There’s an entire class of successful innovations made up of things that people didn’t realize they needed. Things that were an obstacle they found a way around and didn’t think about until the innovation showed them an easier way. Think of things like virtualization (hardware was the bottleneck, but “That’s just the way it is,” until it wasn’t) or web monster shopping sites (“They don’t have that in the stores; I guess I’ll live without,” until you could order the weirdest or smallest things from the likes of eBay and Amazon).
My rule here is that I only talk about products and services if I use them and find value in them. And even then, I try to do it sparingly. But in the spirit of the innovation story you just read, I’m going to point you at one of the coolest new websites on the net. I don’t know the company; have not done business with them, couldn’t even name a principal. But I have spent a surprising amount of time on their site, both in the Feed section and Browsing Stacks.
The site is Stackshare.io, and the reason I think it is so innovative is what and who it is aimed at: Listing companies’ DevOps stack and offering advice on different parts of the DevOps stack.
The Browse Stacks section is for presenting what other organizations are doing, so you can get good ideas for your own stack. But the developers of the site appear to have recognized the other useful aspect of this information: Matching organizations to prospective employees based on technologies. You can go look and see that Company X is using GitLab, for example, and that can then influence your job search.
The Feed section is just a running discussion that uses categories to ask questions or offer insight and advice about decisions a given organization came to—so, “Chose X over Y” is actually a standard subheading for posts, as is “Need advice on Z” or “Recommends A”. It makes for great reading, and no doubt while reading through, you’ll have some advice to offer one of the “Looking for advice” posts.
The Stackshare.io participants seem to range in size from startup to massive, and that is one of the things I hope they change as they grow—the options for looking at DevOps stacks are “Popular” and “Trending”. We all want more filters than that—organization size, number of apps, stuff like that—to help us zero in on environments that are similar to our own. My little company does not have the needs that Facebook does. And while it’s true that some startups use more tools in their toolchain than Facebook, you get the idea.
Another issue I had with Stackshare.io’s site (that I fully understand, but still wish could be different) is forced registration/login to see some data. It’s not even particularly sensitive data—I know what ELK and Azure Data Services are, so putting the definition/description behind a registration page/login is kind of silly. But every free site needs data to pay the bills, and I suppose I’m glad it is info that’s also available elsewhere that is behind a reg wall.
The company offers APIs for integration to your site/tool and private company instances of StackShare to help you manage one of my other gripes—the five (or fifty!) different DevOps stacks many organizations have allowed to develop in-house.
So if you are job hunting, Stackshare.io can help you find companies doing what you would like to do or know you’re good at. If you are an organization trying to improve or set up a new toolchain (which is how I found the site), it has a lot of information to digest, though not all of it is easily accessible at this point. Either way, keep kicking it and keep an eye out for tools that do the job, no matter where you are looking.