AWS Startups Blog

Michelle Kung

Author: Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung currently works in startup content at AWS and was previously the head of content at Index Ventures. Prior to joining the corporate world, Michelle was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, the founding Business Editor at the Huffington Post, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, a columnist for Publisher’s Weekly and a writer at Entertainment Weekly.

Terry Sejnowski on AI

The AI revolution isn’t coming, says Terry Sejnowski. It’s already here.

By now, you have certainly taken part in the deep learning revolution, whether you’re aware of it or not. If you use a voice-based personal assistant like Alexa, chances are advances in AI have already made it into their backend for companies to yield savings from processing efficiency. But sooner or later, deep learning is going to change your life. That, at least, is what Dr. Terry Sejnowski, the Francis Crick professor at the Salk Institute and a pioneer in deep learning, believes. “What we’re creating is a whole new world,” he argues.

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The Smallpdf team at their offices in Zurich, Switzerland.

How to run a world-class website with a DevOps team of two

At last count, Smallpdf, the PDF conversion startup I work for, had roughly 13 million monthly users. As for the number of employees currently running our website? That would be 10—with only two employees focused on the backend and infrastructure. You might be curious to learn how we run such a processing intensive website with such a small DevOps team. Our little secret stands in automation and delegation.

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The coming data hurricane

Data lakes: How planning and a governed data catalog can help you weather a data superstorm

By now, we’ve all seen the statistics. The data universe is doubling in size every two years, which translates into a 50-fold growth from 2010 to 2020. It’s a superstorm of data that isn’t letting up anytime soon. Businesses everywhere are desperately trying to manage the flood of information pouring in from every direction. To manage this extreme data growth, organizations are looking to data lakes like the one provided by AWS to help them control and consolidate the storm of data.

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Seeing past the resume: How Polina Montano built the company revolutionizing the job search

“I’m actually an unusual tech co-founder,” Polina Montano says. And it’s true: while Montano’s isn’t exactly a rags-to-riches story, it is a gas-stations-to-striking-tech-gold story. Coming from a retail background, Montano was a small business owner for most of her life—starting with a fashion store and moving up to a chain of gas stations—before the inspiration for Job Today struck. In fact, Montano says, she started pondering the concept of Job Today in earnest thanks her hands-on gas station experience

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Braze logo

Braze Co-Founder Jon Hyman on How Tech Humanizes Communications Between Brands and Customers

Whether it’s via phones, cars, speakers, or even watches, brands have an ever-increasing number of places to reach consumers. The catch, however, is that consumers are getting savvier—and more demanding—about how brands are engaging with them. “Customers have high expectations… that brands are going to deliver relevant, personalized, and important messages to them that add a lot of value,” says Braze co-founder and chief technology officer Jon Hyman. For the most part, consumers don’t understand—nor care—whether they are getting a discount or new product notice from a brand’s email or app team. “All they care about is: is it delivering a great product experience, is it valuable to me, is it adding value, and is it relevant to me,” he says.

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Rent the Runway Puts Your Closet in the Cloud

How Rent the Runway is Moving Your Closet to the Cloud

While most people know Rent the Runway as the country’s leading lender of LBDs and workwear, the nine-year old startup also happens to be the country’s largest dry-cleaning business. As Rent The Runway CTO Josh Builder notes, the company turns around, on average, 50,000 to 55,000 items on a daily basis—over 65,000 during peak seasons and holidays—and 100% of that inventory comes back to them.

As veritable stylists and dry-cleaning experts, Rent the Runway must keep track of not only the latest fashion trends, but also a wide variety of inventory and chemical mixes to keep their clothes in red-carpet shape. To do this, RTR is shifting many of their operations to the cloud. Watch to see how they pulled it off.

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Figma Design Product

Figma CEO Dylan Field on how cloud computing is affecting the future of design

Initially released on February 19, 1990, Adobe’s Photoshop has long been the doyen of design. However, after nearly 30 years, Photoshop’s licensing model is being challenged by several startups looking to democratize the design industry and make it easier for all people, and not just professionals, to create. One such startup is San Francisco-based Figma. Founded in 2012 by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace, the open design platform—which just raised a $25 million Series B—features a cloud-based screen design tool, which helps teams achieve a shared understanding around design without worrying about syncing, exporting or installing software. We recently caught up with Field to talk about how the cloud has made life easier for designers.

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