Past Meetup

Metrics Driven Engineering & Running a Virtual Software Company

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NOTE NEW LOCATION! We are back at Pivotal, but in their new offices!

We have two amazing speakers this month, both of whom you can frequently find speaking at national and international conferences.


1. Mike Brittain of Etsy (@mikebrittain ( on Metrics Driven Engineering (45 min)

2. Requests for Expertise (5 min) - Your chance to ask other members for help or advice.

3. Yakov Fain of Farata Systems (@yfain ( on Running a Virtual Software Company, followed by Q&A (1 HR+)

4. After-session hanging out at a nearby bar (TBD).

Talk #1 - Metrics-Driven Engineering

150+ engineers at Etsy deploy code to our production servers more than 30 times a day. We keep this process safe with a suite of unit tests, integration tests, and a large number of application-centric dashboards written by engineers. We capture metrics in Ganglia, Cacti, and Graphite and these metrics from technical aspects like outgoing bandwidth and web server requests per second to business aspects like new registrations and gross sales.

I plan to present an overview of the tools we use for collecting metrics and the code we use to quickly build one-page dashboards for different aspects of our site (e.g. general health, image storage, search infrastructure). The underlying theme is that these tools are not difficult to use, but typically lie in the “operations” domain. At Etsy, we’ve gone to great strides to get engineers excited about contributing to metrics and dashboards, and make it dead simple to do these things quickly so that it doesn’t impact their ability to meet deadlines.


Mike Brittain is the Director of Engineering, Mobile at Etsy in Brooklyn, NY. This talk is more based on his experience as lead of infrastructure teams at Etsy, where he managed the low-level platform teams that focus on enabling Continuous Deployment in an engineering team of over 150 people. The focus of these teams is on developer tools, testing automation, web performance, database access, caching, and site resilience.

Mike has been involved in Internet development for over 13 years as a generalist, with interests frequently bouncing between front-end (client) technologies to back-end database architectures and services. He has put his experience to work over the last seven years leading small development teams at a handful of Internet start-ups in New York City.

Twitter: @mikebrittain (


Talk 2 - Running a virtual software company.

Yakov Fain, is a cofounder of two startups: Farata Systems (IT consultancy) and SuranceBay (a software product company). The first company is "virtual" - no office, freelancers from various countries work either remotely or at the client sites. Besides, the first company is an investor for the second one. Yakov will share his story of switching from being an independent software consultan to a manager of IT shops.He'll talk about the challenges and lesson learned. Then the session wil run as Q/A fireside chat.


Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two startups, but remains technical. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. His book «Java Programming. 24-Hour Trainer» was published by Wrox in 2011. Yakov is Java Champion ( ). Yakov leads Princeton Java Users Group. This year he's a co-authored O’Reilly book "Enterprise Web Development" - the drafts of the book are available at .


Twitter: @yfain (