HomeAuthor InterviewsInterview of Alex Boten

Interview of Alex Boten

Alex Boten is the author of ‘Cloud Native Observability’. We got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Alex: Observability, security, infrastructure, networking

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Alex: I’ve always wanted to write a book. I started publishing on various blogs years ago and found that helping others by sharing my learning is something I really enjoyed.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Alex: I’ve worked in the domain of observability for 4 years and started contributing to OpenTelemetry for 18 months prior to starting the book. I’ve spent countless hours researching the topic since starting the book a year ago.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Alex: The biggest challenge was the changing technology. As OpenTelemetry is evolving, it’s changing rapidly. I ended up writing many chapters out of order, and revisiting their content quite frequently to update it.

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Alex: I think OpenTelemetry is going to really improve how users produce telemetry in the coming years. This will allow people to really focus on the data being generated, instead of constantly relearning the tools. Correlation between all forms of telemetry is really key in moving the industry forward.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Alex: If readers want an approachable introduction to observability, with practical examples of how they can use OpenTelemetry to improve the observability of their systems, they should read this book. Observability is all about making it possible to get answers to questions about complex systems, this book is helping users get there.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Alex: I’d love readers to feel confident in using OpenTelemetry as a result of reading this book. Whether it be for existing systems, or future ones, if readers can more easily understand their applications as a result of having read this book, my job will be done. I want readers to come away thinking about all the ways they can use this knowledge every day.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Alex: It’s not possible to know everything, but knowing how to get answers to questions is key.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Alex: Yes, I write fairly frequently on https://words.boten.ca, although that has slown down since starting the book. Only so many hours in a day.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Alex: https://opentelemetry.io is probably the best resource for all things OpenTelemetry.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Alex: Working with the team at Packt has been fantastic. I really enjoyed the process and the folks I’ve worked with have all been really supportive.

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Alex: I’m active on Twitter, GitHub and on the CNCF slack channels.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Alex: From time to time I read Ars Technica, but most of the new and coming technology I first hear about from folks on Twitter and colleagues in the industry.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Alex: Started by putting together the outline. I then prioritized the chapters for which I knew the content was less likely to change first.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Alex: Don’t get stuck on specific paragraphs, or thoughts. Just write thoughts out as they come and worry about editing them later.

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.

Alex: @codeboten on Twitter