Tag Archives: career

Why I am #HeForShe

he-for-she-logoI’m incredibly fortunate to work for a company that is one of the Corporate Impact Champions for the global UN Women #HeForShe movement, with support right from the top of the organization. There’s more about Twitter’s commitment to #HeForShe here.

I’ve worked in the technology industry for my whole professional life, and it has been an incredibly tough place for women to work – that’s just not the kind of career or workplace I want to work in, because I’m constantly inspired and influenced by women around me, be that professionally or personally.

For my part, I’m a huge supporter of this drive for equality. Over the past few years we’ve witnessed appalling social abuse through vectors such as “GamerGate” or one of the many other poor excuses that humans have found to justify their own prejudices. It is beyond time for this to Stop, and for us to move forward together.

What can I do that goes beyond mere words? I can be an Ally to friends of all genders and identities who have encountered difficult behaviour. I can point out that I support the Hack Code of Conduct for conferences and Hackathons. I am happy to work on diversity programs within the tech community and to support initiatives such as CodeFirstGirls, which Twitter has also hosted classes for.

Today, International Women’s Day, Twitter is supporting the cause with custom emojis for #IWD2016 and #SheInspires me (you’ll see them visible with those hashtags on Twitter.com today) – and what better excuse, as if one was needed, to call out various friends, colleagues, and one I’ve not even met, as role models and personal inspirations… you should probably be following them and checking out their achievements.

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Three notions / plans for 2016

Hello. I haven’t written here in a while. That’s something I hope to change.

I realise it is 6 weeks into the year already, but after a trip to California last week, my own vague ideas about what 2016 should mean for me, have solidified.

  1. Travel (a bit) less / be more thoughtful about travel. I’m in an International role, and I work for a company with headquarters and many of the decision-makers 8 hours behind me. This makes the notion of travelling less in 2016 a little ironic and possibly, untenable! Nevertheless, I work with a great team and I hope to be more thoughtful about where and when I travel (and for how long) this year. I know I’ll do more again, but right now, I’m at a point in my life where I need to be setting more roots and plans locally. Interestingly, my trip to SF this week was my first significant travel since October, so this is already working (to an extent), but the global #HelloWorld tour will of course eat into that significantly – not that I’m complaining!
  2. Make more Stuff. Per Chris Heilmann’s fantastic post about Developer Relations / Evangelism / Advocacy this past week, “how often do you code?” is a key question in understanding our role(s), and I’d been aware for a while that I simply hadn’t been doing much of it lately (beyond testing out examples where devs said they were unable to make samples work). My plan in 2016 is to build something – anything – at least once a month. So far this year I’ve dabbled in Twitter ebooks bots and Alexa skills – both built on the backs of others – but I hope to build, publish, and write about more in the coming months. I’m particularly excited by the growing trend towards No UI / conversational interfaces and it has been great to re-connect with friends like Matt and Haje in the preceding months on these topics. I’m also hoping to write a lot more, as blogging and sharing is a major part of where the amazing ride and network I’ve enjoyed since ~2006, started.
  3. Invest more time in mentoring others. In my previous lives at IBM and Pivotal I had a lot of opportunity to get involved in these activities. I’ve been at Twitter very close to 2 years now, and it is incredible to realise how much I’ve learned “through osmosis” – partly from amazing individuals like Isaac, Sylvain, Taylor, Craig, Chris, and Romain – and more often, from others still around me. My goal in 2016 is to share my knowledge and support much more widely: both to co-workers, third party developers, and up-and-coming members of the tech community around me. Time to hit the local meetup circuit, and to do more coaching of others in public speaking, career mentoring, and personal support.

I’ve got a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to this year professionally – I’m deeply involved in a number of initiatives, and I’m excited that @jack has put Developers firmly on our list of priorities! This is where I’d always hoped we would get back to. Nevertheless, on top of that, these are three of my personal plans for the next ~10 1/2 months. I’ve made a good start.

As always, I’m open to comments here, but you’ll also find me open to discuss on Twitter @andypiper.

(also on Medium)

Some random reflections on 2014

As time has moved on, I’ve lavished less attention on my blog, which is a shame… “back in the day” I enjoyed writing for it, and gained a lot of value from doing so. It’s of no particular surprise to me that I’ve spent less time writing here in 2014 than in any of the previous years; but it is a regret. I blame my schedule, a general change in the way I interact online, and a lack of inspiration. Actually, that last one isn’t quite true: I’ve often been inspired, or felt the need to blog, but have found myself mentally blocked. I need to get over that!

Anyway… 2014, looking back… a little bit of a year in review.

LEGO AndyThe major life change this year was my move to Twitter, which has been very exciting and energising. I’m thrilled to have been invited to work with a team of exceptional people under Jeff Sandquist. In particular, this year I’ve had the short-lived opportunity to work with three brilliant and talented guys I want to say “thank you” to, for making my transition to my new role such a pleasure: Taylor Singletary, Sylvain Carle and Isaac Hepworth. A special shout-out too to my close friend and colleague based in London, Romain Huet, without whom I would have found the past nine months much less fun or easy-to-navigate! The whole team has been just amazing to work with, as have all my wonderful colleagues at the Twitter office in London #gratefulpipes

The work we’re doing on the Developer and Platform Relations team at Twitter is something I’m incredibly passionate about. Connecting with the third-party community and acting as the face and voice of Twitter with those developers, listening to them and responding to their concerns, is the reason I joined the company.

I’ve been involved in the launch of a couple of APIs (most notably the Mute API), and I’m getting to work on much of the external API surface, which plays well with my background and developer experience. We’ve completely relaunched our developer-facing website and forums in the past few months, which the whole team has worked hard on. I’m happy to see the focus of discussion on the developer forums substantially improved now that we’ve moved to the Discourse platform – the user experience is far better than we had with the previous solution.

Most importantly, this past quarter we launched Fabric, our new free mobile SDK and platform for iOS and Android, and delivered a swathe of improvements to the developer experience for mobile enthusiasts. We also ran our first mobile developer conference, Flight – I was excited to be there, and I’m looking forward to seeing that experience continue in 2015.

My background in the Internet of Things and MQTT space has partly carried over into my new life at Twitter, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a couple of events (including Flight) about how Twitter’s platform plays into that space. However, I’ve substantially stepped back from playing a major role in the MQTT community this year; a decision in part driven by the need to refocus on my new role, partly due to some personal hostility and “burnout” with a couple of specific issues, but mostly because – I’m no longer “needed”! It has been incredibly satisfying to see the MQTT community grow over the past few years. The standardisation of the protocol at OASIS, the large number of implementations, and the ability of many other much smarter people to pick up the kinds of speaking engagements I was previously doing as a matter of course – all of these things make me immensely proud to have helped to lay the foundations for the success of that community over the past six years or so.

I’ve also been very happy to see the success of the Cloud Foundry platform and the people involved – having devoted the previous two years of my career to that nascent Open Source community, it is just fantastic to see it take off and the Foundation get started. Nice work to everyone involved.

I’ve again thoroughly enjoyed my speaking opportunities this year, and the chance to broaden my range. Obviously that has included a lot about the Twitter API and developer platform, and lots again about IoT; but I’ve also spoken on wearables, developer advocacy, and API management. I’m very happy that I got to be a part of the first Twitter Flight conference – one of my speaking career highlights.

Personally, I’ve tried to stay healthy this year (no heart scares, no falls…!); although my travel schedule has been demanding again (TripIt tells me I covered 66613 miles in the air). That did at least include a couple of trips for fun, rather than being all about business 🙂

The next year looks to be busy with more events to speak at (and organise!), and much more to do around the Twitter platform. As an historian, a sociologist and someone with a keen interest in the intersection of technology and people, I’m very excited to be a part of this wave of change.

Happy New Year – here’s to 2015!

On joining Twitter

#lifeattwitter

I’ve been settling into my new role at Twitter over the past few months. I’m a Developer Advocate on the Developer and Platform Relations team, based out of a beautiful new London office we opened a few weeks ago.

It has been fantastic so far, learning about the Twitter platform and starting to work with partners and developers trying out the API. I’ve been a small part of a couple of feature launches which I’m incredibly proud to have helped with. We’ve run our first Twitter UK community Friday4Good which I helped to plan. As well as that, I’ve spoken about the Twitter API in the context of the Internet of Things at both Techsylvania in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and more recently at GOTO in Amsterdam.

In a recent post over on the Twitter Developer blog I’ve written a little bit more about why I was excited to join this amazing team.

Developers embraced Twitter early on, seeing it as an open platform that could enrich apps with contextual information and provide access to public conversations, sentiments and signals. Twitter enabled developers to create cool, new and fun experiences that were never before possible.

Oh, and if you want to follow what we are up to as a team, you should keep an eye on the @TwitterDev and @TwitterAPI handles, as well as @TwitterUK for more UK-centric news!

#newjob

In late 2011, I was contacted by a very charming, smart and persuasive French gentleman who spoke of clouds, platform-as-a-service, and polyglot programming. It took him and his team a couple of months to get me thinking seriously about a career change, after 10 great years at IBM. I’d spent that period with “Big Blue” coding in Java and C, and primarily focused on enterprise application servers, message queueing, and integration – and yet the lure of how easy vmc push[1] made it for me to deploy and scale an app was astounding! Should I make the transition to a crazy new world? Over Christmas that year, I decided it would be a good thing to get in on this hot new technology and join VMware as Developer Advocate on the Cloud Foundry team. I joined the team early in 2012.

The Cloud Foundry adventure has been amazing. The day after I joined the team, the project celebrated its first anniversary, and we announced the BOSH continuous deployment tool; I spent much of that first year with the team on a whirlwind of events and speaking engagements, growing the community. The Developer Relations team that Patrick Chanezon and Adam Fitzgerald put together was super talented, and it was brilliant to be part of that group. Peter, Chris, Josh, Monica, Raja, Rajdeep, Alvaro, Eric, Frank, Tamao, Danny, Chloe, D, Giorgio, friends in that extended team… it was an honour.

A year after I joined, VMware spun out Cloud Foundry, SpringSource and other technologies into a new company, Pivotal – headed up by Paul Maritz. I’ve been privileged to work under him, Rob Mee at Pivotal Labs, and most closely, my good friend James Watters on the Cloud Foundry team. I’ve seen the opening of our new London offices on Old Street, welcomed our partners and customers into that unique collaborative and pairing environment, and observed an explosion of activity and innovation in this space. We launched an amazing productJames Bayer heads up a remarkable group of technologists working full-time on Cloud Foundry, and it has been a pleasure to get to know him and his team. Most recently, I’ve loved every minute working with Cornelia, Ferdy, Matt, Sabha and Scott (aka the Platform Engineering team), another talented group of individuals from whom I’ve learned much.

Over the course of the last two years I’ve seen the Platform-as-a-Service space grow, establish itself, and develop – most recently resulting in my recent talk at bcs Oxfordshire:

Last week, we announced the forthcoming Cloud Foundry Foundation – and one could argue that as a community and Open Source kinda guy, this was the direction I’ve helped to move things in the past two years, although I can claim no credit at all for the Foundation announcement itself. I’ve certainly enjoyed hosting occasional London Cloud Foundry Community meetups and drinks events (note, next London PaaS User Group event has 2 CF talks!), and I’ve made some great friends locally and internationally through the ongoing growth of the project. I’m proud of the Platform event we put on last year, I think the upcoming Cloud Foundry Summit will be just as exciting, and I’m happy to have been a part of establishing and growing the CF community here in Europe.

Cloud Foundry is THE de facto Open Source PaaS standard, the ecosystem is strong and innovative, and that has been achieved in a transparent and collaborative way, respectful to the community, in a good-natured way in the face of competition. Rest assured that I’ll continue to watch the project and use PaaSes which implement it (I upgraded to a paid Pivotal Web Services account just this past week, I tried BlueMix, and I’m an ongoing fan of the Anynines team).

There are many missing shout-outs here… you folks know who you are, and should also know that I’ve deeply enjoyed learning from you and working with you. Thank you, Pivotal team! I do not intend to be a stranger to the Bay Area! In my opinion, Pivotal is positioned brilliantly in offering an end-to-end mobile, agile development, cloud platform and big data story for the enterprise. I look forward to continuing the conversations around that in the next couple of weeks.

[…]

What happens after “the next couple of weeks”? Well, this is as good time as any (!) to close that chapter, difficult though it is to leave behind a team I’ve loved working with, on a product and project that is undoubtedly going to continue to be fantastically successful this year and beyond. So, it is time to announce my next steps, which may or may not be clear from the title of this post… 🙂

Joining Twitter!

I joined Twitter as a user on Feb 21 2007. On the same day, seven years later, I accepted a job offer to go and work with the Twitter team as a Developer Advocate, based in London.

If you’ve been a long-term follower of mine either here on this blog, or on Twitter, or elsewhere, you’ll know that Twitter is one of my favourite tools online. It has been transformational in my life and career, and it changed many of my interactions. True story: between leaving IBM and joining VMware I presented at Digital Bristol about social technologies, and I was asked, which one I would miss the most if it went away tomorrow; the answer was simple: Twitter. As an Open Source guy, too, I’ve always been impressed with Twitter’s contributions to the broader community.

I couldn’t be more #excited to get started with the Twitter Developer Relations team in April!

Follow me on Twitter – @andypiper – to learn more about my next adventure…

[1] vmc is dead, long live cf!