Observability is my specialty!

Through my career as a software engineer, manager and executive a common love of observability has been present.

Observability is more than monitoring and charts. Observability is a measure for how well internal states of a system can be inferred by knowledge of its external outputs. In other words, if you don’t have sensors — metrics, logs, etc — that help you understand how your service is working then you can’t tell if things are going wrong!

I’ve spent a lot of my time learning as much as I can about this subject as well as applying my knowledge to the things I work on. My earliest efforts were a homegrown monitoring tool that I keep on GitHub for posterity.

Open Source Work

Visualization

My frustration with charting tools of the day lead me to create my own: a marvelous Perl module called Chart::Clicker. Over years of development I honed my understanding of visualizations needed for performance and health data. My most recent endeavors are in a hobby Javascript library called Clack meant to explore the best mix of performance and usability.

Professional Work

After joining Twitter in 2012 I quickly found my calling in the Observability team. I learned, maintained and created some marvelous stuff in that role. My next gig at Keen IO was not specifically observability, but after the lessons learned at Twitter making sure that Keen’s systems were as observable as possible was a focus of my work.

After joining Stripe in 2015 I worked to create an Observability team and worked to change Stripe’s culture such that observing our systems was a core concern:

Monitorama PDX 2016 - Cory Watson - Creating A Culture of Observability at Stripe from Monitorama on Vimeo.

Here are the slides if you prefer to flip through them rather than listen to me talk.

Future

I hope to continue learning, teaching and pushing Observability in to the future. I feel that it is essential to the technical and social well-being of technology companies by keeping operations and teams in tip-top shape!