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On The Importance Of Names

Names matter. They help a community come together around a singular concepts. But what happens when definitions and usage differ?

On The Importance Of Names

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Reasonably Accurate 馃馃 Transcript

Morning everybody. How are you doing today? I wanted to talk to you about the importance of names. And the reason why this is top of mind is because in all my years of watching, um the NBA, the National Basketball Association, I've never seen anything like what happened on Friday.

And what happened was there was a three team trade, um that fell apart because of a name. So the three teams were trying to organize a trade where, you know, they'd send uh assets along and I guess two of the teams never spoke directly they to the intermediary.

And the difference was is that there was a miscommunication in the player's name. There's two players of the same last name Brooks on the team and one team thought they were getting Marshawn Brooks where the other team thought they were trading Dylan Brooks and the whole thing fell apart because of a name.

And while that's amazing and hilarious and kind of sad all at the same time, it does bring up an issue that we face commonly within and technology, um especially with insecurity and privacy and the importance of a name.

Now we use acronyms all the time, way, way, way too often. Um We love throwing acronyms in front of things because it's hard um or time consuming to say the full name for things. And that's fine.

Generally that we do have a lot of acronym name space conflict where we're referring to one thing and people are referring to another. Um or just the assumption that if I spit out an acronym you'll actually understand.

Um That's a problem. So there's a depth of communication problem there as well. But one of the things where it hits me nonstop um or two of the areas that I'll call out here that I will have uh I have pieces that I'm writing right now um is around serverless and around DEV ops.

Um So serverless. Uh Yes, we, we were long past the whole serverless has servers thing. We know that that's fine. What we're having a challenge now is people are referring to serverless. Um So let me back up the original connotation around serverless was an architecture pattern that used managed services.

So services where you basically just put something in, got something out, you don't have to manage the weeds below. So no containers, no operating systems, just uh you know, database access, just compute function running and things like that.

So this is the architectural concept of building a serverless application. But people now that are coming into the community more more using serverless within the context of functions as a surface. Aws Lambda, Azure functions, Google functions, they call that serverless.

And while that is a serverless service, that isn't the entirety of the concept. And that's the problem is people are referring to this, especially with security. They're talking about serverless security, but they're only talking about functions as a service and the security around that.

They're not talking about the architectural pattern. That's a problem. That's a challenge. There's no easy answer to that one, but that's, that's a difficulty in naming is that the name means one thing, the one community, it means another to a community that's coming out.

That's also trying to push that definition on everybody else that's mainly driven by marketing and start ups in the space and people who are late to the game and not taking the time to research the actual community.

So there's a challenge there. The other challenge I want to talk about is Dev Ops. A lot of people uh heard the term Dev Sec ops. I can't argue enough against this name even though it's a descriptive name.

It runs counter to the principles of Dev Ops in the first place. It runs counter to the whole point. The idea of Dev ops again is a cultural thing. It's not a position, it's not a tool.

It's a cultural change that looks at breaking down barriers between first development and operations. But in general, breaking down barriers and delivering it services in another way and saying that, oh, you need a whole new acronym shoved in there is kind of ridiculous and it actually repeats a lot of what security has done wrong in the past.

So importance in names. And that's sort of a continuing theme we see often is that a name will have one meeting with community to start with. Then over time it will expand and that's great. It's just that it loses clarity as it expands because the original community thinks of one thing and a new community thinks of another.

Now, in the case of Cerberus, it's actually narrowing the definition which is bad. It's losing scope. Whereas before it referred to an entire area, which was exciting and a lot of things going on in that area, now, it's being referred to only a part of that area, which is a challenge.

I'm not sure how the community is going to sort that out. And when it comes to DEV ops, they're trying to expand the definition when really it needs to stay where it is. Um nowhere near the epic level of fail of an NBA trade following through because you didn't bother to reference the first name of a player.

Um But nonetheless, names are important and critical, but they should also change over time. It's a really interesting challenge um within a community and those communities aren't even defined. Um What's your life? Naming problem?

Naming challenge? Uh How do you handle it? What do you think about servers? What do you think about DEV ops uh versus DEV se s? What do you think about that? Crazy NBA trade? That never happened?

Uh Let me know online at Mark NC A for those of you in the vlogs in the comments down below on the podcast. Me at Mark N dot C A as always quick, logistical note, we're quickly reaching episode 150.

Um We'll actually hit that later this week and when we do, I'm gonna shut things down over the year, gonna take a bit of a Christmas holiday. Um And then we'll be back in the new year with a refreshed um visual with a refreshed approach to the show.

Um So I'm looking for feedback there. So again, online Mark NC A vlog comments down below and as always email me at Mark N dot C A. What do you think about mornings with Mark? Where do you think it should go?

What would you like to see from this show in 2019? I hope you're set up for a wonderful, fantastic day. Look forward to speaking to you online and see you on the show tomorrow.

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