On the first day of 2016, Honeycomb was born. We had a hazy mission rooted in powerful shared experience, which we described as “empowering engineering teams to make decisions faster with real data”. We knew firsthand the impact that understanding production systems could have on each step of the software development lifecycle. We knew how much better life could be with the right tooling, and wanted to share that experience with the rest of the world. Over the first year of our existence, we slowly and painfully learned what was different, why it mattered, and — hardest of all — how to explain it to others. Our mission took shape as it is today: delivering true observability for engineers who are building systems and writing code.
Since those first days, we’re incredibly proud of how far we’ve come. Charity’s words have established observability as a bona fide movement—and with her vision as our guiding light, we’ve been able to build Honeycomb to that spec. Now, years later, that movement has become an established market—engineering teams know that it’s a necessary part of reliably building digital services/apps at scale.
Honeycomb is the only product built to specifically support an iterative and exploratory workflow, allowing engineers to iteratively debug by “following the bread crumbs” — asking new questions of arbitrarily wide events containing high-cardinality data.
As we built the company, we focused first on our strengths—building and scaling a great experience for our customers—and delighted as folks joined us for our journey. A big thank you to some of our earliest customers for your feedback and support: Nylas, Superhuman, Tapjoy, and Intercom. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to get to grow alongside you all, and to know that Honeycomb has played a small part in supporting your successes. Thank you for taking a risk on us when we were just four stubborn people and a pile of rough edges.
In many ways, over the last year, we’ve grown up ourselves:
- We released our new Home experience, to help make Honeycomb feel more familiar to those coming from traditional APM tools.
- We rounded out our investigative experience by adding support for traces and introducing BubbleUp. Now, our users can not only go deeper into their rich data, but also be intelligently nudged in the right direction.
- We’ve published a number of white papers and e-guides, starting from the high-quality technical content we’re known for, to helping answer the most common question we hear at the end of our conference talks: “how do I justify investing in observability to my boss?“
- In June, we released our Framework for an Observability Maturity Model. With observability in such an early stage, best practices and stages of maturity are still being defined—and we’re organizing a number of meetups and discussions to learn more about what maturity means for your team and your product. (Any company who says they already have all the answers is lying to you.)
… and yet, it feels like we’re only getting started. The trends we bet on way back in early 2016—the migration to microservices, containerization and orchestration, increasing heterogeneity of traffic as more systems become platforms—are only picking up in intensity. Charity’s “Honeycomb and the Five Whys” posts from late 2016 are as relevant today as they were then. The details in those posts, which took us excruciating weeks and months to try and tease out and describe, are now common knowledge. Every problem is a high cardinality problem, often many times over. Everybody knows that observability is about unknown-unknowns.
This new funding round will allow Honeycomb to take what we’ve built thus far—a best-in-class product, a thriving community, our stellar team—and grow it all. (PS—we’re hiring!) While it feels like the rest of the industry is consolidating and acquiring their way towards the flawed, sales-driven “three pillars” definition of observability, we’re committed to delivering on our vision of an observability tool, one that addresses the technical realities of tomorrow head on and remains firmly centered around real, flawed, creative human beings..
As we go forward, we’re committed to continue investing in these foundational principles:
- Crafting consumer-quality developer tools: Honeycomb should be delightful, intuitive and friendly to users.
- Building software that centers humans and their social environment. Honeycomb is designed to give humans superpowers, not replace them with machines”. We build for teams-first because it takes a village.
- Exploring the futurescape of how we write, ship, and run great software: We’re excited to continue leading the charge on observability, and to make it (and Honeycomb!) more accessible to larger audiences.
When Honeycomb first started out, we were told by several folks we respected that we were late to the market. That monitoring was a ‘solved problem’. That it was simply too crowded and we would never get any traction. That “high cardinality” was an impossibly obscure technical term and nobody would ever understand what we meant.
We’re delighted and proud that our fellow engineers have proven those voices wrong, and are looking forward to dreaming even bigger of a world with better tools, less burnout, and happier customers. Together.
A big thank you to our team; our early investors at Storm, e.ventures, Next World Capital, and Merian Ventures; and our customers. We can’t wait to take what we do best and grow it to the next level. Onwards!