After two years at InfluxData

23 May 2019 - Tags: rambling, work, influxdata, open source, human

Hello dudes! I am gonna write down some rambling today.

I am writing this article during my flight back to KubeCon 2019 in Barcelona. I had a great time at our booth speaking with community enthusiasts, customers, and developers. I had to leave a day before for unknown circumstances (I am crazy).

A few days ago I just realized I am been working at InfluxData for two years, I think it is time for me to share something with you about my experience over there.

Community matters

I moved to Dublin 4 years ago for 1.5 years. I was not able to speak in English and I knew it was an important skill to learn. So I got a job and I move there.

I knew it was not gonna be forever because I love who I left in my hometown and I like Italy. Luckily for me, I love open source and Dublin has a huge set of meetups to attend. The Docker Meetup was my favorite one and also the one where I met @tomwillfixit and @jpetazzo he pushed me to join the amazing Captain program at Docker that was just gonna start at that time.

Anyway, I used and shared my InfluxDB love with the world even before moving to Dublin when I worked at @corleycloud with Walter and we wrote the PHP influxdb-sdk.

At some point, as you can hear from this podcast from The New Stack I obsessed @Chris_Churilo from Influx so much that she referred me there as an SRE. I was so excited, my practical interview toke three hours of troubleshooting a Go application running in Docker. I still remember the test, it was fun and friendly.

Anyway, that’s how I got here. Open Source, community, new friends and some luck!

Timezone ???

InfluxData is a remote friendly company and I was ready to get back to Italy. Everybody warned me about the complexity hidden behind remote working, nobody really told me anything about the fact that all my colleagues will start to work almost when I am ready to leave! InfluxData is very respectful and I can say that in two years I can count with one (maybe two) hands the amount of time I had to open my laptop at some weird time.

I love my laptop, I have it open by myself at a weird time as well!

But after two years I need to admit that it requires a great effort from both sides to work with +9 hours folks for so long. You need to be good at reaching out to them, they need to remember that it is late in your side if they see me frustrated or tired. But it is fun and you learn a lot about yourself and from your teammate all around the globe, I think the effort pays back. Everyone should have the chance to open their mind with cultures that different.

When I joined the people in Europe was not that many, probably 3-4. Now we are more, my team is not made by myself anymore but there are other 6 people and @gitirabassi is in my timezone. It makes everything way easier.

Unicorn SF start-up

This is also my first experience in a “unicorn” startup in US/SF. I do now know if I can define InfluxData as a unicorn startup but every conference I go, even in South Africa, there are people that use or known InfluxDB. So I bet we are pretty unicorn. Since I joined I think we are at least x4 more people and we are still growing (We are hiring). It is excited and stressful.

There are a lot of roles and teams that I never heard before in my career because I worked a lot with small companies and I am very happy to hang out and chat with them when we are face to face to understand how salespeople follow customers or how the outbound sales team can make thousands of calls a day to figure out the right person that should hear about what we do.

Almost all the time people are the bottleneck because it is hard to collaborate in a good way when your work environment keeps changing under your feet. But that’s how this business works and there is a lot to learn about how to survive and how it works.

I am whatever I want! And that’s awesome

I started as a web developer 7 years ago, I moved to automation and devops because I liked to make people comfortable and confident in deploying their code in production and as a developer, I knew the pain and I am happy to solve them.

As SRE I helped to develop a custom orchestrator for our SaaS with stateful workloads and databases. I also enjoyed all the tracing and instrumentation revolution that observability pushes.

I love the people and working from home sometimes brings some loneliness on the table that’s why we have tech communities. That’s why I organize the CNCF Meetup in Turin, I do open source and I go to conferences. There are millions of ways to feel less alone online and offline obviously! Meetups, co-working, friends, beers, and BBQ.

I think I am a bit tired to work so close to infra, ops, and automation. My “developer side” is pushing me back to where I started. The code (no not at all PHP I am sorry).

At InfluxData there are a lot of Golang ROCK starts, so I will look around to understand what I am happy to hack on!

Conclusion

I have no idea where I am trying to go with this rumblings. Re-reading what I wrote it looks my way to thanks all the people that over these two years helped me to grow and get better. I like to think that MAYBE somebody in the same situation having some hard time will stumble to this article and she/he will realize that everything will be all right!.

Keep rocking!