2021 Year End Wrap Up

We’re finishing out 2021 with a celebration of our favorite episodes and topics from the year! From new tools for Cost Optimization in GKE and advances in AI to tips for improving feelings of imposter syndrome, Carter Morgan, Stephanie Wong, and Mark Mirchandani share memorable moments from 2021 and look forward to future episodes.

Carter Morgan

Carter Morgan is Developer Advocate for Google Cloud, where he creates and hosts content on Google’s Youtube channel, co-hosts several Google Cloud podcasts, and designs courses like the Udacity course “Scalable Microservices with Kubernetes” he co-created with Kelsey Hightower. Carter Morgan is an international standup comedian, who’s approach of creating unique moments with the audience in front of him has seen him perform all over the world, including in Paris, London, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Joe White. And in 2019, and the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Previously, he was a programmer for the USAF and Microsoft.

Stephanie Wong

Stephanie Wong is a Developer Advocate focusing on online content across all Google Cloud products. She’s a host of the GCP Podcast and the Where the Internet Lives podcast, along with many GCP Youtube video series. She is the winner of a 2021 Webby Award for her content about data centers. Previously she was a Customer Engineer at Google and at Oracle. Outside of her tech life she is a former pageant queen and hip hop dancer and has an unhealthy obsession with dogs.

Mark Mirchandani

Mark Mirchandani is a developer advocate for Google Cloud, occasional host of the Google Cloud Platform podcast, and helps create content for users.

Cool things of the week
  • Anthos Multi-Cloud v2 is generally available docs
  • Machine learning, Google Kubernetes Engine, and more: 10 free training offers to take advantage of before 2022 blog
  • The past, present, and future of Kubernetes with Eric Brewer blog
    • GCP Podcast Episode 124: VP of Infrastructure Eric Brewer podcast
Our Favorite Episodes of 2021
  • Mark’s Favorites
    • GCP Podcast Episode 252: GKE Cost Optimization with Kaslin Fields and Anthony Bushong podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 267: Cloud Firestore for Users who are new to Firestore podcast
  • GKE Essentials videos
  • Beyond Your Bill vidoes

  • Stephanie’s Favorites

    • GCP Podcast Episode 270: Traditional vs. Service Networking with Ryan Przybyl podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 271: The Future of Service Networking with Ryan Przybyl podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 279: MLB with Perry Pierce and JoAnn Brereton podcast
  • Carter’s Favorites

    • GCP Podcast Episode 284: State of DevOps Report 2021 with Nathen Harvey and Dustin Smith podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 287: Imposter Syndrome with Carter Morgan podcast
  • Most Popular Episodes of 2021

    • GCP Podcast Episode Episode 264: SRE III with Steve McGhee and Yuri Grinshtey podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 258: The Power of Serverless with Aparna Sinha and Philip Beevers podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 253: Data Governance with Jessi Ashdown and Uri Gilad podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 263: SAP + Apigee: The Power of APIs with Benjamin Schuler and Dave Feuer podcast
    • GCP Podcast Episode 271: The Future of Service Networking with Ryan Przybyl podcast
Sound Effects Attribution
  • “Dun Dun Duuun” by Divenorth of Freesound.org
  • “Cash Register” by Kiddpark of Freesound.org
  • “Jingles and Pings” by BristolStories of Freesound.org
  • “Time – Inception Theme” Composed by Hanz Zimmer (super-low-budget midi version)

[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK: Hey, there, everybody, and welcome to episode 288 of the weekly Google Cloud Platform Podcast. I'm Mark Mirchandani. And today, I'm here with not one, but two of my favorite people in the world, Stephanie Wang and Carter Morgan. Hey, y'all, how you doing?

STEPHANIE: Hey, oh, my gosh, we made the cut. We're two of your favorite people, Mark?

MARK: Out of the top 150 favorite people I have, you two are in the top five.


STEPHANIE: Welcome to friend number 151 of the weekly Mark Mirchandani list of favorite people.

MARK: I would get so much more done if I wasn't constantly updating my list.

STEPHANIE: Sounds tiring.


MARK: Well, I'm not Santa Claus. But we do have a great gift for you all. And that is the last episode of the year for the "Google Cloud Platform Podcast."


MARK: It has been such a great year. Stephanie, Carter, I'm so glad that we're all here, because we're going to chat about a bunch of things, including our favorite episodes from all the great conversations, all the great guests we've had. It's been a huge, huge journey.

And so first of all, I guess we should probably get into our cool things of the week, right?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, we can't skip that even if it's the last episode.

MARK: Let's do it.


STEPHANIE: All right, so my cool thing of the week is that we have Anthos Multicloud V2 now generally available. So what's included with this new V2 release is that you have a simplified installation and streamlined cluster management technology included. And it's all consolidated into a single API for full lifecycle management for your Anthos clusters running in AWS or Azure.

So super, super streamlined in this release. It's called a multicloud API. And in this link that I've included here, you can learn much more about how the API works. It supports G-cloud. And they're working on compatibility with Terraform and the Cloud Console as well.

So this release actually takes us from an eight-step cross-cloud deployment pattern to a four-step installation process, all on Google Cloud after the cloud-specific pre-reqs have been applied. So it's pretty cool.

MARK: Yeah, I mean, there's a ton of stuff going on in the Anthos space. So it's always exciting to hear these new announcements and kind of see them as they move from testing into general availability. And Anthos has come such a far away from where it was a year and a half ago when it was announced.

It's really amazing to see. And so I'm really excited to see what kind of announcements are going to come up for Anthos, because it's going to be at the forefront of just kind of cool new ways to innovate using multiple clouds.


CARTER: It's so interesting too, because like you said, in just a year and a half, the patterns that you're able to apply now for where your work can be and how it can run-- its wildly different. And so that kind of goes into my new cool thing of the week, which is an old trend that we've talked about the last two weeks in a row. But I saw this announcement.

And it's for more learning and training. This is one of the best times I think I've ever seen for just training as an industry, no matter what your interest in, whether it's ML or data analytics, whether it's Kubernetes, serverless, even if it's just fundamentals. You can go and find training on that for like Google Cloud specifically.

And so right now there's a deal that if you register by January 10th, you get 30 days free, no-cost access to Google Cloud Skills Boost. So I know no one's going to be training and studying over the holidays. So go and put that on your calendar for like January 7th so that you don't forget, because you can get a month of free, no-cost access to Google Cloud Skills Boost.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, I mean, hey, they might not be training during the holidays. But everybody has a New Year's resolution. And that is when you're going to have the most motivation to train.

CARTER: Yeah, that's true.

MARK: Yeah, there's tons of opportunities for it. I love to see campaigns like this where they just offer this training for free, because it's such a great way to not only reinforce what you might already know or have started to learn about, or it can also be a great way to just to learn these skills from scratch, right? And as we're seeing, there's just more and more demand for these types of skills.

So hopefully, your New Year's resolution really is to get some training. And if so, that training is free. So no reason not to do it.

I'll close out our cool things of the week with a article written by someone who is here in the same room as we are, Stephanie, talking about, of course, the past, present, and future of Kubernetes. You know, Steph, I could probably just let you talk about it. I'll recommend for folks to check out the article, because it is a pretty quick read. And it just gives a great little history your conversation with Eric, talking about Kubernetes, where it came from, how it's kind of evolved over the years from how Google handled all these different types of requests, all the way out to it's now the industry standard for running so many things in the Cloud.

And I think it's even more exciting to talk about what's going to come up with the future of Kubernetes, because it really is setting new patterns for folks deploying services all the time. So I definitely recommend folks kind of read this article. It's not a long one. And it was super interesting. I mean, how was it to chat with Eric?

STEPHANIE: Oh, my gosh, I mean, Eric-- for folks who don't know who he is, he is such a fascinating and accomplished individual. He is a VP in fellow here at Google Cloud. And he's actually been on the podcast in the past. So you could check out a conversation with him.

I'm hoping we can get him on maybe next year here too. But I learned about his experience open sourcing and helping to contribute to the rise of Kubernetes. We were already running billions of containers here at Google Cloud. And so he saw this future and vision of the potential of a technology like Kubernetes to spread out to the rest of the industry. And open sourcing it was a necessary step in that direction for him.

On top of that, he's focusing more now on supply chain security for software development. And so this is going to be a major factor in the continuation of building safe and secure cloud Native Computing in the future. Yeah, so check out my article to learn more about my conversation with Eric.

And I also have four videos out. If you want to just watch the interviews instead. But with that, hey, we have our last episode today, right? So let's go ahead and dive into some fun things about the past year.

CARTER: I would love to take a stab at this one, because I was digging around. I found some cool facts. I'm pretty sure you all know who was the most active host, Mark and Stephanie. Was that Mark who was the most active? Or was it Stephanie who hosted the most episodes? What do you think?

STEPHANIE: Oh, it's hard to say. First of all, maybe this year, it might have been different than previous years. But I don't know if I can beat the number of episodes Mark's been on in total.

MARK: Yeah, I have been so grateful to work on this podcast for just about the last two years. I think this year I'm going to go ahead and say that Stephanie, you had hosted more times than I had hosted. I think by the numbers, it's probably going to be right.

But it's always a group activity for us to constantly check in on who's coming into the podcast, which stories are the best ones to tell, which guests we're going to have on. So every episode, all of us, and so many people that don't even-- their names aren't necessarily on the host list-- but they still absolutely are vital for producing this stuff. So as a team, it's always awesome to see.

CARTER: See, this is why I think this is like a LeBron James versus Michael Jordan-type debate right now, because Mark is like the LeBron James. He's got the stats, that counting numbers, and then talked about the team first effort and all that. And I just respect it.

It actually did come down this year, Stephanie came out with 29 episodes that she hosted. There's only 52 weeks in a year. So that's impressive.

And then Mark was right behind her with 21 episodes hosted. And then the next closest people didn't even crack double digits.


MARK: First of all, my biggest takeaway from that is that I'm as good as basketball as LeBron James. So we have that on record. You can't take that away from me

STEPHANIE: Yeah, it's out there now.

MARK: But absolutely, it is such a huge team of people that work on it. And so for the folks who Stephanie and I have been so lucky to really have the opportunity to host so many of these episodes. But again, a lot of that does come from all the folks. And hopefully, we'll get into all the guest hosts we had and the work that they bring and the guests that they bring in. It's always a fantastic time to collaborate with them.

STEPHANIE: So speaking of guests. Now I'm curious. How many guests do we have? Because this show is really about the guests.

CARTER: OK, for when we say guests, like I was on an episode as a guest. Does that count?

STEPHANIE: 100% that counts.

CARTER: I mean, I would say it has to be more than 50, because we have multiple people on the show sometimes. I'd say 100. No, that's too much. Mark, what do you think?

MARK: Yeah, I mean, I'd say 52 weeks in a year . There's a couple of weeks that we don't get a chance to release an episode. But this year, I think we had something like 45 episodes or so.

And yeah, I think on most episodes, we try to bring in two guests. I'd say somewhere around like 80, 85, because we do have a couple of repeats. But we're always bringing in people to tell new stories as well. So yeah, I'd say somewhere around that number.

STEPHANIE: Well, the answer is 70 guests. We have about 70 guests on the show this year. And when I look this up-- I know it makes sense when you think, OK, we've done 45 episodes. We have about two people each episode.

But it still shocks me. It's really impressive the number of people we can fit onto a show throughout the year and learn from across so many topics. And that's why I find being a host really, really awesome, because we are the consistent people that get learn from these 70 people.

CARTER: So I really want to get into this, because you all have hosted so many episodes. I'm sure you've got insights and a few that really stood out to you. But I just want to say, I've got a few more really cool factoids for later. So if people stick around until the end, we'll hear some more like, maybe what was the most popular episode?


But so, Mark and Stephanie, you hosted so many episodes this year. What were some of your favorites?

MARK: Again, it's such an amazing opportunity to be able to chat with all these different folks. And I love that as being part of this podcast, we not only get to tell stories from the inside where we look at all the different folks that come together to build some of these tools or are working on different things that are related to Google Cloud, but also that we get to bring customers in. Because when we talk to customers, it's not only a great opportunity for us to understand what their world looks like, but it's a great opportunity for them to share with everybody, here are the things that go into everything from making design decisions, when you're kind of designing a platform on the cloud, versus some of the products they actually manufacture.

So as much as I love really talking to customers and hearing their stories, my two favorite episodes this year are both from folks inside of Google Cloud who are working in different ways to really share their story. The first one I'll pick, which I guess really shouldn't be a surprise, is my favorite episode was around the GKE cost optimization stuff, because I love money. More importantly, I love saving money and not wasting money.

STEPHANIE: Mark "Money" Mirchandani, right?


MARK: That name has not caught on yet. And I don't know if it should but. I do love all episodes that have to do with cost optimization.

This was also a great episode, because two guests that we had were Kaslin and Anthony. They are friends of the show. They work in Cloud Developer relations.

And as we've tried to maybe paint a picture of Cloud Developer relations over the past years that we've been hosting this podcast, it really is a little bit of everything. So Anthony and Kaslin were able to come in and talk about things that you should be thinking about when you're setting up Kubernetes to really focus on, how do you do less resource waste?

So I have a great quote from that episode. I'd love to pull that in and just talk a little bit about really, the basis for what you should be thinking about when setting up Kubernetes.



- And so that's where I think like as Kubernetes much more mature than it was five years ago, right, like I think that customers are now looking back and saying, OK, how do we operate GKE and Kubernetes clusters in a cost optimized way? But how do we actually go back and start to implement some of these practices in the sort of large footprint that sort of built up over those five years?

- An important point here is that we're talking about cost optimization. That can kind of throw people off a little bit to begin with, because you're thinking oh, I'm going to reduce all of my costs. That's not necessarily what we're talking about here, because we're going to be talking about, what are your applications actually doing? What do they actually need?

Maybe sometimes, you're going to have big spikes in traffic, and you're going to need to make sure that you have all the resources you need to be able to handle that spike. That's going to raise your costs, because you're going to need more resources to handle it. But it's optimized for what you need it to do.

So this whole concept is around optimizing. It's about loading that truck up really efficiently as best we can and trying to avoid any extra costs, aside from what we really need to do, what we want to do.



STEPHANIE: Absolutely, agree. I think Kaslin and Anthony are both so well versed in that world of GKE and cost optimization. And even though you weren't talking to customers directly in this episode, they are essentially the teachers and the proxies for the lessons that they learn from working in real-world scenarios with both customers and our product teams.

One thing that stood out to me about the episode was Anthony mentioning, you can't get lost in the infrastructure. And the goal here is to minimize the disruptions that you might have as you add and remove replicas across your GKE clusters. So really, it's not just about saving money, but it's also about being prepared during scaling events. And everything they shared, including the documentation that they pointed to, are about the best practices that we've learned.

CARTER: Oh, wow. I just love Kaslin and Anthony together on anything. They had another series before, where they were talking about GKE essentials and whatnot. And they go deep into that there.

And so I think this episode was really great, because one, money is a very important topic. And that's something that we, as Googlers, don't always think about. But that's something every single customer is thinking about all the time. So it was just cool to see those two come together and deep dive into that.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, and also, a quick plug for your series, Mark, there's a YouTube series that you have called "Beyond Your Bill," where you cover some of the geeky cost optimization best practices, right?

MARK: Yeah, absolutely. We can definitely put some links in for folks who are interested. As Carter mentioned, the GKE essential series is really focused on helping people get up and running with GKE. "Beyond your Bill" is a little bit more focused around managing billing instead of Google Cloud.

And then we kind of did a crossover, a meeting of the minds, where we were able to talk about specifically best practices for Kubernetes. And there's going to be tons of that content coming out next year as well. I know folks are absolutely hungry for more content around Kubernetes. And this cost optimization topic is going to become more and more important as folks grow out.

And I think that was really part of the conversation that we had with Kas and Anthony was so amazing to talk about that step, that journey that people have to take from experimenting and trying out new things, all the way to running at scale. And once you run at scale, you have a whole new set of problems that you need to look at. So hopefully, this episode is useful for folks to really understand and get some practical advice on how to kind of move and take that journey.

So yeah, that was my favorite episode from this year. I have one more but I want to hand it over to Steph and Carter to hear from what your all favorite episodes were.

CARTER: All right, well, you know, I'll jump in here. The episode that I like the best-- and it's kind of picking on what you said about customers and that focus-- this wasn't talking to external customers. But we were talking about a product that maps out what some of the customers in our markets are doing.

This is the "State of DevOps Report," episode number 284. And here's one of my favorite quotes.



- I think that likely in the future, there will be more factors that emerge, priorities shift, the world will change. But I think one thing will always be true, which is what Nathan is speaking to, is that this is more of a framework for how do you just continuously improve as a group, and how do you look within and understand, what are our constraints, and what are those key things we can do in order to improve as a team? And I think as long as you're coming at it from that perspective or that philosophy, there's a lot of value here.

And looking even back at older reports, you can still see some of the great capabilities. We highlighted them. And if you're looking for other capabilities that you can improve on, those are a great resource to this day. I mean, not everyone has implemented every single capability that we've ever looked at. We've looked at over 30 so far.

- I like to go back to the wise words of William Gibson, "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed."



CARTER: And so, what I liked about this was first, when we're talking about the "State of DevOps Report," this is a report that scans the whole industry and then tries to bucket customers into performance categories, whether they're good or great or mediocre or elite. And then from there, it's like trying to reverse engineer, what are commonalities between these different buckets? What are practices that we can adopt, so that maybe we can start performing more like some of these elite things?

And what you heard in that quote was that the future is here. But it's just not distributed equally. I really like this idea, because when we look at like the frequency that top performing teams or elite teams are deploying at, when you're looking at some of these practices that they put in place, there are things that I think everyone in the industry is going to get around to doing.

An example is documentation. They said, the documentation was kind of like a good signal for how strong some of the other areas were. You know, if had good doc quality, you're four times more likely to have better security. And so I think that's something we're going to see throughout the industry in the next three, five years, but some of the elite teams are already there. What about you? Is there anything, Stephanie, that stood out for you in that episode?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, I mean, it was very illuminating for me, because they covered, not just docs and DevOps practices, SRE practices and security, but they also talked about team culture being a very defining characteristic of the elite teams here. And the fact that they were able to go out into the industry, interview, and study these various teams really showcases that they have an evidence-based approach to this.

And the democratization of this information is what's really going to uplift the entire industry as a whole. It's not really about comparing these teams, to judge them, or anything like that. But it's like, how can we get the entire industry to up level their skills as software engineering teams?

MARK: And I think it speaks to another important point for kind of establishing best practices. There's also this big kind of crisis that some companies go through-- I've heard this trend over and over again-- when they take a look at where the state of the industry is and say like, it's so hard for me to get where I am now all the way to 100% of these best practices. And we're doing all the things that these mega companies essentially are doing.

And the reality is that nobody expects that of a company's journey to jump from 0 to 100 instantly. There's a lot of crawl, walk, run ideologies out there. And the real kind of statement that always is true is that you need to slowly progress over time.

So when giant reports come out, it's important to not say, well, we're not at the top of the list. We don't have all of these things ready to go. It's important to say, what are the things that we can start to implement? And like you were just saying, Steph, about the culture, like, how do we slowly start to integrate this so that we can work our way there and get to the point where you're kind of always in automating things, like security and documentation?

There's so many practical steps. It takes time to implement. And I think that's an important takeaway from all of the best practices from all the customers that we get to talk to.

CARTER: 100%. In fact, even in that episode, I remember asking specifically, say you have a company or an organization, some of those teams are going to be operating at a higher level. So how do you share that knowledge?

And one of the actionable insights they said was do a rotation. Have some of the higher performers go to that lower performing team and vise versa. And that's a way to spread or democratize that information within the organization. Stephanie, I'm kind of excited to hear, what was one of your favorite episodes?

STEPHANIE: Ah, yes, I have so many favorite episodes. But I have to say that my top one for this past year was episode number 270, "The future of service networking with Ryan Przybyl." And let's go ahead and roll some tape from it.



- And I call this a Grow with Google model. So while we have a lot of people that are hyped on the service architecture model, it's kind of like the Grand Canyon, right? I can't expect somebody to leap across the Grand Canyon. I have to get them into the environment.

And then I have to build these small stepping stones, right? I have to start introducing things like PSE, kind of like I mentioned, like using it to maybe front end Google APIs. Introduced as a small stepping stone, so that they can take these small steps to get across the Grand Canyon and aren't trying to make this fundamental leap from, here's where I am today to here's where Google sees us in the future.

It's just too big and too much for most companies, even if they acknowledge that they're going to go down that path. It's a path of small stepping stones. You don't to take the leap off the cliff and then find out there's no safety net beneath you.

And now, you're free falling. And your cloud deployment has gone completely sideways. And there's too many changes. And that's just a mess.



STEPHANIE: All right, so Ryan Przybyl, I've been collaborating with him for at least several years now since being at Google. And we love talking about networking, because he has a very different career path than me, in that he has traditionally been a network engineer. And now, he's thrown into this new world of Cloud, working with customers that he also identifies with.

And he has one foot on both sides of the border, right? He understands traditional networking. And he understands cloud networking. And he's trying to share the story of his own mental model shift that he underwent with the customers that are also struggling, or trying to get to where he's at with their own companies.

He talked about it not just being a technical shift. But it's a cultural shift, similar to DevOps and SRE ideas. Coming from someone who has the traditional network background, he gets it. And so the talk was just this practical, no BS talk from Ryan. And I do think he's right that the future of networking will continue to be centered around connecting services, APIs, especially as companies become more comfortable with these type of architectures and decoupled applications.

I also liked this episode, which was part two of a two-part series, because he dove a little bit more into one of our newer networking products called Private Service Connect. And it is going to be a head scratcher for some networking teams still. But the more and more you want to enable developers to spin up their services and instantly connect to your cloud network, the more you'll be able to start integrating some of these newer cloud features.

And he also talked about the Cloud being this model where you're supposed to integrate new features more frequently compared to what people are used to doing on premise.

CARTER: That's something I hear about a lot. And it's something I'm still grocking. How on prem, a lot of times, your technology is a little bit behind the actual physical hardware. And when you're using the cloud, it doesn't have to be. You can get some of these cutting-edge technologies.

And it's interesting to see how, again, the cloud is-- almost it feels like a different model of programming than being on prem. And so when you see people like Ryan come in and talk about that, I always find that very interesting.

MARK: Yeah, it's always great to hear that perspective of folks who were kind of raised in a more traditional sense of some of the technical knowledge that was around at that time, and how they've had to adjust. Because the cloud is easy to say that it's been around forever, but it's pretty recent in terms of the large scale technical landscape.

And when you're working with folks who have been around-- have been studying what's been available for 10, 20, 30 plus years, there's so much that's changed. I mean, it's hard to even imagine life without computers nowadays. But knowing that even those are pretty recent as far as the home PC goes, right? So it's always really, really cool to hear people who have gone through that journey and share their practical wisdom and advice.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, and like the quote mentioned, it's like jumping across the Grand Canyon. Similar to the episode you talked about with the DevOps Report, you can't expect your customers or companies to just shift their entire networking topology over to a cloud-based architecture. You have to do it with steps in between.

And his job as a networking specialist-- and what he's trying to really get Google to also focus on is providing those stepping stones for our customers. All right, well, that's my first favorite. But let's go back to Mark, because I know you have another one that you want to cover.

MARK: Yeah, this one was a lot of fun. This was episode 267, "Cloud Firestore for users who are new to Firestore." And this was just-- we were talking a little bit about all the folks that make the show successful-- and this was just a great example of we reached out to Allison, who had written a quick blog post on what her journey was to get started with Cloud Firestore. And she didn't even have a technical background.

So we thought it was like, oh, hey, this is a really cool story. I think she just did a great job of really focusing in on her story, which is "Cloud Firestore for users who have never used it before."



- OK, I love this, get your hands dirty, iterate through things, try them out. Like, it's the best way to learn. If people get stuck, what do you recommend?

- Yeah, so the way I like to help people kind of moving forward if you get stuck, is instead of telling you what to do, is telling you how to search for it. So when I first started using this, I was studying business, not technology. So I was searching. And how to search for things is really important.

So I'll go ahead and give you some great search terms you can use to get started. And so the first thing is, if you are trying to learn more about this type of database, I would suggest searching, what is a document database and how do you use a document database.

If you are trying to decide which database you should use, I would suggest just go ahead and look into CAP theorem and go down that long rabbit hole of everything in there. And come to a conclusion from that. It's really great to just keep reading all of that information, because there's so much of it.

And then finally, if you want help designing your database, I would try researching a document database implicit schema design.



MARK: And my favorite part-- and I think I mentioned this in the episode too-- is that she absolutely included this thing at the bottom that said, like, hey, this is a quick introduction blog post. I'm sharing my story. Here's some stuff to Google if you get stuck.

And that blew my mind the first time I saw it. Because I was like, every single piece of content needs to have this. Because ultimately, whether you're talking to someone who's been around for a long time or someone who's just getting their hands on a technology for the first time, chances are, they're probably going to need to google something or search for something to figure out like, how do I a detail with this advanced concept, or how do I take the next steps.

I thought this was brilliant. And I loved having Allison on to share that journey. We also had Brian Dorsey, who's one of my other favorite people to work with on this podcast. It was just a great episode all around.

So obviously for folks who are interested in Firestore, I definitely recommend it. But also just to hear a fun technical journey of someone who picked up a product, found a really good use case for it, and then went through that journey of exploring it.

CARTER: Oh, wow, that sounds like a really great episode. One, because I'm with you. I absolutely love Brian. We've gotten to work on a few series. And he has a way of explaining things.

And the same thing with Alison in this episode, where it's someone that you can tell has been there and gone through those pains. A lot of times in a developer advocacy, we like to think of ourselves as customer zero. But then we forget to do those really simple things like, hey, if you get lost, here's a link. And so you can tell that this is someone that's been where a lot of people are and took the steps to overcome it.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, and mad props to you, Mark, for reaching out to other folks outsider teams and people who are also getting their feet wet with these technologies for the first time. And Alison is a perfect example of that. I personally loved her example of how to describe document databases versus relational databases using her analogy of clothing drawers versus Mark's pile of clothes, like what you said during the episode.


MARK: Yeah.

STEPHANIE: So it was a great perspective on how to approach learning all of the database options, as a business user or entrepreneur or honestly, just anyone getting started. All right, Carter, back to you for your second favorite.

CARTER: OK, this is a weird one. I'm going to play the quote.



- So I think the first thing then is to find mentorship, because it's like, where should I put my energy first so that it's used in a way that's going to support and fuel me towards my goals?

- I have always valued mentorship and reaching out for help, just getting some time on people's calendar, and just shadowing them is really helpful too. But I think it also boils down to people's motivators. And a lot of people like you said in your experience, might kind of box themselves in and feel helpless in terms of how to get to that next level of expertise, but really changing your mindset so that you open up, you ask for help, ask for guidance, ask for coaching.

It's always going to get you to that next level. And if everything else fails, what you've really gotten out of it is you've been able to learn and put some time into an area that made sense at the time.



CARTER: And we just heard Stephanie, who's on this episode, so it was like "podcast-ception." I love this. But this was one of my favorite episodes.

And I know we just did it, but seeing the response from people online, this really resonated. And I think it was a different tone than a lot of what we've talked about where Stephanie and I, we actually got to sit down and talk about, well, what is imposter syndrome? And how do we deal with it?

Because it's something that we dealing with actively as we are out here doing this work and succeeding or trying to succeed in this industry. And seeing how people online resonated with that and we're saying, oh, we feel the same thing, thank you.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, oh, my gosh, this one was also one of my favorites. I knew that we would get some response, because it was different than what we normally do on the podcast. And some of the responses were like, oh, you out of all people get imposter syndrome?

And I was like, yes, actually, some of the people who you see around you who you think got everything right, are also facing the same struggles and challenges. And so it was really nice being able to share my experiences. And my hope is that honestly, you too, Carter, you had some great lessons that everybody can take and feel like they're not actually an imposter. We're all in this together and going through something very similar.

CARTER: There is a quote that you shared on Twitter. So it wasn't even in the podcast. But one of the ones that Stephanie had shared was that "an expert on anything was once a beginner." So like, I look at Mark, and I see the way Mark podcasts and how-- you're listening at home. You've heard Mark throughout the years. And he's really great at this.

And I want to up level my skills and get there. And it's, I have to remember, it's like it's not going to happen overnight. That's part of the journey.

MARK: Well, being the LeBron James of podcasting--


CARTER: Mark, "Money" Mirchandani--

STEPHANIE: He actually doesn't have any imposter syndrome, because he is LeBron James of podcasting.

MARK: I'm just a complete and utter narcissist. No, thank you, Carter, so much for saying that. And I do think, not only this episode-- you know, it kind of came out of left field, because it is so different from what we typically talk about. But that probably makes it the most important episode we did this year.

And even though it was only a week ago, as you mentioned, there's already been a ton of people that message has really resonated with. And they've said like, wow, you know, it's super glad to hear two folks who have done a few laps, you've talked with a bunch of people, you've had a lot of opportunities to work on a whole bunch of things-- imposter syndrome affects everybody, right?

And it is such a real and can be a really damaging thing if you let it affect you. Like, the acknowledgment that we're all learning constantly and that there's always a ton to be done, it goes hand in hand with a person trying to up level or learn a new skill, all the way to an organization trying to understand how the industry is shifting.

Really focusing on the people though-- that's the important part, giving folks the permission and space to grow and to fail forward, right? That's something that's deeply resonated with us as we've been working together on a team. And I think more and more people are going to continue talking about it.

STEPHANIE: All right, I got one more episode to share here. And this one is again, by the LeBron James of our podcasting host, Mark Mirchandani. But he got to interview some really impressive folks from Major League Baseball.

And before I play the quote, I just want to say, MLB has really changed drastically over the last several decades. There's an incredible amount of data coming out of baseball. I mean, if you've seen the movie or read the book "Moneyball" in 2002, that's when Oakland A's started using data to help them pick players with a limited budget on the team, right?

But really, stats in MLB dates back to the 1900s. And now, it's all known as Sabermetrics for advanced analytics. Now, Google Cloud is helping MLB in various ways. And we're partnering together to use data from Statcast to derive insights that let MLB broadcasters determine really interesting storylines and add more context to the games, like the speed of the bat and the ball, player popularity, team relevance.

And that's all on Dataflow, BigQuery, Cloud Composer, and more. But this episode centered on their move from on-premise to cloud. And they both detail the migration to run systems, like game scheduling, umpire management, and player draft systems.

The back end is running on Kubernetes. Front end on Cloud CDN. And they're using Vertex AI for real-time messaging going out to the back end.



- Another great example is, you do all your testing in an office environment. Well, guess what? Club X decides they're going to be at the local hotel so they can be off site. And it's using a hotel internet connection, which is notoriously unreliable.

One year, we had a club in Arizona that actually had a power failure. And they actually had to switch to a small hotspot to do the draft because their facility lost power. So you're right. Those kind of things can and will happen.

So some of the fail failover testing, brownout testing Joanne spoke about before, plus these dress rehearsals, avoid all the unknowns relative to our system. And then the other issues, you can manage a little bit as they come up.



STEPHANIE: So I found this such a fascinating use case to learn how they were able to succeed with a bursty workload during a very critical time. And that's draft picks. It's a huge scaling challenge.

And like you heard in the quote, they have a lot of moving factors to take into account. They're also analyzing player statistics and updating which players have been picked and who's still available, all in real time. And these stats must be updated very quickly and accurately.

So it was just really cool to learn lessons in a real environment for how to approach testing, simulating edge cases, and making sure that they even had a distributed team, not just the technical system or the infrastructure. But their actual physical team had to be distributed, along with having a very powerful observability toolset set up. And Mark, tell us about the backstory. How did this all come to be?

MARK: Yeah, I mean, I'm obviously thrilled that this is one of your favorite episodes. I think I mentioned before, It's just so amazing when we get customers to come on and talk about what their experience has been like.

This was a great episode I think, for two reasons. And you've already called them out. The first one being that this is such a stellar example of a really, really intense production demand, which is the draft event.

There's a ton of people. There's tons of jobs who are just entirely focused on this. And then there's even more fans who are super interested in knowing all the data, exactly as it's happening. So there's going to be an intense amount of demand on the actual updates that are being made as the teams are making those decisions. So when they went into detail about what that looks like, it was really eye opening.

And the second part is beyond a successful customer story, it was again, this kind of message that they weren't doing this alone. Even with the teams inside of MLB, they're working with a ton of their partners. And they're working with the folks in Google Cloud.

And that's kind of how this whole episode came to be is that we were chatting with-- again, one of the best parts of being on this podcast is that we can reach out to people and say, hey, we want to talk to customers and really hear their story and put them on the podcast. And we were working with the professional services team, which is absolutely a fantastic team at Google that we get to work with a ton. They help all of our great customers kind of go into success after the whole sales cycle.

And there's some amazing people on the PSO team. But they were working with MLB. And we said, hey, we'd love to find another avenue for MLB to tell their story.

So it was super exciting. I'm really glad that we got all this put together in time to release it. And they also had a lot of talking about Google Cloud Next, because MLB was one of our premier partners there.

CARTER: Everything you just said and more, because one Major League Baseball-- it's very prevalent. Like everyone, I think in, at least in the US, knows about baseball. And so it's really cool to see all the behind the scenes and the peel back of what technologies go into that, and then some of the problems they face when they're transitioning those technologies.

But going back on that, it was very cool to be able to see like, oh, I know what Kubernetes is. I know what Cloud CDN is. I know what Vertex AI is.

I can understand and reason about and grock all these pieces. I think Perry and Joanne did such a good job of explaining everything that went on. And I think that's one of the cool things about learning over time is like, now, I'm able to think about this in a higher level and really understand some of the technologies that were going on behind the scenes.

I might never scale anything to the size Major League Baseball has done. But at least I can understand some of those concepts. It was a cool episode.

That was very cool, Mark. I love that episode. I want this one to be super cool as well. So let's end this with our very special, very not real, awards ceremony.


So one of the things we wanted to do was we wanted to take a look at all the stats. We talked about some of the episodes that were most insightful or popular with us. We wanted to know what was most insightful, popular with you.

So we took a look at all the stats. We came around, and we have a list in no order of some of the favorite episodes of the year.

STEPHANIE: Oh, I'm so excited to hear this. Out of the what, 44 45 episodes, what are the top five?

CARTER: Well--


--again, in no order here, "SRE III" with Steve McGhee and Yuri was a very popular episode. "The power of serverless" with Aparna and Philip was another popular one. "Data governance" with Jessi and Yuri, "SAP plus Apigee," "The power of APIs" with Benjamin and Dave was great.

And then last, but definitely not least, because again, this is no order-- and you chose this, not me-- "The future of service networking" with Ryan was another great episode.


CARTER: Yeah, one thing that was really interesting when looking at the data, the top two episodes are pretty consistent across all the different channels, whether you were watching this on Spotify or Apple or Google Cloud. But after that, there was a lot of variance. This was a very exciting phenomenon here.

STEPHANIE: Ooh, I just want to say that all of us made the list. No, I'm just kidding. It's not about us.


MARK: Well, I mean it's always amazing to hear what resonates with our audience, right? And the fact is that we have so many stories that we are able to tell based on the customers that come in. And some stories unfortunately, just don't make the cut, because we have to figure out logistics or otherwise.

So it's really exciting to hear what resonates well with our audience. And you know, keep that conversation, especially on social media. Let us know what you all like.

We were just talking about the amazing imposter syndrome episode with Carter. And the fact that folks have kind of immediately drawn to it, even though it was only released a week ago, lets us know that that's going to be a very hot topic. And so if folks-- if you all have things that you're definitely interested in hearing, let us know on social media.

CARTER: Yes, share it on Twitter or something. Let us know. We'll read it. And we'll take that into account.

Here's something I'm interested in. What are the things that you guys want to talk about next year? Or what was something that you were excited to cover this year that you didn't mention? Let's end on that note.

STEPHANIE: Well, I for one, am excited to learn a little bit more about Google Distributed Cloud. I know that it was announced at NEXT this past October. But I would love to learn more, because I know that folks have been talking about Kubernetes at the Edge.

And this is a way to run Anthos at the Edge, using many of the partners that we have in the telecom industry and some of our hardware processor, partners like Nvidia as well. So I'd love to get folks from, even our partners, as well as our product team.

And the other topic I would say, is sustainability in tech. You know, AGB is super into it right now. And so I'd love to get her back on, and some other folks who are doing some great work to make the information about your carbon impact more accessible on Google Cloud, and really, bring more attention to that topic.

CARTER: Especially the sustainability. I've seen some of the work AGBs been doing. And I would love to hear more about that. For me, I'm really excited about next year about trying to find more ways to engage and reach you, the listener.

And so one of the things we're doing-- we've been talking about it and making some work happen behind the scenes-- like Mark said earlier, there's a bunch of people we don't mention that make all this possible-- and one of the things they're all coming together to do is turn this into a video podcast. So that's very exciting.

And we're hoping to be able to get more engagement from the audience, to hear from you what you want to see, what guests you want us to talk to, what topics to go into. So I'm very excited for 2020 to the podcast. What about you, Mark?

MARK: Yeah, I'm so excited to see how this podcast evolves over time, because we have a great opportunity here to be able to listen to not only feedback, but also in working with our customers to just get that story out there and tell it in different ways. So I'm always excited to see what the podcast is going to do.

I'm really having trouble thinking about what technology I want to talk about next year, because next year is going to be so jam packed. And there's going to be millions of announcements. And there's going to be a ton of stuff that we're going to be able to cover.

So I really like the idea of just kind of staying loose and taking as many opportunities as we can to tell the stories that are right for that time. Who knows what this world is going to look like in a year. It's been a pretty rough year for some of us in this last year, because there's just been so many things that have been going on in the world outside of technology, and then of course, inside of technology.

And how those two topics relate is going to become just more consuming as time goes on. So I think Carter, I'm really excited to see how this podcast evolves. And I want to thank you obviously, for taking the brunt of that leadership on when it comes to the video effort.

And then, Stephanie, I'm always, always super excited to see each new episode that comes out, because you just have so many great topics and guests and conversations. And the type of wisdom that you bring to those-- it's phenomenal. So that's what I'm really excited about for next year, because I know there's just going to be more of the great stuff and then opportunities to improve.

STEPHANIE: Hey, we learned it from the LeBron James. It wasn't possible without you, Mark. We're more like the Steph Currys, like new MVPs.

CARTER: Hey, I'm a big LeBron James fan. So that reference cuts me deep. But I'm going with it.

STEPHANIE: I will say, though, we have so many cool topics already in our pipeline for next year. So get excited. We have teams bursting with information, topics, and things to cover.

So just stay tuned. We have a lot coming up next year. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Carter, for an incredible 2021. I think we've built such a powerful momentum for 2022.

And thank you so much to our audience. This wouldn't be possible without every single one of you listening right now. We'll find out where on Mark's list of favorite people you end up. Stay tuned.

MARK: Thank you all so much for listening. You can't be the LeBron James of podcasting unless you have somebody to dunk on, I think.

CARTER: Mark "Money" Mirchandani.


MARK: I don't know if that's going to catch on. And I don't know if it should. But--

STEPHANIE: Just let it happen.

MARK: Thank you so much to our listeners. 0% of this could be done without y'all. So really, you're the only reason we do all of these great things.

Stay tuned for some amazing content, really. And again, thank you all for listening. I hope you all have a great holiday season.


STEPHANIE: See you next year.



Stephanie Wong, Carter Morgan and Mark Mirchandani

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