Lazy, Messy, Backwards - Scott Porad, Start Pad, June 2009


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  • Scott: Excellent presentation last night. Thanks for posting this. David Wiggs
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  • Hello!
  • Pet Holdings is the company behind the hugely popular I Can Has Cheezburger? and A quick show of hands: Who is familiar with our sites? Is it part of anybody’s daily “coffee break” routine? Okay, last question: has anybody actually created a LOLcat or submitted a FAIL to Failblog?Well, if you’re not familiar with these sites, let me give you a quick introduction:Two points – humor and entertainment-- user-generated / user-driven model
  • Growing Really FastSmall Teammaximize resources and productivityFlexible and adaptHappy and successfulDidn’t design this philosophy intentionally,Lots of Agile and Lean
  • Minimum necessary to get what you need.Resources are limited.Corollary: wasteGet what you need is an important phrase
  • User-generated and user-driven modelAPI
  • Previous stuffOpen sourceFree Services – JS-KIT, GoogleAnalytics drugstore.comThink carefully about core competencies -- Joel spolsky, core competency … never outsourceBackwards example: S&S Toys
  • We rely heavily on partners:Wordpress, JS-KIT and WowrackTwo aspects to strategic partners: strengths and weaknesses
  • 2 Agile Concepts - Simplest Thing that Could Possibly Work - Minimum Marketable FeatureTwo examples - Recommendations - Farm Sites – e-mail us content – but we get them now
  • Another Agile concept: wait until the last responsible moment.there’s lots of stuff that MUST be done today, so focus on that.if it doesn’t need to be done today, then you might change your mind which will cause waste.
  • We do swarm: -- greater flexibility -- faster progressSuccess begets success
  • Being busy and making value / getting stuff done.
  • Comixed Builder or the Walmart Game Key: tight feedback loop.
  • Approval ProblemOTOH: E-mail system
  • We: ship brokenApple: prefers not to shipBut we can’t do both…if we did, we’d run out of money before we shipped.
  • Opposite: push off the things people tend to do too early
  • Martin: Firefighter vs. Fire Marshall
  • Hello!My name is Scott Porad and I am the CTO at Pet Holdings, Inc. Before PHI, drugstore.comBefore that, at StarwaveAnd before that I lived in NYC where I worked for Seth Godin’sYoyodyne Entertainment and a little company called Small World Software
  • Lazy, Messy, Backwards - Scott Porad, Start Pad, June 2009

    1. 1. Lazy, Messy, Backwards Scott Porad CTO, Pet Holdings, Inc.
    2. 2. Lazy, Messy, Backwards
    3. 3. Lazy is about conserving resources.
    4. 4. Messy is about progress over perfection.
    5. 5. Backwards is about a solid foundation.
    6. 6. Lazy
    7. 7. Why do something that you can easily get someone else do to for you?
    8. 8. Will your users do it?
    9. 9. Can you get it for free?
    10. 10. What about a partner?
    11. 11. Why buy the deluxe when the basic will do?
    12. 12. Why do today what you can easily put off until tomorrow?
    13. 13. Why try to get a lot of stuff done when you could just do one thing instead?
    14. 14. Swarm Example • 5 developers (25 dev days) • 5 x 1 week projects (25 dev days) • Do Lots – done in a week • Swarm – done in a week
    15. 15. Minds Change on Tuesday • Do Lots: nothing ready to ship, wasted 2 days • Swarm: 2 projects ready to ship, wasted zero Being Busy != Being Productive Being Productive = Shipping Code Shipped Code = Opportunity to Gain Value
    16. 16. Messy
    17. 17. Why plan things out when you can fly by the set of your pants?
    18. 18. Avoid the Global Strategy Tax
    19. 19. Accept Imperfection
    20. 20. Backwards
    21. 21. Bring forward the things people tend to do last.
    22. 22. Focus on Operations
    23. 23. “It’s firefighters versus fire marshals.” Martin Cron
    24. 24. Embrace Monitoring and Alerts
    25. 25. Eliminate Single Points of Failure
    26. 26. Implement Consistently
    27. 27. Write it down
    28. 28. Development Processes
    29. 29. “Software is just a reflection of the people and processes that built it.” John Helm
    30. 30. Scott’s Corollary: Operations is a reflection of your software.
    31. 31. How We Roll Monitoring and Alerting Cacti (OS) and Nagios (OS) Servers Wowrack,, Linode, MediaTemple Deployment ICHC Publisher (IH) Continuous Integration Team City (Free,$), NCover ($) Source Control Mercurial (OS) Code Review Review Board (OS) Test Automation Visual Studio ($), ASUnit ($), iMacros ($) , Selenium (OS) Development Environment Visual Studio ($), Zend Studio ($), CS3 ($), ReSharper ($) OS: Open Source IH: In-House/Proprietary $: Licensed
    32. 32. How We Connect • Gmail, Google Talk and Google Docs (Free) • Skype (Free) • Tokbox (Free) • Campfire (Almost Free) • FogBugz ($)
    33. 33. A Potluck of People
    34. 34. “Your job is to make sure the site doesn’t crash. After that, do whatever you want.” Sean Nolan, 1999
    35. 35. Vision
    36. 36. A fish rots from the head.
    37. 37. Knifepoint
    38. 38. Elevator Pitch
    39. 39. Roadmap
    40. 40. Rinse, Lather, Repeat
    41. 41. Moral of the Story Lazy = Conserve Resources Messy = Progress vs. Perfection Backwards = Solid Foundation Lazy + Messy + Backwards = WIN!
    42. 42. KTHXBAI! Scott Porad CTO, Pet Holdings, Inc.