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Hello Librato

I don’t remember how I found DBG, but I do recall taking the interview process pretty lightly. I considered DBG a dress rehearsal for the REAL interview at match.com. It was going to be my first real dot-com with the ping-pong table and the catered lunches and the not business casual. That was, until I heard DBG’s pitch.

Match was going to be a postfix-admin job, and a cushy one at that. I’d chill in my cube, swat at a few postfix instances, pig out on catered lunch, and read web comics. If I was feeling feisty I might tell the ping-pong kids to keep it down. The job was mine, all I had to do was sign on the line.

DBG however, needed me to build literally everything. From the ground up. Design and construct the infrastructure required to run a web hosting and application-as-a-service company. Network, servers, firewalls, load balancers, database layer – everything. Use whatever tools you want. Dress code? Clothes are required. I actually started daydreaming about it in the middle of my interview. In retrospect, it was no contest. I’d join DBG all over again today if I had the choice.

7 years later I have a palatable sense that I am in the way. The infrastructure long-since built and I spend most of my time with auditors and policy documents. Arguing with executives and saying no to people who are trying to get real work done. DBG needs to grow in ways that I with my open-source hackery can only obstruct. I have never held a job longer than 5 years, and I have begun to suspect that no one should.

Maybe there are signs. I like to think there are. Maybe PCIDSS is not a hopelessly broken doctrine that begets an infestation of bean-counting parasites, desperate to inject their filthy protuberances into the productive energy of good and well-meaning people. Or at least not just that. Maybe PCIDSS is also a message from God – a message telling me that it’s time to move and grow and find the next big thing so that DBG can move and grow and find the next big thing.

Maybe it’s also providential that, while looking for a decent graphite-as-a-service company to possibly throw some metrics at, I came across Librato’s ad for a developer evangelist. It is an Ad that gives me pause, makes me, I’m not ashamed to say, daydream a little bit. So I sent them an email:

Hi Librato,

I'm Dave Josephsen.  I recently came across your "Developer Evangelist"
position and I find myself Intrigued.  On one hand, I imagine it being
the best job I've ever even heard of, and on the other, a horrible and
unmitigated mistake.

Lets see if I can talk us out of it.

I guess I should start by pointing out that I've never been either a
developer or an evangelist by trade so to suddenly attempt both
simultaneously might not end well.  I've always been a devop and a
very opsy devop at that.  I did write the Prentice Hall Nagios book [1],
and I co-authored the O'Reilly book on Ganglia [2], and I publish a
semi-monthly column in the Usenix magazine (;login) on systems
monitoring, but none of that was borne of a desire to be evangelical
about things.

"Accidental", would be a more apt description; you see, I get excited
about and inspired by cool monitoring and metrics collection and
visualization systems, and then I write about them [3], and then
overworked junior editors at various publishers read them, and then
books and articles and things happen. I'm unclear on the details really.

Also, although I've never been a developer, I program in myriad
languages, and have committed patches to several open source projects,
and here's the weird part: They're all monitoring projects.. Ganglia,
Nagios, Graphite, MK... You know, now that I'm thinking about it, I have
a fascination bordering on unhealthy with monitoring and metrics
collection software; How depraved must they have been in the underworld
the day they passed out lurid obsessions that I drew "monitoring
systems". I mean really, I had to have been like the penultimate dude in
that line.

You'll forgive the religious connotation, this is, after all, an
evangelist position I'm trying not to apply for.  So anyway, there's the
rub, I might be a natural -- just the guy you're looking for.  Maybe we
should give it a shot after all, or maybe at least have a chat on the
phone about it.

I'll leave it up to you. I'm game if you are.

-dave

A few hours later I had a response from Librato’s CEO informing me that I had unfortunately not talked them out of a desire to speak with me about the position. Several weeks of Google Hangouts and a trip to San Francisco ensued. The timeline escapes me, but I have, at this point met and personally spoken with nearly every Librato employee (Ironically I’ve yet to meet Cherry, the office manager), and I have to say, they are an intimidatingly smart bunch. When I join them in a couple weeks, I will certainly be the dullest tool in that shed.

And so I find myself leaving what has become my home. A place with awesome people I love very much and an environment that I built by hand from scratch, to start a wholly new career with a new group of awesome people. I will get to hack on tools, and write, and work with engineers who-knows-where trying to measure who-knows-what. I will also probably be on the hook to give a talk or two but I’m resigned to that heh. Given the option to host the Oscars in my underwear or spend another year with the auditors I’d choose the former.

So, to summarize; If you can’t find me in a few weeks, it will be because I have ascended to some sort of worldly utopia – one that has been custom designed for me by a small group of San-Francisco geniuses. I will be doing my damnedest not to disappoint them. And I’ll be having a blast.

-dave

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