Leaving Amazon

· 418 words · 2 minute read

After more than 7.5 years my time at AWS came to a close at the end of 2022. It’s been an incredible journey to learn and grow professionally.

I’m still surprised how much trust and support I’ve received over the years to focus on things I found important and impactful. Just last year the work I’ve started to improve the Apache Flink connectors system was contributed back to the open source project, not only resulting in several blog posts and a session at Flink Forward, but also getting early adoption that lead to support of new destinations that now integrate with Apache Flink. I’ve also spent a ridiculous amount of energy and time on understanding Apache Kafka performance in cloud environments, which not only discovered several opportunities for internal improvements, but also led to one of the most popular blog posts on the AWS big data blog in 2022. Throughout 2022 I’ve also started building my own team within the messaging and streaming organization with the goal to enable and support customers adopting streaming technologies on AWS.

In retrospect, things worked out pretty well. But my journey would have been impossible without the continuous support and encouragement from my managers and peers. It would have been very easy to say back in 2016 that there was no commercial interest for the German sales team to invest time and resources on a talk at an open source conference called Flink Forward. Who could have known that AWS would create a managed Apache Flink offering a couple of years later? I’m genuinely grateful for the trust and opportunities I’ve received over the years.

So what’s next? I’ll stick to my roots and remain in the streaming space. I’ve joined a startup called Materialize that builds a distributed SQL database built on streaming internals. My first couple of weeks have been a blast. The entire company is super technical and laser focussed on building a super exciting product. It’s very refreshing to be part of a small company again. The speed in which things evolve is incredible and it’s great to see the ownership and support of everyone I’ve been working with.

It was a hard choice leaving AWS after all that time, but it feels like I’ve made the right call. I miss my former colleagues, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities to meet again. I’ll be speaking at Kakfa Summit in London in May, so if you are there, grab me for a coffee to catch up!