May 14, 2024

Designing Infrastructure for Product Engineers


In this episode, James Quick and Amy Dutton chat with James Cowling, co-founder of Convex, about designing infrastructure for product engineers. James explains the innovative features of Convex, including its JavaScript-based queries and real-time data subscriptions, and compares it to Firebase. They also discuss the challenges of edge computing, the importance of user state, and the role of AI in modern development.

Episode Cover Episode 175

Designing Infrastructure for Product Engineers

{item.firstName} {item.lastName}

James Cowling


James is CTO/Cofounder at Convex which means he’s accountable for technical decision-making whenever he’s not thinking about how many more plants we should get for the office. He’s most passionate about simple elegant solutions to complex problems.

Before Convex James was Senior Principal Engineer at Dropbox and tech lead on a bunch of projects including building their multi-exabyte geo-distributed storage system and migrating Dropbox off of S3, multi-homing Dropbox infra, and building database systems that handle millions of queries per second. His favorite part of the job was mentoring junior folks who ended up being senior folks, and spending time with smart, friendly, highly-motivated people.

James grew up in Sydney, spent far too much time in school, and eventually received a PhD at MIT specializing in large-scale distributed transaction processing and consensus protocols. In his spare time he likes building stuff and anything involving motorcycles. Rumor has it he has a cover band with his cofounders.

Jump Links

  • iTunes
  • Google Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Sitcher
  • Listen on Castbox
  • Listen on Pocket Casts

Related Episodes


FOMO and Leveraging AI for Better Dev Productivity

April 30, 2024

In this episode, hosts Amy and Brad discuss the the things they're afraid of missing out on within the dev ecosystem. Then, they discuss how they're using AI to enhance their own productivity with Custom GPTs.


An Average Developer Does Above Average Things

December 9, 2022

Brad, Amy, and James, talk with Erik about the things he’s been building for Twitch and how to excel in the developer world.


Building Projects to Learn

August 24, 2023

Brian, Brad, and Amy get into their preferred work flow and strategies for tackling their long lists of projects.


Sign up for the newsletter

Want to stay up to date on our podcast? Get a behind-the-scenes look and know when new episodes drop.