Celebrating Delphix Engineering at the Fall EKO
Delphix Engineering recently held its twice-yearly "EKO" event (Engineering Kick-Off) -- an internal conference that gathers its engineers from all over the US and Europe for three days of presentations, unconference sessions, awards and a hackathon. This was my first EKO and the presentations were excellent and very honest in picking out Engineering's challenges amid the victories. EKO was a great way to directly observe my colleagues in action and in collaboration. I was delighted to see the diversity in engineer's ages, experience and personalities. And that so many of our engineering leadership has been involved in creating important IT technologies such as: Dtrace, OpenZFS, etc.
I was especially impressed with the way Delphix engineers interacted with each other -- in a very respectful and attentive manner. Delphix Engineering @ The Exploratorium... The first day of EKO was held at The Exploratorium in San Francisco, a spectacular waterfront setting in San Francisco. Delphix Engineering leaders Adam Leventhal and Eric Schrock spoke about the importance of EKO to Delphix culture and in building relationships between far flung engineers. They encouraged everyone to seek out unfamiliar faces during the breaks.
Some of the EKO awards winners.[/caption] Several awards were given to individuals and teams for outstanding contributions. The Delphix Way is strongly based on individual action, seeing problems and taking responsibility for solutions, even if it means recruiting an ad hoc team of engineers. Adam explained the Delphix ritual for marking the completion of the most recent Delphix release (Hyperion) and the start of the next one, which involved the stomping on a glass and breaking it. A note on code names: "Hyperion" is a science fiction title by Dan Simmons. We are moving to video game inspired code names starting with "Illium" from Mass Effect. Docker at Delphix....
Docker Senior Product Manager Banjot Chanana[/caption] The first day of EKO featured presentation by Docker's senior product manager Banjot Chanana. Docker is an innovative technology that shares some capabilities with Delphix. [Delphix also shares the same investor: Greylock Partners.] Docker has become hugely popular and has a large open source community championing its use and contributing code. He spoke about the Docker roadmap and the challenges of using Docker in production environments. There are many lessons for Delphix in the story of the rise of Docker. Unconference session...
I attended one of EKO's "Unconference" sessions with more than 40 Delphix engineers discussing an important topic related to open source. I was very impressed with the quality of the discussion. Many people spoke but everyone waited until the other had finished. There were no interruptions. It was a hugely satisfying experience. It reminded me that active listening is a key skill and much neglected in the workplace. People tend to constantly interrupt each other with their own agenda. Those interruptions are incredibly costly because studies have shown they invariably lead to the loss of any idea that was about to be presented.