Monthly recap (October 2018)

 

Wings, wand, and glow-rings

 

Major updates:

  • Ran a 10K! (Stevens Creek Trailblazer at Shoreline Park)
  • Fun weekend trip to Seattle
  • Visited the Monterey Aquarium and finally saw the Giant Pacific Octopus moving around!

Minor updates:

  • Updated my older Series 1 Apple Watch to the newer one
  • Halloween fun

Watched/read:

  • Disney on Ice … not bad
  • Listened to The essential guide to NLP
  • Couple of episodes of Altered Carbon
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Why you should join Pure

I thought I’d share a few thoughts about why Pure Storage is a good place to consider working.

There’s no “one size fits all” answer for everyone, I’m not really aiming this at everyone … but I’m sure there’s somone out there who’ll benefit from it, so it’s worth writing. I can share my own experience, and let you decide where to take it. Pros and cons abound here, but that’s okay: there are things that seemed important to me earlier that I don’t care for now, and vice versa.

Pure occupies some of the rarified middle ground between small startups and the FAANG giants. I feel the “storage” tag is a bit unfortunate, it gives the impression of being boring, but there’s a lot of interesting technology behind the scenes here. For more context: within Pure, there is the larger, more mature, FlashArray division that has the “just replace hard disks with flash” mandate, which I know less about, and my notes apply more to the smaller, newer, FlashBlade division, where I work.

FlashBlade is still in the “everyone-can-fit-into-a-large-room-for-all-hands” stage, so it definitely feels small, since you can get to the “knowing everyone on a first-name basis” in a couple of months.

The product itself has some non-intuitive technical challenges: it is effectively a “mini-cluster”, effectively a set of server racks in the form factor of a large microwave, and so has all the interesting distributed systems challenges you might typically only associate with “cloud” systems.

Features we work on are usually those that are desperately needed to sell more of the product, or to improve its reliability/performance — which means there is a strong sense of purpose, and also a drip-drip-drip of “real” feedback, from sales and the field, as we do demos, roll out beta versions, etc.

So, my own experience:

(Pros)

  • I have an amazing team to work with, an amazing manager, and an amazing director.
  • Teams are constantly shuffled around as we work on features, so the answer to “can I switch teams after a year?” is “you must switch teams before a year”
  • Working with Slack, Git, Stash, Jira
  • You get to build whatever tools you need
  • You get to write/re-write/modify docs and processes as you see fit
  • You can change any part of the code, at any level of abstraction, ownership of the code isn’t tied to people or teams

(Cons)

  • Limited free food
  • No fancy decor
  • Generally fewer creature comforts
  • Development experience is less than perfect
  • Some wikis/docs may be missing, you need to write them
  • Some tools you may be missing, you need to build them
  • Ownership of the code isn’t tied to people or teams, you might need to read/write/rewrite code you haven’t seen before (notice the pattern here? 🙂)

As you might guess, none of the Cons listed above bother me, but I have felt differently about that in the past (and may feel differently about that in the future), but like I said right at the top, that’s fine — this isn’t for everyone, but hopefully it helps someone out there take a good look at Pure and decide to come in for an interview. If you like hard challenges, working hard with a like-minded team, a lot of control over your work, building out new features/tools, you’ll like working here.

Monthly recap (September 2018)

 

Coral and fish, seen from a port window of the submarine

 

Major updates:

  • Fun times in Maui! (Spent a lot of time in the pool, half of the road to Hana, small submarine tour(!), a Luau, lots of eating)

Minor updates:

  • Spent most of a week alone with Tara; went much better than expected
  • Tried out fasting for the first time ever (three days! Will do it again!)
  • Got myself a Ukulele (inspired by Hawaii; now to see if I actually end up using it)
  • First ever 10K, and the first run longer than a 5K since my leg injury (went to the “Trailblazer” run at Shoreline; it’s near enough that it’s worth making into an annual thing)

Watched/read:

  • Finally finished (over two-and-a-half years!) all 19 seasons of Midsomer Murders
  • Watched Myths and Monsters on Netflix (meh)
  • Read Go in practice (nice tips)

Monthly recap (August 2018)

 

A tower of Tegu blocks 🙂

 

Major updates:

  • Mostly a lot of Tara-related milestones 🙂
  • I quit coffee for a month! (and then went back …)

Minor updates:

  • Tara got a new bike
  • First board game with Tara
  • A day at Happy Hollow with Tara
  • Couple of birthday parties for Tara’s pre-school friends
  • Got a new set of adjustable dumbbells, moved from Bowflex to Powerblock

Watched/read:

  • Being Geek
  • Phantom Terror
  • Alexander’s Lost World

Monthly recap (July 2018)

A seal on a rock near the shore at Monterey

Major updates:

  • My parents were here for a couple of weeks, we had a mid-week trip to Monterey around 4th July, where we stayed near the beach. Good walks, good food, good fun.
  • Visited the Legion of Honor museum, hadn’t been there before
  • Bunch of eating nearby, but my mom got sick at the end and had to get operated when she went back home ☹️

Minor updates:

  • Swapped my Bowflex set for Powerblocks, liking it
  • Discovered Zazzle, made a T-shirt for myself and one for Tara
  • Bunch of cleanup/repairs need at home

Watched/read:

  • Re-watched The Death of Stalin with my parents (because it’s that good)
  • Watched about half of Moana with Tara and my parents (until she got scared and didn’t want to watch any more)
  • Watched Sacred Games and Thor:Ragnarok on Netflix
  • Read The Tinderbox Way (use the software on and off, incredibly powerful but a high learning curve)

Revisiting blog post categories

I’ve been writing three monthly posts for a while now (a couple of years, maybe?): a monthly summary of what I’ve been up to, and then two sets of “interesting links”.

These have been (arbitrarily, the first time, and then carried on ever after) separated out roughly into Programming/Math/Science, and everything else.

This dichotomy bothers me — just have one bucket for “stuff I found interesting this month” so I’m just going to have one monthly round-up of links.

I do have a static weblog as an outlet for sharing links/extracts/snippets, so that can still count as a “programming-only channel”.

Monthly recap (June 2018)

 

A new set of thousand pieces for a puzzle …

 

Major updates:

  • Re-started my “run every Sunday morning” habit, for the first time since Oct 2016
  • Successfully gave up regular coffee drinking after many, many years

Minor updates:

  • Better sleeping policy
  • Went to my first NBA game (Warriors vs Cavaliers, at Oakland)
  • A lot of meeting up with old friends
  • Fun work picnic
  • Watched Incredibles 2 with Tara!
  • Started a new 1000-piece puzzle

Watched/read

  • (Netflix) The little prince (different from the original, but in a great way)
  • (Netflix) The Trip to Spain (excellent piece in the trilogy, can’t believe I missed it after watching the first two (The Trip, The Trip to Italy) immediately when they were released)