Building & Managing a Multi-Cloud Platform Deployment w/ Nadim Habr


Building a multi-cloud platform is no easy feat. Learn how Nadim Habr, CEO at Designhubz, is partnering with the large cloud providers to deliver its AR solution to some of the largest retailers in the world.

Nadim joins the show to discuss:

  • The impact of the pandemic on retail and e-commerce
  • Why focusing on partnerships, distribution and the customer are the keys to Designhubz’ success
  • How Designhubz tackled the challenges of multi-cloud platform deployment and how it has helped them deliver unique value to its customers

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You are listening to applicationmodernization, a show that spotlights the forward thinking, leaders of HighGros software companies from scaling applications and accelerating time tomarket, to avoiding expensive license and costs. we discuss how you caninnovate with new technology and forward thinking processes and savesome cash in the process. Let's get into it. Welcome to application modernizationtoday, we're talking to nadiae about building and managing a multi cloudplatform deployment. The DAM IS CO at design hugs, a three D, a R N v Rplatform that helps retailers create a better online experience in thisepisode, we'll talk about building partnerships with cloud providers andwhy he needed to redesign his infrastructure to facilitate growth.Here we go without guest the deem Haba Hi Adam hubba welcome to applicationmodernization heros. How are you thank you very much for having me it's apleasure to be here. Yeah we're excited to spend the next said, half an hour orso learning a little bit more about your story. Your journey. Can you kickus off by telling us a little bit more about yourself design hubs in theproblem that you're solving yeah sure? So a brief background by myself. I havea mechanical enduring degree, I'm actually a Lebanese moved to the USback in two thousand and thirteen after getting my mechanical and during degree,I got my automotive degree in the US then worked for Mercedes USA for, likeI would say, six months that was in Los Angeles. I then left came back toLabonia t my first venture around the end of two thousand and thirteen, andthat was actually we were trying to build the first electric super cour andthe Mina. That was the actual project, but the front end of this venture waswhere we had actually a workshop for high and cars, and super cours wereused to do all types of customize and and doing control on at programming,and you know just getting revenues from that venture and fund our ElectricSuper Court project. We were profitable since the first month, but we couldn'ttrace, unfortunately, a substantial amount of money to find oursupercarrier so and the you know there was a bit of instability and the region,so we ended up selling to a competitor, and then I moved to the AE where Iworked for four years in oiland gas closed several, like multi milliondollar deals with the Ol angas giants and led the team of more than a hundredpeople. But during that tenure I always was passionate about technology, and Ihad so many different projects: side projects, tack related like thebuilding software and hardware, to solve, like real actual grate problems.The last side project ended up actually being design a so yeah. That's a bitabout myself. So you were, you were building electric vehicles ten yearsahead of the game, Huh yeah, I think so,...

...but the didn't work out there. I youwere leading leading from the front, so tell us a little bit more about designhubs. What category does it compete in? What does it do? Help US understandsure. So I'm guaranty, the founder and Co of design hobs design hubs is backedby two of the top accelerators. I would say US based, namely we're back by textstars and we're part of five hundred startups and Google for startups o whatwe do as we enable, or we empower any e commerce website, or up with three Dand virtual try on augmented reality visualization with an AIrecommendations, engine that enables the hyper personalized shopping,experience with size, detection, fit and product recommendation. Wecurrently have four core technologies, the first one as our special ar whereyou can place any product in your own space, such as furniture, homeappliances or its any type of product, our second technology or our secondsoftware is our troy on make up a or where you can try any makeup productwith it with the recommendation engine as well integrated in it. We also haveour try on I R, a R for anything related to I wear and finally, ourtrying on foot were or for like sneakers shoes, any any other. You knowfootware product. So these are our four court technologies that that wecurrently offer. We also have global partnerships from fortune, one thousandcompanies to Fortune five hundred companies and top teor technologycompanies such as Microsoft, Oracle Sat Master Card and so on. We work withsome of the largest brands across the globe and, like idea, is one of them:Tatalicoya largest luxury e commerce market place in India, they're also oneof our customers and were engaged with some of the largest retailers in the USas well, such as Seca whole more target and many more yeah. It's a veryexciting space to be in. I you know. I really subscribe to this theory thatthe pandemic has accelerated e commerceby. You know eight to ten yearsin the last. You know twelve months, and you know, as these e commerce orretailers want to sort of try and compete and create great experiencesthree day technology plays or plays a role in that. How have you found thelast twelve months for your business and what are you hearing from customerswith respect to you know using three De to create better experiences? YeahGreat Question Ros so at the start like spot on, actually the pandemicdrastically accelerated the Gita transformation and shifted consumerbehavior. You know and pushed us, as you were saying, like five to eightyears in the future. What we have seen is at the start of the pandemic. Youknow there was a freeze. Everybody went into a panic mode. There was literallynothing happening. Everybody was panicked with a complete panic and asto remember these days about after, like three four months of of you knowgetting out of the panic mode and...

...realizing that there are so manyopportunities out there and- and this big, I would say down, turn theystarted to realize the importance of on and shopping and of e commerce. And youknow what are the major problems or the major concerns of any e commercebusiness. It's mainly conversions. So, what's your conversion rate, how manypeople would actually go to your website and actually end up buying andthen a second problem which is like really big for e commerce platforms isthe return rate so usually how many customers actually are going to buy andthen return the product because of it's not the way they bought it. The imagedoesn't describe the actual, how the actual product looks like there is nofit the size, isn't correct again. So many different, I would say things thatare- are wrong and the product, because you don't have the. I would say thatyou don't have enough data to make an informed decision a while buying theproduct and just to give you some numbers and some regions. There arethird, like the return rates of the products are more than thirty percent.So what you? What you also call free returns like when you, when you buysomething I say from Amazon, and you return it it's free for you, but thisis actually costing Amazon a lot of money and that reached two thousand andtwenty. When there was a complete spike and an exponential increase and ecommerce usage that reached like north of five hundred billion dollars. Thatwas the cost of free returns for US as consumers. It was free but accosted theonline retail market around five hundred billion dollars, and that'slike tremendous, that's huge. So this is where we come in at design hobs tosolve. Like these two main, I would say key problems for any e commerce player.So with Three D and a R, what does it do you want to integrate three D andaugmented reality and to your comic platform, be it on the website or onthe up. We provide a complete three dividual ization of the products and weenable the online shoppers to virtually try on the product, such as, forexample, try on the make up or try on Iwar or placing the furniture in theirown space and a very seamless way without downloading any additional upor any additional software just from any browser or any device, with the topof a button. You'll be able to virtually try on the product, see thefifth see how it actually looks on you and then make a much more informeddecisions, because you are able to really understand what you are buyingand assess if this product is going to look good on you and if it's going tofit you or if it's a furniture fit and your own space and how it's going tolook in your own space. So, having said that, like we're, really solving thesetwo problems and removing the doubt from online choppers yeah, I thinkthat's you know for me personally, you know buying see sunglasses online. Youknow trying to find a pair that fits my face or looks you know snazzy. You know,I think it would be quite difficult, so you know this type of technology. I cansee helping to you, know, streamline that purchase and create a betterexperience and then, to your point,...

...solve that problem of return rates.Well, we spoke prior to to jumping on today about your you know your go tomarket and how you're sort of reaching some of these big retailers and youshed light on your strategy around building partnerships with the cloudproviders. Can you share a little bit more about you know what you're doingwith the clap provides? Why you've taken this approach and how it'shelping you reach customers yeah, definitely something before I jump intothat, and this is for, I would say, first time, founders. I consider myselfa first time founder, but that's something that I learned. So I wouldsay during the the the hard way they say. First Time founders focus onproduct. Second time, founders, focus on distribution and the distribution. I,like it's really one of the most important and crucial part and Rin anddeploying your technology and making it scale of because without distributionyour product doesn't Eveni like. Is that going anywhere just going to saywhere it is and at the end of the day, most important, like you're a NorthStar, if you're a bit to be Sass or if you are mainly any salts or be to ctalking here about not biotech? For example, your North Star as a start up,is always revenue. So yeah, I would say, like distribution, is extremely crucialand important. Now to answer your question about partnerships. Yes, wefound that there is a huge advantages of of establishing partnerships withglobal brands and, with you know, a top ter technology companies, because thisis how they're going to enable us to scale across different markets andacross the front industries and R and categories, and we have actuallydeployed across platform across platform. I would say, deployment thatworks across any cloud. An order to establish these partnerships and beable, you know to to Co, send our software to our out to our partners.Customers across across different geographies, so we have seenopportunity there and we are leveraging it and again it's it's not easy, as itsounds like the ploy across platform infrastructure. But yes, we reallyfocused on doing that, because the opportunity we had this opportunity andreally wanted to tackle it so yeah, that's what I was one of the mainthings that we already focused on. The other thing is really a channelpartnerships and also you know, having a very good, I would say, social mediastrategy from so to enabling customers to find you easily and establishing abrand for yourself. And then you know you know just focusing on on that other,like on these categories, so co selling with these clab providers for theaudience. That is a little unfamiliar with this motion. What it means is soof striking up a partnership with, say, Microsoft, Azure and then building ouryour platform on Azure and then sort of going to market with the azuresellers and inside, as is market place,... design hubs. Could you know, providean application or an offering inside the market place? And then customerslike Walmart can you know, find it and then it streams lines the you know picprocess and Stream Lines d. You know ability, for you know, Walmart toengage with design hubs. Have I got that right there? The deem is that sortof the motion and what you're working with say as you're in others, with YeahYeah? Definitely so this is basically it we just let say before withMicrosoft, Asia we have Wewe, have an up on the market place, and thencompanies and corporations are able to find us on that market place and engagewith us and engage in a co signing partnership with them. Yep Yeah, hegets a very smart move, as these corporations start spending and justreally using these clap providers more and more, it makes it easy for them toconsume new applications because they've already got all their. You knowpeople work with Azure or as or whoever so tell us about the process that youtook with redesigning your infrastructure to support this go tomarket. So you know, you told me earlier that you had just you know yourapplication running in one platform. Now you had to shift to run it inmultiple clouds and then manage it in multiple clouds to enable this go tomarket. Why did you do this? What challenges did you run into? I'm reallyinterested to hear how you approach this move. Yeah. As you mentioned,there are tremendous challenges you know, while so, first before taking baddecisions, we were faced with all these challenges and how we are on how we'regoing to present or who are we going to deploy a multi cloud and truststructure, and we were aware that it's going to it's not going to be somethingeasy and it's going to be challenging. But having said that, we tried tocreate an intrastate that actually would share the main component acrossall these cloud providers as a core so having a core infrastructure thatshares services present across all these clouds, I would say providers anddeploy that, and you know just make minor Atura to curate to that specificcloud. So that was a strategy. Of course. There's a there's a lot moremaintenance, there's a lot more. You know always refactory code, and youknow like it's kind of it's a hectic part for our tech team, but again we'revery much focused on the business side of it, and we believe that technicalshould always follow the business, because business is what's going tomake the technical people work, not the other way around so having a greatproduct but not having it in the market. I care not going to go anywhere. Thecompany is going to die, so you start with the business. You start with acustomer with a laser focus on your customers, and then you make sure thatthe customers is worth going to Chanot your vision and the whole company wouldfollow wherever the customer would take you. So I really we had that sin inthat sense, our you know our complete...

...laser focus on customers so having thecustomers as the starting point and the and destination. So how did youdetermine like which clad providers to focus on? First? Was this customer likewhere customers asking for it to run on Azure or run on aws? How did you makethose decisions yeah? To be honest, not not because of customers? It wasspecifically due to the network we had back in my network. I had connectionsand different top theor technology companies and all these technologycompanies actually had a start up programs from text stars. We met. Weactually went into Microsoft, ware startups directly during Tact Starsbefore that we report of Oracle for startups, and you know just expandingyour net work meeting different stakeholders doing these introductions,so we decided from their how the partnerships would make sense when wesee a customer very important customers of hours on a specific cloud provider.Let's say: EXAMPLE ITA on Microsoft, to take us, I would say a month, or evenlast, like two weeks to to get in touch with it at ro, Microsoft versus sixmonths to a year. If we get the chance to doing it alone, and sometimes youwon't, we don't have the chance to do it. So that's the how that was the keydecisions after you know. First, filtering the customers that we needand knowing where they fit and on which cloud provider they work with, and thenyou know tackling tackling that problem. From from that perspective, right,that's that's a really good example, so you able to shrink your you know. Thetime it took to you know reach your customers by leveraging Microsoft tothe ecosystem. You know from maybe months two weeks right, yeah, wow, okay,so thinking about sort of managing this multi cloud platform deployment likewhat's what are the technologies that you're using to you know create some ofthat sort of consistency and make it a little easier to manage right. So I'mnot like I'm not purely into the technical aspect of the integration,but I'm aware of our intra structure and how things would actually work. Ican say like the core. I services that we're currently using an order toachieve that is like Kukuburi Tis, we're really happy on that, becausethey are able to curate across different clouds and you are able to toand he with with this or with these services, we are able to have an intrastructure. That is highly scalable and highly available and at the end of thean end of the day, that's very much important because we integrate andencommoned platforms and sometimes the load is tremendous on our servers andwe just need to have an infrastructure, that's highly available and highlyscalable at any point in time, but at the same time not drain us and not thatcosting us. You know a tremendous amount of... cost like so that that's a verytricky part here and we really needed to take that into consideration as well.Yeah Yeah, certainly so what advice do you have for for other leaders at ahigh growth software companies? You know you've got some interestingexperience with building these partnerships to playing this multicloud platform. If you could sort of list one or two pieces of advice, whatwould it be for for others right? The first one would be baser focus on yourcustomers. There you're again they are your starting point and your enddestination. So customer focus number one number two is actually distributionand make sure that you are scaling up and having the right channels doubledown on the distribution channels that are giving you a wins and make surethat you are establishing a clear go to market strategy, because skating is themost important aspect. Scanning of actually is a most important aspect,and this is what going to give you traction, and this is what going togive you even more customers and and revenue and investors and grow thecompany. So the customers number one number two is distribution channels andscanning great words of advice and my last question: Where do you see designhubs in five years time? What's your vision for the company and maybe eventhe market right so basically Ross at the stage? We are seeing a tremendousshift to augmented duality across different categories like there's atremendous adoption as well so bigger big brands, and even big and smallbrands are really moving towards augmente duality and, I would say in avery, very aggressive way, be it not just an e commerce, but also aneducation and manufacturing and and training, and many different categoriesface book and apple are working on their ar glasses. I like a R, is it'snot like if a or was the future a or is the future a or is is what is going tobridge? These virtual realities are like reality with the with the I e. Thereal word with the virtual realities, so ar is huge and we're very, verybullish on ar so we actually started on like developing our product. For me tobe, we got a lot of you know, feedback to enhance our product. We and wecontinuously do that always listen to our customers. The vision would beusing that technology and penetrating again not shifting the focus from be tobe, but using all the learnings that we have, that you have acquired andshifting opening the bits channel using these immersive technologies andcreating a new interface for for e commerce, again not to someone butbringing bringing the the. I would say,...

...the shoppers to exper experience thesetechnologies through design, hobs and completing the purchase somewhere else.Probably that's one aspect and a second aspect that we're working on issomething related to Cryptocaria and, and you know the new hype of NFD. Sothis is another thing that we're were also hopefully going to read on. Sothese are the two initiatives that for not a very long term, but that thethese are two in sit ive that actually we're going to deploy pretty prettysoon, and I hope you'll hear the news once we can. You share anything aboutthe crypto play at the stage. I'm afraid it's still a bit confidential.To be honest because we're like it's a very critical subject but for sure,once we go alive I'll. Definitely let you know about it, Rinde is thereanything else that we haven't talked about. That you know would be useful toshare with leaders and high growth software companies. I mean these werethe main main things that I really wanted to touch upon. One last thing isnever give up so rule corse to ride very tough. Sometimes you find yourselflike. Sometimes they find yourself like really nailing it and then in the nextfive minutes here on the ground. So and it's continuous, it's really continuous,there's, always a very, very high levels of stress, so yeah never give up,and you know just always pursue your vision and you know be driven so yeah.These would be my final words. The deem it's been a pleasure having you onapplication modernization. Thank you for your time today. Thank your as thepleasure was all mine. I really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much foryour time and for having. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Naden.If you did, why not share with your friends, if you appreciate this podcast,the number one thing you can do to thank us is forward it to your friendsand make sure you subscribe application. Modernization is sponsoredby Red Hat the world's leading provider of enterprise, open source solutions,including high performing Linux cloud container and Cubantes technologies. Thanks for listening to application,modernization, a podcast for high growth software companies, don't forgetto subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player. So you nevermiss an episode and if you use apple podcast, do us a favor and leave aquick rating by tapping the stars join us on the next episode to learn moreabout modernizing your infrastructure and applications for growth. UNTIL NEXTTIME E T.

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