WebOps: Good prep for becoming a new parent?

I think I’ve said before somewhere that working in the field of web operations prepared me somewhat for being a parent. I thought the other day that I should write down some of this reasoning, because it’s pretty often that I’m reminded of similarities:

High availability

Having redundant infrastructure is WebOps 101. For my kids’ most prized possessions, their sleeping  ‘loveys’ there is no reason to have a SPOF, under any circumstances. We have at least 4 backups for each on any trip that we go on, as well as a couple of trusted stuffed animals who might meet unfortunate fates.

Capacity planning

This applies to both disposable diapers (a.k.a. consumable capacity) and episodes of the few TV shows we allow them to watch, on the Tivo. My daughter, at 3 and a half, knows every detail from every of the 49 episodes of The Backyardigans. Having some of them on ipods and iphones can make a 6 hour drive to L.A. feel like 4, not 12.


Since I’m already used to writing down observations and techniques learned ‘in the field’, then I was totally prepared:

Allspaw Baby Soothing Method, v1

Allspaw Baby Soothing Method, v1

and in case I ever forgot what my most successful swaddling method was:

Architecture and design

It’s unfortunate that I was so sleep-deprived that I never got a photo of the RadioShack remote-control truck that I turned into a cam-driven Moses basket automatic rocker mechanism. But you understand what I’m talking about.

There is one other thing that I learned from working at Flickr which turned out to be useful new parent advice: expect the unexpected, and never rely on past behaviors as an indication of what can happen in the future. They’re kids, not applications. 🙂


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  2. Patrick Angeles   â€˘  

    LOL. This rings so true.

    On the SPOF, we like to use widely available commodity hardware (mom’s t-shirts tied up in a ball) instead of specialized high-performance hardware. This prevents vendor lock-in, and keeps our software licensing fees down.

    Don’t forget about having a practical security implementation (child-proof but not parent-proof access controls, etc.).

    Not sure how old your kids are but you also need to plan for spikes in tantrums around 2-3 years of age.

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