The Edge of Now With Cat Swetel

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021
In this episode, Jess talks with guest Cat Swetel about her career, writings, and thoughts on DevOps.

Show Notes

In this episode, Jess talks with guest Cat Swetel about her career, writings, and thoughts on DevOps.

Jess: “Cat is known internationally for her Penguin Power Stance and for standing on the edge of now!” Cat: “I like working with things on the edge of now. So that’s either things that shouldn’t exist anymore or shouldn’t exist yet.”

Jess and Cat talk about projects that fit Cat’s definition of the edge of now.

Cat: “I do believe that DevOps is inherently feminist, because it puts the emphasis on that maintenance and reproductive work rather than producing working software.”

Jess brings up Eric Evans’ concept of software as gardening.

The panel discusses reproductive vs productive work. Cat talks about what she sees in healthy DevOps teams.

Jess and Cat talk about the challenges of working with legacy systems.

The panel discusses metacommunication and Gregory Bateson.

Cat: “In that situation, everyone is operating as specified but it’s still not working! So that’s when it becomes necessary to not have so much of that transactional interaction…It has to be something more generative.”

Cat and Jess talk about the ethics of “care vs fair”. Cat dives into how feminist theory has impacted her thinking on DevOps and systems.

Cat: “If we valued caring for the systems and caring for each other, rather than thinking fair or unfair…Let’s check, are we caring for these systems, are we being mindful? Then rad, let’s keep going.”


Cat Swetel

Cat Swetel

Cat is a technology leader interested in exploring how digital transformation facilitates relationships and could create conditions for more generative institutions. Her leadership style is deeply feminist in that it is focused on allowing all people to flourish. This leadership style (coupled with good technology instincts) has allowed Cat to establish an impressive track record of delivering the “impossible”. In addition to leadership experience in a variety of settings from startups to large enterprises, Cat is also an accomplished public speaker delivering keynotes, workshops, etc all around the world. In her leisure time, Cat enjoys cooking, hiking, making jokes about Bitcoin, and reading feminist literature.


Jessica Kerr

Jessica Kerr

Jessitron is a symmathecist in the medium of code. She works at Honeycomb in developer relations. She writes about software and system on her blog at She teaches workshops on Systems Thinking, and makes courses on She is into resilience engineering, domain-driven design, and of course DevOps – all the systems-thinky things. She lives in St. Louis, MO, where she raises two children and their cats. Find her also on >Code, and at conferences around the world.