In conversation with David Cramer, CTO of Sentry

Kshitij Grover

In this episode of the Tractable Podcast, Kshitij Grover, CTO at Orb, interviews David, the CTO of Sentry. Sentry, known for industry leading error and performance monitoring, has become one of the world’s most admired developer tools. Sentry is the tool of choice for over 90,000 companies including developers at Atlassian, GitHub, and Disney+. David shares the origin story of Sentry, tracing its evolution from an opinionated open-source project to a critical part of the modern software stack. Kshitij and David talk about technical challenges, strategic decisions, and leadership styles that have shaped Sentry over the last decade, including its product expansion and adaptability to industry demands.

David explores Sentry’s unique approach to growth, with an emphasis of how its open-source model influenced the GTM motion of the company in pursuit of market share. The conversation also touches on the complexities of supporting a diverse range of frameworks and technologies, Sentry’s approach to AI, and the company’s extremely recognizable brand campaigns.

Sentry can’t fix this — but maybe David can.


Kshitij Grover: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tractable. I'm your host, Kshitij, CTO at Orb. And today I have with me David, who is the CTO at Sentry. Sentry is an error monitoring and performance monitoring tool that probably every developer on the internet has heard of with customers like Sonos and GitHub and Reddit and some 90,000 more. So really excited to dive in with David. David, welcome to the podcast.

David Cramer: Cool, yeah. Thanks for having me.

Kshitij Grover: Before we dive into the technical details of Sentry, I'd love to just hear a little bit about the origin story of Sentry in your words. Obviously, you've been working on Sentry for a while. How did it come to be? And, give us the kind of playback of the last decade or so.

David Cramer: So, I mean, Sentry is super old at this point. We started it in, or rather I started it, I think 2008. Open source project dashboard for errors is basically how you can think about it. And from there, I want to say it took on a little bit of a life of its own. I think useful things get adoption and we saw some of that where people wanted what it meant built and I'm the kind of persona that if there's adoption, I actually want to work on it. It's like a motivating factor for me. And so hacked on it on the side for a few years and then eventually started the business.

We bootstrapped that. Raised some money, hired a bunch of people, and have been, continuing to kind of grow it out from there. But fundamentally it's very similar to what it was when we started the project. It's still a dashboard of your errors. We have some other products now, of course, but, it's a really simplistic idea, I guess.

Full transcript here.

January 29, 2024

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