Aaron Suggs

Title: Context & Contingency: Patterns for choosing good tools


At Kickstarter, the Ops Engineering team recently deployed Elasticsearch/Logstash/Kibana to centralize application logs. I’ll use our implementation of the ELK stack as a case-study to examine our process for choosing tools, particularly:

  • when to build vs. buy
  • what features we need in the initial version, and what can wait until later
  • when to invest effort in an elegant solution, or when to get by with a hack.

This talk will discuss what factors influenced our decisions (context); and what future changes could lead to a different choice (contingency).

By capturing the context and contingency of our choices, we can more easily adapt to changes in our organization and the tech community.

I’ll show how our implementation decisions impacted the processes and behaviors of our team; which in turn influenced and reflected our organization’s culture.

Title: Code Is Communication


This is an invocation to give everyone in your organization access to your code and version control.

Version control brings radical transparency and context to our work. Let’s not keep it to ourselves! At Kickstarter, we’ve invited our entire staff to GitHub: customer support, HR, legal staff, everyone!

These teams contribute to the product and make pull requests. Our engineering team has benefited from having more inclusive conversations.

And the whole organization has benefited from embracing a culture of transparency and inclusion.

You should do it too!


Aaron Suggs

Aaron Suggs


Aaron Suggs is the Operations Engineering Manager at Kickstarter, where he backs too many video game projects. He enjoys writing code that makes developers happier.