A conversation with Spencer Kimball, creator of GIMP and CockroachDB

The Stack Overflow Podcast

Spencer Kimball, cofounder and CEO of Cockroach Labs and co-creator of the GIMP image editor, tells Ryan and Ceora about how database technology has evolved to handle massive data volumes, how Cockroach labs came to focus on solving latency issues through serverless technology, and his “relatively gentle” transition from engineer to CEO.

Spencer was one of the original creators of open-source, cross-platform image editing software GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), authored while he was still in college. He went on to spend a decade at Google, plus two years as CTO of Viewfinder, later acquired by Square.

In 2014, he cofounded Cockroach Labs to back his creation CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database.

Database sharding is essential for CockroachDB: “a critical part of how Cockroach achieves virtually everything,” says Spencer. Read up on how sharding a database can make it faster.

Like many engineers who find themselves in the C-suite, Spencer went from full-time programmer to full-time CEO. He says it’s been a “relatively gentle” evolution, but he can always go back.

Like lots of you out there, Spencer started programming on a TI-99/4, the world’s first 16-bit home computer.

Connect with Spencer on LinkedIn or learn more about him.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Hughes M. for their answer to the question Multiple keys pointing to a single value in Redis (Cache) with Java.

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