Heyo From the New Guy!

Written By : Rit Breisler

November 16, 2012

Hi! My name’s Rit Breisler , and I’m the newish guy at Rails Machine . I’ve got about six weeks under my belt, and the tl;dr of it is that this is a seriously remarkable shop to work in, and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of folks to work with.

The slightly longer take is that I came to Rails Machine because I was looking for particular qualities in a shop; I was seeking a place of great challenge where the people were real thinkers, and just as importantly, real doers. I was looking to be in a state of motion as much as possible, and advancing my art toward what I believe is the most important goal for Ops life .

I come from an Ops background, and (as you probably have gathered from my about page on the site) I strongly believe that everyone who does Web Ops (be you Dev, be you Ops) must strive to bridge the gap between what used to be considered very separate disciplines. My role at Rails Machine is allowing me to pursue that goal, and at a rate which is frankly terrifying, but thrilling, all while being surrounded by people who are thoughtful, expert in their disciplines, and most importantly, give a damn. That last one might cause a double-take in some of you, but it’s actually my number one desired quality in a place of employment, and something that I’ve found to be quite rare. Rails Machine has it.

Another brand new thing is that I’m remote for the first time (I call Boston home, and mostly work from there; Rails Machine HQ is in Savannah). If you are considering taking on that challenge as well, I’ve learned a thing or two so far which I’ll share:

  • GNU Screen is an extremely powerful tool for managing shells on remote hosts, supporting on-the-go ops, but it also happens to be an outstanding remote pairing too. Learn all the screen-fu you can deal with.
  • Use Campfire for team chat. I cannot tell people enough how vastly superior group chat is to what I refer to as “silo chat” (individuals all having essentially invisible ad-hoc conversations from which no one else on the team can benefit).
  • Engage in ChatOps. Get a bot going for your Campfire, like HUBOT (see our CTO Josh talk about it , or Github’s Jesse Newland as well , for some persuasive arguments).
  • Escalate to video chat when you need it, because greater than 80 percent of communication is nonverbal. No, I’m serious. Text is great for pretty much everything, but sometimes you really just need to be face to face. FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, whatever you prefer, but do these (very yes).

Keeping sharp and staying able to ingest all of my new various -Fu isn’t easy, but I’ve been keeping up with the usual suspects (I’ve been reading Web Operations again), practicing, and of course trying to keep balance with all of the normal things (sleep plenty, eat your green vegetables - y’know, stuff we learn from Spider- Man). Still, I’ve learned more in six weeks than I have in the past year. It’s absurd. And it’s great - exactly what I was seeking.

Every day I get to work on exciting software and hardware, learn all kinds of rad things, establish relationships with and deliver value for our customers, and I feel privileged to be here. I was seeking challenge, caring, and geeky camaraderie; I’ve found that in Rails Machine, and I’m delighted to be on board!