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“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over–and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”
As we end 2018 and move into 2019, after much thought, I have decided to step down from the Docker Captain program. If you are not familiar with the Docker Captains, these are folks who are appointed by the Docker team based on their experience and contribution to the docker ecosystem, to work closely with Docker (the company) to drive container adoption.
To some, this may come as a shock while others are quite familiar with the mixed feelings I have had over the past year or so regarding my role in the Captain program. Regardless, I feel that it is important to explain the background why I was originally nominated, and, more importantly why I decided to exit, gracefully (CS pun intended).
In the Beginning…
While there are many folks who are just getting started with docker, especially teams that are coming from the Microsoft world, a few of us have been working with the technology for almost five years in a Linux capacity, and many more prior using similar BSD, Solaris, and AIX constructs. In this period of time, I have been fortunate enough to have completed or have been part of some early wins for container technology. Some of these include:
- Becoming one of the first Docker Partners in 2014, when there were just a handful of employees at Docker
- Playing a direct role in the development and maturation of the Docker Training program, which Nebulaworks is still very actively involved with today
- Deploying one of the first production orchestration environments, based on standalone swarm, integrating tools like Registrator, Consul and Consul Template in mid-2014
- Organizing one of the first Docker Meetup groups, Docker Orange County to assist in the free and open education on docker and associated tools supporting containers
- Presenting to the Docker sales team on the orchestration competitive landscape, including Mesos/Marathon (and DC/OS) as well as Kubernetes
These and numerous other container-related items resulted in being named a Docker Captain, joining roughly 60 others in October of 2016. It was an exciting time, as this provided me the ability to share what we had learned in working with customers as well as interacting with the other Captains on helping facilitate the adoption of docker on a much larger scale. I was able to meet and work with a number of technology journalists, becoming a regular source for commentary and perspective with various online and print outlets. In addition, I was offered numerous opportunities from learning/training companies to develop docker courses (LinkedIn/Lynda and UC Davis), and likely the most important aspect, it helped provide the opportunity to speak at industry events on the adoption of containers, including speaking at DockerCon 2016 as well as other regional conferences.
Closing my Captains Chapter
I am EXTREMELY grateful for the time I have served (the operative word) as an ambassador to the broad docker community. Regardless of the technology that teams choose to deploy (it has become pretty contentious out there) the folks that are helping drive the direction of the tools, solving for so many varied challenges, are inspiring - and many of these people are also Docker Captains. There were times that I had full imposter syndrome, like having Phil Estes sitting in the audience of one of my early presentations. Very humbling, to say the least.
When I started as a Captain I looked at it as something that I would give my expertise and experience to for a short-term, and then pass the baton to others rather than positioning it as a tenured role. I committed to myself that if I wasn’t able to make an impact, based on any number of reasons, I would step down. And those reasons did in fact arrive. Nebulaworks, the DevOps, Cloud, and Open Source consulting company I co-founded in 2013 took off, requiring much more of my time, including driving strategic relationships with our largest clients and partners. Additional technologies and tools went “supernova”, requiring my time to learn and help adopt, just like I did with containers - I am, after all, a technologist.
So, as I hang up the Docker Captain hat, I’d like to thank those who have supported me along the way and those who I believe have had a tremendous impact on the program:
Jenny Burcio Mano Marks Phil Estes Bret Fisher Lee Calcote Alex Ellis Nigel Poulton Ajeet Singh Raina Marcos Nils
If you happen to see one of these fine people around, shake their hand and say “thanks.” They have, and continue to make a huge impact with the docker community, often times going about their business without fanfare or accolades.
See you around, Chris