Monday, October 17, 2011

Having lunch with a giant...

I "officially" started my career in software performance in Feb of 2000, only much later to realize I'd started down that path years prior.  In the fall of 2001 (10 years ago), I felt I was stagnating in my self-guided education and went on a hunt for books, articles, training, and/or people to learn from.  I found some peers (and eventually co-founded WOPR with Ross Collard to maximize peer learning) and I found 3 "giants" on whose shoulders I've stood since then (meaning, all of my work was and has remained consistent, complimentary, and/or extended from their work in the field).  Those "giants" are Connie Smith, Ph.D. (Software Performance Engineering), Daniel Menasce, Ph,D. (Capacity and Scalability Planning) and Alberto Savoia (Performance Testing).

Last fall, I had the honor of being on a panel with Connie and spending some time talking to Daniel during the CMG conference in Orlando.  I'd never spoken or corresponded with them before that, but it was nice to meet them and we had some great conversations.

Over the years, however, I have corresponded regularly with Alberto Savoia.  As it turns out, he was moving on to what he would now call his next "it" from software performance as I was becoming known in the industry, so we didn't converse regularly, but we did follow each others careers.  During that time, I drew a lot of inspiration from Alberto.  Not just from the work he'd done in the software performance space, but also from his other accomplishments in technology, the kind and complimentary recommendations he gave me and by graciously agreeing to write a forward for Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications when I asked.

So earlier this year when I had the chance, I dropped everything to review and comment on his new "it", Pretotyping. He said the review was helpful and that some of what I'd commented on would be included in the next version.

Today, I finally met Alberto face to face.  We had lunch.  We talked about projects & passions old and new, we recalled history and speculated about the future.  He gave me a signed copy of Pretotype It, and I gave him a signed copy of Web Load Testing for Dummies, both of which had been prepared in advance.  And while Alberto has accomplished far more in his technology career than I have, somehow I didn't feel like I was having lunch with the "giant" on whose shoulders most of the work I am known for stands, I felt like I was having lunch with an old friend that I hadn't seen in too long.

To some of you, I suspect this seems a silly thing for me to be making a big deal about, but for a guy who left a small town twenty-some-odd years ago, never imagining that I'd meet anyone "famous", let alone become a "celebrity" of sorts in my (admittedly very small) field, it means a lot to me that someone who I've often credited as being a luminary to me, would not only take the time to have lunch with me, but to share thoughts and ideas with me like friends do.

So, thanks Alberto.  Thanks for the years of inspiration & thanks for the confirmation of friendship.  It means a lot to me, and know that you've provide me with another lead I intend to follow with anyone I may inspire during my career and later have the opportunity to meet.

Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."
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