…Cambodia what?

Temple Dancer

Last year (2014) I started a little adventure:

I decided to go to Cambodia, the country that I visited more than ten times in the past, mostly because each time, it felt too short.

This time I want to stay longer. I want to take more time to understand and explore the culture. And I want to know if I can spark some DevOps Love and see if my Continuous Delivery fu works in a totally foreign mentality.

During my preparations I did some research about the current status of ‘DevOps’ and ‘Continuous Delivery’ in Asia.

I got answers like ‘don’t expect too much … they are 10 years behind Europe … DevOps simply does not exist here … DevOps does not work in the asian culture’.

I was instantly hooked and wanted to try it: What if it works just a little bit?

What happens when I introduce concepts which are challenging even in my home country to a complete foreign culture?

Once I had this idea in my mind I had to find it out.

And besides all the technical challenges I was looking forward to meet old and new friends which I’ve met on my previous visits.

Below are some of the key moments I experienced.

Feb 2014 - Bye bye Hamburg!

I leave beautiful Hamburg after one and a half years. Wonderful years.

You may know that I prefer to travel light. Thus I get rid of all my inventory and keep only a minimum, mostly books, cloths and my bike Rondolf.

During the weekends people come and go to pick up my belongings. I give away most of my stuff for free rather than throwing it away.

Then I say ‘Tschuess!’ to my friends, to an awesome team, to my colleagues I had the pleassure to work with, to my friendly neightbors and a very beautiful City.

Thanks for the great time!

Don't cry because it's over.
Smile because it happend. -- Dr. Seuss

One day before my flight to Bangkok I give a Workshop at OOP in Munich with my amazing colleague Michael.

The workshop is fully booked. We have great fun. Everything works perfect. THANK YOU Michael for this great experience!

Arriving in Bangkok - Hugs, Friends and DevOps

During the flight: Nice chat with my neightbour about DevOps and Continuous Delivery. Coincidence?

I feel supported and connected - worldwide.

Arival in Bangkok feels like coming home.

I prepare my talk for FOSSASIA while I sweat and enjoy every drop.

Then I decide to ride to Cambodia … by bicycle!

During the boring ride I freeze and shiver for first time ever in Asia!

Luckily I meet old friends on the way and warm up while having good conversations. Thanks!

Cheers Cambodia!

Shortly after the Thai border the clouds break up and I feel warm and welcome.

I arrive in Phnom Penh and stumble directly into the first BBQ. There I meet old friends. Cheer here and there. And finally arrive.

Highlights: Eating superb Phơ with my beloved friends for lunch.

FOSSASIA Conference Delivery

The room is very packed as I talk about Continuous Delivery - wow!

It feels great to spread the word and the questions from the audience are great!

The next talk about Continuous Delivery is already in the planning at the DevOps Meetup Singapore!

DevOps Hunting Mountain Cats in Singapore

Feels great to be back in this amazing city! Goosebumps.

Visiting Singapore always reminds me of my bicicly trip where I arrived in Singapore 2010 from Germany.

Meeting my colleagues from the ThoughtWorks Singapore Office is also very nice.

In the evening I talk about Continuous Delivery at the DevOps Meetup Singapore.

The room is very packed again. Hey, this CD might really be a thing :)

After that: Mountain Cat Durian! It’s said to be the best on earth. And I can confirm the great taste!

Mountain Cat Durian

Balla Balla Bali

After all the traveling and conferences I book a flight to Bali to meet friends there.

The idea is to cool down a little bit before going back to Phnom Penh. The last months were pretty tight and I fancy a bit of classy Island Boogie Woogie Life.

Ironically my digital equipment completely fails to work after I arrive because it is too hot. Coincidence?

I find a cute little hut on the Gilis island and enjoy the nice view.

Hold your breath!

Freediving 20m

I also join a Freedive-Course on Gili Trawangan.

Freediving = diving with one breath. No SCUBA gears.

The whole dive is basically one meditation. It starts and ends with focusing on relaxing your breath.

First some sessions in the pool, than in the ocean on a line. The maximum depth during this exercise is 20 meters.

It’s an amazing experience to see the deep blue and what I am capable of while doing basically nothing than relaxing.

The last exercise of the course is a free dive (without a rope) in an average depth of 16 meters.

I pair my dive with a big Turtle and we are flying together peacefully over colorful corall reefs. Then she gracefully turns left into the big blue while I begin my decent.

Amazing!

Back in Cambodia

Thanks to Khmer New Year I can enjoy some very silent moments.

The streets are mostly empty and the city is amazingly quiet.

Quiet Streets in Phnom Pehn

I also love the Phnom Penh Swim Squat which meets irregularly in the infamous Phnom Penh Sports Club.

Oh! And I have my first moto-ride! And a very Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake

Thanks Mary, Christoph and my guests for making this day unforgettable!

Steady DevOps Movement - We build green

Green builds

At work we more and more dig into the big picture.

Conflicts are quickly solved although communication remains a challenging issue. It helps a ton to translate the content into Khmer.

When speaking english, try to imagine that every word is a) hardly understood, b) translated literaly. This is particulary true when speaking very elaborated ‘correct’ english.

Example: Take the common phrase from the Continuous Delivery book:

If it hurts do it more often! Bring the pain forward

What does this mean? Run against the wall? Deliver pain?

It takes some attempts to find the right words.

Startup Weekend & DevOps Meetup Phnom Penh

Both events are a great success for me personally and very inspiring:

  • http://www.up.co/communities/cambodia/phnom-penh/startup-weekend/about
  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/1508055822791148/

Highly recommend to attend these kind of events.

What worked well

Living with less sleep

Phnom Penh is a murloch of noise and dust. Constructions and other noises everywhere. On the other hand - and that might sound paradox - it is great to be here.

There is something in the air. If it is only the fact that one can resist the stress of the city.

Staying relaxed

Appear to stay totally relaxed and in control during traffic peak times is possible.

Believe in archiving the impossible

Things that seem impossible are now no-events. I love that.

Stop talking, start doing!

Replace ‘but’ with ‘and’

The overall usage of the word ‘but’ was quite annoying and made discussions less productive in my opinion. I understand that the speaker uses the word with no bad intention and I could easily replace it with an ‘and’ whenever I hear it. This simple trick made me peace of mind.

Continuous Delivery affects the whole company

Most of the time when I talked with Sales or Upper Management about the upcomming changes I felt as they are talking about a seperate group of people:

Oh so the IT team and developers are now heading towards CD. Let’s meassure how they perform.

I had to remind them that the cultural change we are talking about also includes THEM and we are all working towards that goal.

This was actually the biggest nut to crack.

DevOps Manta

Always remember:

80-90% is cultural challenges
20-10% is technical challenge. All solved problems.

We have wonderful tools for managing / provisioning our infrastructure. EVERYBODY can use them.

We have wonderful tools for monitoring and reporting. All open source with very friendly and open communities.

Automation is easier then ever - CI, QA and infrastructure.

The biggest challenge is NOT the tools. It’s the culture.

It’s the mindsets. It’s the thinking in therms of ‘their’ and ‘mine’ instead of ‘our’.

To know how the other(s) experience their world around them and their inner world helped a lot e.g. through personality tests.

Review

I experience my longest stay in a foreign country in my whole life.

During this time I experience massive styles of home sickness, Distraction Addiction and Noise everywhere while at the same time I start a much more Mindful Living. Thanks Raju for your support!

I found inner peace and confidence and trust in my ideas - no matter how crazy they might appear.

Be assured that small actions have big impacts!

I like the quote from Kali Linux: “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear [and understand].” I (try to) apply this technique as often as possible especially in Asian culture.

I still love the fact how ‘being away from home’ sharpens my senses and my appreciation for my home country. With every month I stay abroad I discover more and more areas of the foreign AND my home country at the same time.

I still love timezones because they make me feel humble.

Laughting solves everything. As a meassurement: The fact that we can now laugh about DevOpsReaction GIFS together is one of the biggest archievements in my opinion. I highly value that! Once you start laughting about problems it gets easier. :)

DevOps and Continuous Delivery are both Team-Sports. It often starts with one person that has the guts to change things or is fed up by doing things over and over. Start solo, aim to archive changes together with the team and you most probably win.

Thanks to the amazing people that join me on the way!

I believe in the best of each of you.

Thank you for the wonderful time!

Christian