Saturday, September 26 MongoDB Masters Summit 2013 -

MongoDB Masters Summit 2013

When you bring incredible people together, you only need to give them a little guidance in order for them to deliver something awesome. This Thursday was the third annual MongoDB Masters summit in New York City, and I experienced just that. Each year, we bring together our core contributors, our MongoDB Masters, to a large MongoDB conference, to network with one another and the 10gen engineering team.

We kicked off the summit with a Dumpling tour in Chinatown led by Mark Birch of Dumplr on Wednesday evening. It was a great way to introduce New York City to our group of MongoDB Masters who hail from over 15 different countries. For many of them, it was their first trip to New York, so I wanted to show them something they would never see if they came on their own. Mark Birch’s Dumpling tour gave them just that: a tour through one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in New York City, and some of the best dumplings in the city.

Thursday morning, we invited the MongoDB Masters to 10gen’s offices in Times Square. We started the day with an unconference to give the Masters an opportunity to discuss topics that were of interest to them with one another and 10gen engineers. We came away with an awesome schedule, with sessions on Driver APIs, Deployment Best Practices (and disasters :X), the future of aggregation and more.

Unconference Schedule for the MongoDB Masters Summit

Since MongoDB is a young, open source product, there are vastly different levels of expertise in the community. The MongoDB Masters are the foremost experts in the community, and many of them have been using MongoDB for over 5 years. For them, going to MongoDB conferences are no longer interesting because they have already gone through the early stages of learning MongoDB while the newest community members are still coming up-to-speed. For them, the unconference session at the Masters Summit is an invaluable opportunity discuss MongoDB with others at their level, learn best practices and borrow effective strategies for effective use.

Mathias Stern, who now focuses on MongoDB aggregation in the Kernel, and Alberto Lerner, one of the Kernel Leads, walked through some of the newest features in Aggregation and Indexing with the Masters. The deep-dive was a rare opportunity for them to see how our engineering team is refactoring a lot of MongoDB’s old features for future releases. It made me realize that although everyone can see the work being done on open source tools, you often don’t see how and why people are making the changes and choices that they implement.

Following 3 hours of unconference sessions, we had Eliot Horowitz, 10gen’s co-founder and CTO, and Ron Avnur, 10gen’s VP of Product and Services, have an open discussion with the masters about the MongoDB Kernel. We went through four key questions:

What about MongoDB keeps you up at night? What applications are you not building with MongoDB because of feature constraints? What discussions today excited you about the future of MongoDB’s development? What are we not thinking about with regard to MongoDB development that we should be? This erupted into a 90 minute conversation about new features, potential refactoring, and the choices that MongoDB core committers will need to make in order to make MongoDB a document database that is easy to use and scale.

We closed out the day with a discussion on MongoDB adoption. I asked the Masters how we can help provide resources to people just learning MongoDB, while at the same time, keeping experts like the MongoDB Masters engaged with the community. Throughout our discussion, the phrase “Content is King” kept popping into my head. It seems like as much as we blog or post presentations, there is still so much more to do, so much more content to produce, and so many ways to make it better and more engaging. It’s a great challenge, and I’m glad the Masters pointed out that although we’ve done a great job, we need to continue to provide developers and ops professionals with the resources to help them be successful MongoDB Users.

Thanks to all the Masters who came all the way to NYC for the 3rd Annual summit!