Scaling engineering from 1 to 1 million


Image by @mariettiell on TwitterEditor’s note: RAMP Conference is the second in a series of tech conferences organized in Budapest by three major Hungarian startups: LogMeIn, Ustream and Prezi. The series started with MLOC.JS in February 2013.

When you start a company, you are introducing a new idea to the world. Such a bold endeavor invites challenges that you didn’t expect or plan for, perhaps even challenges that noone else has ever confronted. But just because something’s new to you doesn’t mean that it’s new to everybody else. And chances are someone, somewhere has confronted a challenge at least similar to yours. When you’re butting up against the frontier of the unknown, the experiences of the members of your community can be an invaluable asset. It’s essential that we learn from them.

The purpose of RAMP was to do just that for the founders, developers, and operations engineers of Europe that are just beginning their ventures. We found those someones who have been there already, faced their challenges, and carried away knowledge with their own experiences. We helped a community meet parts of itself that it otherwise never would have. Conversations were started and relationships were fostered, but most importantly, this was happening for people with different levels of expertise.

Image by @thisisgordon on Twitter

Among those present were Marton Anka, the founder and former CTO of LogMeIn, who spoke about building a global network in a small flat in Budapest, which turned into a publicly-traded company. Jeremy Edberg formerly of reddit and Rajiv Eranki of Dropbox both talked about the challenges and pitfalls of running technical operations, as their startups grew exponentially, unexpectedly. Andy Gross of Basho and Poul-Henning Kamp of Varnish took their experiences and looked to the future, where there would be a growing need for formal methods in software engineering and a more radical approach to the way that open standards are developed. And Theo Schlossnagle, CEO of OmniTI keynoted with a cautionary tale of the dangers of building engineering teams that are too focused on individual components of systems. We should be building broad, but deep, expertise in our teams.

Whether in the speakers’ presentations, or the side conversations that happened when they got out from behind the podium, the recurring theme was that we should all be wary of setting our ways in stone too early. Nobody really knows whether or not the far reaching decisions that you make today will be relevant tomorrow. Scaling is a mindset. It’s not an action you take on day 1. What’s essential is that we learn from each other so that we’re better prepared for the unexpected. If Europe didn’t know that before, it does now.

Image by @postwait on Twitter

Recorded talks woll be available on InfoQ soon, until then, check out this crowdsourced wrap-up on Eventifier.