PubNub’s Todd Greene reveals how leveraging AI through event-driven systems can help startups scale
At TechSparks 2023 Bengaluru edition, Todd Greene, Co-founder and CEO of PubNub, cautioned startups about software death spirals and disclosed how leveraging AI through event-driven systems can help startups grow.
Todd Greene's journey into the world of technology began long before he addressed a captivated audience at TechSparks 2023. It started when he was introduced to computers by a classmate who brought one to show-and-tell in Grade 5, igniting a lifelong fascination with technology and setting the stage for his remarkable career as a tech visionary.
Greene, Co-founder and CEO of, recently shared his insights at TechSparks 2023 Bengaluru edition, speaking about the role of event-driven systems in accelerating tech growth. His engaging and informative talk shed light on the critical connection between event-driven systems and the rise of unicorn companies across various industries.
He began by recounting his deep affinity for Bangalore and his journey as a serial entrepreneur, having founded three companies, including CascadeWorks, a company acquired by what is now Upwork. He highlighted the significant role of interactive experiences in the success of today's tech giants.
“What is the common thread that unites unicorn companies worldwide?” he asked the audience. He gave them the reply, stating that it was all about "interactive experiences at the core", emphasising real-time communication and interaction as the defining factor behind their success.
"Whether you're ordering food, hailing a ride, engaging in multiplayer gaming, or tracking IoT devices, the key is that people are brought together in a virtual space to communicate and interact," Greene said.
This core principle has led to the creation of trillions of dollars in value over the past decade, exemplified by companies like Hotstar during the IPL craze and the ever-present WhatsApp.
Greene delved into three key aspects during his talk:
- Expanding horizons geographically: He lauded India's achievement of crossing one billion registered smartphones, a milestone that presents a significant societal change. Greene emphasised that this milestone, coupled with the affordability of internet access, has created immense opportunities for entrepreneurs in India.
- Software death spirals: Greene highlighted the two most significant risks in building high-growth companies—launch and crash, and buzz and stagnate. These pitfalls stem from unwarranted software complexity and inadequate scaling of systems. He advised the audience to embrace event-driven systems, as they can circumvent these issues, providing a scalable and efficient architecture.
- Leveraging AI through event-driven systems: Greene asserted that event-driven systems are the foundation for AI integration. He discussed various applications such as chatbots, moderation and filtering, language translation, anomaly detection, and proactive chatbots. He also spoke about the concept of cohort engagement AI, where AI can influence user engagement patterns based on their behaviour.
To illustrate the benefits of event-driven systems, Greene presented several case studies, including companies like Swiggy and Hotstar, which achieved seamless scalability by embracing this technology.
The CEO of PubNub reiterated that the key to India's tech success is in mastering these systems and leveraging them to address local and global challenges. He concluded his talk by stating that India is “poised for a tech explosion of unprecedented scale”.
India’s tech landscape seems primed for a remarkable transformation as entrepreneurs explore the potential to revolutionise industries and embrace event-driven systems.