Engineering, Operations & Cloud Security

AT LACEWORK

#BeachOps. Building for lazy!

What if.

What if I asked you to change your way of thinking. From building to do to building for what you’re not going to do?

What if, instead, I asked you to build for lazy?

What if you decided you want to spend every moment at the beach? Not working? How would you build and run a production service? How would you build to be lazy? To build for the beach?

This is the core of #BeachOps.

I’d rather be at the beach than work. And to do that,

  • I have to build systems and tools to do my job.
  • I have to empower others to do my job.
  • I need computers to reason for me.
  • I want to build so I can be lazy.

Because, remember, we’d rather be at the beach. Not working. Eating tacos.

Story time.

But I didn’t used to think this way so I want to share the true story about the moment that changed my thinking from simply building to building for lazy.

Years ago I worked with this CEO and after a few years, she stepped out of her CEO role to just focus on her role as chairperson. This felt very abrupt. And it felt like she had quit one role to take on a smaller role, a role that felt like it had less impact than her CEO role.

A couple years after that, at a company all-hands, she reflected on that and I’ve never forgotten the essence of what she said.

You see, back in 2008, she started to ask herself:

  • What am I doing that someone else could do at least as well as me?
  • Are there things not being done that only I could do?

I learned two things from her:

  1. There is a point in time where you realize that others can do what you can do, or can do most of what you can do (and you can coach/mentor the rest).
  2. There is always a giant pile of work that only you can work on.

By quitting as “CEO”, she freed her time to focus on what only she could work on.

The Essence

#BeachOps is a way of thinking about everything we do and asking –

  • Is there a way for me to empower someone else to do this?
  • How can a computer reason for me?
  • How can I be lazy?

And being lazy is hard work!

Instead of building to do, we build for what we’re not going to do.

Focus on the important. Focus on work that only we can do.

Recognize that there is always work for which only I can work on. Find ways to focus on that.

What should I stop doing? What can only I work on?

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