Vivid Platform-as-a-Service Vision

A vivid vision is a technique advocated by Cameron Herold and I am trying it out. The reason I am trying this is because I have a big platform-as-a-service initiative I am working on and aligning everyone on our north star has been difficult. The makes the future concrete for everyone involved. This version is my personal vision and is tweaked to focus less on the company I work for and more on the company I’d love to lead to build this opinionated product.

The Platform

We created and use a highly-opinionated software development platform. It’s built on top of Kubernetes and is beyond parallel. I hear claims of joy, warmth, and pleasant surprise at what we built and offer. We started marketing it with various initiatives like blogs and focus groups. Word of mouth did the majority of the work. As new software development team members onboard they are pushing code to production within days to hours. The developer platform obscures our infrastructure unless we need to dig into the details to fix an issue. Software developers focus as much as possible on creating new features. Everything is simpler when it needs to be. We ran into outside systems not adopting this model and due to its rapid adoption, we tackled databases much sooner than we planned. Our focus changed from technology to business concepts. We ask ourselves, Why did we not do this sooner?

Developer Experience

As a software developer at first, it seemed strange and foreign but now I cannot think of working without this platform. The developer platform removes boring, monotonous, and tedious configuration work. While it is a different experience it is seamless. It feels like an extension of myself and I am granted indescribable power to create, change, and customize my applications. Working with my pairing partner and my team we work in coordinated synchrony. My partner is predicting my needs ahead of me articulating what I am planning to ask for. We bounce ideas, thoughts, and designs back and forth. We never spend much time arguing the merits of each idea. We try those ideas out and confirm their merit. It feels chilling at times that the platform anticipates our needs before we realize them. It’s the end of the workday and it feels like a blur. What would have taken a week to complete now takes only days. It feels like play. I cannot remember the last time my team and I debugged a production fire. I know where to find all the right logs and dashboards for my applications but it’s uncommon. The primary blockers now are outside parties or older systems. We dread dabbling in legacy applications unless allowed to onboard them onto this new platform.

Platform Transformation

With this platform, we unlocked something magical. This workflow is not for everyone or everything and requires significant cultural and process changes. We faced an incredible opportunity requiring a platform that scales, enables fast experimentation, and stays out of the way of our developers supporting our business. This product is an outgrowth of the company and its values that built it. We sell the platform only to a select group of companies that can endure the necessary cultural transformation.

Who we stand against

We stand against VMWare and Amazon Web services. We stand against the cloud. We do not sell over-engineered products. We do not go into business against our customers. We choose to run our own data centers because we focus on long term growth. We do not use technology for technology’s sake. We do not hire people seeking to learn the hottest technology and move on. We are in the business of solving our customer’s problems. This highly opinionated platform product is only for companies running their own data centers, that have greater than 100 software engineers, and a commitment to platform engineering teams. The problem this platform solves is the scaling of systems and the cultural and behavioral changes required to adopt cloud-native development practices. Based on the team models advocated by the Team Topologies book. Not every company can change enough to use the product. For the ones that can change they will reap the benefits by delivering to their software engineers faster, safer, flow.

Who we are

We believe in health and wellness for ourselves and our planet. We seek sustainability in how we work and treat the world. We are inclusive global citizens who are generous and focused on teaching and growing our communities. We seek to work with honest, responsible, diligent, and above all self-aware humble people that know when to ask for help and know their limits. We are a team that raises each other in our ways. We are coherent, passionate, genuine leaders.

What the Media Says

The platform enables testing out new business models and makes the work fun and easy to confirm with the market. This has attracted unprecedented interest in experiencing this renowned platform.

Hiring smart people that match the company values is the major struggle and very rarely the technology. Audiences at conferences are either astounded or incredulous at what we achieved. Many people decry what we have done that we went too far but we always think we have not gone far enough. We often wonder what the next stage of the product will be to enable our business partners to capture even more value.

The general opinion about this platform is one of shocking disbelief. This company has no venture capital. This company has no top tier silicon valley talent. This company must be a freak of nature, an accident. How can it be possible to encounter and enable such great success in a three-year timeframe?

What this led to

Companies that adopt this platform begin to use hypothesis and experiment-driven techniques focused on trying out new business models. Where in the past year they would try a few different ideas they are now trying hundreds to thousands. This has led to the creation of more companies that solve problems and challenges in their domains they never expected for their customers. They started as straightforward businesses and became something different. Lifestyle transformation-as-a-service companies because of the transformational value offered to their customers. The amount of time savings occurred across their companies increased. Communication and design benefitted from these changes. What remained unsaid and untested became documented, confirmed, and communicated with ease. This led to significant breakthroughs in collaboration across their companies. Employees across diverse roles try out new ideas and form new ventures. The technology choices this enabled led us to uncopyable collections of business models. Few competitors would dream of copying them because they would need to change their businesses to an unrecognizable degree.

How it feels

It feels amazing and transformative. Burdens and barriers lived with, in the past, quickly collapsed. As a culture, we focus more on the designs of our customer’s new business models and the complexity of their business domains and how the platform can assist. The technological barriers are often minor and the majority of challenges feel solvable off the shelf with the tools we have. With this increased focus we’ve created a wide and broad set of engineers focused on product improvement and business knowledge.

The Next Stage

We are on the precipice of a transformation that we can be proud of. We may not recognize ourselves after this but we will make each other better and the world a better place. We will start with enabling Faster, Safer, Flow.