Eric took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us to share about why he paired up with us to bring AppMap to market.
He has 17+ years of experience in the technology industry that spans the development of hardware, microprocessors, software, IT, hosting, private cloud, hybrid cloud, public cloud, SaaS, Azure, AWS, developer tooling, cybersecurity, and key strategic initiatives. He currently serves as the Chief Product Officer of Cobalt.
Prior to Cobalt, Eric served in product leadership roles at GitLab, Rackspace, and Hostway, overseeing key initiatives in cybersecurity, developer tooling, Microsoft Azure, AWS, DevOps, and digital/ecommerce platforms. Eric began his career developing microprocessors at AMD.
He enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, reading, cycling, rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals, and eating Texas BBQ.
How did you first connect with AppMap?
I first connected with AppMap through a shared contact, Mahendra Ramsinghani. He introduced me to Elizabeth alongside a video of her pitch of AppMap at TechCrunch Disrupt. After watching the video, seeing Elizabeth’s excitement, and hearing the AppMap vision, I was really excited to meet the team and see if there was an opportunity for mutual learning!
What do you love about the developer tool space?
There are two primary things I love about the dev tool space. First, the rate of change in the space is high with new tools being created all the time, and second, the quantity and inquisitiveness of the user base. As a product leader, it’s important to get customer feedback and deeply understand the problems users are trying to solve.
With over 24M developers worldwide, the quantity of feedback that can be gleaned from users is high, which can help to round out qualitative feedback.
Additionally, devs are highly curious and always looking for ways to gain efficiency in their workflow, so they often adopt new technologies before the masses.
Do you prefer a dark or light theme?
I think dark/light theme is starting to become just as important for any knowledge worker who spends a lot of time looking at a screen as it is for devs. My answer - it depends. For a lot of apps, I’ve started using the system setting so that it’s light during the day and dark during the night, but some are permanently dark like VS Code and Chrome.
You were part of the DevOps revolution and saw how it changed the way developers worked. What’s next? Where should we be looking and focusing on innovation?
AI is all the buzz right now with OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3/4 products starting to be made available to the masses in addition to a host of other companies like Microsoft, Google, and Adobe also quickly integrating AI functionality. While some people are concerned about this type of technology and what it means for knowledge workers, I think it’s an incredible opportunity to allow more folks to build, without having deep technical knowledge of programming frameworks.
Similar to how we saw Developers and Operators come together, I wonder if Developers start to shift more into the Product realm and vice versa.
Either way, this will be an exciting space to watch and now that the technology is there, it’s also a great time to ask your company if employing AI would add more value to your own customers.
What’s unique about AppMap besides its hot pink logo?
Two things make AppMap unique: the people and the product.
The people at AppMap are fun, collaborative, engaging, and hungry to improve and get better. It’s a joy to work with them on a regular basis. The product is also serving a huge need as evidenced by the amount of IDE installs. So many companies start with an idea and try to hack their way into usage. AppMap has basically started from the opposite position, so I’m excited to see what they will do!
What are the most pressing issues for engineering leaders today?
Engineering leaders have a tough job today because they are balancing team health and happiness, retention, delivery velocity, platform availability, and now severe budget cuts as most companies try to pare down vendors and tools. Additionally, staying on top of the tech landscape, especially with the improved use of AI.
In times like these it can feel like things are shaky, but it’s important to remember the basics and prioritize appropriately.
For some that need to quickly change their product, it might be about innovation culture. For others that have good product market fit, it might mean learning and development opportunities for their team to allow for career growth.
Any tips for leaders in 2023?
Try to remain focused on what you can control. There are so many things outside our control and listening to every source of that noise can make you feel helpless. Despite the tech landscape changing quickly, certain things will always hold true, such as ensuring your customers are happy and you’re solving their problems and making sure your employees feel cared for and appreciated.