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LIVIN' ON THE EDGE PODCAST

S3, Ep4: Platform Engineering Insights with Expert Michael Levan

About

The concept of 'platform engineering' has gained significant attention in the Kubernetes and API industry, particularly highlighted at KubeCon 2023. This emerging field raises questions about its definition, best practices, and real-world relevance. In the latest episode of the Livin' On the Edge podcast, the host interviews industry expert Michael Levan, delving into the intricacies of platform engineering

Episode Guests

Michael Levan
Seasoned Engineer and Consultant for Startups and Enterprises
Michael Levan is a seasoned engineer and consultant who spends his time working with startups and enterprises around the globe on Kubernetes and Platform Engineering projects. He was a member of the Kubernetes v1.28 Release Team

Welcome to the "Livin' On the Edge" Podcast Episode: Platform Engineering Insights with Expert Michael Levan


In our latest podcast episode, we delve into the often-misunderstood world of platform engineering, a topic that has been buzzing at events like KubeCon 2023. Join us as we sit down with Michael Levan, a renowned industry expert, to dissect what platform engineering really means for developers and organizations today.


Understanding Platform Engineering with Michael Levan

Platform engineering is more than just a buzzword; it's about crafting and managing developer platforms, toolchains, and workflows focused on internal self-service capabilities. Michael Levan shares his insights, defining platform engineering as an engineering discipline with a product mindset. It's about creating internal environments and deployment methods for internal teams, ranging from developers to IT and cybersecurity.

Key Takeaways from the Episode:

  • Redefining Platform Engineering: Michael emphasizes that platform engineering is not new; many organizations have been implementing its principles unknowingly. The focus should be on the holistic approach rather than getting lost in the marketing hype.
  • Outcome-Based Decision Making & Tool Selection: Learn about the importance of focusing on desired outcomes before diving into tool selection, helping to avoid technical debt and ensuring effective platform development.
  • High-Velocity Teams: Discover the concept of high-velocity teams where individuals with specialized expertise collaborate, offering insights for smaller companies with limited resources.
  • Navigating Technology Trends: Michael discusses the challenges of keeping up with the rapidly evolving landscape of platform engineering tools and methods, stressing the importance of clear, outcome-focused strategies.

Stay Updated with More Episodes: Don't miss out on more insightful discussions and expert insights. Check out other episodes of "Livin' On the Edge" for more on the evolving world of technology and software development.


Transcript

00:00.00

Jake Beck

Hello and welcome back to the living on the edge podcast. We are here today talking about platform engineering with a special guest. Let's talk about the topic Michael if you want to go ahead and introduce yourself.

00:10.68

Michael Levan

Absolutely yeah and thank you so much for having me Jake appreciate it. My name is Michael Levan and I do everything and anything in the platform engineering in Kubernetes realm content creation consulting, live training books, public speaking and everything in between.


00:26.28

Jake Beck

Yeah, so I think that's super interesting because it's not every day that you have such a broad aspect a lot of times. Its content creation is like the whole developer relations side or just like the platform engineering side. It's really fun to get to talk to someone who really has meshed those 2 together and made quite the career out of it. So I am really curious, like, how did you get into doing that? Did you start as an engineer and realize this is great, and I want to? I learned a lot and want to expand that knowledge to other people. How did you get into that?


00:58.59

Michael Levan

Yeah, that, you know, throughout my career, I've done everything from systems administration to software engineering. I was a director of engineering, so I played around in the management realm for a while as well, which is one of the things that I always knew. There's a massive amount of duct tape in the space. You know, any organization that you're in, There's always something, something, we gotta get this done because of something, something, whatever, and I kind of always hated that, so what I wanted to do was kind of create content. Teaching people. How to do things with a quality engineering mindset and from there. It just went on where I was . I wanted to keep writing code. I wanted to keep being in production, but I also wanted to have the ability to create content and dive deep into particular topics. Ah, live training as well. Which is a great way to do that, and I was just able to juggle all of them because, you know, I got good at one, then I got good at another, then I got good at another, and I was just always constantly doing them and even now you know I do live training every month I do. Content creation every month: I consult every 6 to eight months, so I'm still constantly in it. So I'm not ah you know I'm always staying refreshed.


02:14.56

Jake Beck

Yeah, that's awesome. It's not easy to juggle so many things, right? and then, as you said, like staying up to date on all those things, I think it's cool that you're able to balance all of that out and stay up to date and continue to like you just did one of you were part of the Kubernetes release team right.


02:33.43

Jake Beck

And then you're still publishing a book and doing live training like that's super impressive.


02:36.82

Michael Levan

yeah yeah I don't know for better or for worse I get bored really easily. So it's always kind of good to just always have new things going on. Ah, you know, and for me, this stuff is very much a hobby. As it is a career, you know, like, this is the stuff that I enjoy, you know, like in my free time, I enjoy writing code building things, I enjoy learning like I'm always reading, you know, even like I go to the gym five days a week. I'm the only weirdo there like I walk around with an iPad. And like I read between sets, just because I enjoy consuming a massive amount of information, I share that information. So, this is something I enjoy. You know, people are like, what do you like to do, you know, in your free time, and I'm like, well, I like learning and diving into new things, and they're like yeah, but like, outside of work, I'm like, no, no, no.


03:35.46

Jake Beck

Yeah, and I think that's I feel like that's such a commonality amongst especially software engineers. It's like you find so many people who are like, okay, they close their work laptop, turn on their personal computer and start hacking away at their projects.


03:35.52

Michael Levan

Is just what I enjoy doing.


03:48.20

Michael Levan

Exactly. Okay.


03:50.62

Jake Beck

And I have tons of friends and like marketing and all that, and like none of them do all that stuff afterward, right? They're only firing up like many of their side projects if they want to make a career out of that. But so many engineers are just like, you know what? My side project is just going to sit there. I don't plan to do anything. It's just something I want to do, and it's always.


04:10.14

Jake Beck

It's always really refreshing to be like oh I do that same thing do other people do this or am I a weirder.


04:15.20

Michael Levan

Yeah, ah, exactly yeah, and you know there are a lot of people that like to do their 9 to 5 on a laptop, and that's fine. I like to tinker. I like to play around, see, and understand things. Um, and how they work, and you know it's. But when you got a full day of live training, or you got a full week of content creation, or you're writing a book or whatever, you got to find the time to be able to do those other things, so you know you kind of fit that into your you know, free time


04:44.43

Jake Beck

Yeah, it. So I guess we should just continue with what we wanted to talk about instead of just our free time, as it's still engineering, but let's just dive into some of the platform engineering stuff. Um, so Kubecon 2023 was 3 three weeks ago, almost to the day now. A big concept was platform engineering, with all the new tooling constantly rolling out. I'd love to hear about your experience as a platform engineering guy. Maybe you had some big takeaways from it or anything like that.


05:15.77

Michael Levan

Yeah, so this is the differentiation between a trend and between something that's going to be a thing, so I can remember back in 20017, give or take, my title was like. Infrastructure engineer or something at this point. I don't even remember talking to the developers. It was a smaller startup, everybody was always sitting next to each other, etc, and 1 of the questions came up like, hey, there are a lot of services in Aws. I don't fully understand the portal; I want to ensure everything runs smoothly. Can we have some like self-service capability and I said, yeah, you know there's ah um, the boto three library or the SDK for Aws, you know, we can create a script, maybe throw it into a client, give you a couple of options and subcommands within that client and you know just create services for yourself. And that's what we did. We just built this like a programmatic self-service client to interact with AWS, and at the time, that's now when you think about it. That's a piece of platform engineering, right? But we didn't think about it like that; we thought about it like we were just providing self-service capabilities. So. I know it won't just be a trend because we've been doing it, right? It's like when something becomes a thing, but you've been doing it for x amount of years. It's just not going to fade away, and that was a big takeaway that I saw at Kubecon. Yeah, we're talking about things that we've been doing for.


06:49.80

Michael Levan

X amount of years now. It just kind of has a name and a ring to it at this point.


06:54.50

Jake Beck

Yeah, and regarding that name, you said we've been doing it for years. However, there are so many misconceptions about platform engineering. It's like you; there are tons of misconceptions that you're just doing DevOps work.


07:07.92

Michael Levan

Middle.


07:11.51

Jake Beck

I would love to get your take on what truly defines platform engineering versus maybe you just run infrastructure or, like, what is a platform engineer? Then, yeah.


07:19.70

Michael Levan

Yeah, so my take on it is a platform engineer is an engineer with a product mindset,. So here's the way that I see it. Well, in general, what are we doing as engineers? We're building software or environments, and those environments in that software are being used by customers, right? Clients, whether you're doing something in e-commerce or it's a car company or whatever it is. You're doing something, and you're creating a product. And you're giving it to customers. If you're making some Saas, you're hosting it. You're giving it to customers. We're doing the same thing with platform engineering. The key difference is our customers. Our clients are engineers inside of our company. It could be developers. It could be It could be cyber security. It could be the DevOps team. It could be the ah are teams, whoever it is. We are creating environments. We are providing ways for our teams to deploy systems software internally. So. That's the biggest differentiation I see when it comes to platform engineering, you know, no, no hate on anybody, right? But, like, look at something other than the marketing stuff. Look at what the vendors are saying instead of looking at the buzzy stuff right.


08:51.22

Michael Levan

Think about it holistically; it's what you've been doing but for your internal teams. So, for example, maybe 1 of your engineering teams says hey, we're running on Kubernetes, and we want to be able to deploy certain capabilities. Crossplane or Argo Cd or whatever. Ah, can you give us an easy way to do it because these helm commands and charts confuse us? We need to have some separation of concerns. We can't be experts in this or what we're supposed to be experts in. So let's go ahead and, hey, can you build us some type of interface? So you know, then you think of that interface, and we can dive into all this stuff more, but you think about this interface, which is the product. So now. For example, even before the call, we talked about product management. Now, you have product managers who should be dedicated to platform teams. You're building an internal product with an SLA, which should be considered as a client uses this. So. That's my take on the key differentiation if you do the same thing. It's just a matter of. Who is your client at that point?


10:09.71

Jake Beck

Yeah, no, I love that answer. I used to work for Target a few years back, and they've built something that is basically what you've described, and I loved it. It was unlike the stuff I was working on at the time. It made my job easy because I just went into it. And I clicked, I want to deploy this container, and it took care of it for me and like not having to manage all of that underlying infrastructure and architecture that was going on. I didn't have to like it was blind to me, right? It made my job easier because I could focus on it.


10:42.50

Jake Beck

Code I needed to write and ship to production versus now we need to hire for extra headcount to just even manage only our applications when they'd really built this beautiful product that did it all for us across the entire company.


10:55.34

Michael Levan

Yup, yeah, and that's the point of it. The whole point is the separation of concern and reducing this, you know, cognitive load or whatever you want to call it from other departments because this is what it ended up starting to happen. I don't want to get into the DevOps. It isn't a title debate, but it was. It was here that DevOps more or less started to become a title. What ended up happening was the whole idea was We're going to break these silos, and infrastructure teams and development teams are going to work together. But then what ended up happening was we tried to get the DevOps teams to do everything, and that didn't work because regardless of what title and salary you slap on somebody, 1 person cannot be an expert in everything. It's just not. It's not a possible thing,. Like even if they're smart enough to understand and do it all. The simple fact is they're going to be doing it all at different times all of the time, and therefore, they're going to forget things they'll have to refresh, etc, so it just didn't work. And that's where I think platform engineering will come into play because, um, sorry, and that's where I feel platform engineering will come into play because it allows you to separate these concerns like we're going backward in a sense or instead we're just like.

12:28.13

Michael Levan

Going in this circle here, we're getting back to what we were saying before developers or developers infrastructure people or infrastructure IT as I t, but we have this new team in the middle building ease of use capabilities for everybody.


12:44.18

Jake Beck

Yeah, and I think there's, like, even the misconception of, like, that platform engineering team knows all that's going underneath, and that's not the case either. It's a team of multiple teams that you might have a Kubernetes-like, specific team that they are managing.


13:00.86

Jake Beck

All of your kubernetes stuff or and then the people that actually do like the container orchestration side of it like it's. It's really a realm of a bunch of different teams that then make the people writing your web apps really easy like their jobs significantly. Not easier, right? like the web app part still but they just remove that extra layer of work that they're not comfortable with, really doing anyways

13:22.24

Michael Levan

Yup, exactly and you know with that I love the idea of like for smaller companies that can't hire 50 people and put them into various subgroups inside of a platform engineering practice I love the idea of like high velocity teams or at least that's what we used to call them where it's like. Let's say you had 5 people. 1 person was really good at Kubernetes 1 person was really good at Q a 1 person was really good at backend and frontend and you kind of had this small team but like everybody had their specialty within that team and I think that that could be really beneficial for platform engineering as well. The way that I think about it is like you have 3 layers. You have the underlying platform in the middle you have the platform capabilities and then up top you have the platform interface or the interaction so you have somebody on the underlying platform. Let's say it's Kubernetes really focused on that whole environment and then you got people in the middle building capabilities or. Ah, building interactions like those capabilities could be the cross plane and the argo and the bubble blah and then on top you got the interaction whether it's a client whether it's a GUI, another form of a ui, whatever but you have 5 to 6 people or 4 to 6 people really working on each layer but subspecializing in each layer and. That'll make things far more efficient for the team as a whole.


14:38.73

Jake Beck

Yeah, absolutely I think I think you nail it right there like that that it's like that three layer I think that concept is really really like what platform engineering actually is right? It's it's that multi-layered there. It is a layered thing and like not 1 person even still like like you mentioned back to like the dev ops thing is like. That one person's going to be good at all these and if you think they are like you're just inherently wrong.


15:04.64

Michael Levan

Yup, yeah, and you know listen there's nothing wrong with like like for me when when I was working full-time like I enjoyed learning all of it. You know like I would sit with a backend developers I would sit with the frontend developers. And then I would be doing my devopsy ah sre job or whatever so like I understood everything that was going on. But here's the reality of just human nature right is like I'm doing my job. So if I have you know a full week where I'm doing frontend development and I get. Really good at that piece. But then I don't touch it for 3 4 weeks I have to refresh versus if you have people that are specializing in each part. It's just a far more efficient lifecycle and flow of getting things out the door and getting things into your environment. Versus expecting 1 person to be really good at everything and it's it's funny because again like you go back? 15 years everybody was kind of subspecializing then we kind of got into this devopsy fad where it was like everybody does everything and then we're like nope this isn't working. Let's try something new. No, we're really not trying anything new. We're just kind. We're just going in a circular motion of through different trends. You know which is it's funny and ironic. But.


16:24.15

Jake Beck

Yep, yeah, it's almost like the fad of like a full stack engineer right? It's like sure you are a full stack engineer but you have to take a week every time you have to switch context to relearn everything. So it's like yeah you might be a front you might be able to do all of it. But.


16:32.26

Michael Levan

Right.


16:39.42

Jake Beck

Realistically, you're not doing any of it that well until you take that extra week of ramp up time every single time you switch which look there's no problem in doing that if you have the capacity to do it. It's just you're like if you have the capacity to hi. You're a front end a backend and a database administrator like you're just inherently going to push out stuff faster because.


16:43.81

Michael Levan

Exactly.


16:58.60

Jake Beck

People are doing 1 thing and they're really really good at it.


17:01.00

Michael Levan

Exactly Yup? Yup yeah and and I would say that's the the biggest part there is you want to bring people on that are really good at particular things and if that one person says ah you know what I got really good at this and I'm not challenged anymore and I want to move from frontend to backend or whatever. Yeah, cool, go ahead and do that challenge yourself, but just as long as you're focusing on that 1 thing and you're not flip-floppping you know? So yeah I mean I definitely think that's where platform engineering will come into play to kind of ease the implementation a little bit.


17:22.27

Jake Beck

Exactly.


17:33.99

Michael Levan

Ah, just because there are so many tools and so many vendors and so many methods of doing things and and I mean in my opinion. The landscape is a mess right now I think there's too much going on and it's like I I work for myself. So like. I Literally get paid to just play around with new stuff like essentially the gist of what I do um and I still find something new all the time and like this is what I'm doing like as a living so it's like if I'm having trouble keeping up I can't imagine.


17:55.71

Jake Beck

This is.


18:10.65

Michael Levan

How everybody else was feeling.


18:10.88

Jake Beck

Yeah I mean I think you pretty much like fled into where I was like my next question was like just the whole kubernetes landscape in general like specific to Kubernetes obviously like platform engineering you can run vms and everything but the new like the hot thing right? is your underlying platform is Kubernetes. And it's an um, it's an arms race of whoever can build anything right? that like can get adoption. It's there's how many different like telemetry providers different like Api Gateways different like everything and it's just a continuous arms race of. Who can get it done the fastest and out the door and here's an it. It feels almost a little bit like when Javascript got really popular and there's a new framework coming out every three weeks of this is the new hot thing to use.


18:58.46

Michael Levan

But yeah, literally.


19:00.83

Jake Beck

I Would love your take on that I guess a little bit further even of like what do you? What do you see as like the key tools like people actually should be using or like like like even at like specific layers of like what do people really actually need to have a functioning platform.


19:13.32

Michael Levan

Yeah, so the biggest piece of a device that I give everybody is do not even think about what tools to use until you understand what you need your outcome to be so just as an example, right. Let's say I'm thinking and I'm saying okay the underlying platform I need to be able to do a few things I need to be able to run virtual machines I need to be able to run containers and I need to be able to do these on more or less the same systems. Okay. So that's the outcome I have some older things that you know I need to run some binaries on vms and I have some newer products that I need to run in containers. Well that could be 1 of 2 things right? I could have Esx I boxes in a data center somewhere. Um, you know running. Ah, bootstrapping with Kube Adm and running vms I could run openstack. Ah I could run kubernetes because we have things like Kubevert where we can manage vms on Kubernetes. So once you kind of think about exactly what you want to do or what you need to do to make your platform work. Then begin to think about okay, well we don't have a data center. We're probably not going to be able to buy 1 because that's millions of dollars so maybe we want to scratch that idea and then we think we say okay opens stackck first kubernetes will openstack and give us everything that we need Kubernetes can give us everything we need.


20:48.31

Michael Levan

Ah, but after further looking into it. Okay there's more iteration happening in the Kubernetes realm. There's more people talking about that space. There's more support out there. there's more forums There's more documentation ah there's more content there's more learning capabilities. Okay, so boom now we've narrowed it down. Kubernetes being the platform but we didn't we didn't jump into a meeting and say oh yeah, we need to build out this new infrastructure and where everybody was like Kubernetes we piecemealed it together and we said what we needed why we needed it how we needed it and what type of support we needed and then we came out with okay. Kubernetes may be the best viable option moving forward now. Of course that's 3 to four months of conversation condensed into however long I've just been talking but that's essentially the gist of how we need to think about things we can't think like what tools do we want to use because this one's popular and because they had the best booth at kubecon. No. You're going to create a mass amount of tech debt for yourself and you're going to hate your life. You want to be thinking about what you actually need to do and what you actually need to accomplish and you may not have that answer 100 % until you start implementing and that's totally fine. But if you can get yourself 50 to 60% of the way there. You know you're good to go. So.

22:03.24

Jake Beck

Yeah, for sure like you like this for outcome-based decision making right is like you want you choose your outcome before you make the decisions that lead to that outcome which is a very often overlooked like aspect right? like so many times like even when I'm like writing code. It's like I just kind of just start writing code because I.


22:12.20

Michael Levan

Print.


22:23.80

Jake Beck

Like have an idea and you just kind of start hacking away and then you're 6 hours in and nothing works right? because you didn't think about how you didn't think about the outcome of okay well I had an idea first but what was the actual end goal and then kind of work backwards. And like you said it can take months to actually make those decisions and like that's fine because you should be doing research. You should be learning while you make those decisions that lead to that outcome but knowing what your end goal is is like ultimately the like most important part right? like.


22:52.20

Michael Levan

Totally 100 % yeah and and to your point you know you can start so here here's what I do right? like a perfect example I was just I was just building out alyde school the other day and I knew I wanted to write in and go. I knew that I was going to use cobra for the framework to build the client I knew what I wanted the functionality to be I wanted to have one command and then various subcommands to install different services. So when I first started building it out I said all right I just want to see if this thing is going to work. So. Ah, use the os library with the exact function and just ran bash scripts to install everything or bash commands rather and I was like all right cool concept works but this looks silly let me import the ah the helm library and I'll build everything out via the helm library this way. It's more production ready.


23:45.78

Michael Levan

So I knew what direction I wanted to go and I wasn't 100% because I didn't know what was going to work what I was going to have to iterate if I wanted to use flags if I wanted to just jumble it into one chart I wasn't sure but I dove into it knowing and understanding what I believe I wanted the high-leve outcome to me and that's always the biggest thing because. To your point I feel like in today's world we don't really have a chance to think about that. Um and it typically comes down to poor management to be honest, you know, no engineers are just bum rushing in ah it typically comes down to like hey we need four weeks to do this and everybody's like hey do it in 1 ah, because something something deadline that somebody made up and there's no actual real reason. It's just kind of there and that's kind of what we find ourselves in unfortunately that that harsh reality of like we want to build something good, but we have to throw duct tape on it which you know brings. Bringing full circle to the beginning of the conversation. That's why I started to do what I do.

24:42.70

Jake Beck

Yeah I'd like that as funny as was what you gonna follow up with that. It's like yeah, that's how we end up when everything's duct taped together and you can't remove any of that duct tape without it all falling apart versus what you like kind of like what you described if you have that outcome in mind like you still might duct tape some things together just to prove that it works.


25:00.89

Michael Levan

Yep.


25:01.80

Jake Beck

But substituting that out for actual functioning parts later on is significantly easier than duct taping it all together in the beginning and just being like well it works but it barely works.


25:12.70

Michael Levan

Yeah, yeah, no I mean by all means use the whole role of duct tape for your Mvp ah, but the the and it's so funny because I feel like we all kind of know that it and this and never works this way but we keep saying the words or not us but others.


25:18.58

Jake Beck

Um.


25:27.52

Michael Levan

You know you you have the solution in mind and you go to management or leadership or whoever and they're like no yeah, sounds great. Let's just get this thing off the ground and we'll come back to this in a couple months we never come back to it in a couple months like we all kind of know that we just say okay. And then six months later it's like the whole thing's broken and we have to refactor the whole thing anyways. Um versus you know I think that's just life right? If you just do things right? The first time you're going to have a much easier approach and in general but you know that's that's ah, that's how it is sometimes.


25:56.22

Jake Beck

Yeah, it's what I literally had that up that conversation the other day. It's like well this can just be quick because we'll throw it away and redo it. It's like but the thing is every time we say that we don't go back and redo it because then other things become higher priority. So it's like.


26:08.11

Michael Levan

Yeah, just exactly.


26:13.88

Jake Beck

It's it's sacrificing the future for the now and sometimes and like sometimes it's okay to do that and other times it's like no, we need to focus on the now because it's going to like like make the future succeed right.


26:23.50

Michael Levan

Exactly yep, no one hundred and ten percent I think that's a good good life lesson for everybody just do things right? The first time and you'll have a much better of a much easier ah approach in life.


26:29.72

Jake Beck

Yeah, yeah, a lot of times. It's easier to sacrifice a few hours now than sacrificing date in the future because you weren't willing to sacrifice those hours.


26:39.52

Michael Levan

Hundred percent hundred percent yeah and and you know I also think it unfortunately and and this is where I hope platform engineering will help because it comes into one of those things I mean you know and and we still see it unfortunately where it's like oh you didn't commit any code. Or oh your hands on it on the keyboard or oh you're not writing a thing but you don't always have to be planning researching understanding figuring out those things don't require hands on keyboard those things require thinking. Ah, but we're still you know. A lot of engineers are still judged based on those minute things. Um and hopefully platform engineering will kind of help there as well because at least it can make things a little bit more efficient from that perspective. So you know, hopefully it'll ah. Not only separate concerns but it'll kind of lift off those that low hanging fruit for everybody.


27:37.50

Jake Beck

Yeah, do you see? that's like kind of the trend for like maybe the next like year 2 3 of like what platforming engineering is going to be is like like it's going to be more of like that type of thing where it's it's it's really helping like expedite those or do you see it kind of leaning somewhere else.


27:53.47

Michael Levan

I think that for the next. So I'm going to say 6 to eight months it's still going to be defined. So. I have my definition for and you know everything that we've talked about I have my understanding of what I believe platform engineering is some people agree with me some people don't some. Ah, for example, right? like 1 of my biggest things is we see a lot of devex or developer experience and platform engineering I think they're the same thing. I don't think there's a differentiation there some people agree with me some people don't I think that everybody's still very much defining. What this thing is um because even though it isn't new. It is an emerging topic and as with all emerging topics. Everybody's kind of throwing their opinion in the hat whether it's engineers whether it's management whether it's vendors whether it's marketing whether it's ah industry analysts. Everybody's just kind of throwing things in in the fire. So eventually, we will that'll settle down and there will be. A consistent thought process to platform engineering. So I think that's what we're going to see for the next 6 to eight months um I also think while that's happening. The unfortunate reality is there's going to be a lot of ah marketing.


29:20.76

Michael Levan

That it's going to confuse everybody around what platform engineering is so you know for everybody that's listening do your best to how can I put it not get caught up in the hype and don't let that confuse you um, just focus on those core things that we've been talking about not so much like. What marketers are saying in terms of what platform engineering is because the whole idea is from a marketing perspective is to hype things up to sell to get the idea out there to get everybody interested but unfortunately sometimes that hype doesn't translate to what the thing actually is. So for the next 6 to eight months we're also going to see a lot of that as well. So everybody do your best to just kind of tune it out if you can um, then for the rest of the year I would say things will even out a little bit more. And yeah, it'll just be a little bit more ah baselined. It'll be It'll be a little bit more streamlined.


30:21.78

Jake Beck

Yeah, awesome. Yeah I think I think you like that what you describe with like the six to eight months is definitely like almost a big issue in tech all the time right? It's like seems like every 3 to 4 years. We get a new like fad or whatever it is of like it's where. People start throwing all their money and marketing is like everything's really heavily marketed towards that and I think blockchain is like kind of the perfect example of that like there was a great like use case for blockchain but everyone just kind of went all in on it and just like extracted the Vc money because they just attached blockchain to their company.


30:44.71

Michael Levan

Fear them.


30:56.98

Michael Levan

Me.


30:59.22

Jake Beck

And and it ended up just like kind of dying off and like there still is use cases for it right? like there's very important use cases. It's just attach it to everything but I don't see that so much happening with like platforms engineer like because like you said it's been going on for up near a decade. It's just it didn't have a title and it wasn't defined and it's just like.


31:12.66

Michael Levan

Yeah, yeah.


31:19.80

Jake Beck

Generally now especially with cloud-based computing and everything like that. It's getting even just like more important and now being defined instead of just things people did in the background.


31:27.24

Michael Levan

Yeah, and to your point that's how you can kind of know when something is a fad versus when something is going to be real like you know. For example, when you mentioned Blockchain you know I don't know about you. But. You know there were everybody was talking about web 3 and now I haven't heard about web 3 in like five months it's just like it just kind of like faded away and like nobody's like mentioned it at all anymore. So yeah, like that's that that's just kind of how those things go I mean even I think with the whole gen a I think um I think it'll be very similar. I think that there are just too many companies now being like we're incorporating Ai into what we're doing um and then when you kind of peek under the hood a little bit like if you understand datasets if you understand data models if you understand how large language models work and how how information is generated. And then you think about it like yeah, we've been doing ai like what was the first chess game like nineteen so nineteen eighty six something yeah so like this whole the whole like idea of feeding data into a system.


32:30.80

Jake Beck

Um I think is in the eighty s yeah was like when yeah some somewhere around there.


32:40.30

Michael Levan

And that system having the ability to learn based on said Data. We've been doing this for a really long time. So now that once like Gen ai became really buzzy. Everybody started jumping on it but the reality is is that it's. I Think this is the difference between what's buzzy and what's real Gen ai is being talked about as like this new thing but it's not.. It's a subsidary to what already existed whereas if you take a look at like platform engineering. Ah, yeah, people are saying this is an emerging thing but it's not a subsidary to what we were already doing in that space. It's just kind of coming to Fruition. At this point right.


33:18.25

Jake Beck

Yeah, it's it's almost just branding what was being done for for a long time and it's getting just more important now because the landscape has gotten more complicated and more confusing to like navigate. Yeah.


33:32.88

Michael Levan

Exactly Yup Yep yeah I mean it's really all about minimizing as much confusion as possible. Um, yeah I that that's the biggest or the best way rather to think about it is minimize and make things more efficient and that's it and and I kind of think that that's that. That's why I really enjoy it so much. It's kind of a beautiful thing when you think about it like for the first time in a while we are creating an emerging engineering practice that is meant specifically to help others. And that's like that's a cool thing when you think about it you know like we are. It's it's like engineering for good in a sense you know which is cool.


34:16.41

Jake Beck

Yeah, if you're not It's because like I mean if you look at just like the landscape of technology right? It's like what's what's led technological growth is essentially consumerism. Um I mean like you look at like the apples and the Microsofts and everything and like their goal is to build technology just that's. Mainly to be consumed by non-technology people. Um you look at what you're talking about with like platform engineering. It's like this is all we're building something which obviously like people are going to pay for and like consume. But at the end of the day. It's there to make the other developers lives easier.


34:37.75

Michael Levan

Yep.


34:51.24

Jake Beck

Like it's not there to be consumed by the masses. It's it's there like um, like you said like for good because the landscape has gotten more complicated so we need to do something to ease that confusion. Well and it's It's not necessarily that it's just Confusing. It's just there's so many different things going on in the background. That just one person can't handle it anymore and if you try to like like circling back to a lot of what we talked about earlier. It's just you need that like separation now and that's exactly where like this is this is becoming a popular topic.


35:18.44

Michael Levan

Exactly? Yeah, yeah, and you know you pointed out something that I think is super important, especially in the open source and and and overall Cloud Native space look at the end of the day. Everybody's got to get paid. Everybody's got to get paid for what they do. Everybody's got to get paid for what they're putting out. And because of that what everybody needs to understand is like yeah there may be money flying around in this platform engineering space. But it's not going to be the um, it's not going to be to your point in like the consumerism of you know, creating specific platforms. Ah, creating specific environments etc like it's really going to be geared towards actually helping people our vendors going to get their lick and are people going to you know jump in and try to make money from it. Sure of course. But at the end of the day you know the actual practice of platform engineering Is to ultimately help others.


37:30.46

Michael Levan

the gist of what I was just saying was you're right about Modern consumerism. Everybody still needs to make money vendors are still going to try to make money off of platform engineering. Everybody's got to get paid. But at the end of the day it does still have a particular good purpose of helping others.


37:56.85

Jake Beck

Which is the beauty of it right? like like it doesn't matter if there is like financial gain at the end of it to me as long as there is like net good like at the like a lot of people like it.


38:01.70

Michael Levan

You.


38:09.39

Michael Levan

There.


38:10.45

Jake Beck

Even like outside like people like to like say like people are projecting I think Mr Beast if you're familiar with I'm sure you are with who that is like a lot of people get upset when he goes and does like charitable things and does it for like making money which is like at the end of the day like I don't think it matters that he makes money doing those things because he does end up helping more people.


38:23.15

Michael Levan

In it.


38:30.17

Jake Beck

Then then then like he makes money and I think at the end of the day like that's really what matters and is like essentially the goal like people are going to make money and it is what it is as long as people there's a net gain I have no Qualms with it myself.




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