Monzonaut AMA - Bee - Platform Engineer

After a week long break we’re back with yet another AMA :tada:

This week we have the excellent @brandonskerritt (Bee) :rocket:

Bee has been on the rocket ship Monzo :rocket: for around 4 months as one of our platform engineers specifically focusing on infra platform. I asked @brandonskerritt for a one sentence explaination and he gave “I maintain the servers the bank runs on.”

Bee is going to jump in and answer as many questions as he can throughout the week and we’ll finish up this Friday 16th July with any last minute questions :blush:

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Hey :wave: Some of you may remember me from 2018, when Monzo invited me (then a community forum member) to pride!

Excited to answer all your questions :fire:

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Hi @brandonskerritt

If you were in a battle of the Dan’s against @neal, @Minnie, @danhughes and @dan5, who do you think would win. (Five way battle, to have the title of Best Dan)

You’re allowed to bring one weapon of your choice. So far Minnie is in the lead with a Skillet, and Neal has surrendered on account of not being called Dan.

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How? What does this involve and what do you use to do this?

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Well, if Minnie is in the lead then my weapon of choice is… Minnie!

Good luck defeating yourself and me, Minnie!

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Hi. Please can we have some cool stats like this…

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Sorry! Nearly forgot!

Would you rather have fingers for toes or toes for fingers?

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Hi @brandonskerritt

  • What would you say the coolest part of your job is
  • How have you found working from home?
  • What do you think Monzo will look like in 5 years’ time?

Thanks!

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Seconded!!

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We use Amazon Web Services & Kubernetes primarily at Monzo, my job is to maintain those servers (amongst other smaller things)

So perhaps rejigging things to save on costs, scaling things so we can handle more customers, or working with the other internal Monzo teams to make sure they have everything they need :slight_smile:

It’s a very broad job :sweat_smile:

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You most certainly can have some fancy graphs!

Sadly, the marketing team make them pretty so here’s some ugly ones.

From the game yesterday:

You can see when the match started and when it ended!

A dip in our traffic for the first Clap for Carers :clap:
Screenshot 2021-07-12 at 13.32.56

Sadly, all the super cool graphs you’ll see are often posted on Twitter :frowning:

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The most publicly visible technical issues in the platform happened before the pandemic, and so before your time inside the team, but what’s the worst issue you’ve faced (that you can tell us about), what did it involve to fix it (both people and technology) and have you been able to design it out?

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By the way, here is an existing topic where I compiled lots of earlier talks about Monzo’s architecture and platform from Matt Heath and others:

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By the way, here is an existing topic where I compiled lots of earlier talks about Monzo’s architecture and platform from Matt Heath and others:

Nice! I’ve worked with a lot of those people, Matt is especially great at story telling :slight_smile:

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Fingers for toes, like a monkey

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  • What would you say the coolest part of your job is

All the amazingly cool people I can talk to about anything related to finance :sunglasses:

  • How have you found working from home?

I imagine it will be much better when I actually get a desk & chair, but sadly Ikea is going to take a month & a half to ship that to me :cry: I visit the office sometimes though, it’s really nice!

  • What do you think Monzo will look like in 5 years’ time?

I’m not sure, we have a lot of innovations coming out this year that’ll change the game again, and we’ll continue to have innovated :slight_smile:

I am personally hoping for more programatic use cases. As Monzo continues to grow in other countries, there’s new problems we have to face. One of the major problems Americans face (at least from talking to them in Discord, I don’t actually know if this is what the US team thinks) is lack of Plaid support.

Instead of open banking, they use a private company called Plaid to do their stuff (like connect to budget apps, whatever else you may want to connect your bank to)

I think the Monzo API is a very great idea, I can see the industry moving to “stacks” like how there’s technology stacks. No one uses one tech for everything, we now use stacks (like react + node, etc).

The same can be said for finance, one person can use YNAB for budgeting, another can use Freetrade for investing etc. There’s budgeting apps for people in debt and then there’s budgeting apps for people who want to FIRE (financial independence retire early)

By creating a better and more open API, customers would no longer have to find “the absolute best bank that does everything perfectly” but the bank that fits nicely into their stack.

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Name them :popcorn:

I’ve given up on @TheoGibson giving any information :grin:

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Name them :popcorn:

Would you believe me if I said I am so incredibly far in the backend that I have literally no idea what half these new product names actually do? And at this point, I am too afraid to ask :worried: I just know that everyone else seems to be really excited about the stuff haha

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Sadly I can’t share any incidents I have been involved in :frowning: The one that’s referenced a lot is the pin logging incident:

Which is quite a nice one, a side affect of using GET requests and not POST!

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What are your thoughts on the current state of merchant data, and are you as frustrated as everyone on this forum about it?