BriteBytes: Diego “Kartones” Muñoz

An Eventbrite original series, BriteBytes features interviews with Eventbrite’s growing global engineering team, shining a light on the individuals whose jobs are to build the technology that powers live experience.

One of my favorite things about Eventbrite is getting to work with engineers from all over the world. In September, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Diego “Kartones” Muñoz, a Principal Engineer visiting Eventbrite’s headquarters HQ in San Francisco from our Spain office. He joined Eventbrite through our Ticketea acquisition in May and works out of Madrid with the Ticketing and Registration Business Unit (TRBU) Mapache team. In this interview, he tells us about his path, what it’s like onboarding onto a larger company, and things he likes most working at Eventbrite.

Tamara Chu: How did you come to work for Ticketea/Eventbrite? What was your path as a software engineer?

Diego “Kartones” Muñoz: I started early in development and computers, so before entering university I already knew a bit and wasn’t sure if I wanted to study it or not. I started studying, then I quit after a few years because I thought it was boring [laughs]. I started working, and I felt I was learning way more by working. Since then I’ve switched a lot: I started consulting with .NET, then switched to PHP and more open-source stacks, then I switched to Ruby, and since 2015, Python, which I’m in love with.

In 2009, I switched from consulting for other companies to product development, and since then I have been in multiple different areas: social networks, web gaming portals, mapping tools, video generation tools, and now ticketing.

T: How long had you been at Ticketea before Eventbrite?

D: I joined March 2017, so one year. In total it’s now been one year and a half between Ticketea and Eventbrite.

T: And did you like the culture of Ticketea compared to the other companies you’ve worked at?

D: Yes, that was probably the deciding factor. A friendlier company, not willing to jump on the startup unicorn hype but preferring to focus on a single product; not so worried about growing a lot, but keeping the product stable when adding new features. Also, while Ticketea had investing, it was a small amount, and it was profitable, so it was nice that we weren’t in such a hurry to always be generating lots of new users or lots of new revenue, just growing steady but at a slower pace than other startups.

It’s not that that’s bad in itself, but other places I’ve been were just growing, growing, growing, and they didn’t care about quality as much.

T: Mm, like growth for growth’s sake, no matter what happens to the team or what kind of culture you’re building.

D: Yes, exactly, or when things are failing often because the platform is not stable enough.

T: Has the transition to Eventbrite felt natural? Or what was that shift like?

D: I think for us it has been quite natural, also because our stack at Ticketea was more or less similar; we already used most of the tech stack. [The shift] has been learning a new platform, adjusting to mostly everything in English, and the time difference.

T: Yeah, [the time difference] is a big one the teams are still figuring out. Was there anything about Eventbrite that surprised you when you joined?

D: The size and the scale of some things, like the size of some big events that [Eventbrite] has might be more than the total of what Ticketea sells in one year. And some parts of the technology, you can actually look at it and see that it has years of experience put into there, and [years of] thought evolving those parts. That’s something I appreciate a lot, spending time improving and making things better.

T: Was there something that excited you, like “oh cool, this is something new that I can look into?” Something specific?

D: Yes, for example, the way the APIs work — the internals of how to build and expand them and how they communicate between themselves — it was a problem that I’ve seen in the past but never solved as cleanly as here. I’m not an expert on API development, but here I think we have a good and elegant solution.

T: How were you doing it at Ticketea versus here?

D: For example regarding API design, ours were less advanced, more built in a classical way of “load data, fetch all related entities and return everything.” It was more manual work, without the EB API magic. We also didn’t have the scale as Eventbrite, so usually performance wasn’t a problem; things would go slower, but it would still work. At Ticketea also we were just two technical teams, so also there’s been a big jump to now being part of a company with hundreds of engineers.

T: Was there anything from Ticketea that you wish had come over to Eventbrite?

D: The automated deployment, the quicker release cycles. As we didn’t have Ops, we were all tiny part DevOps, mostly developers. We handled our own infrastructure. That’s also why we were switching from AWS to GCP [Google Cloud Platform] because it removes an additional layer of complexity. So we can self-deploy without systems or release engineers. We had automatic deploys, canary releases, simple traffic splitting, automatic with a slider with one button. Those things, here with so many people and so many services, it’s not as quick.

T: What has been your favorite thing about working at Eventbrite?

D: Probably being able to work on such a big project. Because we’re thinking, you build something, it’s not something that three or four people are going to use, but it’s a thing that millions of people are going to use. But still, I don’t know what else, because it has just been a few months [laughs].

T: [laughs] I’ll ask you again in another 6 months.

D: Yeah, let’s do that!

T: How about your least favorite thing?

D: Adapting, maybe, to the way of releasing things. We have lots of services with complex interactions, so you have to be careful and take additional steps to deploy services. Every change takes extra effort to update and release, etcetera, which I wasn’t used to due to our smaller scale and mostly automated platform.

T: Do you see opportunities to change that?

D: I think yes. I don’t know what the future is for our team, but yes, of course, I feel there are opportunities to improve the way things are done. There’s PySOA (Eventbrite’s Python library for writing microservices and their clients), there are tools in place to migrate services, and probably going to be more alignment between product and tech — is this important, or are there more pressing issues, or can we take advantage of doing something with the service to also separate it?

T: What are you most excited about?

D: All the things that I can learn from the platform. I am just grasping the tip of the iceberg, how everything works: the backend parts, learning React, how the tools we use work (internally), DevOps, the infrastructure that we have, the general learning opportunity of the architecture, and the platform.

Diego has been an active part of Spain’s tech scene for many years, and it’s fantastic having him on the team. Learn more about him at https://kartones.net/. A big thank you to Diego for sharing his background and experience. We’re looking forward to hearing more from him and the rest of the team in the future, so stay tuned for more BriteBytes!

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