Episode Summary

Corey and Mike are back at it again for another gander behind the cloud and to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Last Week in AWS, and the third year anniversary of The Duckbill Group. Corey and Mike regale in the successes of both, and let themselves ponder as they look back on their business adventures. Mike and Corey talk about the nature of the founder relationship, though they aren’t founders in the current sense of the word. The preferred vernacular for them is “business partners.” As partners they’ve navigated the management and ownership challenges of running a company and having such a strong media presence. The niche role that Duckbill has filled is particular, and requires peculiar people. Tune in for Mike and Corey’s reflections!

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

About Mike and Corey 
Corey is the Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group. Corey’s unique brand of snark combines with a deep understanding of AWS’s offerings, unlocking a level of insight that’s both penetrating and hilarious. He lives in San Francisco with his spouse and daughters.

Beside his duties as The Duckbill Group’s CEO, Mike is the author of O’Reilly’s Practical Monitoring, and previously wrote the Monitoring Weekly newsletter and hosted the Real World DevOps podcast. He was previously a DevOps Engineer for companies such as Taos Consulting, Peak Hosting, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and many more. Mike is originally from Knoxville, TN (Go Vols!) and currently resides in Portland, OR.
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Corey: Well, hello there, Mike, how are you?

Mike: Hello, Corey, I’m doing just fine. How are you doing?

Corey: Well, I’m preparing for the celebration because as of the time that we’re recording this, which is in March of the Year of Our Lord 2022—you know where war is beginning—this is the about to be fifth anniversary of Last Year in AWS.

Mike: Well, congratulations. That’s pretty awesome.

Corey: Well, thank you. Congratulations to you, too, which is the best part because basically, we were independent from each other at the time, but I was basically drafting along behind a lot of things you were doing at your consultancy? Aster Labs.

Mike: Yeah. And you know what, this is actually the fifth anniversary of Monitoring Weekly, which I used to run, and now run by Jason Dixon. And you started Last Week in AWS week after mine.

Corey: It still amazes me that it worked as well as it did. And honestly, it’s easy to sit here and look back at this and go, “Oh, yeah. I had this master plan, this great idea that thing was going to turn into.” And the honest to God truth is, I had metrics in place that I was from worrying that I wasn’t going to hit them in the six weeks initially, of, “Okay, great. That’s how I started turning this thing down.” Because I didn’t want to wind up beholden to writing something that no one was reading.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. And now there’s 30,000 people on the list. So, that’s pretty awesome.

Corey: And I thought—for a little backstory—then kicked it around for a couple years as a side project; it made, you know, beer money, but it wasn’t something that was driving significant revenue itself. It was basically my marketing efforts for my consulting work.

Mike: Yeah. And speaking of which, there is Duckbill Group’s our consultancy, its anniversary is this week, too. And so that’s three years this week.

Corey: Right around this time of year is when everything happens. I feel like because generally speaking in our industry, Q1 is a little slower than, you know, the frantic pace of Q4, it’s, “All right, whew. Thank God. The holidays are over, re:Invent is over, et cetera. What are we going to do now? Let’s make some bullshit.”

Mike: [laugh]. What are we going to do now? Absolutely nothing.

Corey: Right. Then it’s like, “Let’s write some newsletters and start some companies and do some other stuff.” And it’s fine because I paid you to handle the rebrand, once I got really serious about not taking a job and doubling down on this and seeing what was going to happen. It was time for me to stop, you know, using these crappy WYSIWYG editor things to put up landing pages and actually build a real website that other people could maintain. And managing that project is not the sort of thing that I’m good at because it requires an attention span that exceeds 40 seconds.

So, having you come in to do this as a consultant was valuable. And halfway through, we decided that what we’re going to do is join forces. But you know, Mike, I never got a refund for that. Like, you didn’t technically complete the project as a consultant.

Mike: [laugh]. Well, you know, what, come get it.

Corey: Oh, right. Yeah, that’s why you moved to Portland.

Mike: Right? Yeah, I just totally skipped on payment.

Corey: The first week that we started this, you moved to Portland specifically to avoid payment. That never occurred to me. That was the reason you did it. But here we are.

Mike: [laugh] moving the same week you start a company, seems like a really bad idea. It was a bad idea.

Corey: Well, I went independent, and then two weeks and found out that we were expecting our first child. I wouldn’t recommend that either.

Mike: Yeah. [laugh].

Corey: Had I known at the time, I wouldn’t have done it. Sorry. I would not have started the company; I still would have had the child.

Mike: [laugh].

Corey: You’re not allowed to say that. It—yeah. “Oh, yeah. Looking at my kid, I realized I don’t actually like any of them, and wish I hadn’t had them.” I mean, people say it, but not, you know, good people.

Mike: [laugh]. Right?

Corey: It would have been great to be able to have, you know, a parental leave package. But here we are.

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: So, it was interesting going through the process of this. And one thing I think is not necessarily particularly well understood by basically anyone is the nature of—well, first, the founder relationship here, which is weird founder is sort of a term of art that we’ve sort of stolen from startup world. But we’re not founders in the sense that people often mean that. I mean, we are, but we aren’t. When we talk about it between us, we always refer to the term business partner.

Mike: Right. And that was always sort of an intentional decision on our part, to basically get away from the idea that we are this, sort of, venture-backed founders that everyone thinks about because we aren’t. We’re really thinking about this in the sense of, [laugh] rather than a ten-year commitment, I really think that we’re going to be business partners for 20, 25, 30-plus years. And at that point—

Corey: Assuming one of us doesn’t kill the other and a fit of pique, yeah.

Mike: Right. Like, you and I were talking about a thing a while back, where I was reading some letters from, I want to say it was Henry Ford to his business partner, where they had been business partners for a very long time, and they were writing to each other just about this lengthy partnership. And it’s like, you know, that sort of thing doesn’t really happen anymore. When you take on a co-founder for your startup, you’re really making about a seven to ten-year commitment, and afterward they tend to go their own ways.

Corey: Yeah, it becomes a really weird thing where you’re trying to juggle and solve for a whole bunch of different outcomes, and there are these services out there that do, oh, co-founder speed dating. I can’t fathom that because it’s in many ways, it is like a marriage. You are creating a legal entity together—depending on how you’re structured, which in almost every case is true—in our particular case, as a partnership, we are each ownership and liability are inseparable the way we are currently structured, which means, “Hey, can we get equity?” It’s like, “That depends. You want to be liable for my bullshit?” The answer is generally not.

Mike: Yeah, there are probably some days that you and I see more of each other than you see your wife.

Corey: Oh, absolutely. It’s one of those areas where just whatever it is you’re working on, you’ve got to spend time focusing on and diving into these various problems. And again, my wife has her own career; there are times where she’s heads-down on something too, and I don’t talk to her for ages. But there are very few times in my life where I just don’t really think about work for extended periods of time, given the fact that half of our businesses media, and at the moment, all that content is coming from me and that has been an interesting and weird problem to have to solve for. Because what I think people don’t understand is that our business is more or less a—I want to say beast with two backs, but that’s slang for fucking, so no it is effectively a double-sided entity because on the one hand, we have a consulting side, and on the other, we are immediate company.

And it’s a flywheel; each one of those benefits the other directly, but it means that we have some very interesting management challenges and ownership challenges and how we view the structure of this company that I’m looking at other companies and just feeling jealous. It’s like, “So, what does your company do?” “Oh, we make socks.” Like, “It must be wonderful. Just wonderful to do that.”

Mike: [laugh]. Must be fucking nice.

Corey: Exactly. The problem I keep smacking into is that it’s weird because there are aspects of what we do that look a lot like a media company, aspects that we do that look a lot like a consulting company, but there are very strange nuances to our particular company and business that don’t really look like most anything else.

Mike: What do you think the biggest one is?

Corey: Well, biggest is an interesting question, but I know that one of the ones that I think always confounds people is given that we work with money and help companies save money—and we want to do this in an ethical, reasonable way—we’re pathologically averse to both conflicts of interest and the perception of conflicts of interest. So, as a result, for us, we have no industry partners in this space. We partner with no one. And it turns out that in almost any other niche in all of technology, that’s one of the dumbest things you can do. Early on I—

Mike: Yeah, it’s completely unheard of.

Corey: Right. Early on, I wound up doing a quick security assessment for someone who came by and asked for a favor, and, “Sure why not?” And as I mentioning that in the story, “Oh, yeah, we have no partners in this space.” It—realized and wait, and we’re talking about security, the charitable interpretation is that I’m naive. The worst interpretation is that I’m such a reckless lunatic that no company wants to come within 300 miles of me.

Mike: Yeah, making that decision to not have partners, it’s caused a few downsides. Like, one of the biggest ones is, we don’t get referrals from other companies, we’re certainly not in the AWS Partner Network, so no business from there. And normally, how a consulting company works is you have relationships with a bunch of vendors who have relationships with the kinds of customers you want, and you provide a service through them, and you each kind of take a cut. And we just don’t do that, which means an entire commonly-used sales channel is just gone. And right away, that’s a bit of a challenge for a fledgling company.

Corey: I did talk to some folks very early on before we had that firm separation lined up because it was—if you think about it, sure, why not? Talking to some company that does reseller introductions, would I be willing to give them a percentage of the fee I charge if they introduced me to a client? Absolutely. But everyone was more or less looking for me to refer customers to them.

It’s like one of those old networking groups. BNI is the one I remember from 20-some-odd-years ago, where it was a bunch of business owners networking with each other, and more or less what it really turned into was a bunch of small business owners trying to sell other small business owners things, and not getting a whole lot of value for it. No one was buying; everyone was selling. And that is sort of what it felt like. Every time I’ve tried to have a conversation with a third-party, back in my independent days, it was always a distraction from doing the rest of what the business was supposed to be. And I think I only had one or two deals actually go through after countless amounts of time, effort and work spent just negotiating all of the nuances of that stuff. And it’s just the hell with it.

Mike: Yeah. What do you think the most interesting challenge on the media side has been?

Corey: The—[sigh] well, I don’t know if I call it most interesting is sort of the most top-of-mind. Right now, all the content flows through me. And I don’t believe that I am this beautiful, bespoke unicorn that nothing else could ever do any aspect of it. There has to be a way to wind up having more voices that aren’t just mine as a part of media. I think that is the right answer for not just us, but for the industry as well.

Like, the world does not necessarily to hear ever-increasing amounts of Corey. They could benefit from hearing differing perspectives, people who are less asshole-ian in some ways. So, that’s part of it. The other is that compared to most traditional media companies, we look like something very different. We’re a lot more analyst-y than that.

Okay, great. So, you look at analyst firms; well, we’re also a lot more, well, blindingly sarcastic for one, but we also have the engineering background. It is a weird amalgamation of different personas that make this whole thing possible. Ironically, and kind of strangely, the closest that you find people with this overlap, a specific skill set is frequently living somewhere in developer relations, or DevRel, or DevRelopers.

Mike: Yeah, when you look at other media companies, like, you think of the Morning Brew, or The Hustle, those are business media, and they’re kind of like very new sorts of media, in that they’re independent; they’re not a journalistic entity, like, say, Business Insider is. And Business Insider is interesting because it’s sort of a mixture of opinion and journalism—and they call it journalism depending on whos writing. And for companies like Morning Brew and The Hustle, it’s kind of news, but it’s not really because it’s not being written by journalists, necessarily. It’s being written by people who come out of business school.

Corey: And no disrespect to my actual media brethren, as well, but let’s be very realistic with ourselves for a second here; I am not a journalist. We’re to the point so much of my personalities inherent and everything I write, if we didn’t have bylines on the articles that we have on our blog, you could still tell which ones I’ve written—

Mike: Right.

Corey: —pretty easily. And a lot of the other media publications out there don’t have a particular author byline on it. Sure they have personality, but if someone decides to leave the company and someone else has to take their role, there’s not a distinct tonal shift in the entire media enterprise coming out the way that there would be.

Mike: Here. Yeah, like Morning Brew I think is a really interesting example of that because they’ve got dozens of people writing the publications and you can’t tell who’s writing what because of just the way that they do that. And by contrast, you have, like, Bloomberg, you know, when Matt Levine is writing something. It’s pretty fucking obvious.

Corey: Oh, yes.

Mike: And you read that because you’re there to read Matt Levine. And like, screw everything else about Bloomberg; you don’t care. Like, you’re there for Matt. And that’s an interesting, like, other angle of it. So, I think you’re right that one of the interesting challenges we’ve had has been the shift from how do we grow the media beyond it just being The Corey Quinn Show, and into promoting other people as well? That’s a hard problem.

Corey: And that’s part of the issue is the question, well, do we need to? Should we? Is it the right thing to do? And it gets down to what is the goal here longer-term? Because we don’t have external investors; we’re not trying to generate a return for VCs that want 100x thing.

It’s more or less a lifestyle company in many respects, and people like use that term disparagingly, but here we are. It’s the kind of environment where I like what we do; I mostly like the pace of it, though, I will say that the content mill that I’m on is a little bit of a challenge, like, content treadmill, let’s be clear here. We’re not a content mill just throwing crap over the wall. I put out a lot of content in the course of a given week. And some of its reused: A blog post then becomes a newsletter then becomes a podcast episode. Great, that’s three for the price of one.

But I do strive, above all else, not to waste the audience’s time.

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: That is key. So, it’s not just I’m going to crank things out. Which means it needs to be not just content, but good content. And I can’t sit here five days a week and just churn out content because I’m going to run out of ideas real freaking quick. There needs to be enough slack for me to break things, to play with things, to encounter problems, to talk to customers, to do things on that side of the world that are helpful.

Plus, of course, I do like my sojourns into the consulting business, which doesn’t need me on a day-to-day basis, but it you know, kind of behooves me to keep my finger on the pulse of what customers are experiencing. So, there’s just a lot of things that tie into each other and it becomes a bit of an ongoing question. Let me invert it for you. What’s it like more or less having what amounts to, like, the marketing arm of the consultancy you’re the CEO of, but that marketing arm looks basically psychotic to anyone you even begin to explain it to.

Mike: Yeah, it’s pretty interesting because you go into in a meeting, like, sales meetings, and you’ll be talking to, like, the CTO of a Fortune 100 who will start off the call by saying, “Oh, man, I love Corey. He’s great.” “Okay, this is kind of a weird conversation to get started with. Aren’t you worth, like, eleventy-billion dollars and, like, you’re here for Corey? Really?”

So, it kind of took some getting used to of, like, even in very large companies with very high-level people, they’re still really personality and relationship-driven. So, that was interesting. But one of the biggest challenges has been how do we continue to leverage the stuff that you put out through Last Week in AWS to assist that consulting arm? And that’s always been a bit of a difficulty because things, like, where do you put the content that talks about cost management? Does it go on Last Week in AWS? Does it go on the Duckbill Group blog? Does it go on both?

And like, that’s a very tactical discussion that actually has very large ramifications. And then, like, is there a different tone to the content we put on Duckbill Group versus Last Week in AWS? And we think about both of them in terms of it’s all media. But we’re really running one very large media company and a sliver of a smaller one. So, that’s been interesting.

Corey: It’s still wild to me that this interplay works as well as it does. Now, it is not scalable in the way that a venture-backed SaaS company is scalable.

Mike: Right. And man, I wouldn’t ever want it to be. It’s hard enough running to small companies; I can’t imagine running to large companies.

Corey: That just strikes me as something that would be a constant and annoying study in trade-offs.

Mike: Right? Yeah, absolutely. [laugh]. I completely agree. I enjoy running to small companies.

Corey: Let’s be clear, they are technically one company. And then there’s always the question as well of what else should we do? It’s easy to consider a scenario where we start doing other lines of business as well, but focus is kind of important, and—

Mike: We tried that SaaS company for a bit. We tried to launch a cost optimization SaaS, and realize that the only thing people wanted was a cheaper Cloudability, and we don’t want to be in that business. And ultimately realized that there’s really no viable market problems to solve with cost optimization SaaS. So, should we build a SaaS at all? And ultimately shut it down just couple months later.

Corey: Yeah, we have internal tooling that increasingly looks SaaS-like, but it’s the stuff that we wanted to build and thought that we needed to build, not the stuff that the industry thinks that they want. I’m a big believer in not having to educate your market about what the problem is and then you can sell them something because that is a heavier lift. What I wanted to build and we have built internally is the… I think of it as power tools. The things that a professional would use on these problems, had you the good sense to pay them. Similar to the way that I have a subscription to Photoshop. Does that mean that I look, like, a professional artist? No. My art is crap, but it looks like I’m using a tool that a professional would use had I had the sense to pay them.

Mike: Yeah. But man, recurring revenue is so attractive. I would love to have a SaaS of some sort. I just can’t think what it’d be. Now, of course, we could always do recurring revenue with our consulting or with the media, but again, I still don’t know what I do with it.

Corey: Right. Part of the challenge, too, is what is the monetization model? Because the media side is significantly profitable, and the reason behind that, which is—it’s an outlier in the world of media because media tends to run on fairly thin margins for a variety of reasons. The particular audience that was created almost by accident for all of Last Week in AWS has been folks who are active and relatively senior in the cloud economy, such as it is. So, SaaS companies selling B2B into this space, well, if one lead becomes a prospect becomes a customer, it pays for everything that they could sponsor for what we do here for a decade.

So, the long-term value of a customer is enormous. And because of this speaks directly to that audience, which is hard to reach through traditional means, that is—I believe, at least—why this is done as well as it had. If we changed things just slightly; if we were instead talking about people who were brand new to tech, great. There’s a tremendous need there; there’s tremendous value there, but someone who has just gotten out of a boot camp, or just gotten into a boot camp, or is considering going to a boot camp, or is graduate with a CS degree, whatever of the myriad paths people take, is not perceived as being particularly valuable to many of those sponsors in the short to medium term. That’s where I’m thinking about this.

Mike: I mean, there’s a reason why the larger media publications that aren’t us ask about how much of your audience has purchasing power and to what degree. Because they’re really trying to aim their sponsorships that people that can buy something.

Corey: We did a reader survey, I haven’t formalized the results and put it out there, but something like 40% of our audience is varying flavors of management.

Mike: Right. Yeah. And the way that we do our media, it’s all sponsorship supported, but there are other ways that you could do media. Like, I read a newsletter called The Generalist—I think it’s a great newsletter, highly recommend it—and it’s a paid newsletter. So, the reader is paying for a subscription to it. And I think those are an interesting model, but it’s a very different model than sponsorship supported. It’s not good or bad, it’s just really different. And it’s further super different from doing a donation-supported model, like say Patreon.

Corey: The challenge that I always had with going down that path—again, zero disrespect to anyone who does, but the way that I thought about it was that we have always prided ourselves on the consulting side of not being the cheapest option, ever. If we are, there’s something very wrong afoot. There are ways you can wind up saving money in all kinds of different ways to get to an outcome, but if you come to us for the problems that we solve, you get it done right. It just so happens that getting it done right in the context of saving money in AWS bills means that in the fullness of time, you have turned a larger profit on the engagement than going a different path would have, but we do charge healthy rates because the value we provide is worth it for one, and for another—let’s be very clear—we do no implementation. All we provide is advice. And the best way to make sure that advice gets ignored is to give it away for cheap or free.

Mike: Yeah. That does have an impact on media too, though because if you’re putting content out for free, such as we are, not everyone will take it seriously and not everyone will read it. Like, this is an interesting aspect of behavior of people in that if you’re paying for something, you’re more likely to use it.

Corey: Yes and no. I pay for Ben Thompson’s Stratechery.

Mike: Another great one.

Corey: Yeah, it’s 100 bucks a year. And I read maybe, I don’t know, five or six issues a year of it, even though it comes out something like, what, four times a week, five times a week. That man is a machine when he writes this, and it’s always annoying when he winds up putting something, “I’m dreadfully sorry. I was sick yesterday and couldn’t write it as promised. I will add another issue on to the end of everyone’s subscription.” And its, “Buddy, what are you doing? First, the only customer sitting there with a counter on how many coming in is the worst fucking customer you [laugh] you don’t want?” The value I get from it is not commensurate with the volume I get from it. And that’s part of it.

Mike: Yeah, that’s a great point, I would still read it. Even if it only came out monthly.

Corey: I only read a few of them that are relevant to certain topics because he writes so much. And I subscribe to a whole bunch of print publications, and a lot of the same theory applies. So, at least in my own experience, I don’t find that because I’m paying for an article or I got this article for free, that it in any way meaningfully changes what it is that I’m doing. I’m still going to wait on its own merits. And maybe I’m weird. Maybe this is where I deviate from our audience.

Mike: Yeah, maybe. I mean, I have quite the opposite experience, I find that if I pay for something, I’m more likely to pay attention to it and more likely to use it. I guess it just sort of further highlights a truism of all business in that you are not necessarily your customer. So, what that means is, a lot of people will think about only creating something that they would like. And that might be a really helpful way to get started, but that’s not a helpful way to continue to grow because you are not necessarily your reader. Like, there are other people that think and behave differently than you do, so what does they want? And that’s always pretty interesting. Like, Corey, I think you’ve been public that you’re not a big listener of podcasts, but you put out two podcasts.

Corey: I learn by reading but it turns out that not everyone is like me, and that’s okay.

Mike: Right.

Corey: But getting back to the idea of monetizing and whatnot, I’ve thought of the idea of doing a membership-based newsletter but everything else I do—because of the sponsor ads and whatnot—benefits from having a larger audience that is helpful. People have often suggested I would subscribe just to not have any sponsor ads in it. And one, I do enjoy working with the sponsors that we have and I like putting my own spin on things that they are selling. That makes it fun for me, so there’s value to it, first off. Secondly, let’s be clear that people tend to overlook this an awful lot that if The New York Times—which they experimented with years ago—offered a higher dollar subscription [unintelligible 00:25:16] where there are no ads in it, I’d jump at it. A lot of people would.

But the problem is that then their narrative becomes, all right, so the ads are now only going to be seen by people who are either not engaged enough to pay it, or for whom the money is a burden that they don’t want to take on. You are devaluing your entire advertiser proposition by doing that. So, anything membership or subscription-driven would have to be something else entirely.

Mike: Right. Yeah. One of the things that I actually advise people when they first get started is to not go sponsorship-supported, and instead go reader-supported right from the very beginning because once you get on the sponsorship train is hard to get off. And it’s not that a sponsorship models a bad model, not at all; like, our entire business is built on it. But you build a different sort of business when you go reader-supported, and to switch the business model entirely, can really break things.

I think for most people who are trying to build something that is just them, they’re out trying to build something way bigger, a reader-supported publication can do quite well. It’s not hard to get, say, a quarter-million a year off of being reader-supported.

Corey: The hard part is where you start from. If I were to launch a membership-based newsletter today, you’re absolutely right, it would be pretty easy for me to get to that level of revenue, just based on the audience I built. When I started Last Week in AWS five years ago this month, I had none of that. I had given a bunch of conference talks and I had scraped together almost 2000 Twitter followers over the course of seven years that my account had been around. And no one had really heard of me outside of a very narrow DevOps niche.

And that meant that if I did that, great. What I feared would happen with Last Week in AWS is what would happen back that if I’d done it sponsorship only, where I have a couple of people sign up and they’re both blood relatives. And that’s it. And feels it would die and wither on the vine. There is an argument for doing other things.

Like, one thing I was always opposed to was the idea of putting a Patreon link, “If you like this, like, here’s a tip jar,” equivalent. It feels like it cuts against the value proposition of this is a high-level, white-glove consulting services, and there’s a tip jar on the counter. It just it feels dissonant to me.

Mike: Even for media work, I think that Patreon devalues the value of their work.

Corey: It always is challenging to me when you see people trying to be authoritative in a certain area of business—I’m talking business, not necessarily a bunch of things that are not directly tied to this. I support a bunch of people on Patreon. One of them, Martin, is fantastic @NuclearAnthro on Twitter. He is a PhD candidate looking into nuclear semiotics and the anthropology of how society has engaged with the evolution of the nuclear age. And fascinating stuff.

Yeah, there is not a lot of industry demand at the moment for what he is working on and what he is studying, so I don’t devalue anything he says because I’m supporting him on Patreon for that. But an industry where it’s yes, like, this is the cloud. The big lie is that it runs on other people’s computers. The reality is it runs on money. Great.

Being able to play in those waters, but also the best option is basically you know, digital panhandling doesn’t really strike me as the right answer. It devalues the media, so how good could you possibly be? If you’re asking me for ten bucks?

Mike: Yeah, it’s pretty incongruent.

Corey: And it cuts against one of my big philosophies, which is work for free before you work for cheap. And not for nothing, I’m not a huge fan of working for free, given the option.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Corey, you’ve had five years of Last Week in AWS. What are you looking forward to over the next five years?

Corey: That’s a really good question. People are often saying, “Oh, you should expand to other cloud providers.” And it’s yeah, the reason that Last Week in AWS works is because I’m intimately familiar with what AWS is building. Not because I’m inside info but because I pick the things up, and I use them, and I talk to customers, and I’ve run large-scale things in production on top of it. And the other cloud providers, though they are doing very interesting things, I don’t have that level of insight and experience to it, and there are only so many hours in the day.

So, I am thrilled to explore something like that, maybe, but I’m not going to be the person writing it and I’m not sure it needs to be us that does it. There’s also the open question of most things do not have nearly the volume of news to sort through that the AWS ecosystem does. So, we’re doing expansion into video as an experiment. We’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to not being trapped in a global [panini 00:30:02] for the next five years, so I can go and talk to people in person and get on stages and make a jackass out of myself and do ever-increasing ridiculous stunts in Seattle and travel around to places that aren’t my own house. That’s something that going to be a lot of fun as well.

Mike: Man, sometime in the next five years, I’d love to do an AWS conference of our own. Something to compete with re:Invent.

Corey: So, there are so many snarky sarcastic things I could say—

Mike: Right?

Corey: —about competing with re:Invent, but, yeah.

Mike: I mean, it’s not that hard right? [laugh].

Corey: No. Now. But people are like, “Oh, Amazon’s going to compete with me.” It’s like, “Well, what’s it matter? They’re bad at it.” It becomes okay. It’s, “Oh, no, we built a service and we’re worried that Amazon is going to build them for this the Amazon Basics version of it.” Please.

Mike: [laugh]. Yeah.

Corey: What about you? What is what are you seeing for consulting?

Mike: Man, for consulting I… I really want to see us grow the influence, grow more of the sorts of customers we’re talking to, and the ways that we can support them. So, we’re three years in our consulting, and I think over the next three years, I’d really like to create some services around ongoing cloud finance support. I know a lot of companies are starting to dedicate people, and entire teams in some cases, to managing cloud finance, and that could be pretty interesting for us. Like we have those skill sets that a lot of companies want, but can’t afford to hire full time. And maybe we could help there. So, I’d love to do something like that over the next three years.

Corey: It’s always a pleasure to catch up with you on these monthly chats.

Mike: Yes, it is.

Corey: If you’re listening to this, do me a favor and shoot me an email Corey at lastweekinaws.com and let me know. There are lies, damned lies, and podcast statistics. I always wonder, is anyone actually listening to this?

And, again, I am thrilled to continue evolving these discussions in a variety of different ways. Just let me know you’re out there. I’m always curious to see how these things play out. This is one of those gated-access podcasts as opposed to one going out to the entire world. This will inform what we do in the future when it comes to content for folks who are interested in supporting us beyond just reading it and saying mean things on Twitter.

Mike: Well, Corey has been a pleasure. I’ll see you next month.

Corey: Look forward to it. I’ll probably talk to you before then, but we’ll see.

Mike: [laugh].
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