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Data Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

I'm at a company where we are migrating from AWS to Snowflake due to Snowflake's simplicity and cost savings.

The Team responsible for the migration and in charge of Snowflake is led by a guy who is difficult to work with. He's not unpleasant, but if he gets you on the phone, he loves to talk and take up a ton of time. I was literally on a call with him for 2 hours yesterday because he goes off on tangents and likes to hear himself talk. He also has a bit of an accent which makes it harder to understand him.

So he's a Director and leader of that team and I'm a Data Engineer on an adjacent team. As part of the migration to Snowflake, he had the company agree to license a piece of 3rd party software to move data into Snowflake. This piece of software is one that none of the Engineers in the department want to use: it's old, closed-source, no one knows it and is a dead-end on a resume. On top of that, I'm pretty sure it's completely unnecessary! I think Snowflake provides a way of getting data into it that works as well. The biggest thing is the cost! It's a whopping percentage of our cloud spend!

This director had a good relationship with the VP of my department (my former skip) who was the one who signed off on the 3rd-party software but recently left. I was discussing the situation with a colleague today and realized that since my former skip is no longer around, I could potentially make the case to my new skip, which could earn my plaudits. It's an easy way to save the company a pile of money every year (multiples of my salary).

So I'm thinking of doing a POC of how I can replace the 3rd-party. I mentioned this to my manager today, and he said we already have a 3 year contract with the vendor. I think he's resigned to the idea that we're locked in for 3 years.

If I can reproduce the functionality of the 3rd party software (just bringing in data into Snowflake), should I make the case to my new skip (who doesn't know me yet)? I'm assuming I should go through my manager first.

Should I try and share the credit with my coworkers who also don't want to use the 3rd party and would probably back me up?

Thanks!

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(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    25 days ago

    I was literally on a call with him for 2 hours yesterday because he goes off on tangents and likes to hear himself talk. He also has a bit of an accent which makes it harder to understand him.

    This could be very well be true, but my advice in general is to assume good intent. It's possible that he just really loves his craft and sharing deep details. I know several people like that who are good friends. When you assume good intent, everything becomes easier as you will subconsciously act in a more friendly way.

    My advice here is to time-box everything. So at the beginning of the chat, say something like "Hey, I only have 30 minutes for this call as a heads up - I have something important after" (this can be a lie). And at 25 minutes, give them a reminder that you only have 5 minutes left so they need to get through the core points and then hard stop at 30. Don't be afraid to just hang up and cut them off (apologize before you hop off and say you'll follow up async) - If you let them keep finishing thoughts, you will be on the line for 2 hours.

    It's similar to keep a meeting on track - More tips here: "How to keep a meeting focused?"

  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    25 days ago

    So I'm thinking of doing a POC of how I can replace the 3rd-party. I mentioned this to my manager today, and he said we already have a 3 year contract with the vendor. I think he's resigned to the idea that we're locked in for 3 years.

    How locked in is locked in? I think the first step here is to figure out the contract. If the company literally can't back out (even by paying a penalty), then your idea (while great) is unfortunately dead in the water.

    Should I try and share the credit with my coworkers who also don't want to use the 3rd party and would probably back me up?

    Yep and they would deserve it. 5 good engineers saying we should do X is far more impactful than 1 good engineer saying we should do X.