As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Todd Greene. Todd is the CEO and co-founder of PubNub, an Internet infrastructure company that delivers realtime technology into the apps and products you use everyday. Todd started his career as a management consultant at PwC, and soon after, transitioned to the world of Silicon Valley startups. With a focus on unlocking new markets with Internet-based software, Todd has found success launching and leading companies delivering business, consumer, and tech infrastructure products. Prior to founding PubNub, Todd created Loyalize to deliver realtime mobile experiences to TV viewers that synchronized with live broadcasts, a company acquired by the owner of American Idol. Prior to that, Todd founded CascadeWorks (now part of NASDAQ: UPWK), which invented a new way for large companies to onboard and manage their consultants.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been fascinated by computers, going back to 5th grade when a kid in class brought his old Commodore Vic 20 to show-and-tell. Since then, I’ve always had a passion for figuring out what things I could create out of thin air, with just a head full of crazy ideas and a keyboard.
I discovered the Internet early in college, pre-web days, in about 1991. In fact, I recently found an archive of my first Usenet posts (a pre-web global discussion forum) from 1992, which pretty much illustrated what I was passionate about back then: emulating a Mac on my Amiga computer, and playing guitars. Not much has changed since: I still play guitar, and for those geeks out there, I now run Virtualbox on my Mac to emulate Windows and Linux.
From early on, I always had tons of cool new ideas. In fact, in college I remember often saying: “Wow, this Internet thing is amazing. If you could only use a mouse to click, and if it had pictures, my mom could use it!” But I never considered actually starting a company or creating a product. And then, the browser was invented, and Marc Andreessen launched Netscape. The web exploded, and I realized for the first time that I didn’t want to be saying “I thought…