone. I don’t know if this is true, but around Europe I often thing “well, this place has been full of people for thousands of years, so they’ve sort of taken over everything.” Which is to say “nature” in Europe is mostly man-made and engineering. Most all of the trees in the Netherlands line up perfectly and are the same height. This is especially true in regions of Europe that were leveled in the second war. The States has so much empty space that it has “true” nature.

Friendliness – it’s a myth that Europeans are not friendly, especially when it comes to Germans. People in Europe, day-to-day, are totally normal and friendly. What I mean by this is, like, if you’re in a big city and people are on the go, they might be stone-faced, but this is the case anywhere. You find bored teens checking you out at the grocery store, have light conversation with people walking the dog, and so on. I can see that, especially in Amsterdam, the locals can be mildly intolerant of tourists. Perhaps this accounts for some attitudes Americans have about Euro friendliness. This notion of European briskness and friendliness is a turn it on its head issue: Americans are comically overly friendly. We have a much different baseline for everyday interactions. One of my favorite jokes, which I read first in The Culture Map is this: in Russia, there is a saying “when you see someone walking down the street who’s smiling, they’re either one of two things: an insane person…or an American.” Now, Europeans might be – OK, are – more forward in telling you their opinions or calling out putting lipstick on a pig. This might be another source of the American perception that Europeans are less friendly comes with: they speak their mind and call you out more frequently. I don’t know – and once you understand that it’s just, like, conversation, it’s kind of nice.

Tap to pay – while there’s a more tap-to-pay terminals in the US then when we lived here, there’s not that many compared to Europe. You can tap-to-pay everywhere, even at the hot dog stand in Europe. If you had Apple Pay setup on your phone (or whatever), you wouldn’t really need your wallet at all. I’ve had to swipe and insert my credit card many times. I forgot you sometimes have to put in your zip code at the gas pump. Weird! That said, I don’t think I’ve had to sign anything yet.

Pay-at-the-pump – one of the more bizarre things in Europe is that you have to go into the store to pay for gas. There’s really no pay at the pump. You could go into conspiracy theories about this: people buy more if you force them to go in, it employees more people. I don’t know – I think it might just be a culture thing. Pay at the pump is great, it’s awesome – it’s the only way to live!

Toilets – one of the most baffling, frustrating things about Europe is the lack of public, as us Americans would say, “bathrooms.” About the only place you can pee in public is at a restaurant, or Ikea. Stores don’t have toilets, even the biggest grocery stores. And if there is a toilet, you usually have to pay 50 cents or a euro for it. This might be fine except that Europe is increasingly a cashless city, so who carries coins? (Shopping carts aren other problem here – apparently there’s a huge shopping cart burglary problem in Europe because they chain them together and require a 50 cent deposit to get one.) Peeing in Europe is a problem. I mean, do they expect people to just pee in the bushes? And what about those people who are not equipped with the necessity equipment for easily peeing in the bushes? In the States, most any public establishment has free to use toilets – sorry, bathrooms. And people don’t care if you use them! Sure, in downtown areas there might be signs about “for customers only” and occasionally keypad locks on the bathroom doors but…those are weird exceptions and mostly ignored. I don’t know, man: Europe, figure your shit out so we can…shit.

It’s hot – Chicago, of course, is not hot. But, yes, even this time of year, Texas is warm. In Austin, of course, it’s also muggy, the air is thick. I’m interested in seeing how my 8 year daughter responds to this – I think she was young enough when we left that she won’t be used to the heat.

Dress – in Austin, people dress very, er, casual. I too am just wearing an old t-shirt and shorts. It’s hard to compare to Europe because the weather is (see above) different. When it’s cooler, you can dress in pants and a jacket, which sort of makes you look more dressed up without even trying than a that t-shirt and shorts. There’s an old clothing store ad in Austin that went something like “Austin, where women dress to go out and men dress like they’re mowing the lawn.” So far, it looks like that maxim has crossed gender lines now. I make no judgement here. Wear what you dig.

Beef – listen, beef is Europe is not good. Here, you can buy a cheap, regular cut of meat and it’s always great. I think in Europe, the beef is healthier, the cuts are different…and it ends up being more like turkey than beef.

Make sure you’re actually doing CI/CD

Here is the transcript:

Can you release your software daily? Probably not. How about monthly maybe, but if you’re like most organizations, depending on which surveys you look like, it takes most people three months or more to release software.

For example, in this Forrester one, you can see that most people are releasing their software every three months or more. And while there’s a handful of people who do it monthly, there’s a tiny amount of people who do a daily.

Now you also see this reflected in a survey that I like to track the State of Agile survey that goes back like 13 years. They have been asking people for a long time, who’s doing continuous integration and continuous delivery or continuous deployment. I don’t really care what you want to call CD, even though I know they’re different, but not a big deal.

What you see here in black is that CD has been on the rise, but it’s soon going to hit some interesting ceiling, the ceiling of continuous integration. 

Continuous integration has stayed pretty level this whole time, which is actually kind of shocking that there are so many people out there who haven’t really automated, their builds, their testings, their pipelines.

So listen for all the talk of DevOps and Kubernetes doing cloud native applications, you know, your digital transformation.

You should really make sure you’re actually doing, not even deployment daily or monthly, but continuous integration. And don’t get fooled by your high achievers. They’re probably doing pretty well. But look at the hundreds of other applications you have going on and ask how long it takes to deploy their software if you wanted to add just one feature, change one line of code, or just deploy the same thing over again.

And you can’t ask about just any one box in your build pipeline. You’ve got to ask about the arrows too. Not just what happens localized in each box, because what you’re going to find out is that your bottlenecks are all in those arrows. The arrows are the things that you’re going to need to optimize if you’re not doing continuous integration.

So like a lot of people you’re building your software platform on top of Kubernetes, it’s time to really look into, if you actually have continuous integration in place before you have any sort of dreams of great improvements that you’re going to have. 

Uses for Competitive Intelligence

Jordi asked about the usefulness of competitive intelligence (at software/cloud vendors) in the Software Defined Slack. Here’s what I added to the thread:

I think competitive intelligence is least useful for product management. Innovation, talking to customers, and finding out sells and doesn’t sell from your salesforce is more interesting. Competitive intelligence is good for sales people, marketers, and prepping for conversations with “influencers” (press, analyst, and loud people on THE SOCIALIZ). 

  1. Sales people need “battle cards” to handle common objections; marketing people need to know how competitors position themselves to (also) talk about how their stuff is better 
  2. Marketers (yeah, yeah – “not every marketing person [like, most of them]”) don’t get enough information about customers, the products (they’re usually not technical enough to find out on their own, nor have enough time to “study”), and the overall market, so competitive intel help there
  3. When you’re talking with influencers, they’re always going to ask you about competitors. When I was an analyst, I always found this annoying and sort of useless. You usually only get three answers: (1) “I have a lot friends who work there”/“I talk with them frequently” (I don’t know what means, but people say it), (2) “You know, I don’t pay a lot of attention to competitors, we’re too busy paying attention to customers” (well, see my write-up here), or, (3) “Yeah, we’re pretty good” (people are trained [or should be!] to never say something bad about competitors, mostly. So, they’re way of saying “our competitors suck and we are awesome,” is to just talk about the second). You’ll never hear a detailed SWOT-style assessment about competitors from a vendor – it gets them nothing.

(There’s also competitive intelligence as simply “market intelligence,” is, of course, good for investors and corporate strategy people. But, that’s not really in the spirit of the above.)

The issue that I find is that competitive intelligence is that it’s overwhelming, especially for a large portfolio. For example, despite having excellent competitive intelligence reports – weekly! – for VMware Tanzu stuff, there’s just so much of it that it would take me all week to read it :) I wish I could read them all, like my old analyst days, but my job – and life! – is different now.

Originally from my newsletter.

Urgency is the best path to change

Find more cute babies and nerd-talk in the Tanzu Talk playlist.

Here is the transcript:

People don’t want to change

Most people don’t want to change. And why would they? Everything they’ve done to this point has been successful. Individuals are really looking to keep what they have stable. So when you’re going in and trying to improve how you’re doing software, do digital transformation, I think it’s really important to introduce, to put it one way, a threat, maybe not only an opportunity, a way to grow and increase compensation, but something that’s attacking someone’s stability and the current position that they have.

Now you can think of this as was thought of in the nineties as introducing “urgency.” Let’s look at some types of urgency. 

New, fierce Competitors

One type of urgency that was very popular back in, I don’t know, about five years ago, where’s the threat of tech companies that were going to come in and totally steal and revolutionize the way things were done.

You saw this in banking and insurance, definitely in retail from companies like AirBnB. (I guess Airbnb is travel.) But Tesla and even Google who was coming in to try to disintermediate the insurance business some summer, long ago. 

What happened there is the companies did take this urgency and individuals did take the urgency seriously. And I think they’ve caught up with their software abilities in there. That’s a great type of urgency to introduce: an external threat a competitor. 

Old Technology

Now You also have the urgency of other factors at a technology level. Something’s about to become obsolete and therefore support costs are going to go way up. You might be losing the skills to keep mainframes up to date. You’ve got this inevitable almost end date that you’re going to encounter, that you can’t really get around. And it’s obvious what the urgency, the threat is. 

There’s also another type of technical urgency that unfortunately, most organizations don’t really encounter until it’s too late. And that’s the urgency of legacy applications that are holding you back. If you look at one survey that we do a huge amount in the higher double digits of executives said that legacy software was actively preventing them from changing. 

IRL Threats

And, of course, as we’ve seen way too much of recently, you also have total, external factors that really have nothing to do with your business, whether it’s things like COVID, weird, economic ebbs and flows, according to inflation and the cheapness of money.

… those are often things that change the needs of your business and how they have to run. That can be another type of urgency to drive people to change. 

Ensure You Always Have Urgency

Whatever type of urgency you come up with with whatever type of external threat, you really should make sure to have one, if you want everyone in your organization to change and feel that need, because otherwise, why would they change? As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

And this reminds me of what a CIO once said I was listening to a talk that they were giving and they said, you always want to run in the yellow. And what they meant by that is if you’re running in the green, everything is going fine. There’s no reason to change. Things are great.

And of course you don’t want to run in the red – in crisis mode where things are out of control and you’re having to be more reactive. If you’re running in the yellow, you’re almost living by that old Intel dictum that only the paranoid survive. 

So whether or not you have an urgency that’s real or not you definitely need to come up with one, maybe even manufacturer one that allows you to run in the yellow instead of in the green and that area of complacency. 

Read More: The Business Bottleneck

If you’re in the middle of transforming how your organization works to use software as the core way it functions, you should check out the three free books I have on that topic by going to TanzuTalk.com/videos. There’s one in particular that talks a lot about this idea of urgency called The Business Bottleneck, which you can get for free along with the other two, if you go to TanzuTalk.com/videos. Good luck. 

My analysis of the State of Kubernetes 2022 survey

I like that I’ve been slotted into the “get that guy to do a write-up of a survey” position at work. It’s fun to look at these surveys, especially when I can add in things that aren’t in the published results, like multi-year data. Anyhow, here’s my write-up of our forth kubernetes survey. Things are going well for it.

I also made three little videos about this survey: one, two, and three.

Submarine meeting

Though not much of a drinker himself, Clinton expressed amusement over Yeltsin’s alcoholism and noted that Boris was always an affable drunkard. Once, while presumably wasted, Yeltsin randomly called Clinton on the telephone and proposed they meet up for a secret summit on a submarine.

— The Nineties: A Book by Chuck Klosterman
https://a.co/eP8eNtQ

Tanzu Talk: where did the ‘dev’ in DevOps go? Was it ever there?

I theorize about what the “dev” in DevOps has come to mean 15(?) years in.

Here is the transcript:

On October 4th, we have a great DevOps conference coming up, DevOps Loop. You can go to DevOpsLoop.io to attend for free. What we’ve been focusing on when we’re putting this agenda together is discussing what DevOps is now. 

I think one of the first talks about DevOps in this area was maybe in 2008, 2006 which makes it almost 15 years old. That’s a long time for a set of methodologies to evolve. 

One of the things that I’m always curious about is where the developers are in DevOps. Recently I’ve been theorizing that actually there are no developers and DevOps. Instead what that dev means as I’ve seen people over those 15 or so years do DevOps is that operations people are becoming more and more like developers.

They’re using programmer methodologies and programmer thinking and even programmer culture to think about how they provide services or platforms to software developers in their organizations. 

Now the software developers might be able to deploy stuff on their own, or monitor and maybe even do some remediation, like rolling back, but really they’re not doing what I would think of as operations or infrastructure building. Instead by following developer principles, by developing a platform, operations people are giving developers those tools where they can deploy things to production on their own rollback problems, do some basic remediation.

And that is the element of dev that DevOps is: having operations people think about building a platform for developers and really paying attention to developers as their customers. 

This means the operations people can ensure security and compliance and really the core fundamental thing you want with a platform that it works in production. It stays up.

I’m not sure if that’s actually what DevOps has become, but I’ll be interested to see what people at DevOps Loop have to say about it. And maybe afterwards come up with a new theory of what DevOps is. If you’re interested in exploring that and a great lineup of seek ups, you can go to DevOpsLoop.io and register for free, you can attend for free. And then afterwards, as I’m hoping to do myself, you might have a good idea of what DevOps is 15 years later and how we can start applying it in large organizations.

Reluctance to change – Notebook

I’ve proposed an open spaces for DevOpsDays Amsterdam, 2021. The idea is:

The DevOps community pushes for people to change how they think and operate. When it comes to working better, we have proven tools, techniques, and even big picture ways of thinking like CALMS. You’re more than likely eager to try these new things, get better, change. However, many more people seem less than eager to change – your co-workers, managers, and the countless “others” in your organization. In the discussions I have with change agents and executives in large organizations, this reluctance to change is one of the top three concerning topics. I invite you to this discussion to talk about why people are reluctant to change, how you’ve worked helped people change, or, perhaps given up, and, hopefully, to share stories about your own experience overcoming reluctance. Our goal will be to move beyond being frustrated with “frozen” minds and middles, and get a sense for what to do about it…if anything. To start the discussion, I’ll start with a few stories and methods for getting people to change that I’ve encountered in the past few years.

Me!

In preparing for it, I typed in these notes:

Reluctance to change is one of the top concerns with executives and managers I talk with.

  • Frozen middle, frozen minds – often means “I don’t like what they’re (not) doing” – is that kind?
  • I want to talk about why people are reluctant to change; why you are; stories of success and failure in changing people’s minds, desires, and behavior/action.
  • Examples to start with:
    • Constant Planning, or, Analysis paralysis – they want to change, but think too much and don’t act. Fix: external problem/urgency, like (sadly) COVID, competition, dying/plateaued cash cow (not a very good motivator).
    • Fear of change – demonstrate that it works.
    • Seems like more work, or, won’t make their lives better, so why change? Show them that it make their lives better – automating things frees you up from tedium; automating for auditors saves them over-time; the new way can be more secure.
    • Changing job/responsibilities/identity. The DBA likes being the DBA, the network admin likes that – prove to them that it’s better.
    • Fear that they can’t change/learn the new thing – Coté doesn’t get around to learning Dutch, same fear. Related: embarrassment, e.g., Coté doesn’t buy from the butcher down the street cause he don’t speak Dutch (but, butcher doesn’t care – OF COURSE!) Fix: hard one, show success from peers.
  • Fixes:
    • General fix for all of this: build up success stories of their peers doing it.
    • Change motivations:
      • like money;
      • flow – removing friction (better quality of life and work-life);
      • raising individual profile with OSS work/fame;
      • autonomy;
      • closer to end-user to see value they provide.
    • Change structure. “Culture follows structure” – Larman’s Law – points out a common pattern/behavior. Once you know the behavior, you can start thinking about how to change/improve it.
      • “the organizational system (groups, teams, roles and responsibilities, hierarchies, career paths, policies, measurement and reward mechanisms, etc)”

You can also see me discuss these in one of my Tanzu Talk streams.

#log 2021-05-14

Since last time.

From Napoleon to Nutella: The Birth of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

But, of course, a story that credits an invading force for a chocolate-confection-turned-regional-gem is not nearly as stirring as one that frames the chocolatiers as ingenious victors, who persevered in their trade in spite of the odds against them. And the motivation to reshape gianduia’s narrative only grew with time.

Two articles of mine published: one on modernization and tech debt for Tech Radar Pro UK and another for AG Connect Netherlands on how managers can help transform their organization (translated to Dutch).

The plunge of Grafton Street gushed with a growling steel and rubber torrent, vehicle flow swollen by a rain of lunchtime drinkers, weekend shopping trips and booming penis publicizers, threatening to overspill its banks. An anaconda laminate of molten tyre that snaked across the pavement just ahead of Mick bore testament that such a breach had happened only recently, most probably during the Friday night just gone. White-water driving by some Netto Fabulous crash-dummy who bled Burberry, shooting the traffic island rapids in his hotwired kayak, home to Jimmy’s End across the river in the west, head full of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and horse tranquilliser, pinprick pupils, squinting in the spindrift of oncoming headlights.

From JERUSALEM: 2018 Edition by Alan Moore – big book, hard to read casually.

Lee Atwater’s unfinished memoir – kind of a monster.

“Throw in the sponge”