Meet the Grafana Labs Team: Dieter Plaetinck
As Grafana Labs continues to grow, we’d like you to get to know the team members who are building the cool stuff you’re using. Check out the latest of our Friday team profiles.
Name: Dieter Plaetinck
Current location/time zone: Malta (UTC+2), though I also frequent Cyprus, Greece, Belgium, and New York. (My family is distributed too).
What do you do at Grafana Labs? I joined the company right along with Torkel when he decided cofounding Grafana Labs (then called Raintank Inc.) was going to be the path forward for Grafana. Building open source monitoring solutions via a distributed startup was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.
As such, I have worn many different hats over the years. Early on I worked mainly on Worldping. It needed alerting, so I worked on the Grafana backend. It needed a TSDB, so I tried many different solutions and eventually started prototyping our own, MetricTank. You can watch my GrafanaCon talk to get more of the backstory on that.
As we transitioned towards Grafana Cloud (which back then was only Hosted Metrics Graphite), MetricTank received more dedication. I’ve basically been working on just that project for about 4 years now.
The scope of my role has grown to include some product management for Hosted Metrics Graphite, hiring management, and being the steward (tech lead) of the project, supporting a team of about 5 people. I have just enough time remaining to once in a while contribute some cool code myself. Oh, and pull request reviews, lots of pull request reviews.
I also work on my old hobby project, carbon-relay-ng, which I created a few years before this company existed. But we use it, so we keep maintaining it.
What do you like to do in your free time? I love hiking and mountain biking, especially in the southwestern states of the U.S. I have a few videos on YouTube if you’re interested. I also used to play drums quite extensively, and have performed with metal, pop, and Latin bands. But I won’t share those videos here, you’ll have to search for them. :)
What do you do to get “in the zone” when you code? Recently I needed to work on something really complicated, so I locked myself into my office, asked my wife nicely to not disturb me, closed Slack and anything that makes sounds or notifications. After two days of doing this I cracked the nut and felt triumphant. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you can focus.
Do you like to code in silence, with music or ambient noise on your headphones, or with people talking around you? Any sound is ridiculously distracting to me. Open offices and loud coffee shops affect me much more than the average person I think. When I listen to music that I know, it’s distracting; when it’s music I don’t know, it’s distracting. Noise is distracting. I tried all of the focus/studying playlists on Spotify, but they become distracting as soon as a song comes up that has the slightest bit of vocals, percussion, or interesting melodies. Silence gets on my nerves (except for those few times that I really need it). Bottom line is: I think I need help.
Favorite ice cream flavor? I actually don’t like ice cream. Who decided that ice cream should be as cold as ice? I do love anything with coconut in it. yoghurt, pina coladas, Thai curry, shampoo,… you name it!