Writing Backlog

This page contains the living list of topics that I plan to write on in future.

Within each section it’s roughly ordered in terms of priority, items closer to the top are likely to be published before items further down.

If you have feedback on any of my writing, or ideas for other topics you’d like to see me discuss, please get in touch!

Topic Backlog

Thoughts on SRE

This series is aimed at potential consulting customers who want to understand how I approach the development and operations of distributed software systems.

Upcoming topics:

  • What is SRE? My philosophy on how it relates to DevOps, Platform Engineering and various other “hot” terms.
  • How SRE scales up and down in size.
  • My approach to managing oncall responsibilities, toil and operational work.
  • How to grow an SRE team, including the common futility of SRE “transformations”.
  • Learning from incidents, postmortems, incident response, etc.

Business plan drafts

This series discusses software opportunities and products which I think would be fun to build, but which I haven’t yet been able to develop a fully viable business case for. The intent of sharing these early stage ideas is to solicit feedback on my assessment of their potential.

Upcoming topics:

  • Business oriented Mastodon hosting.
  • PDF E-signing - e.g. A Docusign competitor, but with a local twist through RealMe or drivers license validation.
  • A framework to enable simple, performant per-tenant at-rest encryption for SaaS products - stop the data leaks.

Product development updates

This series follows my progress in product development for ideas which have passed the initial hurdle and which I’ve decided to commit some time to.

Currently this includes:

  • A series of explanatory posts diving into how NZ’s electricity system works with a particular focus on how operational data that will be critical to managing a more dynamic grid flows (or doesn’t flow!) today, and what opportunities or needs exist for generating, managing or distributing data that might be solvable with a software system I could build.
  • A series of product reviews and deep dives into existing farm management software and platforms in use by NZ farmers today, looking at the functionality they provide, how they integrate and generally testing the anecdotal feedback I have to date that they’re clunky, hard to use and not well integrated.
  • For co2mon.nz the focus will be less on market research and more on exploring potential distribution channels (e.g. direct advertising vs partnership with air conditioning suppliers) and pricing models (e.g. buy vs rent).

Debugging walk-throughs

This series aims to teach and improve debugging skills for distributed software systems, as well as illustrate lessons that can be applied when designing and building software systems that facilitate and improve our experiences in the operational stage of a systems lifecycle where debugging takes place.

The queue for this series is currently empty!

Miscellaneous topics

In addition the regular series above, stand-alone posts on the other topics may include:

  • The pros/cons I see of bootstrapping a business vs taking VC or other funding.
  • Thoughts on remote work and hiring staff.
  • AI - a confessional on how I didn’t think it would progress in my lifetime, but maybe I was wrong.
  • Reflections on 15 years at Google and thoughts on subsequent events since my departure.
  • AWS vs GCP. Fight! Or with less click-bait, a level-headed comparison of the pros/cons I see in each platform.

Suggestions welcome

Please get in touch if you have suggestions of other topics you’d like to see in this queue!