Tuesday 18 August 2015

Podcast Interview with Prashant Yadav, Kincards

Now that the summer is starting to wind down, it's time to get back to the podcasting routine! Yey! So here's a wonderful conversation with a Neo4j user that is doing super interesting stuff with Neo4j: Prashant Yadav of Kincards has been very active in the community, and has plenty of interesting stuff to say...

Here's the transcript of our conversation:
RVB: 00:02 Hello everyone. My name is Rik Van Bruggen from Neo Technology and here we are again recording another podcast for our new Neo4j Graph Database podcast. Today I'm joined, all the way from Michigan, very early for you there. Hi, Prashant from KinCards. 
PY: 00:21 Hey Rik, how are you? 
RVB: 00:23 Hey, it's good to have you on the podcast. Thanks for making the time. 
PY: 00:27 Thank you. 
RVB: 00:27 Yeah. Prashant, you recently created the blog post for us on the Neo4j.com website - and that was very well received - which was sort of the opportunity for me to have a chat with you for the podcast and-- but lots of people might now know you yet. So why don't you introduce yourself, if you don't mind. 
PY: 00:47 Sure, Rik. I'm an IT enthusiast. I have been working in the IT industry for more than nine years now. I have been in the [concerting?] industry, so  have worked with a lot of big and great customers and have done a lot of big implementations as well as design. With all this job and day-to-day work, I used to, or I have been attending the RF conferences, meeting people, doing a lot of meetings, and in all those conferences and all those meetings one thing was common, that people tend to forget their business cards and-- 
RVB: 01:30 I know how it feels [chuckles]. I've been there. 
PY: 01:34 --I have seen this a number of times when people want to exchange information but they cannot find their business cards, or they left it in their hotel room or at home, or they run out of business cards. This seemed to be a big problem to me, because I wanted to get someone's information, and writing it on a notepad and finding a pen and paper is always difficult, and then, sometimes when you collect some business cards  you lose them on your way back to home. Those business cards are really important to you and to your business. So I decided to find a solution to this problem and with that I founded KinCards which allow you to create your own virtual business card which could be shared with anyone anywhere in the world just by sharing a link. Or if someone is already on KinCards they can share their business card using a small username just like you have for Twitter or Facebook, so that makes your life easy. You do not lose your business cards. You do not lose anyone's contact information again. It also works as your contact wallet, where once you're connected with someone their business card or contact information will always be on your dashboard or in your wallet. So even if you lose your phone or something happens to your Google contacts, you will never lose your contacts' information again. 
RVB: 03:00 Yeah, very cool. And so it's KinCards.com, isn't it? 
PY: 03:03 Yes, that's KinCards.com. 
RVB: 03:04 That's very, very cool. You guys have been around for a long time now, or how long have you been up in there? 
PY: 03:10 No, we are new ones. I started working on KinCards early this year - in 2015 - and we are still in beta phase, but we're getting great response from our users. So we have already-- we have a public website, we allow public beta sign up on our website, and we're getting great response on our object. 
RVB: 03:36 Super, I registered for it myself yesterday and it's very intuitive, I must say. Very, very nice. 
PY: 03:41 Okay, thanks. 
RVB: 03:43 So, you guys are using a graph database - Neo4j specifically - in that application, are you? 
PY: 03:49 Yeah. So actually with KinCards we were also thinking that personal information is crucial and we just do not want to throw it away.  We  just want to make sure that we are giving our personal information to someone that we really want to, and we are not just putting it on the Internet for anyone and everyone to access that. So we thought of creating a model where when someone is sending their business card, or someone is requesting a business card, there is a connection, or there is a request and approval or rejection process or workflow. And for all that, once you accept someone's request, or once you reject someones request there is another kind of connection, where people know each other, that are acquaintances, they might get connected in future, but they don't actually want to exchange their business card right now. Or maybe someone is managing more than one business card and they don't want to share their personal information, but want to share their business information with someone. So to manage all these kind of relationship, we were looking for [?]  that can manage all these relationships between people and connect people and manage the relationship between their contact information or their business cards. We did a lot of research and we found that Neo4j is the best graph database that served all of our needs, and [scalable?] and [?]. 
RVB: 05:22 Super. Wow. So have you guys been doing a lot of developing only through Neo4j directly, or are you combining it with other stores, or how does it work for you guys? 
PY: 05:36 So right now, we are doing a lot of development, we are getting feedback from our users. And based on that we have set some priorities, and we see how we can achieve our requirement using Neo4j and with our existing infrastructure, and we are scaling really fast because we are seeing a high demand in people,  people, when they create their business card on KinCard they tend to share that with others, and their connections get interested in signing up at KinCards, so that's how we are growing right now. 
RVB: 06:14 Very cool. So, what was the primary drive for going for a graph database? Because I understand that relationships are very important in your model, in your domain, right? But are there any specific kinds of queries, or recommendations, or specific use cases that you thought was going to be a good fit for Neo as well? 
PY: 06:33 I think the primary reason for going for a graph database was the relationships that we are creating. So, behind the scene we are creating multiple complex relationship between people and their KinCards. It's really complex to explain how we manage those relationships. I can tell you that it's not easy to show all your information in a way that you're not publicly providing all that access to anyone and everyone, and just forwarding that to the person you really want to share, or you just met. We wanted to look into a lot of different things and manage all those relationships. That was the driving force behind finding a graph database, but after that we found that graph databases really cool and they are the database from future. And we really don't need a normal relation database if we have Neo4j or something like that. 
RVB: 07:34 That's really great to hear, yeah. Thanks for that. Where does this take you? Where are you going to take your platform, and what's the vision for the graph database within that platform, Prashant? Do you have any perspectives on that? 
PY: 07:50 We are adding great new features to KinCards every single day. We are aggressively working on this platform. We're getting a lot of feedback from our  users, and our user base is growing very fast - especially in US and India - right now. But, as far as I see it, I feel that it can become another Facebook or Twitter where people want to share their business card through KinCards, and they want to manage their contacts through KinCards instead of using their mobile phone's contact apps which is a bit hard to navigate and find and use. So I see that it might replace the contact applications in your phone, or any of those applications like Bump or what you have seen in past for sharing contact information. 
RVB: 08:46 Okay. And so that also means that you're going to be exploiting the graph, and the graph database, much more intensely in future as well I suppose? And lots more people sign up, and people put it to  different uses? 
PY: 09:01 For sure. So as I mentioned earlier that Neo4j allow us to scale it to the level where we want it to be and so far we have had no issues with Neo4j. Everything's going great. It's really flexible. We are changing models. We are changing things - adding new features, adding new models through the database every single day - and Neo4j is supporting us in all those changes. 
RVB: 09:29 Wow. That's super to hear and I'm very happy about that. Right now I think we'll wrap up the podcast. We try to keep these to about ten minutes so people can consume them whenever they want. I want to thank you for coming online, Prashant. It's very, very kind of you. I wish you lot of luck with KinCards and I hope that it delivers on all of its promises. 
PY: 09:54 Thank you so much Rik. Nice talking to you. Thank you for calling me. 
RVB: 09:58 Thank you as well. Bye.
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