Innocence

“‘ The blood-dimmed tide is loosed’!” The voice is positively gleeful now. “‘ And everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned…’ Ah, that’s my favorite line. Gets right at the shallow performativity of so many things, don’t you think? Innocence is nothing but a ceremony, after all. So strange that you people venerate it the way you do. What other world celebrates not knowing anything about how life really works?” A soft laugh-sigh. “How your species managed to get this far, I will never know.”

— The City We Became: A Novel (The Great Cities Trilogy Book 1) by N. K. Jemisin
https://a.co/7npAZXy

5 Definitions of DevOps, or, ¯_(ツ)_/¯

https://flic.kr/p/MHemN8

I’ve tracked at least three different definitions of DevOps since the days of “agile infrastructure”:

  1. Using Puppet and Chef (and then Ansible and Chef) to replace Opsware and BladeLogic.
  2. Full stack engineers to setup EC2, load-balancers, and other Morlock shit.
  3. Full stack engineers are bad, but sort of the same thing. Also, you can’t have a DevOps “group” or title. But, you know, someone should do all that automation.
  4. Putting all the people on one team, having them focus on a product, and establishing a culture of caring and learning.
  5. SRE is not DevOps.

So…actually five. Maybe some of them just being footnotes on the evolving concept. (And, if you, dear reader, feel these are wrong, then let’s compromise and make the list six.)

All of them evolved around bringing down The Wall of Confusion, allowing “developers” to deploy their software to production more frequently, weekly, if not daily. And, of course, making sure production stays up. (You’re supposed to call that “resiliency” and instead of SLAs use SLOs and some other newly named metrics that answer the question “IS MY SHIT WORKING?” Whatever you do, just don’t say “uptime,” or you’re in for it and will be relegated to running the AS/400’s.)

I used to snide that the developers seemed to have been yanked out of DevOps, sometime around 2014 and 2015. All the talks I saw were, basically, operations talks. I haven’t really checked in on DevOps conference talks recently, but at the time, I don’t think there was much application development stuff. (I’m not sure if there ever was?)

None of this means that DevOps is not a thing. Not at all. It just means that the enterprise finds its own use for things. It also means there’s still weekly write-ups of what DevOps is – you know, those ones that are always lists of ideas, things you’re getting wrong, and how to start.

Autonomous product teams

https://flic.kr/p/bJHkSX

Nowadays, I try to stick to that forth one: you want to setup autonomous teams that have all the skills and responsibility/authority/tools needed to “own” the software being specified, designed, developed, and run. This means you have to, basically, remove-by-automating all the operations stuff it takes to stand-up environments, deploy things, and do all that “day 2” stuff.

(HEY! HEY! WANT TO BUY SOME ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE?!)

Now, I think this product-centric notion of DevOps is, well, kind of an over-extension of the term “DevOps.” But since SRE has sucked out the “ops” part (but, remember, dear reader, don’t commit the embarrassing act of saying SRE is DevOps – no, no, you’d never do that, right? SO SHAMEFUL! (SRE is totally different – no overlap or similar goals shared between them at all. I mean, they have separate groups, silos! COME ON!)), slicing “DevOps” back to just “Dev,” but with a product-not-project focus isn’t too shabby.

Anyhow. I came across a good overview of this product notion of DevOps, all the way back from 2016, while re-reading Schwartz’s evergreen excellent The Art of Business Value:

Agile approaches attempt to bring together developers and the business in an atmosphere of mutual respect and joint contribution. Until now, however, the focus has been on users of the software, product visionaries, and developers. Recent developments in the Agile world—notably DevOps—have broadened this idea of respect and inclusion to encompass Operations and Security. The DevOps model, in other words, looks to break down the silos that have resulted from technical specialization over the last few decades. But the DevOps spirit goes further, looking to eliminate the conflicting incentives of organizational silos and the inhumane behaviors that can result from those conflicting incentives.

 

Perhaps we can take this idea even further still. There is no reason why the DevOps team’s responsibility needs to stop at the border of what used to be considered IT. The team is part of a broader enterprise, whose collective knowledge, skills, and judgment need to be part of the value creation process.

Look a’ that guy! Business Value just effortlessly jets out of his pores like a peripatetic thought-monarch!

This is from an executives perspective, but it drives home the point we’re always trying to get to with software: doing whatever it takes to figure out, create, and give users features that are actually useful to them. Somewhere beyond that, if you’re lucky, it’ll help out “the business.” Also, it should implement The Unspoken User Story: user would like software to actually work.

Link: Warren Buffett says cryptocurrency attracts charlatans, AI won’t change investing

“We were not ideally located to be high-tech wizards,” Munger said, adding “I have been to Google headquarters. It looks to me like a kindergarten.”

“A very rich kindergarten.”
Original source: Warren Buffett says cryptocurrency attracts charlatans, AI won’t change investing

Link: Warren Buffett says cryptocurrency attracts charlatans, AI won’t change investing

“We were not ideally located to be high-tech wizards,” Munger said, adding “I have been to Google headquarters. It looks to me like a kindergarten.”

“A very rich kindergarten.”
Original source: Warren Buffett says cryptocurrency attracts charlatans, AI won’t change investing

“[E]verybody likes growth in someone else’s backyard”

So, long run growth comes from one thing, and one thing only: Productivity. New and better ways of doing things. New and better products, new and better companies. It doesn’t come from 90% of the things that we talk about. So, the Federal Reserve, stimulus programs, even anti-inequality programs–over 10-20 years, it’s about productivity. Our ancestors may have, you know, you might have had a grandparent who dug coal with a pickaxe; and how did you get so much richer? Not by your union getting him higher wages and he still digs coal with a pickaxe at 20 cents an hour, not 10 cents. It’s because one guy left and he uses a bulldozer. Right? Growth comes from productivity. And productivity–everybody likes growth in someone else’s backyard. Productivity comes from new companies, doing things new ways, and making life very uncomfortable for everybody else. Uber is the great example. Uber is–that’s a great productivity enhancement. It’s putting a lot of people to work who otherwise couldn’t go to work. And the taxi companies hate it. And most of economic regulation is designed to stop growth. It’s designed to protect the old ways of doing things. So, what we need for growth-oriented policies is exactly that kind of innovation, that kind of new companies coming in an upending the status quo, that make everybody uncomfortable and run to their politician to say, ‘You’ve got to stop this.’

I don’t know the politics of economics enough to figure out if that’s a dick thing to say or not, but it sure makes grim-sense. The rest of the interview has some fun mental gymnastics and suave “turns out”’ing.

(And check out the show notes! That’s some intimidating work.)

Source: “EconTalk: John Cochrane on Economic Growth and Changing the Policy Debate”

Millions of words

When I was about nineteen, a professor in college sat me down once with a sad look on his face and said to me, almost like he was giving a cancer diagnosis, “You’re going to be a writer.” If you’re old enough to read this, you probably already know if this is your fate, too.The only rule is you have to write millions of words continuously until your death. If you have no problem with that, you’ll probably be fine. Conversely if you can imagine not doing that, you probably shouldn’t try to be a writer.

Source: Behind the Books with Matt Taibbi

From “The Call of Cthulhu”

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

“The Call of Cthulhu,” H.P. Lovecraft

From “The Haunter of the Dark”

Against these, some two miles away, rose the spectral hump of Federal Hill, bristling with huddled roofs and steeples whose remote outlines wavered mysteriously, taking fantastic forms as the smoke of the city swirled up and enmeshed them. Blake had a curious sense that he was looking upon some unknown, ethereal world which might or might not vanish in dream if ever he tried to seek it out and enter it in person.

“The Haunter of the Dark,” H.P. Lovecraft.

I wrote that one morning when I woke up in a pool of my own sick.

Perhaps the greatest skit in the history of poetry took place on this SNL setpiece: Dieter introduced “the Great American Poet of the Abyss, Jimmy Stewart.” Dana Carvey came out and read some of those “my loyal dog” poems that the now-defunct Stewart read on the tonight show (sorry, I can’t quote them from memory, and my copy is not at hand), and then explained to the rapt Dieter that “I wrote that poem while hitchhiking through South America with a 14 year old Mexican whore. One morning I woke up in a pool of my own sick and found out she robbed me. . .” Suggestions of a darker side to Jimmy Stewart’s poetic persona.

Source: LISTSERV 16.0 – POETICS Archives

Link: Billionaire CEO and investor Marc Benioff says unicorn startups manipulated private markets and he’s done investing in them

“The unicorn thing, I’ve been saying for a while now, is not great,” Benioff told Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg GO earlier this week. “The reason why it’s not great is not necessarily that these companies are not worth this much money or whatever — we don’t actually know because they’ve manipulated the private markets to achieve these valuations.”

“There is no reason why these companies who claim to be worth billions of dollars and making billions of dollars to stay private,” he continued. “They need to get out on the market, run their companies with the right level of governance, and let the market rationalize these valuations.”

“Being a public company is good. It forces us to make sure we keep the cadence…we have to keep our eye on the ball,” Benioff said. “The unicorn mania that’s going on, that’s dangerous for our Silicon Valley economy.”

Hey, he’s got all sorts of biases where this view favors him and Salesforce…but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong-think.

Source: Billionaire CEO and investor Marc Benioff says unicorn startups manipulated private markets and he’s done investing in them