Reliability is a matter of quality. Quality is a matter of doing fewer things well. I've struggled with reliability as an individual paradoxically as I implement systems for my customers that need to be reliable. I have been wondering where this lack of reliability comes from, and I decided it is three things:
- Doing too many things
- Doing too many unrelated things
- Context switching
Over the last couple of years, I have been doing too many things. While great as a way to enlighten myself, this additional learning only covers the surface of what any task entails. The glacier is mostly below the surface. Like a glacier, a lot of the functions that any role has are below the surface.
I excel at coding. I have seen below the surface and have gone pretty far to the underbelly of the glacier. By doing things outside of coding, I burn out, chase stuff I have little expertise in and which are in my economic interest to outsource. Doing the things I am not qualified to do, I spread myself thin and set myself for failure leading to unreliability.
The final nail in the coffin for reliability is context switching. Most of us will ever be good at doing one thing well. We are not Elon Musk. But doing too many things and doing too many unrelated things leads to context switching. Context switching is a form of waste.
I am the character Siddhartha in the book by Herman Hesse. He left his father, who ferried people across the river, to find a life of excitement, only to come back and to realize fulfillment is in focus on quality and reliability.
What does this mean for me? My goal in 2021 is to become reliable. I will no longer focus on too many projects. I am a backend and DevOps engineer. That is where I will spend my time working on expanding and making better in the world. I will focus completely on that and not take on any commitments that don't fall within that scope.
At a personal level, I enjoy Drawing & Painting, Cooking, Writing, Jiujitsu, and Poker. I want to dive into each one, figuring out how to get better at each.
Sales, Backend and DevOps Coding, and Investing are what I want to do at a professional level. I will stop doing or not put much energy into activities outside of these. I will focus on these three things because I enjoy these three things and because it removes context switching. Working on something should push the whole forward, not pieces.
I had broken up things too discreetly. In microservices, there is a cost of communication between services. There is hopefully minimal communication bottlenecks in a monolith. But if your monolith is doing too much, it can still break. A monolith should do few things well.
Hopefully, by reducing the scope of the tasks I choose to pursue and increasing depth, I will improve reliability.
So to sum:
- Focus opsZero and have all business stuff be around Backend Engineering and DevOps.
- Focus on the few things I excel at.
- Be willing to say no to projects that don't fit 1 and 2.
- Build a routine and stick to it consistently.
Think about a vending machine that creates a request for a person to refill it when it is running low on supplies. Or consider a vending machine can call an API that can automatically negotiate the best price for the supplies among multiple vendors and have it create an order and then inform the human to come to refill it once the order arrives. The latter is the world I want to see, where the interchange between human and machine blurs and we create a completely new economy: The Fourth Industrial Revolution!
My ultimate goal with opsZero is to push us faster towards this Fourth Industrial Revolution. To do this opsZero will be a vertically integrated platform that provides services for Kubernetes and Serverless while at the same time building a Platform that helps entrepreneurs launch Machine to Machine and Machine to Human businesses. The benefit of focusing on these three things is that it is where the world is moving.
The global economy is reconfiguring from a primarily full-time worker based to a Gig and API-based economy especially as people work from home and use the Cloud for more and more tasks. There are two benefits to gigification. The first is that businesses can do more with fewer workers. The second is that companies can be started quickly by using this relatively cheap Cloud infrastructure.
The second major movement that technology is going through is the migration to microservices. The benefit of migrating to microservices is that a microservice itself can also be a company. A microservice provides a service after al albeit a very specific one, we will see more and more of these API first companies out in the world. We started seeing them recently with Stripe and Twilio, but these are just the surface and they will expand.
This leads to what are we trying to capture in terms of market share. As stated before our goal is to completely focus on Kubernetes and Serverless as the primary technologies that we think are the future and really expand our ability to deliver these services quickly and efficiently. Kubernetes and Serverless are the two pillars we see computation and businesses moving to and it is what we will be completely focused on which is how to deploy Code as fast as possible and launch new APIs.
Business needs to be simple to scale and we think the following three things are the most important things we can provide:
- Migrate customers to Kubernetes quickly
- Build new Serverless code using crowdsourcing quickly
- Build a Platform to launch and sell API-first businesses quickly
Our platform will focus on these types of businesses:
- Development Agencies
Whereas platforms like Webflow, WordPress, Squarespace, etc. are primarily focusing on the human to human businesses we are not going after that market. The consumer of our services are not the people requesting the services, the consumer of our services is the software that people use. For the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be successful software needs to talk to each other in a smarter way than it currently is. In that regard, our Platform is made for machines to use as much as humans.
With everything happening in the world at this particular moment: the pandemic, the political unrest, mass unemployment, etc. to know what to expect in 5 years would be a fool’s errand. We may all be dead, America could be a failed state, China may become the sole superpower. Or it can be a great boon for a “New Deal” policy, a resurgence of the political left, and a new wave pushing to fight socio-economic and racial inequality.
I have extraordinary optimism for the future and choose to think the latter is the more likely output. Creation can happen from the messiness of destruction. Life, after all, couldn’t exist on earth with that many stages of destruction and turmoil caused by the Big Bang. My goal is to build the future to create a world that is better tomorrow than it is today.
The fight against Climate Change and the permeation of technology into all parts of life as 5G and Edge Computing roll out will be the two significant changes that will happen in the next five years. In that regard, I wanted to write some clear specific goals as to where I want opsZero to be in 2025 and where we will spend the entirety of our time and energy.
There are potentially hundreds of different ideas we can try because they are too small for the big players but can still generate an immense amount of revenue and value. However, we do not have the time to do this. We cannot try every idea as there just isn’t enough time. However, we don’t need to do every idea. Our goal in the next five years is to bring Operational Excellence to everyone. We help others be more effective by bringing their ideas to market faster.
In essence, we have two plays:
- Help launch Climate Change businesses and make climate entrepreneurs more successful
- Help bring Operational Excellence to those businesses
Hopefully, this focus on a few things will allow us to say no to things.
Help Launch Businesses to Solve Climate Change
Climate change is going to be a significant issue that governments will be spending money on to restart the economy post-pandemic. It is the only way to create an economic boost and bring a lot of people back to work. While the economic turmoil as I am writing this is awful, this government investment is a silver lining. Because of the pandemic, many people are moving rural. These people will push local governments to be more active in building out and promoting green infrastructure. And because of this migration, there may be a lot of companies that will start whose objective is to help address the Climate Crisis.
A lot of climate change mitigation involves putting together software and a business model to deploy new ideas quickly. We need to be able to help launch new ideas and try them out in days, not weeks, not months. Days! Helping start new Climate Change businesses is the number one priority for opsZero. We need to help launch and bring Operational Excellence to Climate Change companies. If we don’t address Climate Change, there may not be humans and a market to matter.
- Help launch 1000 startups working in the climate change space, locally and internationally.
- Partner with 20-30 different institutes to bring ideas to market quickly.
Operational Excellence via Code, Cloud, and Data
Secondly, the Cloud, 5G, Edge Computing, and NoCode solutions are going to transform the world. Companies will need help transitioning to this world, and we will help companies use these technologies to attain Operation Excellence. By creating Operational Excellence, we can mitigate a lot of waste that happens at companies. By focusing our energy on helping Climate Change companies, we can help them fight against legacy polluting industries.
We must work on all the business logic layers that make the business more efficient if that solution involves the Cloud, Code, or Data. However, we will not work on design, UX, or other things that include frontend technologies. We will either use third party tools or providers for those.
- Setup a Crowd of 5,000 people who we can send work to and get tasks done within a day or two for most projects.
- $5 million in revenue a year.