My name is Jason van Brackel, aka JvB, and I’m Rancher Labs’ new Director of Community. I’m leaving our wonderful Field Engineering team to take on this new role. Over the years, I’ve worn many hats in this field, from developer to executive leadership.

Teaching means a lot to me and I’ve noticed a couple patterns emerging within our community that were best addressed outside of the sales and implementation cycles that happen in Field Engineering. They are at the heart of things I wish to accomplish with you, because Kubernetes and distributed systems are hard. I want this to be fun for you, not frustrating. I want to give you engineering superpowers.

Collecting Tribal Knowledge

In my role, I spend a fair amount of time in the Rancher Slack workspace, as well as our forums. Often, we see patterns arise around the questions people ask while implementing Rancher projects, Kubernetes, and other complimentary CNCF projects like Harbor and Prometheus.

To address this, we’ll be implementing a shared technical knowledge base, authored from the interactions that happen on our social forums. Like everything else we do, it will be open to the community for learning and authorship. To this end, we’ve added Foqal to our Slack workspace. Foqal will help us index many sources of information and will assist people with questions in Slack.

Open Tools for Getting Started and for Troubleshooting

Knowledge bases are great. I was a software engineer and a solutions architect for well over a decade and I love great documentation. Unfortunately, there are times when you have to touch something to understand it.

We’ll be developing hands-on exercises, video content, and tools to help you learn and provide practical methods to keep your clusters running smoothly. We’ll also teach you how to leverage other open-source projects, because doing distributed systems at scale requires a lot more than Kubernetes.

WIN

What’s Important Now. What I don’t want to happen is for feature requests to fall into the abyss. We’re developing methods so that you, the community, can better let us know what’s important to you. We want to build the right features and make implementation simple for your teams.

Thanking You, Our Community

We are nothing without all of you. I’m thankful for all the ways you help one another in Slack, on the forums, and all over GitHub. We have a number of champions who go above and beyond. I’m going to deputize and recognize some of you publicly. I want others to notice your hard work and we want to reward you for it.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you out there. If you need anything or think we’re missing something, by all means reach out to me. I’m @jasonvanbrackel on Twitter and I’m @jvb on the Kubernetes and Rancher Slack workspaces.

Jason van Brackel

Jason is Rancher Labs' Director of Community as well as the organizer of the Kubernetes Philly meetup. With a heart for teaching, he regularly presents at code camps and other meetups. A recovering software engineer and enterprise consultant, he's worked professionally with everything from COBOL to Go.