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15	
  awesome	
  *ps	
  for	
  a	
  great	
  culture	
  
in	
  fast-­‐growth	
  startups	
  	
  
Julien	
  Simon,	
  CTO	
  @	
  Viadeo	
  
15	
  awesome	
  *ps	
  for	
  a	
  great	
  culture	
  
in	
  fast-­‐growth	
  startups	
  	
  
Julien	
  Simon,	
  CTO	
  @	
  Viadeo	
  
Life	
  in	
  the	
  tech	
  trenches	
  
	
  
Julien	
  Simon,	
  CTO	
  @	
  Viadeo	
  
Who	
  am	
  I	
  ?	
  
•  20+	
  years	
  in	
  R&D	
  teams,	
  	
  
from	
  smartcards	
  to	
  web	
  plaLorms	
  
•  VP	
  Eng	
  @	
  Digiplug,	
  CTO	
  @	
  Pixmania,	
  	
  
VP	
  Eng	
  @	
  Criteo,	
  CTO	
  @	
  Aldebaran	
  Robo*cs	
  
•  Grew	
  teams	
  from	
  8	
  to	
  60+	
  people	
  
•  Managed	
  teams	
  up	
  to	
  150	
  people	
  
I’ve	
  seen	
  things	
  you	
  wouldn’t	
  believe	
  
(and	
  done	
  a	
  few	
  myself,	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  admit)	
  
Disclaimer	
  (ooooh):	
  I’m	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  rude,	
  harsh	
  and	
  cynical.	
  
Feel	
  free	
  to	
  disagree	
  100%	
  J	
  
My	
  only	
  goal	
  tonight	
  is	
  to	
  help	
  you	
  avoid	
  some	
  of	
  them.	
  
The	
  beginning	
  of	
  the	
  end	
  
	
  
Your	
  company	
  is	
  running	
  fine,	
  
	
  
You’ve	
  got	
  5-­‐10	
  fine	
  engineers,	
  
	
  
Management	
  says	
  you	
  have	
  	
  
to	
  hire	
  10	
  more,	
  
	
  
Celebrate	
  now,	
  because…	
  	
  
Yes,	
  winter	
  is	
  coming	
  
Hiring	
  
Tools	
  
Methodology	
  
Processes	
  
Technology	
  
	
  
And	
  the	
  worst	
  of	
  all..	
  
Poli*cs	
  
They	
  will	
  creep	
  in	
  your	
  company	
  (no,	
  you’re	
  not	
  special)	
  
Guard	
  the	
  wall,	
  because	
  if	
  you	
  don’t,	
  who	
  will?	
  	
  
And	
  if	
  you	
  don’t	
  want	
  to	
  do	
  it,	
  you	
  picked	
  the	
  wroooooong	
  job,	
  buddy.	
  
	
  
Hiring	
  
We	
  should	
  really	
  stop	
  doing	
  it	
  
Hiring	
  :	
  default	
  answer	
  is	
  «	
  no	
  »	
  
•  Can	
  you	
  convincingly	
  answer	
  :	
  	
  
–  «	
  Why	
  this	
  candidate?	
  »	
  «	
  What	
  does	
  (s)he	
  bring	
  that	
  we	
  don’t	
  have?	
  »	
  
–  «	
  Why	
  now	
  ?	
  »	
  «	
  What	
  if	
  we	
  wait	
  a	
  few	
  more	
  months	
  ?	
  »	
  
–  No	
  Asshole	
  Rule	
  ?	
  
•  How	
  ?	
  
–  Coding	
  interviews	
  :	
  «	
  Cracking	
  the	
  Code	
  Interview	
  »,	
  Codility,	
  Project	
  Euler,	
  etc.	
  
–  «	
  Do	
  you	
  code	
  outside	
  of	
  work?	
  »	
  :	
  Github,	
  open-­‐source	
  projects,	
  Stack	
  Overflow	
  
–  Reference	
  checks	
  !	
  
•  Caveats	
  
–  Rockstars:	
  «	
  This	
  guy	
  was	
  awesome	
  at	
  Google/Microsoi/etc.	
  We	
  must	
  have	
  him».	
  
Maybe,	
  maybe	
  not.	
  Different	
  company,	
  different	
  game.	
  
–  Dev	
  leads:	
  raise	
  the	
  bar.	
  Then	
  raise	
  it	
  again.	
  Cost	
  of	
  mistake	
  is	
  sky	
  high.	
  
–  Hire	
  «	
  anyway	
  »	
  (especially	
  juniors).	
  No,	
  no	
  and	
  no	
  :	
  wrong	
  hire	
  à	
  more	
  problems.	
  
–  Made	
  a	
  mistake	
  ?	
  Fix	
  it	
  ASAP.	
  Things	
  NEVER	
  «	
  get	
  beker	
  ».	
  	
  
Minimize	
  damage	
  to	
  the	
  code	
  base	
  and	
  to	
  team	
  morale.	
  
Yes,	
  I’m	
  a	
  biker	
  middle-­‐aged	
  man	
  	
  
	
  
Passion	
  for	
  a	
  job	
  well-­‐done	
  has	
  become	
  an	
  excep*on	
  (do	
  you	
  hear	
  me,	
  Gen	
  Y?).	
  
Proper	
  Computer	
  Science	
  skills	
  (Knuth,	
  Meyers,	
  GoF,	
  etc)	
  are	
  so	
  rare	
  it’s	
  scary.	
  
Once	
  again	
  :	
  GIVE	
  THEM	
  A	
  LONG,	
  HARD	
  LOOK	
  &	
  KEEP	
  THE	
  BAD	
  ONES	
  OUT!	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Tools	
  
«	
  The	
  Joel	
  Test:	
  12	
  Steps	
  to	
  Beker	
  Code	
  »	
  (2000)	
  	
  
	
  
Your	
  real	
  score	
  is	
  the	
  one	
  I’d	
  find	
  if	
  I	
  audited	
  you	
  ;)	
  
	
  
Bonus:	
  «	
  Joel	
  Test	
  for	
  Programmers	
  »	
  (ar*cle	
  on	
  simpleprogrammer.com)	
  
Real-­‐life	
  examples	
  
…	
  from	
  leading	
  companies.	
  	
  
Makes	
  you	
  wonder	
  about	
  the	
  other	
  ones,	
  huh?	
  
	
  
	
  
#1	
  :	
  «	
  Yes,	
  we	
  use	
  SVN	
  and	
  everyone	
  commits	
  to	
  TRUNK»	
  	
  
#2	
  :	
  «	
  Yes,	
  Gérard	
  does	
  it	
  on	
  his	
  PC	
  and	
  puts	
  a	
  ZIP	
  file	
  on	
  our	
  filer»	
  
#3	
  :	
  «	
  Yes,	
  well	
  no,	
  not	
  for	
  the	
  last	
  6	
  months	
  »	
  
#4	
  :	
  «	
  Yes,	
  we	
  use	
  a	
  custom	
  version	
  of	
  Flyspray	
  0.8».	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Variant:	
  «	
  Excel	
  works	
  great	
  »	
  
#5	
  :	
  «	
  No,	
  MarkeOng	
  won’t	
  let	
  us	
  »	
  
#7	
  :	
  	
  «	
  Why?	
  We	
  are	
  an	
  Agile	
  team	
  »	
  
#10	
  :	
  «	
  Yes,	
  we	
  test	
  in	
  producOon	
  because	
  it’s	
  more	
  convenient	
  »	
  
There	
  is	
  no	
  excuse	
  for	
  not	
  geung	
  this	
  right.	
  	
  
This	
  is	
  priority	
  #1	
  for	
  the	
  CTO.	
  
Methodology	
  
Yes,	
  you	
  need	
  one	
  
Methodology	
  
•  Agile,	
  Agile,	
  Agile	
  
–  Agile	
  has	
  become	
  a	
  cult	
  (like	
  ISO9001	
  30	
  years	
  ago).	
  Be	
  a	
  prac**oner,	
  not	
  a	
  priest.	
  
–  Yes,	
  it’s	
  OK	
  to	
  adapt	
  Scrum/Kanban	
  to	
  your	
  own	
  context.	
  Whatever	
  works.	
  
–  The	
  Agile	
  Manifesto	
  (2001)	
  is	
  the	
  light	
  in	
  the	
  dark.	
  Stay	
  on	
  the	
  path,	
  you’ll	
  be	
  fine.	
  
•  Mul*-­‐discipline	
  teams	
  
–  Engineering	
  +	
  ops	
  +	
  designers	
  +	
  product	
  managers	
  working	
  as	
  one.	
  
–  A	
  unicorn?	
  Not	
  at	
  Viadeo	
  (one	
  of	
  the	
  reasons	
  I	
  joined,	
  actually).	
  
–  Awesome,	
  but	
  VERY	
  VERY	
  hard	
  to	
  get	
  right.	
  	
  
–  Long-­‐term	
  CxO	
  commitment	
  mandatory.	
  	
  
•  Lean	
  product	
  development	
  
–  Lean,	
  MVP,	
  walking	
  skeleton:	
  fine,	
  but	
  make	
  sure	
  you	
  eventually	
  deliver	
  something	
  
consistent.	
  Sum	
  of	
  demos	
  and	
  PoCs	
  	
  !=	
  Product	
  	
  
–  «	
  Fail	
  fast	
  »,	
  «	
  move	
  fast,	
  break	
  stuff	
  »,	
  «	
  trial	
  and	
  error	
  »:	
  fine	
  too,	
  but	
  make	
  sure	
  you	
  
have	
  solid	
  tests	
  and	
  the	
  right	
  KPIs	
  or	
  else,	
  how	
  will	
  you	
  know	
  you	
  failed?	
  
Processes:	
  skip	
  this	
  slide	
  if…	
  
(you’re	
  totally	
  delusional	
  about	
  the	
  sorry	
  state	
  of	
  your	
  engineering	
  prac*ce)	
  
	
  
Bugs	
  are	
  always	
  assigned	
  and	
  solved	
  in	
  *me,	
  
	
  
Your	
  code	
  scales	
  endlessly,	
  
	
  
Monitoring	
  always	
  catches	
  produc*on	
  issues,	
  
	
  
You	
  never	
  run	
  out	
  of	
  budget	
  	
  
(or	
  hos*ng	
  space,	
  or	
  servers),	
  
	
  
Your	
  Disaster	
  Recovery	
  plan	
  is	
  just	
  a	
  click/script	
  away,	
  
	
  
The	
  same	
  problem	
  never	
  happens	
  twice,	
  	
  
	
  
Etc.	
  etc.	
  
	
  
If	
  not…	
  processes,	
  then	
  
	
  
•  Yes,	
  I	
  hate	
  them	
  as	
  much	
  as	
  anyone,	
  	
  
all	
  the	
  more	
  if	
  they’re	
  arbitrary	
  and	
  inefficient.	
  
•  Wikipedia	
  says	
  :	
  «	
  a	
  collec*on	
  of	
  ac*vi*es	
  that	
  takes	
  one	
  or	
  more	
  kinds	
  of	
  input	
  
and	
  creates	
  an	
  output	
  that	
  is	
  of	
  value	
  to	
  the	
  customer	
  ».	
  
•  I	
  sez	
  :	
  «For	
  beker	
  or	
  worse,	
  I	
  know	
  only	
  one	
  way	
  to	
  do	
  some	
  things	
  right.	
  	
  
And	
  one	
  way	
  is	
  all	
  I	
  need	
  ».	
  
	
  
•  Sit	
  down,	
  write	
  some	
  simple,	
  proven	
  rules	
  that	
  prevent	
  real	
  problems	
  	
  
and	
  make	
  sure	
  they’re	
  enforced	
  every	
  day	
  (ass	
  kicking	
  may	
  be	
  required).	
  	
  
•  Could	
  it	
  be	
  that	
  this	
  is	
  what	
  the	
  ‘C’	
  in	
  ‘CTO’	
  stands	
  for?	
  Hmm?	
  
	
  
	
  
Technology	
  
The	
  ‘T’	
  in	
  ‘CTO’,	
  remember?	
  
«	
  LOAD	
  ON	
  THE	
  MYSQL	
  MASTER	
  IS	
  252.4	
  »	
  ?	
  
WHAT	
  DO	
  YOU	
  MEAN	
  
Technology	
  :	
  the	
  big	
  secret	
  (ooooh)	
  
1.  Focus	
  on	
  business	
  needs:	
  	
  don’t	
  build	
  cathedrals,	
  don’t	
  get	
  «	
  lost	
  in	
  the	
  
Bazaar	
  »	
  (great	
  ar*cle	
  by	
  Poul-­‐Henning	
  Kemp)	
  
2.  Iden*fy	
  top	
  challenges:	
  *me	
  to	
  market?	
  UI?	
  Perf?	
  Security?	
  Don’t	
  know?	
  	
  
3.  List	
  candidate	
  technologies,	
  expec*ng	
  them	
  to	
  last	
  a	
  least	
  a	
  year	
  (think	
  10x)	
  
4.  KPIs,	
  benchmarks,	
  PoC:	
  educated	
  guess	
  is	
  OK,	
  random	
  decision	
  isn’t!	
  
5.  Implement,	
  deploy	
  and	
  monitor	
  
6.  Anything	
  on	
  fire	
  ?	
  
–  Can	
  it	
  be	
  fixed	
  by	
  code	
  op*miza*on/refactoring?	
  
–  If	
  not	
  (are	
  you	
  really	
  sure?),	
  can	
  it	
  be	
  fixed	
  with	
  new	
  technology?	
  	
  
•  Yes:	
  you	
  need	
  a	
  new	
  building	
  block	
  in	
  your	
  stack,	
  GOTO	
  2.	
  
•  No:	
  WTF?	
  Are	
  you	
  scared?	
  Man	
  up!	
  Not	
  moving	
  =	
  death	
  
–  If	
  there	
  is	
  absolutely	
  no	
  other	
  way,	
  add	
  servers…	
  but	
  it	
  won’t	
  work	
  forever!	
  
KISS,	
  DRY,	
  and	
  watch	
  out	
  for	
  NIH	
  
Must…read…books	
  
because	
  you	
  don’t	
  really	
  learn	
  anything	
  useful	
  in	
  school	
  or	
  at	
  work	
  
and	
  they’ll	
  look	
  great	
  on	
  your	
  desk	
  ;)	
  
Ever	
  heard	
  these?	
  
Real-­‐life	
  examples	
  that	
  will	
  restore	
  your	
  faith	
  in	
  well-­‐educated,	
  well-­‐paid	
  engineers	
  
•  Trolls:	
  «	
  Java	
  is	
  for	
  pussies.	
  Real	
  men	
  use	
  C++	
  »	
  
•  Luna*cs:	
  «	
  Erlang	
  is	
  the	
  bomb.	
  Can’t	
  you	
  see,	
  old	
  man?	
  »	
  
Also	
  works	
  with	
  Haskell,	
  Clojure,	
  etc.	
  
•  Living	
  in	
  the	
  past:	
  «	
  SQL	
  Server	
  has	
  always	
  worked	
  for	
  us	
  »	
  
•  New	
  boss:	
  «	
  Let’s	
  rewrite	
  everything	
  in	
  …	
  »	
  
•  Boss	
  buddies:	
  «	
  My	
  ex-­‐colleagues	
  at	
  MicrosoZ	
  would	
  like	
  to	
  meet	
  
you	
  about	
  Azure	
  »	
  
•  And	
  the	
  worst	
  of	
  all,	
  fanboys	
  &	
  hipsters:	
  «	
  guys,	
  HackyLib	
  v0.1	
  has	
  
just	
  been	
  pushed	
  to	
  Github.	
  It’s	
  totally	
  awesome.	
  SpoOfy,	
  Ne_lix	
  
and	
  Valve	
  are	
  already	
  using	
  it	
  in	
  producOon.	
  Let’s	
  use	
  it	
  too!	
  »	
  
•  Variant:	
  the	
  latest	
  trend	
  your	
  boss	
  read	
  on	
  Business	
  Insider,	
  HBR	
  
or	
  worse:	
  «	
  We	
  need	
  a	
  Big	
  Data	
  strategy	
  »	
  à	
  DIE,	
  DIE,	
  DIE	
  
 
You	
  need	
  to	
  make	
  YOUR	
  OWN	
  choices	
  and	
  build	
  YOUR	
  OWN	
  plaLorm.	
  
Ideology,	
  conserva*sm	
  or	
  trends	
  won’t	
  get	
  you	
  anywhere.	
  
	
  
Which	
  leads	
  me	
  to…	
  
Poli*cs	
  
«	
  You’ve	
  got	
  to	
  watch	
  them,	
  be	
  quick	
  or	
  be	
  dead	
  »	
  Iron	
  Maiden	
  
Poli*cs	
  
•  CTO	
  =	
  tech	
  leader	
  +	
  people	
  manager	
  +	
  execu*ve	
  (that’s	
  what	
  the	
  ‘O’	
  means)	
  
•  You	
  have	
  to	
  be	
  all	
  three.	
  Able	
  to?	
  Want	
  to?	
  Allowed	
  to?	
  Encouraged	
  to?	
  
•  In	
  a	
  web	
  company,	
  technology	
  cannot	
  	
  take	
  a	
  back	
  seat	
  (willingly	
  or	
  not).	
  
–  Don’t	
  be	
  the	
  tech	
  dude	
  who	
  «	
  executes	
  »	
  while	
  the	
  big	
  boys	
  «	
  strategize	
  ».	
  
–  Let	
  tech	
  be	
  heard.	
  No	
  one	
  is	
  going	
  to	
  do	
  it	
  for	
  you…	
  You	
  owe	
  it	
  to	
  your	
  team!	
  
–  Try	
  to	
  work	
  efficiently	
  with	
  non-­‐tech	
  managers,	
  but	
  don’t	
  forget:	
  most	
  of	
  these	
  guys	
  
were	
  TAUGHT	
  poli*cs	
  and	
  they	
  LOVE	
  it.	
  
–  The	
  odds	
  are	
  against	
  you,	
  so	
  be	
  smarter,	
  run	
  faster…	
  and	
  pick	
  your	
  fights.	
  
•  Engineering	
  =	
  teamwork,	
  transparency,	
  facts,	
  con*nous	
  improvement.	
  
•  Poli*cs	
  =	
  ego,	
  lies,	
  twis*ng	
  facts,	
  status	
  quo.	
  
à	
  NO	
  POLITICS	
  allowed	
  inside	
  the	
  IT	
  team.	
  Zero,	
  none,	
  zilch,	
  nada.	
  Get	
  it?	
  
•  Especially	
  between	
  you	
  and	
  your	
  team.	
  Remember	
  that	
  asshole	
  manager	
  you	
  
had	
  to	
  work	
  for	
  in	
  a	
  previous	
  company?	
  Don’t	
  be	
  him.	
  Simple	
  as	
  that.	
  
Fear	
  is	
  not	
  an	
  op*on	
  
Whatever	
  happens,	
  kick	
  ass,	
  stay	
  true	
  and	
  try	
  to	
  have	
  fun	
  
Thank	
  you	
  very	
  much	
  for	
  listening	
  
Happy	
  to	
  answer	
  ques*ons	
  or	
  
listen	
  to	
  comments.	
  
	
  
Staying	
  in	
  touch:	
  
jsimon@viadeoteam.com	
  
Twiker:	
  @julsimon	
  
Blog:	
  juliensimon.blogspot.com	
  
And	
  of	
  course	
  on	
  Viadeo…	
  	
  
and	
  LinkedIn	
  ;)	
  

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CTO Crunch avec Julien Simon, Viadeo

  • 1. 15  awesome  *ps  for  a  great  culture   in  fast-­‐growth  startups     Julien  Simon,  CTO  @  Viadeo  
  • 2. 15  awesome  *ps  for  a  great  culture   in  fast-­‐growth  startups     Julien  Simon,  CTO  @  Viadeo  
  • 3. Life  in  the  tech  trenches     Julien  Simon,  CTO  @  Viadeo  
  • 4. Who  am  I  ?   •  20+  years  in  R&D  teams,     from  smartcards  to  web  plaLorms   •  VP  Eng  @  Digiplug,  CTO  @  Pixmania,     VP  Eng  @  Criteo,  CTO  @  Aldebaran  Robo*cs   •  Grew  teams  from  8  to  60+  people   •  Managed  teams  up  to  150  people  
  • 5. I’ve  seen  things  you  wouldn’t  believe   (and  done  a  few  myself,  I  have  to  admit)   Disclaimer  (ooooh):  I’m  going  to  be  rude,  harsh  and  cynical.   Feel  free  to  disagree  100%  J   My  only  goal  tonight  is  to  help  you  avoid  some  of  them.  
  • 6. The  beginning  of  the  end     Your  company  is  running  fine,     You’ve  got  5-­‐10  fine  engineers,     Management  says  you  have     to  hire  10  more,     Celebrate  now,  because…    
  • 7.
  • 8. Yes,  winter  is  coming   Hiring   Tools   Methodology   Processes   Technology     And  the  worst  of  all..   Poli*cs   They  will  creep  in  your  company  (no,  you’re  not  special)   Guard  the  wall,  because  if  you  don’t,  who  will?     And  if  you  don’t  want  to  do  it,  you  picked  the  wroooooong  job,  buddy.    
  • 9. Hiring   We  should  really  stop  doing  it  
  • 10. Hiring  :  default  answer  is  «  no  »   •  Can  you  convincingly  answer  :     –  «  Why  this  candidate?  »  «  What  does  (s)he  bring  that  we  don’t  have?  »   –  «  Why  now  ?  »  «  What  if  we  wait  a  few  more  months  ?  »   –  No  Asshole  Rule  ?   •  How  ?   –  Coding  interviews  :  «  Cracking  the  Code  Interview  »,  Codility,  Project  Euler,  etc.   –  «  Do  you  code  outside  of  work?  »  :  Github,  open-­‐source  projects,  Stack  Overflow   –  Reference  checks  !   •  Caveats   –  Rockstars:  «  This  guy  was  awesome  at  Google/Microsoi/etc.  We  must  have  him».   Maybe,  maybe  not.  Different  company,  different  game.   –  Dev  leads:  raise  the  bar.  Then  raise  it  again.  Cost  of  mistake  is  sky  high.   –  Hire  «  anyway  »  (especially  juniors).  No,  no  and  no  :  wrong  hire  à  more  problems.   –  Made  a  mistake  ?  Fix  it  ASAP.  Things  NEVER  «  get  beker  ».     Minimize  damage  to  the  code  base  and  to  team  morale.  
  • 11. Yes,  I’m  a  biker  middle-­‐aged  man       Passion  for  a  job  well-­‐done  has  become  an  excep*on  (do  you  hear  me,  Gen  Y?).   Proper  Computer  Science  skills  (Knuth,  Meyers,  GoF,  etc)  are  so  rare  it’s  scary.   Once  again  :  GIVE  THEM  A  LONG,  HARD  LOOK  &  KEEP  THE  BAD  ONES  OUT!        
  • 12. Tools   «  The  Joel  Test:  12  Steps  to  Beker  Code  »  (2000)       Your  real  score  is  the  one  I’d  find  if  I  audited  you  ;)     Bonus:  «  Joel  Test  for  Programmers  »  (ar*cle  on  simpleprogrammer.com)  
  • 13. Real-­‐life  examples   …  from  leading  companies.     Makes  you  wonder  about  the  other  ones,  huh?       #1  :  «  Yes,  we  use  SVN  and  everyone  commits  to  TRUNK»     #2  :  «  Yes,  Gérard  does  it  on  his  PC  and  puts  a  ZIP  file  on  our  filer»   #3  :  «  Yes,  well  no,  not  for  the  last  6  months  »   #4  :  «  Yes,  we  use  a  custom  version  of  Flyspray  0.8».                    Variant:  «  Excel  works  great  »   #5  :  «  No,  MarkeOng  won’t  let  us  »   #7  :    «  Why?  We  are  an  Agile  team  »   #10  :  «  Yes,  we  test  in  producOon  because  it’s  more  convenient  »   There  is  no  excuse  for  not  geung  this  right.     This  is  priority  #1  for  the  CTO.  
  • 14. Methodology   Yes,  you  need  one  
  • 15. Methodology   •  Agile,  Agile,  Agile   –  Agile  has  become  a  cult  (like  ISO9001  30  years  ago).  Be  a  prac**oner,  not  a  priest.   –  Yes,  it’s  OK  to  adapt  Scrum/Kanban  to  your  own  context.  Whatever  works.   –  The  Agile  Manifesto  (2001)  is  the  light  in  the  dark.  Stay  on  the  path,  you’ll  be  fine.   •  Mul*-­‐discipline  teams   –  Engineering  +  ops  +  designers  +  product  managers  working  as  one.   –  A  unicorn?  Not  at  Viadeo  (one  of  the  reasons  I  joined,  actually).   –  Awesome,  but  VERY  VERY  hard  to  get  right.     –  Long-­‐term  CxO  commitment  mandatory.     •  Lean  product  development   –  Lean,  MVP,  walking  skeleton:  fine,  but  make  sure  you  eventually  deliver  something   consistent.  Sum  of  demos  and  PoCs    !=  Product     –  «  Fail  fast  »,  «  move  fast,  break  stuff  »,  «  trial  and  error  »:  fine  too,  but  make  sure  you   have  solid  tests  and  the  right  KPIs  or  else,  how  will  you  know  you  failed?  
  • 16. Processes:  skip  this  slide  if…   (you’re  totally  delusional  about  the  sorry  state  of  your  engineering  prac*ce)     Bugs  are  always  assigned  and  solved  in  *me,     Your  code  scales  endlessly,     Monitoring  always  catches  produc*on  issues,     You  never  run  out  of  budget     (or  hos*ng  space,  or  servers),     Your  Disaster  Recovery  plan  is  just  a  click/script  away,     The  same  problem  never  happens  twice,       Etc.  etc.    
  • 17. If  not…  processes,  then     •  Yes,  I  hate  them  as  much  as  anyone,     all  the  more  if  they’re  arbitrary  and  inefficient.   •  Wikipedia  says  :  «  a  collec*on  of  ac*vi*es  that  takes  one  or  more  kinds  of  input   and  creates  an  output  that  is  of  value  to  the  customer  ».   •  I  sez  :  «For  beker  or  worse,  I  know  only  one  way  to  do  some  things  right.     And  one  way  is  all  I  need  ».     •  Sit  down,  write  some  simple,  proven  rules  that  prevent  real  problems     and  make  sure  they’re  enforced  every  day  (ass  kicking  may  be  required).     •  Could  it  be  that  this  is  what  the  ‘C’  in  ‘CTO’  stands  for?  Hmm?      
  • 18. Technology   The  ‘T’  in  ‘CTO’,  remember?   «  LOAD  ON  THE  MYSQL  MASTER  IS  252.4  »  ?   WHAT  DO  YOU  MEAN  
  • 19. Technology  :  the  big  secret  (ooooh)   1.  Focus  on  business  needs:    don’t  build  cathedrals,  don’t  get  «  lost  in  the   Bazaar  »  (great  ar*cle  by  Poul-­‐Henning  Kemp)   2.  Iden*fy  top  challenges:  *me  to  market?  UI?  Perf?  Security?  Don’t  know?     3.  List  candidate  technologies,  expec*ng  them  to  last  a  least  a  year  (think  10x)   4.  KPIs,  benchmarks,  PoC:  educated  guess  is  OK,  random  decision  isn’t!   5.  Implement,  deploy  and  monitor   6.  Anything  on  fire  ?   –  Can  it  be  fixed  by  code  op*miza*on/refactoring?   –  If  not  (are  you  really  sure?),  can  it  be  fixed  with  new  technology?     •  Yes:  you  need  a  new  building  block  in  your  stack,  GOTO  2.   •  No:  WTF?  Are  you  scared?  Man  up!  Not  moving  =  death   –  If  there  is  absolutely  no  other  way,  add  servers…  but  it  won’t  work  forever!   KISS,  DRY,  and  watch  out  for  NIH  
  • 20. Must…read…books   because  you  don’t  really  learn  anything  useful  in  school  or  at  work   and  they’ll  look  great  on  your  desk  ;)  
  • 21. Ever  heard  these?   Real-­‐life  examples  that  will  restore  your  faith  in  well-­‐educated,  well-­‐paid  engineers   •  Trolls:  «  Java  is  for  pussies.  Real  men  use  C++  »   •  Luna*cs:  «  Erlang  is  the  bomb.  Can’t  you  see,  old  man?  »   Also  works  with  Haskell,  Clojure,  etc.   •  Living  in  the  past:  «  SQL  Server  has  always  worked  for  us  »   •  New  boss:  «  Let’s  rewrite  everything  in  …  »   •  Boss  buddies:  «  My  ex-­‐colleagues  at  MicrosoZ  would  like  to  meet   you  about  Azure  »   •  And  the  worst  of  all,  fanboys  &  hipsters:  «  guys,  HackyLib  v0.1  has   just  been  pushed  to  Github.  It’s  totally  awesome.  SpoOfy,  Ne_lix   and  Valve  are  already  using  it  in  producOon.  Let’s  use  it  too!  »   •  Variant:  the  latest  trend  your  boss  read  on  Business  Insider,  HBR   or  worse:  «  We  need  a  Big  Data  strategy  »  à  DIE,  DIE,  DIE  
  • 22.   You  need  to  make  YOUR  OWN  choices  and  build  YOUR  OWN  plaLorm.   Ideology,  conserva*sm  or  trends  won’t  get  you  anywhere.     Which  leads  me  to…  
  • 23. Poli*cs   «  You’ve  got  to  watch  them,  be  quick  or  be  dead  »  Iron  Maiden  
  • 24. Poli*cs   •  CTO  =  tech  leader  +  people  manager  +  execu*ve  (that’s  what  the  ‘O’  means)   •  You  have  to  be  all  three.  Able  to?  Want  to?  Allowed  to?  Encouraged  to?   •  In  a  web  company,  technology  cannot    take  a  back  seat  (willingly  or  not).   –  Don’t  be  the  tech  dude  who  «  executes  »  while  the  big  boys  «  strategize  ».   –  Let  tech  be  heard.  No  one  is  going  to  do  it  for  you…  You  owe  it  to  your  team!   –  Try  to  work  efficiently  with  non-­‐tech  managers,  but  don’t  forget:  most  of  these  guys   were  TAUGHT  poli*cs  and  they  LOVE  it.   –  The  odds  are  against  you,  so  be  smarter,  run  faster…  and  pick  your  fights.   •  Engineering  =  teamwork,  transparency,  facts,  con*nous  improvement.   •  Poli*cs  =  ego,  lies,  twis*ng  facts,  status  quo.   à  NO  POLITICS  allowed  inside  the  IT  team.  Zero,  none,  zilch,  nada.  Get  it?   •  Especially  between  you  and  your  team.  Remember  that  asshole  manager  you   had  to  work  for  in  a  previous  company?  Don’t  be  him.  Simple  as  that.  
  • 25. Fear  is  not  an  op*on   Whatever  happens,  kick  ass,  stay  true  and  try  to  have  fun  
  • 26. Thank  you  very  much  for  listening   Happy  to  answer  ques*ons  or   listen  to  comments.     Staying  in  touch:   jsimon@viadeoteam.com   Twiker:  @julsimon   Blog:  juliensimon.blogspot.com   And  of  course  on  Viadeo…     and  LinkedIn  ;)