“Life is just a gap—get some money in between it.” —Lil Wayne

I’ve always liked the color orange. Baptized as a child in chants of Orange and Blue between the student side and the alumni side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It only makes sense that orange is one of the predominant colors of my new team’s logos.

I’m happy to announce I’m joining the Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service team as a Developer Advocate.

Senior Developer Advocate

Developer Advocacy is right in line with a statement I’ve had on my resume since I’ve had a resume: “Technology exists to improve human existence.” I’ve thought this since before I started in tech. I used this mantra when helping folks at my first IT job in the summer of 1995 when I was fifteen years old (it was called MIS back then). In a very forward-leaning environment, all summer long, my team kept throwing problem after problem at me, and I’d solve them to the best of my ability. If it was a PEBKAC, I made sure that, for example, the solution to their problem was a double click away on their Windows 3.11 desktop. A Windows shortcut to a batch script could solve a lot of issues back then in enterprises.

But, let me tell you a story first.

Storytime

One of the first customer visits I ever did at Red Hat as a TMM (before the pandemic) was to a customer about to jump over to AWS from OpenShift. At one point, I asked the customer what kinds of hurdles were process-wise to getting resources on each provider they used.

The on-premises (on-prem) OpenShift had all the traditional “your VM will be ready in six to nine months” problems I’d expect in a large enterprise. Especially one that hadn’t embraced DevOps, lean, or any Westrum-based, or Forsgren-based methodologies (please read Accelerate).

Access to AWS resources had a very nice on-ramp (meeting or exceeding the orgs' needs). The AWS team worked with stakeholders to make it that way. AWS rolled up its sleeves, got in there, and worked with whomever it took to help the customer excel with Amazon’s products. Most big tech companies do this but, AWS is the best I’ve seen at it (this includes my personal experience lifting and shifting from on-prem to AWS at a previous employer).

AWS excels at implementing its solutions with customers

That experience is on par with every experience I’ve had with AWS professionally. They do things right to get their customers using their products in often groundbreaking ways. They’ll help you get through some enormously rough patches too.

AWS pairs excellent technology with talented people to make their solutions work for their customers. They will put boots on the ground, educate teams, inform executives, and get their ideas into production on AWS. It’s almost a whatever it takes attitude. Having that kind of ally at your side is empowering. That’s an incredible superpower as a company, and they do it the best every day.

Staring up at AWS every month led me here

Live streaming was fun for a while. But, I was on an unsustainable path. I wanted to be on top of the mountain in the clean, fresh air. Every month, I’d sit down to “run the numbers” and always stared up at AWS’s enormous audience figures. I studied what they were doing. Amazon took their live streaming seriously. A question from an interviewer at AWS, “Why wasn’t Red Hat already live streaming?” Great question! Recently, I watched Jeff Barr announce a bunch of new product offerings on AWS Twitch with an American Sign Language interpreter. “Wow… Just wow.” I thought.

Didn’t you have a ridiculous AWS bill recently?

Yep, sure did. I believe I exposed a bug between S3 and Cloudflare too. This led to many conversations with a lot of intelligent people. Including a product team trying to help people like me (that run several websites). The experience during and after my AWS bill experience fascinated me. The fact that:

  1. Amazon dug into the issue with me once the bill was resolved. They wanted to know EXACTLY what I knew about the incident. I potentially invoked a bug, and there was no holding back the interested parties once I opened the door to figuring this out. This was my first time seeing the “customer obsession” side of Amazon to this extent. I was fascinated.
  2. Another product team at Amazon reached out and tried to work with me on a viable solution to meet my needs specifically was also very cool. They weren’t solving my use case, so they upped the priority, and getting a static site up on AWS Lightsail is now a straightforward process.
  3. I have a lot of friends in the Amazon orbit, and that showed that stressful weekend not too long ago.

I’m delighted

I’m off to be what I’ve wanted to be since the day I realized Developers need help getting their solutions into production. I can be a Senior Developer Advocate for the number one cloud provider on the planet’s Kubernetes service (EKS).

I’ve had Amazon in my sights for a while now. My first interview at Amazon was a total flop in 2012 (but I did get to see Seattle, so that was nice). Amazon has improved its pre-interview process to get candidates ready for their upcoming interviews. It was still pretty grueling. I hit a wall about ten to fifteen minutes into the last interviewer.

Now, I’ll get to push feedback into a widely used Kubernetes offering. I’ll work with folks developing amazing things on the service. Best of all, my community work still aligns with my work-work. Like always, I hope to do even more at AWS. It’s all about impact and where I feel I can make the most significant impact. The scale of AWS is dauntingly vast.

Let’s get it!

Related Content