High Velocity Ops for Maximizing Growth

(Note: For simplicity, I'll refer to web operations, server systems, devops, and so on as simply "Ops" or "systems".)

Do what others consider impossible

Do you ever wonder how some companies can scale to over $100,000,000 in annual revenue with less than 20 hours per week spent on their Ops?

That's an oddly specific example, so you probably haven't wondered that exactly! But the fact is, a few engineers know how to do this, but most don't.

I've had a few of clients that have been able to do exactly that. I've also had dozens of smaller clients who have been able to scale to multi-millions of dollars of annual revenue with under 10 hours per week spent on Ops.

Many engineers have a hard time believing these scenarios are even possible, but that is only because they haven't personally seen it done and have no idea how to do it. (Yet!)

The "default" ways are SLOOOOW

It's not the engineer's fault necessarily that they don't know how. The default way to create systems is to follow the well-respected examples of others. That seems perfectly reasonable right? Well, it seems reasonable, but it is SLOOOOOW and hugely inefficient. Here's where this "default" strategy falls down:

Unfortunately this "default" way of building and running systems will be with us for the foreseeable future. Here's why:

The effectiveness of your systems is NOT measured in feelings!

The effectiveness of your systems is measured in how efficiently they serve your company's goals. Goals like:

That's what this training program is about: learning how to get beyond the alluring, yet painfully slow defaults and instead use High Velocity Ops.

With High Velocity Ops, instead of copying from the examples of others, we start from the foundational First Principles and from there learn the strategies for building extremely simple, robust, low-cost systems.

Reasoning from First Principles

The systems engineering field is still in its infancy. Many "expert" systems engineers are encyclopedias of low-level technical knowledge, but don't have a grasp on the key fundamentals.

And it's those fundamentals that make the difference between speed and excruciating sluggishness for business growth.

The best way I've found to teach modern systems for maximizing business growth is to start from the basic foundations and work up from there.

Elon Musk explains the First Principles approach:

"First principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world. You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, 'What are we sure is true?' ...and then reason up from there."

To describe the power in this, he gives a great example:

Historically, battery packs cost $600 per kilowatt hour. People assume that's just the way it is. But, if you look at the basic elements of a battery pack, you see that it is just a combination of elements like cobalt, nickel, aluminum, carbon, and polymers put in a sealed can. However, if you look at the costs of those individual materials and add them up, it comes to only $80. So, then it's just a matter of coming up with a clever way to combine those materials and you can create a dramatically cheaper battery pack.

Visual of battery components

The advantage of First Principles is that it cuts through all the outdated traditions, zealotry, and hyped-up fads around systems.

Without building from First Principles, there is often a lot of, "But some Unicorn company did it this other way..." or, "But so-and-so expert said this one thing..."

Using First Principles establishes clearly what you need and what you don't.

Many systems are not built from First Principles, and this is how you can tell:

Without building from First Principles, your systems end up:

Even engineers that are considered technical geniuses fall into these traps. They get caught up chasing every new fad and adding it to their systems. Despite their technical prowess, if you look only at the business metrics of their systems, these technical-marvels-of-waste are indistinguishable from incompetence.

How this Benefits You

Any sufficiently technical engineer can set up systems that wastefully drag along at 5 to 50 times slower than needed. That is neither rare nor valuable. Lots of people do that. It's sadly quite common in our industry.

This program prepares you to be one of the most powerful engineers when it comes to maximizing your systems for the fastest business growth. That is very rare and very valuable. It will benefit you throughout your career whether you're an early engineer at a new startup, a CTO running an engineering team at a larger company, or a founder of your own venture.

If you’re a current or future engineering leader:

If you're an Ops engineer:

Program Specifics

We'll cover 10 modules in the main program.

1. Strategies for Maximizing Growth

Strategies for Maximizing Growth

2. Navigating Hazards

Navigating Hazards

3. First Principles: Business Growth

First Principles: Business Growth

4. First Principles: Systems

First Principles: Systems

5. First Principles: Workflows

First Principles: Workflows

6. Strategies for Speed: Don't Die

Strategies for Speed: Don't Die

7. Strategies for Speed: Avoid Slow Downs

Strategies for Speed: Avoid Slow Downs

8. Strategies for Speed: FULL Speed

Strategies for Speed: FULL Speed

9. Strategies for Speed: Scaling

Strategies for Speed: Scaling

10. Strategies for Speed: All hands on deck

Strategies for Speed: All hands on deck

A Great Investment

While it's impossible to estimate exactly (it greatly depends on your scale and business situation), this program can save you and your company many thousands of engineering hours and millions of dollars.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll have the power to boost your systems for speed and create an advantage over your competition (not to mention, freeing up your own time for more interesting projects).

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Answers to Your Questions

Am I a good fit for this?

If your top priority is creating great systems that deliver on the most important business metrics for your company, then yes!

You care deeply about these:

The folks I've found that are typically a bad fit for this are those who:

What scale do you cover?

This program covers scale from the very early seed-stage startup to companies (or divisions of larger companies) with annual revenue up to a few hundred million. Of course, revenue is a very loose indicator, but it will be accurate in most cases. We don't cover scale that requires building your own data centers, etc.

What if the program isn’t for me? Can I get a refund?

Absolutely. You can sign up for the program and get a full-refund if you cancel before the last session.

No questions asked, no hard feelings, just a fair refund if it's not for you.

How long is it and how is it delivered?

About 7 hours of instruction and 2 hours of group systems consulting delivered live via online video (~9 hours total).

It is typically delivered in 3 sessions of 3 hours each (though I may offer other formats periodically).

How do you know this stuff?

In short, I've completed hundreds of successful systems-improvement projects for my clients. More details on my About page.

Do I need a technical background for this program?

Not really. This is primarily a strategy training program. I've even taught this material to business executives and they fully understood it (though I did take a little extra time to explain some concepts like DNS, network encryption, etc).

Approximately 95% of the program requires no previous technical background. For the 5% of the program that requires a bit of technical explanation, I will let you know ahead of time the concepts you'll need to understand (it's not a lot).

In my experience, it's the basic strategies where systems most often fail. With the wrong strategies, no amount of technical brilliance will save your systems. That's why this program focuses primarily on getting the strategies and First Principles right.

Can I ask questions?

Absolutely. There are regular Q&A opportunities throughout the program.

Can you help me with my particular systems?

Yes —in the group consulting sessions I'm happy to answer these questions. Keep in mind though that this isn't a deep technical program so the questions should be primarily focused on the system strategies.

If you'd like private consulting where we review your company's systems and create a customized speed-up plan, there are special Systems Speedup packages available exclusively to alumni of this program.

I'm embarrassed about my systems, will you judge me?

You don't need to worry about feeling embarrassed about your current systems when we work together. Your systems have gotten your business to where it is now. That's awesome just in itself. We don't worry about the past —our only aim is to evolve your systems to be even better at achieving your business goals.

At some point in my career, I've made nearly every mistake we cover in the program. I've seen many of my engineering idols at the top companies in the world make these mistakes. Don't worry, you're in good company ;-)

Can you deliver a customized private version of this program to my company?

Yes, depending on my availability. If you'd like the program to be delivered privately to your team and customized to your particular systems and goals, contact me for details.

What software will I need to take the program?

You will need a Flash enabled browser to participate in the training.

The Chrome web browser comes with Flash built-in, so it's an easy option. It is also available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. Download it here.

For the nitty-gritty details on the system requirements for attendees on AnyMeeting (the platform we're using) —take a look here.

To test your setup, use the AnyMeeting System Test.

What about privacy?

I do not share system details associated with the company's identity without written permission or unless the details are already public. I will share generalized system stories anonymously but I always change any details that could possibly be used to identify the company. I do share the company names of my notable past corporate customers in a general list unless I've made a special agreement with them beforehand.

Will you sign my NDA or other contracts before working together?

Sometimes, but I have a significant surcharge fee for this since I need to take time to review it and have my lawyer review it, etc. Contact me with the details and I'll provide you a quote on the fee.

I really want to take this program, but I can't afford it right now. What are my options?

I plan to run a special version of this program periodically for those that are in a situation where they can't currently afford the program (like you're in a developing country, are a student, have 15 children, or something similar). Send me an email and describe your situation. Then if it is a good fit, I'll add you to the waiting list and when there are enough people on the list, I will notify you of the discounted price and dates for this special version of the program.

Please note though that this special version of the program will be different than the regular one. This program will be customized to cover the topics for those that have more time than money available to them. I realize that time is still in short supply for many students and those in developing countries, however, the reality is that purchasing time-saving solutions is often not an option in those circumstances. So, I skip many of the strategies where you can essentially trade money-for-time and outsource parts of your Ops work. Instead, I focus more on covering how to make the best use of your time since you will have to manage those things yourself.

I'm still not sure if this is for me. How can I learn more without taking the program?

That's no problem. This isn't for everyone. I'll be writing regularly about many of the topics I cover in the training programs and you can receive that content for free if you are subscribed to the email newsletter:

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