This is Todd Greene’s second appearance on UNTETHER.tv. His first was almost 2 years prior to this episode when he was CEO of Loyalize, a company focused on real-time audience participation through mobile devices. Throughout our conversation on Loyalize, Todd talked about “real time” connectivity and shared experiences – even going so far as to say that we are all “100 milliseconds away from one another.” Flash forward to now and the company that he co-founded, PubNub, is right in the center of this real-time application world and his goal is to enable as close to a real-time experience as can be had through software.
PubNub is a real-time messaging platform – a company that had its roots before those of Loyalize – and something I liken to being a part of the plumbing of the mobile world. The company calls themselves a real-time infrastructure as a service offering and, if you’ve been watching the trends in rapid mobile application development and consumer engagement through mobile, they are right in the middle as these two worlds collide.
Since we last connected, Loyalize was acquired by Viggle in December of 2011 and PubNub closed their first round of funding (also in December of 2011) and Todd was unemployed for 7 minutes between gigs. This episode focuses on the concept of software as infrastructure, the real-time mobile world, how companies are and will use this technology, the Loyalize story, how PubNub was conceived and the patience it took to wait for the right moment to jump in.
To me, watching this play out is like watching the entire mobile industry evolve. There are opportunities literally everywhere as barriers to innovation fall around us because of the devices we carry and the services that are being built on top of them. This is a perfect example of a company seizing an emerging market and, if all goes well, owning it.
Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip
1. What is PubNub 2:10
2. What are real time applications 2:40
3. How are you selling this very broad service offering 4:30
4. What are the implications of real time applications 6:10
5. Why has it been easy to sell PubNub services 11:20
6. Who are you selling to? Who is your customer? 13:20
7. Are your customers mostly new products or existing products 14:30
8. How are social television apps using PubNub? 16:25
9. What happened with Loyalize 18:40
10. Why sell Loyalize to Viggle? 20:30
11. Why you shouldn’t say no to an acquisition conversation 23:35
12. How did you balance between the two companies? 25:45
13. Was the version of PubNub you re-joined different than the one your started 4 years back? 28:40
14. What is your vision for PubNub – will you become a consumer brand? 30:35
15. Where did the name come from? 32:40
16. How did you manage raising money for PubNub at the same time selling Loyalize? 33:50
17. How much activity flows through PubNub 34:45
18. How do you not get into other businesses and remain true to your vision? 38:30
19. Why should companies look at PubNub to bring real-time computing into their applications 39:40
20. What should app developers focus on? Stagent case study 44:20
21. Does this limit innovation or support it 46:25
22. How did you land your first customers 50:10
23. Is there anything you would have done differently with PubNub? 51:30
About Todd Greene
Todd is the co-founder and CEO of PubNub. As an entrepreneur who has founded and successfully sold companies across the software spectrum, Todd helps shape the PubNub vision of revolutionizing the way people interact online. Todd most recently was CEO of Loyalize, an Audience Participation company successfully sold to Function(x) (FNCX), a Robert F.X. Sillerman company, where he designed the first-ever massively multi-user Social TV mobile and web applications licensed to companies like Viacom and Yahoo. Todd previously was founder and CTO/VP Products of CascadeWorks, a company providing Services Procument solutions to Texas Instruments, Charles Schwab, and ABN Amro, and acquired by Elance. After working with companies like GE, SGI, and Quantum while a consultant at Price Waterhouse, Todd joined NetDynamics (sold to Sun Microsystems in 1998) to help create a truly game-changing product: the first application server built for the Internet.