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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub (Part 4)

Posted on Sunday, Nov 18th 2018

Sramana Mitra: Very good. Switching gears a bit, when you look around in your universe, what are the key trends and what are the open problems upon which a new entrepreneur could build a new business?

Todd Greene: It’s a great question. It’s actually very interesting. If you look all the big unicorn spaces and companies over the last five years, all industries are changed because of the ability to stream real-time information. What’s different in your taxi experience from Uber or Lyft? You can now open your phone, you can see where the taxi is. What changed the exercise bike market with Peloton? It was the fact that Peloton, as an exercise bike company, allows you to compete with your fellow riders.

In the case of farming, that’s being revolutionized by streaming real-time data to tractor drivers to be able to decide where to plant and where to harvest. What’s different? Why is it happening now? All this has to do with the ability to have all these always-on connected devices and building applications that let you connect, deliver, and control data in real-time.

For new entrepreneurs, people have just scratched the surface. When the infrastructure for the internet was built in the mid-90’s, we first brought out e-commerce websites. It took 10 years before we started to see social networks. As entrepreneurs’ imagination start to bubble up, they leverage the technology they know to build new and exciting experiences.

In the real-time space, the first big explosions of ideas that entrepreneurs had to leverage technologies like PubNub were in markets like the dispatch market where you could access real-time information about where your food is going. They use our products for smart homes. They use our products for dating applications. I think that there’s a huge amount of ideas that can be leveraged now with real-time technology. They will probably emerge over the next five to 10 years.

Sramana Mitra: What I’m hearing is you’re tying these trends with Internet of Things, all the sensor-generated data that is coming out, and all the supporting infrastructure around that to do something with that data.

Todd Greene: Yes. Rather than see things in the categories of Internet of Things, the better way to think about it is with respect to how does it change our experiences as humans. What can we, the average human being, do tomorrow that we couldn’t do today? What’s enabling that to happen? Internet of Things, as a category, doesn’t make my life better.

The use of Internet of Things is very interesting. I can, from my car, tell Google to turn off the hallway lights in my house. That’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s a combination of IoT and other technologies. All of those things together provide different experiences. That’s what we’re really excited about. We are constantly surprised by what our customers use products for, for things that we never could have imagined.

Sramana Mitra: Excellent. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub
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