While writing PR.FAQs for my projects I keep doing, “this project does x and y and z.” Basically, bundling too many things into a single thing. This results in lack of focus and projects that are not connected to each other but if you squint it looks like they are.
For example, I wanted to combine DevOps, Kubernetes and Serverless. While seemingly related in that they all are Cloud based the similarities stop quickly and optimizing the offering to deliver consistently and reliably fails fast. Providing services for DevOps can entail all sorts of things from Android, iOS, Cloud, Databases, etc. Really too much for any one person or company to necessarily get good at. Kubernetes and Serverless while related in terms of getting code running on a server somewhere has another set of issues. You can learn Kubernetes for the different Cloud providers but then Serverless is difficult because you have to figure out what Serverless platform you want to use. Optimizing delivery of Kubernetes problems is much much different than optimizing delivery of Serverless offerings.
I’ve had mentors and people tell me that doing too many things like this is unproductive. Obviously, I didn’t listen to them because I am special… But simplicity of offering matters. For all the complexity that Stripe handles and their seemingly endless products their API is simple. All their products are build into a consistent whole which is take payments on the Internet.
So as much as I wanted opsZero to do multiple things I do not think a brand can be made to handle multiple things. People need a brand to do exactly one thing for them. A job to be done. A business is a “person” after all. It just does the same task a person would do themselves but as a repeatable entity that does it for n people.
The lesson learned is that a company, as Peter Drucker noted, exists to exploit an opportunity. And a business that is simple and easy to understand from the outside looking in, is better at exploiting opportunities than a company that tries to do too many things.
So how does this affect what I’m doing? By having everything combined into one it was providing to be difficult to hire. How do you hire for a plumber and ice cream shop built into one? I’m now looking at every business as a machine. A machine that does a single thing well with different people working on the different parts with a singular metric to optimize around. My goal is as I go through building the machine I will be able to step back from each piece going from contributor, to manager, to owner delegating responsibility.