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Netflix Carl Quinn talks about JAXConf, Tech Sessions, Heroes and Ducks!

It’s that time again. Another day, another interview with one of our Speaker heavyweights from this year’s FREE to attend JAXConf in Santa Clara, California on June 4-5. With over 40 sessions, keynotes and Java Rock Stars in attendance it’s not to be missed. Have you registered yet? Don’t miss out on the chance to see Carl Quinn deliver his session on Netflix and the OSS Cloud. Register today here.


JAX - Can you sum up your JAXConf session in 140 characters?

Carl - The Netflix OSS Cloud talk presents an overview of the Netflix cloud architecture built with OSS components on an AWS foundation. #JAXConf


JAX - Why is the theme of your session important to developers right now?

Carl - The Cloud is certainly the New New Thing, but how can a developer in any kind of organization get from their current deployment and operational model to one built in the cloud? My session describes how Netflix has done it, and how anyone can leverage the NetflixOSS components to help get themselves bootstrapped into the cloud. One can start small with a few monkeys and libraries, and evolve into a whole architecture based on the NetflixOSS services. 


JAX - Why did you start coding?

Carl - I’ve always loved building things. As I discovered electronics, and then digital electronics I found that combining existing components into new things provided a new level of productivity over making things from scratch. I could build more interesting and useful things more quickly. And then when I discovered programming, that was just a whole new level of leverage. My dreams of becoming an astronaut were replaced with dreams of becoming a software engineer. And, now I are one!


JAX - What in the development world (project or otherwise) is really interesting you at the moment?

Carl - The hyped and abstract thing called the cloud is really interesting in how it impacts both developers and end users, now and in the future. Like the migration from mainframes to PCs, the cloud is changing the way humans use computers and how computers shape society.


Another fascinating and somewhat related area is the continual migration of important engineering projects into open source. This includes software as we know, but also electronics hardware, mechanical components, design, etc. Think Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Thingiverse and 3D printers. The global sharing of so much creativity is going to be a big boon to humanity.


JAX - Who are your tech heroes?

Carl - My heros change as I move through life, but they generally are people that I look at and think “I’d be a better person in some way if I could be more like them.” Maybe just in learning some new skill or discipline, or maybe by having a kind of courage or commitment. Years back I learned a lot about the importance of UX design working with Alan Cooper. Later, I honed my speaking skills watching Bruce Eckel speak at Borland conferences. Lately I am impressed by people that can build and nurture communities, and I see Stephan Janssen as a great example in that regard.


JAX - What does the future hold for Java and/or the JVM?

Carl - I see Java the language continuing to mature slowly and steadily, always maintaining the position of the common denominator. (See how I avoided ‘least’ in that phrase.) The JVM is the true center of the Java universe. It allows us to innovate on both the virtual machine performance front as well as on the language design front. I think another important third prong of Java is its community, and that continues to thrive and grow as new languages just extend the domain that the JVM can be applied to.


JAX - What’s the soundtrack to your work?

I sit in a big open bullpen with the rest of my team, and many people wear headphones and listen to music when they need to concentrate. But, I actually enjoy listening to all the conversations on so many topics that go on throughout the day. I guess my soundtrack then is developer chatter. Sometimes distracting, but always good.


JAX - And finally, would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

Carl - I think it would depend on my choice of weapons. With a bow and arrow, I would choose the big duck to have an easier single target. With a flamethrower, I’d choose the small horses for a more vulnerable surface to volume ratio. But to pick just one, I think I’d go with the horse-sized duck—that’d make a really nice tea smoked duck breast dinner for a family of 12.

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