Observability 101

Second in our seven part series featuring talks from our recent Geek 23 conference is Kieran Stockdale, DevOps Engineer at Equal Experts, presenting Observability 101.

Ever thought to yourself whilst banging your head on your keyboard after hours spent viewing log files trying to debug a production issue, “I wish I had more information to work out what is going on here?”  Or even, “How did I only find out about this issue from a customer complaining that the service is not responding?”

You have more than likely heard the Observability buzzword by now, but what does it mean and how can it help you and your team?  In this talk, Kieran covers all things Observability.

Geek 23 was a specific event for, and led by, our Equal Experts community.  Speakers gave talks on a range of topics including service design, developer experience, operability, leadership, distributed systems, testing, large language models, DevOps, mob programming and microservices.

Getting our geek on at the Equal Experts Geek 23 conference

As a global network of expert consultants, Equal Experts is always keen to explore new ways of sharing expertise and learning so as to stay up to date and support our customers with innovative business solutions. This year we’ve started a new initiative, Geek – a specific event for, and led by, our Equal Experts community. Here’s why:

Why geeking out is so important

Geek 23 saw twelve speakers deliver expert talks on a range of important technology areas including service design, developer experience, operability, leadership, distributed systems, testing, large language models, DevOps, mob programming and microservices.

Why did we do it? Our technical community at Equal Experts is vast and prolific, but it rarely assembles en masse. Even before the Covid-19 Pandemic, it had been several years since we last held a large-scale, face-to-face event explicitly targeted at the technical members of our network. The goal was to support people to widen their network and context as they learned together and expanded their expertise. Geek 23  was the perfect opportunity.

How we embraced our inner geek

Geek 23 started life as a spin-off from our global annual conference, which saw our largest gathering of experts ever in 2023. We knew we had a rich testing ground at the conference, so we ran a symposium to gauge appetite for a specialist conference in 2024. 

The plan was to run a single track of six, thirty minute presentations on a range of topics including design, development, architecture, programming languages, algorithms and tools. We appealed especially to our community of designers, developers, data engineers, data scientists, DevOps and architects. Geek 23 was diverse, inclusive and devoid of any selection bias.  

What happened next surpassed all our expectations.  Our call for speakers was so successful that we ended up changing the format to more than double the number of speakers hosted across two parallel tracks.

The power of trust and tiny improvements

And the upshot of Geek 23? Great talks! Here’s the first in a seven part vlog series where we’ll be releasing each of the talks. Sandwiches, trash and doing the little things right is a fabulous listen, presented by Munish Malik, Lead Product Consultant and Coach at Equal Experts. Click through to hear about the immeasurable value of building trust and human connection, the power of little habits and why we don’t need a dragon slayer (hero doing all the brave stuff) in our teams.

Munish reminds us that successful transformations stem from trust. When we try to embed behavioural or process change too quickly, without first establishing trust, there is always a natural resistance. Conversely, when you have trust, change happens without the need to force it. Instead, transformation starts working in a pull mode with the team reaching out to the coach precisely because they see what’s possible, and are motivated to learn new and better ways of working. 

Likewise, there’s a lot to be said for embracing your inner geek and paying attention to the detail. It’s very easy to ignore the impact of tiny improvements and write them off as boring, especially when there are fancy presentations to watch, or large-scale, top-down transformations to get to grips with. It doesn’t take much for an organisation to get distracted by a dragon slayer. By comparison, a 1% improvement daily can go by unnoticed, but it’s these daily habits that amount to big changes over time.

Look out for the next in our series!


Geek 23’s limited edition speaker t-shirts and laptop computer stickers really added to the great feel of the day!