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May 21, 2024 38 mins

This week, guest host Ben Lloyd Pearson sits down with Bloomberg’s Engineering Manager Luis Vega. Luis discusses the initial challenges of enhancing developer engagement with internal tooling. He outlines his approach to building internal applications that are as intuitive and engaging as Bloomberg's client-facing solutions, and how applying UX design principles and branding for tools dramatically increased adoption. 

Vega also reflects on transitioning from a hands-on developer to a managerial role, emphasizing the importance of understanding team dynamics and fostering a culture of support and innovation within Bloomberg.

Episode Highlights:

01:14 What is Bloomberg?
02:52 How do you get developers to embrace internal tooling?
06:58 Giving applications mascots
12:28 Helping developers be more productive with internal tooling
18:31 What was the biggest challenge to tackle when developing internal tooling?
25:41 Luis' journey into development
32:07 What's next for Bloomberg's internal tools?

Show Notes:


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Luis Vega (00:00):
I was so excited about it because it was such a

(00:02):
technical challenge that Istarted coding.
And I didn't realize I wasliterally blocking the team that
realization of like, you're nothere to be the star in the code.
You're here to make sure theybecome the star.
So, so when it really hit methat like I just needed to get

(00:25):
out of the way of the toughtechnical coding.
Things really start happening.
But I really wish people thinkabout this now that are becoming
managers for future managersbecause they will not have to
get burned so many times.
And you know, people have tolearn sometimes by getting
burned.
And go ahead.
Do the critical part and learnyourself, but that's the one

(00:47):
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Ben Lloyd Pearson (01:23):
Hey everyone.
Welcome back to Dev Interrupted.
I'm Ben Lloyd Pearson, directorof Developer Relations here at
Linear B.
Today I'm joined by Louis Vega,an engineering manager at
Bloomberg Louis, it's great tohave you here today.

Luis Vega (01:36):
Ah, it is my pleasure to join you and like I'm pretty
excited to be in this bubble

Ben Lloyd Pearson (01:41):
Dome.

Luis Vega (01:41):
Please.
This

Ben Lloyd Pearson (01:41):
is Dome, I'm sorry.
So you were recently recruitedto lead a team that that owns
revamps and creates applicationsfor Bloomberg's JavaScript
framework.
Um, which is used by thousandsof developers across the
company.
And your goal is to developinternal tools that follow many
of the same applicationdevelopment, research, and UX

(02:03):
design.
Principles that are used inBloomberg's client facing tools.
So, from what we understand, thechallenge was not only that
there were very few internaltools at the company to aid you
in that process, but the onesthat existed weren't very well
embraced by developers, likeeven including yourself.
Uh, so I wanna dive into what ittook to revamp the internal

(02:25):
applications at Bloomberg andthe path that you, you followed
to become a manager along theway.
I think that sounds like apretty interesting story.
Um, but before we jump in, uh,'cause we may have an audience
that's not as familiar withBloomberg, can you tell us just
what is Bloomberg

Luis Vega (02:39):
Yeah, absolutely.
So, um, you probably heard fromBloomberg, if you go to like
dark news or if you happen to beon our.
Bloomberg TV channel, but thatis actually not what we do.
Those are just informationsources that feed to the
Bloomberg terminal.
So Bloomberg, a main product iscalled the Bloomberg terminal,
and it really powers financialprofessionals around the world.

(03:00):
If you really want to do seriousstuff in finance, you need a
Bloomberg terminal.
Basically how it works.
The best way to think about it,imagine your phone and you have
obviously tons and tons ofapplications from your App Store
or Play Store, whatever.
The Bloomberg Terminal has over20, 000 applications, we call

(03:20):
them functions, you're going tohear me say that a lot,
installing to the Bloombergterminal on the get go.
So somebody with access to theterminal can basically type one
to four letters and run one ofthese applications.
The internal tools use the sametechnology.
Talk about eating your own food.
So in order to make an internalapplication, you can also, you,
you, we use the same technologyand the same things, and we put

(03:42):
it in the Bloomberg terminal.
So employees at Bloombergactually have free access to the
Bloomberg terminal little, uh,employee perk there.
Um, so that's a little bit whatwe do in, in engineering.
So, um, that is the, the core ofthe, of the company there.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (03:56):
Great.
Uh, and, and, and I, I love,this is going to be horrible to
say it, but I love hearing abouttools that developers ignore.
As a developer who, as a formerdeveloper who used to love to
find ways to circumvent codingstandards, Um, I, I want to hear
a little bit more about thestate of internal, internal
tooling when you joined, Uh,and, and why developers,

(04:17):
including yourself, You know,fail to embrace them across the
organization.

Luis Vega (04:21):
Yeah.
So we have to, um, dial back theclock to like 2000, maybe 17,
18.
Right.
Um, since engineering teams insoftware infrastructure, let's
say they were providingframeworks for other teams to
build these tens of thousands ofapplications, sometimes they
were like, oh, but we also need,um, you know, an internal tool
to manage our particularframework or whatever it is.

(04:44):
So engineers will build anapplication as part of a
managing kind of like theirframework.
But it was more of a, oh, weneed that tool.
Rather than really carefullyplanning from the beginning.
So the same team that provide aservice or a particular API to

(05:04):
the whole rest of the companywas building these tools as a
side project per se or as a neatbasis.
Let's call it like that.
At the time I was a seniorengineer in Bloomberg at charts
and data visualization, we hadto interact a lot with software
infrastructure because of thetech that we were using, all of
the widgets and the graphingapplications.

(05:27):
So we had to use a lot of theseside tools.
And I've been very vocal all mycareer, I think.
So whenever we see something,you put a ticket, is my saying.
So I ended up dealing with a lotof tickets of these tools with
this software infrastructurecounterpart.
To the point that I was knownfor being the person demanding

(05:48):
things.
www.
Um, and this is how it allbegan.
So, so that was the state ofthe, of the world, kind of like
for, for some years atBloomberg.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (05:55):
Yeah.
And I imagine developers do notrespond well to demands.
Right.

Luis Vega (05:59):
well, you know, the response varies depending on, on
how you ask for sure.
Um, but, but yeah, so, so con tocontinue on your question there,
so what happened was the managerof these tools, um, I had a
relationship with him, you know,um, and then he saw me in the
elevator one day and he said,Louis, I was talking about you.

(06:20):
I was like, okay, this is notgonna be good But then he
surprised me and he said.
We've been thinking aboutbuilding a team dedicated to
build these internal tools.
Because you're right, we had it.
You're showing us that we can dobetter.
And then he literally offered meto lead the team to build the
tools that I kept, notcomplaining, but you know,

(06:41):
opening requests about.
Um, with proper support, fulltime support.
And I thought, this is anexcellent opportunity.
Maybe we can really turn thisaround.
Right?
So, so, after a lot ofhesitation, like personal
hesitation that I went over inmy talk, I decided to do it.
And then I started this team,right?

(07:02):
And then we started like saying,you know, what if the internal
tools are awesome?
What if we actually put the timeand engineering resources and UX
resources to make them great?
And that's how the whole dreamstarted.
We started with a small team,actually it was me, two pre
trainees.

(07:23):
Fantastic pre trainees, by theway, and a UX person.
And that's a little bit of thesecret superpower that we found
out.
We were able to work with a UX,um, colleague of ours, that, uh,
she had a lot of technicalbackground.
And she was like, from day one,a member of the team.
So we treat her as an engineer,right?
She was part of our springplannings, spring reviews, all

(07:46):
of the rituals.
And we started really designingthese tools, interviewing our
engineers, right?
One of the things that, What wasa missed opportunity is that
these tools were for our owncolleagues.
We know them.
We, we have lunch with them.
So we actually said, Hey, whydon't we just book a, you know,
meetings in their calendars andlet's meet with them.
Let's see what their pain pointsare.

(08:07):
So we actually started exploringthat.
And before we know, we starteddoing all of the development, we
started like investigating whatwe were going to do.
We came up with the whole ideaof the mascots, which is if you
haven't watched the talk, watchit.
LeadDev.
LeadDev, sorry.
Okay, so the mascot development.
The idea here, so in Bloomberg,I mentioned you have all these

(08:29):
tens of thousands ofapplications, right?
We call them functions.
The name of these functions isone to four letters.
That's it.
I'll give you an example.
GP, Graphical Platform, and thenit gives you a price graph.
And things like that.
They're letters.
We call them mnemonics.
So our idea was instead of usingcumbersome mnemonics, let's

(08:49):
create words in, or you know,words that people understand and
remember.
So our first application wascalled Jack for Lumberjack.
'cause it was a application tobring logs from our customers.
Whenever they have errors,whatever we, we can bring the
logs into engineers desks sothey can analyze him.
So we call them Jack, why Jack,because it's lumberjack.
And the mascot is like this verycute, lumberjack.

(09:10):
And that was inspiring one ofour colleagues, actually, the
lumberjacks bring the logs,which are the customer logs.
Yeah, whatever.
It was like a, a little cheesyexplanation to support it.
The point

Ben Lloyd Pearson (09:20):
I, I, I love cheeky names like that.
Yeah.
Yeah.
That's wonderful.

Luis Vega (09:22):
But the point is, now people are talking about Jack
all over the company.
Yeah.
And they're like, oh, have youused Jack, Jack, Jack?
Oh, they have stickers.
They have a mask on.
And then the engineers startbeing like, I developed Jack.
Well, all of the other engineerswere developing letters, So it
really created this identity andthis passionate on our engineers
to be like, we need to build,Jack has to be awesome.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (09:42):
Yeah.
I mean, you're effectivelyturning engineers into like
celebrities almost within yourcompany, right?

Luis Vega (09:47):
It is, it is true, yes.
Because they started getting somuch exposure, you know, and
recognition of like as, and, andBloomberg has a lot of
ownership, so people already hasthe whole concept of like,
somebody owns something.
So when you start owning thestickers that like managers and
like start having in theirlaptops, they're, yeah, you're
right.
They start getting, popularwhich is a great thing.

(10:09):
And so we started having,

Ben Lloyd Pearson (10:10):
having an OKR for the number of management
people that have your sticker ontheir laptop.
Then

Luis Vega (10:15):
I definitely, I definitely did a little deck
drops, so I would like identifythe desk of like the top head
departments in engineering andcome early and like drop some
stickers there, see whathappens.
sometimes they stick on theirlaptop.
Say like, what?
What is this cute doctor ta?
So anyway, so that was the idea.
And then, again, the superpowerof the UX, I have to say,

(10:35):
because people were used to theapplications we had internally,
but then you really come and hitthem out of the blue with this
well designed, kind of like mymanager used to say, Look,
everybody, and not to, you know,throw shade on any cars, but
this is what he said,everybody's used here to like
old Toyota Camrys.
And you're building like aLamborghini.

(10:56):
Like with top design, with allof the tools, belts, and
whistles.
And we're like, okay, I guessthat's what we're building.
We're building a Lamborghini ofan application.
So yeah, we started with one,with Jack, and then it was
widely, widely popular.
And then we said, okay, let'skeep revamping all of our tools.
And then we're rapidly startingdoing the same process for all
of our portfolio of tools.

(11:16):
And before you know it, you farfast forward the clock one year
and a half, one year.
And then we have recruited topengineers because they get like,
oh, I wanna be part of thatteam.
Of course that that's what Iwanna be, how do I get my

Ben Lloyd Pearson (11:29):
own sticker?

Luis Vega (11:30):
Right.
Right.
Exactly.
Like I want, I wanna own my ownthing.
Right.
And, you know, I really thoughtI made it I was like, that's it,

Ben Lloyd Pearson (11:42):
that's wonderful.

Luis Vega (11:43):
If they're bringing this to brunch, they said, we,
we made it.
They're, they're talking about,you know, all these, all these
applications in their dailylives.
This is amazing.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (11:50):
This reminds me a lot of, like the lumberjack
example in particular of howlike a lot of open source
communities sort of brandthemselves, you know, so it's
like, I don't know if you'refamiliar with like the concept
of inner source, where you takelike the practices of open
source internally into acompany.
But I love that, and it's sucha, like, it's, it's silly, but
it's such a motivating factor,because, like I said, you're

(12:10):
creating this, this sharedidentity that you can then
celebrate, and that you can thenelevate people who are involved
with that, and I mean, that's,that's, that's beautiful.

Luis Vega (12:19):
Yeah, yeah, it was, it was good.
Um, the mascots came fromanother colleague of ours, a
visual designer, and he, he, hedoes amazing visuals for work
and outside of work.
Nice.
Um, and then he He had a goodrelationship with the manager.
I met him.
We really kick it off and then,you know, all he wants is to
make sure that he's buildingcool, cool ma and that people

(12:43):
can see them.
So when we told him, you know,we can put in the stickers and
everything, he got reallyexcited.
Now the board, the board gotout, so obviously other managers
were like, whoa.
Have you seen what Louis isdoing with his.
Who is your designer?
So they talked to him and thenhe became really popular.
So you can imagine today Ibelieve he has built over 50

(13:06):
mascots all over the company.
He has a backlog of mascots,it's hard to get one now.
But the real story here is thatthis idea of creating a personal
identity for what you build.
Has really spread across thecompany.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (13:22):
Yeah.

Luis Vega (13:22):
And and I really think that that's what, pretty,
pretty about it.
'cause it's not like.
Nobody's taking the credit ofthe idea, but it's more like, as
a culture, it's evolving towardsthat identity and that
brightness of like, this is mycode, and it's good code, you
know?
So I think it's beautiful.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (13:40):
Yeah, you know, so we talk to a lot of
people who work in platformengineering on this podcast and
at our company.
Would you classify this work asa form of platform engineering,
or is it different in some way?

Luis Vega (13:54):
Particularly what I do, it's tools for developers to
be more productive in theirentire life cycle.
Coding, finding documentation,finding, um, you know, code
samples, all of that discoveryphase.
The releasing part, knowing allof the assets they own, making
sure they're releasedconsistently, making sure they

(14:15):
don't forget one, and thedebugging side.
So obviously the part of, youdeploy everything and things
crash.
We built a lot of applicationsfor that.
Um, in between, we, we have ateam obviously dedicated for all
the ticket management.
We actually own the ticketplatform that Bloomberg uses.
So, um, it is definitely, I, Idon't know if it's platform, but

(14:36):
it's more, um, I, I would callit developer lifecycle.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (14:39):
Okay.
Or developer experience.
Developer

Luis Vega (14:41):
experience, which is the name of the department.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (14:43):
yeah.
Okay.
Wonderful.
Wonderful.
We got there.
So I want to, I want to touch ona comparison that you made a
little bit earlier.
Uh, so you're in a world whereeveryone at Bloomberg is driving
Toyota Camrys, I think you said.
The Lamborghini dealership opensup next door, obviously driving
a sports car like that, youknow, if you're used to just

(15:04):
driving an automatic Camry everyday, um, leveling up to that,
that higher quality, to thatdeeper engineering, the more
complex, like, feature set.
Did you, did you have to do alot of training to, to sort of,
like, level up engineers that,that were using some of this
stuff, or?
Or did you try to make it theLamborghini that's as easy to

(15:24):
drive as a Camry kind of thing?

Luis Vega (15:26):
So, yeah.
Um, we definitely, wedefinitely, uh, value, you know,
making it easy to onboard.
But as you said, you had to havesome learning so that we
actually did something for thisthat I wanna comment on.
And we are big on, on chats inBloomberg.
We have a chat for everything.

(15:48):
We, we use our own platform.
Instant Bloomberg.
Think of your instant messaging.
Uh, we also use it internally isalso an external product of
Bloomberg, so I can talk aboutit.
Um, but we have, we have chats,technical chats for, for
absolutely every community and,and staff in Bloomberg.
So what we did in ourapplications is we created a
very, um, a reusable component,basically called live support.

(16:08):
So on the top right of any ofapplications, you have the live
support button.
You click it.
And it's kind of like a littlebit of, um, a clickbait because
it automatically adds you intothe support chat for that given
application.
And now you're there in acommunity of people that are,
um, that know this application.
Going back to the popularity andthe rockstar engineers, they're

(16:29):
the ones that are answering allthe questions because they're
the ones that know.
So when somebody wanted help,they have this live support
button, and now they're talkingto their colleagues.
And that created multiplethings, right?
It created our engineers to bemuch better at communication by
answering questions from theirusers.
It created a community of peoplethat train itself on how to do

(16:51):
things because the third timeyou ask something in a week,
people know.
People that are not of your teamstart answering the questions.
They're like, nice, they're,they, they, maybe we should hire
them maybe we should recruitthem.
Right?
So, so it created that communitybase.
So yes, there had to be somelearning, but I think we really

(17:11):
used what we call our supportchats, uh, as a self growing
community, of experts of eachapplication and, and yeah.
Ka subreddit that like becomesexpert on how to shop best at
Costco.
Right.
In the Costco sub Reddit,

Ben Lloyd Pearson (17:29):
every niche question you can imagine.

Luis Vega (17:30):
Exactly.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (17:30):
There's someone there.

Luis Vega (17:31):
Exactly.
And, and obviously the historyis there and then there are like
facts and, and so yes, there isa learning curve, but we, uh,
leverage our community for it.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (17:40):
Yeah.
So is is there, is there somesort of extrinsic like
motivating factor for people toanswer questions?
Or is it simply just like.
Do you have a culture of peoplewanting to be experts and
wanting to lead and just sort ofintrinsically wanting to make,
make that, you know, that effortto, to help out colleagues?

Luis Vega (17:58):
That's a good question.
I really think it's the culture.
I really think in Bloombergwe're just so Ingrained on
helping each other and onteamwork that if you know
something, you just wanna shareit.
But, but it's a good question.
I wonder the people thatparticipate a lot, if they have
some other motive motives onthem, But really, like, I, I

(18:19):
participate in the things that Iknow and like I do it because,
yeah, I think it's the culture.
Yeah, I know the answer to that.
So why will I keep it to myself?

Ben Lloyd Pearson (18:27):
Yeah.

Luis Vega (18:28):
Yeah.
I think we have a culture oflike sharing alone,

Ben Lloyd Pearson (18:30):
uh, that's really awesome.
Like, do you know where thesource of that culture is by any
chance?
I mean, it's a large company, soyou, I

Luis Vega (18:35):
I really think it's, it's ingrained in the way, well,
I'm, I'm gonna be a littlecheeky here, but I, I really
think it's what MichaelBloomberg believes.
Because, uh, but, um, like, healways, like, promotes talking
to colleagues and, and you seethis in the form of the
elevators not stopping in everyfloor.
And then you have to see peopleand I, and, and, you know, as
Chiquita said, I can attest tothat because I got my managerial

(18:58):
role because my manager saw mein the elevator.
You know, years later heconfessed to me that he had a
second person in mind and I wasactually number two.
In the least, but he saw mefirst

Ben Lloyd Pearson (19:10):
And you convinced him while you were in
the elevator.
I It must have been a goodelevator pitch.
I, I,

Luis Vega (19:14):
I Right so, so, you know, it's fine.
I, I got, I accept it.
I mean, he, his number one pickwas, is awesome colleague of
mine.
But, but you know, it works.
So, so I think it's ingrained inthe culture.
And we have a pantry whereeverybody like gets food and
talks and.
And it is well seen, and peopleget known, I guess.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (19:35):
Maybe we can just step back for just one
moment.
So let's go back to when you setout to create this tooling.
So what was the biggest or themost important thing that you
felt like you had to tackle whenyou were first, like,
approaching this problem?

Luis Vega (19:52):
I think the first thing that we told the team, and
we told ourselves, was we're notgoing to code.
Don't code anything.
We need to understand what isthe problem.
so we can come up with asolution too often in
engineering.
You wanna answer before you havea proper question?
Mm-Hmm.
So, I, I, I feel like we really,and it was a little bit of a

(20:16):
tough sell at the beginning.
I, I remember my managers werelike, Hmm, but why are you not
coding I'm like, no, no, no.
I need to interview people.
And it was literally like a roadshow.
Like we had meetings back toback with the ux, uh, person
we're working with.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (20:28):
I'm, I've actually had a lot of success
with roadshows in the past.

Luis Vega (20:31):
Yeah.
And like, and, and we startinterviewing.
So when we understand the, thequest, the problem, then we
said, why don't we just buildthat solution and start from
there?
So, so we, we, we start with alike very simple MVP of like,
Hey, let's download the logslet's make sure we can bring the
logs through to, you know, tobe, be able to open them.
And then we started from thereand building from there.

(20:53):
Different organizations havedifferent experience working
with UX all over the spectrum, Ibet.
But what we have really foundextremely successful, and I
really call it a superpower forus, is to be able to ingrain
them as part of the team and notuse them as consultants.
Like, oh, you know, we'll sendthese documents to UX.

(21:14):
No, no, get them in themeetings.
Get them involved.
And if they lack a little bit oftechnical expertise, Get them a
little bit on board, like getthem to understand what's
happening.
Get them in the chat again oflike where all the PRs are
flying by and like, they can seewhat's going on.
Um, Yeah, I think that was veryuseful.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (21:32):
And then, you know, you talked about a little
bit of resistance from, fromleadership around like how you
approached your first step.
Was, was there anything elsethat, that, uh, you felt like
some resistance or that you hadto spend a little extra time
getting them on board with thiseffort?
Like, and maybe, maybe thishappens like long before you
even kicked off this initiative.

Luis Vega (21:51):
Yeah, I mean, everybody's going to at some
point talk about ROI.
Yeah.
Right.
Okay.
So we're investing theseresources.
What are we getting back?
Right.
And I feel like more thanresistance, that was a very, uh,
burning question.
Um, because at the end of theday, we, we had the opportunity
of creating our roadmap anddecide what was more important,

(22:13):
if a was more important than b.
But we needed, we know, we knew,I knew that I had to show to
management that what we did madesense and that it's successful.
Now, with that in mind, we tookadvantage of a lot of usage
tracking technologies that wehave at Bloomberg to make sure
that users are running theapplication, how much, what

(22:35):
features are they using.
and what workflows are they'refollowing, and the usage
numbers, and then really tookadvantage of my years in charts
to put everything on a chart.
I'm, you know, on the tagline,like, your status in the IV
chart, my status was put a charton it.
Um, and yeah, I really am veryvisual.

(22:58):
So I made sure that everythingwe do, we're measuring.
So that when we release it, andlook, look, not every
application was a success,right?
But when it wasn't, it was clearthat it wasn't, and maybe we
needed to shift gears tosomething that was skyrocketing.
We had to migrate a couple oldapplications to new ones.
And we used charts to show likeliterally using the dropping of

(23:19):
the old one and coming to thenew one.
We had a lot of features to, um,make certain workflows faster
and we measured that.
To the point that we had a chartof, um, hours of engineers saved
by going, um, a new workflowversus, like, the new workflow
versus the old one.
And we had, like, a big numberthat keep growing.
So, so I think, um, Yeah, thatwas one of the things that I,

(23:41):
that I anticipated to beresistance.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (23:43):
I, I'm, I'm actually curious how, how are
you measuring the number ofhours saved?

Luis Vega (23:47):
Yeah.
Well, this one was very easy.
I'll explain.
So you had to, uh, in order torelease code, they had to like
select the, the, the stuff thatthey're moving, the, the pick
their deployment, like a numberof, a number of.
a number of steps, think likethree steps that they had to do.
But a lot of them became alittle boilerplate, and you can

(24:07):
actually derive the informationa lot.
So it became more like, youknow, like checking a form when
you entered somewhere inAmerica, like everything has a
form, and it's like, are youguys really processing this
paper, or is this justpaperwork?
It felt like that, and we couldderive it.
So now we, um, we created aquick way of doing that, which
was a single click.
You prefilled the informationlike the format where to parse

(24:30):
the data once and then you justclick it.
So what we did is we released itto half of the population and we
start measuring the time thatthey took before, for months,
before we had this feature.
So we knew that the average ofcreating this process was about,
let's say, 40 seconds.
But in the new one, it wasinstant.
So, it was like, we weregenerous and said, okay, we take

(24:51):
two seconds to process it, solet's take two seconds better to
40.
And then we just measure, webasically back test on how many
times this request used tohappen before we created it, and
we start measuring in the newone.
So, you interpolate, you like,supersede the graphs, and then
you can see how much time wasspent before and after.
So, this one was verystraightforward.
uh, one of the few that wasstraightforward.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (25:12):
Yeah.
Have, have you been able to doanything to tie.
What you've done to like thequality of your engineering?
Like are you, you shipping morereliable code?
Are users happier or have youseen anything like that?

Luis Vega (25:24):
Definitely, uh, the user happiness, I think it's a
big one.
And, and we do have these, um.
Document where we keep all ofthe quotes that come from users
that we capture in all thecommunication channels.
Yeah.
And we're very eager to displaythis to management.
Every time there are questionsabout things, I'm like, oh, you
know this person that startedwith you at Bloomberg 25 years

(25:47):
ago?
Look what they have to say aboutthe application.
Yeah.
Definitely customer feedback ishuge.
And, and one of the things I I,I really, really, um, learned is
like my first seven years atBloomberg, I was working on
client facing applications,right?
Hundreds of thousands of usersper day.
All of the Bloomberg users inthe world use it, and, and that
felt great, but the feedbackloop is harder because

(26:08):
customers.
Are not in your company, youknow, they're busy doing work.
Sometimes they give feedback.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (26:13):
Yeah.

Luis Vega (26:13):
But when I moved to engineering tools, I really
thought, oh, am I not working onthe most imp like the bigger
thing, right?
Like, how am I gonna get thatcustomer feeling?
But the reality is when you workon engineering tools, you get
the feedback loop right away.
So, so, so that was verygratifying and I guess customer
feedback to answer your questionthere.
And then, on the code quality,we definitely have tools and

(26:36):
things at Bloomberg to measurecrashes and things like that.
So we can show that like, youknow, we're, we're, we're good.
Performant, yeah.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (26:45):
Cool.
Uh, so yeah, it's a wonderfulbreakdown of, you know, the
technical challenges, how yourolled out these changes.
Um, let's, let's transition totalk a little bit about your
personal journey.
Because from my understanding,you know, as a part of, you
know, we already talked abouthow you transitioned to
management through all of this.
Other than an elevatorconversation, how did that

(27:06):
transition start?
Like, was this the, was this aproject that you were engaged
in?
Like, was that sort of thecatalyst, or was there?
Um, something before that thatsort of kicked off that
transition.
Like how, how did you make thatstart?

Luis Vega (27:19):
Yeah, so I wanted, I wanted to be a software engineer
since I was like 10, right?
Like, uh, I, I asked my mom forlike a visual basic six at the
time.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (27:26):
Wow.
I think I wanted to be a policeofficer or something when I was
10.
Well,

Luis Vega (27:29):
I wanna tell you what I wanted to be when I was five,
but let, let's stay at the 10year mark.
Um, and then she didn't, shegave me a skateboard.
She's like, you need, you needfriends.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (27:38):
You're gonna be a pro skater.
Yeah.
Like, yeah, yeah.

Luis Vega (27:40):
She's like, no, you need friends.
Get out of the house.
I was like, okay.
But my grandma gave me the book.
Yeah.
Um, so, so when I started as asoftware engineer, I, I was
really, that was my dream,right?
Like, I, I, I love coding, youknow, and to this day I really,
really love coding.
But, um, my managers and thepeople, like my mentors start
seeing that there was aleadership aspect on me that

(28:00):
they wanted to explore.
And, and they start putting theseed in me of like, what if you
develop people?
I'm like, yeah, I think I wouldlove that, but, but you know, I
wanna code something So it tookme a while to really make that
decision.
And, and honestly, when, when Igot the offer to lead the team
in the elevator um, I reallythought about it.
I'm like, am I ready for this?
But, but after talking to a lotof people, I made the conscious

(28:23):
decision.
of changing to a managerialpath.
So obviously, you still need tobe very technical, but you know,
your goal now is to leadengineers and not code for them.
And so I think I made thatdecision, a little bit of like
an intentional one.
Okay, let's become very good atthis.

(28:45):
I'm probably not good at all.
And then I really started there.
When we started seeing buildingsapplications and seeing the
customer feedback and theresponse on our team and my
managers, I was like, okay, Iguess, I guess this is it.
I'm going to keep investing anddoing this.
And what I really found That Ididn't know it was going to
happen and it was thatsatisfaction of seeing my team

(29:09):
grow.
And that was so amazing.
One of the, I had an intern incharts when he came back to full
time, he joined my team.
And amazing relationship withhim.
He was excellent.
He is an excellent engineer.
And then he said, I have afriend from school.
Maybe we should recruit him.
Bring him in.
So we hired him, and anotherfantastic developer, right?

(29:33):
And I started living vicariouslythrough all of them.
I'm like, yeah, he's great.
Okay, I feel good about it.
And he was really into the opensource.
So I really coached him, like,okay, let's, let's, how do we do
this at Bloomberg?
Let's help.
And he joined this 39.
which is Technical Committee 39,you know, the Congress of
JavaScript, or how the languageevolved.
And he submitted a proposal atthe time for records and tuples.

(29:57):
And he got it all the waythrough.
Now, with what's forward totoday, it's a thing.
So, I can say that he, you know,made the JavaScript language
better, or at least added newfeatures to it.
Better is going to besubjective.
Um, and the feeling of that.

(30:17):
It's so much greatersatisfaction for me than coding.
So that's when I decided, okay,you know what, let's do this
managerial thing.
Head on and let's keep going onit and let's see what it lead
us.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (30:29):
Yeah.
So what do you think is thebiggest lesson you've learned
through this journey?

Luis Vega (30:33):
Um, I think it's to stay away from the critical
path.
I mentioned that in the talkyesterday.
Um, obviously when, uh, the roadto be sitting here was yeah,
Rocky I made a lot of mistakes.
Um, when I, when I started thisapplication that I, that I was
talking about, I was so excitedabout it because it was such a
technical challenge that Istarted coding.

(30:54):
And I didn't realize I wasliterally blocking the team And,
and obviously I had to, uh, haveto like meet with customers and
I said I was doing all thisexploratory work, uh, at the
same time.
So, so it's like, okay, wait,that realization of like, you're
not here to be the star in thecode.

(31:17):
You're here to make sure theybecome the star.
So, so when it really hit methat like I just needed to get
out of the way of the toughtechnical coding.
Things really start happening.
But I really wish people thinkabout this now that are becoming
managers for future managersbecause they will not have to
get burned so many times.

(31:38):
And you know, people have tolearn sometimes by getting
burned.
And go ahead.
Do the critical part and learnyourself, but that's the one
lesson I will tell any futureengineering manager.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (31:48):
Gotcha.
Uh, and then when, when you madethis transition, did you feel
like the initiatives that youwere, you were leading across
Bloomberg?
Uh, like, like how did theylevel up?
Like what, what changed as aresult of this personal change
for you in terms of the workthat you are accomplishing at
the company?

Luis Vega (32:07):
I,

Ben Lloyd Pearson (32:07):
I really,

Luis Vega (32:07):
I, I, I think the customer feedback like our cus
like our peers feedback, youknow, it, it, there is some very
satisfying thing in yourcolleagues to say.
This is awesome, but it's alsoreally, um, a reality when they
tell you, this is not thatawesome, you know, you've been

(32:28):
focusing on this, but what wereally needed was this.
Uh, I think that that dualfeedback or like, let's call it
honest feedback, engineershappen to be very blunt.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (32:39):
Yeah.
Yeah.

Luis Vega (32:40):
But that's great when it comes to application
development because, um, youknow that you get a little bit
of an unfiltered feedback on thethings, and, and I feel like.
Having that really, reallyhelped us as a team and me build
character.
And built a little bit of athicker skin, so that you don't

(33:01):
take things personal, and youjust know that you're delivering
products and, you know, peoplelike them or not.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (33:10):
Yeah, so we've talked about a lot of
things that you've done, yourjourney to get here, where you
are now.
Let's talk about the future.

Luis Vega (33:18):
Yes.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (33:19):
So what you, you have this track record of
successfully building theseinternal tools.
Devs want to use them.
They, they're excited aboutthese branding opportunities.
Uh, what's the next step?

Luis Vega (33:32):
More applications for now?

Ben Lloyd Pearson (33:34):
No, just more, more, more, more and more.

Luis Vega (33:36):
No.
Um, I, I move into a new area.
Um.
Eh, I wanna say last year, um,we didn't, we didn't, I'm gonna
say between one and two years Imoved to a new, new area and
what I'm doing now, it's, I'mleading three different teams.
And basically we're applying onexisting applications.
So we're applying the techniquesof the previous team here and

(33:58):
really trying to create thatculture and that same results
there.
Um, now in here it's moreinteresting because we have a
little bit of customer facingapplications now and also
internal ones so we really haveto balance that out.
There is much more, Risk fordisaster.
We do things wrong and thecustomer wants, they have high

(34:19):
impact.
Um, so I think now what we needto do is we need to learn how to
transform existing things.
Big things.
Before it was a little moresmaller.
Right now, big things.
And see what happens there whiledeveloping these teams.
We are also building a littlebit of a moonshot application

(34:43):
where we're changing the entiremodel of notification.
Um, at the company, um, but, butthat's, you know, that's the
future.
That's my, that's the characteron my last slide.
Um, but that's probably as muchas I can say at the moment.
Um, you know, I just, I justwant to keep doing what I, what
I like and really start trainingthese managers.

(35:05):
And if you're listening, to beawesome and really to be proud
of what they do because theyhave amazing software and they
have so much potential, right?
I want to focus a lot on thehuman development side of
things.
And really hope that, you know,I'm gambling again.
I hope that it works.
I hope that that what I do hasan impact and they develop to

(35:27):
become better and better.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (35:29):
Well, you heard it here.
If you're an engineering managerat Bloomberg, you should be
listening to this podcast andtaking Lewis's brilliant words
into consideration.
So, you know, if I had tosummarize, it kind of sounds
like what you're saying is, youknow, when you started you
picked some of these low hangingfruit, like a, a logging, uh,
issue that a lot of developershave, but now it's, it sounds
like it's transitioning to moreof like an organizational

(35:50):
change, right?
Like Yeah, like find the biggerprojects, the more impactful
things, the, the stuff that, youknow, might be harder to, to, to
take on.
But that that's great.
I, and, and I really hope youcan get some, some more support
behind you.
Well, me too, because you know.
I gotta make it to the otherside.

(36:11):
Yeah, So is, is there anythingelse that you, you think we've
missed that you'd like ouraudience to know about?

Luis Vega (36:16):
You know, we're here in a conference.
I do.
I wanna mention that and I dofeel that getting out of your
desk, getting out of your day today.
to come to these conferencesopens your minds so much.
And the talks are fun.
The talks are interesting.
You gather little bits andpieces of all of them.
Um, but really the networkingside and, and, and walking

(36:39):
around to really meet People inyour industry, but in all over
the world, it really opens yourmind.
Yeah, so, so I think the onething I just wanna add, and it's
a little bit situational'causewe're here in the dome is that
if you're listening to thispodcast and you have not been to
a technical conference, tellyour manager to support you to

(37:00):
go to this, because this is afantastic way to really grow
and, and, and keep developingyourself as an engineer and see.
Out of that laser focus that youprobably have on your team, on
your things.
And it's very refreshing.
So, um, yeah, an invitation, Iopen invitation for people to
attend conferences.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (37:18):
Trust me, you're, you're preaching to the
choir right now.
I have long been a fan of thehallway track at events.
It's where I've always found themost value.
Just having conversations justlike this around coffee or,
Whatever else.
So, yeah, and I'm 100% with youon that one.
Yes.
So, so if people wanna followyou or learn more about what
you're doing, where do we sendthem?
Yeah,

Luis Vega (37:37):
so, um, so social media is, uh, the Wild West out
there.
as we know.
Um, I did have a Twitter.
I have a Twitter.
I kinda like have a tweet therethat I'm gonna close my Twitter,
but I haven't, but I haven'treally posted, I'm there.
Luis Vega is my handle in all ofthem.
So I do have.
Um, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Iguess, um, that's it for work.

(38:01):
Um, I do have a pretty socialmedia presence in YouTube.
I'm outside of work.
I'm a travel YouTuber

Ben Lloyd Pearson (38:07):
Oh, wonderful.

Luis Vega (38:08):
Um, so you can find me there.
Uh, and.
I guess if you try all thesocial medias with Luis Alejo
Vega, probably something willcome up.

Ben Lloyd Pearson (38:17):
Awesome.
Well, thank you very much forcoming on our show today.
This is a wonderfulconversation.
I love to hear about howBloomberg is doing all this
stuff internally.
So, yeah, thank you.

Luis Vega (38:27):
Thank you for the opportunity.
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