Something surprising about working for Red Hat

redhatYou know I’ve always been a consultant at heart, even when that wasn’t my job title. People who know me know this isn’t hyperbole: the only thing that I really care about is doing a great job for my clients — whatever that may mean on any given day and whatever technology may be implicated.

As I started with Red Hat I assumed I’d still be completely unbiased. Even though I’d been a fan of Red Hat and JBoss for as long as I can remember, the only thing I care about at the end of the day is what actually needs to get done out in the real world. And since joining the company, I’ve been doing just that: helping clients resolve the normal issues that come up with big enterprise code bases and helping them improve or tune the way they’re doing things.

It was initially easy to stay the unbiased consultant.

It’s getting harder to stay unbiased though. More and more I find myself pulling for the JBoss (or whatever) code work… to deliver — but not because I work for the company but because I want all those hours of all those people, some of whom work for us but many who don’t, to be able to contribute to what my client’s doing. Having been close to the technology for a while now, I actually know the names of the people working on the technology, I know their blogs and their Twitter accounts, and I know how passionate they are about the code they’re creating. These people aren’t drones sitting in some cubicle. They’re out there in the community and they very much their own brands, but they want to work at this place and they want their work to be out in the community. Put differently, some of these people work for Red Hat and some don’t but you can know them almost as easily as I can.

And it’s infectious. Sometimes I find myself daydreaming that some issue or unexpected behavior of an obscure corner of the code will be broken and I’ll suddenly have an easy opportunity to submit a pull request and get to be a committer on Hibernate or the core EAP or Fuse or something. This is a first for me.

I didn’t know I’d feel like this when I signed up, but yeah… it’s kind of hard to stay unbiased when you know how much goes into it all and how any of us (you included) can be a part of it all — if you want to.

It’s a good surprise.

Pictures from my trip to Raleigh, NC when I started with Red Hat

Here’s my self-indulgent little post about my trip to Raleigh for my new hire orientation when I joined Red Hat this month. I thought you might like to see just a little of what it’s like to join the most important open source company in the world from a West Coast guy’s perspective.

First, I had to get used to the green. Sure, I lived in Seattle for almost five years, but the South is like fluorescent green by comparison.

2014-05-11 18.54.56Next, here’s a view of Red Hat’s cafeteria in their Raleigh headquarters. I used to work at the Intel where Craig Barrett (the CEO) was based and I even worked at Microsoft in Redmond for a short while, but this is quite a bit nicer (if a bit smaller):

2014-05-12 12.26.43Later that first night, I hung out with some of the other new hires at a cool little place right down the street called Cala*Vela for happy hour where my spicy margarita was spicy for real. After that, I just kind of walked around downtown Raleigh around the Fayetteville mall. I got a few pictures of the capitol and the supreme court, each of which is photogenic.

2014-05-12 20.16.562014-05-12 20.32.46And of course, being from the Left Coast, I couldn’t resist this shot:

2014-05-12 21.45.40Luckily they let me back in the building the next day:

2014-05-13 08.10.37And they even gave me a red fedora:

2014-05-13 15.56.17I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday night that I looked around for something else cool to do, which wasn’t hard in Raleigh. There’s a lot of tech and a lot of software. I went to a security/infosec meetup and met some really cool guys (yes, they were all guys) at a real brew pub called Crank Arm Brewing — and the beer was really, really good. We ended up bouncing around a few local places and ultimately ended up at The Pit for a late brisket dinner.

Hey Raleigh is too small for me, but now I understand “the thing” that’s been drawing people there. It’s inviting, warm, and happy. The people are cool and comfortable. The beer is (very) good. The tech is even better. I hope I’ve got a few more trips in my future out there.

2014-05-13 19.02.352014-05-13 20.40.582014-05-13 21.43.05The way home was exciting for a guy who’s only crossed the Mississippi a handful of times in his life. The “adventure” started with a killer (I do mean “killer” from a cardiac surgeon’s point of view) chicken and waffles from Beasley’s but then tornado warnings and “severe rain” warnings lit up my phone. I did, as a matter of fact, get completely soaked on the 0.25 mile walk from Red Hat to the hotel; my clothes were still wet the next morning in LA when I took them out of the suitcase. I used to think Arizona had torrential rains during the monsoons — I’ve revised my understanding of rainstorms since the trip.

2014-05-15 19.40.37The most cliche part of the trip (aside from the ‘Vette with the stars and stripes), however, was when I got back to LA. Of course my flight got delayed out of Raleigh an hour or so because of the rain and when I was driving back up the 110 through downtown LA to Pasadena I got hit with heavy, heavy traffic. It took me and hour and a half to get from LAX to Pasadena for a drive that should only take about 25 minutes, which wouldn’t be all that surprising except for the fact that it was almost midnight on a Thursday night. Oh LA. I love you.

2014-05-15 23.13.57