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

Burnout in tech

John Allspaw (Adaptive Capacity Labs), Christina Maslach (UC Berkeley), Amanda Folson (GitLab), Ryn Daniels (HashiCorp), Laura Bell (SafeStack Limited), Vijay Gill (
1:45pm–2:25pm Friday, 05/29/2015
Location: Ballroom CD
Average rating: ****.
(4.58, 24 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Awareness of and concern about burnout in our industry.


This solutions-oriented session will start with a presentation on the current thinking and research on burnout by Dr. Christina Maslach. She’ll frame the issue in terms of factors that contribute to burnout, and discuss some broad measures for early detection of, and recovery from, burnout. A panel of practitioners will discuss these factors in the context of their own experiences and focus on solutions that everyone in the audience can factor into their daily lives and work.

Photo of John Allspaw

John Allspaw

Adaptive Capacity Labs

John Allspaw has worked in software systems engineering and operations for twenty years in many different environments: biotech, government, online media, social networking, and e-commerce. He started out tuning parallel clusters running vehicle crash simulations for the U.S. government, and then moved on to the Internet in 1997. He built the backing infrastructure at,, Friendster, and Flickr, and Etsy. He served as SVP of Engineering and then Chief Technology Officer at Etsy, and holds an MSc in Human Factors and Systems Safety from Lund University.

Photo of Christina Maslach

Christina Maslach

UC Berkeley

Christina Maslach received her A.B., magna cum laude, in Social Relations from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1967, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1971. She has conducted research in a number of areas within social and health psychology. However, she is best known as one of the pioneering researchers on job burnout, and the author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the most widely used research measure in the burnout field. In addition to numerous articles, her books on this topic include Burnout: The Cost of Caring; the co-edited volume, Professional Burnout: Recent Developments in Theory and Research (with Wilmar Schaufeli); and three publications with Michael Leiter — The Truth About Burnout ; Preventing Burnout and Building Engagement: A Complete Program for Organizational Renewal ; and Banishing Burnout: Six Strategies for Improving Your Relationship with Work. The two latest publications are based on Professor Maslach’s work as a consultant with various organizations on issues of job burnout. – See more at:

Photo of Amanda Folson

Amanda Folson


From humble beginnings as a PHP4 web developer in grade school, Amanda Folson now works as a developer advocate at GitLab, where she gets to share her passion for technology with others. When she’s not speaking, writing, or shooing cats off her keyboard, you’ll find her consuming APIs and IPAs.

Photo of Ryn Daniels

Ryn Daniels


Katherine is an operations engineer at Etsy. She got her start in programming with TI-80 calculators back when Geocities was still cool, and these days has opinions on things like ‘the cloud’ and ‘DevOps’. Before escaping to the world of operations, she spent a few years doing QA and systems engineering in the corporate world. She lives in Brooklyn with a perfectly reasonable number of cats, and in her spare time can often be found rock-climbing or making hot sauce.

Katherine Daniels is co-author of O’Reilly Media’s Effective DevOps. Learn more.

Photo of Laura Bell

Laura Bell

SafeStack Limited

With over a decade of experience in software development and information security, Laura Bell specializes in bringing security survival skills, practices, and culture into fast-paced organizations of every shape and size. An experienced conference speaker, trainer, and regular panel member, Laura has spoken at a range of events such as BlackHat USA, Velocity, OSCON, Kiwicon, Linux Conf AU, and Microsoft TechEd on the subjects of privacy, covert communications, agile security, and security mindset. She is also the co-author of Agile Application Security, published by O’Reilly media and a regular writer for a range of blogs and magazines on security issues.

Laura is the founder of SafeStack, a specialist security training, development, and consultancy firm. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.a

Photo of Vijay Gill

Vijay Gill

In his last role, Vijay Gill was the GM and led the Global Network Services (GNS) teams for Microsoft Azure that supports the foundation infrastructure for Microsoft online services for consumers and businesses worldwide.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Vijay was the leader of the Backbone engineering, Architecture, Network Security and Network Labs at Google, and was responsible for the teams accountable for the network architecture encompassing the dark fiber network, optical, MPLS and edge networks, as well as the data center network design.

Vijay also spent five years at AOL, where he managed the network, peering and CDN teams for the ATDN network, a global backbone for AOL and Time Warner Cable. Prior to AOL, Vijay was the networking manager at AboveNet, responsible for global network design and architecture. Before AboveNet, Vijay was a lead engineer at Verizon/UUNET, where he led the multicast and MPLS projects.

Vijay holds multiple U.S. patents filed and has published several technical papers in various journals and conference proceedings, including seven IETF RFCs on multiple topics, including routing, security, multi-homing, MPLS and IPv6.

In 2007 and 2010, by mistake, he got some Google OC and EMG awards for his (minor) contributions to the CDN and bandwidth projects.

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Gary Rheaume
05/29/2015 7:47am PDT

good characterization of the problem, generalizations on the solution. that said, lots of nodding heads in the audience