Dylan Blakemore

Engineering Manager at Zappi

Having studied mechanical engineering in Cape Town, Dylan eventually realised that working with software was much more attractive than working with hardware. He got yanked into a job at Zappi, a Ruby on Rails house which built automated market research products. 5 years later, his CTO convinced him to give Elixir a try for his newest project, and within a month he was hooked. Now an avid (stubborn) advocate for all things Elixir and Phoenix, he spends half his time managing a team working in Elixir, half writing Elixir, and half trying to convince other teams to use Elixir.

Benefits of Reinventing the Wheel

One of the biggest hurdles to adopting a new language within an established organisation is the available tooling. Not just the open source ecosystem, but also internal tools and libraries that have been built and refined for years. While some will see this as a reason to avoid adoption, it can also be an opportunity! With no existing tooling, it’s up to you to build it. My team at Zappi came from a mature, well-standardised Ruby on Rails ecosystem. When we moved to Elixir, we had to rebuild all of our internal tooling from scratch - which eventually led to the company’s first open source project. We all learned a lot along the way, and came and better, more well-rounded engineers.

Key Takeaways:

  • This talk will show that moving to a less mature ecosystem (whether internal or open source) can be a source of opportunity instead of a pain point. In fact, sometimes it’s better to build it yourself - it helps you grow, and can surface areas of unnecessary complexity or abstraction.

Target Audience:

  • Software engineers, engineering managers, upper management