Reaching for lower latency

This is the story of how Glossier got serious about measuring web performance, enabling us to reduce latency by 31% in 2020.

Specifically, we reduced the 90th percentile Time-To-Interactive latency for our homepage, product listings, and product detail pages across desktop and mobile measured with Real User Monitoring.

What does that even mean and why is it useful? Welcome to my TED Talk.

In early 2019, we recognized the need to focus on site latency. Glossier had clearly matured to a growth-stage company focused on expanding and retaining our customer base — as distinct from an early-stage startup making frequent…

The days after Thanksgiving are very busy for Glossier when we serve 100 times our typical traffic volume.

I recently gave a conference talk about how our team prepared for Black Friday. tl;dr: It mostly went well, except for the time when the site crashed. But it crashed in the ways we’d predicted, and we learned a ton!

Check out how we prepared for peak traffic, our surprises and lessons learned, and how we’re building ever more scalable, reliable systems to support Glossier in 2019 and beyond:

Want to help build the future of Glossier and support ever more growth? We’re hiring lots of Engineering roles!

Becoming an engineering manager can be a daunting role change with unfamiliar routines and responsibilities for many technical contributors.

We can more quickly gain experience in the art and craft of people management by learning from each other’s struggles and successes.

I wanted to share an easy technique that’s helped our team at Glossier better support new managers; and foster collaborative, effective tech leadership in the process.

It’s a biweekly meeting we call the Engineering Manager Workshop (EMW).

The EMW is a casual, safe, judgement-free space to discuss real management challenges through coaching and advice from peers.

As a participant…

This is a mental exercise I’ve applied to help senior engineers better respond to unexpected requests.

As software engineers gain tenure and experience, others in the organization naturally seek their expertise. Some examples: A junior engineer asks for an introduction to an unfamiliar component. The finance team needs to know how an edge case is handled in a report. Customer support wants to highlight a bug, and ask how hard it’d be to fix.

Engineers can become stressed trying to respond quickly and thoroughly to requests from colleagues that they do not have time for other important work. …

Kickstarter recently rewrote the scripts we use to manage local development environments with a focus on improving their reliability. I want to share the benefits of that project.

The main Kickstarter app has several system dependencies. Dozens of people work in the codebase each day.

We had a script/bootstrap that theoretically managed all the dependencies and configuration to get a working development environment. But in practice it was neglected, confusing to use, and rarely fixed the problem blocking a developer.

In my past as a sysadmin, I often installed software by running ./configure && make && sudo make install. Those…

Fret less. Write more.

Let’s get the ball rolling on some new daily habits I’d like to cultivate.

I’m writing them in public to make me more accountable to them.

  • Spend 15 minutes of 1–1 quality time each kid each weekday. This can be reading, playing games, rough housing, etc. The idea is to be 100% present with them. No phones, side conversations, or wandering attention.
  • Spend 10 minutes talking about something nice with my wife each day. This is easily the most enjoyable part of my day. But too often it’s skipped b/c of all the chores, or not-fun-but-necessary…

Aaron Suggs

Principal Engineer at @Glossier.

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