DevOps

The Economic Benefit of Inclusivity

December 1, 2016 | John Hulwick

Written by John Hulwick, VP at Loom Systems

I joined Loom Systems in September. It’s the second predictive analytics company I’ve run sales for and the second one founded in Israel. This combination is a winner for me for several reasons I’ll mention later, but I’ve found an unexpected attraction to my new field within digital operations and DevOps specifically. There’s one key reason I’ve enjoyed this new foray so much: inclusivity.

Now, I’m a finance guy by training. Economics and statistics were my favorite classes in school. So, this isn’t a touchy-feely piece about fairness or a subjective opinion about what people deserve. It’s also not a social statement advocating that companies should be obligated to hire certain types of people in place of others based on qualities out of their control. It’s simply a statement about some great things I’ve experienced so far from the developer and operations community and why it also has a positive business impact.

“It’s all about a fresh perspective” is how a new friend named Devender responded when I asked him why this community is so accepting of someone like me who hasn’t ever written code more complicated than a visual basic function more than 10 years ago (don’t ask me to do even this today). I had just given a talk about Artificial Intelligence and how it alleviates human beings from some of the tasks that we’re just not wired to do, like scale extremely large numbers or immediately pick up on intricate patterns among sources of unstructured data. He went on to tell me that it doesn’t matter what your background is, if you have something to contribute then you’re appreciated because you furthered the cause.

Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses worked this way? It happens to be one of my favorite aspects of the Israeli start-up culture and why, as a person raised in a homogenous neighborhood in Colorado, I seek out these opportunities vs. others.

In both DevOps and within these startups, you’re valued for your contribution to the advancement of the organization, not for any other reasons. There’s another component of the DevOps community that shrugs off convention and defies barriers. The inception of DevOps was due to the complexity of today’s digital systems. When something breaks in your stack, it usually impacts several other components in an ever-increasing web of inter-dependencies and ones who understand the building blocks of a particular application and why a problem might be surfacing in a particular way. Adapting to the business need, companies asked these developers to act in more of an operational capacity to assist in analyzing and resolving these issues when they appeared. And adapt they did, creating an entirely new department within most medium to large organizations.

A final observation from my time working with DevOps is the desire to create, another attitude which encourages inclusivity. The Open Source movement shouldn’t work economically. There’s rarely a financial incentive for contributors to spend the countless hours they do building technology that they freely share with others. And often, contributors are anonymous. When I asked my CTO Ronny why he’s up so often at 2am writing code while I’m nearly wrapping up my sales day in a time zone 10 hours behind him, he tells me it’s the most enjoyable thing he can imagine doing. Working on something that solves real problems for people gives him the satisfaction that’s far more valuable than a few extra hours of sleep or the higher compensation he’d probably get in a non-startup job.

When the motivation to build and create supersedes need for financial or social recognition, you’re left with a very transparent and non-judgmental community. Transparency and non-judgmentalness create productive and inclusive communities. And that’s a community I’m proud to be a part of.

Tags: DevOps DevOps Community SVDevOps

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