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July 3, 2024
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Why I Joined Decodable

I'm starting the second half of this year on a high note by joining Decodable as a Developer Advocate. In this short article, I want to take the opportunity to shed some light on my decision to switch to this very promising startup in the real-time data space after having worked for Red Hat (~20k employees) for about 2 years in a similar role.

Strong Open Source Technology Foundation

Coming from Red Hat, as well as having spent additional spare time to develop a number of side projects over the years, I'm a strong believer in the value of open source in general. Hence, one of the major aspects for me personally these days when joining a new company is that there is an open source aspect to it. Since the technology foundation of Decodable's product offering is built upon long-established open source projects, I was eager to learn more about what the team is building here from my very first encounter. Both Apache Flink and Debezium have proven track records of large-scale production deployments across a wide range of industries and use cases for many years, which is why I'm absolutely convinced it makes a lot of sense to bet on this power-duo going forward.

Alignment of Skills and Technologies

What should definitely help me get to speed is the fact that Flink and Debezium plus the other tools and technologies around it are largely JVM-based. Yes, I used to write a bunch of Java code—including crappy lines of course 😬—on a daily basis, and even if it's been some time ago, I still enjoy coding a lot these days.

My relationship with the Debezium project dates back a few years too, when I decided to support its change data capture (CDC) payload format natively in the MongoDB community sink connector I wrote for Kafka Connect. Ever since, and in particular also during my time at Red Hat, I enjoyed building developer-focused content such as this tutorial related to the Debezium project.

I'm also fortunate enough to have had the chance to work with Apache Kafka, including some of the ecosystem technologies, in various contexts in the past. While Kafka isn't directly exposed to Decodable users, knowledge about it aids in understanding the needs and challenges of our customers better since Kafka is often found at the heart of their data movement efforts and stream processing needs.

As for Apache Flink itself, I haven't had as much exposure yet. But I did start getting my feet wet a few months back, playing around with it in an attempt to add specific capabilities by means of custom user-defined functions. That said, I'm eager to learn bare-bones Flink from the ground up to be able to better address and convey the added value of Decodable's fully-managed serverless platform to future customers.

A Tentative Peek Inside the Culture

Needless to say, great technology alone can only ever mean half the battle when joining a company—it's kind of necessary but definitely not sufficient. Several months back during a conference, I had the chance to talk to Decodable folks at their booth. Additionally, I was lucky enough to able to join a local meetup where I had another chance to chat with some of my now co-workers. I think you can well imagine how valuable these enjoyable personal encounters have been to get a feeling for a team in an informal setting, despite the fact that it was long before any actual interest to work together emerged on either side. In the end, the welcoming nature meant that it wasn't a blind choice in terms of how the folks here are ticking, before deciding to move to the next phase.

World-Class Team of Experts and Pleasant Hiring Process

Weeks later, we started to talk about potential opportunities. Some more weeks later we set up some appointments and it became immediately apparent to me during the first (interview) calls how much deep knowledge paired with professional expertise and experience there is at Decodable. To some degree, this is of course a humbling experience. However, it was always very pleasant all the way through the hiring process, no matter who I was talking with. Lots of focus on exchanging perspectives and discussing things paired with a bunch of tricky questions. The opportunity to present some of my prior work related to my side projects clearly showed me that they were interested in what I was doing and really wanted to work with me. Additionally, I always had the feeling that any topic that was addressed has been handled in a fully transparent way.

What to Start Working On?

Decodable being a start-up most likely means that I'll be able to enjoy some flexibility related to my responsibilities in general. At the same time, I'll need to adapt to changing priorities due to market demand when it comes to the specific tasks I'm going to work on. At a high-level, my goal for the first few days and weeks is to develop a deep understanding of our product and a better sense for the major pain points and the potential blockers that prevent newcomers from successfully applying real-time data to their businesses. How exactly this is going to look and what types of content I'll be creating first is something that I cannot tell you on my second day 😁. But what I do know is that I’m going to work together with fellow Decoders to build new demos and examples related to the underlying open source technologies, create and deliver hands-on lab materials, and give talks at various conferences, industry events, and community meetups.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be an exciting and impactful journey to hopefully make the lives of companies considerably easier by helping them adopt Decodable. Let's move some data together with as much or as little processing as needed!

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Hans-Peter Grahsl

Hans-Peter Grahsl is a Staff Developer Advocate at Decodable. He is an open-source community enthusiast and in particular passionate about event-driven architectures, distributed stream processing systems and data engineering. For his code contributions, conference talks and blog post writing at the intersection of the Apache Kafka and MongoDB communities, Hans-Peter received multiple community awards. He likes to code and is a regular speaker at developer conferences around the world.

I'm starting the second half of this year on a high note by joining Decodable as a Developer Advocate. In this short article, I want to take the opportunity to shed some light on my decision to switch to this very promising startup in the real-time data space after having worked for Red Hat (~20k employees) for about 2 years in a similar role.

Strong Open Source Technology Foundation

Coming from Red Hat, as well as having spent additional spare time to develop a number of side projects over the years, I'm a strong believer in the value of open source in general. Hence, one of the major aspects for me personally these days when joining a new company is that there is an open source aspect to it. Since the technology foundation of Decodable's product offering is built upon long-established open source projects, I was eager to learn more about what the team is building here from my very first encounter. Both Apache Flink and Debezium have proven track records of large-scale production deployments across a wide range of industries and use cases for many years, which is why I'm absolutely convinced it makes a lot of sense to bet on this power-duo going forward.

Alignment of Skills and Technologies

What should definitely help me get to speed is the fact that Flink and Debezium plus the other tools and technologies around it are largely JVM-based. Yes, I used to write a bunch of Java code—including crappy lines of course 😬—on a daily basis, and even if it's been some time ago, I still enjoy coding a lot these days.

My relationship with the Debezium project dates back a few years too, when I decided to support its change data capture (CDC) payload format natively in the MongoDB community sink connector I wrote for Kafka Connect. Ever since, and in particular also during my time at Red Hat, I enjoyed building developer-focused content such as this tutorial related to the Debezium project.

I'm also fortunate enough to have had the chance to work with Apache Kafka, including some of the ecosystem technologies, in various contexts in the past. While Kafka isn't directly exposed to Decodable users, knowledge about it aids in understanding the needs and challenges of our customers better since Kafka is often found at the heart of their data movement efforts and stream processing needs.

As for Apache Flink itself, I haven't had as much exposure yet. But I did start getting my feet wet a few months back, playing around with it in an attempt to add specific capabilities by means of custom user-defined functions. That said, I'm eager to learn bare-bones Flink from the ground up to be able to better address and convey the added value of Decodable's fully-managed serverless platform to future customers.

A Tentative Peek Inside the Culture

Needless to say, great technology alone can only ever mean half the battle when joining a company—it's kind of necessary but definitely not sufficient. Several months back during a conference, I had the chance to talk to Decodable folks at their booth. Additionally, I was lucky enough to able to join a local meetup where I had another chance to chat with some of my now co-workers. I think you can well imagine how valuable these enjoyable personal encounters have been to get a feeling for a team in an informal setting, despite the fact that it was long before any actual interest to work together emerged on either side. In the end, the welcoming nature meant that it wasn't a blind choice in terms of how the folks here are ticking, before deciding to move to the next phase.

World-Class Team of Experts and Pleasant Hiring Process

Weeks later, we started to talk about potential opportunities. Some more weeks later we set up some appointments and it became immediately apparent to me during the first (interview) calls how much deep knowledge paired with professional expertise and experience there is at Decodable. To some degree, this is of course a humbling experience. However, it was always very pleasant all the way through the hiring process, no matter who I was talking with. Lots of focus on exchanging perspectives and discussing things paired with a bunch of tricky questions. The opportunity to present some of my prior work related to my side projects clearly showed me that they were interested in what I was doing and really wanted to work with me. Additionally, I always had the feeling that any topic that was addressed has been handled in a fully transparent way.

What to Start Working On?

Decodable being a start-up most likely means that I'll be able to enjoy some flexibility related to my responsibilities in general. At the same time, I'll need to adapt to changing priorities due to market demand when it comes to the specific tasks I'm going to work on. At a high-level, my goal for the first few days and weeks is to develop a deep understanding of our product and a better sense for the major pain points and the potential blockers that prevent newcomers from successfully applying real-time data to their businesses. How exactly this is going to look and what types of content I'll be creating first is something that I cannot tell you on my second day 😁. But what I do know is that I’m going to work together with fellow Decoders to build new demos and examples related to the underlying open source technologies, create and deliver hands-on lab materials, and give talks at various conferences, industry events, and community meetups.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be an exciting and impactful journey to hopefully make the lives of companies considerably easier by helping them adopt Decodable. Let's move some data together with as much or as little processing as needed!

📫 Email signup 👇

Did you enjoy this issue of Checkpoint Chronicle? Would you like the next edition delivered directly to your email to read from the comfort of your own home?

Simply enter your email address here and we'll send you the next issue as soon as it's published—and nothing else, we promise!

Hans-Peter Grahsl

Hans-Peter Grahsl is a Staff Developer Advocate at Decodable. He is an open-source community enthusiast and in particular passionate about event-driven architectures, distributed stream processing systems and data engineering. For his code contributions, conference talks and blog post writing at the intersection of the Apache Kafka and MongoDB communities, Hans-Peter received multiple community awards. He likes to code and is a regular speaker at developer conferences around the world.

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