Company News

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Brad Jefferson


Amazon Web Services drives innovation by allowing Animoto to store music, photos, videos and just about everything else.

This afternoon I spoke at Amazon Web Services‘ “Start-up Project” event in San Francisco. The event was a forum for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to learn more about AWS and talk about the lowered barrier to entry for startups. It’s actually a pretty cool time to be a startup right now because with tools like AWS we’re all able to better focus on our area of true innovation. Plus, tools like AWS make it easy to get going fast and for cheap. A good piece of advice I received after we founded Animoto was to “fail early and fail often.” I’ve taken it to mean that you should try lots of things to see what sticks and if you are going to fail, it’s much cheaper to fail as early as possible. In present day terms, I think that’s best witnessed with what’s going on with Facebook Platform Apps. Rather than spend sixty days developing the perfect Facebook App it’s far better to spend five days developing twelve different Facebook Apps to see what works. At yesterday’s AWS event at Stanford, Joyce from Boozemail presented and who would have thought that sending digital drinks to your friends would be a top 10 Facebook App? But it’s a simple idea that’s fun – so millions of people now do it. How that relates to AWS is that Boozemail was built on AWS so when demand spiked they were able to effectively scale on the AWS platform to meet the demand – for a very reasonable fee.

For my presentation this afternoon I demoed Animoto and the Animoto video creation process to show all the areas that we’re using AWS – which is basically everywhere. I’ll let our CTO, Stevie, blog on some of the specifics about our use of AWS when he’s caught up on sleep (yeah, right!). But briefly, we’re using EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) for our web servers, application servers, upload servers, ‘director’ servers, and database servers. We’re using S3 (Simple Storage Service) for all storage and serving of music, photos and videos and we’re using SQS (Simple Queue Service) for the various messaging that’s required as part of our video creation process. I got to give a quick shout-out to the folks at RightScale for helping us get setup on AWS.

Here’s the Animoto video I made real-time during my demo today:

I also attended yesterday’s AWS meeting down at Stanford and here are a couple Animoto videos I made after that event (the first with a slower song and the second with a faster song – to demonstrate how song speed and energy really dictate the video speed and energy). As a bonus, Jeff Bezos showed up at the event so you’ll see him near the end of the Animoto videos:

Slower song:

Faster song: