3 things you should read today: MongoDB's IPO; Gartner on AI hype; why robots don't want our jobs

TechCrunch reported late Tuesday that MongoDB has confidentially filed for its IPO, meaning we should
ARCHITECHT
3 things you should read today: MongoDB's IPO; Gartner on AI hype; why robots don't want our jobs
By ARCHITECHT • Issue #123 • View online
TechCrunch reported late Tuesday that MongoDB has confidentially filed for its IPO, meaning we should see the company’s financial details relatively soon. I’m anxious to see what they reveal, in large part because MongoDB is a different type of company than companies like Cloudera and Hortonworks. Rather than pushing heavy infrastructure products and services built around a new technology, MongoDB built a database that’s relatively easy to adopt and, indeed, has lots of users as a result.
The last estimate I saw was that the company is doing more than $100 million in annual revenue, although how many paying customers it has or how much cash it’s losing I do not know. I’m especially curious to see the ratio of users and paying customers—something about which MongoDB has been dogged for years. Assuming it’s pretty high, that could viewed as a weakness of its business model (and open source generally) or as a potential goldmine of enterprise sales to come.
On the latter point, the company has expanded its lineup of revenue streams pretty heavily over the past year with new products. That’s also a fairly stark departure from other public open source companies, which have tended to focus on infrastructure. 
At any rate, we’ll all find out what’s doing when MongoDB’s S-1 is public. Or, if someone swoops in and buys it beforehand, then not. In the meantime, you can check out my interview with co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz from 2016: MongoDB co-creator explains why ‘NoSQL’ came to be, and why open source mastery is an elusive goal. And also my podcast interview with Honeycomb co-founder and CEO Charity Majors about the unfair rap MongoDB sometimes gets.
Two other things I want to highlight today are:
1. Gartner released its new Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, which actually includes quite a few artificial intelligence techniques and technologies—more than I would have guessed. I’ll admit that I have a tough time distinguishing between “deep learning,” “machine learning” and “cognitive computing” on the Peak of Inflated Expectations (as well as some of the more specific technologies elsewhere), but if we’re going to break them up I’d actually argue that machine learning is probably mature beyond the rest and well up the Slope of Enlightenment. (God, I love those labels.)
2. WIRED has a good story about why the fears of job loss due to automation might be overblown. You should just read it, but the gist is that there’s really no evidence of large-scale replacement of workers by robots and, in fact, some signs point to the opposite conclusion. If you’re searching for a reason to be optimistic on this issue, this will help—although, I’d note, talking about robots is not the same as talking about automation via software, which is kind of its own discussion.
And here are couple other, complementary pieces on this issue from today:

Sponsor: DigitalOcean
Sponsor: DigitalOcean
Artificial intelligence
Sponsor: Bonsai
Sponsor: Bonsai
Cloud and infrastructure
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ARCHITECHT delivers the most interesting news and information about the business impacts of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other trends reshaping enterprise IT. Curated by Derrick Harris.

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