Developer Analytics with Calvin French-Owen


“Its sort of like the old joke in computer science – what do you do when you have a problem? Well, add a layer of abstraction.”

Today’s guest is Calvin French-Owen, the CTO of Segment, a tool that companies use to aggregate their analytics into once place. As Segment has scaled, the company has had to restructure its etire technical architecture. Microservices, containers, Amazon Web Services, and dev ops are a few of the topics that Calvin and I explore in our conversation, so this is a great episode for anyone who is trying to understand the relationships between those different subjects.

Segment’s product unifies analytics from different services and puts them into one centralized place. Full disclosure: Segment is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily. For most of this episode, we don’t even talk about the product, we talk about the back end engineering behind the product.


  • What tools are used to transfer data to analytics systems?
  • Why is it useful to have a single API to fan out into all the different analytics processed
  • Why did you embrace microservices at Segment, and why was it different from the reasons other companies have adopted them?
  • Why are process level monitoring and program level monitoring worth differentiating?
  • Could you explain the nuance between microservices and microworkers?
  • How do you determine when to write a brand new microservice versus adding new functionality to an old one?
  • How did you do an architectural rebuild while still running the business day-to-day?
  • How should software engineering teams decide whether to build or buy certain aspects of their product?


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