In this Meet the Team profile, we chat with Luke Tillman, located in Denver, Colorado, on what it’s like to be a front-end engineer on the platform team. Luke, who is well-versed in open-sourcing, joined Chronosphere and was actually one of the first hires on the UI team. Catch up on the whole chat with Chris Ward. Below are a few highlights.
What do you do at Chronosphere?
I’m a front-end engineer – a UI engineer – on the platform team. So, I work on our cloud product, but on the front end. We have a handful of other folks that also do UI work – they aren’t full-time front-end or UI engineers, but most of the UI folks work on the platform on the cloud.
What were some of the reasons you decided to come to Chronosphere?
I was one of the first two UI engineers hired. There were two things. When I started looking at Chronosphere, one aspect that jumped out at me immediately was the chance to work with cool distributed systems tech again. I have a little bit of background there. When I was looking at M3, our open source database that the tech is built around, it reminded me a lot of Cassandra – which is something that I worked with at a previous company.
The biggest reason that I ended up joining was the people. When I interviewed, everybody was just super kind and empathetic and it was really obvious even in the interview process. It gave me a chance to work with Sterling – the head of our UX who I adore, and we worked together at a previous company. The people are really what drew me and what keeps me around even a year and a half later.
What did you do before coming to Chronosphere?
I’ve been in tech for about twenty years now. I guess that dates me. I started out more full-stack, and spent a bunch of time in the . NET space. I wrote a lot of C# in my early days.
I kind of burned out on tech in my twenties, and three years in my late twenties I just quit tech completely. I was a bartender for three years which was actually a lot of fun.
Most recently, I was at a company called DataStax, where I worked on all things Apache Cassandra-related. That was fun.
I also joined DevRel. I was a developer advocate for the first three years. It was something I had never done before. I got to go around and travel, give talks, and teach which I really enjoyed. I eventually went back to engineering full-time.
What is the most interesting technical challenge that Chronosphere is solving?
It has to do with the scale of data that our customers are working with. Working with distributed databases, there’s a certain set of challenges that you don’t have unless you’re working at a bigger scale that some of these technologies solve. When you’re dealing with a huge scale of data, we think about things like: “How do you present a huge volume of data in a meaningful way?” It gets more challenging when you’re dealing with a scale that some of our customers have – or even making sure that things in the front-end perform. And that’s something you don’t get to do at every job.
What are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?
I’m on a new dashboard work stream that has been rolling for a little while. I’m doing most of my work right now in an open source project called Perses – where we’re building a dashboarding solution. It’s a lot of fun, and an opportunity to work in open source again. I’m having a good time building dashboarding from scratch.
What’s a fun fact about you that nobody would guess?
A friend of mine from grade school moved out here to Denver before I did and really got into the craft brewing scene and wanted to open his own brewery. I got the chance to invest a teeny tiny bit of money, so I own a little bit of a craft brewery here in Denver – called Downhill Brewing.
What cool new tool are you trying out that you want to tell everyone about?
There is this project called Cue Lang. It’s a really interesting way of defining contracts for things – like our configuration of APIs. You can define structures, and get all sorts of validation and code generations for free. It’s a cool little piece of technology that I’ve been playing around with recently.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would be a dog. My wife and I have two and I adore them. I think I would live my best life eating, sleeping and playing. We have two lhasa apsos that have Ewok faces.
Who is someone you’ve considered a role model in your life or career?
I’d say my parents played a huge role at different points and for different reasons. Early on, my Mom is the one who really instilled my work ethic and a love for learning that I still have to this day. She got me reading at a really young age – fiction and things like that. That’s something that I still do every day, before I go to bed.
Later on in life, my dad played a huge role. My Dad’s been a software engineer for about forty years now. He works for Pivotal, in open source projects. He’s been a wealth of knowledge and really helpful at talking through things with me. Tech is a family business for us. My other two brothers have done coding boot camps.
What is a quote that you reflect on that motivates you?
I asked my wife this last night. I don’t really have a quote. If I had a quote, it would probably be from a movie. It would have to be “Runaway!!!” from Monty Python, the Holy Grail.
Listen in to hear Chris and Luke’s entire conversation: