Posts by Trevor Smith

Go risky on libraries, conservative on infrastructure

This post was a collaboration between Michelle Micallef and Trevor Smith. Trevor is the VP of engineering at Arena. Michelle is an engineer at Arena

Getting a company off the ground is an exercise in risk management. When I was hired to build out engineering here at Arena, I was tasked to form an engineering team and choose our founding technologies. These decisions had to be made to maximize stability, while allowing us to innovate quickly. An important choice was what language our engineers would use. There are many ways a software engineer’s day is impacted by the language [1]. I approached these decisions with a risk management mindset. The idea is simple and commonplace: you weigh the risks of a choice compared with the gain to those involved. This pragmatic strategy was reinforced by a friend who advised me during this time to “go risky on libraries, conservative on infrastructure.” This is what we did.

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