Quick link to my resume: Alex Miller resume, Aug 2016
Welcome to the Hotel California
In mid-July I departed from Durham, NC with the intention of making a two-week journey across the country to spend a month working from my employer’s HQ (Santa Clara), then returning to NC. Through a surprising sequence of events, inconceivable a couple short weeks ago, I now have a short-term lease in Cupertino and am searching for my ideal Bay Area startup, where I can make an impact on the world.
The past two years at Hortonworks made a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I was grateful for the opportunity to be paid to work on open source software. Although I’m not an Apache committer, I played my part in shaping the direction of the big data ecosystem by identifying bugs, performing RCAs, logging JIRAs, and enabling adopters of this ecosystem to run some of the largest companies in the world using it. In addition to earning a living based around open source, I was also fortunate to meet a lot of incredibly smart people.
But the best part of all? I LEARNED. A LOT.
First it was a crash course in how distributed systems work in the real world (and learning how to interact with customers at the same time… empathy and communication go a long way!). The technical deep dives never ended, but once I was accustomed to those I was also able to observe how an enterprise software company tracks issues, plans releases, and prioritizes bug fixes and enhancement requests. Not to mention learning how to collaborate with colleagues located around the globe, who were either relying on my assistance or whose assistance I needed, for all of us to be be successful.
In late 2015 I was presented with an opportunity to lead an initiative to increase the effectiveness of the Support organization by leveraging automation. This was a broad objective… Initially I had to figure out what it actually meant, take a survey of existing pieces, establish goals, and create a roadmap of how we might achieve those goals in incremental steps. Then I started outlining processes, creating tools, and soliciting input. My efforts began making an impact on the global team. Of course, this meant every change required careful review, had to be integrated into existing processes, and training provided to every global region. My diverse set of projects grew too large for me to manage alone.
Some of the initiatives were transitioned to new owners, and I focused on filling a key role of the SmartSense project, where I served as the feedback loop between Support and Engineering. I also evangelized the tool and provided training within Support. All of this was fulfilling, but I still yearned for the days of rapid development I experienced in the past.
So here I am in Silicon Valley, searching for the first page of my next chapter. I have a diverse background, including technical knowledge of most of the Hadoop ecosystem (Hortonworks Data Platform) and experience building the infrastructure for a hybrid cloud SaaS platform from the ground up. My skillset would be most useful at a startup where I can wear a variety of hats and be accompanied by colleagues who also have the burning desire to build, learn, and share knowledge.
PS: This website hasn’t received the attention I intended. Please bear with me as I document projects and publish posts that were sitting as drafts. It would be ideal to have everything complete before I start my job search, but I’m already into a few interviews and expect to make a decision by the end of September, so I’d rather publish this now and continue updating the site regularly.
Thanks for reading!