How to approach a 10’ Bear in a 3’ Box

This talk will discuss the evolution of SRE as part of a collaborative engineering culture.

As companies grow and mature, so must their SRE organizations. Growth is not linear; there is no single correct style, and each approach has trade-offs.

This talk explores common evolutions of SRE teams, including:

The first SRE hire (From 1-4 SREs)

Small group engagements (Moving from 1 to multiple small groups)

Evolution of SRE as an organization. (Finding your people, establishing practices)

Oh - also the story of how a 10’, 100 pound Teddy Bear helps make SRE more approachable.

This talk is targeted to individuals at companies that are in the early stages of their SRE journey, but also invites conversation and comparison from established SRE cultures.

The structure of the talk will share specific lessons and examples from a large company that has gone through many phases of this journey. We will share lessons learned as a company grew from its first SRE hire, to small embedded engagements within different departments, and then onward to SRE as an organization.

Analogies will be frequently made to the story of a 10’ 100 pound Teddy Bear gift in an effort to add some fun to the talk and to show that SRE is not an isolated bubble; lessons learned from completely different situations can help make your SRE organization better and more approachable.



Nathan Handler

Site Reliability Engineer Reddit

Nathan is a Site Reliability at Reddit, where he works to architect highly scalable and reliable systems that can be efficiently managed and observed. He has been


Dan OBoyle

Dan is a Staff Site Reliability Engineer @ Reddit. He started his career as a high school teacher and transitioned into a System Administrator. He enjoys creative collaboration to solve solvable ...