DataStax a Love Letter

Today is my last day at DataStax and what an amazing ride it was. This is easily the best job and the best group of people I’ve ever worked with and I’m very sad to go, but I had an opportunity I could not pass up.

I want to specifically speak to some (but not all cause this would read like Numbers in the Bible) of the amazing people I’m truly blessed to know.

First my colleagues that were and are in SWAT:

  • Jonathan Lacefield — You’re an amazing people person, and still a technical stud. I appreciated our days of violent agreement arguing the same point and not realize it for 20 minutes. Thank you for being patient with me when I get stuck on a silly point and letting me figure it out.
  • Tupshin Harper — You’re weird, brilliant and I adore you. I’m smarter because our hours of chats we had about the big ideas in tech. I also know if anyone listened in to those chats, they’d know how insane we are. I consider you a mentor and a friend.
  • Matt Stump — I’m not even sure I have the words. You’re the learner I aspire to still be. Before I met you, I arrogantly thought I was the most versatile techie that I knew and you make me look unskilled and slow (there are a few others at DS as well, so much for my pride). There is not a better overall programmer in the business, and you still have the brain to have an amazing insight into big problems of all problem domains. You’re also just a good person and a good friend.
  • Wei Deng — The best work ethic in tech with no comparison possible. You’re also the deepest learner I’ve ever known, in a field of deep learners. You’re also humble, kind and deeply patient. I always ended a conversation learning something and I never felt belittled.
  • Jonathan Shook — A deeply special thoughtful mind. You’re like me in that you’re versatile, but you’re the much kinder and nicer version while actually knowing more. I appreciated our ability to argue about the same thing from totally different angles, and come to a conclusion in the end. You’re a reasonable person, a thoughtful person, and I love your approach to problem solving.
  • Jeremy Hanna — You’re brilliant, a deep learner and still amazingly kind and patient. You speak with a soft voice and everyone only has positive to say about you. I love your ability to form consensus even if I acted like it frustrated me at times, I know you are my better.
  • Patrick Callaghan — I wish we’d worked more together but the time we did was great. I appreciated your willingness to spend an obscene amount of time building really thought out demos and examples. Your customers never were left hanging on any suggestions and I know you made them all the best success they could be.
  • In the general company the list is far to large to list in it’s entirety, so if you’re not on it, do not be offended, the omission is my stupidity.

    Amy McNee — The best boss I’ve ever had. I’ve never had someone go to bat for me so many times and do so much to accommodate some frankly difficult situations. You’re a real advocate. You don’t take crap from anyone and you’re willing to incorporate any and all feedback in a positive way. I’m blessed for having worked with you. I’m very glad I know you. Thank you for being kind.

    Avinash Mandava — Amazing learner, amazing gift for critical thinking, just a nice kind guy. I cannot even estimate the amount of time we spent on HipChat. I consider you a dear friend. My son loves his horrible Lakers bib, thank you regardless.

    Nick Panahi — My partner in all things fun. We could be rich by now if we’d just done all of our food conversations on a podcast and sold ad time. I love your outlook on life and I hope we have many more food excursions to come. Thank you for tolerating me drone on about Caracol and still be willing to try it.

    Jon Haddad — Brilliant, versatile, and you put me to shame technically. I love your passion and your willingness to always, always, learn anything. You’re an amazing advocate for Cassandra, and you just _get_ usability in a way that is rare among programmers.

    Patrick McFadin — You’ve got an amazing gift for teaching. Thank you for spending the time to teach me. Thank you for helping make me successful. Thank you for pushing Cassandra in the community as hard and as eloquently as you do.

    Michael Shaler — Thank you for being warm and supportive and just willing to listen. You learn a lot and learn quickly. You have an amazing breadth of knowledge. We always have an amazing conversation every time we talk.

    Rich Reffner — My fellow Rust Belt Survivor TM. We always just got along, but I assume you probably do with everyone. You’re an amazingly thoughtful person, and I love your versatility. Thank you for sharing hours (probably weeks if we total it up) of conversations about real stuff and I hope we work together again someday.

    Brian Hess — You sir have the record for convincing me I’m wrong (I’m usually wrong but rarely do people get to convince me of it). You’re very humble about your substantial gifts of intellect, and you’d never know talking to you at first that you’re as accomplished as you are (doesn’t take long to realize however). Thank you for blowing up my preconceived ideas and getting me to listen. I’m a better at my job in no small part because of seeds of thought you planted long ago.

    Mani Srinivasan — Thank you for all the chats, times together onsite for days at a time at a particular customer, and being skilled and flexible enough to be an amazing SE and a stellar Product Manager. You get what the customer needs in a rare way. Finally, and most importantly you’re just one of the nicest people I’ve known in my entire life.

    Rob Murphy — Thank you for being real, for being kind, for being supportive. I learned a lot talking to you, but about a lot of things, not just tech. What a great mind, what a great ability to learn, and what an ability to multitask. Who does a startup this hard with this much learning and still works on classes at night, yet still executes so well. Amazing work ethic.

    Thom Valley — Wow can you learn, wow can you keep a long term project on task and still be patient and positive. You’re tireless with even really difficult situations (but I think it’s not actually difficult for you). Thank you for listening to me babble, and thank you for bringing me in only when I was needed. You’re amazing to work with, I hope we have that BBQ soon.

    Russell Spitzer — What can I say. You’re kind, approachable, smart, can make anything understandable, and you learn amazingly quickly. When you realize how smart you are I can’t wait to see what you churn out. I hope my work on Spark keeps us in the same circles for a long time.

    Sebastian Estevez — When I grow up I want to be Sebastian, oh wait you’re like 15 years younger than me? You’re going to someday be beyond us all. Amazing talent and execution, I hope someday when you start your billon dollar idea you look me up. I deeply admire your work ethic, your technical versatility, and your organzation skills. I’ve never seen such a combination, you’re rare and gifted and somehow still humble about it. Thank you for being decent to me.

    Jeremiah Jordan — Thank you for being so approachable with my stupid questions and being willing to explain a lot in depth. I would have struggled and failed a lot more without your help.

    Sergio Bossa & Jason Rutherglen — A pair of great minds, you both have saved me on too numerous occasions to count with Solr. Thank you for your work on the project and for taking the time to explain things in an understandable way.

    Darla Baker — Thank you for saving my rear end countless times. Best person in support and a decent person. That trip we had to Portland was a blast and I’m glad we got to know each other better.

    John Walker — Thank you for being so kind to me and supportive. There are now multiple engagements that would have ended me if not for your ability to steer the conversation and handle difficult people so amazingly well. You have an amazing array of gifts and you’re such a wonderful person. Thank you.

    Cliff Gilmore — You’re a true architect, you get tradeoffs, you get business, and you get people. A very versatile gifted individual. I’m glad we’re friends, I’m glad we got to room together in bootcamp, as annoyed as I was at the time we had too :). I learned a lot working with you.

    Richard Andersen — Many an hour of amazing chats. I appreciate you sharing all your great knowledge with me, and you’ve made me rethink my own skills about a hundred times. You’re a wonderful friend and I’m honored I got to spend so much time learning from you.

    Brandon Williams — Thank you for actually being willing to talk to me after working with me at Rackspace (a very small group). You’re clever, witty, and have deep technical chops. The Cassandra project is better for having you involved with it all these years. Thank you for making me laugh.

    Jonathan Ellis — My dear friend. I’ve known you for years now, and I would not have been able to have this amazing experience without you, thank you so much for bringing me along for the ride, I’m sorry I’m leaving so soon, I truly am. I’ve said it all before but let me say it again. You’ve got an amazing intellect and you’re world class at making tradeoffs. We’ve basically never totally agreed on a lot in all the time I’ve known you, but we’ve managed to have consistently rationale debate and come to an understanding. I wish all people would approach politics and the human condition with the same thoughtfulness you always do. You get nuance and depth, and you’re a wonderful human being. Thank you for supporting me through some really horrible dark and difficult times, and for being a consistent reliable friend.

    My Cassandra 2.0 Diagnostics Checklist (Brain Dump)