Featured Open-Sourcerer: Joey Taleño

This month I talked to Joey Taleño who's been a champion and early adopter of Plural over the last few months.

Abhi Vaidyanatha
Abhi Vaidyanatha

Every month, we feature an individual who has stood out in our community as a notable contributor or user of Plural. This month, our Featured Open-Sourcerer is Joey Taleño, who’s been a champion and early adopter of Plural over the last few months.

Joey is consulting at Taleno.digital now and is looking to be your business partner in data infrastructure and analytics. He’s letting the whole world know about his journey and is building the business in public. In this interview, we’ll learn more about Joey’s background, how he got to where he is, and what his experience with Plural has been like.

How did you get into data?

I took an Information Technology course during college (back in late 2008 or early 2009), but during that time data was not being taught by colleges. The primary focus of that class was on programming, not data.

During school, my internship involved working on one of the most famous antivirus (TrendMicro) solutions. After graduating, my boss from the internship called me up asking if I was willing to be part of the “data” team. I put data in quotes there since it wasn’t called the data team and was primarily a BI team.

At that time our stack was made up of an MSSQL server, Cube, SSRS, and SSIS for ETL, which is extremely different from what a data stack looks like today. The stacks were very enterprise, which honestly might be a path that data stacks are heading back towards.

This company trained me in working with data and helped me realize the power data can have for organizations. However, my mindset during that time was just to be an employee or venture into something, so I ended up jumping from one company to another. Honestly, it helped me learn a lot and I even got to experience migrating to Redshift which was exciting to me at the time.

How has your journey with Plural been?

I kind of found Plural unexpectedly since my experience was primarily in using enterprise-level tools for data.

After my company at the time, Cengage, began going through budget cuts, I started to explore open-source technologies. One of the first open-source tools I experienced was Airflow. At the time orchestration was a huge problem for us so our company opted to use Airflow since we trusted our architect who was experienced in it and preferred to use open-source tools.

Weirdly enough I had a really bad experience at first with Airflow since I needed to maintain my own Airflow installation and I don’t have experience with that side of things. As I like to say, “I’m not a DevOps guy, I’m a data guy.”

Before discovering Plural I spent most of my time maintaining and fixing the orchestration part of Airflow instead of working on my core responsibilities as a data professional. At the time, Kubernetes did not exist so it was frustrating working with open-source technologies. To be honest, I started to view open-source as an unreliable option that could potentially work in the future since my main goal was to deliver results.

Earlier in the year, I ended up having a client ask me to explore Plural as a possible solution for their data stack. After exploring it I started to realize the potential Plural has for setting up data stacks for companies. It’s kind of crazy to look back on it now but I ended up losing the client since they opted to use Plural themselves since it was that easy.

Right now it’s clear that open-source is a huge cost saving and not a compromise of quality anymore. Airbyte, Metabase, and other apps are heavily carried by Plural due to the ease of setup and management.

Now, all my clients' data stacks are built with Plural. It’s crazy to see the transformation in the project over time. A few days ago I installed a data stack for my client and was blown away by how simple it is to get up and running. I’m extremely passionate about no-code work and Plural has the potential to turn infrastructure into a no-code experience, which would be a massive win for the open-source ecosystem.

Before Plural, I was not a fan of open-source. However, my mind has been changed since Plural removes the pain of spinning ip, maintaining, and updating an open-source project.

How is the data scene in the Philippines?

From my experience, there is less emphasis on data architecture compared to other multinational companies. Sure, there are IT departments, but they are not optimized for data solutions and the implementation of systems is not ideal.

When I became a data architect, I ended up doing a good chunk of the work setting up data infrastructure and everyone else began to rely on me and my experience to get up and going. However, in the Philippines, big companies such as banks are undergoing digital transformations and are ahead of the game.

Which application in the modern data stack would you be most excited to partner with?

To me, Airbyte is the gold standard of open-source tooling for the modern data stack. The tool is extremely simple and very easy to use. My experience so far with Airbyte has been great and I recommend others begin to utilize them.

I also am a big fan of Metabase for BI work. Yes, there are lots of BI tools, but they make things extremely simple and that’s very important when working with clients. Businesses don’t need complex data visualizations, they need tools that are simple to use. For me, I tend to partner with tools that are simple and easy to get up and running.

What would you consider your most unique hobby?

As I have grown older my hobbies have changed. Previously, I was into no-code tooling, which is still something I like to explore.

However, I recently got into writing and I have revisited WordPress after a long time, and honestly, the experience is better than it was before. I like that they have the option to write with your phone now since at times writing using a computer can feel overwhelming as staring at a blank page is hard to work with. With a smaller screen it came naturally for me.

I have written various blogs on my website  all by using my phone. There are lots of benefits to writing, it helps in organizing thoughts and is a way for you to emotionally let your thoughts go. You write whatever it is in your heart and you let it go. Maybe someone else out there will relate to your journey as well, it’s quite beautiful actually.

What do you think will be the most important technology of the future?

I hate to say this, but AI is probably the future. Right now they are using to mostly create art, but it begs the question; Can AI do data analytic work in the future? If it is done right it can be extremely powerful for individuals and organizations.

However, it seems like at the moment people are just playing around with it. For it to work with data we need to solve the data quality problem first. Yes, it will be hard to do, however, if fixed then AI with high-quality data would be a game changer.

To learn more about how Plural works and how we are helping engineering teams across the world deploy open-source applications in a cloud production environment, check out our Github to get started today.

Join us on our Discord channel for questions, discussions, and to meet the rest of the community.

Abhi Vaidyanatha

Head of Community