At the end of last summer it was time to make some changes and so I reconnected with my network, old and new searching for the next great opportunity. I took on a few short-term gigs with former marketing colleagues at Expert Marketing Advisors which was inspiring and also gave me time to take a step back and decide which type of technology I wanted to market next. I’m passionate about tech marketing and I love building from the ground up and sticking to it for the long haul; building value, forming teams and witnessing the fruits of the labor. Over two decades in Silicon Valley, I’ve marketed many different technologies from databases to data integration, public cloud adoption, mobile SaaS for business, and even process engineering tools for application development teams. Interestingly it feels as though I’ve come full circle since joining Honeycomb. Of course when providing any type of software, you inevitably talk to the technology group (aka IT) but directly impacting the lives of engineers is quite different and something I can embrace for some time.
Software for engineers has matured to the point that ‘every company is in software development,’ per Honeycomb CEO Charity Majors. Chaos engineering, serverless, microservices and containerization of services – all capabilities that have grown up in the last decade – aid in the creation of a better digital experience. The migration from monoliths to microservices enables speed and agility but also brings complexity. This of course presents both opportunity and challenge, and solving that complexity in a world of continuous development is a challenge I want to take on.
The business of marketing has also witnessed significant change over the last decade. Thanks to advancements with top of funnel automation, SEO, SEM, attribution tracking, and sales prospecting, we have greatly improved how we target customers, better finding those more likely to buy. With a ton of data at our fingertips, we continue to improve where we spend valuable resources. It’s actually quite refreshing to provide solutions for the software development community. Engineers generally call it how it is, love it or don’t, and engage when they are truly ready.
As I settle in to my new job at Honeycomb and think about what 2019 will bring, I see a few building blocks that I believe will hold us steady through the coming months and quarters. These fundamentals represent aspects that most young companies never see. In fact, they are the reasons I joined Honeycomb:
Built from First-hand Experience:
Honeycomb is founded by engineers who experienced the very problems we now solve for our customers. Delivering production systems at scale while at Facebook certainly requires grit but also a combination of the right tools, process and people to pull off managing millions of apps serving hundreds of millions of users — a rare intersection of experiences, historically.
But debugging has become the job of every software owner – from engineer to operator and SRE – and is less about the overall system health and more about every event or request in that system. Every software development team will soon be faced with this challenge.
Value that is emotionally felt
Most engineers and DevOps teams have been on call or are regularly called upon to troubleshoot issues which run the gamut from performance to system outages and customer reported problems. Being on call is never easy, especially under pressure from layers within the org, not to mention external customer-impacting ones. Honeycomb users are delighted when they can pinpoint the source of an issue in a fraction of the time it previously took. Less fire fighting and more innovating brings measurable business results. As more teams adopt Honeycomb to conduct real-time forensics, it becomes a must-have and no longer a nice-to-have.
Passionate team driven to make a difference
Sounds cliched and exactly like every other startup, right? Mostly seen on the corporate website values page or perhaps on a wall-mounted plaque. But if it’s not felt at a deeper level and exemplified in the day to day work, it’s probably not real. At Honeycomb passion and drive is something I have felt since day one. A laser focus on helping customers is core to getting results and an aspect of business that I’ve witnessed first-hand a few times in my career. Not wavering from that focus always brings results. There’s no question it’s a windy, treacherous path to get there, but when you arrive at “this is really working; let’s make it better and scale up,” it’s a time worth reflecting on.
Talent and good people
Culture is an organic, breathing entity and something that is hard to pinpoint. I actually don’t ask this very question any more as it has to be experienced and not answered. It comes out in conversations and well, just being present. It’s also something you cannot force. Respect and decency are central to building a strong, lasting culture and the team at Honeycomb have this aplenty. A talented group of engineers that greatly respect the role that GTM teams play is not common in most tech startups. Check out our CEO’s recent tweet on this very matter. Curiosity and a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t helps everyone win. Openness and candid feedback means everyone strives to improve and reach the next set of goals.
This combination of drive, talent and solving hard problems with delighted customers represents the key ingredients to business success. Sounds pretty straightforward and like every other business but surprisingly difficult to find among Bay Area startups. I know that 2019 will bring an exciting journey with many windy paths, some ups and downs, a few sacrifices and hopefully some fun. And that’s why I love startups: as long as we stay focused on the fundamentals of delivering value to customers each and every day, we all win.
Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2019.
Want to start the year off right? Play with Honeycomb with no strings attached!