Charity Majors @mipsytipsy CTO @honeycombio, ex-Parse, Facebook, Linden Lab; cowrote Database Reliability Engineering; loves whiskey, rainbows. I test in production and so do you. 🌈🖤 Jun. 13, 2019 4 min read

alright, now that I've caught up on a week of replies, there is something I need to address.

apparently "lots" of people are "increasingly unhappy" with me and my tweets lately. they didn't like my (or liz's) tone at monitorama, with the word "toxic" increasingly used about me.

I have sat hard with this, y'all.

It would be easier to brush off, but I don't think there's *zero* merit, and I don't want to be the kind of self righteous twat who ignores early warning signs of acquired sociopathy.

So here are my observations and a few considered mea culpas.

on the count of "yelling at people that they are dumb if they don't use honeycomb", I plead technically innocent -- but I can see how reasonable people could interpret it that way.

There was one tweet where it read as though I was shitting on intro talks. I quickly clarified..

.. I was shitting on talks about trash fires, where they held up some godawful snarl of cat vomit and lint proudly, like "GREATEST VOMITOUS MASS, BILLIONS SERVED" with no acknowledgment that it is a horror to support and widely seen as a catastrophe internally.

Not ok.

I regret the misunderstanding, bc I adore a good intro. But this is fundamentally untruthful and leads to propagating dangerous design patterns, bc it "works for $bigco!". 😣

Then there's the question of whether it's ok to mention or criticize competitors, even obliquely.

I actually do not think ok for me to criticize them in public, and I exert so. much. energy. containing myself. Every single goddamn day, here I sit NOT pointing out how eye bulgingly painful your life is. Because it's not classy.

I slip up a smidge. For that I am sorry. 😔

I don't call people stupid just for not using honeycomb. I don't say it, I don't think it. I simply point out the ways honeycomb is the best option when it is. When it's not, I say that too (to the chagrin of my bizfolk).

I never, ever over sell. (I chronically undersell)

Look: I don't have the funding, the sales teams, the marketing teams, the budget to sponsor events and buy swag or wine and dine analysts and bribe^Wsponsor fancy trade pubs.

I don't have teams of engineers to sand down the user experience. I don't even have a single designer!

All I have is eight engineers, a tiny team of people devoted to our survival, and the plain and simple truth: we are better at solving your problems than anything else out there.

Not by a little, by a lot.

That's it. That's the only way we beat the big vendors: when people try us for themselves, and see the difference.

For three years, our sole marketing strategy was "fly charity anywhere willing to listen to how and why our way is better, and convince them to give us a shot."

So yes, I try and keep it classy. But you are literally asking me to voluntarily disarm myself of my one and only advantage: pointing out how and why we are better.

I'm just not gonna do that, kids.

(You do notice they aren't quibbling with me on the merits or the facts, right?)

Which brings me around to that word: "toxic." That's a big, heavy word to throw at someone. Generally reserved for people who repeatedly damage those around them, without repentance or apology.

Is that the right word for me? I certainly hope not. I work hard to apologize when I'm wrong and to change when I hurt people.

I've made a few enemies in tech. I regret a few: even though I never hit first, I do hit back hard. I have improved; I do better these days.

I certainly hope we haven't defined "toxic" down to the point where we throw it at people, particularly women, who dare to be unapologetically outspoken about technology, or insufficiently humble about their work.

That would be a waste of a powerful term for real predators.

There's only one person I have personally labeled toxic in tech. He's the one who runs a slack where he and his cronies paste my tweets and sneer, calling me misogynist and homophobe and a bunch of sub human slurs. They pass around vile rumors about me eagerly and constantly.

Lots of you know and like him. That's fine. I'm not out to get him shunned.

But I can't help but notice that all this talk about my alleged toxicity comes right after, and right out of, the conference he runs.

All I'm saying is, consider your sources..

and maybe don't uncritically spread rumors or damage a person's reputation on the basis of casual gossip.

I *do* have to worry about my reputation. I am too closely associated with the company that many of my dearest rely on to pay rent. So. Please. That is all.


You can follow @mipsytipsy.



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