Here's what we're reading this week from the MongoDB community.
Business Insider: 21 Enterprise Startups to Bet On in 2014
MongodB News: RMS Revolutionizes Risk Management for Insurance Industry with Secure Platform Built on MongoDB
Silicon Angle: MongoDB Gets Endorsement from Risk Management Insurance Company RMS
InfoWorld: MongoDB Named to InfoWorld’s Technology of the Year Awards List
The MongoDB Blog: Meet Trisha Gee, Java Engineer and Evangelist
Asya Kamsky: Replication without High Availability
Asya Kamsky: Help! Someone Deleted My Database Files!
Asya Kamsky: The MongoDB Trap
Vlad Mihalcea A Beginner’s Guide To MongoDB Performance TurboCharging
Meet Trisha Gee: Java Engineer
We're excited to introduce you to Trisha Gee, a Java Engineer and Evangelist based in Spain. What is your role at MongoDB? I’m a Java Engineer. I work on the Java driver for the Developer Experience team. Where were you before MongoDB? Why did you choose to come to MongoDB? I’ve been a Java engineer for twelve years since I graduated in 2001. Before joining MongoDB just over a year ago, I was working for company called LMAX Exchange, a financial exchange in London focusing on low latency, high performance trading. I came to MongoDB because I had spent a lot of time working in finance and I wanted to work for a company with a product. The evangelism within the MongoDB community was also big part of the draw. At previous positions I’d mostly done coding with only a bit of outreach on the side, but I was interested in doing more. At MongoDB, I had the opportunity to continue with coding and development but take on more speaking and evangelism roles. I also really liked the vision the executives had for the product and the company. Where are you from? I recently moved to Seville, Spain but before that I was in London. Why did you decide to move? My boyfriend is actually from Spain. Back in March we were looking ahead to the rest of the year, and decided we needed a change of scenery and a change of weather! And honestly, it doesn’t matter where I live because I’m either travelling for evangelism events or working from home. Did you have previous experience using MongoDB before you arrived? If so, how are things different now that you work at MongoDB? If not, how did you learn MongoDB and how was the education process? I didn’t have much experience with MongoDB. But when I started in London we had a basic overview of the product, and then I went to the weeklong boot camp in New York. There was a lot of intense technical information, but it was good to have it all as a reference. And meeting the people in the New York offices was great. I learned a lot on the job, mostly when we were working on community support. Handling the challenges of clients using our product in the real world gives you a great idea of how the product functions. Supporting other MongoDB users taught me a lot about how to use it myself. What’s a typical day (or week) for you? I have two different kinds of days: the ones when I work from home and the ones when I travel. When I’m at home, I go out for a nice breakfast to get out of the house and sit out in the sunshine. My boyfriend is also a Java developer so we’ll have a mini “standup” where we talk about what we’re hoping to accomplish that day. Then the mornings are focused mostly on administrative tasks, code review, catching up on email, booking my next trip, etc. In the afternoon is my coding time, although most days I’ll also have a video conference with my team or department. When I’m travelling it’s totally different. On my way to a conference I always try to write a blog but I’m usually preparing for my presentation instead. I get up very early and go to the gym. I always make sure to get a good breakfast (you never know what your meals could look like when you’re at a conference). I go through one more dry run in my hotel room before presenting. Then I usually give my presentation and take notes on others to include in blog posts later on. On the flight home I’ll try to write a post, but I often end up watching movies. What do you love most about MongoDB? I like that I’m never bored! I jumped around between several companies before MongoDB because I wanted more to do. There’s always something to work on, and everything is flexible so you can focus on what you’re great at or what you’d like to improve. There’s a lot of variety so you can move around between projects. And the people are amazing. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? At the moment we’re trying to rewrite the entire Java Driver from scratch. Project rewrites are always a lot of work, and on top of this big project I’m still managing my schedule of evangelism trips. It's challenging to switch between the contexts of coding and community outreach. What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had working here so far? I actually love our review process. It’s so constructive to sit down with your manager and have them say, this is what you’re great at and this is what you could be even better at. They help you come up with ways to improve and be more effective. I’ve worked at lots of different companies and never have had as constructive a review process than at MongoDB. What’s your favorite Seamless lunch order? When I’m in the NYC office I often order salad, which is weird since I’m not that fond of salad. I guess I like that I can put everything I want in there and nothing more. Favorite breakfast? My favorite breakfasts are always in New York (I lived there for a year five years ago). I love diners and I usually get something simple like eggs and sausage. My perfect breakfast, if I’m going to treat myself, is eggs benedict. Name one secret skill you have, unrelated to work. I’m an expert at putting together IKEA furniture. And given how much I’ve moved around, it’s extremely useful. Kindle or book? What’s your favorite book? I love books but since I travel so much having a Kindle is fantastic and I use it all the time. You can sync all your devices and read a technical book and a novel at the same time. It’s great. My favorite book is Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Describe your perfect weekend. A few years ago I would have said a visit to Prague or another city. But since I get to travel all the time now, I want to be here in Seville, go on a bike ride, meet friends and family for food, and have the time to do stuff around the house. I’d end the day with a movie and a glass of wine. Favorite airline? The staff on Virgin Atlantic are always so nice and friendly, but I often fly British Airways because they let you take hand baggage on board and go to a lot of different locations. Craziest flying experience? On a flight from New York to San Francisco in September, we get to JFK and our flight was delayed. When we finally get on the flight we sat around for hours, before taxiing back to the terminal. Apparently there was a grinding noise so they didn’t want to fly. So we waited about two hours for another plane, get on the plane, and sit there for a few hours before finding out this one also has a mechanical problem. I had to go back to Manhattan for the night and fly out the next morning. If you're interested in joining the MongoDB Team there many open positions available in Engineering, Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. If you’re inspired by Trisha, we’re looking to fill the positions of a Java Engineer/Evangelist , a Java Application Engineer , and a Web Applications Developer . To learn more about open roles at MongoDB, please visit the MongoDB Careers Page .
Built With MongoDB: FanPlay
Pritesh Kumar and Bharat Gupta co-founded FanPlay Technologies at the beginning of the pandemic that shook the world in 2020. With their real money gaming (RMG) product, they’ve joyfully brought thousands of people together across India in a safe way, while establishing the country’s leading gaming app. For this segment of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we spoke with Pritesh about their company’s business model, how MongoDB is working to their advantage, and what celebrities are already utilizing their platform. MongoDB: What prompted you to build FanPlay? Pritesh: The emergence of COVID-19 really prompted me into the startup world again. I’ve been a founder in the past, and I knew that at this time a lot of new companies would emerge, so I decided to be part of that. The idea for FanPlay came from observing Cameo . I was really impressed by its strong viral growth and its monetization of influencers. I think these micro influencers on the platform, although they don’t make a lot of money for a single video, can add massive value to any business. And at the same time, we were looking at the RMG industry, which was and still is the fastest-growing space in online gaming. But there is a real problem of very high customer acquisition cost. So, we put one and one together and started building an influencer-led, RMG platform. We get influencers to host real-money trivia games for the fans and followers on our platform. Typically these influencers promote their own shows on their social media platforms. They gather an audience from YouTube, TikTok, and various other channels, and then they come to our platform for the gaming experience. The audience usually pays a small entry fee. From that entry fee, a prize is created, that prize goes to the winner of the game, and from that prize we take a cut. So this is our business model. MongoDB: What was your initial vision for the product, and what does it look like today? Pritesh: The product has changed a lot from what we initially envisioned. We started with a web app initially because we thought that acquiring users on the web would be much easier, but then we launched our free Android app and it did very well. From there we launched our paid-entry model. So the product has gone through three iterations so far. In the beginning we worked a lot with Instagram influencers and realized that we needed to be working with influencers on YouTube, and specifically with people more regionally significant to India, where most of our business is at the moment. We have also expanded to hosting established faces from Instagram and YouTube. MongoDB: Can you tell us about the scale of the platform? Pritesh: Currently we work with about 500 influencers that have a lot of visibility, and we host roughly 20,000 active users daily, from India. Typically we run about 20 games per day, and we’re working to scale that to 100 per day. MongoDB: What does your tech stack consist of? Pritesh: The app is built in React Native, and the back end is Node.js. Then of course for a database we use MongoDB. MongoDB was a very clear choice for us. From a professional standpoint, as an early-stage startup, you don’t know what your product will eventually turn into, right? How will it evolve in the next six months or a year? So it’s difficult to stick to a schema. Therefore, you need a lot of flexibility. Because of our need for flexibility, SQL was out of the question, so we needed to go with NoSQL. Once we decided on NoSQL, MongoDB became the obvious choice because of the community support and documentation. As a founder, I believe in really fast execution and putting your product out there, rather than waiting for a pitch-perfect product. And that demands a lot of flexibility from the business, product, and tech sides, because we need to be able to make immediate changes based on the features that are demanded and that catch the users’ attention. With MongoDB, we are able to try a lot of product variations or tweaks very quickly. MongoDB: As you've scaled, is there a particular MongoDB feature you've benefited the most from? Pritesh: There are a few features of MongoDB Atlas that have benefitted us a lot. One is the performance metrics. It’s really really amazing, actually. You can get a very clear picture of the state of your database in a single snapshot. It helps you buy time to focus on shipping your core product and the technology behind it. It removes your focus on database management and cluster management and just does it for you right out of the box. Also, Atlas handles all of the sharding and scaling. And something that I didn’t foresee but found very useful is its scalability. Startups tend to start at a scale where the free version of any cloud product would be good enough, right? But then you quickly move into a very different kind of need and scale. It just keeps on changing! Atlas gives us that flexibility to scale up really quickly with a very minimal amount of effort. MongoDB: Have you used any of the MongoDB for Startups services? Pritesh: Yes! We had a session with a technical advisor. I found it really helpful for addressing the key features we are launching in the future, and the main challenges we are going to face when building them. I was able to discuss those and was very satisfied. The session was really good for us. MongoDB: Who is the most well-known celebrity to have hosted a game so far on FanPlay? Pritesh: The comedian Kumar Varun ! MongoDB: Who is your favorite TV or game show host? Pritesh: Amitabh Bachchan , who is a household name in India for his acting and for his role as host of Kaun Banega Crorepati (India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire). MongoDB: What is your favorite podcast or blog? Pritesh: The InfoQ Podcast . It goes deep into how organizations build challenging tech products. Looking to build something cool? Get started with the MongoDB for Startups program.