April 25, 2023

The Future of Real-Time Video | Interview with Kwindla Kramer, CEO of Daily

The Future of Real-Time Video | Interview with Kwindla Kramer, CEO of Daily
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This week, Ryan chats with Kwindla Kramer, Founder and CEO of Daily, about the past, present, and future of real-time video. Topics include Daily's founding story, how real-time video is intersecting with forward-looking technology like generative AI, AR, and the metaverse, and how Daily is able to ship quickly with a remote, distributed team.

Meet Our Guest
Kwin Kramer is the CEO of Daily, a real-time video software company. He is a technology developer, engineering lead, and startup company executive. Kwin has co-founded three companies and was part of the core "get it up and going" team at two tech-centric non-profits. Kwin's hands-on programming and product design work has included embedded systems, large-scale software platforms, and consumer facing internet applications.

Kwin has been CTO and CEO of high-growth technology startups. His executive experience includes building engineering teams from scratch, scaling up startup management teams, fundraising, business development with Fortune 50 company partners, and strategic focus on product/market fit.

Learn more about Daily at daily.co

★ Support this podcast on Patreon ★

Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they face, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to the scripts with a digital workspace inner workings.

Welcome to the digital workspace books podcasts. Do you want to introduce yourself?

Kwindla Kramer 0:33
I'm Kwindla Kramer. I'm one of the founders of a startup called the daily and we make video API's. We make it really easy to embed real time video communications into any website or app.

Ryan Purvis 0:44
Right. Thank you. And so you mentioned Kwindla Zulu. And it was quite funny, because when I first saw it, I did think it was African. And I thought, you know, maybe it's a another another European language I hadn't heard before. So, so where did where did that come from? Because it's unusual.

Kwindla Kramer 1:00
My parents are journalists. And since before I was born, they've done lots of work with colleagues in Africa. And they focused on reporting about Africa for the US audience, especially but globally. And when I was born, they had a South African friend living with them in their, in their, in their house, and he suggested the name Kwindla, which means autumn in Zulu, and they really liked it.

Ryan Purvis 1:24
Oh, wow, that's awesome. I'm getting goosebumps. Because I recognise the name. And I recognised the word, but I couldn't think what it meant. So that's, that's also and it's unusual. Because normally what will happen in South Africa is that, you know, if you're born in whichever tribe, they would have a tribal name. And then they have the English name. So you'd meet the Precious, you know, whatever. And then the other name would be like over king or top or triple. Sure. And you'd already find out like, you know, something a friend of mine from school today. And for years, I've known him as Malcolm. And he said, Well, actually, you know, my real name is Over King. And I was like, but for years, I asked you what your real name was. And he always told me it was not going. He's like, Yeah, I know that. But you know, I'm finally comfortable telling people. So it's like, okay, well, it's cool.

Speaker 3 2:09
You know, sometimes it's easier. A lot of people call me Kwin, because coinless shortens to Quinn. And that's really, it's really easy to introduce yourself as Quinn, it takes a little more work, introduce yourself with a less common name.

Ryan Purvis 2:22
Alright, yeah, for sure. So we were talking just before we started about your Africa, connection, and you want to maybe tell us a bit about that, and go from there?

Kwindla Kramer 2:31
Sure. So I was in graduate school at the MIT Media Lab in the late 1990s, I was really lucky to be at the Media Lab in the when the kind of internet and the Internet of Things were getting built out, it was a great opportunity. But my parents who had done journalism work for forever and ever were, were starting to put their work online and starting to collaborate really closely with colleagues in Africa all over the continent, getting African journalism out to a global audience using the internet and digital content distribution networks. So I took a leave of absence from grad school to help build the tech stack for that effort, which is called all Africa. And I never ended up going back to grad school, I had a really, really fulfilling experience at all Africa. And then I did a couple of consulting gigs. And then I did a did a startup, and now I'm doing another startup. And you know, maybe one day I can go back and get that PhD.

Ryan Purvis 3:30
Yeah, yeah. That's funny. That's not your story. But obviously, I dropped out of university as well for a project. And I went back eight years later, oh, I finished off. And also, when I was studying, there was a, there was a rule that you didn't finish degree in seven years. You had to start it again. Oh, wow. All your all your credits expired. And then I dropped out because I was failing. And I was, you know, the work was more important than the studying, you know, typical thing I was telling one of my staff today, she would go at three o'clock in the morning, and my math textbook to go write the exam at nine o'clock. And that'd be the first time I'd actually even looked at the work. And she's like, Wow, you're so clever. I was like, no, no, you're missing the point, I was working so hard on the project that I didn't care about the studying. And that, you know, that was the bad thing. But you know, going back and finishing it will change the law, and you can actually get your credits and any prior learning, so you could actually you guys are writing thesis as basically getting their credits to go and finish their degrees was just a way to obviously, you know, let people be recognised what they've done. So do you think you got to do it? I mean, you think maybe when you get that retirement age, you're gonna do it be that that old guy in the back of the class doing the last couple credits,

Kwindla Kramer 4:38
it's one of the things on my retirement list, you know, all the projects you save up for that distant future when you're retired.

Ryan Purvis 4:46
The good thing to have it's a good thing to have. So we were talking about you having your TV set up and your it was one of your first projects for the daily and that maybe start off where the name came from for daily.

Kwindla Kramer 4:58
Or well, we We, you know, knew we wanted to build a video stack. Because I'd always been interested in large scale network systems and real time communications, even from from very early on when you could barely do that stuff on the public internet. Yeah. And then 2000, sort of 2014/2015 after I'd finished up a previous startup, and was thinking about what I wanted to do next. I really thought an inflection point was coming, where video is going to be everywhere. And I really enjoy building video tools from an engineering perspective. And anytime you think some big inflection point is coming, you know, that's a fun thing to sort of throw yourself into, from multiple perspectives, commercial and technical and social. And so we started building on top of a pretty new standard called WebRTC. Because we thought WebRTC would be part of what would catalyse you know, the ability to you know, as we, as I just did to talk to you open up a web browser, click on a link, and I'm in a video call. Yeah. So we were one of the first kind of full WebRTC video stacks. But we were still really early in terms of being able to distribute that stuff to end users. The the implementations in the browsers weren't that stable, they were changing all the time. Everything was new. So we thought, okay, what can we ship because I really believe in shipping stuff. Like if you're a startup, you want to ship as much stuff as you can, as quickly as you can to learn from the market. And we thought, well, we could bundle up this WebRTC video and audio communication stack into a little piece of hardware into a little appliance. And we could, we could kind of unlock video and audio in any conference room at a very affordable price. And this was before you could buy hardware from zoom or from Google meet doing that. So our first product was actually a little plug in, plug it into the TV, and it just works video conferencing appliance. And we got really good early adoption for that. And we learned a lot about making video work in the real world, no matter what the network quality was, no matter how new to this use case users were. So I'm really glad we did it. We ultimately didn't think that the hardware based product was the, the path we wanted to take to build a venture backed scale business. So we eventually end of life, the hardware product and just focused on the video API's using the same technology stack. But we definitely went through this, you know, kind of funny route of originally shipping hardware product before focusing entirely on developer software.

Ryan Purvis 7:25
How long ago was that? Sorry, I'm trying to place thetimeline

Kwindla Kramer 7:28
It was 2016.

Ryan Purvis 7:30
Yeah. And I can understand why you're going hard with that point. Because there wasn't much if I think about it, and you know, a lot happens in five years and technology. But there wasn't that much easy to access, accessible platforms to use. I mean, iPad is probably just come out two, three years before that, you know, Raspberry Pi's and that sort of stuff are pretty, pretty weak, when they're coming out. Now. They're pretty powerful for what they also, you know, you will need to build hardware was there nowadays, you could probably use anything. That's right. Because the software's become. But that's, that's the barrier,

Kwindla Kramer 8:02
which is a great, I mean, it's a great curve for us. I mean, we were we were a little earlier than we thought we were as I think you often are in a startup. But we I think we were directionally right about the curves. And the curves that really mattered for us were power of hardware, as you're talking about. So CPUs and GPUs just got faster and faster. And you can do video on any device now, which is makes video ubiquitous. The quality of the network connection, so having, you know, having pretty good Wi Fi routers, pretty good last mile internet, really good global Internet routing, and even ubiquitous cellular data connections means you can have video anywhere. And then the underlying software, you know, enablers like video API's built into the web browser, like being able to use the same WebRTC stack that Google built into the web browser in our native mobile SDK is like all of those sort of core standards pieces are also really important.

Ryan Purvis 9:01
Yeah, I was actually when you mentioned browsers, I was thinking about that I was thinking about the Chrome browser must have come in around then, as the quality, you know, not everyone was eating because you said ie running around. But there wasn't a switch over. I think html5 was also just bedding in as well, which also was quite a big jump.

Kwindla Kramer 9:18
The big unlock for us in terms of being able to ship a developer toolkit for video that really had kind of No, no constraints on the market was Apple supporting WebRTC and Safari. And that happened at the end of 2018. And Apple to their credit supported both desktop and mobile Safari reasonably well then although not not as well as Chrome. So one of the values we provided especially then but even now for developers is abstracting across the differences between the browser.

Ryan Purvis 9:49
Okay, that's interesting was wasn't around the time length we need flash go. I think the flash left the market because that was The weird thing was,

Kwindla Kramer 10:02
it's the end of flash. It was it was it was before that, but it did take a while to reverberate through the ecosystem.

Ryan Purvis 10:08
Because that was always the thing is you taught you how to use Flash, to do video and stuff. And then Silverlight came along. And neither one of those are really good. So you ended up with html5. And then obviously, the JavaScript stuff started coming through as well. But I think your point around the internet connectivity was probably the hugest part, because it the US obviously has had the T ones and the T threes and the UN lines, and the rest of the world was still an ADSL. And then there's that switch to fibre, which rapidly progressed a lot of things. And then obviously, now we've got 4g and 5g coming through now. It's amazing. It's also interconnected, but you take for granted that if you think about it anymore, until you don't have it.

Kwindla Kramer 10:50
And things do happen at different paces in different places. The rest of the world has leapfrogged US and cellular data, I think we're actually catching up now, I think I think cellular data is pretty good in the US now. But definitely for a period there. And you know, 2015 -16-17 I think many places around the world had much better cellular data than the US did.

Ryan Purvis 11:12
Yeah, yeah. Well, I was chatting to to the guys from AFI a couple of weeks ago. And they were telling me about the one guy lives in the mountains. And he and he was telling me, he bought a hardware component because he was struggling with connectivity. And I was down in South Africa when I spoke speaking to them. And you know, because of loadshedding, which obviously knocks out the cellphone towers and in the fibre. You can notice we see your drop from 5g down to three, like this to your video just goes and it's it's always scary to think thought that we've become so used to this ability just to have a team's call have a FaceTime call, however, you know, the fact that someone phones you normally you kind of go wow, that's funny me normally, you know what the what they want me to know, that if you, if you don't have the connectivity, it kind of becomes an anxiety thing.

Kwindla Kramer 11:59
Doesn't you know, as you were saying things happen? I think the Bill Gates quote is that we refer to a lot is less happens in a year than you expect and more happens in 10 years than you can imagine. And that's really true. When we were first raising money for daily, probably 80 80% of the venture investors we talked to would say something like, oh, video, you know, I get it, but I just don't think it's gonna be mass market, like people just like the telephone, like, I don't really turn on my camera and video calls. And we would always just say, great, you know, you're not the right fit for us. Because we see this trajectory, we see how things are gonna change, that's just not going to be true in five years. And if you don't believe it, now, you're not the right investor for us. But just imagine, you know, a world where video is easy and ubiquitous, that's not going to be the reaction, the reaction is gonna be exactly what you had, like, why did you phone me? Like, I'm on WhatsApp with you? I'm on slack with you. I have, you know, Calendly links that have video calls built in, like, that's the norm, not the phone call.

Ryan Purvis 13:03
Yeah, exactly. And I was just thinking about it, you know, I was talking to a call centre friend of mine, or he runs a call centre. And I was asking him, like, How long until call centres start doing it on video? And he said, Well, you know, we've got clients that want to do it. Of course, they're not, not the sorry, not the clients wouldn't do it. Their clients are asking them, why can I not do this book, The appointments I can do of face to face call with somebody to solve an issue. And they just don't get up for it yet. And that's probably more issue with with the old model of China's China Do you know how many minutes per call and solve a problem which in a video call not going to be, it's not gonna be as quick.

Kwindla Kramer 13:41
It's partly it's partly training of the staff. It's partly, technology moves more slowly. And the larger enterprise markets, usually, sometimes, sometimes not. But usually, and it's partly just inertia, like it just takes time for things to move over. But we've got a bunch of customers who do customer support on top of Daily's, API's new video, customer support, and it's always the it's the high value use cases that lead. So it's, you know, you you're a FinTech company, you your biggest customers, you want to talk to them on video, for a couple of reasons. One is it gives you that deeper connection. So they feel like they're getting white glove service. Another is you want to make sure it's them. And it's harder, I mean, not for long, you've done a bunch of interesting episodes about you know, generative AI recently, but it's harder to spoof video than it is other you know, other communication modes. And the third thing is KYC. So know your customer so often you have to have seen somebody either in person or on video to say open a bank account for them. And there are protocols and regulatory requirements around that. So video leads in the you know, kind of, quote unquote high end use cases and then as we know, all that stuff kind of becomes an expectation and goes goes mass market.

Ryan Purvis 14:58
Yeah, and It's funny, I'm reading a book series at the moment. And it's a really good series that really recommended. And it's a lot of it is around the use of deep fakes and how that is used to manipulate the popular the public. And I had already the whole plot away, and I'll recommend the books, once I remember what the titles are, but was what was quite scary about it is, you know at the time I'm reading this book, and these are books were written maybe four years ago, three years ago. So let's say call it pre check GDP. For most people. A lot of the things that they this guy is bringing out in his stories are like, wow, this is actually so possible, right? Now you could actually have this thing happening. And it's, you know, putting a whole country against the person because you show a video of them killing somebody. And it's a deep fake. But how do you prove it's a deep fake? Yeah, because it's six cameras, and it's, you know, pictures. And the evidence is irrefutable considering how we've grown up in our lives have a picture speaks 1000 words, and you're locked in. And one of the stories I'd heard these hackers are able to, over time detected, they're generated, but it's like, finding out there's a reflection, that's not correct, correct on a piece of glass in the deep fake, that's obviously been generated. And it's been missed by the AI on a generic that, you know, that kind of sophistication, which is kind of what everyone talks about. Now, when when ChatGPT makes a mistake. They're like, Oh, yeah, but it's just because it's a language that doesn't have a clue. But when it generates an image, then you can see kind of where it's made a mistake, because it doesn't know that the shadow should go to the left, not the right. As an example.

Kwindla Kramer 16:37
All that stuff is evolving so quickly, I mean, for us, we we concentrate on live video, and you're still probably computationally bound, it's pretty computationally intensive to generate completely synthetic live video, but it's not that far away, it's coming. And so, you know, we we, we think a lot about what these new tools are going to do to our world we have internally, we have a kind of video AI toolkit that we're gearing up to release so that people can plug agents into video calls. And we think we've done some really fun stuff. And we think that's, you know, that's gonna be something a lot of people are really interested in it as a year, right, that as a society, we're gonna have to figure out how to think about these new tools. And they're coming maybe more quickly than then other neural tools have in recent memory. So we've gotten Yeah, it's nice to do.

Ryan Purvis 17:28
I mean, it's crazy. I mean, you know, Mossel Bay are saying, that's, that's a watch, consider, like the retirement area of the country in South Africa. So your average age is like 75-80. And, you know, you're sitting with people who hardly use cell phones. Now try and explain to them that you can generate a whole book by writing five sentences, and talking to this machine that's sitting in the cloud, and it's returning back to you content that's probably 60% 70% 80% relevant to what you're trying to achieve. And they're thinking about writing a book takes five years. And you're talking maybe 20 minutes. So the mass populace, you know, is is across a whole spectrum, in that respect to to adopting these things. So yeah, I think that's, that's the scary thing is people aren't aren't mentally ready for this stuff. Nevermind, table.

Kwindla Kramer 18:17
I do think the social use cases are really interesting and are, as always, with new technology being talked about less than the things that are kind of initially obvious, but we're definitely at the faster horses, not cars stage of use cases for this stuff. And a guy, there's a one of our investors Ventures has a portfolio company that's building generative AI assets for video. I mean, that's just going to be huge, like video games are going to be unrecognisable five years from now, because they're just going to be so much more rich and deep. from a social perspective. It's the same kind of qualitative shift as single player to multiplayer games. Now, we have single player and multiplayer and large scale multi player environments where most of the players are not people. And yet how that evolves is going to be fascinating and rich, really, like a compelling way to spend our time. And I think that's a good thing. And an interesting thing,

Ryan Purvis 19:19
without a doubt, and I mean, you were saying the sort of, you know, generic things on the fly real time. I mean, if you look at the ability to have an avatar that you will face in your call, I don't there's a very good book. It's called shift I think, Britain by a woman professor here at Hollywood a name is now Liz, someone. And she starts the book perfectly where she says, You wake up in the morning for your call, and you're in your pyjamas, and instead of getting dressed and having a shower, you're just going to call it your avatar isn't the right, the right clothing. And you do a call for 20 minutes and you go brush your teeth and have a coffee and you start your day. feasibly that's possible now You know, it hasn't asked your question around. If you've gone to video? What are your feelings on the on the sort of multiverse? AR VR? World? Do you think that's going to now become the next step? Or do you think that it's kind of only for certain use cases, certain situations?

Kwindla Kramer 20:17
So I think as technology improves, augmented reality has all kinds of applications. And you know, if if we all could wear glasses with augmented reality built in all the time, we absolutely would, it's, it's just the next evolution of the smartphone. I'm more sceptical that VR is where we want to spend most of our time for the foreseeable future, because I think the technology hurdles for making VR, comfortable and immersive at the same time are large, it's great for games. I personally haven't seen a workspace implementation in VR, that I think is great. But I also might be like those venture investors I was talking about who didn't like to turn the cameras on during video calls. And I always try to, like hold that possibility very clearly in my mind that maybe I'm just not catching up for keeping up. But I do think that, you know, so we were talking a little bit just before we started recording that, like, I do all my, not all, but most of my video calls, like sitting on a couch looking at a really big TV. Because to me, that's the right combination of good ergonomics, good engagement and immersion. Plus, I can work on my laptop sitting on my lap on the couch, while I'm like fully present as well, with the big TV screen that's 10 feet away. And I don't have you know, meeting fatigue, because, you know, my eyes are focusing into like a natural focus distance, not looking at a little screen and all these factors that just make that the right thing. So I personally feel like I have a pretty high bar for VR glasses to be better than that for the kind of work I do. Yeah, but things will change over time. I mean, the VR glasses are gonna get better. And there's going to be a co evolution with hardware technology of the workspace environments. And I, you know, I'm, I'm an engineer by training, I can certainly imagine a completely immersive coding environment that's only possible with VR glasses. Now, I haven't seen it yet. But that doesn't mean somebody's not going to build it. So I do try to pay attention to VR. And we have customers who are doing kind of really fun, Metaverse, video stuff on top of daily use, they use our API's for all the video and a lot of the networking and messaging. And then they use, you know, the, the 3d environment to build their their world. That's, you know, that's, that's created. That's not just the video components. And that's really fun for us to see what our customers are doing. I don't personally spend much time with VR glasses on today.

Ryan Purvis 22:47
No, it's, I mean, I've got a friend who wants me to join him in a meeting once a week in VR, and it's been as like a year of I'll buy it next month, kind of it's it's not a priority, I think, I think this kind of interaction, as you say, is sufficient for for 99% of the people. where it'd be really interesting is sort of that really player one experience where you're wearing the suits, and you put the headset on and you actually fully immersed, you could feel everything, it's tactile. And then if you're doing things like something as basic as Pilates or, or learning your, your golf swing or something like that, but someone in another country through this environment, that would be a great way or any sort of training would make sense. But I to me, it's kind of that niche. Space still.

Kwindla Kramer 23:32
No, but I agree with you about industrial applications. So training, medical, complicated mechanical, like aircraft engine maintenance, I think there's going to be really, really interesting stuff there. I do think a lot of that stuff is going to fall on the AR side of the AR VR device. But it's going to be super interesting to see the evolution of that stuff.

Ryan Purvis 23:54
Yeah, for sure. Now with your with your work in the video world, I mean, are you integrating that with augmented reality as well and the sense of interactive space? Like if someone's using API's are they able to like click there and sees the the overlay of the of the plan for that component or something like that?

Kwindla Kramer 24:15
We give you messaging API's so that you can send structured data around, alright, and you can timestamp that with the video so that you end up being you know, we are the sort of low level building blocks for you to build that AR application. Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Purvis 24:31
We didn't ask the question where the Where did the name daily come from?

Kwindla Kramer 24:34
Oh, yeah, we were originally called something else. We we we picked a California farmers market name Plout, which is a apricot plum. I read like a good fruit. You know, tech companies that are fruit named have like a good good track record. And then you know, we should have done some more market research because nobody outside California could either spell it or, or pronounce it if they read it like confidently makes it are a bad name. So we eventually I was stubborn. But eventually we decided we had to change the name to something just a little easier. And one of our one of our venture investors owned the domain name Daily Dot CEO, he owned a lot of domain names. And he let us like, look through the list and and pick one. And that's how we ended up with daily. I really like it. I think it's a kind of a happy, open ended word that we can fill up with a bunch of meaning.

Ryan Purvis 25:26
Yeah, yeah. And it's, it's, I mean, you can interpret it in you can what you're doing to say, well, you know, it's an unreal time video. So daily, use it every day. It's part of the ecosystem that we all live in now. I mean, in fact, I would probably say people spend more time talking to each other on video than they do watching TV. It's sort of hard to control that comparison for the last 10 years.

Kwindla Kramer 25:49
That's definitely true. I mean, one of the mind blowing stats I remember from kind of fairly early on, actually, in our evolution was, I have a friend who's a VP of Engineering at Roblox, and he shared us their internals. And that's about how, how many of their users have Roblox open on their computer screen, and then have a phone with, you know, FaceTime or WhatsApp, with a video call with their friends next to the keyboard. And it was just some huge percentage. And that, you know, that's kids using technology in a way that we all will be using technology by the time those kids are, you know, in the workforce. And that really kind of shaped some of my thinking about this

Ryan Purvis 26:26
stuff. Yeah, when you mentioned your hardware component, I was thinking about the Amazon Echo, what it shows called shows, and we bought a bunch that we've never used them. But I mean, they are, they are in theory, the kind of thing that you could just use to say, Hey, call Dad, and thinks straight away, and you're connected without all the other stuff you have to do.

Kwindla Kramer 26:45
When I was a kid, like a phone call with grandparents was like a pretty special thing. And now, we do FaceTime with my kids, grandparents, you know, just all the time. And it's really great. Like, it's much more immersive, you feel more connected. You read books to each other. You do piano lessons that way. It's like a real change.

Ryan Purvis 27:09
Yeah, no, I say it's scary to lose it. Now you said 12 time zones. So you've got people all over the world? How does How did that happen is that always by design,

Kwindla Kramer 27:18
you know, we really leaned into being all remote from pretty early on. One, one thing we thought was that we have really specialised engineering work we do like we have a lot of low level networking and video codec type work. And it's great to be able to hire people, no matter where they are in the world, and work with people no matter where where they are in the world. Now that the trade off there is that you have to deal with time zones. There's a little bit of a filter for people who are happy working from home or remotely. Not everybody, some people really want to come work in an office, I totally understand that. So you just have to find the right fit. But you know, we we hire mostly engineers, and mostly really experienced people and being able to hire people who don't have to be close enough to drive into an office every day is such a huge, such a huge advantage. I also like personally working with people from all over the world, I think you get like such a great flexibility of perspectives in your world every day. And you know, tech in San Francisco is like I live in San Francisco, because it's kind of the global capital of of technology. And that's, I think, an advantage for a company to have some people here. But you know, tech in San Francisco is not known for being the most diverse in terms of perspectives. And so balancing that out with a global team, I think works really well.

Ryan Purvis 28:42
I think you've heard right, you know, we've spent in the last two years, probably 20 months back in South Africa. And when you see what people the problems that to solve, versus living in the UK, which is obviously a different environment completely. And the mindset shifts and net diversity, I mean, forget about, you know, the usual things people say like race and gender and all that kind of stuff. It's more the problems that people have grown up with, and how they've had to solve them. And therefore the way they think about things and all that kind of stuff. That's huge. And I think you've probably solved problems, you didn't realise that that were problems, because you've had diversity like that. But if you've been a normal company probably would have had problems that you should have started with, if that makes sense.

Kwindla Kramer 29:30
I mean, if you want to serve a global population of customers, you need to have that global perspective. I mean, the one of the examples that is top of mind for us all the time, just because we support a lot of platforms is so much pull for our flutter SDK from India. And if we, if we were only in you know, the United States, I think the the interest in flutter would be much, much lower, we would be less it would take us a lot longer to figure out that you know, we got to have first That's flutter support.

Ryan Purvis 30:01
No 100%. And I mean, I tried to learn how to write stuff in flutter. And it was quite a, quite a stretch.

Kwindla Kramer 30:09
It's different. It's interesting. Yeah,

Ryan Purvis 30:11
exactly. It's interesting. It's a different way of working. And when I was looking for resources only got resources out of India, the newest, everyone else kind of gone down the other route, which was before Microsoft bought it as rhenium.

Kwindla Kramer 30:25
Yeah, just now,

Ryan Purvis 30:26
Maui, I think. And yeah, a company, that's a much more comfortable place to be with Maui versus plateau. But if you're looking to build product, and a new one, as a startup, you're gonna go where you need the sort of cheaper resources, you're not going to find many people that do Maori for cheap. So the I can understand that. And that was kind of my point about the diversity thing, but you picked up on that. So with you working in multiple time zones, and having this diversity, how have you managed to ship all the time? Is it is it background automation? Is there a lot of communication, I mean, what's the sort of working patterns of the people,

Kwindla Kramer 31:04
I think we have a pretty good set of communications heartbeats at the company. So we, you know, we work a lot in Slack for semi synchronous and async. Text, and we document really, we try really hard to document everything, we're doing pretty well, we use a combination of notion and linear. And then, you know, grab bag of other random bits of tooling. And then we're on video all the time with each other. And we use our own tools, we use our customers tools that are built on top of daily. So you know, I spend a lot of time in video both kind of scheduled and ad hoc. And that's useful for us on a lot of levels. It connects us closely as a team, even though we're very distributed. It also lets us dog food, our own deck. Good. So, you know, our releases all get tested pretty heavily from our internal use before, before they go live. And then just really, you know, trying to trying to be good engineers, right? Like we, we have a lot of really experienced engineers on our team. And so we've inherited kind of best practices and perspective from people who've worked at, you know, lots of different places, and both been very successful and learned lots of hard lessons as you do in a long career. So we we invested pretty heavily in good testing, we have, you know, it's hard to test things like live video. So we have what we call our robots that are going to have a CI CD, continuous integration, continuous delivery, equivalent for the stuff we do. And, you know, we're fairly conservative in the ways that matter, I think we try to use very well understood technologies everywhere, we're not we're we're not building something brand new, right. So like, we have our own kind of very, I think, sophisticated and innovative media server code that routes, the video and audio packets around the world really fast. And we think that's a unique advantage for us. Where we're not, you know, kind of leveraging that advantage. We try to use things like vanilla SQL databases, and even just very, very well understood technology, partly because uptime matters so much in our world. Like if we're down for a minute. Our customers No, there's no, there's no margin for error. So we try very hard, you know, nobody can possibly achieve 100% uptime, but we aim, you know, very much towards 100% uptime. All over the world in all the data centres where we have clusters.

Ryan Purvis 33:32
And your your messaging that you mentioned, that is that's obviously a part of it to some extent, I mean, are you doing something to brokers? Or have you got some of the latency sort of thing?

Kwindla Kramer 33:45
Yeah, so we use a combination of WebRTC data channels and WebSockets, under the covers. And for, for coordination, we have our own service mesh, effectively under the covers, it's kind of a HTTP based coordination framework. We did write that ourselves, but we tried not to, we've, we've built on top of, you know, I think we built built a production version, and then a set of prototypes on top of four different non homebuilt service meshes before we built our own. Long term I, you know, I don't have a prediction as to where we'll go with that as we scale because as we continue to scale the problems change, right? Like that's one of the one of the interesting things about infrastructure is you have this like really difficult premature optimization problem, right? Like you need to predict what your scale is going to be and be out ahead of it. But you also need to not, you know, build, try to build what Google needs, because it's going to be a long time before you do Google needs. And that's, you know, that's back to that engineering judgement, like we all of us collectively have built some version of everything we have in production at daily, at least once before in our career before we built it a daily and that turns out to be really helpful?

Ryan Purvis 35:02
That's a very interesting point, because I was thinking about that as you were talking. I mean, this is obviously something that you've been doing, you know, from what Africa through to now, it's like, it's a common theme repeating, repeating, repeating. And I would, I would assume that the technology things we talked about the different speeds of that move, have helped you to refine and improve on the on the idea and kind of give you almost a navigation on where to go next. I mean, do you feel like you could do this until you die in the sense of the next however many decades you got left, because we just keep the story we keep, keep improving. So you'll just have new things to incorporate and think about and design and

Kwindla Kramer 35:39
it stays interesting to me. And, you know, I have friends who have kind of moved to the hot new thing each time, there's a hot new thing. Yeah. So, you know, I, I'm old enough to remember, as you were saying, when like, you know, JavaScript based applications became possible. And then, you know, social, mobile, local was the hot thing. And then there was a machine learning thing. And then there was, you know, web three, and now there's AI. And I think all those things are super interesting, too. But my, just the way I'm wired, I'm more sort of layering them into the kind of real time networking and real time communication stuff that stays interesting to me. And I think everybody's different. And that's one of the things I think you learn managing people over time. You know, I very early in my career, like it was really hard for me whenever anybody wanted to leave a team I was on, and I am trouble being empathetic. I think, you know, what we're doing is really interesting. Like, why do you want to go do the next thing. And over time, I learned that that's actually okay. And healthy, right? Like people, people will move on from jobs, they'll find new challenges, sometimes they need new challenges, and that is totally okay. And it's your job. If you hire people, if you manage people, it's your job to be as supportive as you can on the way in to your team and on the way out of your team. And careers are long. People need different things at different points in their careers. And that's a good thing. Not a bad thing.

Ryan Purvis 37:07
Yeah, you're 100% Right. And I was the same as you to be honest. You know, when people used to leave my team, they'd be like, what's wrong with you guys? We're doing like this awesome stuff. And they'd be like, Yeah, but you know, too many hours, or it's not the right thing, or whatever it is. And, you know, the time you do you get used to it, and you actually, you almost want to push people along to do their own thing and find that, that thing that makes them happy. Because it's, you know, in the end, it's the right thing for them. But it also, it's a maturity thing for yourself. If you

Kwindla Kramer 37:37
really, I mean, I think as a general life rule, I think that if you're not getting more empathetic, as you grow older, you're doing it wrong.

Ryan Purvis 37:45
Exactly, exactly. But now you're talking about something and I remember when I looked at looked up your profile, it was something about, you should find a job that your job is to find yourself.

Kwindla Kramer 37:57
No, yeah, I've been making some like, so I, you know, I get a lot out of conversations with other startup founders. And, you know, I try to block out time, even though life is crazy, and it's hard to find time to, you know, have breakfast or lunch or coffee with like a friend or an acquaintance who's doing startup stuff, you know, kind of same stage, we are a couple times a month, sometimes I fail at doing that. But when I succeed, I always feel like that's time really well spent. Because you just talk about kind of the the challenges you have trying to grow a company. And, you know, I'm on social media, but I historically don't do a lot of social media posting. But I thought, you know, these, this principle that these kinds of conversations are valuable, I'm just kind of curious how it translates to social media. So I've been doing these kinds of asynchronous founder coffee chats, which are really just monologues right, but they're, they're an attempt to sort of figure out how this thing might might work in in the in the Tick Tock world, for lack of a better term. And that was a recent post that you're talking about, I was having a conversation with a friend, and we were talking about how, if you're lucky enough that your company is growing, then your job is to fire yourself from whatever you're doing now as soon as you can, because somebody else can probably do do it better than you can. And you probably have a new challenge, which you probably can't easily hand over to somebody else. So the positive side of that is there's always something new and interesting to learn. The negative thing potentially is like I really like writing code, for example, like I, you know, it's one of the things that makes me happy in a startup environment is that there's a lot of engineering to do. Well, I don't get to do production engineering anymore, because I shouldn't be in the loop for anything we ship, you know, on a deadline. And so that's a little bit bittersweet, right? I like I had to, you know, and you have to consciously fire yourself. I think you can't just kind of try to have a foot in both worlds, not very, very long. So that the framing for me is like you have to like look for the places where you have to, you know, remove yourself so that you're not a bottleneck as your company continues to grow. And like this, the title of this social media post, you know, the clickbait title is your job is to fire yourself.

Ryan Purvis 40:12
And I think it's 100right. I hate to say, no one's no one's there was expendable was. And I see lots of trouble for saying that. And no use, you know, the logic was always that what you're saying is that, it's not about so much that you should be comfortable in the role, and therefore, you're role forever, it's more a case of, you need to realise that you've got to, you'll always be someone better than you at that thing. So you should be looking at it objectively and say, well, actually, I'm probably not the best person for this job. Let's hire someone else. And then you go do something else. 100%, do what you're saying. And I'm building something on this at the moment. And it's one of the first stages I made was to say, I'm not going to be the product owner of this thing, I need to hire someone to do it. Because I know if it sits with me, it'll take five years to get built, because it won't be front and centre all the time. And we've made great progress because of that. And, you know, as I keep looking at things that I'm doing, it's exactly that, like, what what do I need to give up? To bring in? And I like the monologues, I'll be honest, I haven't watched all of them. But I think I think it's important for you, for people like yourself to share it for people that are, you know, trying to figure this stuff out. And I'm not sure who to ask. Because that's the hardest thing is who do you ask, Who do you talked about this stuff? Sometimes?

Kwindla Kramer 41:31
Yeah, it's just like a collection of stories about lived experience, right, that I find most valuable when I talk to other people. And I mean, I think advice is really hard to give, but stories are really valuable. And then, you know, you can take whatever it might or might not be applicable from the stories other people tell to your own particular situation. I mean, one of the ways I judge investors having worked at this point with a lot of different investors over my career is, do they understand the difference between giving you you know, the, the benefit of their pattern matching versus giving you advice? Because they, you know, somebody outside your company never knows enough to run your company for you like it would be easier if they did, right, that would be great. But they often do have like, huge amounts of valuable, like, pattern matching experience, I think you'd be like, Oh, well, this reminds me a little bit of you know, this time I was on this company's board, and we talked about this problem.

Ryan Purvis 42:31
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Do you think the the, your view there around the story versus the advice comes from your folks being journalists, or being in the African ecosystem?

Kwindla Kramer 42:45
I mean, I think everything comes from my parents, being journalists, like, I just think that perspective that they have about how like, everyone's story is important, and everybody's experience is valuable. And, you know, bridging the gap between, you know, people in different places in the world and different times and different circumstances is like a, like a way to spend your life that is fulfilling like that has such a big impact on me.

Ryan Purvis 43:12
Yeah, huge. I, you know, I can see it. And the reason why I was there questioning that the way I did is because I was having this discussion with a few people in there say about everything we do is always always a story. And I found when I moved to the UK, and that was in the Middle East, and whatever. The people you got on with, with people, I'd like to tell stories. And the people that didn't get on with were the people that didn't like to tell stories, they weren't the the sort of the pattern matching advice, or the logical approach if you like, you know, keep it an abstract and that kind of stuff. And, and it's interesting how, when you tell stories, you're kind of giving someone advice, but you're not actually making them feel like it's advice. Sometimes they can take what they want out of the story, if that makes sense.

Kwindla Kramer 43:55
Yeah. And I mean, I think it's tempting to give advice, right. But I always try to keep in mind how, how dangerous it is to give advice. And in terms of what you're saying about storytelling, I think it might be a little like, when you when you have your first child, you kind of you realise all of the cliches are true. Oh, yes, yes. And I mean, I think the cliches are true here too. Like we're all the same, but we're all different. And stories kind of encapsulate that stories encapsulate the things we have in common as people, and also the different experiences we have. And that's how we kind of we live through our stories.

Ryan Purvis 44:34
100% I mean, you look at the Bible, you could cry and you look at Aesop's Fables. I mean, those are all life lessons that that someone actually was, it was 100 things that someone wrote 100 things you should do or something. And you could basically look at that list of 100 things and you could actually match them to stories that told you the same thing like the rabbit and the hare. Sorry, the rabbit and the tortoise is related to you know, being consistent and and following through and, and all that kind of stuff. But that was like number two on the list was be consistent and, and that sort of thing. So you can distil it to a bullet point, but the story makes him fall memorable. Which is huge. And I think, you know, with what you're doing with video, that is so important because people are visual. For the most part. We're comfortable the audio, obviously. But that connection, as you mentioned, the beginning is huge, hugely important.

Kwindla Kramer 45:28
It's really true. We we consume so much video because it is a part of our storytelling brains. It really is. Yeah,

Ryan Purvis 45:35
yeah. Yeah. And I think that's where you obviously read, like, until not a whole lot of books behind you. And my mind, because we're in life as a people watch too much video, they're not going to, like, I'm really addicted to YouTube at the moment, actually, to break it. But it's because I'm getting a lot of information very quickly. But I can go read the book that I'm that I'm reading at the same time, you know, and find the information and sort of reinforce it. But I think a lot of people don't do that. That kind of worries me a little bit. But I'm but I'm hopeful that that, you know, with with all these things that we do, as long as people are doing the right things, and learning that it will be will be okay.

Kwindla Kramer 46:14
I'm kind of a rude techno optimist, though, I hope not an unreflective one. But yeah, like, I feel the same way that you know, new technology makes things like learning richer, it doesn't. It doesn't push out, you know, the old stuff, like, what's the definition of technology is something that was invented after you were born or whatever, like think things change, you know, and, you know, we can embrace that change and make the most of it. Because the change is happening anyway, I think.

Ryan Purvis 46:46
Yeah, and I'm watching a whole lot of startup YouTube videos from Harvard at the moment. And if if that wasn't available on video, there wasn't available on YouTube, the chance for me and whoever, how many other people are watching it to see it is someone new, but you need that mechanism. And, and that, you know, shares the knowledge, which means you basically increase everyone's knowledge, which means the next piece of knowledge is that much better, because you've had that much more people using it and applying it and, and improving on it. Which Yeah, that's the kind of like, the hopeful piece of the dip what's happening. And we're not getting caught up watching cat videos, or something like that on. On YouTube.

Kwindla Kramer 47:27
It's such a great point. Like we're all always standing on the shoulders of people who came before. And the more we enable that scaffolding, the more we all do together. I agree. YouTube is an extraordinary platform. Like I think we don't really talk enough or think enough about how incredible YouTube is. There's just everything there. And, you know, that comes with problems, too. There have been very well publicised concerns about YouTube's algorithms. And I share those concerns. But the fact that you can access so much information on YouTube is really really, really amazing.

Ryan Purvis 48:08
Well, essentially you say it, because that is algorithms are a problem without a doubt. I mean, I watched some conspiracy stuff the other day, and now like it's conspiracy stuff. Yeah. And I, you know, to be fair, I enjoy watching conspiracy stuff, because it's interesting, like you, you want to, you want to see what people think and how they got to their conclusion and all the rest of it. But you got to be, you know, objective, but potentially thing for me is I'll go back to my sort of example of the the older folk that I was spending the last couple months with those that was still in touch with with the technology that we're referring to YouTube as the bridge. And those that were not in touch. Couldn't even couldn't even get onto YouTube. And change that. And I think how hard it is to get onto YouTube. Like how hard is it really on YouTube? And that was like the whole cup. You know, how how did that happen? Like how did the How did that divide start? Because just a website. But there's this concept couldn't get it. So you're the technology and has delivered? It's It's fascinating. I wish they would actually tell us how it worked. Yeah. Great. Probably a good start to sort of point people in the right direction to get in contact with you or is it something you want them to have a look at demo or something like that? That might explain what you guys often?

Kwindla Kramer 49:34
Yeah, definitely. I mean, if you're interested in kind of real time video communications and you're an engineer or a product person who wants to build stuff into your applications or websites, we would love to have you come look at what we're doing at Daily Dot CEO. We have a forum you can ask questions like we're happy to be helpful. You don't just have to be a customer as as I think you could tell. We love talking about this stuff. Sure. Yeah. So come Come find us a daily that's

Ryan Purvis 49:57
great. That's been a fantastic channel. Really you shared it your time and some interesting stuff we've covered. So thank you.

Kwindla Kramer 50:03
Thank you. I'm a big fan. It's fun to get to talk to you.

Ryan Purvis 50:07
Thanks. Good luck.

Thank you for listening to today's episode, and the big news app producer and editor. Thank you, Heather. For your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and ratings on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DWW podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website https://www.digitalworkspace.works/. Please also visit our website https://www.digitalworkspace.works/ and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends and colleagues.