In conversation with Can Duruk, CTO of Felt

Kshitij Grover

On the latest episode of the Tractable podcast, cofounder and CTO of Orb, Kshitij Grover, sits down with Can Duruk, co-founder and CTO of Felt, the world's first collaborative mapping tool. From the technical complexities of map rendering to the broad-reaching impact of their software, this episode highlights how Felt has changed the way we visualize and utilize geographic data. Join us as Can shares the intricate world of mapping, the origins of Felt, and the diverse applications of their platform across industries.

Kshitij Grover [00:00:04]:
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Tractable podcast. I'm Kshitij, cofounder and CTO here at Orb. Today, I have with me Can. Can is the cofounder and CTO of Felt, which is a platform for making maps. Teams use Felt to make all sorts of maps, whether it's understanding weather patterns, graphing communities for environmental investigative work, or even in the software world for mapping out sales charts. So I certainly know I have a lot to learn about this world, so I'm very excited to dive in. Welcome to the show!

Can Duruk [00:00:34]:
Hello. Excited to be here.

Kshitij Grover [00:00:37]:
I definitely wanna talk a lot about Felt and the technical problems, but tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get into the maps world, and how does it relate to kind of the previous places you might have worked?

Can Duruk [00:00:50]:
Yeah. Sure, so my name is Can, spelled C-A-N. I'm Turkish originally. So, I came to the States almost 2 decades ago for college, ended up staying. And then since 2010, I've been in the Bay Area working in various different software companies. I worked in the past decade, almost 2 decades now, in a social media company called Digg, kind of a precursor of Reddit. I was there for a bit.

Can Duruk [00:01:14]:
I worked in a file systems kind of company, then I worked at Uber, for a few years then decided to take some time from the Bay Area, came back, and late 2020 started Felt with my co-founder and close friend Sam. How we got into mapping is two ways: Sam's previous company, Sam was the CEO or cofounder of a company called Remix, which you can think of as like Sim City but in real life. So he ran that company for 5 years and he got acquired. Sam was working on that space, transit planning software. if you've taken like public transit in most of the modern world, it's probably designed in Remix.

Can Duruk [00:01:52]:
We see people are using Remix's tools a lot to do stuff that is not transit planning. Or it's just you could once you make maps, it's like a computable, shareable, collaborative platform, turns out people wanna do a lot of stuff with them.

Can Duruk [00:02:08]:
But he is always thinking about that. I was at Uber for a little over like 2 years. So Uber, one of the obvious reasons for Uber is that Uber is not just automatically balancing equilibrium marketplace, there's a lot of internal tools and I would say a good chunk of those internal tools are like mapping tools. I was exposed to a lot of this “oh yeah, this kind of mapping, like model this city this way, model that city that way." So I was exposed to a lot of these mapping tools. So late 2020, both Sam and I were sort of like free agents. We were talking about some ideas we could work on together.

Can Duruk [00:02:48]:
And it was also almost like a distillation of a couple ideas: we wanted to work in climate, you wanted to work in air quality, all this kind of stuff. It's like you just constantly look at maps. You might remember those like orange sky days, COVID. So constantly looking at maps, we're all okay, like remove everything from this. Like why are maps so hard to make? So that was sort of like the idea. We're oh, yeah, we've done this before. I built mapping stuff.

Can Duruk [00:03:15]:
I was exposed to mapping stuff. It's not “that hard." So we're okay, let's just build a mapping software because we know that everyone and their father and mother uses them, like energy, sales territory, newspapers. Anyone that you can think of is looking at a map at some point in their days. So we're “Oh, yeah. Let's just make mapping like the first class that is on the web." So that's how the idea came around.

Full transcript here.

April 15, 2024

Ready to solve billing?

Contact us to learn how you can revamp your billing infrastructure today.

Let's talk.

Thank you! We'll be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.