Monzonaut AMA - Erik & Ross - Tech Ops 💻 ⚙️

We’re doing things a bit different this week. Change is always good!

So instead of having one guest for our AMA session we’ve got two. Clearly double the fun and double the interesting/weird questions.

We’ve got @Ross_TechOps and @erikbille who are members of our Tech Support team. So when I break my laptop or something on my laptop they are two of the people I need to apologise to :disappointed:

Jokes aside, they provide fantastic level of support throughout the business and it’s a perfect opportunity to showcase that.

Got a double bio below to explain how both ended up here at Monzo

Hello :wave: I’m Ross and I work at Monzo as a TechOps Generalist. I’ve been here for almost 18 months and I’m excited to be taking part in my first AMA!
A couple of quick facts about me:
• I’m based in South Wales and I work out of the Cardiff Office :wales:
• My background is with Apple Support and I am a certified Apple Mac Technician :apple:
• As a child I won a Blue Peter badge for painting a picture of a dog… :dog:

Hello :wave: I’m Erik and I also work at Monzo as a TechOps Generalist! Ross and I started on the same day so I’m coming up on 18 months too!
Some facts about me:
• I’m based in London and work out of the London Office :office:
• I have a degree in Computer Systems and Networks and I’ve previously worked for an Apple authorised service provider :nerd_face:
• I’m from Sweden :sweden: and I flipping love Ikea.
We can’t wait to hear your questions!

Let’s make sure the dynamic duo get a warm welcome!

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What’s the best excuse anyone’s ever come up with for how they broke their laptop?

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Hi chaps,

Being a sysadmin in a similar role, I’m going to ask sysadminny-questions.

How well has Monzo adapted to the move to Apple silicon (M1, M1 Pro, Max, Ultra, etc.) and something I forgot that I wanted to expand on in the TechOps Generalist interview a few weeks ago was that as you guys were hinting at an uptake in Chromebooks/Chrome OS rollouts - how would this affect the existing Mac user base? Speaking of which, do Mac Monzonauts get to use their company laptops for personal use where they could install their own programs, or is the system completely locked down to approved apps?

Also, I assume that in terms of automation of onboarding and offboarding Monzonauts, you’d be using tools like GAM to do this using Google Workspace, or do you use your own tools using the Google APIs to do something like this (including monitoring, etc.)?

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What % success rate does “turning it off and on again” have?

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Depends :). Just because they’re using Macs, doesn’t mean to say they don’t go wrong - especially if it’s due to design defects… For example, if they’re on the MacBook Pros which had those horrible butterfly keyboards, it doesn’t take long to break them. I’ve had an uptake in returns to Apple anywhere between 6-12 months after purchase where the keys stopped working. And if they’re working, the key markings rubbed off easily. Those Macs were the worse.

Also: I owned a 2018 MacBook Pro which I eventually sold to a colleague to pay off my new 16" Intel MacBook Pro (one year later: hello Apple silicon). As soon as I did, the battery started to swell and damaged the chassis. Thankfully it had AppleCare+ and Apple repaired it for nothing.

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on?

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It’s up there with checking the cables

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Question for Ross; what’s your favourite IKEA product

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I jokingly suggested to one of my team last night who had run out of coffee that maybe if I emptied my filter jug on the keyboard it might osmosis through Slack to their laptop.

They pointed out that TechOps probably wouldn’t appreciate that :joy:

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Was going to ask for your favourite IKEA furniture name but got beaten to it, so what are some nonsense words that wouldn’t look out of place in an IKEA catalogue?

Also: if you can name and shame, who had the most beat up device you’ve personally seen in Monzo and what was the horror story, if any? I had a friend who placed a bunch of pens on their laptop and slammed it shut without realising, which cracked the screen inside, then proceeded to spill her coffee on it in her panic. It wasn’t a pretty sight :rofl:

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You laugh but I accidentally spilt a bowl of cereal into my work laptop once. Drained through the keyboard and back out onto the desk and everything. Had to borrow a spare from that companies TechOps while they “convinced” dell it was a warranty fault.

I must admit I didn’t fess up straight away, I was like “uh yeah it’s stopped working?” - but then after about a few hours of diagnostics I came clean. :joy:

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How’s monzo for remote working? I’m a dev who’s kind of interested to apply to work for monzo.

Ahh, a tricky one. We’ve had quite a few animal related laptop mis-haps in a similar vein to the dog eating someone’s homework, but I think my favourite is a severely cracked LCD screen that was blamed on a piece of dust blowing in through the open window.

In all honesty though, our fellow monzonauts are very open and honest with us and will tell us the truth when their laptop has broken. We know that accidents happen, and a broken laptop is not the end of the world by any means.

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It must be in the high 80’s to low 90’s. Monzonauts are generally quite good at trying this and other things before they even reach out to us, so I ask people to turn it off and on again less at Monzo than I did in my last job.

I’m a bit of an infrastructure nerd, so building the new London office’s network stack is up there for me.

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My fave is definitely when a pet has knocked something over or broken something. Normally because I can demand dog/cat tax and get to see a picture of someone’s cute pet! I find it helps defuse the situation, and make people feel less guilty. Accidents happen, we get it :slight_smile:

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Hi!

We’re Apple silicon ready and the new laptop we deploy is Apple Silicon only at this point. We’re currently in the process of rolling out to everyone across the engineering and design teams. It took our backend engineers a few weeks to make the required changes to the codebase and tools to allow them to run everything natively rather than in Rosetta but we’re there now :raised_hands:

In terms of ChromeOS I think it’s still a bit of a pipedream right now but perhaps one day we would look to roll them out to some roles where a Mac wouldn’t be a requirement. Everyone uses a Mac right now so the main plus would be that we could save money on hardware and MDM licences :sweat_smile:

Monzonauts are free to use their Mac for personal things, within reason. We don’t allow downloading of Apps that are solely for personal user and depending on role we either use a block or allowlist through Google Santa to manage app installations but approvals for those apps are handled by one of the security teams.

Onboarding and offboarding is a really interesting one. It’s all done through a custom backend service that was written by one of our Backend Engineers Liam! It interacts with Google’s APIs and uses SCIM to create accounts for some of our other tools. Liam actually did a presentation about it in an all hands meeting which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6NZeQQYfw
I have used GAM to manage permissions en masse in Drive though :slight_smile:

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:point_up: Agreed, there’s a reason that it’s an IT cliché. It does fix a lot of basic problems.

I feel like I can’t be mean about any of Erik’s favourites but I’d probably have to say a Kallax. Extra storage is always good and they can make so many add-ons for them! Malms are trash though…

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