A merger, migration, mysql, python, and more news

First, AddThis.com (where I was the director of IT) and Clearspring have merged! A side effect of that is that I’m now (happily, on purpose, by choice) a full-time consultant! I’ll have a web site up soonish. Until then, check back here for updates. If you’re a tech firm who needs help, and don’t mind remote workers, send mail to bkjones at Google’s mail service (.com).

Some folks thought I’d passed away due to the uncharacteristic lull in posting frequency on this blog. I’m very much alive — but working for a startup and maintaining a consulting business simultaneously is hard, especially when two large projects fall into your lap at the same time. So what have I been up to?

Well, as part of the now-public merger between the company I worked for and the new company, I was doing the migration of our infrastructure to theirs. That involved rewriting some backup scripts, writing a data synchronization routine (complete with backout capability — I’ll post code samples after I clean out all the site-specific stuff — it’s python and MySQLdb!), set up a different (and kinda cool) MySQL replication scheme, a different (and also kinda cool) failover scheme, test, test, test, coordinate with everyone down in VA at the new company to make sure everything was working and in place, and then “flip the big ol’ switch”.

Now I’ll be writing even more scripts, planning even more migration of infrastructure services components, doing more testing, and retiring old AddThis assets.

I’m happy to say that the folks at Clearspring have been an awesome team to work with. The culture there is kind of like “nobody here is any better than anybody else”, and it has a rather dramatic effect on productivity compared to other places where everyone thinks they’re not allowed to be wrong and have to preserve their jobs and make other people look stupid. Nope, if you’re a junior guy or someone from another department with a good idea, and it works, that’s great! It’ll be poked and prodded at, and if it passes muster, it’ll be deployed. And why shouldn’t it be? Generally, because egos get in the way. In my book, if you don’t stand in the way of something great, you’re more of a hero than if you do. The ideas don’t all have to be yours.

And, get this, they document their stuff! And it’s easy to use and browse! I’m on a documentation project right now for another client, and it’s challenging just to get people to talk about documentation. :-/

So what’s next for me? I’m honestly not sure at the moment. I’m consulting, it’s going well, I have more than enough work, but I also have a little bit of ‘the bug’, so don’t be surprised if I come back here and tell you that I’ve joined some “social multimedia web 2.0 mindmapping in the cloud with sharing” company or something like that in the near future.