SingleStore’s growth is on fire — globally — and a big reason why is that our technology has strong appeal for both developers and business leaders. Akmal Chaudhri, our London-based Developer Advocate, has a deep understanding of the conversations that take place on both sides of, and across, the table. I recently spoke with Akmal about why he’s excited to be at SingleStore, and why he thinks “the best kept secret '' of the database world (that’s us) is about to turn up the heat even more.
Q: OK tell me, what drew you to SingleStore?
A: The short answer is that SingleStore has really fantastic technology and is a grown-up company.
The longer answer is that my interests and background are in database technology; when I started in the industry Oracle was the dominant player, IBM was number two and Microsoft a distant third. Throughout my IT career, the one thing that has been very consistent is relational technology. Despite all of the predictions of its demise, that hasn’t happened. Relational technology is as strong today as it’s ever been.
As a company, SingleStore is engineering-focused — it has a very strong technology offering, a “best kept secret” kind of thing. And while SingleStore is a very solid relational database, it can do so many other things as well, like supporting both transactions and analytics, JSON, time series and geospatial data, and more. It can serve many applications beyond purely relational — with SingleStore you can get all the capabilities you need without having to glue together multiple pieces, which is painful for both developers and executives.
SingleStore isn’t trying to be all things to all people, though. Instead, they are focused on data-intensive apps, which are rapidly multiplying across many industries.
I have wanted to work for SingleStore for some time and was thrilled when a role opened on the developer relations team last year. I’ll be working with developers and people in the industry to understand what problems they are trying to solve, and show them where SingleStore is a good fit.
(For more of Akmal’s story check out his post on Medium.)
Q: How will you do that? What’s your plan?
A: My focus is very much on the developers, helping them get up to speed on SingleStore to do their job better. And working with SingleStore, too, to do their job better.
I have worn many hats over my career. Seeing issues from a variety of perspectives firsthand, I have an understanding of developers’ and executives’ pain points, which makes me fairly unique. I’m a firm believer that technology for technology’s sake is not a good thing. You need to have some reason why you are building that technology — what is the practical benefit? How can it help the business sell more? Be more competitive? If the focus is purely on the technology, you are excluding some very important issues.
I enjoy writing technical content and working with the developer community. I like providing assets to get developers up to speed, and code examples. But I’m also very interested in the business side and being able to understand customer pain points. It’s important to be able to show how technology can help overcome those specific pain points. Executives also tend to be more interested in issues such as TCO and ROI, and not so much in technology — which to them is just a black box.
Q: You’re based in London. How do you see the tech scene there as being different compared to other parts of the world?
My observation over a long period of time is that technology innovation tends to get into production fastest on the east and west coasts of America. Europe tends to lag a little bit behind. That being said, London and numerous other European cities are financial capitals, and finance has always been a strong area for SingleStore.
But equally, if you look at requirements in other industries, many SingleStore capabilities are equally well-suited to serve domains like advertising, IoT and healthcare wearables, which are exploding. For any company that wants to provide personalized services, fast analytics are critical, and that’s where SingleStore has an edge.
There’s great potential for SingleStore in London and the European mainland. It’s been a best kept secret — but now is really the time for users to see what it can do.
Q: Any parting thoughts?
A: Over the years I’ve seen that one of the biggest hurdles for new technology is integrating with other tools and services already in place, many of them open source like Spark and Kafka. SingleStore is very well positioned here. Regardless of what tools or technology developers are working with, the fact that SingleStore talks with them and allows you to get data in and out at scale is extremely beneficial. It’s a great strength for SingleStore.