Hello fellow Workshoppers! I’m Mike, (usually) from seat 143.
I’m a southerner from Knoxville, TN (Go Vols!). I relocated to SF a few years ago to become a more interesting person and meet other fascinating people. Well, that and better tech jobs. A little over a year ago, I decided to start my consultancy helping companies improve their application and infrastructure monitoring.
When I’m not working, I enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy, working on old cars (I’m restoring a 1984 BMW 3 series at the moment), playing Forza, and traveling. I love beer, wine, coffee, cigars, and every other vice I should probably be consuming less of. I recently obtained the second level certification for sommelier and first level certification for Cicerone (like a sommelier, but for beer), because collecting credentials I’ll never use is fun and I clearly need a better hobby.
Pitch your product!
You know how your app has performance problems or just straight up goes down—and your customers find out before you do? It’s embarrassing, right? That’s what I solve.
I help companies improve the monitoring of their apps and underlying infrastructure, saving costly engineering time in diagnosing where problems are while getting ahead of the curve, so you’re not finding out about problems from Twitter. Interested in learning more? You can find me at AsterLabs.io.
I’m also the editor of a free email newsletter about app/infrastructure monitoring, Monitoring Weekly. I’m the author of the upcoming O’Reilly book, Practical Monitoring.
As an entrepreneur, what's your main advice for people who'd like to start a business?
I really can't overstate the value of laser-like focus. All those “well, it can’t hurt” that pop in your head? Well, they do--they're distractions. Decide what problem you’re solving and ignore everything that doesn’t directly contribute to solving that problem. You will have to drop some things that seem very important, but trust me: they aren’t. Be ruthless in your focus.
Relatedly, talking about doing the work isn’t doing the work. The muse favors those who show up. Sit down, shut up, and ship it.
Share one of your productivity tips.
I’ll share two because they play off each other so well:
1) I decide the night before what my work will be for the next day. I pick one or two big things (and no more!) and a few smaller things. These all then get put into my calendar (if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen). I leave myself a mid-morning break, lunch break, and mid-afternoon break.
2) I use Hey Focus to lock me out of social media, Slack, email, and a few other things. I’ll run it for a couple of hours at a stretch, forcing me to stay focused on the thing I’m doing.
Do you have a tool that changed your life, that we should check out?
I don’t go looking for new productivity tools, but rather, I adopt new ones only when the benefit is overwhelmingly clear, so I don't often adopt new tools that are gamechangers for me. That said, my most recent adoption was Hey Focus, and I also use the heck out of Fantastical, Evernote, Boomerang, and Grammarly.
How can you help around?
If you’ve got questions about being an independent consultant, building a reliable infrastructure for your SaaS app, or just want to know what the best recipes for biscuits and gravy or sweet tea are, come say hi!
How can the Workshop community help?
As the great philosophers Bill and Ted taught, be excellent to each other.
Follow him on Twitter.
You can also connect on LinkedIn or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.