Last three weeks

The last three weeks have been pretty big for me.

A couple of Fridays ago, after a lovely mini-holiday in Dublin with Kate (in the days after she was talking at the Aristotelian society conference), I demonstrated my web cluster to ElasticHosts, and they loved it! We’ve provisionally agreed a referral agreement as their “cloud sites provider of choice”. My favourite bit was when Richard, their CEO, described our platform as “clearly the next generation of shared hosting”. I’ve only been working for three years to hear that… :)

The following Wednesday I jumped straight in the deep end with public speaking, explaining the technology I’ve spent three years developing in front of a terrifyingly large room full of people at the London OpenSolaris User Group. It went well! After getting over the initial nerves I settled in nicely to the talk. Getting some laughs for “here’s some Dtrace, I haven’t got any idea how it works!” really boosted my confidence and the rest was easy. I can imagine talks could easily go the other way though. I was lucky.

The same Thursday, hours after my talk, I went to the TweetDeck offices in Old Street, London. They offered me a job! I’m really excited about this. Reza, their sole backend engineer at present, and my new boss, looks set to be a real mentor for me. Here’s a short list of just some of the truly exciting technologies I’ll be working with there: Twisted (of course), RabbitMQ, Memcache, Django, Boto, Celery, Fabric, Node.js, Redis, Nginx. As technologies for building web-scale distributed systems with an emphasis on Python, this couldn’t be a better fit! The fact that they’re flexible enough to offer me a position with two days in London and one day working from home makes it totally awesome. Thanks TweetDeck!

I should say at this point that I’m really indebted to Simpleweb back in Bristol. They’ve been really flexible with me and I’ve really valued the fact that my job there has chilled me out, rather than stressing me out. It was exactly what I needed to get away from the freelance lifestyle which was causing me serious headaches about 10 months ago. On the flipside, I am also glad that I won’t be building websites any more. Even better that I can say that I’ll hopefully never have to write another line of PHP. Systems development makes more sense for me.

So on Friday I handed in my notice, which was a relief to get out in the open. I really don’t like keeping secrets.

Then I had Saturday off! Actually OFF! It was awesome. Sol was around, so we spent the whole day drinking ale, having multiple barbecues and playing with the chickens in our garden. Got to see Lewis too. Really nice day off.

So that brings us pretty much up to today… I’m on the train back to Bristol at 12:49am (work tomorrow at 9 *sigh*) after a great FreeBSD users meeting where I was talking again. I had a really great evening. It was a much smaller event, about 20 people in a small-ish conference room with free beer and crisps. Really friendly and very technical vibe, seemingly quite a lot of core FreeBSD and OpenBSD contributors. Exciting to get to know some of the community.

Got a warm reception to my talk once again and enjoyed it more this time. As it was a much more informal event there was interruptions and dialogue, which was fun as it allowed us to go off on interesting tangents. Went to the pub with everyone afterwards and over a few drinks had several rather interesting conversations. Sean (whose rack Digital Crocus is hosted in) came along to the pub afterwards as well. I was surprised by just how many techies working in banks there were there, pretty much 100%!

One such guy I spoke with was talking about his background in synchronous distributed filesystems for a banking operation (for data centres 20 miles apart, failover via BGP). His broad impression of our product seemed good, he said he’d be interested in how we deal with the problems we’ll find when running clusters of hundreds of nodes across three data centres! I can’t wait to get to the point of solving those problems :)

One other bit of news — we had our first genuine unsolicited sales enquiry today from a Belgian ISP who want a 12-node cluster. Woohoo!

So I’m tired but happy — looking forward to my holiday in August. I feel like I’m pretty well sorted here in England. I think working in London is going to present many exciting opportunities. I can’t believe how well everything’s going!

4 Responses to “Last three weeks”

  1. Lewis Dexter Litanzios says:

    TweetDeck – get in! :]

  2. Turkeyphant says:

    Hey dude – congrats on the job and the speaking. Is your August holiday to Boom? If so, see you there!

  3. admin says:

    Yep! Thanks man. See you at Boom 😀

  4. Congratulations.

    I particularly like the look of Hybrid Cluster (nice website, BTW): we aren’t big enough to need something like that yet, but (if all goes well) we will be in a couple of years…


Leave a Reply