23 episodes

In The Idealcast, multiple award-winning CTO, researcher and bestselling author Gene Kim hosts technology and business leaders to explore the dangerous, shifting digital landscape. Listeners will hear insights and gain solutions to help their enterprises thrive in an evolving business world.

The Idealcast with Gene Kim by IT Revolution Gene Kim

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 31 Ratings

In The Idealcast, multiple award-winning CTO, researcher and bestselling author Gene Kim hosts technology and business leaders to explore the dangerous, shifting digital landscape. Listeners will hear insights and gain solutions to help their enterprises thrive in an evolving business world.

    Simplifying The Inventory Management Systems at the World’s Largest Retailer Using Functional Programming Principles with Scott Havens

    Simplifying The Inventory Management Systems at the World’s Largest Retailer Using Functional Programming Principles with Scott Havens

    In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Scott Havens, who is the Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Havens is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Havens was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.


    Havens shares his views on what makes great architecture great. He details what happened when an API call required 23 other synchronous procedures calls to return a correct answer. He discusses the challenges of managing inventory at Wal-Mart, how one implements event sourcing patterns on that scale, and the functional programming principles that it depends upon. Lastly, he talks about how much category theory you need to know to do functional programming and considerations when creating code in complex systems.


    Before listening to this interview, please listen to Episode 22, which provides Scott Havens's  2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit talk with commentary from Gene Kim.


     


    ABOUT THE GUEST(S)


    Scott Havens is a Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Scott cares deeply about scalable data-intensive software systems; he is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Havens was a Director of Engineering at Jet.com and was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.


    In his home life, Havens enjoys good food, good wine, bad movies, and asking his daughter to stop "redecorating" his Minecraft castles, pretty please.


    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-havens/


    Twitter: @ScottHavens


    Email: scott@sphavens.com


     


    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    His views on what makes great architectures great

    The details on what happened when an API call requires 23 other synchronous procedures calls to return a correct answer

    How one implements event sourcing patterns on a large scale, using Wal-Mart as an example, and the functional programming principles it depends upon

    The challenges of managing inventory at Wal-Mart

    How much category theory to know to do functional programming


     


    RESOURCES


    Currying

    Function composition (computer science)

    Idempotence

    Love Letter To Clojure: And A Datomic Experience Report - Gene Kim

    Side effect (computer science)

    Functional Geekery Episode 129 – Eric Normand

    Theory of Functional Programming skill

    Ruby Conf 12 - Boundaries by Gary Bernhardt

    Functional Design in Clojure Podcast - Ep 021: Mutate the Internet

    Lean Summit 2013 - Art Byrne - What does it take to Lead a Lean Turnaround?

    Thoughts On Functional Programming Podcast - 3 Examples Of Algebraic Thinking

    CORECURSIVE #050 - Portal Abstractions with Sam Ritchie: How abstract algebra solves data engineering

    Adam Grant’s tweet about coding


     


    TIMESTAMPS


    [00:24] Intro


    [02:23] Meet Scott Havens


    [03:48] How architecture fits in functional programming


    [04:48] Event source systems at Wal-Mart 


    [19:45] The effects and behaviors


    [22:36] Duality of code and data


    [26:13] Currying


    [32:34] How the 23 service teams’s world change


    [40:56] Hallmarks of great architecture


    [51:10] How he replaced the dominant architecture at Wal-Mart


    [56:46] Configurations and speculations with couplings


    [1:03:51] How can simple systems suffer from problems like this


    [1:09:11] Idempotence, Clojure and side effect


    [1:17:01] Issues with switching to event-driven asynchronous architectures


    [1:25:15] Vast scale in which these organizations operate in


    [1:29:54] A moment that showed Scott the effects of what he helped create


    [1:33:51] Onboarding new engineers to the new system


    [1:45:11] Working in the Windows

    • 2 hr 3 min
    (Dispatch from the Scenius) Fabulous Fortunes, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes from Functional Fundamentals: Scott Havens’ 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Talk with Commentary from Gene Kim

    (Dispatch from the Scenius) Fabulous Fortunes, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes from Functional Fundamentals: Scott Havens’ 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Talk with Commentary from Gene Kim

    In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim shares and gives commentary on Scott Havens’ talk from the 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas. Havens is a Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. He is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Scott was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.


    In his 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit talk, Havens highlights functional programming and e-commerce systems work. He also talks about what he did to massively simplify those systems while also making them more testable, reliable, cheaper to operate, and easier to change. Finally, he discusses the implications of using functional programming to change how to design systems and systems of systems on a larger scale.


     


    ABOUT THE GUEST


    Scott Havens is Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Scott cares deeply about scalable data-intensive software systems. He is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Scott was Director of Engineering at Jet.com and was the architect for Walmart’s global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.


    In his home life, Scott enjoys good food, good wine, bad movies, and asking his daughter to stop “redecorating” his Minecraft castles, pretty please.


     


    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-havens/


    Twitter: @ScottHavens


    Email: scott@sphavens.com


     


    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    Functional programming and what it is.

    How e-commerce systems work.

    What Havens did to massively simplify those systems while also making them more testable, reliable, cheaper to operate, and easier to change.

    The implications of using functional programming to change how to design systems and systems of systems on a larger scale.


     


    RESOURCES


    Fabulous Fortunes, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes from Functional Fundamentals: Scott Havens’ 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Talk 

    Slidedeck for the Havens’ 2019 DOES talk

    Clojure

    Pass by reference (C++ only)

    John Carmack

    John Carmack Keynote - Quakecon 2013

    Panther Systems


     


    TIMESTAMPS


    [00:24] Intro


    [02:52] Functional programming


    [07:59] Gene introduces Scott


    [09:13] Working at Wal-Mart


    [11:13] Disaster struck


    [14:10] One common piece of e-commerce website functionality


    [17:07] The implications of functional programming for system design


    [21:05] Changing how to design systems and systems of systems


    [28:55] Using Panther


    [33:11] How this affects the hot path and cost


    [36:43] One bite a time


    [37:52] Contacting Scott


    [38:13] Outro

    • 38 min
    Open Source Software as a Triumph of Information Hiding, Modularity, and Creating Optionality with Dr. Gail Murphy

    Open Source Software as a Triumph of Information Hiding, Modularity, and Creating Optionality with Dr. Gail Murphy

    In this newest episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Dr. Gail Murphy, Professor of Computer Science and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia. She is also the co-founder, board member, and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop. Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage, and coordinate the information that matters most for their work.


     


    During the episode, Kim and Dr. Murphy explore the properties of modularity and information hiding, and how one designs architectures that create them. They also discuss how open source libraries create the incredible software supply chains that developers benefit from everyday, and the surprising new risks they can create.


     


    They discuss the ramifications of system design considerations and decisions made by software developers and why defining software developers’ productivity remains elusive. They further consider open-source software as a triumph of information hiding and how it has created a massively interdependent set of libraries while also enabling incredible co-evolution, which is only made possible by modularity. Listen as Kim and Dr. Murphy discuss how technologists have both succeeded and fallen short on the dream of software being like building blocks, how software development is a subset of knowledge work, and the implications of that insight.


     


    ABOUT THE GUEST


     


    Gail C. Murphy is a Professor of Computer Science and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), as well as co-founder, board member, and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop.


     


    After completing her BS at the University of Alberta in 1987, she worked for five years as a software engineer in the Lower Mainland. She later pursued graduate studies in computer science at the University of Washington, earning first a MS (1994) and then a PhD (1996) before joining University of British Columbia.


     


    Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage, and coordinate the information that matters most for their work. She also maintains an active research group with post-doctoral and graduate students.







    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    Why defining software developers’ productivity remains elusive and how developers talk about what factors make them feel productive.

    The value of modularity and how one can achieve it.

    Ways to decompose software that can have surprising outcomes for even small systems.

    How open-source software is a triumph of information hiding, creating a massively interdependent set of libraries that also enable incredible co-evolution, which is only made possible by modularity.

    How we have exceeded and fallen short of the 1980s dream of software being like building blocks, where we can quickly create software by assembling modules, and what we have learned from the infamous leftpad and mime-magic incidents in the last two years.

    Why and how, in very specific areas, the entire software industry has standardized on a set of modules versus in other areas, where we continue to seemingly go in the opposite direction.

    A summary of some of the relevant work of Dr. Carliss Baldwin, the William L. White Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Dr. Baldwin studies the process of design and its impact of design architecture on firm strategy, platforms, and business ecosystems.

    How software development is a subset of knowledge work and the implications of that insight.







    RESOURCES


    Dr. Mik Kersten on The Idealcast

    Project to Product: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework by Mik Kersten

    Tasktop

    The

    • 2 hr 11 min
    Exploring COVID-19 and Just-in-Time Supply Chains, Chaos Engineering, and the Soviet Centrally Planned Economy with Dr. Steve Spear

    Exploring COVID-19 and Just-in-Time Supply Chains, Chaos Engineering, and the Soviet Centrally Planned Economy with Dr. Steve Spear

    In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Dr. Steven Spear on his critiques of several articles from the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, and their characterization of the impact of Just-in-Time (JIT) supply chains and the widespread shortages caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. While the unprecedented health crisis created a widespread shortage of almost everything—from toilet paper to semiconductor chips to raw materials vital for medical materials—with results that impacted everyday life on a global scale, Dr. Spear makes the claim that JIT lessened the severity of shortages, as opposed to causing them.


    The discussion is informed by Spear’s work on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations and the Toyota Production System, and from his time observing and working directly with a tier-one Toyota supplier. Kim and Spear dive deep into supply chain dynamics and why they are important to society. The discussion delves into how JIT manufacturing not only revolutionized manufacturing but also the entire manufacturing supply chain and how it increased (not decreased) resilience, productivity, efficiency, and prosperity. 


    They also explore the structure and dynamics of these JIT supply chains, as well as the similarities of the famous Netflix Chaos Monkey, famous for helping Netflix build resilient services that can survive even widespread cloud outages and the larger, emerging field of Chaos Engineers (arguably, a subset of resilience engineering).

    Additionally, they explore Toyota’s manufacturing and how its history helped it become one of the least impacted by the semiconductor shortages. They follow that with an examination of the JIT’s antithesis and how it’s similar to the dynamics found in the Soviet’s centrally planned economy, particularly with its IT structure and dynamic results. Kim and Spear tie these things into the three basic tools of finance: net present value, option theory, and portfolio diversification.



     


    ABOUT THE GUESTS


    Dr. Steve Spear (DBA MS MS) is principal for HVE LLC, the award-winning author of The High-Velocity Edge, and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System. A Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Spear’s work focuses on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations so that they know better and faster what to do and how to do it. This has been informed and tested in practice in multiple industries including heavy industry, high tech design, biopharm R&D, healthcare delivery and other social services, US Army rapid equipping, and US Navy readiness.  


    Visit Steve Spear's Website


     


    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    What are supply chains, why they’re so vast and complex, and why they are important to society

    How Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing revolutionize manufacturing, the entire manufacturing supply chain, and the supply chain for basically everything

    How JIT increased, not deceased, the resilience of the supply chain

    Why Toyota is one of the auto manufacturers least impacted by the semiconductor shortages, partially as a result of what they learned during the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011

    How the structure and dynamics of the Toyota supply chain are almost exactly the same as the structure and dynamics of great systems discussed in previous episodes, such as the COVID mass vaccination clinic with Trent Green and Team of Teams

    How Toyota has the ability to reconfigure themselves with a low cost of change

    How these principles are very similar to Netflix chaos monkey and the entire field of what is now called chaos engineering

    How the antithesis of  JIT is similar to the dynamics found in the Soviet’s centrally planned economy, particularly with its IT structure and results in dynamics

    How inventory is a substitute for knowledge

    How this all ties into the three basic tools of finance: net present value, option theory, and portfolio diversification

    • 2 hr 1 min
    Unleashing Human Creativity To Deliver 8K+ COVID Vaccines Per Day and Improve the Overall Healthcare System with Trent Green

    Unleashing Human Creativity To Deliver 8K+ COVID Vaccines Per Day and Improve the Overall Healthcare System with Trent Green

    In March of 2021, Gene Kim visited the mass vaccination site at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, which has been described by the press as a logistical masterpiece where over 465,000 Oregonians have been vaccinated as of May 2021.


    After a three-hour tour of the site, Gene Kim sat down with Trent Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Legacy Health and one of the organizers of the mass vaccination operation. Kim and Green discuss firsthand what it looks like to vaccinate 8,000 people a day and the strategic level of planning it took to produce and operate the mass vaccination clinic.


    Green reveals what those first few days of operation were like and how the site was able to increase distribution from 2,000 vaccines per day to 8,000 per day. Lastly, he discusses the lessons he learned during the rollout process and how those lessons can inform how to improve the overall health care system.


    Also joining the conversation is Dr. Steve Spear, who has helped the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative create its “Perfecting Patient Care System” and has worked on a few pilot programs with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.


     


    ABOUT THE GUESTS


    Trent Green, COO of Legacy Health, focusing on innovation in Legacy Health’s hospital operations and service lines, and responsible for Legacy Laboratory Services, Legacy Imaging Services and Unity Center. Green oversees the OHSU Knight-Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, the LifeFlight partnership, as well as other ventures that directly impact hospital operations. Prior to his most recent role, Green served as Legacy Health’s senior vice president, chief strategy officer, and president of Legacy Medical Group. He brings more than 20 years of experience in leading health care organizations, with specific strengths and accomplishments in clinic and hospital operations, strategic planning, business development, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and finance. 


     


    Green’s notable achievements include advancing a re-imagined Master Facility Plan for the Legacy Emanuel and Randall Children’s Hospital campus; navigating a complex regulatory situation at Unity Center by providing decisive leadership and a unified approach to problem-solving, resulting in the successful restoration of status, cultural alignment, best in system performance on medication administration practices, and accelerated incident review and mitigation implementation practices. He also led and developed several of Legacy’s most transformational initiatives, including the PacificSource joint venture, Silverton Health affiliation, Legacy-GoHealth urgent care joint venture, and the OHSU Knight–Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, among others.


     


    Dr. Steve Spear (DBA MS MS) is principal for HVE LLC, the award-winning author of The High-Velocity Edge, and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System. A Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Spear’s work focuses on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations so that they know better and faster what to do and how to do it. This has been informed and tested in practice in multiple industries including heavy industry, high tech design, biopharm R&D, healthcare delivery and other social services, US Army rapid equipping, and US Navy readiness.  


    Visit Steve Spear's Website


     


    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    Green’s role as the Chief Operating Officer, how it compares to the Chief Medical Officer, and what are the other key leadership roles in a healthcare organization

    The strategic level of planning, human creativity, and problem-solving it took to produce and operate the mass vaccination clinic as efficient as possible

    Green’s role and the various leadership roles at the vaccination clinic

    What the first days of operations at the vaccination site were like

    The major milestones Green saw as distribution increased from 2,000 vaccin

    • 1 hr 39 min
    Patterns of Generative Cultures: How They Can Be Destroyed and the Importance of Trust with Dr. Ron Westrum

    Patterns of Generative Cultures: How They Can Be Destroyed and the Importance of Trust with Dr. Ron Westrum

    In the second part of this two-part episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim continues his conversation with Dr. Ron Westrum, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University and creator of the Westrum organization typology model. 


     


    In part two of their conversation, Kim and Westrum talk about generative cultures and why Westrum thinks they are more important now than it they were a hundred years ago. Westrum also shares his observations on the increasing number of functional specialities in organizations. He discusses the challenges that arise from having matrixed organizations and the tools to overcome these challenges. 


     


    Finally, Westrum previews the new book he’s working on about information flow within organizations.


     


    ABOUT THE GUEST


    Ron Westrum is Emeritus Professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University. He holds a B.A. (honors) from Harvard University and a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Chicago.


     


    Dr. Westrum is a specialist in the sociology of science and technology, and on complex organizations. He has written three books, Complex Organizations: Growth, Development and Change; Technologies and Society: The Shaping of People and Things, and Sidewinder: Creative Missile Design at China Lake. He has also written about fifty articles and book chapters. His work on organizational culture has been valuable for the aviation industry and to medical safety, as well as to other areas of endeavor. He has been a consultant to NASA, the National Research Council, and the Resilience Core Group. He is currently at work on a book on information flow cultures.


     


    YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT


    Why Westrum thinks creating generative cultures is more important now than it was 100 years ago

    His observations on the increasing number of functional specialities and how long it’s been going on

    The challenges that arise from having matrix organizations and the tools to overcome these challenges

    The book he’s working on about information flow within organizations, what areas he’s pursuing and what has surprised him as he delves into specific examples


     


    RESOURCES


    The Sociology and Typologies of Organizations, and Technical Maestros with Dr. Ron Westrum

    Sidewinder: Creative Missile Design at China Lake by Ron Westrum

    Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

    The Citigroup Center (formerly Citicorp Center)

    Latent human error

    Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II by Arthur Herman

    Admiral Thomas Moore

    Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson

    Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession by Dr. Leonard Wong and Dr. Stephen J. Gerras

    The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks

    The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper

    Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley A. McChrystal with Chris Fussell, David Silverman, Tantum Collins

    Hubble Space Telescope

    NOVA - Aircraft Carrier

    21st Century Jet - Building the Boeing 777

    Boeing to Buy McDonnell Douglas

    Extended-range Twin-engine Operations Performance Standards (ETOPS)

    Alan Mulally

    Technology in Retrospect and Critical Events in Science (TRACES)

    General George C. Marshall

    The Marshall Plan on NPR’s Planet Money

    2015 State Of DevOps Report

    Westrum organizational culture

    The study of information flow: A personal journey by Ron Westrum

    Stand and Deliver

    Mayo Clinic

    How a Friendly Fire Tragedy in Sicily Transformed Airborne Warfare

    The New Heat On Ford

    Email Ron Westrum


     


    TIMESTAMPS


     


    [00:00] Intro


    [02:39] Why generative cultures are more important now


    [14:50] Exposing latent pathogens


    [19:39] Gene’s thoughts and a few corrections


    [28:59] The increase in silos


    [34:53] How Westrum would organize the organization


    [40:42] Why matrix organizations are fundamentally unstable and how to cope


    [44:57] LaunchDarkly an

    • 1 hr 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Carl from chicago ,

A great podcast about technology

I listen to many podcasts about technology and business and this is one of the best ones.

Gene Kim goes deep in his interviews and also incorporates voice overs into the material in case a subtle point was made or if it wasn’t emphasized enough.

These are usually much longer podcasts and they require focus to listen to. Often they take very long discussions and break them into 2-3 podcasts. This is not just a “quick take” on a complex topic, they go deep into the back story and the “why”.

I also highly recommend the books that they refer to in the podcast they are universally excellent.

But if you have no context on development or dev ops likely these podcasts will be a steep slog for you.

JerDoug ,

Thanks for this podcast!

I continue to learn so much from Gene and Mik, and for the last 10+ years they’ve shown how economic value is actually created in organizations today. But how they unpack key business ideals and transformation with Peter Moore, a business strategist, is amazing. Thank you for this podcast and for the vision ahead!

Aletics ,

More from the author of The Phoenix Project

Loved all the books from Gene Kim, and now I'm looking forward to more episodes of his podcast after listening to the first one.

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