Episode #8

Betrayed & Squeezed: Is AWS Eating Your Open Source Software?

In this episode: conflict, controversy, subterfuge, secrecy. Most people we approached didn’t even want to speak on the record. What we want to know is: is AWS eating up the open source landscape? And, if so, is that a good or bad thing? Rahul, Hilary, and guest Matt Asay debate whether AWS is poaching or playing fair when it comes to open-source software from partners.

Matt Asay

Guest

Matt Asay

Vice President, Partner Marketing, MongoDB

Read Bio
Matt Asay

Matt Asay

Vice President, Partner Marketing, MongoDB

Transcript

Hilary Doyle: Is AWS eating up the software landscape?

Matt Asay: I mean, it’s an obvious, no.

Hilary Doyle: I don’t know. Sounds fishy to me.

Rahul Subramaniam: I would not put it past them to create another two-pizza team.

Matt Asay: Rabble-rouser.

Hilary Doyle: This is AWS Insiders, an original podcast by CloudFix about the services, patterns, and future of cloud computing at AWS. CloudFix is a tool that finds and implements 100% safe, AWS recommended, cost savings. That’s fixes, not just analytics. I’m Hilary Doyle. Joined, as always, joined by Rahul Subramaniam. Rahul, you ready to do this?

Rahul Subramaniam: Hey, Hilary. Do you ever need to ask? I have my coffee and I’m all set to go.

Hilary Doyle: All right. In this episode, conflict, controversy, subterfuge, secrecy. Most people we approached did not even want to speak on the record. This is some Deep Throat stuff.

Rahul Subramaniam: That almost sounds like a trailer for a movie, Hilary.

Hilary Doyle: What we want to know is – is AWS eating up the software landscape? And if it is, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Rahul, serve it up for us. Take us into the software ecosystem on AWS.

Rahul Subramaniam: AWS came into this world with a mission to basically become the plumbing for the internet. Now, what that meant was that they were going to create all of the simple building blocks that would allow anyone to get their applications
built and deployed on the internet.

Hilary Doyle: Sounds reasonable.

Rahul Subramaniam: And boy, did they take that mission to heart. I mean, today they have nearly 100,000 APIs that allow you to do all sorts of amazing things. Many of them were just unthinkable a few years ago.

Hilary Doyle: That’s very cool. And to be clear, these aren’t all created or managed by AWS. So how are the majority of non-AWS APIs structured?

Rahul Subramaniam: Many of them are really open-source, and this is where things get interesting. While AWS was becoming the plumbing of the internet, the open-source movement was also picking up at the same time. And companies figured that if they open-sourced their software and monetized the managed services for the enterprises, it was a win-win. What they didn’t count on was AWS diligently commoditizing these products and offering their own versions as managed services too.

Hilary Doyle: Oh, the subterfuge. That’s a teaser. There’s lots to come. We have a very special guest, Matt Asay from MongoDB. He is an open-source expert. He’s also worked with developers at AWS and Adobe. There will be our hot takes, per usual. I say our, you know they’re yours. As well as tips and tricks, and we’re going to call in a use case. But first, let’s get to your AWS news headlines.

Rahul, AWS has announced Nitro Enclaves. Nitro Enclaves help customers reduce the attack surface area for sensitive data processing applications. It’s now available on Graviton 2 and Graviton 3 Amazon EC2 instances. Thoughts? Feelings? Will you ever use this?

Rahul Subramaniam: Hilary, this one is for the paranoid.

Hilary Doyle: Perfect.

Rahul Subramaniam: I’ve heard so many people talk about the public cloud being less secure because the infrastructure is shared between customers. Well, in AWS, you can create enclaves that are at the hardware level for your compute. They have had Intel and AMD instances there for a while, and they just added Graviton to the list of supported processes, so you can now leverage Graviton’s price performance benefit with all the advantages of hardware level isolation. I mean, I really hope this finally puts one of the most fundamental arguments against the Cloud to rest.

Hilary Doyle: It is dead to me. Formula One, the International Race Car Organization, has re-upped and expanded its partnership with AWS to help increase car performance with things like AI and machine learning in the cloud. There is no latency allowed for Formula One. What do you think of this? No latency allowed.

Rahul Subramaniam: Let me start by giving you a tip, Hilary.

Hilary Doyle: A driving tip?

Rahul Subramaniam: No. I mean, you have to watch this video, by the way. It’s one of the most fascinating ones I’ve watched on YouTube. This is about the pit stop timing that has changed in Formula One from the late 50s to now. I mean, they went from minutes down to 1.8 seconds. I mean, it’s absolutely fascinating.

Hilary Doyle: Even minutes, it’s impressive.

Rahul Subramaniam: But coming back to the story, F1 came to AWS a few years ago to help crunch an insane amount of data. Did you know that each car has over 300 sensors generating millions of data points every second as it drives about, what, 230 miles an hour?

Hilary Doyle: Yeah. They’ve been data enabled since the end of the 70s, and it has only gotten better. So this is amazing. I really enjoy F1. Keep going.

Rahul Subramaniam: So during races, this data gets sent to the pit, helping the team make split second decisions. The next level up in this partnership will really be race simulations that are off the track. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen to these cars in the next 10 years.

Hilary Doyle: Yeah, that is really exciting. Amazon Prime is rolling out a new 12 hour sports talk day, so now you will not be surprised if 11 of those hours are Formula One. Those are your AWS headlines.
Rahul, back to the topic at hand, is AWS eating up the software landscape? For years, AWS has been accused of taking other companies’ open-source software and releasing their own very similar looking products – sometimes even copying parts of the names of those products. The term people use is strip mining software. And it’s been so bad that every year at re:Invent, when AWS execs give keynotes announcing new products, startups and small companies basically prepare to get annihilated. The event is commonly known as The Red Wedding, and if you’ve seen the carnage in Game of Thrones, then you are catching that vibe.

Obviously, it is no surprise AWS has been taken to court. Elastic sued them for copyright infringement of Elasticsearch, but in the majority of cases, companies sound like they’ve been scared into silence. This, after all, is AWS who, for a time, banned the use of the phrase multi-cloud – because as far as they’re concerned, there is only ever AWS. So most of the companies on the platform don’t want to alienate the platform. It’s still their bread and butter. They’re just kind of handing over their lunch money. Rahul, how did we get here? How does AWS get away with creating products that look exactly the same as other products?

Rahul Subramaniam: To begin with, it’s important to understand that “other companies’ open-source software”, as you said, isn’t really a thing. If it is open-source, it belongs to everyone.

Hilary Doyle: But should it? All right, go on.

Rahul Subramaniam: Let’s just go back to a decade or so ago, when open-source was becoming mainstream and it was becoming work. Contributing to open-source software was being seen as something positive for brands. I mean, it is why Microsoft – once one of the most anti open-source companies that existed – embraced open-source, and built back their image after their brand took a beating due to all of those antitrust cases. I mean, the challenge was that companies were trying to figure out how to make money while literally giving away their core software for free.

Hilary Doyle: Sounds like a bad business strategy to me.

Rahul Subramaniam: I would think so. And this is when the new model of offering managed services became a staple.

Hilary Doyle: Enter AWS, which, we should mention, is no stranger to sustainable business models – since it was literally AWS that pulled an unprofitable Amazon into the black. But I digress.

Rahul Subramaniam: Yeah. And over time, AWS saw an opportunity to commoditize these managed services themselves and offer them as part of their service catalog. I mean, often these services were way more reliable, way more scalable, yet cheaper. And while this is great for customers, I guess those software makers just felt a little betrayed and squeezed.

Hilary Doyle: Betrayed and squeezed. A common foundation in many relationships, but never your top pick.
In every use case, we talk about a company that has leveraged the AWS platform to optimize their business, but in this episode, we are doing something a little different. We’re looking at a company that’s leveraged one of the open-source providers on AWS. I mean, total change of pace. Hold onto your hats. Can you hear me now, Rahul?

Rahul Subramaniam: Yes, I can hear you just fine, Hilary. We aren’t on a Zoom call.

Hilary Doyle: If you were around in the 2000s – Can you hear me now – is etched in your mind right next to a flip phone. Verizon Wireless promised fewer dropped calls than its competitors, which now sounds almost quaint. Do you remember when phones just phoned?

Rahul Subramaniam: Totally.

Hilary Doyle: Anyway, in 2019, Verizon and other phone companies started rolling out the 5G mobile network. Good for us, but definitely a challenge for telecoms. Rahul, would you set this up for us? We can hear you now.

Rahul Subramaniam: Hilary, 5G is way faster than previous mobile networks, and you can do so much more cool stuff with it, like build traffic networks where cars can talk to each other, or interesting things like AR and VR. But to leverage all that 5G has to offer, Verizon really needed to radically improve its infrastructure with much greater scalability and compute power, and it really needed a strong data processing pipeline to help follow its customers wherever they are.
So Verizon turned to MongoDB, an open-source, NoSQL database on AWS. Now, when we come back to this later, you will see how a third party product can combine with an AWS service to bring about an edge computing solution. That is so awesome. But first, I am really excited to talk to Matt Asay.

Hilary Doyle: Me too. That is right. Speaking of MongoDB, Matt Asay is their Vice President of Partner Marketing. He’s a veteran tech columnist, an open-source expert, and he’s worked in developer marketing at both AWS and Adobe. So let’s get to it. Hey, Matt, welcome to the show.

Matt Asay: Thank you for having me. Grateful to be here.

Hilary Doyle: This was our question at the top of the show and we’ll pose it to you, is AWS eating up the software landscape?

Matt Asay: I mean, it’s an obvious no.

Hilary Doyle: Why is it obvious for you? Because I don’t think that’s the case for a lot of developers out there.

Matt Asay: I think some of the criticism over the years for AWS has come from those who maybe don’t understand how the company operates, how the individual teams operate, as autonomous product teams. If you talk with someone internally, they are very earnestly trying to solve help leadership principle number one for AWS, which is customer obsession. But there are different ways to reach that leadership principle, and I do think at times… So I’m an English major by background and I’m probably now going to make a reference that 99% of your listeners won’t understand.

Hilary Doyle: Try us.

Matt Asay: Lennie, Of Mice and Men, ends up killing Curley’s wife. He doesn’t mean to; he’s just stronger than he understands. I never saw a single instance of deliberate ill will or strip mining, I never saw that when I worked at AWS. But I did sometimes see a blindness, not an intentional blindness, but a blindness to partner needs or to the larger ecosystem.

Hilary Doyle: It’s really helpful context, because I think there are rules of competition and then there’s the, you’re not even playing in the same league. Should the biggest big tech players be forced to play by a different set of rules, especially when it comes to open-source?

Matt Asay: My immediate inclination is to say maybe, but then if I back up just a little bit, ultimately what I think every enterprise has to think through is, how do I keep open-source sustainable? I think AWS, I think my company, MongoDB, I think a range of companies, we’re all trying to figure out, how do we make this work for us?

Rahul Subramaniam: Matt, I think I’d call out one exception to that rule.

Hilary Doyle: Let me guess.

Rahul Subramaniam: Which is-

Matt Asay: Rabble rouser.

Rahul Subramaniam: That’s got to be Oracle. I mean, what they did with JDK.

Matt Asay: Hey, if you want to beat up on Oracle, I’m here for that. Just keep going.

Rahul Subramaniam: No, I mean what they did with MySQL and JDK and a bunch of other stuff was just, I mean, ridiculous. But, that said, the fact that some company, or set of individuals, for that matter, when they decide to put out something as open-source, they’re counting on a community to contribute to it, to grow it. Because more often than not, they don’t have the resources to develop it to a point where it becomes mainstream.
And when I talk to most founders of open-source projects, or maintained as an open-source project, they never imagined in their wildest dream that what they put out there would become that popular or they’d get that many downloads. So to claim ownership of that original code that you put out is not really a fair argument, because the community has contributed so much to it over a period of time to make it mainstream as well.

Matt Asay: 100%. Yeah.

Rahul Subramaniam: So I’m just curious about your thoughts on this. When we look at a lot of these enterprises that have open-sourced their stuff, how have you seen them think about open-source?

Matt Asay: One thing that really shocked me when I rejoined MongoDB, because this is my second time working for the company. 2013, 2014, open-source and the community aspect was, I would say, the secret sauce. It was the thing. That and the ease of use for the product.
Coming back post SSPL, Server Side Public License, I don’t know, I expected something bad to have happened. But the interesting thing is, developers didn’t seem to care, and it shocked me. Or I should say, customers didn’t seem to care. They wanted a database that was easy to use, that they could get easy access to. And so I’ve started to think that maybe there’s an open enough and we don’t know what to call it. We don’t have to call it open-source, but it’s open, transparent, shared source. I don’t care what people call it.

Hilary Doyle: Rahul, can you explain SSPL and its impact on what we’re discussing?

Rahul Subramaniam: SSPL stands for Server Side Public License. The licensing terms basically state that if you’re offering a managed service, then you have to contribute back all of the infrastructure, all of the software, all of the UI, all of the monitoring code that you might have written back to the community.

Hilary Doyle: Okay, so, does SSPL really protect companies like Elastic and MongoDB?

Rahul Subramaniam: I’d say it depends. So scenario number one is that these products were created with SSPL from the get-go, in which case the answer is yes, it would protect them. However, most organizations have reactively adopted SSPL, in which case AWS always has a choice to fork off from the last open-source version and create their own open-source, like they did with Elastic’s. So I don’t think it really protects most organizations that adopted SSPL retroactively.

Hilary Doyle: Okay, so, if I’m AWS and I’m using open-source from Mongo, I need to provide my infrastructure back to the community. That’s how SSPL works?

Rahul Subramaniam: Correct. So MongoDB is under SSPL and therefore AWS, if they offered a managed service over MongoDB, would have to offer all of their monitoring infrastructure and everything else that they used to create that managed service, they will have to contribute that to open-source.

Hilary Doyle: Let’s talk about the practical application of that, though. MongoDB is open-source, it sits on the AWS platform, and AWS offers extremely similar databases, like Document and Dynamo. How do you feel about that?

Matt Asay: Here’s me walking this fine line between, they’re our partner and our competitor.

Hilary Doyle: Just jump, Matt. Just jump. It’s only the three of us.

Matt Asay: I mean, honestly, I don’t personally think DocumentDB is a very good product. It’s hard to make a product that is intended to be a facsimile of something else. And that’s no disrespect to AWS, that’s just the nature of the beast.
AWS, and the cloud providers generally, are honestly a blessing and a curse, and I would say more blessing than a curse. The curse side is what we can all imagine. They’re competing with us. They offer similar products. The blessing is they’re great partners. I don’t know that that’s always been the case. Elastic, at one point, I can’t speak for them now, two years ago, I don’t think they would’ve said that AWS was a great partner.

Hilary Doyle: Yeah, not a great partner. But things can change.

Matt Asay: I’m not sure what they would say today, but for us, AWS has become a great partner. And the DocumentDB aspect of that little bit of friction, which was more pronounced, I think, two years ago; I would say, it’s not much today. It’s there, and would we all be happier if it went away? Yeah, but it’s not a big deal. I mean, one of the reasons that it’s easy for us to work with AWS is that we don’t. Aside from building some degree of compatibility with DocumentDB, they can take the code and they could go out and build MongoDB the second. But the change in license, frankly, has made it cleaner for us to work with them. It’s made it easier. We don’t have to go and say, “Please do this.” We say, “We’d love to work with you on code. We have mutual customers. And because of the license you have to work with us in a way. You have to give us that deference.”
Whereas I know other open-source companies, their code is open and all of the cloud providers that are building services around it, and it just makes it messy – because they’re not in a strong position to be treated as an equal. They have to tin cup and say please versus meeting as equals.

Hilary Doyle: I have a question for both of you. Amazon is quintessentially capitalist. AWS has obviously learned that to keep its customers and its third party community happy, as you said, Matt, they have to give back and become a more active part of the software landscape that they’re borrowing from. It’s oppositional to corporate culture. How is this shift working for them, from both of your perspectives?

Rahul Subramaniam: I completely agree that it’s a little bit of a shift for AWS in that I’m starting to see a bunch of very interesting things happening on coordination between these product teams and the partner teams, because they really have started seeing that as their big engine for growth. So for example, the push that I’ve seen over the last two years on the marketplace side of things. For the longest period of time, it had near zero traction, but I wouldn’t put it past AWS at some point of time, if they look at a product and say, this is really great and I think we could do better with this product, I would not put it past them to create another pizza team that goes after solving that one problem for the customers.

Hilary Doyle: Matt, how do you think AWS is dealing with this kind of shift in philosophy?

Matt Asay: Well, I do think for them, and for others, there’s always that tension of, what can we build for our customers. On the open-source side, with companies like AWS, not exclusive AWS. But one thing that I’ve seen a significant change in – is this recognition that if you think of open-source as essential supply chain, then it becomes really important for them to be sensitive to the sources of those projects. Because think about it from the AWS perspective. If they did go in, “strip mine” a project, destroy the project in the process, that screws their customers, that screws everybody.

Hilary Doyle: Thanks for being with us, Matt. Really great to meet you.

Matt Asay: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Rahul Subramaniam: Thanks so much, Matt. This was a lot of fun.

Hilary Doyle: I know Matt was being very careful with his words in our conversation, and Rahul, you appeared to be loving everything he was saying, but I still think you guys were talking out of both sides of your mouths. Let’s safely assume that AWS has eaten a portion of the software landscape. Whether it continues to do this or not, you still haven’t answered the second part of our question, which is, is this a good thing? Is it a good thing when a platform starts to eat its babies? Ugh, sorry, I will never use that phrase again.

Rahul Subramaniam: Well, to me it actually sounds like a public service, so I stand on the other side of that argument. They’re taking something that is open-source, hard to manage yourself, and they’re taking over and saying, “Hey, here’s a managed service for you. Go use it. Go leverage it. Use more of it,” and it makes those open-source projects popular. So why not? At the end of the day, the customers benefit from all these activities, they get lower pricing, they get amazing services, and it actually pushes the boundaries of technology.

Hilary Doyle: Okay, but let’s talk about Amazon’s marketing power for a minute. There’s no question it has a far greater capacity than really anyone else out there, and therefore a huge competitive advantage. AWS can present its own offerings ahead of everyone else, so when it comes to open-source and this idea of distribution, how is it fair that AWS is playing by the same rules as everyone else?

Rahul Subramaniam: Well, that’s not entirely true. Take the example of Snowflake. Snowflake is one of the hottest tech stocks in the market today, and they actually offer services on Amazon and they offer analytics services. Amazon has tons of their own software for analytics, but if you read the earnings report of Snowflake, they actually say Amazon was the biggest driver of sales for them and actually made them the success that they are.

Hilary Doyle: But isn’t that just because AWS hasn’t had an opportunity to build it themselves yet, and so it’s fine for Snowflake to be there for now?

Rahul Subramaniam: Well, Snowflake is constantly going to try and outpace Amazon in their innovation.

Hilary Doyle: I don’t know, sounds fishy to me, but yeah, sure. We’ll see at the next re:Invent if Selipsky marches out onto that stage and announces AWS Snowfall.
Rahul, for vendors looking to stay competitive and ahead of AWS, what is your advice to them? How can they succeed?

Rahul Subramaniam: Okay, Hilary, usually I give very technical tips.

Hilary Doyle: Not today.

Rahul Subramaniam: But this time I’m going to delve a little bit into product management.

Hilary Doyle: That’s what we’re talking about.

Rahul Subramaniam: Here it goes. So first, every AWS service is a commodity service. You just have to get that in your head. Take a hard, critical look at what you have in your product and figure out how to replace it with an AWS service. The most important thing is to make sure that what you have left is truly valuable to the customers. That is your IP.

Hilary Doyle: So leverage all that AWS has to offer and do not build anything that AWS has or could have in their service catalog.

Rahul Subramaniam: Exactly.

Hilary Doyle: Easy.

Rahul Subramaniam: Second, if you find that you don’t have intellectual property, then you better figure out a way to outpace AWS on their innovation cycle. Now, everything at AWS takes two to three years, which means you either need to always stay two
to three years ahead of them, or figure out a way to monetize and exit in two years.

Hilary Doyle: Got it. Two to three years is a lifetime in tech.

Rahul Subramaniam: As long as you can figure out how to monetize it.

Hilary Doyle: Yeah, but it’s a decent head start. Okay, three, sorry.

Rahul Subramaniam: The third one is to find a niche that AWS just isn’t interested in. And of course that’s a very narrow niche, but you either do that or figure out something that is too far down their priority list. At the end of the day, AWS has finite resources and they will only work on what they think is important to them. So if you find that niche, you can stick with it and continue building that for a while.

Hilary Doyle: Can you give us a hint on what a niche might be? Are there areas that AWS just is never going to touch?

Rahul Subramaniam: Hilary, are you asking me to give away the secrets to a million dollar business?

Hilary Doyle: Yeah, of course I am. Fork them up.

Rahul Subramaniam: For later.

Hilary Doyle: Rahul, how much time do you spend on your phone every day?

Rahul Subramaniam: Honestly, very little time, Hilary. But I think I know where you’re headed with this question, Hilary. So, the trend of our age, of course, is to have your head stuck in a phone 24/7, isn’t it?

Hilary Doyle: Yeah. I mean, listen, I am impressed and frankly very surprised by your phone hygiene. I definitely took you for a Wordle guy. But yeah, for the rest of us, we are living in a phone use epidemic – which is not surprising since phones can now do much of what we used to do on laptops. That’s thanks to the OGs: 3, 4, and now 5G. 5G has been an evolution for everyone. It’s been a particular challenge for mobile providers. Before they could fully handle 5G, Verizon needed to address its scale, its compute, and its data. For the data piece, they chose a MongoDB/AWS combination.
Rahul, what was the thinking here and why the hybrid approach?

Rahul Subramaniam: Verizon was using AWS Wavelength for 5G edge computing infrastructure, but they found databases weren’t really natively supported there. So they went to MongoDB’s Atlas for deployment run and scale and MongoDB Realm to keep the data in sync across all these multiple devices, the users, the backends, and so on.
Now, this, among other things, led to, I think, something like a 47% improvement in their data transmission, and that was basically cutting way down on the latency that existed across all the 19 different AWS Wavelength zones. Now, Verizon is a really smart AWS customer, they know that a lot of the underlying core of 5G is commodity, and AWS too, at the same time, has launched a private 5G network deployment service where you can literally click a few buttons on the console and get all the infrastructure, including the SIM cards, delivered to your doorstep. And voila, you have your very own private 5G cell network with AWS managing everything for you.

Hilary Doyle: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Rahul Subramaniam: Now, Verizon is doing everything it can to leverage AWS for these commodity services, but at the same time focusing on distribution and the OTT services and the content.

Hilary Doyle: So they’re using AWS for plumbing and a third party solution and MongoDB for the fancy stuff. In this case, it isn’t that AWS is eating the software landscapes’ lunch, they’re just providing the bread.

Rahul Subramaniam: Absolutely. And you get the butter.

Hilary Doyle: I’ll get the butter. That’s it for us for now. We’ll be back. You’ve been listening to AWS Insiders from CloudFix. I’m Hilary Doyle.

Rahul Subramaniam: And I’m Rahul Subramaniam.

Hilary Doyle: CloudFix is an AWS cost optimization tool. You can learn more about them at cloudfix.com. Please check out the show notes.

Rahul Subramaniam: And leave us a review.

Hilary Doyle: Five stars.

Rahul Subramaniam: And please follow us.

Hilary Doyle: Reach out to us directly at podcast@cloudfix.com. Send us your feedback and let us know what you’d like to hear about on the show. We’ll catch you later.

Rahul Subramaniam: Bye-bye.

Meet your hosts

Rahul Subramaniam

Rahul Subramaniam

Host

Rahul is the Founder and Chief Evangelist at CloudFix. Over the course of his career, Rahul has acquired and transformed 140+ software products in the last 13 years. More recently, he has launched revolutionary products such as CloudFix and DevFlows, which transform how users build, manage, and optimize in the public cloud.

Hilary Doyle

Hilary Doyle

Host

Hilary Doyle is the co-founder of Wealthie Works Daily, an investment platform and financial literacy-based media company for kids and families launching in 2022/23. She is a former print journalist, business broadcaster, and television writer and series developer working with CBC, BNN, CTV, CTV NewsChannel, CBC Radio, W Network, Sportsnet, TVA, and ESPN. Hilary is also a former Second City actor, and founder of CANADA’S CAMPFIRE, a national storytelling initiative.

Rahul Subramaniam

Rahul Subramaniam

Host

Rahul is the Founder and Chief Evangelist at CloudFix. Over the course of his career, Rahul has acquired and transformed 140+ software products in the last 13 years. More recently, he has launched revolutionary products such as CloudFix and DevFlows, which transform how users build, manage, and optimize in the public cloud.

Hilary Doyle

Hilary Doyle

Host

Hilary Doyle is the co-founder of Wealthie Works Daily, an investment platform and financial literacy-based media company for kids and families launching in 2022/23. She is a former print journalist, business broadcaster, and television writer and series developer working with CBC, BNN, CTV, CTV NewsChannel, CBC Radio, W Network, Sportsnet, TVA, and ESPN. Hilary is also a former Second City actor, and founder of CANADA’S CAMPFIRE, a national storytelling initiative.