Presentation: How Condé Nast Succeeds by a Culture That Embraces Failure

Track: Architecting for Failure: Chaos, Complexity, and Resilience

Location: Whittle, 3rd flr.

Duration: 4:10pm - 5:00pm

Day of week: Wednesday

Share this on:


Systems architectures are increasingly diverse to serve the growing demands for scalability, fault tolerance, isolation, and extensibility. But the compromise is ever complex software to operate and maintain often with no single shared view of entire design. This is especially true with the prevalence of microservices architectures, and a growing reliance of vendor capabilities which are largely out of our control. While errors and incidents themselves cannot be completely eradicated from our systems we can at least build for resilience and adaptability. Experimentation rigour as a cultural practice and habit can identify constraints in the current design with predictions about the emergence of newer patterns to handle failures gracefully such as preventing failure cascades. Another important benefit is aligning people’s mental models of how the software is designed and operated. Crystal will walk through learnings found by building a culture that embraced failure through Chaos Engineering practices as daily routine, what her teams have learned and adapted for their platforms at Condé Nast International which currently serve in excess of 220 million unique users every month across the globe.

Speaker: Crystal Hirschorn

Crystal Hirschorn is Director of Engineering and Cloud Platforms @CondeNast

Crystal Hirschorn is Director of Engineering and Cloud Platforms at Condé Nast who are better known for their portfolio of global brands such as Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and Wired. She is building an awesome engineering organisation and technically leading a digital transformation to build unified technology platforms deployed across the globe. The majority of her career has been as a hands-on software engineer with more than 15 years experience working mainly within the media and government sectors tackling the challenges of building complex system architectures, scaling software and infrastructure. Previously, she led the online technical strategy for many BBC News elections events, including the last general election, which served more than 65 million requests in a 24-hour period, with traffic peak at 3.2 million concurrent requests.

Find Crystal Hirschorn at