The Hubbub About PubNub
PubNub is a startup in San Francisco that provides a Real Time Data Stream Network as a service. This is a relatively new concept so the easiest way I can explain it is by comparing it to a CDN.
If you want to build a simple website for yourself and a few friends you can set up an Apache server and be on your way. It’s easy. However, if you want to serve millions of visitors a day, and be secure, and handle traffic spikes, and load balance across data centers around the world; it’s hard.
Most websites hire a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Akamai to do the hard stuff for them so they can get back to building cool content for their website. PubNub’s Data Stream Network (DSN) is the same idea, but for realtime data.
Data Stream Network
Imagine you are building the next SnapChat or the next Twitter. A small group of developers can build some mobile apps connected to a NodeJS backend over web sockets. This is easy. But once you want to scale to meet demand on your launch day it becomes really hard. Maintaining a quarter second latency to anywhere in the world, through any firewall, on any browser or mobile OS, with security guarantees… that’s hard. So that’s what PubNub does for you, letting you get back to building a cool app and not worrying about maintaining a worldwide realtime data stream network.
PubNub’s product is narrow but very deep, which I find to be a breath of fresh air. So many startups try to build a platform that does everything for everyone, then fail miserably. PubNub is very focused on one thing: an easy to use DSN, so that our developers can get back to building killer apps.
If you’ve read my blog for a while then you know I am extremely passionate about the developer experience. Throughout the last ten years at Sun, Palm, and even Nokia I’ve focused on making life better for developers. Whether it’s a Rich Internet Application platform, or a mobile operating system, or internal IoT prototyping; my philosophy has always been “our job is to help developers be awesome”.
PubNub shares this view, so I am very excited to tell you that two weeks ago I joined PubNub to lead their developer evangelism team. They are a great company focused on growing smartly while keeping their customers extremely satisfied. They even have a role called “customer satisfaction manager” who help our customers continue being awesome.
I’m also excited about the product itself. In all of my experiments with building devices at Nokia, the biggest headache was getting the device to quickly and reliably connect to a cloud service at scale. This is the reason PubNub exists. As we build more devices over the next decade, connectivity will increasingly be a pain point. I’m excited to be at a company that solves this problem, and does it with a 100% customer first mindset.