The First Review

Julien Danjou is a Staff Engineer at Datadog, where he’s in charge of building a production profiler for Python. The post relates the story leading to his review of the book.

Julien Danjou is a Staff Engineer at Datadog, where he’s in charge of building a production profiler for Python. Their goal is to provide performance analysis of their customers’ applications by understanding how their production systems behave and then optimize them.

His other hat is Mergify, building a workflow automation system for GitHub. You define rules, e.g., “merge this pull request when the CI passes and the code has been reviewed” and their bot does the merge for you. Simple.

Julien was sketching out his next Python article for his personal site when he received my email request to be an early reviewer of I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge. I thought of him because he was always interested in reading professional development books that we talked about as much as he enjoyed continuing to develop his own technical chops.

Of course, Julien and I had worked together at eNovance and Red Hat so I’m sure he was keen to see what Michael and I had written in I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge just out of curiosity, but he was also keen to understand if this book could genuinely push his leadership skills further.

Despite his unsureness, and his own priorities, the book looked like a quick enough read and his curiosity to learn what was in it tipped him over the edge.

Immediately the book challenged the way he thought about how he interacted with other people, but the book was written in a way that reminded him of The Phoenix Project, which he really enjoyed reading, and gave him the confidence to keep going.  Reading Sandrine’s story pointed out many situations he witnessed or encountered directly in the past. He became inquisitive about how she would handle the situation. 

At the end of each chapter is a summary of what we learn from the story and Julien found this section particularly helpful to pull out and internalize the key points he was learning. The real test, where the rubber meets the road so to speak, was being able to choose an experiment to validate his findings for himself. It was only then that he knew this book could help develop his skills because he’d actually be able to prove it to himself by doing the experiments.

Julien told me that he did have one regret about the book though.

It left him wanting more.

But in true developer style, he found a solution to that problem. He’s going to re-read it because he feels that, “it is an excellent publication if you are ready to rewire your brain to take charge of your development rather than enduring your work.”

Julien would be happy to connect with you if you share common interests and are entrepreneurial minded. Right now, that would cover working on Python performance, building a SaaS startup, or cooking. 🙂

You can reach him through email at or on Twitter @juldanjou.

The top three posts on his personal site are:

  1. Sending Emails in Python — Tutorial with Code Examples
  2. The definitive guide on how to use static, class or abstract methods in Python
  3. Profiling Python using cProfile: a concrete case

Julien has also written two books:

To learn Julien’s three tips for how software engineers can become more successful, listen to the podcast I recorded with him (33m06s).


  • Alexis Monville

    Alexis Monville worked in multicultural and distributed environments for years, coming back from the US and now based in the southwest of France. When asked if he misses the work in the office, he usually answers that he spent half of his 30 years of management experience in diverse sectors outside of the office and a lot of that working from home. Alexis is Chief of Staff to the CTO at Red Hat, a long-time hybrid open-source software company with more than 100 office locations in 40 countries, where half of the 20,000 people work remotely. Alexis is a firm believer that change starts with the self. He is the author of two books: Changing Your Team From The Inside and I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge. Alexis facilitates successful playful collaborations. He designs and builds sustainable and high-impact teams and organizations.

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