7 years! Finding the right balance

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What a ride! 10 employees to around 2000 now. As I imagined 8 years ago, I still think that Elasticsearch (the product) and elastic (the company) are successful.

Becoming a public company did not change a lot my daily activities.

I’m still on the road meeting/building the community, specifically in France and making sure people are sharing the same love that we have internally for the products we are building.

I’d like this year to focus this anniversary blog post on some items:

  • What became harder and harder?
  • What is my feedback on the 2019 policy?
  • Some highlights on 2019

The hard part

My job did not change that much. My main goals remain the same and are definitely aligned with the bottom-up company theme.

I want to make elastic community a real thing. And to do that, I basically meet people in real life. It can be at meetups: I’m organizing the ElasticFR user group and we have one meetup every 2 months. It has been so successful that we have already set all the next meetup dates and hosts until March 2021! Just fantastic… So fantastic that we decided to organize a meetup every 6 weeks from 2020 so we can add more hosts during a year.

I want people to download our stack, play with it, ideally make a POC (Proof Of Concept project) and why not go to production with it. If they are using the free basic version of the stack, that’s perfectly fine. Of course, if they are using the official hosted version which makes their life easier, that’s even better! But making users becoming paid customers is not my priority or my job. I just want people be aware of the nice things you can do with the stack.

But here comes the challenge. We have now a very big engineering team and let me tell you a secret: they are all amazing! They are constantly releasing new features, solving new use cases. And this becomes super tricky for me. I can’t be an expert of everything. Search, Observability, Security… So many tools and solutions that you can’t follow all the roadmaps…

That’s the part I dislike when I’m meeting people and they are asking me about a feature that I did not test myself. It’s hard to give them the appropriate answer. So more often than before my answer is “let me find the right contact” or “could you ask on discuss.elastic.co?”.

My 2019 travel policy

As I wrote last year:

I want to try another model for this year. I’m not sure yet how this will work but here is the deal. I want to travel up to one full week per month but only the same week, not including exceptions which might always happen, but let’s say that’s a general rule.

I did that… And it went pretty well. I made some “exceptions” like I actually traveled 12 weeks last year but sometimes 2 weeks the same month and no travel during August.

As a consequence, I felt less exhausted at the end of 2019 although I still meet lot of people, engaged with the community and helped building new ones.

So I’m going to continue that way for 2020.

2019 Highlights

The first thing that happened to me on a personal level is that I was close to pass away in January. Got a medical unexpected issue but fortunately the doctors were able to fix everything. I spent 2 weeks at the hospital, had to rest 2 weeks more at home and it took me around 2 months to entirely recover. Good thing is that we discovered some weird things in my body and I’m on the way of doing all the needed exams to see if we can/should fix them. Nothing critical, be reassured. 😊

In 2019 I focused a bit more on the french territory and make sure we have some presence outside Paris. And I was fortunate enough to go to cities like:

  • Orlando, US
  • Mountain View, US
  • Singapore, SG
  • Moka, MU
  • Toronto, CA
  • Montreal, CA
  • Moscow, RU

I really enjoyed being in Mountain View in December as that was my very first XSchool session. XSchool is our way to welcome new Elasticians, introduce them to the company and our culture and its related Source Code.

I have never been there in the past because obviously when I joined the company, we were like 15 people… No need for a “school” at this period of time. There I introduced what the community is about and what my team is doing and how the whole company can and should help. Our community is the key of our success.


I’m trying to play with new solutions like our Enterprise Search. I like this use case a lot: indexing company documents and providing a clean UI to find them whatever the source is.

As the author of the FSCrawler project which has now more than 700 stars on Github, I want to connect it to the Enterprise Search product. This will need some refactoring and from time to time, I’m working on that open source project.

It’s super interesting to do it by the way because it’s a way for me to test the Elasticsearch Java Client and raise issues anytime I’m having troubles updating to the latest version.

I will still continue being on the road one week per month, still focusing on local communities and of course running the Paris meetup.

If you are reading this post and want to know more about the elastic stack and Elasticsearch specifically, please contact me and we can work on setting up a BBL session (aka Lunch and Learn).

Happy 2020! Stay tuned!

David Pilato 20+ years of experience, mostly in Java. Living in Cergy, France.