podcast March 10, 2020

Podcast: A chat with MongoDB’s CTO, Eliot Horowitz

A small group of four people wrote the code that kicked off what is now a massive business. Hear the story from CTO Eliot Horowitz.
Avatar for Ben Popper
Director of Content

This week we spoke with Eliot Horowitz, co-founder and CTO of MongoDB, about the inspiration for building a new kind of database, what the chief technical officer of a mid-sized public corporation actually does all day, and how the company is evolving in the cloud services era.

Sara reveals that she won a $500 gift card at a MongoDB hackathon, building an app that removed mustaches from people’s pictures.  This was many years ago, and no we were not paid in JetBlue gift cards to have Eliot on the show, although MongoDB is a client of Stack Overflow in other areas.

Mongo comes from humongous, cause, ya know, scale. That, plus HumongousDB.com was already taken and is a real mouthful to say. 

Eliot talks about the frustrations he and his co-founder, Dwight Merriman, experienced while working together at DoubleClick and ShopWiki. DoubleClick began as a New York City ad tech company and evolved into the heart of Google’s real-time ad business after being acquired. 

Frustrations with the database systems available at both these companies led the pair to decide it was time for a better mousetrap. Today, MongoDB is a public company  worth north of $7 billion and a staff of over 1900 people.

We chat about why relational databases are still the core of computer science education in high school and college across the United States, and whether or not this will ever change. 

During the show we skimmed some of the latest questions on Stack Overflow related to Mongo. Eliot took it back to his team and Tom Hollander, the PM for Mongo’s chart product, delivered a great answer! Can you believe this website is free?

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