Ep#56 Behind the Scenes look with Jeff Barr

April 6, 2022
EP56 Jeff Barr 1280

About the Guest

I have been working in the software industry since 1976 when I started working part-time at a computer store while still in high school. Since then I have worked at a variety of large and small organizations, served as VP of Engineering for a startup, worked at Microsoft and Amazon, and worked on my own.

As the Chief Evangelist for the Amazon Web Services, I get to tell the AWS story to audiences all over the world. I talk, I blog, I record videos, and I spread the word via social media.

I am a strong believer in continuing education and recently earned my Master's Degree in Communication and Digital Media from the University of Washington.

Episode Summary

Joining us today is AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr for a behind the scenes look into his recording studio and office. Including his “Jeff Barr” style of building it out to scale in a lego model. Speaking of models, you need to stick around and see Jeff’s 3D printing station. The first AWS re:invent in two years happened back in December and Jeff is going to give us his take on the whole event. Also, stick around because it seems like Jeff has taken up a new hobby that has nothing to do with Tech or AWS but he’s making a lot of “dough” doing it.

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Host: Jon

Oh, Hey everyone. Join us today is AWS chief evangelist Jeff bar for behind the scenes, look into his office and studio setup, including a Jeff bar style Lego model of his new office setup. Speaking of modeling, guess what? Jeff's gonna show us a look of his 3d printing studio and set up. This is something you're not gonna wanna miss.

Host: Jon

The first AWS reinvent in two years happened back in December, and Jeff's gonna give this his take on the whole event. Oh, also you're gonna wanna stick around because it looks like Jeff has taken up a new hobby and it has nothing to do with tech, but he's making a lot of dough before I bring Jeff onto the show. You know what you need to do hit that like subscribe and notification, because as always, I'm trying to bring you some awesome content and stories now without father to do it's time to bring AWS chief evangelist, Jeff Barr onto the show. Let's do this. Please join me in welcoming AWS, chief evangelist, Jeff Barr to the show. Jeff, thanks for showing.

Guest: Jeff

Well, Hey John. Great to see you again,

Host: Jon

Jeff. Thanks for always coming on the show. You're like my reoccurring guests. Uh, we do this often. Well, not often enough usually, but what we can squeeze it in.

Guest: Jeff

Absolutely. For sure. It's it's fun. And I've, I, I think one thing I've learned during the last two years is how effective you can be from your own desktop. You get everything nicely set up, you have the right connections, the right people, you got all the, the equipment and somebody things that once would've been meet with the office and it takes half a half a day in a studio or fly here and do something is now flip on the camera and do something for an hour. And you're good. So it it's, it's something really interesting that we've learned.

Host: Jon

Yeah. At home. I can quickly create content, wrap it up early morning, before work starts late at night after the kids go to bed, I actually don't have to travel to an office to get it all done. I've taken a lot of time over the last couple of years to get my setup to a point where that I can utilize it as quick as possible, because it takes some time also to edit. So we just, when I get this content out, uh, basically quickly,

Guest: Jeff

I I'm really jealous of how good your background looks there, by the way. Um, we, we should talk about my, my awesome background to the like thereof, cuz I'm trying to make things a lot better here, but it it's a work in progress.

Host: Jon

Okay. Before we get the studio set up, I have to talk about the most recent thing that happened in reinvent, right in person. Now there was a limited number of people, but you could feel the energy there. Jeff, can you give us your experience from AWS reinvent first time in two years?

Guest: Jeff

Well, it was so good to be in the company of, of so many like-minded AWS people, uh, customers, partners, colleagues, and a as good as being on, on slack or chime or zoom or WebEx or whatever we're doing, being face to face with people and doing our absolute best to be respectful and careful and safe and socially distanced while still saying, Hey, there you are. And we, we can, we can say hello and we can talk face to face. It was, it was really invigorating and refreshing just to, to see, see so many good folks after two years,

Host: Jon

I agree with you the energy level everywhere you walk the expo. In fact, I was hoping you and I would run into each other at least once there, but it was multiple times at work. I was over by the wing thing and I was talking to Warner and you were like, Hey John. I'm like, oh my God, Jeff, this is awesome that I'm running into you in so long.

Guest: Jeff

You know, what was interesting is I, I love the fact that we continue to scale reinvent year after year, but then we, we did this like step back. I, and I don't remember the exact attendance for, for 20, 21 or for years past, but we, it it's like we stepped back four or five years to somewhere where it was a little bit more intimate. And we, I think we had 25 or 27,000 people in, in 2021, but still it felt a somewhat more intimate event. And you could start to recognize and see the same group of people more than once, which is some weird aspect of how our memories work. But at, at that scale it felt, it, it felt really nice and it was just so good to see people and to, to hear of what they'd been up to and how, how they'd been working and thriving and keeping healthy and, and so forth throughout two years of, of, uh, weirdness.

Host: Jon

I think everybody was looking for the social interaction. Just as much as the information, the knowledge that was being shared, the key notes, the key messaging that was happening. I do like how small it was. I think there was like 27,000 in previous years, it was like 64,000. Right. And in 2019, spread out all over the strip and you were hustling bustling trying to make everywhere, everywhere, but with the limited number of people, I think this made it a little bit more, I wanna say intimate, you got to actually socialize a lot more and have those one-on-one conversations. Yeah. It seemed a little, and it was still packed, but within respect to everybody's health and everything, it was by far what we needed. It felt somewhat normal.

Guest: Jeff

I, I I'd agree. And it not just that, but it actually felt safe. The, the fact that we were, we were sticklers for vaccination and for masking and Y yes, we had some social distancing rules that I, I can't say that, you know, at, at every cocktail party, an event that we were as socially distanced as we should have been, but the, I, I haven't heard official numbers, but we, we certainly didn't ha cause any kind of a super spreader event. I, I was actually quite concerned given the, the number of people that just wanted to come up and say hello, and I, I didn't want to be the hub of something awful. And so I, I was doing my best just to be, be open and accessible and friendly, but just a little bit of distance just to, just because I, I didn't wanna inadvertently catch something and then, then spread it. That would just be an awful legacy to leave behind for reinvent. But, you know, I, I, I came home healthy and, uh, it was like, oh, okay, you, you can actually do it if you do the right things.

Host: Jon

I think AWS did an awesome job all around for this reinvent. Very limited capacity, did everything they could to make sure everybody had a good time, but were safe at it. Uh, all the workshops, the sessions, the breakouts, it was probably one of the toughest ones with the small amount of people that they actually had attending it because they had to keep additional things in mind. Jeff, what were some of the things that you took away from this reinvent?

Guest: Jeff

Well, let's see innovation continues, progress continues. I, I wrote a lot of good content and the time leading up to reinvent as I always do, but working with a, a great team of, of bloggers as well. Um, I, in that, the leading up time, one thing I always love to do is just push myself really hard on social media. And part of that is almost as I'm getting so intense and so focused on creating the content that same energy carries over into the rest of my life. So I'm, I'm working really hard creating content, but I'm almost just kind of in this, um, uh, frenzy, I guess is the right word. And it's like, okay, I can put some of that energy into the rest of my life, but I can put some of it into social media, but then there's a little bit of a let down afterward because at least for me, and everybody's different, but there's a little bit of a let down afterward because that level of intensity just isn't sustainable.

Guest: Jeff

And that, that, that's something I have to remind myself every year. Like there's the, this kind of December, and December's great, cuz we're getting ready to see family and get ready for, for holidays, but it's still, you get that super intense wound up energy and then you do reinvent and you come back and your, your energy reserves are really low, but you're still somehow emotionally intense and balancing. That's always a no matter, no matter how many times I go through it and how I try to set myself up for success in that there's still a little bit of a, um, emotional challenge, I think. So that that's one takeaway. I keep getting year after year, as far as actual launches, a lot of great stuff. Uh, one, one that I loved cause I participated a lot was the, um, the outpost servers and the fact that we've got outpost servers and in the, the rack size we've got the, the one U and the two U size. And it was actually really fun to be able to not, not just write about that, but to hang out with the team. And, uh, I did a really fun tweet where my colleague, um, Taana actually came to the booth and she picked up the outpost server and uh, she literally walked away with it to go to her session.

Host: Jon

Nice. Uh, I know that you usually pick up your tweets and your social presence right before it, you and I had a chance to sit down in September. I think it was end of September, October, right before you hunkered down and did all your blog posts ready and prepare and stuff for reinvent. I know after reinvent things start to taper down, but AWS summits are back now. They're not as big as reinvents, but that's gotta be really highly energetic that knowing that summits are back in person and you get to participate in all, you know, most, if not all of them.

Guest: Jeff

So I don't end up doing a whole lot of actual content for the summits. And I, I, I haven't signed up to travel any just yet still, still waiting for an invitation or two, but we we'll, we'll see,

Host: Jon

Uh, I'm inviting you, you got by, but

Guest: Jeff

<laugh>, I'm still trying to figure out what the right balance is of stay right here in my comfy chair versus go, go around and, and do things. I, I do already have one customer trip set up to go to, where am I going? I'm to stock home in may. And that's my first business trip since the beginning of 2020. And that, that should be fun.

Host: Jon

Wow. Not something quick and short and local. I mean, you're going to Stockholm for it. Yeah.

Guest: Jeff

Good customer there. So yeah, I, I think that's actually, you know what, now that you've mentioned it, that is actually, there is a summit there that week that that's

Host: Jon

Where I'm going, uh, Berlin,

Guest: Jeff

You're going the summit where we're gonna get the, the customer to come to that.

Host: Jon

Is it the, I think

Guest: Jeff

Berlin and Stockholm are the same week and perhaps even the same day.

Host: Jon

Yeah. I think they're really close. I thought you maybe you'd be, you know, I'm gonna have to look at that because I know San Fran is the first summit happening in April, uh, right after that is London. And then, uh, there's a number of those. I will be at the New York summit since that's right here, close to home, just driving up to that. Uh, we're probably participate in it. If not, I will still be there.

Guest: Jeff

Sounds good. Yeah. It's gonna be actually kind of neat to go back to Stockholm because I think that was the last city I was in right before they started closing down the us in, in whenever that was <laugh>.

Host: Jon

I remember my, I remember my last trip. It was in March. I'm gonna think of like 15, 17 where I was in Los Angeles meeting with some partners and, uh, the AWS chief there and of, uh, channel chief. And we had a meeting and I come back and I was a turn and burn type trip, fly six hours, do a two hour meeting, fly six hours back. And it was like, y'all shut down now. Like, oh, okay.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah, I got back to the us less than six hours before they said they were gonna close the borders to all visitors. So it was, it was far too touch and go. Yeah. And we, we did have a family plan B where I was gonna, if I couldn't get back into the us, my son, Steven and his family live in Australia. So plan B was go to Australia and stay with them for a while.

Host: Jon

You'd have a different studio setup. Speaking of that, how about we talk about your studio setup?

Guest: Jeff

Okay. So long story I used to be, uh, we, we, we live in Seattle and we live on a, a very, very steep hill. So our house is basically a vertical house and I had a room in the upper level of the house. That was my, my nice cozy home office. It was a little bit cramped, but it was, it had a, a nice view. I had all my good stuff. And then mid last summer things started to heat up a lot, literally started to heat up. We, we had this heat wave in Seattle to the point where the house would absorb all this heat in one day. And it wouldn't actually radiate all the heat out at night. So the next day it would start out five degrees warmer to the point where with the AC running and two fans running, I couldn't get my office below like 82 degrees.

Guest: Jeff

It was absolutely brutal. And so we had this guest room downstairs. It was not often used. And I, I managed to with a little bit of family negotiation, convinced my wife, that we didn't need this empty guest room and that I could consolidate my, my office and all my hobby stuff into one awesome place. So I, I quickly moved everything down with this plan to do a, a really professional design and make it look really slick and sophisticated. Um, I, I actually wrote in the finest Amazon tradition, I wrote a, a document called a PR FAQ to define exactly what I wanted. I had a press release. I had questions. I had pictures found a really awesome designer. And we, we went through a couple iterations on designs, but then I, I, I realized that what really works for me, isn't designing something, but having something that is continuously up updated, and rather than designing things, I like to kind of accumulate and shift and adapt. And so I I've, I'm now in my third layout of, of what works here and I, I've got my video set up. I've got my, um, my bookcases and then I've got my 3d actually. Why don't I just show you? Let me just let me switch. Yeah,

Host: Jon

Yeah, yeah.

Guest: Jeff

Let's do it. I'll show you

Host: Jon

Let's get a tour.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. Let's just do a quick tour here. Okay. We got our video and ninja, so, so computer set up and then I've got 3d printing in the corner, um, way too much stuff in the closets. I've got my Lego area. I've got my electronics area. Um, this is gonna be actually this, this corner. I finally figured out I want this to be the background for my videos in the, the sense that I want it to look really, really good behind me. So that, that TV I'll, we'll talk about that in a second. And then we just got the outside and a couple plants and then back to, to where we started. So that is kind of a quick tour. Why don't we go back to that one?

Host: Jon

<laugh> aha. I love Jeff. I love it. I know you're using the stream deck for all this stuff. The transitions that's perfect because I don't even have to add those in, in post editing.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. Let me zoom in a little bit right there. So anyway, the idea was, I'd get this professional design, then we'd get a, a fabrication company to build the ultimate furniture. Cuz these, these folding tables certainly look kind, kinda lame and temporary, but it's been invaluable for the last like six or eight months to just have something that isn't nailed down and bolted down where I can keep shifting things around to. So I find what I'm really comfortable with. And honestly, John, I'm really jealous of how good your setup looks because I, I want, I want something where the lighting is just right. I want the background behind me to look really, really interesting. And none of that stuff was easy. It's just not easy at all. I look at other people's setups and I can immediately say, okay, theirs is a hundred times better than mine, but I can never quite figure out in my head why theirs is better than mine. So <laugh>

Host: Jon

Speaking of mine, first of all, thank you so much. And this did not happen by myself. Uh, another good friend and mentor of mine for podcasting. We, we talked about this on my show. Once that I was actually gonna paint this white, but with my camera, the white balance, everything would've came out bad. The quality of the video, I literally had bucket in hand paint. I was about to roll it on the wall and he is like, no, no, it's gotta be dark. You gotta go darker with your lighting. Then I got a key light, the lighting that's on my sign helps out tremendously. And thanks to, uh, Jeremy Dailey from the serverless chats who I had on my show. He talks about an L C D battery powered

Guest: Jeff

Light.

Host: Jon

So,

Guest: Jeff

And I'm not gonna blind everybody, but oh,

Host: Jon

It is literally just the, that's all it is.

Guest: Jeff

Oh wow. See, every time that this happens, I don't feel more enlightened. Literally in this case I'm feel like more like, wow, I'm just clueless about this. So,

Host: Jon

Well, something else that he showed, well, the, the sound tiles I thought of, I was like, man, I need a little more stuff in the back for me. So the dampening of it, it really helps. So the acoustic tiles, I, I got different colors cuz I wanted to offset the color in a little bit, but with the light behind it, it really brings it out. And something else that he showed me on the show was a very, very cheap, uh, tool is basically if I can get it out is literally the, the white balance card, you know, for you, your grays, uh, I believe he said, this is supposed to be on the back 18%. And what it's supposed to do is your camera should line up with it and really kind of get the colors where it needs to be. And you can, when you adjust it and post editing, you can kind of tell, by the way I got this off of Amazon,

Guest: Jeff

Okay. I I'm making a note right now.

Host: Jon

I'll drop you all link to it. Uh, that and the L C D light, if you'd like, this is probably one of the best things that I've invested in this very cheap card and the L C D light behind me and I I've had the mic and the arm. I actually just put it up for it and what it's doing, it's, it's actually providing the quality of lighting is just, and by the way, I am no expert. I have stumbled and worked through and changed it and adjusted so many things. So I gotta tell you, I appreciate it, but I never even think it's really that good yet.

Guest: Jeff

This is the thing that I realized with my office design is I, I didn't want something that would lock me into one position or one fixed set of equipment that I really, the, the meta design was. It just needs to be continuously flexible. And just until last week, my desk was in the, the corner behind me. And then our, our decorator friend came by. Who's helping us design another part of the house. He looked and said, Jeff, you look like you're being punished there with your desk, just pushed over into the corner, get yourself more into the, the center of the room. So I, I, I, didn't just rearrange. Actually, I, when I was working with my first designer, uh, they actually built a, a CAD model that was somewhat helpful to see different perspectives, but it just didn't quite light me up the way it should have. So in, in true Jeff form, I built a Lego model of my desired office. <laugh> was the, was the way to do it.

Host: Jon

Did you happen to post that on Twitter?

Guest: Jeff

I didn't, but let me see if I can find it. Hold on one sec here.

Host: Jon

Yeah. I wanna see this, uh, this, this Lego model. Oh, and by the way, so Jeff is using video ninja so that he can connect everything. Move about. There we go.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. So, so this, this is my, my model of what I want to get to. It's already been outta date because of the desk is not positioned, but I've, I've got, you can even see, I went as far as my, my rack full of 3d printing stuff. And I did the filaments this morning in the name of, of realism. And here's, here's where my, my 3d printing

Host: Jon

Look that's set up. Okay. I am truly jealous of your 3d printing set up. We have the same print actually. No, you upgraded that's right. I remember you bought a door in the holidays.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. And I own a lot of fulfillment. The good thing about fulfillment is someone always says, Hey, I need one more color.

Host: Jon

<laugh>

Guest: Jeff

Oh, I guess I have to buy one more.

Host: Jon

Yeah. And then, uh, print your traditional, uh, you do a figurine, right?

Guest: Jeff

I do. I do a, um, oh, it's called a Nu. Let me get,

Host: Jon

Yes, that's right.

Guest: Jeff

I've got mys right up here, John. We go, this is, this is the first 20, sorry for that guy. Okay. Here's the first 25 or so of them. And I just bought some more wood to start working on my next collection, but this is actually kind of neat because it gives me a sample of the colors, but it also lets me calibrate the printer and make sure that I, I understand how to work well with that filament because every manufacturer and even color of fulfillment prints a little bit better or worse. And one of the most interesting things is that, um, within say manufacturer and brand, sometimes the, the lighter colors are a little bit harder to use. Like white is particularly difficult to use in many cases because the, the, what I understand is they they'll put like chalk or gypsum in as part of the pigment. And it, it tends to be a little bit dry and, and crispy. So something that might print really well with red or green or, or black can be a little bit challenging with white. Sometimes.

Host: Jon

I didn't know that I'll have to take that out. I think I actually have some white, I do have some glow in the dark filament that I use for my son. It was a project that I, yeah, I got the glow in the dark for him. And then I took a picture of something. I said, this is what we're going to make. And, uh, he was to, he was totally thrilled about it, but all right, so you've got these projects, right? I have to talk, we talked about Legos. We talked about some of your 3d printing and, and we can definitely jump into more, but I noticed you took up a new hobby. And in fact, I saw the tweet this morning that has nothing to do with's in your office, but it makes me hungry. Do you wanna share this new hobby that

Guest: Jeff

You've seen? Uh, okay. So, uh, my, my good friend Corey, and she has a sourdough culture that has been, I think, in her family for a hundred or 150 years and twice over the last decade or so she has gifted me, uh, a bottle of starter and the, the one I used last decade, I, at some point I, I let it, I let it die, unfortunately, but she, she brought me some more, quite a while ago, like maybe a year and a half ago. And the, the thing with sourdough starter is you have to keep it fed, but it, it, it, it literally just multiplies out. So you always end up with lots and lots and lots. And I had been carefully feeding it, but I was, I, I kept saying sooner or later, I just have to do something with this. And I had so much, I, I put some in my refrigerator here and some in our, our weekend place. And so now I've got two bottles have started. I'm just feeding. And it's just like, it's just like staring at me, like, please use me for something. And, and finally, a couple weeks ago had a really simple recipe and was really, really like about maybe seven minutes worth of preparation to make it happen. And, uh, let it rise overnight, do a little bit of folding this morning and put in an oven for an hour and, uh, got this really nice crispy Lofa sourdough.

Host: Jon

It looked really inviting. It just reminded me. I wanted to do like a soup bread bowl or, you know, like dig it out and put it in and just, I don't know. It made me really hungry after I saw it. I that's why I wanted to bring it up. I'm like, oh my gosh, the moment you cut in it, it's gotta be so warm. I was a butter bread. <laugh> yeah. I, I was, I was hugging around the house during lunchtime after I saw it.

Guest: Jeff

Okay. So the thing I've learned with some of the things I'm doing lately is I used to be really in favor of things that were very, I, I always use the word digital, but that's not quite the right word. I, I like things that they either work or don't work. I love that when you, what you write code and it works, doesn't work. If you click two Lego bricks together, they click. And for a lot of my life, I avoided analog kinds of things. Okay. An analog thing, like anything where the description was like, I don't know, like need it until it feels off or seems to be like a light down. Like I, and 3d printing's the same way. Cuz there's a lot of variables. There's a lot of subjectivity to it. And I, I, I don't know why I always felt kind of fearful of these things. It's like, did I, I wasn't quite sure if I could understand the logic or if I didn't trust my own judgment. And I'd say that lately I've maybe conquered some of this were these things that are a bit analog or squishy or require something that is not precisely defined. I I'm happier to do those now than I was when I was younger.

Host: Jon

Well,

Guest: Jeff

Keep, you always get to learn something about yourself.

Host: Jon

I have to I'll share something with it. I am, I'm probably similar the same way where if I get to something and it says do, and to it, it feels approximately tight. Well, what is approximately to me? Okay. Or you kind of fearful that you're not gonna complete this. Like, oh my God, I'm not, you don't know if the outcome is what it's expected. Recently, we have been demoing when I say we, my son and I have been demoing their bathroom and I've been tiling. I have never tiled in my life. Oh my. I can tell you that, you know what a laser level, it makes it much easier now it's not coming out. Exactly perfect. I found some things that might, will probably hopefully hide really well with grout, but I'm so proud of something that I know is not perfect. And I'm afraid at one point a tile might fall off the wall, but I know I can fix it. So I'm okay with that.

Guest: Jeff

Now that's a much better attitude than I have where there there's too many places. I can walk around the house and say, oh, I did that because it's not straight. Or I didn't line up the screws or I scratched it. And I, I don't, I'm not good at giving myself credit for the part where I actually did succeed. Like I, one thing I'm working on here is that that TV that's behind me is going to get mounted right above my monitor here. And I love this idea of, and I, I don't know if this is an official word. I, I call it ambient information. I, I love to have a screen I can glance at and I can see maybe some, I can see the weather. I can see the tides. I can see some, some news, but I, I like it to just be something I can glance at and just basically keep up on the world without really switching context on my main computer. But I actually have to drill some holes in the wall and, and Mount a TV bracket, which isn't a big deal. Right. I just have to use the stud finder and find the stud and drill three holes.

Guest: Jeff

I think I know how to do that. I mean, I, I really know how to do it. It's not complicated at all, but I, I have to actually keep reassuring myself that, you know what, this is a pretty straightforward thing to do. There's really good directions. I've gotta drill. I've got the stud finder. How bad could it be? Right. So <laugh>,

Host: Jon

I, I would probably be afraid just as my I'd be afraid to fall off the wall if put it up. But I mean, I've put plenty on the wall, but I always think to myself, did I find it? I sink into the stud completely. Am I worried that it's, you know, gonna be on yeah. With the tiling? I think it helps having my son there with me because it was funny when we were taking it apart. And I was teaching him how to do the plumbing. He's like, dad, where did you learn all this? Did you go to like dad's school? I was like, just by doing, you know, you made a mistake originally, you know, you're not gonna make the same mistake again. And that's how you learned it.

Guest: Jeff

Interesting.

Host: Jon

I think having him there has definitely, uh, increased my comfort level of doing it, teaching him that it's not gonna be perfect, but as long as you learn how to fix it or, oh, interesting. Close to it, it's better.

Guest: Jeff

I like what you said about that defined outcome. Because something I've learned about myself is in really uncertain times, like, right, right now there's a lot of craziness happening in the world. And there's a lot of things we don't know how things are gonna shake out. It's, it's really unsettling. And sometimes having something therapeutic where you actually know what the outcome is, can be a very, very good remedy for that. And like when I'm building Lego, half of my Lego is just creative stuff where I've got some idea and I just wanna express something. But the other half is you take a set and you take all the directions. And you know, for sure that if you go one through end and do all those steps and do them properly, you get the exact outcome that you're supposed to get. And I find that very reassuring sometimes when, when a lot of stuff is like, I'm not quite sure about this and what's gonna happen here and what's gonna happen with this. Something that is just step by step gives you exactly. What's supposed to happen. That that makes me feel good. I, I need that sometimes.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Like a reassuring win, you know, it's gonna happen. This is a completion of it. This is a win. You feel really good that even though you followed exactly all the steps, it came out the way it was supposed to the end result is good. It's a win. It's like,

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. It's like, if, if you buy furniture and it's like some assembly required, I love that part cuz you know exactly what you're gonna get. And I would happily just assemble people's kit furniture for free just because I know exactly that, that that process of going from it's not there to it's there. And it's exactly the thing that you wanted it to be. That, that, that, that, that helps me.

Host: Jon

I agree with you, Jeff, I'm gonna switch gears a little bit and I'm gonna reach to it like a touching subject because I want to share with you and I got your approval to share it. And I, I'm not gonna put you on the spot if you would never want to be about a month ago, it's been a month. Uh, you were actually over in my neck of the woods, about 45 minutes from Maine. You reached out and you're like, John, if it works out, I'm over here visiting my dad and uh, you wanna get together? Do you know a picture, do a quick thing. And I'm like, Jeff, you tell me when I'll be there in 45 minutes, you know, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. You are actually over here visiting your father, which, um, and it it's kind of actually touching for me. So I apologize. But for the time, which it was a blessing.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. Um, yeah, it was. So my, my dad passed away last month at the age of 86 and he had a really long, interesting life. He was a, an air air force veteran. He was stationed in Japan after the Korean war, he did really interesting military intelligence. He, he was, he, he was such a great example of he, he served his country really well. And I, he, he was so discreet about what he did. He said, well, you know, when, when I left the air force, they said, you never share any details whatsoever of, of what you did. And to his last day, he's like, that's, that was, that was between me and the air force and my colleagues. And that was a, a really interesting example of living up to a commitment that you make. And then just a, a great example of, of how to be a, a good leader and show show by example.

Guest: Jeff

And just a, a lot of times in his life, he would, he would do that and just kind of do a principle and just have that principle hardwired in. And it wasn't like, here's the thing you can, you should do. But if nobody's looking then don't bother. And it was a, a good lesson to take that, that, that I took and that he inspired my, my, my children, his, his grandchildren as well, that they, they remember him quite well for being, being a very, very principled person. So, so on, on his just a couple years ago, he started to mention to us that his memory, wasn't what it used to be. And we could see all dad, you're doing fine, you're doing fine. But we, we could kind of see that his memory was, was fading a bit. And he was living by himself in Arizona.

Guest: Jeff

And my, I have a sister that lives near you in, uh, Newtown, Pennsylvania. And so my, my sister did all the arrangements found, found a, a assisted living facility in Newtown for him. And it was, I think, late 2020 before we had vaccines and everybody's still in quarantine. We had to move him from Arizona to Pennsylvania, which was quite the adventure. We, we got him a, a wonderful veteran's welcome. We got him a motorcycle escort to his, his facility, met these just amazing veterans to greet him and made him feel really good about his, his move. We got him moved into his facility and, uh, it turned out. It was probably the last, the, the last time we could have done it. His memory really started to decline. And we, I went to visit him once or twice after that. And it unfortunately got to the point where he didn't really know who I was anymore, which is UN unbelievably sad.

Guest: Jeff

And we, we it's dementia is probably one of the cruelest long term ways to, to end your life of, of, of a lot of different ways that you could, you, you could go and, and, and we've discussed this within our family as well. Like there we've, you know, we've lost family members just suddenly to a stroke and you're not prepared. You don't know what's gonna happen. And then you have this gradual decline where in, in your, your head you've, you slowly start to accept what's going to happen. And neither one of these is comfortable, but the, the, the long slow decline, you, you prepare yourself a bit for the inevitable. You have some time to, to say goodbye. And, and so I, I did go, go to see my dad just a couple days before he passed and just got to tell him, just tell him what a, a great person he was and all the, all the brought love from me and his and my, my kids and his, uh, his grandkids and my, my, um, my, my grandchildren, his great grandchildren, which unfortunately, he, he only got to meet one of them, but it was, you know, we spent time with him just just two days before he passed.

Guest: Jeff

And it was, uh, it, it was a trip that I made just of like, you suddenly get that sense of like, this is the time I have to do it and just drop everything, do it, fly to Philadelphia, get, get there and, and see him and, and do it. And yeah, it it's, it, it is, it is sadly part of life. We we're we're here, we do our best. And we, we pass on and gotta, gotta make the best of it while, while you're here.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Jeff, I'm, I'm really sorry for your loss. I, I know, uh, when you were talking about it before the, and bringing 'em here to Pennsylvania, it was, uh, operation bring dad home, right? Exactly. Yeah.

Guest: Jeff

There's a blog post I wrote.

Host: Jon

Yeah. You reached out. I saw the whole tweet and all the people, all the, uh, people that came out and gave him a warm welcome and, you know, kind of just, they went out of their way to make it special for him. And, you know, his trip back here, home, they really, I got a chance to see him a couple days before I, I told you through a, a text when we talked that it was your calling to come out. You know, it was, uh, I hate to use the word perfect timing, but it was great timing giving you the chance.

Guest: Jeff

It, it worked out for him as the, if, if we had, if he had stayed in Arizona any longer, it would've been impossible to move him due to his condition. And everything worked out as well as it could. And the, the thing I learned from that operation bring dad home was there, there's so many good people that they're willing to do something, but you just have to ask. And if, if you say, Hey, I need something. They're like, wow. Yeah, of course we'll do that. And this was again, before vaccines, this was when it was just a risk for people to go in public. But this group of people that didn't even know, I was like, okay, we are gonna meet this veteran and we're gonna make sure he's he's well, well accepted. And that he knows that we respect the service. So it, it made a huge difference to him.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Jeff, once again, I, you know, sorry for your loss. I, I, I know it's, you know, we actually push back this recording because of it, and that's, uh, totally respect and understand, and I'm gonna change the subject because I know it's, uh, it on there. And we talked about right before this, uh, you never know until you ask something, I have to ask that you just posted that AWS just released. That's huge on everybody's mind is a carbon calculator. And I know this is a different subject, but let's get, we're gonna switch into the little positive. Yeah. Let's talk about that because I know that was passionate about you release and I'm like, oh my God. That was really quick.

Guest: Jeff

Yeah. So, uh, let me shut down that little announcement thing there.

Host: Jon

Yeah. No problem kinda

Guest: Jeff

Dinging me here forever and that. Okay. All right. No matter what, there's always a thing that is talking at you. And that yesterday, my phone just kept telling me there's someone at your front door, there's someone at your front door. And I could not figure out what app it was. Cause, uh, I've got several security cameras, but none of them are actually named front door. And I think it was my Alexa, uh, Alexa, but I think it was the Alexa app on my phone. Um, <laugh> you you'd think that being as allegedly sophisticated as I am, might have all this stuff under control, but still it, that my nightmare is actually having some of this tech get away from me and stuff happens and I don't know what what's going on. And,

Host: Jon

Oh, that's what we talked about before you get a chance to set all this stuff up, it's all working great. And you come back to it a month later and it's not working. You didn't change anything. Yeah. You don't even know what's going on. And how did this happen? Uh, I have the same case where I actually messing around with my Alexa app for my kids. I found out, I know I asked you about the carbon calculator, but you're talking about Alexa <laugh>. I said, I, I built this TV cabinet for my wife. Uh, I didn't want a TV in our bedroom, but I got, I built one that actually raises and lowers inside of it. I'll have to send you a picture. I think it would get a kick out of it. Uh, buddy of mine, we built it by hand. Got a nice number of scratch, marks all over me, still from it. But anyway, I connected it to, uh, my echo dot and because I didn't want the speaker echoing around the room if we're watching it and the kids are trying to sleep. So now this dots right next to, uh, my wife. So we can just hear the TV at our level rather than across the room. All right. I know I went off on the subject.

Guest: Jeff

<laugh> yeah. Um, oh anyway, I, I'm very careful with, with change control in my house. And I, I actually have a network map of every device in my house and every name and I, I have several different wireless mesh networks in the house and I, I try to be pretty careful about all these things just because O otherwise you can lose track

Host: Jon

Very oh yeah. Definitely with all the other extra cool, uh, toys and objects that you wanna play with. Yeah. So Jeff, let's talk about the carbon calculator. I know. Yeah, this is, this is the cool part of having a casual conversation. I have like a list of things that we could get to, or potentially, but we'll talk to whatever subject comes up. Yeah.

Guest: Jeff

So, so basically, you know, uh, people are really worried about climate change, human cause climate change, and we're, uh, at Amazon we're, we're on a journey to, to get down to net zero carbon. We're trying to, to get way, way ahead of the, the, the Paris agreement. We, we're trying to get all of AWS powered by renewable energy sources just as, as quickly as possible. And we know that a lot of our customers are on that same journey. And they're saying, Hey, give, give us the right data so we can know how well we are doing on our own, uh, carbon consumption and show, show us where we're at, show us where we were going based on, on Amazon's effort. So we, we launched the, I, I think the official name is the customer carbon footprint.

Host: Jon

Yep.

Guest: Jeff

Not, not calculator. I actually go look at the blog post it's customer, carbon footprint dashboard. I think it it's part of the it's available within the console. And it shows customers their, their metrics. You, you can break it down. Basically there there's a about a three month lag between when you consume power. And when we have the, the metrics available to you, because it is based on our actual utility bills. And there there's, there's a, a multi month billing cycle and it all needs to actually be post-proces to make sure that we are, it, it, that there's, there's a deep methodology behind this to make sure that we're accurate reporting and a portioning the usage across the customers and across AWS as well. But the idea is give customers a, a good understanding of their consumption. It, it shows you some breakdown by service. It shows you a breakdown by region.

Guest: Jeff

You can select, um, you can go back historically and you can look at any, um, month period or, or quarterly period. And it also shows you a, uh, a line that's basically at, at Amazon. We always like to say up and to the right where things are getting increasing over time. This one is down into the right, which is gonna show you your, your projected carbon carbon footprint over an extended period of time with the idea, being that as, as our own efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, as we get more and more renewable energy into, into production, that the, the customer's carbon footprint will, will shrink as well.

Host: Jon

I imagine this is gonna go through a number of iterations. You mentioned the, the three month lag because of it. I and true Amazon style. I'm pretty sure that this gonna get faster and faster that you can see. I, I'm not, not gonna put AWS on the spot, but I know it's gonna get close to near real time in the future where you're able to see how well you're doing and progressing, and it's gonna be upfront. You have visual when you get into the console. I like the idea, because I think with the release of the well architect, it's sustainability pillar on how you're doing it, measurable, making it part of your everyday life of your business, your application of the design, and having the carbon footprint tool definitely puts things into perspective and makes people aware of the things that they're doing

Guest: Jeff

Exactly right. And once, once you have that number, you, you can take it. And then we've already had some really good thoughtful requests for, can I have access to this via some APIs? And the team said, yep, that's something that we're, we're definitely giving, giving some thought to, with the idea being that customers would at the point when the APIs are present, extract these numbers and then use that within their own reporting system as well. So there there's no promise yet to have APIs, but clearly the team is, is thinking in that direction to, to support that

Host: Jon

I can guarantee that APIs are, were one of the thought process when they were thinking of releasing this, uh, the well architected had APIs to start kind of behind the scenes weren't accessible and getting with the carbon footprint APIs, I'll see a number of companies, third parties utilizing this data that kind of showed on their dashboard on how well you're doing within your AWS environment. And it will definitely drive a lot of the conversations on what type of customers or partners you work with in the future to see how well they're doing within that area.

Guest: Jeff

Exactly. And like every part of AWS, we, we have to start somewhere. You need to get something out there and you need to just be able to listen to customers and then iterate quickly to keep making it better and better. So I know that the team has said that they're gonna work to increase the granularity. And I'm not sure if that is with respect to time or with respect to the number of, of different services. Cause right now it says, I think it says EC two and S3 and then everything else. And so I, uh, I, I would, I'm guessing that everything else is going to be additional services over time, but this is something where you have to be careful and you have to be accurate and make sure we have a, a really deep and thorough understanding of, of how all the different systems contribute to, to this number.

Host: Jon

I heard something somewhere, if you're not ashamed of your first version release, you waited too long to release it.

Guest: Jeff

Well, you want people to look at it enough and say, well, this is, this doesn't blow me away. Cuz it has every possible feature, but it's, it's respectable for its first one, right? Because you, you don't want people to look at it and say, well, it it's so minimal that there's no utility here. They should say, okay, there there's enough to be helpful, but not it's the appetizer versus the,

Host: Jon

Yeah, there you go. I think it wets the appetite while you're looking at it. You're like, okay, I got so many ideas. Actually. I bet you that AWS has taken the feedback from everybody saying, Hey, I wish this, I wish this. I hope for this. And we're, you're working on integrated and setting it up just like two

Guest: Jeff

And that's, and that's of the art of doing product management is you always can have a lot of ideas for where you think it should go, but then you get getting that customer validation and cuz you might have 10 ideas for it could go. But then most of the customer feedback might focus on two of the things on your list. And then one thing that's not even on your list, you didn't even know was, was important to them.

Host: Jon

Exactly. Well, Jeff, we're just about out of time. Is there anything you wanna leave with the audience?

Guest: Jeff

I can't think of anything particularly John, it's always great to, to talk to you and catch up and uh, hopefully I'll have my, my next iteration of my office here built when we, we next talk I'm I'm getting to the point where I can actually buy some legitimate furniture and start making work surfaces and still need to work on camera angles and lights and things like that. But getting there, definitely getting there.

Host: Jon

Well, we look forward to it. Jeff. Thanks for joining me on the show. I really appreciate it.

Guest: Jeff

Anytime, John. Great to see you.

Host: Jon

Yes. All right. Folks. AWS, chief evangelist, Jeff Barr. I'm your host, John Meyer. Thanks for joining the John Meyer podcast. Don't forget to hit that like subscribe and notification, because guess what? We're outta here.

 

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