DeveloperWeek Recap: learning, listening, and networking

Last week, the Ekata team attended the DeveloperWeek conference in San Francisco. We talked to tons of expo attendees, learned from keynotes and breakouts, and shared our expertise in our own speaking session.
From the Conference:

  • Varun Kumar (Sr. Principle Architect) and Jason Frazier (Software Developer II) presented Ekata’ Journey to Model Terabytes of Graph Data in Cost Effective Flat Data Store. This is the effort that also netted Ekata a DevProject award!
  • One session that blew us away was Sure You’re Growing, but Are You Scaling? with Sheldon Monteiro, the CTO of Publicis.Sapient. Two key takeaways for us included:
    1. In the tech industry, it’s not the big companies eating the small, it’s the fast eating the slow: small teams and dynamic environments will help you (as our Ekata CEO likes to say) “rig for speed”
    2. A laser focus on customers is essential for making it big: customers have huge leverage because they have the luxury of choice in a market full of both legacy and startup companies competing for their attention. Become customer obsessed to succeed!
  • Since the majority of our DeveloperWeek attendees were market-facing employees, we don’t get to spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of our back end infrastructure. So it was really interesting and educational to attend the session “Migrating Spotify’s Runtime to Kubernetes” because at Ekata, we have also migrated to Kubernetes, which is “an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.” Our key takeaways are:
    1. With our new office opening in Amsterdam and at the speed with which we are ingesting data into our Identity Graph and adding more linkages to our 8 billion global contact records, it’s imperative that we have a scalable system that can grow with us. Kubernetes allows us to scale resources both vertically and horizontally, effectively and efficiently.
    2. Using Kubernetes in conjunction with our cloud-based infrastructure allows us to run smoothly and quickly across development, testing, and production. With our complex identity data, it’s imperative that we don’t run all of our tests and applications on one big machine, but rather smaller microservices that can be deployed and managed more readily.

From the Booth: during the expo we did a one-question survey, asking developers what their biggest job challenge was. Each respondent had $1 donated in their honor to NPower, a non-profit that creates pathways to prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities. Thank you all for helping us donate $176 to NPower!
We had great conversations with our survey respondents. While “drawing insights from information” was the #1 challenge faced by attendees, we had almost a quarter fall into the “other” category. Some of the common challenges we heard included fostering strong communication within teams, working cross-functionally, and hiring/retaining the right people. 
Here are the results:

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