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From Microsoft Teams to Democratizing AI for Small Businesses: The Journey Of Vinod Kumarby@jeetujayson
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From Microsoft Teams to Democratizing AI for Small Businesses: The Journey Of Vinod Kumar

by Jeetujayson RajuApril 4th, 2024
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Vinod Kumar fell in love with computers at an early age. It took Vinod a while to mature as a professional developer. He says being part of huge companies makes you disconnected from the people who use your software. He has started his own venture now, to build software that is more suited and tailored to people's needs.
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There are hundreds of thousands of engineers on this planet working tirelessly for years if not decades. Their contributions affect us and usually improve our lives. In this article, we will learn a bit about the life and journey of one such engineer. Growing up, Vinod Kumar fell in love with computers at an early age. He found it intrinsically rewarding to solve computer problems.


Something useful that didn’t exist now exists because of a few lines of code on a screen. If you think about it writing code is the closest analogy to magic spells that we have in the real world.

From Passion To Profession

The journey from hobby to profession had its fair share of struggles. It took Vinod a while to mature as a professional developer. At Microsoft, during his seven-year tenure, he started with the Visual Studio Installer. The team of engineers including Vinod turned the bloated old-school installer that took hours to download/install into a sleek lightweight installer that installs in minutes.

Career Highlights

Next, he moved to Microsoft Research where he got the chance to work closely with some of the best minds in the industry. Here, they incorporated state-of-the-art deep learning models to improve sales and reduce churn of Office 365 products and sales pipeline.


 Finally, at Microsoft, Vinod was lucky to work on the first version of “Microsoft Teams”. He and his team built the desktop client from zero to one. That is from scratch to GA(General Availability).


Vinod moved to Airbnb after Microsoft. Here, he and his team built the API platform that enables other businesses to integrate with Airbnb. The listings it brings to Airbnb now contribute to around 20% of Airbnb’s revenue.

A Personal Anecdote

A few years ago before global clipboard became a thing, Vinod found himself constantly switching between his PC, laptop, and mobile phones. There were times when he had some information on one device but wanted to use it on a different device. For example, you find an address browsing the internet on a laptop, but now, you want it on your phone so that you can navigate to it.


Or you start writing an email on your phone but want to transfer it to a laptop to continue writing it in a better way. There was no easy way to do this before.


Every year Microsoft has a company-wide hackathon called One Microsoft. Tens of thousands of Microsoft employees enter the competition with their projects. Vinod decided to use this opportunity to solve the problem he was facing. He created an app for different platforms like PC and mobile that work in the background.


It synchronizes the clipboard across devices providing a global clipboard to cut, copy, and paste across devices. He built this hackathon project in just 48 hours and it was voted first in the “Best Life Hacks” category.

Bridging the AI Gap

Vinod says being part of huge companies makes you disconnected from the people who use your software. You are not able to interact with the people as effectively as you can in a smaller company. So he has started his own venture now, to build software that is more suited and tailored to people's needs.


Working in the tech industry has enabled him to use the latest AI technologies in recent times. He says that the latest AI will transform all industries. While huge enterprise companies have the resources to leverage and benefit from AI, small and medium businesses lack the resources to do so on their own. Vinod's goal is to bridge this gap with his latest venture and bring the benefits of AI to these businesses.


Getting SMBs on board the AI revolution will democratize it and preserve the business diversity that we have now. Vinod is developing affordable and accessible AI solutions tailored to small and medium businesses. This is a significant step towards a more equitable tech industry, where businesses of all sizes can take advantage of AI.