The PRQL: Erik Bernhardsson Just Can’t Stop Solving Problems

October 28, 2022

In this bonus episode, Eric and Kostas preview their upcoming conversation with Erik Bernhardsson of Modal Labs. 


The Data Stack Show is a weekly podcast powered by RudderStack, the CDP for developers. Each week we’ll talk to data engineers, analysts, and data scientists about their experience around building and maintaining data infrastructure, delivering data and data products, and driving better outcomes across their businesses with data.

RudderStack helps businesses make the most out of their customer data while ensuring data privacy and security. To learn more about RudderStack visit


Eric Dodds 00:05
Welcome to The Data Stack Show prequel. We just had a fascinating conversation with Eric for Nordson. And he has done some amazing things. Part of two startups, a little music streaming service called Spotify that you might have heard of, was their very early handful of people better. An insurance company started there when it was 10 people that grew to over 10,000 people. So it talks about exponential growth. And now he’s working on his own thing, which is fascinating. cost us I think, one of the most interesting things that, you know, stuck out to me, which we talked a little bit about, you know, we wrapped the show up, was seeing the patterns of what Eric had learned, you know, throughout those experiences and how he’s applying that, to what he’s building it modal, which is really interesting, you know, so not only the lessons from scale, but also user experience, things from Spotify that he’s applying to, you know, what is essentially sort of a, like a dev infrastructure solution, you know, code deployment solution. So, I thought it was really cool to see someone who’s been through such an amazing journey. Retain, you know, what seemed like really high impact lessons from decades ago, and still applying those to like, completely different problems in completely different spaces. But in a way that seems really really powerful.

Kostas Pardalis 01:36
Huh? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if I, if I would keep something from like, the conversation with Eric, because his passion to solve bombings? Yep. I think like Ross is like, super interesting. Because, okay, Eric, is, I think one of the people out there that like in these small world of like, data, infra related people. He is well known, like people knocking. But what I’ve seen, like talking to him live that like I couldn’t, I mean, my experience in the same way, like So Twitter or whatever else. So it’s like, she’s passion for solving problems, like Yannick needs, like the definition of problem solver. Like, I’m pretty sure that like, I don’t know, I’m very confident that like, model is going to be something great. But that’s not going to be the end for this guy. Right? Yeah. Kids cannot stop solving problems that he finds. So that’s, that’s how he’s doing it. That’s like, you know, like one of these traits that you can see like, especially in like an NGVs, but not all of them, obviously. But like some, especially the old, older, I mean, people who started liking these, like directing with computers in an era that we’re not like that accessible, right? Like, yet he talked about the 90s, for example, and all that stuff. So yeah, there’s this very interesting posture. That’s, I think it’s like, the most important things that I’ll keep from this conversation. I

Eric Dodds 03:07
agree. And for those, I mean, you should listen to it in general, because Eric is just such a smart, fascinating person. But a couple of teasers here for the listeners, we got a lot of really interesting backstory. So we got the backstory on Luigi, you know, which is sort of, you know, data in its heyday was a very popular tool for orchestration, sort of a predecessor to Airflow that’s still in production at some very large company. So that was really interesting. We got the backstory on early days at Spotify. And Eric described the company culture is anarchy that produced a very, like focused, powerful outcome, which was absolutely fascinating. And then of course, he talked about you know, the developer experience around deploying code which is all about what Moodle is, and you know how they spin up 1000 containers in less than a second. The modal so tons of fascinating stuff. You’re gonna love it, subscribe if you haven’t, and we will catch you on the next one.