C2C Monthly Recap: June 2022
- C2C News
Browse articles, resources, and the latest product updates.
Machine Learning is an essential component of every major tech product today. With tools like BigQuery ML, you don’t have to be a data scientist to quickly and easily incorporate ML into your applications.At a recent C2C Deep Dive event hosted by the Google Cloud startups team, Google Cloud AI/ML Specialist Customer Engineers Mike Walker and Rob Vogelbacher explained how you can use BigQuery ML to power insights for you and your customers. There are many built-in algorithms for regression, classification, clustering, forecasting, and recommendations that you can train with just a few lines of SQL. All these help you learn more from your data in a short time and in a cost-effective way. The models you build can be called from BigQuery or from external applications.The recording from this session includes the following topics:(0:00) Introduction from C2C (2:35) What is BigQuery? (6:00) Decoupled storage and compute on BigQuery (8:00) Typical ML Workflow (10:00) BigQuery ML and AI (11:30) BigQuery ML-supported models and features (17:30) BigQuery Use cases (18:30) BigQuery Explainable AI (21:05) AutoML Tables and BigQuery ML (23:25) BigQuery ML Example Models: Miami Housing Dataset (41:30) Audience Q&AWatch the full recording of the conversation below: Extra Credit:
The Google Cloud Startups Summit unites startup founders, venture capitalists, and Google experts for a full day of informative and interactive sessions exploring the diversity of talent and the variety of business opportunities in Google Cloud’s startup ecosystem. This year’s Startups Summit, on June 2, 2022, will cover hot topics including the future of web3, app development for startups, and founding a business on the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Startup founders make up a major segment of the C2C Community, and events like the Google Cloud Startups Summit facilitate the kind of customer-to-customer interaction C2C exists to promote. The 2021 Startups Summit attracted some of C2C’s most active members, and this year’s Summit will offer them a warm welcome back.Markus Koy (@MarkusK), founder of thefluent.me, left last year’s Summit with a new perspective on the process of scaling a business. One of the biggest challenges, he learned, is growing a business enough to build out a team in order to secure funding. For founders still developing a product, however, events like the Startups summit offer other vital kinds of support. “For me personally,” says Koy, “I got some good information on pitching, how to present the company, and the other advantage I find is of course networking.” Connecting with others in the startups space is valuable for founders at any stage of the startup journey. “If there is opportunity to collaborate just to speed up to reach the market, I’m open minded.” Martin Mujyanama (@muntima), another highly engaged C2C member who attended last year’s Summit, agrees. Mujyanama is building a product that will compile and organize academic research on victimology in an optimized content interface. At this year’s Startups Summit, he hopes to meet others interested in collaborating, however they might be able to influence his journey. “If there is opportunity to collaborate just to speed up to reach the market, I’m open minded,” says Mujyanama. “I’m ready just to welcome any such initiative or action.”Every startup is different, with its own unique technical and business challenges and potential for growth and success. The Google Cloud Startups Summit is designed to provide insight and guidance from technical and business leaders across the Google Cloud ecosystem, so that startups at all stages and in all fields and industries can benefit from its programming. However, what determines the real value of any business-oriented event is the perspective and willingness to engage of the other attendees. To make the connections that will make the difference in your startup journey, register here for the 2022 Google Cloud Startups Summit, and register below for the three AMA sessions C2C is hosting in conjunction with the Summit:
Looker is a business intelligence platform used for data applications and embedded analytics. Looker helps you easily explore, share, and visualize your company's data so that you can make better business decisions. During this deep dive, Cat Huang and Tema Johnson, Looker customer engineers at Google Cloud, discussed the value of Looker for startup companies, including recommendations for how to choose a data warehouse complete with a product demo. The recording from this session includes the topics listed below, plus plenty of conversation infused in the presentation from open Q&A from community members present at the live event:(0:00) Welcome and introduction from C2C and the Google Startups Team (5:25) Looker (creating a data culture) vs. Data Studio (data visualizations) (9:00) Using Looker and Data Studio together for a complete, unified platform for self-service and centralized BI (10:10) Using looker with a data warehouse like BigQuery (13:15) Serverless big data analytics vs. traditional data warehouses (14:10) Integrated AI and ML services for data analytics (15:30) The power of Looker: in-database architecture, semantic modeling layer, and cloud native (21:05) Live demo: Looker (40:00) Closing comments and audience Q&AWatch the full recording below: Preview What’s NextJoin the Google Cloud Startups group to stay connected on events like this one, plus others we have coming up:
Machine Learning is an important component of every major tech product today. However, not everything beyond excel sheets is big data, and not all big data problems require ML. The most important function of ML should be to supplement the product.Decision makers in the ML and big data spaces should know how an ML mindset differs from a traditional software development mindset. Hear from startup mentor, program manager, and trained architect KC Ayyagari (@kcayyagari), Senior Customer Engineer at Google Cloud.The recording from this session includes the topics listed below, plus plenty of conversation infused in the presentation from open Q&A from community members present at the live event:(0:00) Welcome and introduction from C2C and the Google Startups Team (3:30) Agenda overview (5:00) What is Machine Learning? (16:55) How ML is different from normal software development and how to represent physical problems in data (42:30) The do’s, don’ts, and focus areas in the ML mindset for managersWatch the full recording below: Preview What's NextJoin the Google Cloud Startups group to stay connected on events like this one, plus others we have coming up:
C2C Global President Josh Berman recently published a feature article as a guest author at AI Technology news outlet AiThority. In the article, Berman outlines a couple of the main drivers of cloud adoption among startups, including lower infrastructure costs and the ability to access resources on demand while limiting spend to immediate usage, streamlining upfront expenses. Berman also connected with Dheeraj Nallagatla, Founder and CEO of C2C partner Dataflix, to discuss the unique advantages of building a business on the cloud.For Dataflix, the main priority when weighing cloud solutions is security, but the company also places a premium on the ability to implement quickly and efficiently and estimate costs up front according to transparent pricing models. Cloud usage also makes for easier and better coordinated collaboration, a practice Dataflix values very highly. “The Google Cloud community, specifically C2C Global, is bringing customers, partners and developers together across the globe,” said Nallagatla. “This gives us an opportunity to learn how Google Cloud is being leveraged by companies of all sizes and verticals.” Read the full text of the article at AiThority. Extra Credit:
Druva Reddy, a Solutions Architect specializing in ML at Google Cloud, discussed Vertex AI, which brings all of Google Cloud’s ML services together under one unified UI and API. In Vertex AI, you can now easily train and compare models using AutoML or custom code training and store all of your models in one central model repository. In this overview session, Druva covered some major components of the Vertex AI platform, from training to prediction to MLOps services. This recording also includes a demo of an end-to-end example that shows these services in action.Review all parts of the presentation, including:(00:00) Introduction to Google Cloud Startups team (05:05) Introduction to functional solutions with AI (10:15) ML on GCP with Vertex AI What’s included in Vertex AI Choosing the right tools or pre-trained models Low/No code (25:55) Operationalizing ML MLOps, life cycle, and framework Using Vertex AI with MLOps (32:55) Vertex AI demo (44:05) Open community questions Extra credit: Google Cloud Vertex AI Docs Get started in Cloud Console Best practices for implementing machine learning on Google Cloud To connect with Druva, reach out to him directly in the Google Cloud Startups community and tag @Druva Reddy
Scott Wilson, Co-Founder of QA Wolf and former Senior Director of Product Marketing for Wyze Labs, presented during a tactical Deep Dive all about getting your product followed, liked, loved, and reviewed. This hour-long session covered actionable steps and expert tips on positioning your product and connecting with your audience using product journey examples from Scott’s work at Wyze, including:(00:00) About C2C and Google Cloud Startups (02:50) Introduction to Scott Wilson, his experience at Wyze, and agenda overview for his best practices for product positioning (08:45) Step 1: Create a remarkable solution that surpasses your users’ expectations Defining “solution” as product plus experience Identifying your core user Creating customer avatars Creating a method of trial Meeting and surpassing expectations Example: what makes Wyze remarkable (21:40) Step 2: Make it easy to share so your customers can advocate for you Building into the solution Encouraging and asking customers to share Example: Wyze sharing (26:20) Step 3: Tell the right people so they do the marketing for you Example: Wyze outreach campaigns Finding the right people and using the right tools (all linked below) Creating a one-pager Drafting your outreach message Sending your message How to persist (45:50) Step 4: Keep your solution remarkable so users keep coming back Example: How Wyze keeps their product remarkable Continually moving the goalpost by keeping a pulse on the market (48:05) Bonus: use cases at QA Wolf (53:15) Open community questions Extra CreditScott shared a great variety of his favorite tools for finding the right people, including:AHREFs for SEO tools and resources Quantcast for digital advertising, website analytics, and audience insights WhatRunsWhere for ad intelligence Brand24 for media monitoring SimilarWeb for website traffic analytics HappierLeads for identifying potential buyers Sparktoro for audience research To connect with Scott, reach out to him via email at email@example.com
To new startups, older, more successful startups are lodestars guiding them to their ultimate destinations. No startup is this big or this visible at first. Before 3co was recognized as the provider of a leading AI 3D scanning solution, it was a formative business facing the everyday challenges of defining a brand and choosing the right path to growth. In this fireside chat with C2C and the Google Cloud Startups team, Lance Legel of 3co looks back on his startup journey, touching on everything from the human biochemical response to the physical presence of flowers to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche along the way. Topics explored during this conversation include: (1:30) - Introduction to Lance Legel and 3co elevator pitch (6:40) - How 3co became the business it is today (9:40) - How to approach and prepare for incubators (16:00) - How to take advantage of mentors and feedback (19:45) - How to evaluate opportunities for your business (28:00) - How passion for you business helps you overcome challenges (35:00) - How to challenge yourself to master new solutions and skills (38:00) - How to take advantage of the relationships that will help you grow (40:25) - Lightning round (46:35) - Audience questions and answers Watch a video of the full conversation below: Extra Credit:
Between electronic payments emerging as a default option for digital native and traditional businesses alike and blockchain technology going mainstream in the private and public sectors, FinTech is quickly becoming a solution no startup can afford to undervalue. As Simon Taylor of 11:FS put it in the C2C Deep Dive he hosted on Feb. 10, 2022, “Every company is becoming a FinTech company.”For any who weren’t able to make this live session, the full recording is worth a watch. In a concise but rapid half-hour session, Taylor offers a complete functional overview of the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model, covering every operational consideration from customer experience to go-to-market strategy.The real benefit of connecting live with a guest like Taylor, however, is the opportunity to ask him direct questions and get an immediate response. For those who want to dive straight into the issues this presentation brought up for discussion, below are some of Taylor’s answers to questions from C2C community members.First, a question about consolidation of the BaaS space in a post-integration market prompted Taylor to walk through a series of real and hypothetical acquisitions at major FinTech companies, including FiServ, Synapse, and Unit: Later, a question about cryptocurrency in the digital payment space prodded Taylor to amend his previous statement about FinTech to “Every company is becoming a crypto company.” He also introduced the concept of the “DeFi” mullet, a “business up front, party at the back” model for FinServ companies which puts “FinTech at the front, Decentralized finance or crypto at the back”: Taylor was also more than willing to point attendees to a host of resources 11:FS has made available for specialists looking to dive even deeper into BaaS: Is your company a FinTech or crypto company, or becoming one? What do Taylor’s points imply for your company’s financial future? Post on one of our community pages and let us know what you think! Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube Plus, don’t miss the next event hosted by our startups community:
Sometimes, the biggest challenge for a startup is not developing the perfect product or drafting a foolproof business plan; it’s finding the clearest and most succinct way to tell investors and customers what kind of solution the startup offers. That’s why, on Thursday, Feb. 17, C2C and the Google Startups team hosted a coffee chat all about defining problem statements for startups. Host Louis Huynh broke down the main elements of an effective problem statement before inviting guests to ask questions and discuss them with the group. Highlights of the session include:(3:10) Questions to ask yourself (4:15) Problem definition framework: customers (14:55) Problem definition framework: competition (30:20) Problem definition framework: constraints (35:45) Audience Q&AWatch the full recording below: Extra Credit:
Challengers in the financial services industry—existing firms looking to innovate, start-ups looking to scale, and everyone in between—will gain an in-depth understanding of the banking and payments system from this Deep Dive. The recording from this Deep Dive includes:(1:15) Introduction to Simon Taylor and 11:FS (4:00) Introduction to banking as a service (BaaS) and its role across brands (7:20) Understanding the depth of service from BaaS API providers (13:10) How API providers enable focus on building user experience and expediting time to market (15:15) Embedding financial services into various customer experiences (17:25) Go-to-market requirements for launching FinTech products (20:10) Overcoming challenges between FinTech vendors and BaaS providers (21:20) Building finance operating systems (22:00) The four core issues and challenges: provider lock-in, geographic limits, flexibility vs. speed, and product configuration gaps (24:35) Open audience questionsFeatured in this session: Simon TaylorCo-Founder and Chief Product Officer, 11FS Simon Taylor is the Co-Founder and Blockchain Practice Lead at 11:FS. Simon has been immersed in the technology of financial services for as long as he’s been working. He is consistently voted one of the most influential people in Banking, Insurance, and Fintech by banks, his peers, and industry bodies. Simon led Blockchain Research and Development at Barclays. In his time there, Barclays became the first bank in the world to perform a live trade finance transaction over a Blockchain / DLT with a real customer attached. Today Simon advises governments, regulators, and some of the worlds largest banks, financial institutions, and corporations on how Blockchain and DLT will impact their business in the short, medium, and long term. Previously, Simon helped build the Barclays www.thinkrise.com program and held a number of roles in payments, banking, and the telco sector. Extra Credit11:FS Pulse Report 2022 Banking as a Service: the future of financial services 11:FS podcast Decoding: Banking as a Service - Episode 1 11:FS YouTube
The Startups Roundtable series hosted by C2C and Google Cloud Startups continued on Tuesday, Jan. 25 with another session on AI and ML, this one devoted solely to technical questions. These roundtable discussions are designed for startup founders seeking technical and business support as they realize their visions for their products on the Google Cloud Platform. This time, 10 Googlers including 6 Customer Engineers led private discussions in small groups of over forty guests from the C2C community. Watch the introduction to the event below:As in the previous Startups Roundtable, after the introduction, the hosts assigned the attendees to breakout rooms where they could ask their questions freely with the attention of the Google staff on the call. The breakout rooms in these sessions are not recorded, but C2C Community Manager Alfons Muñoz (@Alfons) joined one of the conversations to gather insights for the community. In this breakout room, Google Customer Engineer Druva Reddy (@Druva Reddy) explained how to understand the value proposition the startup is giving and how users will interact with the business. Reddy advised guests to focus on having a vision of the market and to build a product with a high level of abstraction, rather than focusing simply on the data-specific tools they are going to use.According to Muñoz, after the time allotted for the discussions in the breakout rooms ended, the conversations kept going. Guests had more questions to ask and more answers to hear from the Google team. The hosts invited all attendees to bring their questions to the C2C platform for the Googlers to answer after the event. Two guests took them up on the offer, and Reddy wrote them both back with detailed advice.Markus Koy (@MarkusK) of thefluent.me wrote:Hi everyone,I am using the word-level confidence feature of the Speech-to-Text API in my app (POC) https://thefluent.me that helps users improve their pronunciation skills. Is there an ETA when this feature will be rolled-out for production applications and if so, for which languages?@osmondng, @Druva Reddy thank you for offering to reach out to the Speech API team.Markusand Reddy wrote back:Hi Markusk,It was great chatting with you!!The Product team is aiming for Word Level Confidence General Availability stage (GA) by end of Q2 2022. Regarding languages supported, currently it supports English, French and Portuguese and that being said, multiple languages will be supported as we rollout the support for other languages in phases.Please stay tuned and checkout announcements here- https://cloud.google.com/speech-to-text/docs/languages.Thanks,Druva ReddyThe next day, Erin Karam (@ekaram) of Mezo wrote:Hello,We are looking for guidance with training our DialogFlow CX intent. Our model is limited by the 2000 limit on training phrases for a single intent. Our use case is that we are attempting to recognize symptoms from the user. We have 26 different symptoms we are trying to recognize. We have 10s of thousands of rows of training data to train for these 26 symptoms. The upper limit of 2000 is hampering our end performance. Please advise. Erinand Reddy responded:Hi Ekaram,Thanks for joining today’s session!!Default limit is 2000 training phrases per intent. This amount should be enough to describe all possible language variations. Having more phrases may make the agent performance slower. You can try to filter out identical phrases or phrases with identical structure.You don't have to define every possible example, because Dialogflow's built-in machine learning expands on your list with other, similar phrases.However, create at least 10 to 20 training phrases so your agent can recognize a variety of end user expressions.Some of the best practices i would suggest is,Avoid using similar training phrases in different intents. Avoid Special characters. Do not ignore agent validation.Let me know if that works.A startup is a journey, and no startup founder will be able to get all the answers they need in one session. That’s why the Startups Roundtable series is ongoing; more business and technical roundtables will be coming soon. For now, if you are a startup founder looking for more opportunities to learn from the Google Startups Team and connect with other startup founders in the C2C community, register for these events for our startups group:
Every day, entrepreneurs with innovative visions enter the startup space as founders ready to disrupt. How do these innovators get the attention and the interest they need to succeed and scale? It all starts with a pitch. In this coffee chat hosted by Google Cloud Startups and C2C Connect, the Google Cloud Startups team breaks down the formula for a successful elevator pitch and invites startup founders in attendance to practice their own pitches and provide each other with live feedback. View a full recording of the session below.Key points discussed include:(0:40) Session agreements (3:15) Level-setting: what is an elevator pitch? (5:50) Elevator pitch formula: name and mission (8:20) Elevator pitch formula: emotional anchor (15:35) Elevator pitch formula: why you? (23:25) Elevator pitch formula: how you are fixing the problem (28:30) Elevator pitch formula: CTA (32:40) Example pitch and practice and feedback sessionAre you a startup founder? Are you looking for more opportunities to connect and grow? Join these upcoming events specifically for our startups community:
On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, C2C hosted its first Google Cloud Startup roundtable event. This series, organized and planned specifically for representatives from startups looking to grow their businesses, brings these representatives together with Google Cloud Customer Engineers, Technical Specialists, and Startup Success Managers to lead discussions and answer questions on hot topics in the startup space. The first roundtable included group sessions for business leaders and technical staff as well as a Customer Engineer AMA, all exploring artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and the potential uses of each for startup businesses as they form and begin to scale.After welcoming guests and introducing the Google staffers on the call, the event’s organizers invited attendees to join breakout rooms based on whether they had come with technical or business questions to discuss. These breakout rooms were not recorded, but C2C North America Community Manager Alfons Muñoz joined the technical discussion.In this breakout room, startup founders from 86 Repair and Auralab brought their questions directly to Google’s customer engineers. According to Muñoz, “They were stating their problems or projects and getting an overview of how to approach these problems...and they had more than one overview, because we had more than one customer engineer, so they had more than one point of view. They also were encouraged to get in the community.”Most of this event’s ninety minutes were spent in the breakout rooms, but after about an hour, the groups came together again for an AMA with all of the customer engineers on the call. In this session, the visiting startup founders revisited the topic that had dominated the conversations in the breakout rooms: data. In order to use ML effectively, an organization needs a platform that can store, host, and manage data reliably.Google’s Deok Filho offered a canny on-the-spot breakdown of the relative advantages and disadvantages of integrating different Google and third-party data management tools with BigQuery, bringing in Mike Walker to field follow-up questions from Ben Collins of Auralab and Daniel Zivkovic, founder and curator of Serverless Toronto, along the way. Check out a clip of the conversation below:According to Muñoz, in terms of connecting guests to the right Google staffers and getting their questions answered, this event was a success, but, in his words, “it’s important to note that this is the first of many roundtables.” Look for more of these events for startup founders in 2022, including the next AI and ML roundtable in January:
Facilitating and simplifying workflow management requires a range of solutions, especially in the warehouse space. Warehouse workers and managers need to track tasks, monitor activity within the warehouse environment, and locate and move packed items. Furthermore, they need to do it all constantly throughout the day. Fulfilld is an app that provides solutions for all of these problems and more. However, for the average warehouse manager or worker to use an app like Fulfilld to streamline and optimize their day-to-day work, the app needs more than just good technology. It also needs a design that makes user interaction (UI) accessible, intuitive, and straightforward. For the second event in our Deep Dive series featuring Michael Pytel, co-founder and CTO of Fulfilld, Pytel gave an entire presentation on Fulfilld’s UI design. In the first event in this series, Pytel explained how the app’s different functions address the needs associated with the other areas of the warehouse workflow. This time, Pytel focused on the user experience that makes these functions easy to use for warehouse workers opening the app for the first time. In addition, UI principles like interactive task management, workplace persona modeling, and human-centered design allow Fulfilld to bring their tech directly to the workers who need it. After a brief introduction to Fulfilld and its mission and capabilities, Pytel began with a bang and made a playful dig at the UI design of one of Fulfilld’s competitors. By doing so, Pytel demonstrated the limits of a user experience that relies on tribal knowledge. Fulfilld’s UI, by contrast, is designed to be intelligible to any first-time user. Commands are broken down by task and presented as an interactive list. The tasks are “organized by location and priority,” and then each is assigned to the appropriate team member. The list of tasks continually updates throughout the day as workflow changes. Watch Pytel explain in detail below: Fulfilld’s UI is also built to suit different workplace personas so that the app can provide a customized UI depending on the role of the warehouse employee using it. Fulfilled currently has four different personas mapped. Watch Pytel compare and contrast the “warehouse worker” and “warehouse manager” personas here: In the second half of the presentation, Pytel gave demos of several processes Fulfilld uses to build its UI. First take a look at how they’re using Flowmap for user story development and site mapping: Fulfilld also creates low fidelity and high fidelity mockups using Figma, which organizes screens into folders, provides code for every element of design, and creates a clickable, playable demo version of the site. Figma can also present every possible navigation link on the site simultaneously as a “spaghetti map”: In the last section of the presentation, Pytel outlined the Fulfilld UI code to deploy sequence with a demo on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) console, where Fulfilld uses different cloud-based applications to host and deploy code and link to the code directly between Github, the GCP, and Fulfilld.io: To wrap up, Pytel gave a quick recap of the entire UI process, starting with feature and function design and ending with code deployment, remarking that seeing an entire process from start to finish is “pretty cool for a 45-minute webinar.” What did you think? Are you a warehouse worker or an app developer working on your UI design? What else would you like to learn about the UI design of an app like Fulfilld? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to check out the rest of the events in our Deep Dive series on Fulfilld with Michael Pytel.
It’s a dream scenario: choosing your own cloud platform when designing, architecting and building a global cloud enterprise software application. And that’s just where the Fulfilld story begins. Fresh off the launch circuit the SaaS company is breaking the fourth wall and is taking the C2C Google Cloud customer community behind the scenes and along for the ride with their development, engineering to business leadership teams. They’ll candidly share their successes, challenges and your engagement is welcome. This series will be a mix of articles, discussions, on-demand content and even live events where you can bring your questions and comments directly to the teams. To kick off the journey, we begin with understanding who FulFilld is, why they chose to build on Google Cloud and how micro-services are enabling them to quickly deploy features, develop an intelligent enterprise warehouse management platform and support high-volume transactions that can scale globally. First Things First - Why did you choose Google Cloud? Michael Pytel, CTO, shared that he and his team is working to deliver an enterprise-grade application that enables a warehouse digital twin using 5G ultra-wide-band powered devices. From supporting high-volume transactions across the globe, to analytics, to machine learning and natural language processing that powers an industry first warehouse digital assistant, Google Cloud Platform became their go-to platform when looking at functionality, pricing, scalability, performance, and innovation. Listen and Join the Journey In our first conversation, Pytel and C2C cover the following: What key decisions contributed to choosing a cloud platform for the SaaS application FullFilld’s requirements for a globally available application Why they need a combination of in-memory databases (Firebase) and traditional SQL-based database (Cloud SQL) Why they were so focused on leveraging the autoscaling features of Kubernetes for application logic Rather skim? Key questions are shared below along with the full transcript with edits only for clarity. __Michael Pytel, CTO, FullFilld (MP): Fantastic, Sabina. Thank you so much. I've worked in enterprise applications, really all my adult life. So I started as a night operator supporting an earpiece system called pix. Then I supported JD Edwards and PeopleSoft and then SAP, enterprise ERP and spent the last decade there. Now with FullFilld, we're building a brand new company, and at this brand new company, we create the digital twin, which is really just a digital representation of the physical warehouse...so that you can visually look at how do people move in my warehouse, and how inventory moves in my warehouse, that's our secret sauce. That's our thesis as to why we're going to be successful and we're getting a lot of good feedback for the market on our product today. Sabina, C2C (C2C): So tell me a little bit about that feedback, what's resonating? MP: This is where Google Cloud Platform comes into play, a lot of our customers love that it's very low total cost of ownership. You know, there's no server to deploy on premise. Everything is cellular connected, and Wi Fi connected. So we have that backup, if the customer's Wi Fi network in the warehouse goes down, it falls over to 5G connectivity. So it's a really low cost of ownership, really easy and quick to deploy and our application is auto scaling, which I think is another benefit of Google Cloud Platform, meaning our customers don't need to worry about running out of resources, right? As they grow from a 50-person warehouse to 100-person warehouse and then add the fourth, fifth, seventh and 10th warehouse, the application auto scales on Google Cloud Platform with the customers growth. So they never really have to worry about “am I maxing out the server? Are we over utilized? Is the system going to be slow when I add this new product line?” We don't need to think about this. We can think about the business challenges we have. We don't need to think about server capacity, which I think is a big benefit with running on Google Cloud Platform. C2C: Yeah, yeah. So talk to me a little bit about that decision, then to go with Google Cloud. That is, did you build knowing that you would use Google Cloud? Or was that something that came up later? Talk to me about that decision. MP: Yeah, so there's multiple, you know, infrastructure as a service organizations out there, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, you have other providers out there as well, that are smaller, but still very innovative. So we had to find that right mix of brick and mortar stability and investing in new technology, and constantly innovating. When you take a look at Google and their ecosystem, the way that they share knowledge, the way that they share their product roadmap, the way that they create content on YouTube, for developers to watch and articles for us to read. We just felt like, “wow, this is a fantastic organization that's continually innovating, continually pushing the envelope of what they can do and what they can't do.” Also, enabling startups like us to run an enterprise level application and enterprise grade application at the lowest cost possible [is another benefit]. So, it’s cost optimized, super innovative, great content, great partner program, easy for us to learn and ramp up resources. That was part of my personal scorecard when determining what platform to run on. Google Cloud Platform really just checked all those boxes for us. C2C: What are you most excited about with Google Cloud? MP: So personally, you know, their ability to run essentially functions with it for your application and in an auto scaling manner. A lot of cloud providers can run Docker and Kubernetes, so Google has the Google Kubernetes engine and we can run code in the backend on Google Kubernetes engine, and it auto scales. Microsoft can do that, too. And Amazon could do that, too. But then there's this feature in function called Cloud Functions, which even further drives our costs of operating even lower. And they're really innovative. I can use TypeScript to node and Cloud Functions. This is probably getting, you know, super technical... C2C: ...Our community loves technical, go for it, give us the details! MP: Fantastic. So, you know, looking at Cloud Functions, we just loved the way that they worked in the function. We loved how they're cost optimized and when users are logging in and using the application, it can auto-scale and grow. I don't need to really take on the management of Kubernetes and Kubernetes clusters and the management of how many nodes are active, I can just use this thing called Cloud Functions. Another thing within Google Cloud platform that we really loved was Firebase. We use a mobile application in the warehouse, where you can picture yourself as a warehouse worker, and a garage door is open, and there's a truck that you have to unload. A lot of times, you're not unloading that truck, and it has pallets and has different products on it and those products are going to different places, you don't typically unload a truck by yourself, you have a team member and a teammate or a group of people that are going to help unload this truck. So we needed a mobile application that was super responsive, super fast.[For example], I receive 10 baseball gloves that are sitting right in front of me and somebody else grabs another 10 baseball gloves, we need to update each other, letting each other know that we both receive 10, we need to let the backend system know we've got 20 total, and we need that to happen very fast. So we're using Firebase, the cloud-based no SQL data in memory database, we're using Google Flutter to build our mobile application handling authentication there as well. It’s just a very responsive, very fast application because of these cloud technologies. You know, we could have gone a traditional API route with a traditional SQL database, but Firebase has been super responsive for the mobile application making it so that the warehouse worker can just keep working, keep working, keep working and not wait on the application to update the screen. So it's been fantastic so far. C2C: How does that translate into the business outcomes for your customers or your clients? MP: So within the supply chain world, there are tremendous pressures to get products to customers, right, we learned we read about this all through COVID. There's more DTC shipping and more direct-to-consumer.Brawney paper towels, Georgia Pacific, they were so used to shipping whole pallet loads to Sam's and Costcos. Now they have to ship individual piece products directly to consumers. This is happening across the industry, so there's just more things, more movements, more activities, more documents in the warehouse. Anything we can do to make sure that the user in the warehouse is supported is not encumbered or you know, they don't view the system as a bottleneck, they view it as an enabler, that's what makes us look great makes the warehouse worker feel good about their job, meaning they know what to do, they know what they need to do and they can get it done very quickly and they’re waiting for them on the system to process it.So us being very responsive and very quick enables that warehouse worker to do their job effectively throughout the day and enables that organization to do more.That's what we're trying to do is we're trying to make it so the individual warehouse worker can improve their throughput by 50% by navigating them through the warehouse very effectively using Google's Auto ML and machine learning models for routing in the warehouse.Being super responsive, supporting that worker throughout the day, and just enabling organizations to do more. That’s our goal. C2C: [Are you ready to compete with Amazon?] MP: We get this question a lot. Amazon's a massive company and they run a lot of their own software naturally being one of the largest companies on the planet. In North America, there are 40,000 other customers and 40,000 other companies that make a product and need to ship their product to a customer. Our goal is to democratize the technology typically used by large companies and make it available to midsize companies.So being able to create that digital twin of the warehouse, yeah, Amazon already did that. But they have billions and billions of dollars. You know, what about the $200 million manufacturer of equipment in Durango, Colorado or the, you know, the upstart shoe manufacturer, and they're making shoes in the US, and they're selling it directly to consumers? They want really sophisticated warehouse management application, something that's going to help them be super effective as they move product through the warehouse, reduce collisions, reduce the number of times we touch a product, optimize the picking route, the way that people are walking through there, what if they want that technology and they're not a billion dollar company? What do they do? Well, that's where FullFilld comes in, really trying to democratize that large enterprise level of features and bring it down market into those midsize companies. C2C: It's.. It's really cool...and... that's your that's your why, right? That's your big mission, your core every day. Was this a COVID born decision? Or where did this come from? MP: We definitely founded the company in 2020. We started the company during the pandemic. We saw the need there. But there were also some other cool things that were in the mix here from a technology perspective. There's a technology called ultra wideband, which is not specific to Google or anybody else, but ultra wideband is a location indoor positioning technology that enables us to understand where an object is in a physical space.So there was a convergence of the need, meaning the need was COVID and direct consumer was going to continue to grow and that every analyst agrees, it's going to continue to get even bigger. So we knew that logistics and supply chain space was going to have growing pains. We had this new technology that's being adopted more and more and then we have Google Cloud Platform, which enabled us to stitch it all together. Now we're using machine learning in Google Cloud Platform, to make recommendations to customers on where to store products in their warehouse. Because of this location technology, we understand where the product is and because of the application we built, we understand what needs to be moved, what are the orders, what are the sales orders, what needs to be moved to the customer. So blending it all together, they're on Google, it's really cool. C2C: [How did the application begin?] MP: When we started the application, we started with a UX design and beta test with a few customers. We created a website, we created the design of the application, we communicated to the market, what we were doing and what we're building. As we were just in the beginning, just starting to build the application, we got pinged from Deloitte in Europe, and they had found us and one of their large retail customers had taken an interest. They said, “Wow, you guys are doing location tracking indoors to make employees more effective in the way that they move inside of the warehouse?” They thought, well, “could I use this in a retail scenario where I've got large retail? I need to move people around at night, because I want to turn my retail stores into warehouses” So while we have to be able to run in multiple data centers around the globe, that obviously, is something Google's very good at. We needed different features and functions within Google available in European data centers right away, which was fantastic. Google already had a partner that also can help us understand some privacy laws in different countries and Google has a lot of information that showed us, you know, or gave us leads on how to handle different privacy and GDPR compliance within European data centers, which was fantastic. So that was number one, we knew we had to run in multiple data centers, we needed to be multilingual. And again, just tacking on all the little components we needed. We needed an in memory database, we needed an attritional database, we needed to be auto scaling because we wanted to have, you know, really low operational costs, runtime costs. The next thing that we wanted to do was build a world's first natural language digital assistant. So the Siri or Alexa, the Google assistant of the warehouse, meaning I could hold up a device, my Google Pixel, and I could say, “where's my next pick? Where's this material? What's the status of the next delivery? How many more tasks do I have?” Natural language digital assistant on devices in the warehouse specific to my job function and Google offered that as well, the ability to have a natural language digital assistant in multiple languages. So we were able to use their application to build a digital assistant that can speak Spanish and Swedish and English. As we continue to grow, we can continue to add more languages and be more global. So we definitely knew from the beginning, we wanted to be a global company, and GCP has those features to help us do that. C2C: That's, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that whole story. That's a nice succinct way of how it started and where you are now to set everybody up. One of the other things that we offer to set up the community with is a solid criteria that can be used when determining the right platform for your application. Are there certain key makers or decision points that you can share for others that are evaluating whether or not they want to build on GCP? MP: Yeah, that's a good question. The big thing is the developer community and the developer community support, right? If you're transitioning a developer into a platform, are they going to be able to ramp up quickly on the knowledge required? Are they gonna be able to participate? Are they going to be able to have test environments and demo environments, at a very low cost? So that one thing was just developer community and developer community support. I think Google is very developer friendly and supports developers. The next one was service availability and data center availability. Can I run in all the countries that I need to run?” And Google had that check mark there in terms of innovation, you know, as an organization they have a well thought out roadmap. They clearly communicate to the community what they're building and what they're sunsetting. We need to know, as we're building an application. If we're using a specific technology, what does the roadmap for that technology look like within your company? Is this something you're going to continue forward with? Or is this something you're going to kill and create something new? So as we are betting our futures on different technologies, whether that's Kubernetes or natural language processing, or x, what does that product roadmap look like so I can lay out my product roadmap. I think that Google's doing and has done a very good job of laying out what the roadmaps are in specific use areas. There's always room for improvement, we always want more information, right? I'm never gonna be happy. But that's one thing you need to look at when choosing a cloud provider is, “what does the product roadmaps look like? How far out are they forecasting? And are they meeting the goals that they're setting so that you can plan your product around that company's product roadmap? So product roadmap, developer support, developer adoption, service availability, data center availability, were kind of our top three. C2C: Yeah, thank you so much. Is there anything else that you wanted to ensure people understood about the FullFilld or why you chose Google Cloud? Because my last question, then, if there isn't anything, which I'm sure there probably is, is why you are excited about the C2C community and how you see yourself contributing or being a part of the community? MP: In terms of FullFilld, we want to share not only our product and what our product is, what our vision is with the warehouse management logistics community, we are also eager to share how we're building this platform with the development community.We're eager to share our experiences, talk about it out loud, get feedback, and ask good questions. One thing I've learned in my technical career is the more I share, the more I learn and so we are here fulfilled, we definitely want to share everything that we're doing. We want to share how we're building it, where we're building it, our timelines and the functionality that we're using. We're looking forward to engaging with the C2C community to have those open conversations because we're going to learn something that we didn't know. Someone is going to ask a question of, “why did you do that?” We need to defend it or adapt and move to something else and in. We don't want to build our application in a silo. There's a wonderful community of people out there and specifically within C2C and we want to tap into that community, solicit feedback, solicit ideas and hopefully find some people that want to work for FullFilld in the future. Also, I hope that we are sharing enough information so that as other individuals are out starting their company, building a new platform or building a new application within a larger organization, they can learn from our mistakes, hear about our challenges, and adapt and grow from there. That's, that's what that's really one answer for both questions. C2C: Yeah, that's, that's amazing. Awesome. That's all I got. Do you have other things you wanted to add? MP: No, thank you so much for the opportunity, support, excited to share and really hope that we get lots of great q&a and questions from the community. C2C: Yeah, me too. Me too. I'm really excited to share this out. And so thank you so much for your time, Michael, and I'm sure we'll talk with you soon. MP: Yep, see you soon. The Fulflld Journey to Deployment continues with the following events:
The Google Cloud Tech channel on YouTube published this fun, multi-video “choose your own adventure” experience to explain the different options for scaling your cloud infrastructure. In this Choose Your Own Cloud Adventure, YOU get to make the choices for the engineers at the (fake) new startup, EatAndRun. EatAndRun specializes in pairing runners with the best food options while they’re on-the-go. The company has gained national attention and user traffic is skyrocketing! Bukola’s and Max’s application isn’t ready to handle this massive spike, so they’ve proposed Cloud CDN OR managed instance groups (MIGS) as viable solution candidates. Should they scale up their backend services or speed up the delivery of their assets? The choice is up to you! Which do you choose?Load Balancers and Managed Instance Groups Content Delivery Network and Caching Share your thoughts below on which option you would choose and why.Have experience with this use case? We’d love to hear your story.
A cellist, programmer, and oh yes, CTO of Ironclad, the legal technology firm he co-founded, Cai GoGwilt is a millennial’s renaissance man, and C2C got to sit down with him to discuss how AI is used to improve the contracting collaboration process and so, so much more. What You Wanted to Know About Ironclad As a company, Ironclad is experiencing tremendous growth from marking the end of 2019 with three times the overall revenue growth and 90% customer growth, and also 250% product usage increase. But that’s not all. It also snapped up $100 million in Series D funding. For the end-user, Ironclad aims to power the world’s contracts. Using AI and a platform to streamline the contract collaboration and negotiation process can improve the entire experience and enable businesses to move faster. Ironclad’s easy-to-use platform allows non-technical users to create workflows for automating the most repetitive parts of the document handling process. Also, legal teams can customize a contract’s text fields and specify the parties who need to sign or approve it and store the agreement in a centralized archive once finalized. Get to know what the company does, directly from GoGwilt, and hear a use case in the video below. Why Is Ironclad Is a Google Cloud Shop? Let’s talk tech. Ironclad has been using Google Cloud since 2014 and has continued to build its products using Google Cloud Platform. Watch the clip to understand the thought process; what resonates with you? Suppose we understand that contracts are unstructured, unstandardized, and use nuanced legal language but are vital for organizations to bar against rare but detrimental occurrences. How does Ironclad solve them using Google Cloud’s AI/ML tools? The CTO on Leadership, Music, and Starting a Business There is a fascinating confluence of three disparate skillsets—music, programming, and leadership—that compose GoGwilt’s day-to-day, like an electric orchestra adding beat drops to Mozart. Cool, right? Hear about GoGwilt’s day-to-day in the clip below. Get to know his philosophy on how music helps him be the type of leader he also admires. Have a billion-dollar idea? Hear GoGwilt’s advice on starting a business and why you should genuinely love it. The 1 Word You Should Know When Building a Powerful Team: Integrity Building engineering or development teams—specifically, the right teams—is a challenge. Learn about how Ironclad does it and how it has scaled to meet its rapid ascent to Fortune Magazine’s Next Billion-Dollar Startups in 2020 list. What makes Ironclad’s culture unique? Final Question: If Ironclad Were a 10-Episode Netflix Series, what Episode Are We on Today? IronClad and GoGwilt will also be sharing the latest advances in contracting at its flagship summit, State of Digital Contracting, on March 25. Extra Credit GoGwilt’s favorite book is Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute. He said it helps the reader get out of the self-victimization framework and provides tools to change your mindset and be a better teammate with strong personal and professional relationships. His favorite podcast is The Daily by The New York Times. His favorite color is blue, has a love-hate relationship with “Silicon Valley” (the show, obviously!), and will probably beat you in any TI-83 Dance, Dance Revolution game.
Hailed one of the Next Billion-Dollar startups, Ironclad’s CTO, Cai GoGwilt, discussed how he and his team uses Google Cloud AI Platform and AutoML to streamline legal contracting workflows. GoGwilt and Sabina Bhasin(@ContentSabina) discussed what Ironclad is doing right and where they will be going in 2021 and beyond. Key Discussion Points: How AI is used to improve legal contracting collaboration and efficiencies. Use cases with specific real-life examples Growing a technical team that scales and team culture. The ascent from series A funding through the current series D and what’s next. How being a musician intersects with being a CTO and engineer. Community Questions Answered: Legal has historically been pretty slow to adopt new technology so how have they found success in this space? Does Irconclad see other markets where their solutions can help? As a high growth, digitally native company, how do you maintain the balance to keep the team together and on the same path while pushing the pace on product development and innovation? Has public cloud tech been instrumental in scaling your business? If so, how? Can you share your perspective on "smart contracts"? What is the difference between smart contracts and Ironclad’s tech? Watch the full conversation here: Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the key moments from this discussion, including video clips and resources. Coming soon!
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