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Member Spotlight: Joe Ruscio of Librato Dana Oshiro

Since 2011, Heavybit member company Librato has built a resilient and scalable data analytics platform, solving a huge problem for developers and growing by leaps and bounds. In the past month alone, the team has launched a redesign of their new alerting platform and demoed their latest product offerings at Portland’s Monitorama Conference. We caught up with Librato CTO Joe Ruscio (pictured center) to see what makes him tick.

What’s the most important data that companies forget to measure? 

You’ll find (for obvious reasons) I’m terribly biased about operations analytics, it’s rare to find a team whose capabilities we couldn’t improve there ;-). Outside of that arena, I think many companies forget to measure whether people are actually using the individual features they develop. Often a feature is built/shipped off some anecdotal evidence that users are clamoring for it. Teams rush off to build the next thing without ever measuring how many users are actually adopting the new capabilities or engaging with them. It’s not uncommon when you are tracking these things to uncover 1-2 small tweaks that can really drive adoption of new features and ultimately more engagement with your service.

What’s the worst decision you ever made as an entrepreneur? 

I’m a fan of the idea (to quote Neils Bohr) that “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”, and I like to think that I’m well on my way to achieving expertise as an entrepreneur. If I had to pick one it would be from previous lives where we waited too long to actually “get out of the building” and talk to customers and get them using the product. There’s thankfully much more written about these concepts now then there was 10 years ago. But I learned that you need to get real users onto your platform and using new features as early as possible. It allows you to  correct the incorrect assumptions you’ve invariably made.

At Librato we are relentlessly aggressive about getting new capabilities in front of users through techniques like continuous integration, continuous deployment, feature-flagging, and fine-grained application-level monitoring (surprise!). We have a standing set of closed-beta users who receive all new features prior to their public release and we can rapidly iterate because of all the safe-guards we have in place.

Who would you say is your celebrity look-a-like?

In my younger days (when I had a full head of hair) people used to say Fred Savage, which is also an indication of how long ago those days were. Now that it’s shaved, you can pretty much pick your bald celebrity of choice :-D.

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