My back story
A brief history of my education and experience
Education & internships
I read engineering at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and did a post-graduate year in Real Time Information Processing at École Centrale Paris. I had internships at Marconi Space Systems (I think all the satellites I worked on are space junk now, sadly) and Schlumberger. Ask me about the time I left their laptop in a taxi - I'm still embarrassed about that, and much more careful with hardware.
I joined what was then Data Connection, now Metaswitch Networks, writing portable network protocol software. I'm pretty sure you'll have used some of it as a consumer, blissfully unaware that I had anything to do with it. By the time I left I was VP Customer Services, running a team of engineers supporting OEM software labs around the world.
Product / consumer
I stepped away from coding to become a Product Manager at Skype, which at that time was a tiny office in Soho, London, packed with talented people in all sorts of disciplines I'd never really known anything about before, like marketing and business development. Learnt SO MUCH. After that I worked at music recommendations site Last.fm, running APIs and partner integrations.
Not long after I had decided to branch out into my own consultancy business, I was approached to help set up an innovation team in The Valley with my old friends at Metaswitch. This involved camping out in Sequoia's offices (ask me stories about bike rides with billionaires) and then establishing our own place in downtown Palo Alto. We had a fantastic 18 months building and launching a mobile app called Thrutu, which was downloaded by over half a million people.
Returning to London I co-founded a TV recommendations startup called Tank Top TV, which was funded by Telefonica and won various awards before hitting the wall. I learnt a ton more about recommender systems and machine learning, not to mention the whole host of non-technical things you encounter running a business.
Then I joined my long-time friends Anne Currie and Ross Fairbanks, who had started exploring this technology called "containers", to form Microscaling Systems. I was hooked. I loved coming back to my original working world of systems engineering. As far as we know we were the first to show real-time container scaling, and we also developed some ideas around container metadata. Speaking about and showing this work at meetups, conferences and events, I developed my presentation and live-demo style, and met lots of great folks from the cloud native community.
Cloud Native Security
I joined the team at Aqua Security, where I led the open source engineering team. I learnt a lot from my Aqua colleagues and customers about security, and combined this with my love of explaining things to create successful conference talks. Eventually this led to my Container Security book, published by O'Reilly, and to Dan Kohn inviting me to co-chair KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conferences in 2018. That was an incredible opportunity - an unforgettable experience to welcome and engage with live audiences as large as 12,000 people. He also encouraged me when I floated the idea of standing for the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee, which I chaired for 3 years. Miss you, Dan.
It was at DockerCon 2017 that I first heard Thomas Graf speaking about the amazing technology of eBPF, which is enabling a whole new generation of security tooling as well as networking and observability. As it emerged from niche to mainstream, I knew it was a powerful platform that I wanted to work with. Now I'm part of the Isovalent team, surrounded by the world's most knowledgeable eBPF experts.
© Liz Rice 2017-2022