James Turnbull


If I had my hand full of truth, I would take good care how I opened it

Intro to Distributed Tracing

Over the last month, I’ve been testing distributed tracing frameworks and tools. For a long time now I’ve been deeply interested in seeing how the state of the art of tracing is evolving. I am especially interested in how long before it is something that more people can use without requiring deep knowledge and that they can quickly find useful. Reactions on this topic tend to be varied and divergent. There’s still a strong sense that tracing is an enormous investment with potentially limited returns for many organizations.

Building your first product road map

Building product road maps You have an amazing idea. You’ve taken the core concepts of your idea and turned them into a prototype, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The prototype is the first pass. It’s not pretty, nor complete, and often not tested. Frank Robinson said when he coined the MVP term: … think big for the long term but small for the short term. Think big enough that the first product is a sound launching pad for it and its next generation and the road map that follows, but not so small that you leave room for a competitor to get the jump on you.

That Tattoo

tl;dr - Launching a new site called That Tattoo, that interviews people about one or more of their tattoos. So what prompted this? I was in Berlin recently, having a glass of wine on a bar patio. The couple at the table next to me were Americans and one of them had an excellent tattoo on his arm, that captured my interest. As they were getting up to leave I mustered the courage, I am at the English end of Australian polite and introverted, to ask him where he got it done and what it meant.

Joining Microsoft

Over the last couple of years I’ve been helping build Empatico. We’ve hired a great team and built an awesome product which is having real impact. I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved and I’m confident it and the team will go from strength to strength. So when, a couple of months ago, Chad Fowler talked to me about a role at Microsoft, that confidence allowed me to entertain the idea.


In line with my recent posts on Bash, Bash options, and other command line tools, I thought I might do a post on another CLI plugin I use regularly: autojump. Autojump is a way to navigate the filesystem faster. It works by maintaining a database of directories you commonly cd into. Once you’ve visited a directory, you can return to it via the autojump shortcut, saving having to type or complete the full path.