sábado, junio 11, 2016

Why am I at TheMotion?

originally published at TheMotion.com blog

In recent months, several colleagues asked me why I started working at TheMotion if I was already employed with one of the best development and product teams in the country: development practices consolidated, sane culture and in continuous improvement, XP, DevOps culture, an interesting product with good quality (see Alea Soluciones Bifer team).

For me, the answer was simple: to learn and improve as a professional.

For some time now, I’ve had an interest in scalability at all levels (system scalability, development, teams, culture), distributed systems, cloud-native apps and SaaS.

These challenges only appear in products with a focus on the global market from day one and with features that make the operational cost to grow sublinear in relation to demand, that is, a web-scale business case.


Coincidentally, as I’m in the midst of thought, a colleague of mine, Cesar Ortiz, contacts me and tells me about a company called TheMotion. Initially, I wasn’t so sure about how TheMotion would fit into my plan to explore scalability but after speaking with CEO Iñigo Vega, I understood the huge market opportunity. It was as if a product primed for my area of interest, fell into my lap.

Some consolidated examples of web-scale companies are Facebook, Google, Netflix and Amazon AWS, but unlike working for these companies, working at TheMotion gave me the opportunity to contribute to the technical design, culture and growth of the team, almost from the beginning.

Needless to say, such opportunities are rare, and I couldn’t pass this one up.

From a workplace cultural point of view, the challenges included creating and establishing the correct mindset for experimentation, and developing an environment that nurtured collaboration and continual improvement through high alignment and high autonomy. For an agile culture to work, everybody needs to feel secure (to experiment, fail, learn, repeat), have high trust (to facilitate real collaboration) and value people above all. This is the type of environment which allows for the innovation, collaboration and scalability we need.

Does that sound difficult to achieve? Great because as Cultural Leader, this is my challenge, and I love a good challenge. Fortunately, although the process is difficult and slow, it is also personally rewarding (what’s better than helping people enjoy their work and feel committed to a great project?).

alignment enables autonomy (Henrik Kniberg) 

From a product point of view, the challenges consist of following the “Lean” principles (Lean Startup, Lean UX) and the step-by-step creation of a great product that delights our customers.

At a deeper, more technical level, the challenges are impressive: reaching a global scale, elasticity, multi-region high availability and, in parallel, growing the technical team.

How am I planning to do this? It will be all about small cycles, feedback and continuous improvement (lean principles and continuous delivery). As the first steps, we are improving our skills in testing, continuous integration, OO design, hexagonal architecture, DevOps practices and culture, native cloud application design, etc. (always keeping in mind the XP practices and values).

What is my responsibility in the technical side? Almost nothing... just the architecture. But when I say architecture I don’t mean as in the classic “Software/System Architect” that works in the ivory tower, making arbitrary technical decisions without being connected to the day to day reality of things. I think of architecture as a shared technical vision, in a constantly evolving state. In this role, my core function is to facilitate the creation of this kind of system and help team members remember our core values: operability, performance, scalability and high-level design. It reminds me of something similar to urban planning and mentoring.

One of the most interesting aspects of working at TheMotion is that we are using the elasticity and capabilities of the cloud from the very beginning. As you can plainly see, this is a perfect challenge for someone like me, eager to learn and continuously improve. And, I get to do all of this with a team which I think would be the envy of any tech-focused company. Life is good.

Learning and improving as a professional, in the right environment, with the right team, building a web-scale product with interesting technical challenges… that is why I’m at TheMotion.

By the way, we are hiring:

If you want to be part of this adventure, contact me :)

domingo, mayo 29, 2016

Interesting talks May

Interesting talks/podcasts/presentations that I watched during may:
that's all folks!

sábado, abril 09, 2016

Great book: How to win friend & influence people

A very useful book about the social interactions and how can we improve our capacity to achieve our goals in a very collaborative/social world. The title sounds like a collection of dirty Jedi mind tricks, but in fact is a collection of good behaviors that can help us to achieve our goals looking always for a win win situation.

Is very easy to read and have a lot of practical examples.
I think that it deserve a deep reading and put in practice the tips/behaviors from the book...

Another great book: Thinking Fast Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast Slow, Daniel Kahneman

IMHO a must read for any human being. In my case it changes how I think about the thinking process and make me more conscious about my own reactions, decisions, limitations, etc.

A great book, It have good explanations and a lot of examples and experiments. In fact, the experiments some times can be a little boring. I think that there is another "simplified" version that perhaps has less number of experiments or with less detail. Anyway, this version or the other is a complete must read...

The author explains the two different "thinking systems", the system one that is fast, intuitive, emotional and cheap in terms of energy and the system two that is rational, logical, deliberative and for sure, slower and with higher energy consumption. We usually identify ourselves with the second one, but in fact we use the first one almost all the time. The book help us to identify this systems, recognize when we are using each one and even how we can make conscious efforts to use the system two or train/improve the system one.

Very interesting reading.

If you doesn't have the time you can show this presentation Fast and Slow" | Talks at Google

lunes, marzo 28, 2016

Some books I recently read

The Lean Startup Eric Ries A great and practical book on how to sistematicaly apply the cientific method in the context of startups. I think this is the "must read" book for any startup.
I am very surprised to discover that there are a lot of startup than don't apply this method or even don't know about its existence. I think that is unforgivable mistake...
This book starts a movement to make a very cost effective "business discovery" processes :)

The Amazon Way John Rossman. A interesting book about a strong culture with  a very deep/interiorized values. Easy reading and very well structured. Interesting to get ideas, but not all of them are for me :)

The Lean CEO Javob Stoller Interesting vision about the needed support from the CEO for any Lean transformation. From the book you can derive that without this kind of support any transformation of this kind is doomed to fail... We need more of this open minded CEOs :)

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox. A very interesting book narrated as a novel about a transformation to Lean. Some very interesting metaphors, tips and even the mind process to archive the profound change needed.
Very interesting for industrial manufacturing, but If you come from the IT/Software development bussines, is better to read the The Phoenix Project that have the same structure but for IT context. Anyway is an excelent book that deserves a carful reading if you are interested in lean.

Zero to One Peter Thiel, Blake Masters. Interesting book about the diferents way of thinking to create a completly new markets and real innovation. A complementary book for The Innovator's dilemma but in my case, I don't think that this book changed my way of thinking... A good reading anyway.

The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups Trevor Owens, Obie Fernandez. Is funny becouse I read this book becouse a confusion... I wan to read http://www.amazon.com/Lean-Enterprise-Performance-Organizations-Innovate/dp/1449368425 but I just buy the wrong one, so for sure is not the content I was looking for ;)
Anyway is an interesting book very focused on how structure different organizations to innovate even in a context that make ir very difficult. The content does indeep overlap with The Innovator's dilemma so it give me some perspective but no new points of view.

For past reviews, see my reviews at goodreads