Inside Evernote: Garrett Plasky

Posted by on 29 Sep 2014

Posted by on 29 Sep 2014

How is Operations handled here at Evernote?

Operations at Evernote is fast-paced and rewarding. We have a project-oriented workflow and superb coverage of infrastructure supporting Ops. We routinely collaborate for problem assistance via white-boarding (on the walls, no less!) and drop-in meetings. Our team has grown significantly yet we have managed to remain agile while maintaining excellent change-management and documentation coverage. We employ a belt-and-suspenders approach for managing our infrastructure and we are encouraged use whichever tool is best suited for the task at hand. This leads to a very fluid team dynamic and a “get things done” mentality which makes Ops @ Evernote a great place to be.

What role do you play on the Operations team?

Ops Rock Star Garrett Plasky

Garrett Plasky – Evernote Operations

Our Operations team is unsiloed by design so I have the opportunity to wear many hats on any given day. One of my commonly-donned hats is working with our core service development team to sequence and perform our weekly service releases. Outside of the normal release cycle, I also spend part of my day supporting our development team with operational guidance, debugging, and troubleshooting (a la DevOps). When I’m not working on either of those, I can usually be found wrangling Puppet code for our ever-growing service catalog.

What are the big challenges?

One of our biggest challenges will be to keep our agility as we grow rapidly without sacrificing reliability and responsiveness. This may include rethinking assumptions about our infrastructure and further automation of processes for which our scale will dictate as a necessity. I am particularly excited about a project we recently kicked off to rework our infrastructure development lifecycle. The project, by design, is likely to touch nearly all of the major components of our service infrastructure and will be a significant win for our team and the company as a whole.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Coming into work every day! In all seriousness, working at Evernote is a rewarding experience where we combine a professional Ops environment with individual ability to affect change. For me, with the culture of openness and collaboration at Evernote, taking ownership of a project and seeing it from inception to completion is a highly rewarding process. The free lunches aren’t too shabby either!

What’s your background? Who’s your biggest mentor?

I’ve been fortunate to work with some very smart people in my career and Evernote is no exception. My future as an Ops guy started when, through a CCNA course I was taking at the time, I managed to land a part-time job as a junior sysadmin in my sophomore year of high school. Under the tutelage of a few smart fellows at NDC Host, I managed to continue to grow my prospect for a career in Ops while I finished my bachelors degree. Now at Evernote I have the pleasure of working with a talented team of individuals, each of whom I highly respect and from whom I learn something new every day.

What’s your favorite Evernote feature?

As an Android user, I am enamored with the Evernote widget. When it comes to getting my thoughts, a picture, or a reminder into Evernote, there simply is no better or faster way than a single tap from my lock screen. It also works very well with my own organization structure, mentioned below. Our new Android web clipper is also quickly becoming my single favorite feature in any of our clients.

How do you use Evernote?

I am constantly working to bring more of my life into my Evernote account in order to more effectively manage the daily flood of information. As a result, I am a heavy user of our web clipper, email gateway, and 3rd party Evernote integrations. My Evernote workflow uses the concept of a ‘timeline’ default notebook to hold a chronological entry of my notes; each note being a discrete thought, tagged free-form with terms I might use to search for the note in the future. Using Evernote’s powerful search grammar for things like time and place, I can find notes in my timeline even if I don’t quite recall the exact tag or contents. My wife and I also share an integrated workflow used for everything from keeping track of our heads-up board game scores (Carcassonne, Lost Shores, et al!) to trip planning and long-term goals.

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