Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro focusing on cloud computing, Kubernetes, Linux, containers, and networking

Jumping Off Cliffs

For quite a few years, I’ve had this desktop wallpaper that I really love. I don’t even remember where I got it or where it came from, so I can’t properly attribute it to anyone. I use this wallpaper from time to time when I want to be reminded to challenge myself, to learn new things, and to step outside of what is comfortable in order to explore the as-yet-unknown. Looking at this wallpaper on my desktop a little while ago, I realized that I may have started taking the inspirational phrase on this wallpaper for granted, instead of truly applying it to my life.

Here’s the wallpaper I’m talking about:

A person jumping off a cliff, with the text “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down”

To me, this phrase—illustrated so well by the wallpaper—means taking a leap into the unknown. It means putting yourself into a position where you are forced to grow and adapt in order to survive. It’s going to be scary, and possibly even a bit painful at times. In the end, though, you will emerge different than when you started.

It’s been a while since I did that, at least from a career perspective. Yes, I did change jobs a little over a year ago when I left VMware to go to Kong. If I’m honest with myself, though, Kong was the comfortable choice. (There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, by the way.) I knew several of the people I’d be working with, the technology shift was incremental, and the job responsibilities were very familiar. In my opinion, the last “big shift” I made was joining Heptio in 2018.

It’s time for that to change. It’s time that I put myself in a position where I must change and grow in order to survive and flourish. It’s time to jump off a cliff and develop my wings on the way down. Starting next week, I am joining Pulumi on the Developer Relations team, working to help users be successful in putting Pulumi’s products and services to work solving their problems.

Why Pulumi? That’s a fair question!

  1. I believe there is real value in using a general-purpose programming language (as opposed to a domain-specific language, or DSL) for infrastructure-as-code use cases. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing other projects like AWS CDK or CDK for Terraform.
  2. I belive that multi-cloud is real. Note that when I say “multi-cloud” I’m talking about using multiple cloud providers and services at an organizational level, not about spanning individual applications across multiple clouds. Organizations are going to naturally choose “best of breed” offerings, and that’s going to naturally lead them down the path of using multiple cloud providers and services.
  3. Put #1 and #2 together and you get Pulumi.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m a fan of Pulumi. I’ve been using it for several years; in fact, I even gave a presentation in 2020 at what I believe was Pulumi’s first-ever Cloud Engineering Summit. (See this GitHub repository for the presentation materials.) Over the last three years I’ve written about Pulumi several times here on the site (see here for a list of all the Pulumi-related articles I’ve published). I like using Pulumi, and I think that’s important.

Equally important—and pertinent to the title and introduction to this post—is that this is going to force me to grow and change. I’m looking forward to building out a new set of skills as I work with and among some amazing folks in the developer advocacy/developer relations space, and I anticipate that being immersed in general purpose programming languages like Golang all day long will force me to become more fluent and conversant in these languages. That, in turn, will draw me closer to a career goal I’ve had for a while of bolstering my programming/software development skills and experience. Finally, Pulumi has a broad number of providers for various services and platform; working with them will bring the opportunity to learn more about all these platforms and services. That’s three key areas of growth that I foresee, but I’m confident there will likely be more.

It is said that companies come and go, but people remain. Or, said another way, it’s the relationships you create over the years that really matter. I’ve been on some pretty amazing teams over the years, and my (former) team at Kong is one of them. I am excited about my new adventure at Pulumi—and looking forward to meeting the team I’ll be working with—but I will miss my team at Kong. I wish you all nothing but success!

As always, I remain available via Twitter (my DMs are open) and I am active in a number of different Slack communities (like the Pulumi Slack community, for example!). Please know that you are welcome to reach out to me anytime, and I look forward to continuing to serve the community.

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