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PubNub Lets Developers Connect With the World in Real-time

I interviewed Stephen Blum, the founder & CTO of PubNub, a San Francisco-based startup that offers real-time messaging system for apps.

Me: What is PubNub all about? What are you trying to accomplish?

Stephen: Our goal is to connect everyone on earth in less then 1/4 of a second by providing a global, highly-scalable messaging fabric for developers who are adding real-time user participation and interactions into mobile, web and desktop applications.

PubNub is enabling a fundamental change in the way humans interact online. For the first time in human history, we can be connected to everyone else in the world with less than a quarter second latency; in other words, all can be connected in “real-time”. Yet our online experiences are barely beginning to catch up with that fact.

Until now, only companies who invest millions in building proprietary real-time technology can build real-time apps like Skype, World of Warcraft, WebEx, real-time financials apps, and SecondLife.

PubNub democratizes the ability for every software developer to add massively multi-user experiences to the apps and websites they develop.

PubNub is a cloud service so there is no operational expertise required and zero system management effort. Developers simply connect their apps to PubNub and we take care of the rest—monitoring and managing the servers, networks, security and administration.

We ensure the scalability and reliability of the service and provide our customers with a guaranteed service level.

Me: Who is your target audience / users that can benefit from using PubNub?

Stephen: Our users are developers building or upgrading apps that need to synchronize data in real-time. PubNub delivers massively multi-user app capabilities to mobile and web games, business collaboration apps, social media experiences, and multi-user audio and video apps and sites.

PubNub supports every popular development environment, including iOS, Android, Javascript, Flash, Silverlight, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Erlang, and .NET, to name a few.

Some examples include “Social TV” apps that want to synchronize a live TV show with every phone and tablet simultaneously, multi-player games that synchronize players’ positions via PubNub, and real-time video, audio, image collaboration and sharing apps.

PubNub allows developers to bring their real-time solutions to market much faster and at much lower costs by providing a fully managed, global and scalable real-time messaging infrastructure.

Me: What feedback have you received so far?

Stephen: We have great feedback from our customers and the press. Here are a few examples.

  • SpikeTV integrated real-time poll results…This dynamic approach helped edge out CBS social TV Juggernaut Survivor. – Mashable, Oct, 6, 2011
  • PubNub is amazingly quick, getting as close to real-time as the web gets.  –  ReadWriteWeb, Nov 14, 2011
  • …You guys made an amazing system, I’m your #1 fan, and I speak about you every chance I get.  –  Lior Frankel, CTO of Simplified-Networks

Me: What has been your proudest accomplishment launching PubNub?

Stephen: I get excited everyday that I look at the number of customers who are depending on PubNub to power their apps.

It is exciting to see our cloud infrastructure used to power their apps for brands like: 20th Century Fox’s Titanic 3D Launch and Spike TV’s Second Screen TV app.

PubNub is used for everything including Mobile Sync dropbox-like apps to skype-like phone signaling apps (making your phone ring) and massive audience apps that power prime time television.

Me: What are your future plans for PubNub? What can users expect moving forward?

Stephen: There are some exciting products and services on our immediate road-map, all of which are under wraps for now. More immediately, we are focused on continuing to provide amazing customer “real-time” support, and ensuring we’re embedded and integrated into every popular development framework on the market.

Stephen is the founder and CTO of PubNub. Stephen’s vision and strong technical chops drove the initial architecture of PubNub, building a core engine that has successfully scaled to some of the largest real-time deployments in the world.

Stephen has been a successful software entrepreneur his whole life, starting his first company, LTSun, at age 17, and joining Microsoft after its acquisition. Stephen was the chief architect for, a 50-language social recommendations site that grew to over 1 million users across over 100 countries.


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