VelocityConf NY 2014: Scaling Things That Don’t Scale

Last month I gave a talk at Velocity Conf NY with Ben Hughes titled Scaling Things That Don’t Scale: Scalability and Reliability at Airbnb. The slides and a video of the talk are both available online.

This was my first time speaking at a conference. Going in, I didn’t realize how long it would take to create a talk for a 40-minute time slot. I vastly under-estimated how much preparation would be necessary. Brainstorming the proposal took an hour, and actually writing up the proposal took an entire afternoon. Once we were accepted, coming up with the outline for the actual talk took an entire day. From there, it took at least a week’s worth of time (spread out over several weeks) to write the script and create the slides. And finally, it took a few hours a day for several days to rehearse to the point where I felt comfortable presenting it to an audience.

Fortunately, our hard work paid off — the talk was highly rated and even generated some buzz on Twitter:

It was a lot of fun to go back through our work over the last year and a half and see just how far we’ve come. While researching things for the talk I read through some old postmortems and was shocked at how little we knew back then. I suppose hyper-learning is a side effect of hyper-growth. In any case, I encourage you to watch the talk if you have 40 minutes to spare. As I said in the conclusion, I hope you find it useful, or at least entertaining. 🙂

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