In conversation with Uma Chingunde, VPE at Render

Kshitij Grover

In this episode of Tractable, Kshitij Grover sits down with guest Uma Chingunde, VP of Engineering at Render, to explore the intricacies of managing and optimizing complex technical platforms. Uma delves into the importance of constant investment in AI to ensure reliability and staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of technology. The discussion also digs into the necessity of transparency and communication during critical incidents, emphasizing a blameless approach and the impact of decision-making on key operational changes. Uncover the challenges and strategies involved in running mission-critical workloads, the value of developer experience, and the intricate balance of serving different user segments in this episode. And, tune in for a deep dive into the world of technical platform management and the thought processes behind significant decisions.

Kshitij Grover [00:00:04]:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Tractable. I'm Kshitij, cofounder and CTO here at Orb. Today, I have with me Uma, who's the VP of engineering at Render. Render is a platform that helps you build, deploy, and scale applications across a broad range of technical stacks and services. Render is used by companies like Equal, Readme, Felt, and a ton of other start-ups. So to give Uma a little bit of an introduction, Uma has a ton of experience in AI environments and previously helped to scale, internal compute, and runtime at Stripe in a period of growth for the company both in terms of usage and headcount. So lots and lots of experience to draw, and really excited to have Uma here.

Uma Chingunde [00:00:41]:
Thanks so much for having me.

Kshitij Grover [00:00:44]:
Well, maybe before we dive into technical details, which I'm sure will be the meat of our conversation, tell me a little bit about Render today. Obviously, you spend a lot of time on the engineering side, but if we just talk about the core thesis of the company, how would you frame that?

Uma Chingunde [00:01:02]:
The core thesis is really what you touched on. We try to be a modern cloud for developers. So, you know, it's like we're gonna be the cloud for developers and then the right question is, which how is that different from what already exists? And the key here is we want to abstract away everything that developers don't want to worry about and focus on the core development experience. So all the underlying infrastructure, all the undifferentiated toil, we take that away. We wanna provide a true platform as a service. So that's the core value of Render.

Kshitij Grover [00:01:38]:
Yeah. And I'm sure that a lot of the inspiration for that thesis, at least in your journey, comes from having seen companies like Stripe or, previous experiences where engineers did have to endure a lot of toil, and then inevitably companies will spin up internal platform teams that focus on that and try to abstract away parts of the, maybe, build process or deployment process or, even debugging process from them. Are there specific things where you feel like, Render does a really good job or even just specific pain points where you feel like, that toil continues to show up and there's an opportunity to really get at it?

Uma Chingunde [00:02:21]:
Yeah. The core thesis, the way I think of it is what developers want is a workflow versus what cloud providers provide our resources. So we are bridging that key gap between what cloud providers are providing is, like, here's compute, here's data, here's storage networking, go build something with it. But what developers want is a workflow that they want to be able to bring their GitHub account and push it and have it live. And so we're abstracting that away. So the key difference is we're taking a bunch of resources and making them available as workflows. So the key workflow that a developer wants and needs, and that's similarity.

View the full transcript here.

March 12, 2024

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