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TTT 32: Technical Leadership 🗺
Why are we so afraid? 🙀
மாலை வணக்கம் (maalai vaNakkam), Buenas Noches, and Good Evening from Phoenix, Arizona.
I’ll be sharing a thing I did and a thought I had.
A Thing ⛵️
“Why won’t these fucks move their app to Kubernetes?”
I said this to my manager in my 1-on-1. An app team asked me to make a feature request to a platform team. The request was to grant admin privileges to the app team, because on VM (virtual machine) failure, the new VM didn’t have the proper configs on boot.
Until the configs could be applied by the platform team, the app team was missing logs.
And empirically, this takes up to 10 days.
Imagine how bush league it is for an application running in production for 10 days without logs. I thought to myself, “Why should I make this request to the platform team when if their app ran in Kubernetes instead of a VM, they’d get this for free?”
My manager offered this helpful reframe:
Just as engineers program to an interface, leaders must lead to a set of principles.
So instead of “Why doesn’t the app team re-platform their app from their VM to Kubernetes?”
It’s “We deploy our apps to platforms that are resilient to catastrophic failure. If you choose to follow these principle, you get this resilience for free. If not, you choose to create more work for your team.”
The platforms of applications change every few years. If we want to lead a big ship, we have to think years in the future. Even getting folks to internalize principles takes much longer than we think.
The technologies are the implementation. The principles are the interface.
A Thought 💭
The fear, uncertainty, and doubt surrounding Mexico City is overblown.
When I took Write of Passage, one of the mentors, Joojo Ocran, gave us 3 questions to answer in 1-2 sentences every night. It’s a small exercise I’ve done while I’ve been in Mexico. It has made it 10x easier to remember what actually happened:
What was the most story worthy moment?
What could you give a TED Talk about?
What moment changed your perspective?
Over the last week, the most story worthy moments include strangers practicing Spanish with me for hours, workers bringing me free mole rojo and tortillas, and folks pouring me free mezcal at a reggae bar.
Many people in my life expressed concerns about my safety going to Mexico alone. But the worst part was not feeling accepted for a few days. The best part was being celebrated by total strangers with warm, loving embraces.
Before I got here, I let their concerns get to me.
But this trip made me realize that sometimes we’re afraid of things for no good reason.
I'd love to hear any feelings you felt while reading this and until next time - be easy.
P.S. I created a TikTok of my food recommendations for Mexico City. It won’t load in the browser because I chose photos instead of video. Good lesson for next time :)
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