Tony Tam

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

This Blog

I hope to share my professional experiences as a software engineer for over 23 years, journey to raise a happy and independent daughter @episode.cate, love of playing badminton and passion for building a restaurant, I Privé.

My blog posts are here https://tonytam.wordpress.com/?post_type=post

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Background

My name is Tony Tam, born in Canton, China. I was raised in Hunan, China.  So I speak Mandarine and Cantonese fluently.  I immigrated with my family to San Francisco when I was 10 years old. Not speaking a word of English, I struggled in school until I was in sixth grade when everything clicked. I attended Presideo Middle School in SF, then to one of the best high schools in San Francisco, Lowell High and then to U.C. Berkeley for my bachelors in Computer Science. 

Professionally, I have only held 3 jobs out of college. One was with Silicon Graphics from 1995 to 1999. I worked on building their internal call tracking, field support system as well as a customer support online portal and a customer registration tool that was shipped with each workstation.

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My second job was spent 16 years with Yahoo! from 1999 to 2016.

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My current job is working on Engineering Productivity for Splunk Inc. from 2016 to now.

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At Yahoo!, I joined the Yahoo! News team of one engineer (Brad Clawsie). Brad was a very practical programmer, taught me a lot about what mattered and what didn’t. Yahoo! News was running on 4 web servers running on a custom template language known internally as HTMLforms. I did a lot of mysql, perl, C code to keep our news pages running fast. Brad handed over the site to me in about a year.

Yahoo News was the # 1 website on the planet.  My team grew from 1 engineer to 30 engineers by 2008.

Fast forward to June 2009. Yahoo! News team has now grown to 30+ engineers. I was asked by my director and VP to rebuild the backend of all Media sites to run on cloud computing, replace everything from US News.  This project ended up to replace 135 news based websites inside Yahoo.  In terms of career impact, this project was the biggest for me.

Having 300+ engineers all working on the same code base led to my growth into the area of continuous delivery, developer evangelism, developer tooling and developer community building.  

I joined Splunk in April 2016 working on helping developers inside Splunk be more productive and help improve their iteration speed.  This could involve 

  • New hire training
  • Documentation
  • Building tools to automate manual tasks
  • Making the software build pipeline faster
  • Shortening their iteration speed by proposing changes to their workflow

Family

High school age daughter Cate @episode.cate

My wife Katherine Toy

My sister and parents live near me in the bay area as well.

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A photo of my sister and I in communist China in 1975

Professional Focus

  • Building tools, processes, training to make developers’ life easier and increase the iteration speed in order to delivery value to the business.
  • I like to figure out common pain points in an engineering organization and make their better, faster, more delightful.  I enjoy the human and technology portion of software development.

Restaurant Owner

I am a silent partner of a sushi restaurant in Burlingame working on all the digital infrastructure.  Check out I Privé http://iprivesake.com/ and my posts about being a restaurant owner

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Personal interests

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 I hope my blog is something I myself will find useful 10,20, 30 years from now and it will serve as an online diary of sorts that captures my thoughts at the moment and that my future self will find useful to look back on.  

If you find it useful, drop me a note. If you don’t please just ignore and delete your browsing history.