I had a chance to sit down with Tyler Jewell, CEO of Codenvy. Tyler is an experienced tech exec and VC participant. I met Tyler recently at the CloudBees CD Summit and Jenkins User Conference in Santa Clara. Tyler’s present company is Codenvy. I spoke to Tyler about why and how leadership should engage DevOps. Tyler says leaders need DevOps. You can listen below or read along. Enjoy!
Alan Shimel: Hi, Alan Shimel, Devops.com here for another Devops web chat on the Leadership Suite. Our guest today is Tyler Jewell who’s CEO of Codenvy. Tyler, welcome to Devops chat.
Tyler Jewell: Thanks for having me.
Alan Shimel: Tyler, I guess we should start off with those of our listeners who may not be familiar with yourself or Codenvy, why don’t you give us a quick background?
Tyler Jewell: I have been working at Enterprise Software for 25 years. I started off as a software engineer and then held a number of positions in product management at companies like BEA and Quest Software. The past six years I have been a venture capitalist, a partner at Toba Capital, investing in midware, Devops, and developer related technologies and while there at Toba Capital I founded and run Codenvy, which is now three years old.
Alan Shimel: Great. So another overnight success, huh?
Tyler Jewell: Business is good and there’s a lot more to be had.
Alan Shimel: So Tyler, for those of our listeners who may not be familiar with Codenvy, what are you guys doing over there?
Tyler Jewell: We are in the business of providing continuous development solutions, which is a part of Devops and continuous delivery. We do that by delivering on demand develop or work spaces that are easy to replicate, are constraint free, and collaborative.
Alan Shimel: Great. So Tyler, our audience for these chats are really managers, executors who are managing software – well, every companies a software company today, right? But these are people who are managing software departments and managing software delivery. Why should they care about what problems Codenvy is solving?
Tyler Jewell: Well, I think that there’s an interesting statistic that says 88 percent of organizations are now pursuing a Devops strategy and that’s just a phenomenal statistic in my mind considering that the term Devops did not appear before 2010. So in five years we have had essentially market saturation, and so why is that? And that’s the case because ultimately organizations that can release more frequently are able to drive customer happiness and this ceiling, this philosophy, has so many truths to it that software organizations are assessing their ability to deliver continuously at all stages of the pipeline.
Where Codenvy fits into this is that we are providing continuous concepts to the pre-commit or the pre-merge phase of the pipeline, which is where the developers spends his time, and frankly where the developer spends a lot of their time configuring it and not coding.
Alan Shimel: Tyler, what about sort of system architects, system planners? Are they part of the Codenvy value chain as well, sort of even before the code, the proverbial papers taken into pen to paper, when we’re planning new apps and new software?
Tyler Jewell: Well, I think that historically the code has been the domain exclusively of the developer and there’s really no reason for that and that the code can become the domain of all audiences that are part of the software team, including the architect, but also the QA engineer, the product manager, the project manager as well. And essentially if you’ve been someone who has wanted to bill code or to run or debunk the code you needed to be a developer and set up a developer work space.
That was a very technical skill set that you needed to have. In this day and age with the advent of containers and a lot of the automation that has been built into our technologies there is no reason that you need to be technical to recreate a developer environment. You can do that with URLs. You can do it online without installing software. And when you do you can allow users, your QA engineers, and product managers to get a feedback on to the code along with the engineers having these environments without overhead.
Alan Shimel: Got it. And Tyler, so we have this – to many people and especially to a lot of managers, execs, Devops is sort of developer led, but we’re also seeing this movement of IT ops, right? And as IT ops folks between to code more and infrastructure code starts happening more do you think we’ll see a migration from sort of Devops to IT ops being dominate here with this?
Tyler Jewell: Well, I think what we’re looking at is it’s a feedback driven initiative here. So whether it’s a developer or a development organization or an operations organization that is the driving initiative, the common goal here is to find ways to get feedback earlier into the life cycle. So whether that is an operation’s engineer or a developer it’s really about the people who value that feedback the most and can benefit from it.
And feedback exists at every stage of the pipeline among all the different departments that are there and they all benefit from having that feedback as well. So I think they’re all gonna become drivers in their own way and they’re – any barriers that exist between them are gonna increasingly come down including perhaps their titles and job responsibilities as well.
Alan Shimel: Sure. Tyler, one of the functions of executives, especially IT executives, is we service somewhat of a translator between our very technical teams that we work with such as developers, such as IT ops or QA and even security. Between that group and then translate that into business speak for our peers who are perhaps CFOs or CEOs or nontechnical executives in the team. When we talk about the kinds of problems that Codenvy tackles, how can executives translate that into business speak that they’re CFO and CEO understands?
Tyler Jewell: Well, I think that if you are an organization that depends upon software either to be differentiated with your products out in the market place or to just be more efficient, the leap that CIOs need to make with their peers is that software teams that are high functioning are those that are able to release the most frequently here.
So having a benchmark of release frequency, comparing that to your own ability, and then assessing your technological people in cultural capabilities along those lines is a simple way that you can start to communicate the benefit of having a very efficient software development organization that is embracing these technologies and philosophies. If that kind of assessment and narrative does not work then I think you have to take it back to perhaps manufacturing fundamentals, the theory of constraints here, which goes that if you want to produce a high volume, high quality parts, physical parts, you have to focus in on the portion of the work flow that is the slowest and most _____. And by resolving that and making that the most efficient then the entire manufacturing process becomes more efficient and software is the same philosophy. It’s just done with bits as opposed to screws and bolts.
Alan Shimel: Got it. Tyler, let me ask you to step back from your role as CEO of Codenvy for a second and put on your hat as someone as you said has 25 years’ experience in IT who’s served on the venture side of the house. What do you see as the biggest innovations or trends that executives should be watching around this whole new way of doing software and apps?
Tyler Jewell: Well, I think that they’re – as an investor at the very basic investment thesis in that the demand for software is increasing at a faster pace than the supply of engineers exist to produce it here. And so the only way to revolve this demand supply curve or this inequality that exists is that there’s gonna have to be tremendous innovations that show up that allow us to create software 10 or potentially even 100 times faster than we have in the past. And businesses and technologies that play to those trends are going to have outsized returns versus vendors who are not playing to those trends.
So I think that’s the way I think about it and that’s abstract level. At a very concrete level the things that are playing to that, containers are absolutely fantastic. They provide low overhead. They also provide the programmatic definition of infrastructure which is something that we’ve never had before. So their rising adoption and popularity are a reflection of that. At the same time we’ve started to see new evolution of programming languages.
Programming languages that are special purpose or domain specific are particularly geared towards Cloud development and those are making developers a ton more productive. And at the same time I also think that we’re continuing to see the rapid mobilization of knowledge workers around the world. We still have not seen a high penetration of that and there’s a lot more penetration to come. So those trends are inevitable trends that are playing into this Devops’ philosophy.
Alan Shimel: Got it. Last question, Tyler, and it’s the same one we ask everyone who appears on our show. For your executors out there, if they should read one book that will really help them with trampling with all of these kinds of issues and further their careers, what would you recommend?
Tyler Jewell: I’m a huge fan of Stephen O’Grady’s book that he wrote. It’s a two hour read. The title of that book – and this is my older age slipping my mind here – it is Developers are the New Kingmakers.
Alan Shimel: I know the book.
Tyler Jewell: It’s a fantastic read and I think that the book provides a very non-emotional explanation for why developers and development teams behave the way they do.
Alan Shimel: Yep. Excellent. Hey, Tyler, Tyler Jewell, CEO of Codenvy, thanks for being this week’s guest on Devops chats and much continued success with Codenvy and we hope to have you on again soon.
Tyler Jewell: I look forward to coming back. Thank you so much for having me today.