What is the Velocity of an Unladen Swallow? A quest for the Holy Grail.

Web Performance
Location: King's Suite - Balmoral Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 32 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Seatwave was growing fast, success was unabated, and industry awards were landing on their doormat. Infrastructure had been revamped, load patterns were understood. Everything was going just great…


The marketing team planned Seatwave’s first UK TV campaign – all regions – simultaneously, but only told the engineering team the day before the first advert was due to run!

10 seconds into the advert the site melted and there was a collective thud as heads hit desks.

It was expensive lesson to learn but also the wake up call that forced everyone in Seatwave to focus on the performance of their site.

In this session we’ll share that pain we experienced, and how we improved performance so that when all our competitors crashed during the UKs largest concert ticket sale, we were able to take 20 days revenue in just 2 hours!

However, maintaining performance is a challenge, product owners want new features, the site starts to put on weight and slowly performance starts to degrade once more.

Will it take another disaster to focus everyone on performance or is there another way to avoid “boom and bust”?

We’ll talk about the steps we’re taking to avoid “boom and bust” by making both performance and the impact performance has on our customers visible to everyone across Seatwave including:

  • Our Adobe Site Catalyst installation with a custom implementation of the W3C Navigation Timing API allowing us to segment our business KPI’s by speed.
  • How we’re using a WebPageTest within continuous integration for our QA and production builds.
  • How we constantly review our performance against competitors using our own installation of the HTTPArchive.

Join us on our quest in search of the Holy Grail of truly understanding how web site performance affects our business, and the processes and systems we are putting in place to ensure we keep speed at the heart of our product development roadmap.

Photo of Perry Dyball

Perry Dyball

Seatwave Ltd

Perry Dyball joined Seatwave.com as Ecommerce Operations Manager in 2008. With over 20 years experience in the IT industry, he moved into Web Operations from strong DBA and Database Development roles at Primelocation.com and Match.com. His prior internet experience includes co-founding a software house serving UK Government departments and commercial operations such as Sony Music and Tesco.com.

Areas of expertise include all aspects of web Infrastructure design and data centre management specialising in web optimization and capacity, F5 load balancing, web server farms and backend databases especially in a Microsoft .NET/SQL server environment.

His IT career started as a mainframe programmer working in local government and progressed though to technical project management for Datastream (now part of Thomson Reuters) where he built a number of stock market analysis systems. He then went on to serve the role of Euro Currency Implementation Manager for Thomson Electronic Settlements Group before moving into the internet arena.

He is a MBCS (Member British Computer Society) and co-organiser and active participant in the London Web Performance Meetup and London WebPerfDays groups.


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