Hello, Startup : book review

The main reason why I was interested in reading this book is because I saw a youtube video of the author talking at HashiConf’18, I saw that video nearly 2 years later and there were too many things that resonated with my experiences at the time. Yevgeniy Brikman is also the author of “Terraform Up and Running” by O’Reilly, and the founder of Gruntwork the company that created terratest and made it open-source.

I’ve never worked for a startup, but I think I have and had only some of the skills, mindset and knowledge and resilience necessary to work for one. The title “Hello, Startup” with the line “A programmer’s guide to building products, technologies, and teams” was too interesting so I bought it and read it as soon it arrived.

The youtube video that started everything for me

The video is called “5 Lessons Learned From Writing Over 300,000 Lines of Infrastructure Code” and I can guarantee that if you work in the DevOps, Software Development, or Operations field this half-hour talk will be time well spent I can guarantee it!

When I saw that video it was I felt that most of the lessons learned in my career regarding applying software development methodologies and DevOps principles to production environments were a lot of “Yak-Shaving” and I was blaming my lack of expertise mixed with Imposter Syndrome thinking that tooling and processes implemented by big vendors were always the right answer and the right fit without asking myself better questions or implementing some simpler and more pragmatic strategy considering the scale and resources available.

The book is cleverly organised

The book content is divided into three parts:

  1. Products – If you work for any technology company in any role you will find something interesting.
  2. Technologies – It gets deeply technical and if you like me love these things, you will not be disappointed!
  3. Teams – It’s for everyone, really

Why do I think you should also read a book like this one?

It is a personal choice, but I think books like this one have something for everyone, it’s like a novel where the story is well written by the author and it can be interesting regardless of the age/knowledge or experience of the reader. Similarly, there is something for everyone regardless of where you are in your career.

What I like the most about this book

I love both the concept and execution of this book. I know that It’s a very broad subject and the approach is very effective, at least I was engaged in most of the parts of the book, maybe my least favourite the last one, but the whole book it’s an endless source of other nice books to read, areas or projects to explore.

Book description from O’Reilly

This book is the “Hello, World” tutorial for building products, technologies, and teams in a startup environment. It’s based on the experiences of the author, Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman, as well as interviews with programmers from some of the most successful startups of the last decade, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, Stripe, Instagram, AdMob, Pinterest, and many others.


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