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Deana Solis - Building Trust & FinOps Culture
Episode 114th March 2022 • FinOpsPod • FinOps Foundation
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Episode 1 Deana Solis - Building Trust & FinOps Culture

FinOps Pod launches for the first time with guest is Deana Solis, Sr. FinOps Engineer at Smarsh.

Deana has been an active practitioner member of the FinOps Foundation since early 2020 and has been an active contributor to working groups in the foundation.

During the interview, Deana goes over the importance of community, diversity and how to build trust when implementing a FinOps culture.

Key Moments:

[10:46] - Thinking about people when designing policies and process

[15:18] - Culture clashes between new and experienced workers when implementing change

[20:08] - Finance vs Engineering culture clashes

[23:06] - Diversity in styles of work

[32:11] - "Not Savings Plans for RDS"

Relevant Links

Deana Solis LinkedIn Profile

Noel Crowley LinkedIn Profile

Stacy Case LinkedIn Profile

Joe Daly LinkedIn Profile

FinOps Foundation Shared Costs Working Group - Guide to Spreading Out Shared Costs

Learn more and join the FinOps Foundation at www.FinOps.org.

Music by Skilsel from Pixabay

Transcripts

Deana:

Hi, I'm Deana Solis.

Deana:

And this is FinOpsPod.

Stacy:

Let me, let me just say my name and you say your name

Stacy:

and I can do the FinOps that way.

Stacy:

It would be a better fit.

Stacy:

Let's just do that one more time.

Stacy:

Okay.

Stacy:

Hi, this is Stacy case.

Joe:

And this is Joe Daly.

Stacy:

And this is FinOpsPod.

Joe:

Nailed it.

Stacy:

So, Joe, what is FinOpsPod?

Joe:

Well it's podcast and, it's about the Finops Foundation community, because

Joe:

the most valuable asset of our foundation is the community members themselves.

Joe:

So we thought, Hey, everyone wants a podcast.

Joe:

Podcasts are fun.

Joe:

Let's connect our community members to each other, to share their wisdom.

Joe:

And for this first episode we chose one of our wisest Deana Solis.

Stacy:

Ooh, I am such a big Deana fan.

Stacy:

It's ridiculous.

Joe:

Yeah.

Joe:

She's been involved for a long time.

Joe:

What are some of the things she's done?

Stacy:

Oh, my gosh.

Stacy:

You know, it's so funny.

Stacy:

I think about Deana and I just know that she's, she's just one of the most vocal

Stacy:

and respected people that are coming into the finops community, which I love.

Stacy:

I think the first thing I can think about with Deana is maybe the

Stacy:

first working group she worked on, which I believe was shared cost.

Stacy:

And how was, gosh, that was back in 2021.

Stacy:

So long ago, the great thing is I've talked to Deana since then.

Stacy:

And I remember talking to her and she said that with that working group,

Stacy:

she kind of had mixed feelings.

Stacy:

Like she felt like maybe she didn't hit her, what she thought was successful

Stacy:

or she felt maybe was not quite as successful as she wanted it to be.

Stacy:

And all I can think coming out of that is because of her and the other folks

Stacy:

that sat on that working group and really was the first time we tried to

Stacy:

have any sort of process around the working group, is that, we are now in

Stacy:

such a better place, because she was able along with the other folks that

Stacy:

contributed to provide so much feedback of what worked and what didn't work.

Stacy:

We had great output from that working group, but also we have such

Stacy:

stronger working groups now because of the contribution like, like

Stacy:

Deana and others had on that one.

Joe:

I was the TAC liaison on, on that working group and Deana and

Joe:

Tracey Roesler did a Herculean effort, to wrap that working group up.

Joe:

But yeah, you're right.

Joe:

We, we have learned so much on how to do working groups since.

Stacy:

And think about it, Joe, if you're the TAC liaison, I mean, that was just

Stacy:

one more hurdle that they had to overcome to be successful was to work with you.

Joe:

So many people, so many

Joe:

people have to get over that hurdle.

Stacy:

I know, but you know, you know what else I, when I think of Deana too,

Stacy:

is not only is she passionate about FinOps, but she's just passionate about

Stacy:

making the world and people better.

Stacy:

Right?

Stacy:

And she's probably one of our biggest advocates when it comes to

Stacy:

providing space for people to speak and raise their hand and to get new

Stacy:

practitioners involved in things.

Stacy:

She's very active in women in FinOps, very active in the diversity,

Stacy:

equity, and inclusion working groups.

Stacy:

And I always think of Deana too, when, when we start talking about things, I'm

Stacy:

like, oh wait, what would Deana do here?

Stacy:

How would she say this?

Stacy:

And you know, even I got a sneak peek to what's coming up next and I'm just

Stacy:

every day, I feel like I'm learning a little bit more from Deana, not only

Stacy:

for FinOps, but also, yeah, this is, this is a great way to be a good human.

Joe:

It is an Noel Crawley and I interviewed her and there

Joe:

were times in the interview.

Joe:

Where she would answer, and then there would be a long silence and cause

Joe:

Noel, I forgot to ask another question.

Joe:

We, we, we were listening to what she had to say and we were, there's

Joe:

so much good stuff and, and people are going to be able to hear it.

Joe:

She hits on the importance of community right off the bat, which is, you

Joe:

know, as director of community.

Joe:

And trying to bring the community closer together.

Joe:

We didn't prompt her to talk about that.

Joe:

She just did it.

Joe:

It made me feel good . There's also a great moment, because Deana and

Joe:

I have very much opposite styles.

Stacy:

Right, Right,

Joe:

you can, attest I'm loud

Stacy:

am I.

Joe:

Yeah.

Joe:

And I try to use my loud for, for good and not evil.

Joe:

But Deena she, she describes herself as, as invisible, which is not really true.

Joe:

She's, a quiet introvert.

Joe:

And we talk about how, you create space for more than one style of voice

Joe:

or more than one style of work, you really, Make more opportunities for

Joe:

folks to make more impacts and to be more successful instead of just that one way.

Joe:

So many good moments.

Joe:

It's a master class on how to build trust, and how to get through resistance

Joe:

that FinOps practitioners face, no matter how many years you're doing.

Joe:

You, you still will always have to work with, the rest of your organization and

Joe:

there's going to be resistance sometimes.

Joe:

Deana talks a lot about how to get through that, on how to approach that so much.

Joe:

Good stuff.

Joe:

Let's get to it.

Noel:

Let me ask you a question about what you said a few minutes ago, right?

Noel:

You said an English major.

Noel:

So I'm assuming that's what you did at college.

Noel:

How does how does an English major end up well, at this stage of your

Noel:

career end up as a finops engineer?

Noel:

That's gotta be an interesting journey.

Deana:

Gosh.

Deana:

How does an English major, poly PSI, liberal studies, electrical engineer.

Deana:

. .? Okay,

Noel:

Let's dig into all of them!

Deana:

My first undergrad experience was at Cal-poly Pomona.

Deana:

I had always enjoyed, gadgets and electric things and, thought electrical

Deana:

engineering was the closest thing, in the late eighties to things that I was

Deana:

interested in that held enough status that would have please my parents.

Deana:

And, I was pretty good at math.

Deana:

I was pretty good at science and, I felt like it was just the

Deana:

path that was laid out for me.

Deana:

Well, my first quarter, in the major, was a little bit heartbreaking for me.

Deana:

I, experienced anxiety and, would look across the sea of, of students

Deana:

in the auditorium with 150, you know, going from a high school classroom to,

Deana:

to these big auditoriums, and looking for another woman, another young girl,

Deana:

and I'd find one or two or three, and they'll kind of look like me, because

Deana:

I, for your listeners, I'm Asian.

Deana:

But we were not alike in any way.

Deana:

Actually the one way we were alike probably was that we were all sort of

Deana:

introverted and, and not super social.

Deana:

So , I never quite found a, a support structure in that.

Deana:

So I spent the rest of the year, sort of going through the motions and then

Deana:

being, I think probably halfway into the year, just, deciding that I would,

Deana:

not continue, in that technical major.

Deana:

It just, I didn't feel like I could succeed.

Deana:

I was really, really afraid of failing out.

Joe:

Was it you didn't feel there wasn't connection?

Joe:

Was it the subject matter or was it the connection with the community

Joe:

that you are learning with?

Deana:

Oh, you know what, that's a good question.

Deana:

It wasn't that the community, it's not like I had ever felt really connected to

Deana:

my communities in high school or anywhere.

Deana:

But I realized that I was, very, very isolated and I didn't have anyone who

Deana:

I could ask for support or advice on why I was struggling with the content.

Deana:

And the, one of the reasons I was struggling with content, I found

Deana:

out later, that I just was not good at learning in auditoriums.

Deana:

I found out later that I do much better in lectures than I do with reading.

Deana:

That's why I'm a podcast listener.

Deana:

But it's sort of like going from high school sports to college, you find

Deana:

out you're no longer the best on the field and it it's a real ego hit.

Deana:

It was a real ego hit.

Deana:

I felt like everyone else in the class was not struggling, or I

Deana:

assumed that they were not struggling.

Deana:

And I never felt comfortable looking around and saying, are you struggling?

Deana:

Do you have a study group?

Deana:

And then here I found out, oh, this is why people join fraternities.

Deana:

This is why people, lean on their social groups and, and do have

Deana:

support, study groups, tutoring.

Deana:

If you have people around you who've been through the major

Deana:

before they can help, you know, what to expect to help you prepare.

Deana:

I tragically picked my curriculum myself.

Deana:

I didn't realize that I had sort of, front-loaded some really hard classes.

Deana:

And I found all of this out.

Deana:

In retrospect.

Deana:

I found all of this out probably when I was in grad school.

Joe:

You learned

Deana:

Yeah.

Joe:

what happened the hard way.

Deana:

Very much.

Deana:

And, and I do like to write, and I do like to, think about systems and

Deana:

one of the other places that I found that was in sociology and political

Deana:

science, and I just spent so much time undeclared, that when it was time to

Deana:

graduate, I had the most credits , that would, allow me to pick the shortest

Deana:

path to graduation with an English major.

Deana:

That's the, that's the dirty truth.

Deana:

I'm not an expert in literature or, I didn't have a dream

Deana:

of becoming a journalist.

Deana:

Although.

Deana:

A lot of respect for people in those fields.

Noel:

You said something there about doing social science.

Deana:

Yeah.

Noel:

Think that's an interesting field in itself, right?

Noel:

Can I ask you then, is there anything you might take from that whole field of

Noel:

study and kind of go, could you bring that in and, and help to make FinOps

Noel:

a better you've, got in that area?

Noel:

I mean, you, you made the comment there that when you went to

Noel:

college, your first year you looked around, didn't look like you.

Noel:

My first takeaway there was, they didn't look like you because was an

Noel:

engineering class and you were a girl.

Noel:

And even on top of that, you're Asian and that's cool.

Noel:

And now you come to fin ops and there's a lot of us have got beards.

Noel:

There's a lot of beards in FinOps.

Deana:

You heard that?

Deana:

Yes, there are.

Deana:

. Noel: I used to have a big, hairy

Deana:

I think we can do it to bring more people in more diversity in

Deana:

a sense that more people, more different people, more ideas.

Deana:

Right,

Deana:

Yeah.

Deana:

I, first of all, I, I can tell you and I are going to be friends.

Deana:

That was a really good question because it's something that I think about, okay.

Deana:

I think the question that you asked me was how does social science, that sort of

Deana:

thinking, how do I bring that to FinOps?

Deana:

And I do, I absolutely do, because, in, in a sense they're the same.

Deana:

The strengths that you get from studying from the schools of thought

Deana:

in social sciences and political science, it's all about people.

Deana:

People, it turns out, are what make any kind of organization, rise or fall.

Deana:

And if you're not thinking about people, when you create governance, if you're

Deana:

not thinking about people, when you write policies, and, and if you're

Deana:

not thinking about people in their natural state, what are you doing

Deana:

that is fighting human nature and what sort of social currents, what culture

Deana:

are you swimming against, when you are trying to drive a finops culture?

Deana:

So yeah, it is absolutely essential.

Deana:

And what I think is very, very sad is that had I, stepped on the path

Deana:

for electrical engineering and, immediately connected to the content

Deana:

and not had the challenges that I did.

Deana:

I wouldn't have thought about those things.

Deana:

And I would have thought much more about what makes a good algorithm

Deana:

and what, makes a theory more true.

Deana:

But without.

Deana:

Consideration or without prioritizing people.

Deana:

And so I think both of those things are very, very important, especially at the

Deana:

level that we're dealing with because we are writing policies, we are creating

Deana:

governments these structures you can work on making them look very, very pretty,

Deana:

because we're all very good at, at performance and, and, creating facades,

Deana:

but it's like the performance of I.T.

Deana:

doesn't make a system, successful.

Deana:

It's the people who either do or do not make it successful.

Joe:

I really love that because there are a lot of voices in the industry.

Joe:

Some say, , FinOps is a function of the engineer development and the

Joe:

engineers just need to care about this.

Joe:

And then there are other folks saying, well, it's a finance function.

Joe:

And it's part of accounting and finance and they, they kind of departmentalized

Joe:

what friction is in this space.

Joe:

When in reality, it's all of the above it's finops isn't necessarily a, a

Joe:

system or a process as so much as, of doing things, a culture like you're

Joe:

saying, and, I've started two fin ops teams before, and the resistance wasn't

Joe:

from accounting or from engineering, the resistance was from whoever I was

Joe:

trying to get to change their process

Deana:

Ah,

Joe:

or update their process.

Joe:

So, and it really didn't matter what department they were in.

Joe:

If I wasn't trying to get you to change, you absolutely you love finops.

Joe:

You thought finops was great, cause it didn't impact you.

Joe:

But when it impacts you, that's the part where you need to come with empathy and

Joe:

understand where the people are standing.

Joe:

So it doesn't come off like you're just coming over and kicking

Joe:

the cheese off their plate.

Deana:

A hundred percent.

Deana:

A hundred percent.

Deana:

When you're thinking about people, the other thing that we can make

Deana:

the mistake of doing is seeing the resistance as coming from an individual.

Deana:

We talk about personas a lot in fin ops, and it is really important to recognize

Deana:

what that persona is and to make sure that we're adjusting our, our pitch adjusting

Deana:

our, level of collaboration based on that particular persona or person.

Deana:

But it's also important to recognize that that person is

Deana:

also a defender of their culture.

Deana:

They're a defender of the finance culture.

Deana:

They're a defender of the data center culture.

Deana:

The data center culture so rigid and you try to just bring someone in and plop

Deana:

them down into, an agile dev ops team.

Deana:

You know, prepare them, give him a,

Joe:

Yeah,

Deana:

a little extra equipment, or her, to help them succeed and make sure that

Deana:

they know that despite not being native to that culture, have a lot to offer.

Noel:

Let me ask you a question it's, it's a little bit about the

Noel:

defender of the culture actually.

Noel:

Do you find that when you go talking to new developers, new engineers, and I mean,

Noel:

people who are year one, year two, your graduate intake program and they're out

Noel:

in the field and they're starting to write their code and you happen to get lucky

Noel:

and have an accident collision with them.

Noel:

Then you start talking about finops and they're like, they're in, they're on

Noel:

board because you're telling them, I want you to break your application and

Noel:

go serverless or something like that.

Noel:

Right.

Noel:

Versus the 20 year engineer who is brilliant at what they do, they

Noel:

don't want to change the way.

Noel:

Sometimes you create a clash between these two people, have you come across

Noel:

anything like that or worked around until they're sense like new people,

Noel:

they want to do new things versus people who are I'm good at what I do.

Noel:

I know exactly how to do it and I'm going to have

Deana:

That clash is not new with finops, of course, it's absolutely not.

Deana:

And if you've been in technology or if you've been in the world

Deana:

where technology enters at any point, whatever level of technology

Deana:

it is, those things are not new.

Deana:

I saw it first in the world of outsourcing.

Deana:

I was getting my MBA in 2008, while I was working for the outsourcing

Deana:

company, which had just bought the original outsourcing company that

Deana:

the hospital had outsource to.

Deana:

And so, as I was learning about these organizational, theories and theories

Deana:

of change, my employer was my case study and it was, it was fantastic.

Deana:

And I was noticing.

Deana:

How resistant people were to change and what those threats represented.

Deana:

Everybody wants to justify their existence.

Deana:

And I'll tell you about that new dev and that new, new engineer,

Deana:

fresh out of college, or, or just still interning maybe.

Deana:

They are, they are looking for culture, they're hungry for it.

Deana:

They are tell me what my culture is, so that I can show you how good I am.

Deana:

And, and of course, it's great to work with them.

Deana:

Of course, you have something to give them, which will give them strength to,

Deana:

build their career upon, or pad the resume, whichever, whereas the person

Deana:

who has built their career, who did not see the change coming, of course

Deana:

they're going to be threatened by it.

Deana:

Of course, of course, of course.

Deana:

And it doesn't have to do with, anything that's different from human nature.

Deana:

There's a lot of unknown.

Deana:

There's a lot of shame and pride for what do I get to be proud of if you take

Deana:

away all of the things that I was the best at, but no one else was good at?

Deana:

You threaten their egos, without giving them a thing that they're

Deana:

going to be able to replace it with.

Deana:

Hey, we are going to disrupt your whole theory of server room, and we're going

Deana:

to introduce these remote data centers.

Deana:

And now you are part of a team where you were previously the solo network

Deana:

admin, and now you have to learn how to collaborate instead of command.

Deana:

So those were definitely things that, that a lot of people weren't prepared for.

Deana:

And also, when you foster a culture of learning, you have an open mindset

Deana:

culture in your organization and your entire business and you and your leaders

Deana:

demonstrate they walk in the knowledge that every step they can learn something,

Deana:

there is something that they don't know.

Deana:

And so there's no shame in not being the expert all the time.

Deana:

There's a lot more pride in being able to build a, a team of experts.

Deana:

And with that, building trust.

Deana:

Now, if I am encountering the, the engineer, the, the operations

Deana:

manager who is resistant, I let them know I've been there and

Deana:

there's good reason to be resistant.

Deana:

And here's something we can look out for, and let's make sure that your

Deana:

people are looked out for first.

Deana:

And second, let's make sure that these processes make sense to you because

Deana:

when you talk about FinOps to them, and when you talk about processes

Deana:

that are automated, so that you're not distracted by the repetition.

Deana:

Instead you're able to see the forest.

Deana:

You can make better decisions and you can be a better leader.

Deana:

When you have that ability to, to show it and to, to, sort of commiserate

Deana:

a little bit, you end up building trust and FinOps doesn't trust,

Deana:

devops doesn't work without trust technology doesn't work without trust.

Joe:

You're so right.

Joe:

You're, you're making me think back to like, my background's in finance

Joe:

and accounting and then somehow I became manager of VMware and servers.

Joe:

And when I was in finance, everyone would get so mad at the server team.

Joe:

Cause they would never respond to any of the emails, asking

Joe:

what these charges were for.

Joe:

And they'd be like, it's like, they don't care.

Joe:

They don't even care.

Joe:

And once I, you know, lived in, in that world, I realized that these

Joe:

server engineers voluntarily taken careers that forced them to do

Joe:

work in the middle of the night.

Joe:

And like, yeah, they don't have time to answer.

Joe:

Where's the purchase order for this thing that they barely

Joe:

know what you're talking about.

Joe:

Because yeah, they got called at 4:00 AM or they weren't even able

Joe:

to do the work until after midnight.

Joe:

And, you know, and this is what they voluntarily do.

Joe:

By the way, they still show up for the next day to work their desk job.

Joe:

It it's, you know, just that understanding where people are coming

Joe:

from just helps build that, that communication channels so that ideas

Joe:

can start coming back and forth.

Deana:

Yeah.

Deana:

And it turns out that those are people who, they care about

Deana:

something more than themselves.

Deana:

And so if, if you realize whether you're in the finance or engineering side,

Deana:

that the thing that you are proposing the thing that you are promoting has

Deana:

to do with the entire organization working better, then, you know,

Deana:

again, oh, that's why I can trust you.

Deana:

There are some processes you're not going to be able to change, same with me.

Deana:

And there's a little bit of give and take a little bit of collaboration.

Deana:

That's why I'm, I'm really hesitant to show any part of a framework that is too

Deana:

prescriptive, because if , I'm not saying that every, FinOps agreement between

Deana:

like service level agreements, if you want to use that language, should be

Deana:

bespoke, but it should absolutely echo or support, the overall company culture or

Deana:

industry norms, such that the individuals who are responsible for saying," Hey,

Deana:

this is the finops culture," aren't constantly, constantly swimming upstream.

Deana:

Because they're not given the ability to do what they're best at, which is,

Deana:

you know, probably being extra sensitive to, to context changes that you can

Deana:

only see when you look at billing data.

Joe:

I just want to give anyone who's listening to this, moments to hit

Joe:

the back 15 seconds buttons to just relisten to everything you just said.

Joe:

Cause is such GOLD trust building, culture building advice.

Noel:

I didn't want to talk to you while you were talking.

Noel:

Cause that was that's great stuff.

Deana:

Thank you.

Joe:

So good.

Joe:

what's, what's really funny.

Joe:

Deana is I was talking to you before this and I asked you what your

Joe:

super power outside of finops was.

Joe:

And you said, it's your ability to make yourself invisible.

Joe:

Which, which is really funny.

Joe:

You're an introvert, you said.

Joe:

But you are quite honestly, and I I'll, I'll build you up here: you're a force

Joe:

in the finops foundation community.

Joe:

You've done so much as part of the community and have made such an impact.

Joe:

So it's really quite something to see, well, I can be

Joe:

quiet and I can not be seen.

Joe:

However, makes such giant impacts, as part of our community.

Joe:

How, how do you do that?

Joe:

Because I'm just loud

Deana:

Oh,

Joe:

and you take the complete opposite approach and are even more

Joe:

effective than, than just being loud.

Deana:

It's this really is why diversity is so important.

Deana:

And I, I talk about ethnic diversity, gender diversity, cultural,

Deana:

ability, diversity of abilities.

Deana:

I, I show up as a daughter of Filipino immigrants.

Deana:

I am the youngest daughter of Filipino immigrants, which, means that I had a

Deana:

lot of, of identity imposed on me, what each part of those things should be,

Deana:

what a daughter should be, as opposed to a son, what the youngest should be, as

Deana:

opposed to the oldest, what a Filipino should be, or a brown person should be,

Deana:

or an Asian persons should be among other, people in the city where my, my parents

Deana:

chose to settle in Southern California.

Deana:

And it turns out that, women of color tend to not try to make themselves invisible,

Deana:

but tend to be invisible, be ignored, be dismissed is actually the, the,

Deana:

probably most hurtful one, but I thought those things are just true because of

Deana:

that intersectionality and those things are just true because of the way that

Deana:

systems are set up without us in mind.

Deana:

If I could, grow blonde hair and a beard, it might change the way that, my path

Deana:

would have been then, but you also hit it.

Deana:

I'm an introvert.

Deana:

And so being invisible was not a bad thing for me, not a bad thing at all.

Deana:

And I didn't probably find it out until, I don't know, my forties.

Deana:

How much of an impact, being an introvert had on how much I picked up

Deana:

as, as I could observe and listen quietly without being asked to produce feedback.

Deana:

Cause I, I used to say jokingly, who cares?

Deana:

What I think.

Deana:

But actually, I would say that acknowledging that I, I knew you

Deana:

probably didn't know I was in the room, so I'm just going to say this thing.

Deana:

And it would typically be at the end of the meeting or after a

Deana:

meeting or at happy hour later.

Deana:

And I would have all of these, opinions that seem to be helpful,

Deana:

but I couldn't seem to contribute at the time in the room, whether it

Deana:

was just because of social anxiety or because I didn't trust my own voice.

Deana:

Or because I was really, again, I'm not just an introvert.

Deana:

I, I don't know if you do the Myers-Briggs thing, but IMTJ there's only like

Deana:

a, a single digit percentage of us.

Deana:

It's tiny.

Deana:

And we're sometimes overthinkers sometimes, you know, described

Deana:

in different ways, but I was busy thinking about it.

Deana:

And so being invisible really helped me to think more deeply.

Deana:

And it brings me back to why diversity is so important.

Deana:

If you have a team of extroverts, you're not going to win the empathy game.

Deana:

You're just not.

Deana:

And, and by the way, if you have a team of a single extrovert who is just

Deana:

incredibly dominating and rewarded for being such a, a professional extrovert,

Deana:

it turns out that everyone else in that team will try to fit into that norm.

Deana:

Now, for me, when I start speaking to a group that I don't

Deana:

know, I hear my voice shake.

Deana:

I don't know if you hear it, but I hear my voice shake.

Deana:

If I'm typing in a chat room in a slack channel that I've never

Deana:

typed in before, my handshake.

Deana:

I get that.

Deana:

Oh yeah.

Deana:

Yeah.

Deana:

It's a weird, I just noticed it.

Deana:

I mean, I noticed it and I, I noticed recently that it's still

Deana:

happens even though I'm a very practiced, I practice extroversion.

Deana:

I practice appearing as though, I know how to speak or, do a

Deana:

little bit more than listen.

Deana:

And it's only because I've been doing this kind of work so long

Deana:

that I don't have to think about it.

Deana:

If you ask me a question, for example, on, you know, my, my, education

Deana:

path, I don't have to think about it.

Deana:

Those are things that are, are, are etched, and I just

Deana:

have to sort of dust them off.

Deana:

But so often what we're doing in a room full of engineering managers

Deana:

is Joe quickly, what's happening.

Deana:

Lambda.

Deana:

Noel, what the heck is ingress doing now?

Deana:

And, and there's so much pressure to have an answer and not to

Deana:

say that's a great question.

Deana:

I haven't seen any patterns.

Deana:

Give me some time to look at it.

Deana:

Even if it's 10 minutes, there is so much pressure not even to ask.

Deana:

It'll take me 10 minutes to look at my billing data, to look at my telemetry,

Deana:

to look at whatever observability I have in place, or look at the fact

Deana:

that I don't have enough in place and I have to start measuring those things.

Deana:

And what does that pressure do?

Deana:

It produces wild guesses that are wrong,

Noel:

Yes.

Deana:

Humans are under pressure to make, quick responses.

Deana:

If I know that if I'm under pressure to make a quick response,

Deana:

I'll just breakdown and cry.

Deana:

And so one of the reasons that finops was such a good fit or

Deana:

the infrastructure management in general was such a good fit was.

Deana:

Oh yeah, actually, if I get paged after midnight to work on this,

Deana:

no one knows that I answered my pager and started looking at logs.

Deana:

And when I came into the 8:00 AM meeting, The reason that I sounded like an expert

Deana:

was because I had been pouring over it for eight hours, but that's, that's how I was

Deana:

able to build trust with my remote teams and my local teams was I was willing to

Deana:

do that extra work, but it didn't occur to me to think, no, that wasn't extra work.

Deana:

That's the amount of work that it takes to produce reliable, trustworthy

Deana:

opinions and recommendations.

Deana:

And if I had woken up, if I had looked at that pager gone back to sleep, up at seven

Deana:

and taken a quick look at whatever the last log was and been pressured to have

Deana:

an answer, I would've tried to justify my existence with some, some pretty jargon.

Deana:

Right.

Deana:

And how often does that happen?

Deana:

I mean, everybody knows that guy.

Noel:

We've all been there.

Noel:

We've all been in the meeting with that person.

Noel:

Right,

Deana:

Right, but, and we've all been in the people with the, in the meetings

Deana:

with the people who are sleep deprived, but there's a reason that we, we give

Deana:

them a little more slack and, and that we would rather pick them on our dream team.

Deana:

But there's just a certain, signal that we get, but that person has, done the

Deana:

work and about being invisible when you are able to, to observe quietly,

Deana:

without people observing you, you're able to see, oh, that person is hiding

Deana:

the fact that they work a lot harder than they want you to think they work.

Deana:

And I'm going back to the engine electrical engineering, because I knew

Deana:

people who got into that major and graduated in that major and, and made

Deana:

really good lives afterwards, you know, college reunions and things like that.

Deana:

You realize, oh, oh, you were, I don't even think red bull was

Deana:

a thing then, but you were over caffeinating in order to keep up

Deana:

with lectures and not telling anyone.

Deana:

You know, everybody has a coping mechanism and why do we hide that?

Deana:

Why don't we actually, if we're going to say people before processes

Deana:

taken, take into account that people need rest, that people need teams.

Deana:

So having a team of one fin ops person is not ideal.

Deana:

You know, that they're going to need support.

Deana:

Don't, don't set people up for failure.

Deana:

And, and that's, I think that when you have someone who has lived an

Deana:

invisible life, you know, over time you have someone who's picked up a

Deana:

whole bunch of, of, covert knowledge.

Noel:

Yeah.

Noel:

I'm going to have to my favorite question.

Noel:

And it's the segment we are calling " Not savings plans for RDS".

Noel:

If you had the power to make one finops related change cloud service

Noel:

providers, what would it be?

Noel:

And it can be anything what it has to be a finops change or a related change.

Noel:

And it can't be savings plans for RDS.

Deana:

Oh my gosh.

Deana:

You know, the sad thing is I've had time to think about that question.

Deana:

And I really, I, I don't have a good one because, because as you know, by now

Deana:

from talking to me, I don't think that there's any like magic bullet magic finops

Deana:

bullet in, in terms of a capability.

Deana:

I mean, I feel like the, the biggest finops change would be to, to gather

Deana:

all your TAMs and your solution architects and make them finops people.

Deana:

Because so often, like there's so much trust that goes to the, the person

Deana:

who was the enterprise architect and who was the 30 year career engineer.

Deana:

There's so much trust that goes to that person or, or even worse

Deana:

to the 30 year career salesperson.

Deana:

And not enough, taking whoever that is whether they're a sales person

Deana:

or a technical lead and saying, okay, it's your responsibility now.

Deana:

You are representing our platform.

Deana:

You better bone up on your finops and you better represent how

Deana:

important a pillar that is to, to the health of the organization.

Deana:

Because at the end of the day, this is a transaction.

Deana:

You're buying a product to make your team, to make a profit or

Deana:

to improve your, your reach or to whatever that that business goal is.

Deana:

And if you haven't tied it to the understanding of how, how there is

Deana:

an entire economy, Micro economy, that is going to be impacted.

Deana:

Then you haven't done the work to hold your position.

Deana:

And that's what I see the most.

Deana:

I should be able to ask my customer facing cloud provider a question

Deana:

about that same kind of maybe it's an optimization dashboard, maybe it's, a

Deana:

KPI dashboard or, or something like that.

Deana:

That's being.

Deana:

You know, in your, in your provider ecosystem, I should be able to say that

Deana:

and they should be able to know, oh yeah, well, you're the finops person.

Deana:

I know exactly who you need to talk to.

Deana:

Not everybody needs, every kind of a managed service database,

Deana:

but everybody needs FinOps.

Noel:

Hmm,

Deana:

If you're, investing in cloud, you need finops.

Joe:

I really liked that answer.

Noel:

I think it's fantastic in the sense that it's, it's

Noel:

actually quite a simple solution.

Noel:

If every one of them was doing that, it'd be fantastic because then we'd

Noel:

all have the right solutions at the start it would make our jobs easier.

Joe:

Yeah.

Joe:

I mean that, it resonated with me because I, how many times does a new,

Joe:

a new TAM show up, on the account and then reach out and be like, well, you

Joe:

know, you can really save a lot of money by doing a reserved instance.

Joe:

And then I do my best Willy Wonka meme thing.

Joe:

Tell me more about your three-year reserved instance.

Joe:

Just until they realize, like, I want to know how to reduce consumption.

Joe:

Tell me I can reduce my consumption.

Joe:

Not, not more discounting schemes, which I already understand.

Joe:

That, that is,

Deana:

Ah,

Joe:

would be great, yeah.

Joe:

FinOps training account teams.

Joe:

Great answer.

Joe:

Deanna, thank you so much.

Noel:

Great conversation.

Noel:

I, well, do you know some, I learned an awful amount.

Noel:

It was fun.

Noel:

I really enjoyed it.

Noel:

It's been a very good, very conversation to me.

Deana:

I appreciate that.

Joe:

Absolutely.

Deana:

It was great meeting with you both and I, I enjoy this, this, so much.

Deana:

I, like I said, I, I got so much out of it that, you know, I recognize

Deana:

the value helping it grow and helping people like me, introverts and other

Deana:

invisibility, sort of step out and, and have a little, have just a small platform

Deana:

where you can, show your superpowers.

Joe:

That's it.

Joe:

You did it.

Joe:

You made it to the end.

Joe:

I am so proud of you for completing this podcast.

Joe:

Thank you so much, Deana Solis, fantastic interview with her.

Joe:

So many good knowledge, and learnings to take from here.

Joe:

Come back to this episode when you get that resistance and you are trying

Joe:

to build that trust, come back to that, this episode to learn from her.

Joe:

Thank you to Noel Crowley, my co-interviewer and Stacy Case for

Joe:

helping me kick this podcast off.

Joe:

Be sure to check us out finOps.Org and check out all the cool links in the

Joe:

show notes attached to this podcast, that you can listen to everywhere

Joe:

that you love listening to podcasts.

Joe:

Thank you all.