vasu.nagalingam.blog

are we all authors, or are we just humans?

Tech stack for a startup

Over the last few days, I have immersed myself in development technologies. I spent my first 10 years of professional life being a total tech geek. And even after making the move into product management, I have maintained my touch with the tech world. I find that my ability to inherently assess the technology evolution means I am better positioned to do my product management functions-  leveraging technology to create new competitive differentiators and businesses.

The last couple of years, while I have peripherally kept abreast of some of the technology evolution but really did not have time to roll up my sleeves and play. What has astonished me is the explosion of languages, web frameworks and tools that are targeted at solving specific problems.

  • Frameworks: Lift, Django, Tornado, Sinatra, several new Javascript frameworks- node.js, knockoutjs, underscore.js, now.js, Heroku, Google Closure Tools, etc.
  • Servers/Proxy Layers: nginx, Jetty, ELB, HAProxy, Thin, Unicorn
  • And several different tools that perform queuing, monitoring, reporting, automated testing, etc.

A decade ago, there were two dominant technology stacks- J2EE or .NET. Today, the technology stack you need to create an agile company that rocks, will resemble a best of breed component based architecture.

For entrepreneurs looking to create things, it has never been a better time. The speed of “creation” has become so incredibly fast! And for those CTOs out there, it is important to pick a tech stack that provides the right balance of speed, availability of resources (employees) who can build in it, and the confidence that the components within the stack will continuously evolve.

So, below is my preferred tech stack at this moment, and I will continuously evolve it as my need changes:

  • UI Layer: 960.gs, jQuery/Javascript
  • Web Frameworks: Django (Python)
  • Search: Solr
  • Server Layer: Apache + nginx
  • Database: MySQL
  • Hosting: Amazon EC2
  • Internal development infrastructure: Ubuntu Linux 10.10, Eclipse IDE, PyDev, Bugzilla, Mylyn, Apache + mod_wsgi, MySQL + WorkBench

One angle that is definitely missing is the HTML5/mobile. I am still researching my options. Suggestions?

Time to move on…

Yes, it has been nearly 5 years at Monster for me. it was something that started as a consultancy to strategize and build a set of eCom solutions, and went onto leading an innovation team responsible to re-imagine Monster’s consumer engagement to social (barely at best) and to mobile (super successful). Along the way, I became the face of Monster, globally. I also got the privilege of being on the famed balcony when Monster went public on the NYSE stock exchange. And, the distinction of meeting Seth Myers, Sarah Silverman and Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe on Friends) at the Webby awards. That reminds me, I want to make it back there!

Could not have accomplished all of this without the people who believed in me, present and past at Monster, and of course the  management. Special thanks to Louis Gagnon, the crazy Canadian, who hired me into the Global Innovation Group. Puneet Bhasin, who brought me in as a consultant so that Louis can ‘poach’ me! ;-) The countless number of people across so many departments within the company and the regional/european offices; Garrett Tight; Pablo Sanchez and Rick Castanho; the always-under-immense-pressure development team led by Jason Luce, Ilya Shubik and John Hayward! J Kinsella is a hoot to work with, even when he is half the world away. Along the way, as a team, we accomplished a lot, but missed the boat in a few areas. Monster should have defined and led what social recruiting was. But, more importantly, Monster is very well positioned to define what mobile recruitment is; or rather, the next generation of recruitment- social and mobile (or rather, portable, highly capable, internet enabled ubiquitous ‘devices’)  have become interwoven in the fabric of our every day life that we no longer look at them as silos of “social” and “mobile”. This is the next generation of Internet where the Internet is a device independent social platform.

As for me, a few weeks of “sabbatical”  as I investigate new challenges and opportunities. And hopefully, regular postings on my blog!

Launch of Monster Redux with Vasu Nagalingam

Google TV – I got one

Google had a promotion to give away 10,000 Logitech Revue boxes with Google TV. When I put my name on, the last thing I expected was to be lucky and get one. I was fully planning to buy that device soon. BUT, to my utter surprise, I received an email last night informing me that I has ‘won’ the device as part of the Google giveaway!

Yeah!!!

Now, off to start building an app for it. Except, I cannot find the tech information for it. Anyone who can help?

Job search tools: the Monster iPhone app

So, for my first post via the WordPress iPad app, I am going to keep it small and talk about the launch of an iPhone app by Monster.

There has been other job search apps on the AppStore for awhile. These apps have an average rating, which seems par for course. One thing for sure- the overall mobile traffic is finally starting to spike up. I don’t think it is still up there in volume for a job search and candidate sourcing point of view but definitely starting to get noticed. So, looks like the timing is right for a new job search app provider on the AppStore.

Click here to learn more about the Monster iPhone app.
To download the app, go to the Appstore and search for “monster.com”.

Clearly not an avid author…

… considering my last post was nearly an year ago, I am not a writer as much as a reader. ! ;-)

Taking a day off from work, I realize it is 2 years since Monster.com listed on NYSE, giving me an opportunity to go to Wall Street and the Exchange.  Standing on that balcony as our CEO “rang the bell”, it was an amazing feeling. The morning started with a breakfast with Chairman of  NYSE in a room where the first trades were conducted decades ago. About 20 minutes before opening bell, we were ushered up to the balcony where a fixed camera fed video to the main TV channels (MSNBC, Bloomberg, etc). 30 seconds before start, we all started clapping and as the timer  winded down to 0, our CEO hit a button which made the “bell ringing” sound! Yes, even the bell is electronic at the Exchange.

Vasu Nagalingam on the NYSE balcony when Monster was listed on NYSE

I am thankful to the Monster executive management for giving this opportunity. Almost everyone on the balcony except the CEO and CFO, were non-exec employees, though the senior EVPs and SVPs were there on that day (they were on the trading floor below). Monster choose to highlight and present its employees the opportunity to be on the balcony on this historic day!!!  If I find more pictures, I will post them here.

Product managers – are you prepared for your interview?

Lately, I have been interviewing several candidates for product management positions at my company. What stuns me is the lack of preparedness when they come in for the interview. After all, these candidates are interviewing to be a product manager, where, they may be taking ownership of one or more products on a global scale!

Product manager interviews are significantly different to a software engineer interview. During the interviews, product managers need to exhibit qualities that generate confidence to the hiring manager and by virtue, to the company, that their (revenue generating) products are in good hands of a competent innovative thinker. While most product managers do research to manage their products, a surprising number of them do not do adequate research to land that job!

Over the next few weeks, I will provide a list of 5 areas that candidates should be well prepared before they go into an interview.

1 – Learn about the company

It is amazing how little research candidates do beyond a simple Google search on the company and their latest news. Knowing “I heard you recently brought John onboard as the VP of Marketing” is not going to cut. What you need to prepare for is this question- What do you know about us?

Ask the following questions –

  • What market (industry) space is the company in?
  • What broad market trends that impact that market space? Technology drivers? Competition?
  • As a result of these drivers, what is the biggest business problem faced by the company?
  • And, what is the biggest opportunity?
  • Who are the competition, market share and growth?

Use any sources you have- Google, eMarketer, Gartner reports, etc. Use LinkedIn to find people who work in the same company or in the same industry (competitors) and read their blogs to learn more about the space. Demonstrate innovativeness by conceptualizing potential solutions that can increase the value proposition of the company. Be ready to discuss all of these points during the interview, including how the company itself is planning to tackle these drivers. Prepare the list of questions to ask when that proverbial “do you have any questions for me?” segment.

Remember – you may not be required to establish broad corporate strategy or even product strategy. But being able to show that you have the ability research and absorb new markets will go a long way to generating confidence in yourself and your interviewers.

Welcome to my blog

I am Vasu Nagalingam. On this blog, I plan to cover the following topics:

  • Internet trends and its impacts on online companies
  • Technology trends and opportunities
  • User experience
  • Recruitment topics
  • Internet companies, both mature and start ups

My background is from Internet and Telecom, especially Mobile. I currently work at Monster focusing on Monster’s Consumer platform across our global properties. One important thing to note is that my blog is entirely my own opinion and is not intended to reflect that of my employer, Monster, even when the topics are about recruitment.

Comments are welcome, of course.

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