Today was my last day at Elastic. After 4.5 years with the company and almost 9 years with the Swiftype (and later Enterprise Search) team, I have decided to move on and see what else is out there. I wanted to use this post to clarify the reasoning behind the decision because a lot of people have been reaching out over the past month wondering about the details.
For most of my career (for at least 15-17 years before joining Elastic) I have worked in small to medium-sized startups, always in SaaS, moving really fast and having my impact on the business be mostly tied to my ability to ship. I loved that, even though it was often painful and stressful. My brain ended up being trained to derive dopamine from the constant feeling of shipping, constant feeling of overcoming challenges and solving problems.
Then, we got acquired by Elastic – a truly amazing company, honestly, the best company I have ever worked for and, unfortunately, a company that ships packaged software with its inherent effects on development process. At first, while my projects revolved around security and compliance, then around internal code migrations, integration into the Elastic ecosystem, etc, I felt really happy – I would do the really challenging work and derive pleasure from overcoming those challenges.
Unfortunately, over time the initial rush of excitement faded away and I have realized, that the most challenging problems within our product have been solved and I ended up in a position of working on a packaged product, building features with a release cycle of 6-8 weeks. The product is amazing, the features are really exciting, but the very long feedback cycle simply did not work for me after so many years in SaaS.
I still believe in Elastic, I love the company, the team and the amazing culture we have built over the years. But I need to ship faster, move faster, get feedback from my users sooner. After considering different options, I have decided to join Shopify – a large and fast moving Rails-based company, where I hope to get a chance to once again experience the thrill of fast delivery and tight feedback loops. Let’s see how it goes 🙂
So, after a few weeks of looking for a new job I’m really excited to start my journey in a young, but very ambitious startup called Swiftype which is focused on developing a technology for private site search, that could be used on everything from small blogs to large product sites. The company is growing really fast and I’m going to lead all the work on infrastructure, build the ops team and hope to get a chance to do some coding along the way.
Stay tuned – I really hope to finally get a chance to do more blogging this year. 🙂
As of today I’m no longer working for LivingSocial and I’m looking for the next thing to work on. Since my family is in Toronto and I have an apartment (mortgage) here, I’m not looking to relocate and currently looking for something remote (I have 7+ years of remote work experience) or something local in Toronto.
For more information on my background, please check my Github profile, my linkedin profile or the resume section on this blog. If you need to contact me, feel free to use any channels listed on the contacts page.
Update: After a few initial interviews I’d like to update this post with a bit more details on what I’m looking for in the new position.
First of all, I’m really not sure I want to be yet another ops engineer working on “everything ops” in my next company. If I’d be to join a company as a regular ops engineer, I’d prefer it to be a clearly defined role with a clear focus on some set of challenging problems. I’m honestly tired of setting up cacti/nagios/chef at this point and would like the job to be a little bit more challenging.
Though even more I’m interested in being able to make strategic technical decisions for an operations team and apply my experience and knowledge for solving challenging tasks with a dedicated team of ops engineers. This could be anything from a tech ops team lead role (in a medium/large companies) to a director of technical operations (in a small-to-medium sized startups).
Update: Ok, I’ve found a new job – I work for Swiftype now!
Disclaimer: the information in this post is the author’s personal opinion and is not the opinion or policy of his employer.
It was spring 2010 when we decided that even though Softlayer‘s server provisioning system is really great and it takes only a few hours to get a new server when we need it, it is still too long sometimes. We wanted to be able to scale up when needed and do it faster. It was especially critical because we were working hard on bringing up Facebook integration to our site and that project could have dramatically changed our application servers cloud capacity requirements.
What buzzword comes to your mind when we talk about scaling up really fast, sometimes within minutes, not hours or days? Exactly – cloud computing! So, after some initial testing and playing around with Softlayer’s (really young back then) cloud solution called CloudLayer and talking to our account manager we’ve decided to switch our application from a bunch of huge and at the time pretty expensive 24-core monster servers to a cluster of 8-core cloud instances. To give you some perspective: we had ~250 cores at the start of the project and at the end of 2010 we’d have more then 100 instances – we weren’t a small client with a few instances).
For those who are not familiar with Softlayer cloud: they sell you “dedicated” cores and memory, which is supposed to give you an awesome performance characteristics comparing to shared clouds like EC2.
Long story short, after a month of work on the project we had our application running on the cloud and were able to scale it up and down pretty fast if needed. And since the cloud was based on faster cpu and faster memory machines, we even saw improved performance of single-threaded requests processing (avg. response time dropped by ~30% as far as I remember). We were one happy operations team…
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My wife – a good web designer with 6 years of experience with web design, HTML and CSS is looking for a job. Here is some information about her:
We’re physically located in Toronto, Canada, but she has a great experience of working remotely too. So, if you need a web designer or a junior web designer, feel free to contact Tanya.