Build resilient systems at scale
May 27–29, 2015 • Santa Clara, CA

Building an optimized business day

9:00am–5:00pm Wednesday, 05/27/2015
Location: Ballroom GH
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 1 rating)

For product managers, director/VP of product, line-of-business managers, team leaders, and other decision-makers.

This one-day, focused event is designed to help you meet the challenges of today’s software-driven businesses. Through thought-provoking presentations and panels, we’ll tackle some fundamental issues, including:

  • What exactly is this DevOps trend everyone has been talking about, and is it relevant to the business (hint: it is)?
  • How automation of code and infrastructure help product teams quickly test new ideas and exploit market signals
  • How moving faster actually reduces risk and increases the security of your products
  • What metrics should you collect and analyze to provide visibility across your organization?
  • Managing growth—both of your product and your organization—in a highly scalable manner
  • How organizations like Nordstrom prepare for critical periods like holidays and special events
  • How can individual teams and departments foster a company-wide culture of change, experimentation, and performance?

Building an Optimized Business Day brings you a lineup of sought-after speakers, real-world case studies, and strategic discussions. If you’re a manager, entrepreneur, product team leader, or LoB manager, then Building an Optimized Business Day gives you tools you can’t afford to be without in today’s digital world.


Our CxO said we’re doing DevOps: Now what?
J. Paul Reed (O’Reilly Programming)

You may have heard of DevOps at a company all-hands or in a strategy meeting as the newest initiative your company is undertaking. “Everyone is doing it to accelerate their software delivery,” your CIO says. Back at your desk, you sit down and search for DevOps and the results are confusing: tools? Culture? Unicorns? Huh?! We’ll look at the high-level details of this new thing your developers and Ops teams have probably been talking about for a couple of years, how your role supporting the software team is relevant to your company’s DevOps journey, and what you can do to help your company “do DevOps,” even if you don’t write code or work on the floor where the server room is.

Making DevOps a business differentiator
Mehdi Daoudi (Catchpoint)

A commonly-held notion among many business leaders is that their IT and DevOps departments are little more than a cost center—a necessary evil that only adds to the cost of running the company.

But if managed properly and provided with the right tools to succeed, a DevOps team can turn a company’s web performance into a differentiator that elevates them above the competition. Research has shown that internet users have little patience for slow or unresponsive websites, and when they encounter such problems, are likely to shop/search/browse elsewhere. And if they encounter it more than once, they’re unlikely to return.

Therefore, by providing users with a more efficient and enjoyable online experience than others within their industry, a company can gain valuable market share over their competitors.

Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder of Catchpoint Systems, will show how a business can use their DevOps initiatives to increase their user base and grow their revenue streams. On top of that, he’ll show how to optimize your costs by saving time and money through improved efficiency.

Fast, resilient, secure
Ariel Tseitlin (Scale Venture Partners)

  • Find out how current technology approaches pioneered at companies like Netflix, Twitter, and more are enabling companies to move faster, decrease their time to market, and respond to customer demands quickly without compromising on risk and security concerns.

Preparing your site for holidays and major events
Buddy Brewer (SOASTA), Gopal Brugalette (Nordstrom)

  • Nordstrom has two major online events a year: our Anniversary Sale and Holiday. Peak volumes can be up to four times greater than our normal traffic during these events. We want our customers to have the best possible shopping experience during these times. In this talk, we explain how different organizations, Business, Product Management, and Technology, work together to prepare the site for this peak traffic. We will discuss our challenges and each group’s contributions to addressing them. We’ll cover our strategies for load projections, testing, capacity planning, and monitoring. We’ll also go over some of our major misses in the past few years, so you can learn from them. You’ll come away from this session with best practices for your own event readiness.

Panel: Business at web speed
Pawan Verma (Target), Courtney Kissler (Nordstrom), Jason Cox (The Walt Disney Company)
Moderated by Nicole Forsgren (Chef)

People on the front end of a business didn’t used to need to know about the “back of the house,” the people who manage the servers, deploy code, and keep the lights on. But the web changed all that. Business owners need IT to deliver their products and ensure they can scale and perform under a wide variety of circumstances. Companies in a variety of industries face both shared and unique challenges that recent developments in technology (DevOps, continuous delivery, performance optimization, etc.) both ameliorate and exacerbate. This panel will discuss the challenges they face and how they’ve collaborated with their technology leaders and practitioners to tackle the pace and complexity of today’s business demands.

Influence a company with SLA metrics with big data, top 20 pages, and grading system
Norm Warren (Ancestry Inc), Jeremy Johnson (Ancestry Inc)

We will provide the following solutions for gaining company-wide adoption of measures to improve site performance at

  • Overview of implementing SLA and big data solutions for collecting statistics that led to 95% adoption.
  • Incorporating grades for teams that support the top busiest 30 pages on
  • Correlating performance data with business metrics. We will discuss which business metrics have proven to influence decision-makers at all levels and how to correlate them with performance data.

These and other approaches have provided immediate value for site performance efforts at the business.

Attendees will leave with a clear architectural understanding of how we collect statistics and present SLA data for charts and graphs. Additionally, they’ll have a clear understanding of how to incorporate measures for gaining company-wide sponsorship for improving the most important metrics for site performance.

Ads: Your web speed parachute
Eddie Canales (Manta Media)

In a world where many advertising technologies brag about how fast their real-time bidding is, we have to wonder why advertising on the internet is still so slow. We all have constraints to work within when making our sites faster—for some of us it is to work around what we can’t control.

Learn why advertising is so slow, why it’s not necessarily their fault, how to make sure you’re impacting the things you are responsible for, what tools to use to speed up what you’re not responsible for, and even how not showing ads might actually make more ad revenue.

Decoding the unicorn – what makes a successful marketing technologist?
Sheldon Monteiro (SapientNitro)

  • Marketing and IT need each other, and in successful organizations a hybrid technologist is “minding the gap.” We will decode the DNA of the marketing technologist—an activist engineer—part creative, part marketer, part ad-woman, solid technologist, with visionary leadership and influence skills who drives change at the intersection of story and technology.

API Marketing: Is your API a marketing tactic? Probably.
Vanessa Meyer (Load Impact)

  • While many see APIs as just a technical concept, they obviously lack appreciation for the the rising strategic business significance of APIs. APIs allow companies to grow at unprecedented rates, and help many to expand into new markets. From a business perspective, APIs are a new tool in the product marketer’s toolbox. This may mean developers will increasingly take orders from marketing.

Applying CRO concepts to your entire organization
Jon Correll (Conversion Voodoo / VoodooAlerts / Maxly)

Conversion rate optimization has become a well-known term in recent years and is most likely a focus of most businesses. However, many businesses still fail to develop the culture within their organization to support true CRO, often leaving departments at odds with each other and optimization ideas left on the drawing board.

We’ll dive into ideas to bridge the gap between the CRO drivers in your organization, and to bring your team’s goals and focus into alignment. Drawing on real-world examples and reviewing tools and techniques available, we’ll present ideas to help improve the end-to-end user experience by making CRO a key tenet of each department in your organization.

Lessons learned growing from 1 million to 13 million users in Nine months
Benny Wong (Timehop)

The amount of our personal data exhaust generated over the past few years is staggering, yet our ability to access it in a useful way has lagged behind. Timehop is a mobile app that exposes that data in a way that’s consumable and fun. Over the past nine months, we’ve grown from 1 million to 13 million users—with a bunch of 3am pages along the way.

Timehop’s technology stack looked a lot like any other startup’s stack: a single Ruby on Rails application deployed to Heroku using Postgres and some MongoDB. We now have a service-oriented architecture with a lot of Go, and massively scaled datastore using DynamoDB.

In this talk, Benny Wong, cofounder and CTO of Timehop, will talk about how Timehop survived 13x growth in a matter of months. Specifically:

  • Scaling as a function of capacity. You can only make apps so fast (which leads to the next point)
  • Measure everything. And then figure out what actually matters
  • Be in the driver’s seat. A degraded experience is better than no experience
  • Great engineers are not a “nice to have”
  • Avoiding The Big Rewrite™. Chunk out the on-fire component pieces into manageable migrations. Make integration points easy and seamless (ie. using Resque job definitions)
  • But! Don’t over-componentize and over-service-ize. It comes at a real cost (especially with only two backend engineers)
  • Run the numbers and know when to pay the Pros™ (ie. DynamoDB)
  • Simplify deployment

Roadmap to enabling responsive web design
Peter Blum (Instart Logic

  • New devices with varying screen sizes are being developed every day, and each of these devices must be able to handle variations in web page size, functionality, and speed. While responsive web design offers a compelling solution to deliver an optimized image experience, it comes with a heavy return made worse by bottlenecked wireless networks. Peter Blum, VP product management at Instart Logic, and a representative from Stella & Dot will discuss some of the challenges around responsive web design and ways to dramatically improve page load times and conversions.

Building fast growth into your web app through data-informed design
Alastair Simpson (Atlassian)

  • Combine growth hacking, user research, data analytics, and A/B testing at scale to quickly optimize customer and prospect experiences. There’s no need to wait for development teams or interrupt their schedules. Empowered by data, growth teams can make early assumptions about customer needs, build minimum viable experiences, and then run usability and growth experiments to validate those assumptions.

Your business is a system (based on trust)
Rob Woolley (Solium)

Solium builds and offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform coupled with amazing service. We operate in the equity management segment of the financial services industry. We move fast and money is on the line. The web operations team at Solium has two elements in their mandate: platform availability/reliability, and providing missing-feature-by-human as a service. How can a small and highly technical team help empower a business? Especially when that business is making the move to operate globally and grow its presence in new markets? By building trust between all teams as we pragmatically embrace DevOps principles.

We are living the lean enterprise transition and the web operations team is on the leading edge. I want to share our journey so far and how we are working hard to build trust between business and technical teams across the globe.

From design thinking to DevOps and back again: Unifying design and operations
Jeff Sussna (Ingineering.IT)

The era of digital service is shifting customers’ brand expectations from stability to responsiveness. Optimizing delivery speed is only one-half of this new equation. Companies also need to optimize their ability to listen and to act on what they hear. In order to maximize both velocity and responsiveness, companies need to transform up-front design into a continuous, circular design-operations loop that unifies marketing, design, development, operations, and support.

In this talk I will present key principles of continuous design that organizations can use to conduct mutually beneficial conversations with their customers. I’ll show participants how to create real customer value using design thinking together with DevOps. I’ll also explain how to use specific 21st century IT practices effectively to improve service quality by generating meaningful feedback throughout the design-operations lifecycle.

More speakers to come.