Software Developers Journey Podcast

#127 Emmanuel Bernard fell into open-source


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Emmanuel Bernard 0:00
So the App Server we chose was BEA, which was a great one at the time. And then the company had decided to go for DB2, IBM DB2. So it's BEA, one company, IBM another company. And we were using something called an object relational mapper that was taking objects and with a bit of mapping, like metadata would store the data in a in a table. And we chose the leader at the time, which was called TopLink. At some point, during our evaluation, TopLink got acquired by Oracle, and our boss came back and said, okay, you cannot use TopLink, something goes wrong in between the app and the database. I don't want to be in a call between BEA, Oracle and IBM and, and have them like, fight between one another and me being in stuck in the mud. We were like, hoping he would come to his senses is like, so what do you want us to do? Like write our own or find, you know, some open stuff on the internet? And he said, Yes. Okay. So we started to evaluate other options, and one of them was this rising open source project called Hibernate.

Tim Bourguignon 1:06
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and on this episode 127, I receive Emmanuel Bernard. Emmanuel is a Java champion, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect for RedHat, open source contributor to the Java standards, public speaker, community leader, and among others, the host of the podcast, The Cast Coders. Emmanuel, welcome to DevJourney.

Emmanuel Bernard 1:37
Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:39
It's my very pleasure. A fellow Frenchman, that's cool. So Emmanuel, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the stars of your DevJourney?

Emmanuel Bernard 1:57
I guess I'll sound like cliche, but the star was, you know, when I had my, you know, my parents came with this computer that had, you know, two floppy disk. And the really floppy one, like the five, five inches something. And, you know, the, the guy I think that they bought it from was like, do you want a hard drive? They're like, what is it useful for that? I couldn't answer that question. So we had two floppy disk inserts. I didn't know that story at the time, but I you know, had some recent conversation where they told me that and from there, I was really hooked into this, this notion of, you know, making the machine do what you want, or think you'd make, make it do what you want. And, and so I guess the beginning was like, This passion with which is still with me, right? It's a, it's a key aspect of, of who I am and why I ended up where I am is the you know, keeping that passion for. Yeah, for managing that machine into, I mean, will it to make stuff happen rarely, right. So that's the jolly beginning. And then you know, you do your regular school. And frankly, I don't have a big vision and plan, right. So for most, for a lot of the of my, my life is just things were in front of me, and they were the right choice. And I just used it so I didn't willed myself into into things. So for example, you know, I was, I was at school, then, you know, I wanted to influence there's something called the Gansey car, which is sort of university ish, right? And the one I was select so there is like, you need to where you pass you pass an exam and then the best choose the one it wants and so on. And the one I ended up with is a school that actually do computer science, which is Hey, great. It's also my passion right? So it's good. Good thing had I been selected for let's say a chemistry school would have chosen that one first a good question, right? But I was lucky that I guess fate somehow decided for me I don't I don't those those those times, right.

Tim Bourguignon 4:20
But that's interesting.

Emmanuel Bernard 4:21
Yeah, I know it's I guess I was lucky writer It doesn't mean I did nothing right I will harden and go and execute on what I won't but somehow you need to make you know that the journey lets you go one path or another and maybe there was no bad bad path right? I will never know because I only choose one and I cannot see the other one. Right. So so I didn't feel like I had to fight any way for for those right. So that that's a good, good one. Then I you know, let me accelerate a tiny bit. I went back at the time, Amazon was still a small thing, and we did the French of Amazon back when Amazon was only about books, and you know, and CDs and stuff like that. So I worked for a company called snatch, and we, I joined them to do flag.com, which was their big website. And for the longest time, we were one of those country where Amazon was number two, and they hated us. They, they finally caught up. But that was a really interesting journey, because it was a bit unusual compared to my fellow school comrades. Because the normal path, especially in France, is to go for a system integrator that would place you into an end customer, and then you would do a mission for them, and then you would move on, right. So that would be where to get a lot of experience across the board, instead of being stuck, quote, unquote, into this, this one company that whose goal whose job is not really it, right? So it's not really computer science. But you know, not Duncan was in front of me. And I was just, like, I learned so much from from that. That was like, super, super interesting.

Tim Bourguignon 6:10
Did you find this job purposefully? Did you? Did you really apply for that? Or was it again, some chances and

Emmanuel Bernard 6:16
on that one, I think the you know, you're supposed to do some internship, like every year, and the third year was this internship at that company, and that I know it now. But the the leader, the CTO of that have that have mag.com was an ex nihilo alumni of the school I was in. So he said, Oh, I want I get some internship here. And then I, I grew my company, essentially. So I was like, Okay, let's do the internship. And then, you know, at the end of the three months, we delivered something, we forgot to deliver an actual paper saying, hey, we've done this, it's been great here is my you know, Intel chip report. So so we go and we present some slides anyways. And then the teacher is like, but you haven't read, you haven't done a report is like, and we're like, we haven't even thought about it's like, holy shit, we actually delivered something so. And the guy was like, the boss was like, Oh, no, I don't care, you know, that they developed the software that we're presenting here. That's awesome. So despite, despite the teacher wanting that report to a week, we got away with it. So So I joined john them after. So after that, I got my, my diploma, and then I joined that company. And stay there. That one was a spinoff. So, you know, there's always this big question I think for for new people in it, like, should I go for a startup, which is exciting, and so on? Should I go for a big company to be safe? Should I go for something else to get lots of experience? You know, there's plenty of choices. So I at the time, I was in there with this notion of stuff that wasn't quite as big as it is right now. So my choice was like end user company versus, versus like a system integrator, right. So I went for that path, but I don't know how I would have gone. Now. The advice I can give is, it's much harder to go for a startup, once you start to have attachments in your life, whether it be materials, like you got a mortgage, got a wife, kids, all of that are putting a lot of constraints into what you can afford, as in as in not having a lot of money and like really investing in your future that way. So if you have a bit of doubt, and want to give a try, I'd probably go for the startup thing, you know, but learn that you don't know you feel you know, a lot. But then the more I move is you sort of shift your your thinking and position you're like, are those young guys, you know, or, you know, they don't know that much. But But of course, when I was young, I was like all these old guys, they never want to change stuff. So, you know, fair enough. I think everybody has a it's a layer of people what it's interesting actually, on the OG you're not a big fan of organizations, I don't know if at some point, the conversation will lead us to the Conway's laws and stuff like that. But it feels to me they are like, actual doers that we really need. And they walk at one level. And then, you know, say manager you feel they are not doing anything, but they are actually but they walk at their own level. And then, let's say executives that are defining the strategy for the company and you're like, what the hell you know, it's just daydreaming, but no, they actually walking at their own level. What's the magic to me is the connection. How does it happen? Once you actually facilitate that? It's been a mystery for most of my time. I knew I'd write out we we started to think about how do we express the strategy where do we want to go and propagate that down because we're very bottom up company. So it's an interesting challenge to say here is where we want to go but give us your ideas. He has and will, as an executive team select, you know where we go. That's the I've done a lot of companies, by the way. So I've done the snack, as I said, like.com then I don't snack popper, because we got we were a spinoff. So it was Oh, yeah, that's that's why I mentioned startups, by the way. By the way, I'm laughing because she was like, hey, if you want to do a monologue, that's fine. And it looks like I'm on my way for a monologue, but didn't free to interject.

Tim Bourguignon 10:29

Emmanuel Bernard 10:29
so I didn't do a starter, but I did a spinoff which is interesting, because it's like you got blank check from the mother company and independence because they they knew organizationally that it couldn't really be there. Right. and deliver. So we didn't deliver but at some point is for I don't know the reasons but there's been some reorganization where we would merge the it within the normal it and whatnot. And I think No, actually, I remember the idea was to say, hey, great success. No, you will take that success and populated across the company, it's gonna be great. And I love my learnings, yes, I learned something really, really good. So first of all, who restarts into this, you know, architectural team. So we are supposed to find the new next generation framework we will build the next generation it with and whatnot. So I've been making lots of interesting selection, it was at the time when dotnet was very fresh. So it was Java versus dotnet was the beginning of sessions. Once we were there, I'm sure people were not we're not even born at that time. But they will be which app server to use would be, you know, be a WebSphere, which is the IBM IBM solution. These were the two big ones, right? So So we went away on the technical side, he went, Okay, we introduced this notion of CVS at the time. So like a source tracking system, right? Which, nowadays, everybody is using gates, but at the time, like people were just copying their files in a different directory. And then sharing was like, right, so the first one I used was actually the Microsoft, visual

Tim Bourguignon 12:13
sourcesafe, yes,

Emmanuel Bernard 12:14
visual sourcesafe or something like that. And it was a pessimistic view of things. So a I'm owning that file, nobody else can touch it. And, of course, the next thing you know, somebody goes into on holidays, and as a lock on it. So I quickly became the admin of that thing, because you could unlock

Tim Bourguignon 12:33
Oh, I remember that. That was

Emmanuel Bernard 12:35
I was paying for so we introduced CVS for that's like, hey, let's bring some sanity into things. So that all of that was great, like, framework was the beginning of open source for middleware. So we started to look at the or Apache portfolio, for example, what I learned, the one experience that I still have is that organizations why code is easy, or positions is hard, right? Human human is hard. Entering humans is much harder. So we were also tasked to not even go agile, because agile was not quite a term at the time, it was something called the Unified Process, which was not, not waterfall. So waterfall is like you design stuff, and then you feel stuff. And then you start coding, and then you do testing, and then you release. So that's the waterfall model. The Unified Process has had this notion of smaller loops, it was kind of waterfalls, within waterfalls, but smaller, right. And the organization didn't want that. In the end, they were like very happy in their own model and processes. And we ended up being disbanded and shut down. And it was a really painful experience, because I felt we were right, right. But we didn't go at it in the in the correct way. For the organisation, we definitely went at it is like, hey, obviously, it's a better model. But it's always in context. And you always have to somehow sell you your idea and your reasons and convince people you cannot. While they stuff you can impose and stuff you can see you need to find a nice balance here. But we definitely failed so that I learned that organization was hard. And that there is a law that is called Conway's Law, which says essentially, whatever you produce, so let's say the software is going to be the architecture of the software is going to be essentially a mirror of the organization that has provided a build that software right with that system. And it's so true. It's it's not even funny. So I kept that because when somebody you know, way later say, hey, you're gonna go and deliver that it's gonna be also and I'm like, Look, there is this Conway's Law that says, This is gonna be hard, right? Because you're telling me I'm doing it in between three or four sub organizations not gonna work. So how can we can make it happen or, you know, it would, would be for me to elaborate Why'd you say hey, I told you so, you know, it's actually I learned very recently because I'm still really interested in that. It's that Conway's Law or there's been refinement, it's not so much the official hierarchy and organization, it's more about the connections between people, right. So maybe you've been in a team with somebody, and you're really not intimate with him, you know how to walk with Him, and somehow you split. So it's two organization maybe far apart. But you see that this human connection. And what Conway's Law says is that the further apart the connection is, the harder it is, and you will probably create some API, some official contract to interact with that other organization. But if you have those natural connections, just like Hey, get a coffee, talk to the other person on a weekly basis, daily basis, whatever, you can go against the hierarchical view of the world, and that's your way out. So build your connection is, is something I didn't care much at the beginning of my career, and that's okay. But I guess 10 years from now, you can, you know, listen to that again, and realize, Hey, you know, there's something to it, and then you can try and, and build that one up. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 16:14
How do you do that? what's what's your what's your trading there? what's what's your game plan and building your connections? So,

Emmanuel Bernard 16:21
I think it's funny because I give that advice, but I don't think have a method. I think for me, it's being true and honest. being true, right? explaining why you're doing stuff. And honest, so people say, Okay, this this person is fair. And I can, can have an open conversation with with that, but but I'm not a salesman, so I you know, I mean, it, there's a reason here. So it doesn't sound like that on the on the phone, but I, you know, go and talking to somebody I don't know, at a party is not something I do easily, right. So. So I'm not a connection builder. From that point of view. It's more caring about people, you know, when the connector seats, like I said, for my, this notion of this notion of the the fate help helped me a tiny bit in my choices. So once the connection happened, I'm actually very open and, you know, trying to keep that connection from a human point of view. So I'm not saying a, you're wrong from this, you know, absolute set of rules. That is, you know, let's say logic, but I'm trying to also see, so what, what's, what's the feeling behind it? What's the reason behind that person telling me, you know, this is wrong, and we should go and do this other stuff? Because when you go deeper, it's like the Ask the five why's like ask why, and why and why? And why five times? And of course, listen to the answer each time is the way to go to the bottom of the problem. And maybe you will find a common ground to solve the problem. Even though initially, you were in a, you know, very negative and picky, picky interaction, trick interaction,

Tim Bourguignon 18:07
my advice to making connections would be to start listening and being curious. Yes. And that's the first thing that just shut up. And listen. And that's usually the first thing you can do. And even an introvert can do that. Even people who, shy away from this context can usually do it. You just have to break the ice and then and then wait, usually, it's already the first step.

Emmanuel Bernard 18:32
So what you say is very true. So I think I make what some people call a good listener. But I know where it come from now, I didn't know at the time, but I know where it come from comes from now. It's because I was so afraid of saying something stupid, or I felt so not in my in my element that I would let people say stuff and I when I would say something, it would have run 1000 100,000 times in my mind, and then i would i would say it's I would say good stuff, but like very, very well, not very often right then. And then I flipped at some point when I went into the I guess open source world. The so I think an introvert to some extent is actually in a better position to to do what you said right? To listen properly and and be there in connection and you know, and absorb that. Then re-injecting maybe some advice or maybe not necessarily an advice but like reformulates on you know is is the tricky part for an introvert

Tim Bourguignon 19:36
might be very true yeah. Okay, so how did you feel after this? This spin off company went down with what was your mindset there were there was you went from one one success with nick.com to being chosen to do the spin off and and being given probably a lot of responsibility and and then BAM Yeah, doesn't work. So

Emmanuel Bernard 19:56
speed up didn't fail. It was a conscious choice and we were stupid. was to be this new technical architecture that was okay. And that one failed. So, so that one, I was reinjected into a project. And I felt, yeah, I felt crap. There is this classical project blues. But here was more like, so for people that don't know, project loses, like, You work so hard on a project. And then he ends like you've delivered. And then you're like, in a blues of like, not not being in the motion of doing it. And you don't know what to do for a couple of days, weeks, depends who. So it wasn't that because he was like, okay, we we failed, whatever we were tasked to do, we decided it wasn't correct enough, and just just do a normal project. I was like, so I was, I was a bit bored. But I, but I went into the motion. And then, but I've, you know, done my job and became happy and whatever. But then I, so during the technical architecture thing, one of the choices. So that's a funny story, actually. So I don't know how much people know about Java and so on. But at the time, as I said, we were choosing Java for the architecture, and we were choosing what is called an app server, which right now would be more like a framework like, you know, spring or quackers, and stuff like that. But at the time, it was the observer. So the observer we chose was Ba, which was a great, a great one at the time, not not open source. And then the company had decided to go for DB two to IBM DB two. So it's be a one company, IBM DB to another company. And we were using something called an object relational mapper, that was taking objects and with a bit of mapping, like metadata would store the data in a in a table somewhere. And we chose the leader of the time, which was called toplink. And at some point, during our evaluation, toppling got acquired by Oracle, and our boss came back and said, okay, you cannot use toppling, it's like, why I don't want to be in a call where something goes wrong. In between the app and the database, I don't want to be in a call between ba Oracle and IBM and, and they have them like, fight between one another and me being in stuck in the mud. And we were like, hoping he would come to his senses is like, so what do you want us to do? Like write our own or finds, you know, some open stuff on the internet? And he said, Yes, like, okay, so we started to evaluate other options. And one of them was this rising open source project called hibernate which was an object relational mapper in Java. And since it was open source, and there was at the time no company to back it off or not, they were willing to, to pay for we started I started to be the expert inside the company. So I started to learn read a lot about the dogs starting to answer the forms. And, and slowly, I became a bit of an answering machine to that form. So they made me join the open source team. So I was part of that contribute to of that project. So that's how I got into into open source and, and hydronics. But by the way, I think I knew so I got Yeah, that's interesting. So you make me remember my past that's, that's kind of funny. We need to stay for two hours. So I, so I got bored indeed, after that failure, quote, unquote. And I had free time. So what I did was to say, I think I made a goal of mine to myself saying, Okay, I'm going to do some open source contribution. And funnily enough, I applied to a competitor to Jebus, which is the company that ended up doing the hibernate stuff, so called Apache Jeronimo. So I said, Hey, I'm interested in helping and then nobody replied, so I was like, okay, but the hibernate teams that were really good, right? They were like, Oh, yeah, awesome. You're helping it's super cool, what you're doing. So they made me feel that what I was doing is was important and useful. And that's how i plus it was somewhat aligned with the need for the for the company, right. So for my company, flack. So that was great, right? And that's why I stick with that project is like I felt I was making a contribution making a dance. So long story short, the, the architectural team is disbanded. And I met that project. And I should like, you know, I want a compensation somehow. So I'm spending more time on the open source aspect. And I talked to my boss and he's like, Yeah, sure. You know, don't ask, don't tell, like Don't tell me you're spending you know, two days a week as long as you do your job and you're doing it you know, I don't want to know about it. So I was doing on company time, a bit of working on hibernate and the rest on the actual company. Objectives. These this hibernate team is acquired by A company called Jebus, which was this upset open source app server system that I think we at the time we had evaluated and decided not to go focus on like open source was like holy. It was really the beginning like you guys like open source is a de facto okay thing. But for us it was a fight, right, like Linux was starting to be accepted. But in middleware, like everything had to be invented. And those companies, those projects were like trailblazing. And it was so easy to say all, you know, you need commercial support, because these guys, they don't know what they're doing. They're like, you know, 10 people instead of 100, and so on. So that was different here, fight. So these guys got acquired by by J boss, and, and they were growing the size of the company linearly to the revenue they were getting. So they were not trying to like a lot of startups, these days, they are into, I'm going to be acquired business, especially when they start to get VC money, which means they're on a race to be seductive enough to be acquired. Otherwise, they're, they were essentially they do that by burning cash. So they accelerate their growth artificially. And well, that's good, because you can deliver much faster your vision, the drawback is that you want to be on a clock. So you, you will, you know, at some point, it will turn sour if you cannot be acquired. So j boss, that is, when I joined was wasn't there like they were actually serve, while they are their own money, or they were growing at the normal pace. So at some point, you know, there that list of most acquired and they were looking at, instead of interviewing people, they were just looking at contributors. And they were saying, Oh, well, this person is really great. So let me add a manual to the list of people to hire. And, you know, after a while, they grew enough to hire me. And it was a big move for me because it was supposed to be a job in the US. And I was in France, and I, some people have a passion to go abroad. But it wasn't me. Right? It was like, Oh, that's a it's like a lot of unknown and lots of risks. I don't know. The one thing I didn't know is that this, this company that I thought was massive, could they were like, all over the news. Were actually at the time, like 3040 people. So it was indeed a starter, but I didn't know really, or not consciously, at least, I would probably have said no. Anyway, I joined that company, to the US. And you know, I didn't regret it, because that really changed my carrier. Because we we really build what meet what open source middleware meant, right? as a as a collective industry wise, that was the time. So Andy, can you hear, what I've learned is, I was the top of the game at my previous company, and I became the person that had to listen, because every time I was talking to somebody else, there was like, Holy hell, well, not only they were talking English, but but also, but also they were at a level where it was challenging for me to follow. But I stuck to it. And the one mistake I made so that that's good. I think that's a good advice is that I, I didn't say enough, I don't understand. So I was like, Okay, I'm going to research my stuff later and figure that out. Which is, so that's good, right? It's good for you to refer with the problem by yourself and try to figure it out, because you will have a better understanding of it, but don't get stuck too much. And in a conversation, when somebody tries to send you some knowledge, transfer to you some knowledge. You know, ask, you know, when you can say, I don't know, it's like, Okay, I think you said that, but that doesn't compute for me. And the person would have to, you know, re explain in a different fashion. These, this is the sign of somebody that is curious and doesn't take stuff for granted. Do you

Tim Bourguignon 29:16
have a trick or maybe a necessarily a trick method to recognize that as the person who is explaining something, recognize that the other person might be shying away from saying, I don't know, or maybe not understanding and not realizing that they're not understanding?

Emmanuel Bernard 29:33
Yeah, the trick is easy. You ask them to return what you just said, in their own worlds. Right? And that comes from so so first of all, don't abuse that because it can put people in a very uncomfortable position when they are just learning that concept, right? So it's, do it do it nicely, but this is this is usually it's a great way because there is There's learning something and believing you know it. And then there is teaching something and where and they realize you don't actually know it all that well. So that's that's one. That would be one trick when you feel feel that the other one is non nonverbal, it's more visual, you were any depends on culture. So that funny story. So he probably was one of the first person that introduced the, you know, hibernates into India, because at some point, of course, we went offshore and decided India was going to be a great, great way to build projects in an offshore fashion. And that didn't work. But they were like, okay, now we know this other technology, like, just just JDBC to access the database or EGB, two at the time, and they and they have, they're like, okay, we don't know, hibernate, so I'm like, Okay, yeah, I'm going to teach you. So again, I, you know, I added boot slides, and I was explaining that, and they were like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's what they stop. Oh, yeah. Sorry. It's not a visual podcast. But so I'm nodding my head, which is the way in India to say I'm connecting to what you're saying. Okay, so that's good. But they are not culturally accustomed to say no. So. So if you see them, stop nodding your head, you're starting to lose them. Right? So it means they are disconnecting. So that's one, if you see people not looking at you anymore, like trying to move around. So it's a bit more difficult, I guess, these days, because we are in a generation where we look at our phone every five seconds. So maybe there's always a disconnected fashion. That's an interesting one, but haven't done actual long term long trainings in quite a while. But in India, that would be the way right. And then it's really hard for them to say no, in other cultures, they would just yell at you right away. So it's not a problem. But it's, it's very well for you to absorb. So you need to be aware of how the other person interact. But ask right? Some people, so the biggest mistake you probably can make is assuming too much. So just or interfering too much. Just ask, like, are you getting it? And to help? As I said, like, if you say I am I going too fast, too slow, it's it can be one cue, but it's a it's a bit challenging for somebody to reply. So maybe, maybe you could ask stuff like, you know, how would you apply that in your environment? Like, what what application Are you working on, so you try to specialize it and see if that person gets the hits that notional? Not that that could be could be away? But it's really hard, right? I think we're walking more and more via email or, you know, without visual cues, so that one is hard. You're like, Hey, I got this great vision, and you got no feedback. He said, because you've said it. So well. It's, there's no problem, or is it because you, you're so out of scope, that people just tuned out, right and ignore your message. And it's, I haven't found the right trick except having built the set of connections and being able to go and have conversation with some people within the, you know, the, to the to whom you've you've send that message and and have a conversation and maybe they'll tell you Yeah, I know, it's great, but on a pickup because XYZ and you're like, Okay, so listening is a different level. So you can be there and listen, but also, that when you say, you know, how did I? How did I do? Like was it meaningful? So you can ask that question, but you also need to listen to that answer. And that's another level of listening because they're gonna say stuff that you don't want to listen to, which is Hey, you haven't been that good, right? But it's super important to take it without ego. It takes a while and it takes practice. But that's a that's an important one.

Tim Bourguignon 34:04
This is very, very true. That's on that's Yeah. To take us to redhat.

Emmanuel Bernard 34:09
no, I joined JBoss finally and I walked, I walked on hibernates and about a year down the line. JBoss is acquired by RedHat for something at the time of a big number of the time, like 300 and $50 million. So that company is acquired by RedHat which was for the most part a one, a one product company, but they knew they wanted to go into a multi product company which is which is so startups Their job is to deliver that one product that people will want bigger company are in the business of having more than one product. Apple is probably a weird exception because they don't treat products as as several products but it's a bit the exception. Right. It's an interesting one to study but you know, I won't claim it. I know it was so. So whether wanting to go into this multi product thing, and they had actually an app server called web app server or something like that, that was a fork of well, downstream of, I forgot the name, sorry, excuse me, so, and they realized, okay, it's not good. It's not how we're going to significantly bootstrap the thing. So they acquire j boss to be that second product, and so on. In that journey, and that took quite a while. But, you know, we're definitely a multi product company nowadays, between j boss and right out, I'm at my 15 year old, yes, at the same company. So I'm not the kind of person that jumps from one company to another right? I do have a crisis every three to five years, let's say where I'm like, Okay, what am I doing? I don't feel have you know, I've been, it's about two things like, Am I bored? And I might recognized. So that's another thing that companies are not really good at, necessarily. But But people are learning is that how do you recognize someone is it when he asked for a raise that you then go into a reaction mode to do that? Good companies have changed and moved into a model where they are actually proactively systematically reviewing people and go and encourage them for for a raise. So it's more like, you do your job, which your your job is to do your job, and then you will get promoted along the way. Thanks to that. That's just your job is to build your promotion. It's, it's a mind shift for a lot of companies. Yeah. So anyway, I got every now and then I got bored. And then I'm like, Okay, I need some time off, or I need to start this new project. But right at Sasha lab, we're at the time and marketer, the CTO, they give you enough rope to explore new things where you're getting retired and want to see all the stuff and maybe you come back to the original project. Maybe what you walked on is an interesting seed that becomes something probably not right. But that's an interesting way to give some time to other people, to people when they need it, and, and maybe come back with great ideas.

Tim Bourguignon 37:12
How big was that? At that time? Was it a cultural clash to go from a small company to a big one or?

Emmanuel Bernard 37:19
So that's when maybe Gary would tell me no, don't say anything? No, no. So yes, it was a big cultural clash, because yeah, so first of all, there is definitely this Jebus was about to be 200 people. So you felt everything you were doing was significant and impactful for the company. And 200 is slightly above the limit. But 150 is when you start to not be able to know everybody's name, right? So that's where you start to have to split people into smaller teams. And I think 150 is really the upper limit here. So you go from this environment, where you feel you make a big dance, or every thing you do makes a difference, like for life or death into this bigger company, which has its own future, which is different, right? So j boss was like, you know, we're middleware we, we literally not own the community, but we definitely lead the community and every contributor that was there, we ended up acquiring it at Sony, you know, hiring that person, because that person was good. And we were growing. So in the end, we were like, 90% of the actual contributions, you know, so that's one more than and right out is more like they are. They are communities and you know, we're gonna participate into them, but definitely not in a Domination mode, just like Gervasi so Jay was was inventing new stuff by being that lead of the community was right at is embracing a community and joining it, but the choosing the community is based on Okay, where where is the nlg heading ways the industry heading. So that's one clash is like, you know, your job is not necessarily to innovate versus it is to innovate. Our job was was one clash. The other one was, you make a dent into this is the lack of 10 x size company. So what's, you know, why? What is what is my Where is my impact? The other one is that a job was we had an interesting model where 75% of our time was on God and 25 was into bringing revenue. So it could be training, consulting, and support, but you were doing a quarter of your time on that. And same for people in the primarily say consulting area, they could spend 25% of their time coding, we lost that because it was a more matrix level organization at why that and middleware is a different product from from an operating system. So when you when you're in sales, an operating system is something that says okay, I want 20 of them because I'm deploying 2020 salvos and it's a Fast sales cycle, middleware is more like, okay, we're evaluating that technology, and we're developing on it for a year, and then we're releasing the product, at least that that when we join right out that was the sort of timescale time scale are shrinking these days for providers reasons. But so. So you do, you do have a sense for us that he's not accustomed to that longer cycle, it feels more work, and not necessarily more rewards. So there is a big clash from that point of view. And also like, Okay, why aren't you Why are you using Windows? Like, I don't know, we're using Windows before. It's like, no, but your ad read at analysis, like don't use Windows? And I think as a rebellion, the answer was like, okay, we're gonna use Mac's. So there's been a, it's been a long, you know, nowadays, we're one company, definitely. But it's been right at learning how to acquire and respect the organization being acquired and learning through it and merge versus just, you know, absorbing. So that's been a interesting challenge. But I think for the like, a lot of the, you know, engineering essentially state, right, so, so it's not like there was like a big, big clash, and everybody left or things like that, or other areas, probably different, but engineering state.

Tim Bourguignon 41:25
And now you're in a position where you can influence this and influence the culture and influence how things are done. And

Emmanuel Bernard 41:31
yeah, so we mail essentially, right, it wasn't like the JavaScript or one or the record to one, what happens is, so first of all, it sets it's a nice parlayed between my carry on the red X evolution, but the so I was working on one project, and then a bit boards created this sub project. So in the hibernate, there's like several project, I started some, and then do the standouts for it and whatnot. So, so I managed to shift my energy to other stuff to not get bored. So that was great. And at some point, I felt frustrated, because there was a quite a bit, there became a bit the lead of the hibernate team and at least the interface with the, let's say, the higher ups with like, hey, should we budget wise? Where do we go, let's try and justify new people and so on and for felt frustrated by the I want to do bigger things. But if you stay focused on your card, or this one man walk, then there is no way you can change the world. Or at least it's, it's much harder, right? So the way you do bigger things in organization is you obstruct a bit away, well, significantly away from doing things and you drive people into doing things, right. So that's why I mentioned the whole interaction with with humans and leading a team, that's a, that's a lot of my job these days. It's like, I've got this understanding of an open source committee and how to lead it, but it's also in the team, like how do you feel them and power words, feel them, you know, autonomous to deliver and explain them why we're doing that and how it's aligning to the, to the organization and in parallel, right, that has been growing into figuring that out. So this is stuff we call the open decision framework, which is, is, is one way for us to make decisions in the in an open fashion, like collectively, but not stalling forever and ever. The other one is the Cinco de open organization where, as I said, good ideas are bubbling up. And then the job of the the leadership is to say, Okay, here is where we want to go. And here is why. And then among those bubbles will try to guide the one we feel are going in the right direction, but it's definitely not like you're going to do that because x right? Or you can add to that period, which is the worse. So explain go with the why, like, it's it's hard because you need to think about why you're doing stuff, which is you know, it's very, but sometimes it's, it's uncomfortable, right? Because you don't really have a good reason. So, so walk with the why, and then come and explain that and maybe you'll get some interesting, challenging feedback, and maybe you will change your mind or readapt. Right. But if you have a why people might disagree, but they understand your decision framework, right? They understand why you make that decision and why you're going that way versus that way. That's where I'm at the moment. That's that's how I think you can, you know, leads people into making things so so I grew from that point of view. I became, like, you know, leading all of data at at Red Hat middleware. So hibernate being being one part of it, and then and then we created that project called caucus, which was really interesting, like right time, right Belson and right idea so it doesn't happen soon. Often, but that was great. And I was so happy when we knew I stayed at that company. Because with your, the trust you've gained over the years, you you're able to make some big decisions like that you influence as you were saying some big decisions and help going in the right in the right direction for for the company, right? And make those big bets really, right. From from the company's point of view,

Tim Bourguignon 45:26
do you still manage to scratch your own itch and code from time to time,

Emmanuel Bernard 45:31
right as a very distinct track between management and technically, leadership. So I'm a, as you said, in my, in my bio on the Distinguished Engineer, so that's a way to say, managing nobody, but I'm an influencer up to the executives because of that. So you, you go from like, you know, developer, a senior developer principles, you know, Principal disintegration, and there is fellow. So that's your path, and there is an actual link, there is a bridge, it's like a director is equivalent to forgot if it's Distinguished Engineer or something, but there is a bridge. So you know, when you talk to somebody else, or like, yeah, your object or VP or whatever, but you know, I know I'm at the same virtual level as you, which is something coming in. That's interesting from like US companies, they have really tried to run your rationalize those things and have very nice criteria is like, if you want to get promoted, here are the criterias. And you need to meet all of them. It's at least gives a bit of a it's removed the randomness in the writing the promotion, which doesn't mean it's easier, but but at least you've got a path and you can figure stuff out,

Tim Bourguignon 46:44
it makes things at least obvious and you know, what's expected from you. So that's

Emmanuel Bernard 46:47
exactly you can argue after that. So yeah, forgot how you were going into the management. Oh, yeah. So I don't do as much God like, right, right now, for some reason, including that it just had a kid. So it takes a lot of the time. So my way to contribute is, yeah, so I scratch my own itch. Like, you know, if you're, if you feel frustrated, or you're like, when I do this, you know, I could do it better by a small script and whatnot, that's a good sign of, you know, you being on a track to improve things. So, you know, for quite a while I wrote quite a bit a bunch of batch instead of, you know, Java, for example. But, you know, that was my way to also keep scratching some of my itches, to some extent, for qualquer, sairee, came back into into coding, and then back into contributing my view on like, okay, the user experience, we want it to be really good. That's one of the key tenants of, of Walker's. So my way is to say, you know, why do we have these several options? Like, why is it useful, like, like, really nagging people, instead of having a myriad of options or something complicated? So I, it's awesome, I can play the stupid person as I read the doc, and I didn't understand it. And people were helping people to fix it. Or to improve it rather, it's not really fixing. So that's my way. And the other way is the podcast. So it's a it's my, it's funny. So you, you told me the story on how you started the podcast. But the story of how I started my podcast was interesting. So I came back to France after four years. And I was like, you know, I've been living in this Jebus bubble, but I think the Java universe is much bigger. So I need to do what is called in front of a technology, which there is no real good translation, but it's essentially studying what technology is out there. And to know what's, you know, what's coming, right. And I was like, Hey, you know, it's open source. So maybe instead of just looking at just for myself, I could share it. So I look at it, and then I share it in a podcast, and I'll ask a few friends to join that game. And we did. It turns out that doing a podcast is a lot of time, taking a lot of time. But But I don't regret that that's my way to contribute. So it's like, I don't have to contribute code. So let's do the thing for people young. So they want to do code and maybe become like project managers, like you can. My point is that do what you really love and you can stay a good coder, you can move to another company that would appreciate coders more than Pollak, project managers, you know, that's much easier to figure to find these days than it was before. And the other one is contribute. And there are many ways to contribute. It could be called it could be documentation. As I mentioned, it could be helping people answering questions, people's questions, it could be promoting whatever you know, to out there, like podcasts is a really great way to do that. I think it's still under under appreciated as a as a medium. So that's my way to contribute. Awesome.

Tim Bourguignon 50:01
We're closing on the end of the broadcast. But let's stay on this open source and contributing. How would you advise somebody to start stepping into the open source world, you felt into it of you to your job? If you don't have this chance, how would you do it?

Emmanuel Bernard 50:18
So? Yeah, it's a great question. So first of all, I think it's harder than it was when I joined. Because the open source has sort of professionalized itself, there is a lot of big companies who has have full time people working on it. So for you to follow a project. And what's going on is hyper is super deficits issue is super difficult. So the French is slipping up. So it's, it's thunderstone, there is more challenge than there were before. Look at something that you feel you would enjoy. So don't do it just to join the principles, probably there has to also solve a problem for you, and you want to just improve it, right? So you need to have enough of a passion for that project. So that's one. The second one is stick to it. So don't don't go for say, hey, here is one PR, why am I not a committer. And then you move on a PR being a pull request, which is like your way to provide some code, or documentation changes or whatever. So stick to it. Because when we see people, so that's the best for an open source project, like not people coming in providing a great outcome, and then leave, it's great. But somebody has to maintain that code, if you stick around. Like it's a whole new level of contribution here that you're providing, whether you're doing dog or help, or actual code, it doesn't matter so much as taking around. So that's, that's my key advice. So something you like, stick, stick on it. And you know, as long as you like it, of course, but don't, don't go it for the trophy, it could be part of your motivation. But don't, don't do it for the trophy. And I know read ads, or many companies, actually, you know, instead of hiring with a CV with those stupid questions, like, you know, what is your biggest weakness and stuff like that? You've seen the person walking, you've seen the person interacting with the team, it's just an awesome way to to know that this is the person you want.

Tim Bourguignon 52:18
So they agree fully. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Where would be where we were would be the best place to continue the discussion with you? Would it be on Twitter? Yeah, we should we send people I think

Emmanuel Bernard 52:32
Twitter is probably the best. So I hit instant message. Sorry for another tangent. But I'm really fighting teams to not go into Hey, let's all communicate on slack. Because you know, you go off on a PTO for a day and you come back and you have no idea what has been talked about. So you can have those communication. But come back to email. I know it looks boring, but people can read them at their own pace and own time. Or even write adoption references. Right? Anyway, so Twitter is okay, too, for me to start a conversation. So it's a manual bailout. So at EWMNULDR, an ELD. And we can start a conversation and you know, maybe move to email or whatever. on it. But I think that's a good, good one. I'm not super active, but I, as in pushing content these days, but I do definitely, you know, keep listening and have done applications on my on my phone. There you go.

Tim Bourguignon 53:32
Anything timely or not that you want to advertise? put in there?

Emmanuel Bernard 53:36
Yeah, what actually, so if it's for new people, you know, Java has this bad reputation of being old. And you know, people move to other languages. But there's been this constant resurrection of Java since I've been there. It's been dead for 15 years, you know, since I've essentially joined the thing. This at the stage right now an interesting resurrection around shifting Java from a just in time compiler into something that is pre compile and start really fast and is much more memory efficient, and is competitive in these cloud style deployment where you scale up by many instances versus one big. Of course, I preached for the, for my own house here with caucus. But it's, I think it's a general trend in Java, this is really changing and re energizing Java, and you probably could contribute a lot of interesting things saying, hey, my mission is to, you know, bring this you know, this technology in Java into these new new universe. That would be Yeah, that's my, my proposal to your to the listeners.

Tim Bourguignon 54:45
Awesome. Thank you very, very much. It's been a fantastic listening to start. Thank

Emmanuel Bernard 54:49
you. Thank you, Tim.

Tim Bourguignon 54:50
And this has been another episode of developer's journey. We will see each other next week, bye. All right, this is Tim from a different time and space with a few comments to make. First, get the most of these developer's journey by subscribing to the podcast with the app of your choice, and get the new episodes automagically, right when the air. The podcast is available on all major platforms. Then, visit our website to find the show notes with all the links mentioned by our guests, the advices they gave us, their book, references and so on. And while you're there, use the comments to continue the discussion with our guests or with me, or reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn. Then a big big THANK YOU to the generous Patreon donors that help me pay the hosting bills. If you have a few coins to spare, please consider a small monthly donation. Every pledge, however small counts. Finally, please do someone a favor, tell them about the show today and help them on their journey.