We break it, you fix it

by Alex Maier October 25, 2017 | 2 min read

When stuff breaks, things get exciting. Phones ring, emails fly, people get paged, sometimes in the middle of the night. Sometimes there’s even coffee or donuts. Teams get busy, racing to fix what’s broken as fast as they can.

While midnight fire-fighting is exciting and makes on-call engineers feel like heroes, the excitement it provides is the kind that turns people’s hair gray and gives them dark bags under their eyes.

“Pages stop the plot of your career.”

— Alice Goldfuss, 2017

But action scenes can also be fun. Some movies wouldn’t be very long if you cut out all the action sequences. We love action, especially when we can enjoy it from the safety of our couch, eating popcorn.

Even the action scenes of our lives, taxing though they may be, build camaraderie and help us learn new things from our mistakes and experiences. Imagine yourself going up against infrastructure failures in a safe controlled environment while having pizza. All the learning and excitement of the real thing, but without the stress. How does that sound?

Well, we’ve made it possible. We call it the PagerDuty Breakathon.

It works like this: We created a series of failure scenarios (“breaks”), starting with simple stuff and progressing to ever more complex failures. Participants work in teams of three to five people to resolve the “breaks” one by one. Members of the team to resolve all incidents first take home new iPads, the runners-up get $100 Amazon gift cards. Their success will be evaluated both by an automated process and by a team of judges. Everyone will get door prizes, pizza, and drinks.

You will need:

  • Four hours on a Thursday afternoon (3pm-7pm)
  • A device you can use to SSH into things
  • An interest in learning how to fix infrastructure

Interested yet? Head on over to the event site and sign up to participate. The Breakathon is limited to 50 participants — hurry now and register before it’s too late!

The Details

DATE: November 16, 2017
TIME: 3pm | Registration opens
LOCATION: PagerDuty Headquarters | 600 Townsend St., #200 San Francisco, CA 94103


3:00 – 3:30 PM | Arrival and Registration

3:30 – 4:00 PM | Intro / Rules overview

4:00 – 6:30 PM | Break and fix things

6:30 – 7:00 PM | Award ceremony