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April 30: Setting up a modern observability stack with Garland Technology, Corelight, and Humio

The Hoot - Episode 18 - Kresten Krab Thorup, Humio CTO and Founder

His journey as a student, working at NeXT, earning a Ph.D., and creating Humio

March 6th, 2020

In Episode 18, John visits with Kresten Krab Thorup, CTO and co-founder of Humio in this week’s podcast: The Hoot - Episode 18 - Kresten Krab Thorup, Humio CTO and Founder.

In this special episode, we get to know Kresten better. You’ll be inspired by his story, and you’ll get to see what makes him so brilliant and so warm and personable. He shares some behind-the-scenes background about his storied career in tech, and offers his thoughts on founding Humio.

Kresten has been involved in programming computer languages from an early age. He tells the story of how he began programming on a Commodore VIC-20, and how that led him to want to learn how to build languages to do more with the hardware. Kresten got his professional start as a student, working as an IT administrator in the university’s computer lab, and helping professors with LaTeX, an early typesetting technology — hidden inside somewhere is a typesetting geek. He soon got hooked on programming languages and hasn’t slowed down at all.

“The real beauty of programming languages is that they are tools for expressing and understanding the intentions and what the system is — they are abstractions for describing a program. They are a set of tools for thinking about your program.

Humio is similar, it’s a set of tools for understanding and thinking about your run-time of your system.

Kresten Krab Thorup, Humio CTO and Founder

Kresten was an active contributor to open-source projects. He became an expert in Objective-C for the GNU Compiler, which became a part of the NeXT computer language. Kresten ended up building a whole stack that is still in the Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) today. While in his graduate program, Kresten went to work for NeXT, and built software for the operating system that would later become OS 10. It was while there he learned to appreciate building beautiful things, inclusive of intuitive software.

He came back to Denmark, and helped run a NeXT User’s Group, where he made friends with the people that would start Trifork, a user-centric software innovation company. Kresten became an early investor and CTO at Trifork, which has since grown to more than 700 employees operating in 10 countries. It was there he would meet the people that later become an important part of creating and growing Humio.

Kresten shares the story behind Humio, and why it was important to develop a modern log management system that takes advantage of advances in technology.

“Humio has an ability to deal with unknown problems — this is where Humio really shines. You’re in the unknown, and you don’t have a metric or a monitor where you know exactly what’s going on. If you log everything, you have this ocean of logs showing what is going on in your distributed system. That’s where something magical happens that you just couldn’t do before.”

“Another magic thing happens when developers put stuff in their logs, and then later go back to see how the system is doing. It’s a super-lightweight and easy way to get insights into what’s going on in production.”

Kresten Krab Thorup, Humio CTO and Founder

Kresten shares his view on the technology Humio is focused on for the coming months, and shares some of the projects the engineers are working on. He finishes up by sharing his advice on building a career in technology, and the importance of focusing on what he does best, and leaving the rest to others who are better in areas where he’s not particularly strong.

Enjoy the podcast!

For more from Kresten, listen to The Hoot Episode 2: Time Series Databases with Kresten Krab Thorup.

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