The Dann Chronicles: June 🍦
A period of unemployment, a brain in the machine, coat hanger tricks, flying virgins, and a mom's trip to Arizona.
I've got some personal news. After four lovely and fulfilling years at Datadog, I've decided to accept a position as Senior Technical Program Manager, Cloud Costs at a really compelling startup called FullStory. Let me explain.
It's important to regularly step back, re-evaluate your longterm goals, and make sure that the actions that you're taking today are aligned with those aspirational outcomes. That's why I particularly love the year-end review process that Avi and I complete annually — because it encourages not just reflection and short-term goal setting, but alignment along a bigger picture (lately we've been loosely using Gustin's Annual Review template).
My personal experience with longterm goals is that I'm actually pretty good at achieving them. I've already hit the goals I set for myself in my 20's around family, career, and salary. So what does level two look like?
The details themselves are still fuzzy, but the rough outline is there. I have no desire to retire early — I enjoy spending my days working with others towards a larger goal. Additionally, I love working in and with startups (particularly but not exclusively late-stage startups).
Those two facts about myself paint a faint picture of what the next ten years of my life will look like. Part of that was leaving a public company and re-entering the startup world at FullStory, bringing with me the experience that I had helping Datadog mature its internal cloud cost management function.
I wrote a little bit more about my decision to leave Datadog and join FullStory on my website. Consider that further reading if you're so inclined.
🌉 Joy Boy
I've never had more than a week off between jobs. Nor more than two weeks of non-employment during my entire adult life. But between my last day at Datadog and my first day at FullStory, I have three weeks.
To celebrate, here's a list of things or activities that have been bringing me joy during this current work hiatus (in no particular order):
Walking over Manhattan bridge, Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, riding the Cyclone at Coney Island for the first time (it's really good!), reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time on my apartment building's shared terrace, circus peanuts candy, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, The Binding of Isaac video game, Chameleon in the park, putting together a talk for the FinOps X conference in Austin, attending the FinOps X conference in Austin and winning an award, M&Ms Classic Mix, unlimited movies with Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Fall Guys video game with friends.
🖥 Brain Gain
A Google employee named Blake Lemoine was recently fired for leaking confidential internal documents.
This made headlines largely due to his motivations for the leak: he claimed Google had created a sentient AI. The leak was a chat log he posted as proof.
There are a lot of Op-Eds and think pieces in response to this claim. If you want to go down that rabbit hole, just search his name.
In this newsletter, I'd just like to just share the primary text: Blake's blog post Is LaMDA Sentient? — an Interview.
It's a good example of what artificial intelligence is looking like these days.
🧥 Real head turner
As I was putting the plastic coat hanger on my head, I was still totally convinced that it was some sort of prank. I had just seen a video online of someone's head involuntarily turning to one side after stretching a hanger open and pulling it onto their head. I figured it was all some big in-joke where Internet people convinced viewers to do something ridiculous.
Apparently this works in ~96% of people. You simply stretch a coat hanger over your head (so it wraps around like the brim of a hat) and relax your neck muscles. Your head will turn to the side before you even realize it's happening.
Go ahead, give it a try. I promise it's not a prank. It's one of the weirdest sensations I've felt.
✈️ Get ready to fly
I've taken four flights since my previous newsletter. The first was to and from Montana to see Avi's choreography in a production of Guys and Dolls at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, and the second was to and from Austin, Texas to attend (and present at) the FinOps X conference.
Flying always puts me in a strange headspace, but not for any of the reasons you might think. Every time I fly I'm reminded of one of the worst business decisions ever: the 2018 retirement of the Virgin America Safety Video.
Introduced in 2013, this video by singer, songwriter, choreographer Todrick Hall started playing on all Virgin American flights as a fun way to communicate the required safety information to passengers. And damn, it was good. The video proceeded to win two awards in 2014: the Shorty Industry Award for Best Use of Video and the Clio Music Award for Film.
It's catchy. It's entertaining. It's informative. It's something I watch every so often, even if I'm not flying. It’s a modern-day Bathtubs Over Broadway.
It boggles my mind that 1) that video was retired and 2) no company has attempted to recreate the joy and splendor in its own way.
Anyway, that's what I think about when we're taxiing on the runway, about to take off.
🤰 I'm a mom…
I'll just leave this parody commercial here for when you have three minutes to spare.
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Until next time,