Almost a year ago the world went into a lockdown due to the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic is profound and will be felt for years to come. From missing out on get togethers at birthday celebrations to learning to cook our own meals, the pandemic has exposed a lot inefficiencies in our ways of life. The pandemic also brought to light the vulnerabilities of our society. It exposed the disparity of access to opportunities between folks from different strata of life. This lack of opportunities is specially severe among college seniors who are on the cusp of entering…


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Note on hypothesis driven development

Product innovation is a consequence of an identified customer pain point. Conversion of customer pain points into a product roadmap and subsequently into the feature backlog is central to product management. Identification of customer pain points results in a set of outcomes which in turn drives feature roadmap. This is an inbound approach, where customers are the primary drivers of product definition.

“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.”

-Steve Jobs

Contrary to an inbound product development approach, many…


In today’s connected world APIs are part and parcel of our lives. We are constantly invoking APIs, simple activities like posting a status on Facebook or Instagram, sending a text message via WhatsApp, uploading a file to your Google Drive and more involve making a call to an API of some software program running on computing machine located somewhere in the world. APIs have become main street commodity. APIs are everywhere!

I once asked an interview candidate, ‘What is an API?’ to which the candidate’s instant response was — ‘It’s a contract!!’. …


Porter’s Five Forces Model

Products and platforms have a very unique relationship. On one hand platforms support development of products while on the other products often generalize overtime to become platforms — a chicken and egg situation. Recently, while helping a friend with a project proposal I was faced with an unusual connundrum, would the project be more successful if delivered as a product or would it be more successful if delivered as a platform. This started a chain of thoughts that led to some interesting revelations and motivated me to write this article.

Let’s start by asking two basic questions — what is…


For the better part of 15+ years of my career, I have been part of teams that form the foundational components of the larger products or services. In many organizations such foundational teams are commonly called as “core”. A typical product stack (exhibit 1) has end users working with products and services that are built on top of core modules. These higher order products and services are well defined and are most likely to have a brand created around them, on the other hand core modules often lack brand identities. To be a bit provocative, it has been my experience…


The Airbnb(s) and Uber(s) of today allow users to monetize their assets by leasing them out to other users. These assets range from real-estate, to ride shares, to toys, and the list goes on. There has been an explosion of businesses developed in the “sharing economy” space, some of which have become multi-billion-dollar entities. Is this really shared economy, or, as Giana M. Eckardt and Fleura Bardhi opined in their Harvard Business Review article, an access economy? At the heart of access economy services like Airbnb or Uber, monetary transactions take place that instantly reward the owner of the asset…


Serverless computing is gaining rapid adoption and is the next stage in the evolution of cloud computing. The cost benefit provided by serverless computing by paying per function invocation and the operational efficiency brought by delegating the maintenance of the underlyting infrastructure is indeed very attractive. However serverless brings more than just the cost benefits and operational efficiency, it presents a new paradigm of writing software in the cloud computing era. The concepts of functional programming and event driven architecture can be applied to most if not all of the workflows that businesses execute on a daily basis. …

Swanand Rao

Technologist, opinions expressed are my own

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