Skip to main content


Last week I attended first offsite in my carrer. I had no idea what offsite meetings were so it was an interesting experience for me. Honestly I was skeptical that about entire offsite thing and thought it would be a waste of time. I work from home and I vist Bay area may be twice a year. I have a 4 year old and going for these one week trips are not fun for the family as wife has to manage the kid alone along with her hectic job. So I try to avoid a trip to Bay area as much as possible. Also these bay area trips are not at all productive for me, I somehow feel productive if at the end of the day I deliver some tangible code and in bay area trip as I am pulled into all sorts of meetings its not at all suitable to write any kind of code, there are too many distractions.  The max amount of code that I am able to write is on the 4 hour aeroplane ride back and forth.  Anyway coming back to offsite, we did it over 2 days in 4 sessions. In the first session marketing,sales,and management presented their goals for 2014.  Then we were divided into 2 groups and asked to discuss for 4 hours and come up with some tangible goals for each quarter based on the goals presented by management in first session. We were given 5 additional questions to debate upon and one of the question was to double the team size and revenue and how do we scale the engineering organization and add 50 more people, other question was how do we improve performance and quality of the product and many more.  We give each team member a pack of sticky notes and set a timer and asked him to write how he thinks we should solve this question and at end of timer we put sticky notes on the wall and prioritized the actions based on the common things. It was interesting to see most of the votes were given to Automation and new employee on-boarding and code reviews.  This again brings up my famous topic of human touch points and as the organization is growing the only way to scale is to come up with proper guidelines and self sustaining processes.

Anyway each team lead also came up with concrete projects they would start in order to meet company goals. On second day the two groups gave a presentation of their quarterly goals and then we merged the goals with other team to come up with action items per quarter.  Now I am still skeptical of how much we can really execute on these goals as Q1 and Q2 goals still seems more clear but it become fuzzy as we move on to Q3 and Q4.

But my biggest take from this offsite was that I am again charged up and motivated to take on the bigger tasks. As the team will grow I see many big and interesting projects to take on. As the organization doubled its size year over year in past 4 years, I have seen that the more challenging projects you do the better it is for you and for team members. You feel more confident and the fear of going into unexplored territory starts vanishing. You also push team members out from their cocoon and they feel more confident and grow more faster in the org hierarchy.  I feel a growing startup has too many things to work on and there is never shortage of interesting work to keep you on your toes. So you an finish one project and jump on to other. Its like you are addicted to the working culture as if you are on some kind of drug or caffeine. If you are given some boring work then you sloth on it and try to finish this and move on to the next interesting task. But once in a while you feel burnt out and for me this offsite was a nice way to get out of that daily routine and meet different team members, see what they are doing, and discuss interesting ideas. Also I met from friend from google and had dinner at the googleplex and it was interesting to see the amount of young people they have, the environment was full of energy. So I am charged and ready for the next big thing.


Popular posts from this blog

RabbitMQ java clients for beginners

Here is a sample of a consumer and producer example for RabbitMQ. The steps are
Download ErlangDownload Rabbit MQ ServerDownload Rabbit MQ Java client jarsCompile and run the below two class and you are done.
This sample create a Durable Exchange, Queue and a Message. You will have to start the consumer first before you start the for the first time.

For more information on AMQP, Exchanges, Queues, read this excellent tutorial
import com.rabbitmq.client.Connection; import com.rabbitmq.client.Channel; import com.rabbitmq.client.*; public class RabbitMQProducer { public static void main(String []args) throws Exception { ConnectionFactory factory = new ConnectionFactory(); factory.setUsername("guest"); factory.setPassword("guest"); factory.setVirtualHost("/"); factory.setHost(""); factory.setPort(5672); Conne…

Logging to Graphite monitoring tool from java

We use Graphite as a tool for monitoring some stats and watch trends. A requirement is to monitor impact of new releases as build is deployed to app nodes to see if things like
1) Has the memcache usage increased.
2) Has the no of Java exceptions went up.
3) Is the app using more tomcat threads.
Here is a screenshot

We changed the installer to log a deploy event when a new build is deployed. I wrote a simple spring bean to log graphite events using java. Logging to graphite is easy, all you need to do is open a socket and send lines of events.
import org.slf4j.Logger;import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory; import; import; import; import java.util.HashMap; import java.util.Map; public class GraphiteLogger { private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(GraphiteLogger.class); private String graphiteHost; private int graphitePort; public String getGraphiteHost() { return graphiteHost; } public void setGraphite…

What a rocky start to labor day weekend

Woke up by earthquake at 7:00 AM in morning and then couldn't get to sleep. I took a bath, made my tea and started checking emails and saw that after last night deployment three storage node out of 100s of nodes were running into Full GC. What was special about the 3 nodes was that each one was in a different Data centre but it was named same app02.  This got me curious I asked the node to be taken out of rotation and take a heap dump.  Yesterday night a new release has happened and I had upgraded spymemcached library version as new relic now natively supports instrumentation on it so it was a suspect. And the hunch was a bullseye, the heap dump clearly showed it taking 1.3G and full GCs were taking 6 sec but not claiming anything.

I have a quartz job in each jvm that takes a thread dump every 5 minutes and saves last 300 of them, checking few of them quickly showed a common thread among all 3 data centres. It seems there was a long running job that was trying to replicate pending…