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Honeycomb Welcomes New Field CTO

By Charity Majors  |   Last modified on October 12, 2022

I am thrilled to share with you that Honeycomb now has a Field CTO: our very own Liz Fong-Jones.

When Liz joined us, nearly four years ago, she was our first developer advocate and principal engineer. It was a bit of a risky move—on both our parts. Liz was just coming off of 11 very successful, high-profile years at Google, and joining a 25-person startup with an uncertain future (and less than a year’s worth of funds in the bank) was not exactly the prestige option from her perspective.

There was risk for us as well. How many FAANG superstars have joined early stage startups amidst great fanfare, only to find that their skills and experience failed to translate well? Developer advocacy was a role we had been trying to fill for two years with several excellent, experienced candidates, none of whom had worked out. 

To make matters worse, we were trying to bring Liz on with an equity grant that looked more like an executive’s than an engineer’s. We believed it was an accurate reflection of the value she could bring to the business, but on paper, it looked like we were nuts. It took every scrap of political capital I had and then some to make it happen (and ended up being my last real act as CEO).

The idea that you shouldn’t have to be a people manager to have an outsized impact or do high-level strategic work—right up to VP and C-levels—has always been a core part of our philosophy. This was always more true in theory than in practice, however. Until Liz.

Liz has been one of the most visible public faces of Honeycomb. Behind the scenes, she has been the driving force between several key investments: developing Service Level Objectives, adopting OpenTelemetry in its early days, introducing Graviton to reduce our compute bill by 40%, and more. She also co-wrote “Observability Engineering,” pitched in on fundraising, carried the pager as an SRE, developed training courses—the list goes on.

Announcements like this don’t happen very often. Who we choose to promote (and why) says a lot more about our values than anything we say with our mouth words, and Liz embodies many of Honeycomb’s core values:

  • Engineering excellence
  • Feedback is a gift^H^H^H^Hmuscle
  • Everything is an experiment
  • We hire adults
  • Act with autonomy and ownership

There’s another thing we value highly at Honeycomb, which isn’t stated explicitly as a value (but perhaps interwoven throughout): the idea that workers deserve structural representation in the workplace, and to be treated with mutual respect and dignity. Liz has always brought her skills, sensitivity, and ethos as a labor organizer to advocate for her coworkers in the workplace. Earlier this year, we even added an employee to our board as an elected, voting board member—an idea which I had never even heard of, until Liz mentioned it her first week on the job.

As Field CTO, Liz will spend more of her time working with the executive teams at our strategic customers (and soon-to-be customers). She will also continue to bring cutting-edge technologies into the Honeycomb fold.

Here's to the next several years of growth! Please join me in welcoming Liz to the executive leadership team here at Honeycomb.


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