Getting Started with Azure Functions and their extensions Superpower

This is a part of my “Journey with Azure” series

I have always been fascinated by managed services and serverless computing. It started with my first startup PureMetics, where we used AppEngine and BigQuery to built an Analytics product. Because both AppEngine and BigQuery were fully managed services, A single person (@Abhishek Nandi) was able to build the entire tech for it. Later on when Abhishek & I were building Odiocast, we used other managed services to keep things simple. FireBase, AWS Lambdas and other services allowed us to worry more about the product rather than worry about Devops as a 2 person startup.

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Azure Table Storage vs GCP DataStore

This is a part of my “Journey with Azure” series

So as a part of playing around with Azure, I decided to clone AirMeet’s codebase with Azure as a backend service. Airmeet is currently running on AppEngine with Datastore as a database. The equivalents on the Azure side are AppService with TableStore as the database. Based on that experience here are some of the differences between the two NoSQL key-value stores.

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The Azure Portal: First Look

This is a part of my “Journey with Azure” series, the also the first part of It (and a short one). Expect more in the future as I play around with Azure.

The design makes for very long URLs on the portals side. On the google cloud side, I can go to my Datastore using the following URL: console.cloud.google.com/datastore, I can’t do something similar on the Azure side. Anyway, I think it is a pet peeve of sorts and might not be super critical for everyone. Any pet peeve is the portal has issues on Safari, which I use as my Primary browser, thus once in a while, I need to use Firefox.

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Spotify is not the Netflix of Audio, it's the YouTube of audio.

When rumours of Spotify acquiring Gimlet started, Twitter was abuzz with the phrase: Spotify wants to be the Netflix of Audio. Which I inherently did not like, but with Spotify also acquiring Anchor, I am certain that Spotify wants to be the Youtube of Audio, not Netflix, infact there will never be a Netflix of Audio. Let us dig in on the Why. 

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Breaking Down Brawl Star's Engagement and Retention Tactics

Who is Super Cell

A few days ago I started playing SuperCell’s new game Brawl Stars. First of if you don’t know who Supercell is: They are one of the most successful game studios who only focus on Mobile Games, there are also one of the rare ones who have multiple hits in their portfolio. They are the makers of Clash of clans, HayDay, Boom beach, Clash Royal and the New Brawl Stars. Supercell has been in the industry for 8 years now, and are valued at around $ 10 B. 

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5 Things You Need Before Building The Product Roadmap

What Is A Product Roadmap?

The product Roadmap showcases what you are doing, in what order, and in most case by when you plan to do it.

It is meant for certain use-cases and audiences, largely those who are not a key part of the decision-making process, but who are affected by it and by leadership, who don’t have the time to dive deep into the how and why of products and features.
It is quite literally a navigation map for others to see, a mechanism to get maximum relevant information that a single glance can get. It showcases what just happened, what is happening now and what will happen in the future while hiding all the other complexities.

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Incentives & Their Effects on Products

Netflix & PrimeVideo are so different from YouTube as products, driven into different directions based on their incentives. Here are a bunch of observations

  • Netflix and Prime know their content. Which powers features like X-ray in prime and the ability to skip intros and recaps in Netflix. Even subtitles and episodes lists are better supported in the apps. Added value for users. YouTube, on the other hand, knows very little about the content which can add value to the users. Which is why it is heavily dependent on a recommendation engine, which also takes the user from videos on 1 topic to another. Disconnected yet interesting dots
  • Netflix and Prime just focus on the current video, YouTube shows you other videos as soon as you start the video. Thus the screen space is used in different ways. Netflix and Prime have a volume slider, YouTube does not (and it is an irritation)
  • The focus on the content allows Prime and Netflix to reuse the content in different languages, YouTube does not have that benefit yet. AI/ML might solve the problem, but I am not sure dubbing of user-generated content will work
  • Organization of the home screen is also driven by their individual incentives. You come back to series for new episodes in Netflix and Prime, so they are placed higher, YouTube showcases its recommendation engine.
  • Because they don’t need to show ads, Netflix and Prime allow Picture in Picture on the iPad, and YouTube does not.
  • YouTube original content strategy is always at risk personally, free content and subscription content are diametrically opposite. More on that here: http://ravivyas.com/2018/07/16/diametrically-opposite-skills/
  • UGC platforms like YouTube have the advantage of having content for everyone, but the big disadvantage is you need a constant stream of content, both to support creators and consumers, you can’t stop ingestion of new content. Which put a lot of strain on quality.

To end: Incentives always drive products and their features. Where you can, choose your incentives carefully.

Drawing Maps to understand your Organization and the future

The last 2-4 months I have been stuck with a few concepts like Zooming in and zooming out, breaking problems down. While the concepts are important my interpretations of them are very crude in retrospect. I say that because I believe what I have tried to encompass in 2 blog posts with more on the way, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media sums it up in 2 lines
Here is a snippet from his book WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us
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