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Do what matters, not what’s shiny and new

Engineering Manager, Intercom

Brian Scanlan

@brian_scanlan

When considering the next improvement in your infrastructure, it’s easy to forget that significant business value can be created by making unglamorous changes that introduce no new technologies or involve potentially hazardous upgrades.

It can be more interesting to get sidetracked into building something new that minimises technical trade-offs and is a good fit for solving the problem to hand. However, there’s a lot to be said for choosing boring technology and iterating on top of pre-existing institutional knowledge.

Here’s a recent talk I gave at an Inside Intercom Engineering event about migrating Intercom’s customer data stored in MongoDB databases from a third party provider to self-managed infrastructure hosted inside Amazon EC2. Not only does the talk feature liberal use of emojis and hand-drawn diagrams, it also shows how a relatively drab data migration significantly improved both our bottom line and security posture – both of which definitely matter.

Sound interesting? We’re hiring for a range of engineering roles.