Introducing Keyboard and Quill: A Podcast Exploring Data and Technology Through Time

Tim Berglund
Kristin Crosier
ByWritten byKristin Crosier,Tim Berglund
March 21, 20248 minutes read

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new limited series narrative podcast, Keyboard and Quill. Keyboard and Quill is a departure from the typical technology company podcast. Rather than focus on the details of Apache Pinot, or the broader data ecosystem, or the subtleties of real-time data infrastructure, it steps back — way back — and examines the historical threads that run over tens of thousands of years and combine in recent years to create the real-time world we live in. 

In short, it’s an exploration of data and technology through time — a history podcast made by technologists to tell the story of the work they do. If you’re curious about how cultural changes and technological advancements have shaped everything from the roads you drive on to the meals you eat to the complex data architectures that govern modern businesses, then this podcast is for you.

Who is Keyboard and Quill for?

Keyboard and Quill is designed for technical and non-technical listeners who want to learn more about the history of technology through a high-quality, polished listening experience inspired by NPR’s award-winning Radiolab.

Co-hosts Tim Berglund and Rachel Pedreschi will walk you through the events and personas that took us from the wheel to the smartphone, and from the printing press to the complex data ecosystems powering our modern lives. Tim and Rachel combine their own research with interviews they've conducted with academics, technologists, start-up founders, software engineers, and other Silicon Valley professionals.

All episodes are now available.

Learn more about Keyboard and Quill in this five-minute introductory video:

Meet your hosts, Tim and Rachel

Tim and Rachel are both Silicon Valley database startup veterans. Rachel Pedreschi is a data-driven executive with experience building teams and scalable processes, and she loves getting people excited about technology. Rachel is currently leading Business Development and GTM at claritype, a startup in stealth mode, and her career includes leadership roles at DataStax, Decodable, and Imply.

Tim Berglund currently leads the Developer Relations team at StarTree. He has a background as a full-stack developer and (in the distant past) a firmware engineer, and has previously worked in Developer Relations and Education at companies like Confluent and DataStax.

Rachel Pedreschi, Head of Business Development and GTM, claritype

Tim Berglund, VP of Developer Relations, StarTree

What topics will Keyboard and Quill cover?

During the 11 episodes, Tim and Rachel (and their guests) will discuss topics including:

  • The quickening pace of life

  • Telecommunications

  • Land transportation and mapping

  • Meal delivery

  • Computing

  • Databases

  • Analytics

  • Apache Kafka

  • Apache Pinot

Catch up on all available episodes of Keyboard and Quill

Check out all episodes currently available from Keyboard and Quill below:

Episode 1: From Cave Paintings to the Printing Press

In the first episode, Tim and Rachel journey through 45,000 years of history to explore how our modes of communication have evolved over time. They discuss everything from cave paintings to cuneiform to the printing press, and how technology has driven the relentless acceleration of our pace of life.

Episode 2: From Farms to Factories

We pick up our story on the quickening pace of life with the Industrial Revolution. In this episode, Tim and Rachel examine agriculture, the steam engine, the machine power of factories, the evolution of print, and the advent of the telegraph. News is getting faster, productivity continues to rise, and life won't be slowing down anytime soon.

Episode 3: From Drum Beats to Radio Waves

The pace of innovation in the field of telecommunications over the last 200 years is pretty amazing. But how did we get from drums to morse code, or from the radio to the 5G smartphone? In this episode of Keyboard and Quill (part 1 of 2), we journey through thousands of years of history with Tim Berglund and Rachel Pedreschi as they explore how telecommunication has evolved from drum beats to the telegraph to radio.

Episode 4: From TV to 5G

Voice was the focus of telecommunication for centuries, but now we live in a FaceTime world. How did we go from watching national broadcasts exclusively on giant, heavy, black-and-white televisions in our living rooms to 4K HDR video streaming in our pockets, practically anywhere in the world? In this episode, Tim and Rachel continue the journey of telecommunication from the invention of photography to television to satellites to cell towers, and how they all contributed to the remarkable gadgets we carry around today.

Episode 5: From Travois to Taxis

Let’s travel back in time to explore the ways humans got around together (on land) from prehistoric times to the first taxis in the late 1800s. Tim and Rachel begin this excavation of transportation history where it all started: with our own two feet. With the development of trade and cities, the hunter-gatherer mode of movement was inadequate for a species that needed to expand and travel. From the invention of roads to the primitive sleds known as travois to the all-important wheel to horse-drawn carriages to railroads and the first taxis, human civilization has come a long, long way in how we hitch a ride.

Episode 6: From Buses on Bars to Self-Driving Cars

Shifting into a faster gear from our last episode, Tim and Rachel continue investigating how humans have hitched rides from each other over the last 250 years. From hailing hackney coaches on filthy mud streets to boarding trams to hitchhiking with your thumb out to hailing taxis to using ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to a possible future of self-driving cars, this is a story of land travel, communication, and cartography.

Episode 7: From Covered Carts to DoorDash

Isn’t it amazing that with just a few taps on your phone you can get a healthy, hot, delicious, multicultural meal prepared and delivered to your doorstep, all in less than an hour? And you can even track it, in real time, every step of the way. But how did we get here? And how are our eating habits changing as a result? In this episode, we journey through 250 years of history with Tim and Rachel as they explore how food preparation, consumption, and delivery have evolved from the first known food deliveries in Asia to the dawn of Domino’s Pizza in the 1960s to the global boom of real-time delivery apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and JustEat Takeaway.

Episode 8: From Human Computation to Mainframes

In this episode, Tim and Rachel embark on part 1 (of 2) of a digital odyssey to trace the evolution of computing from its mechanical beginnings to the mainframes of the 1970s. We’ll explore historical milestones like Charles Babbage’s ambitious Difference Engine, through to the revolutionary advent of IBM’s mainframes, and the game-changing introduction of ARPANET and the early internet. Our journey doesn’t just look at hardware; it dives into the societal transformations driven by these technologies — how they’ve reshaped the way we work, communicate, and even think. Join us as we uncover how these technological leaps have fundamentally altered our digital landscape.

Episode 9: From Microcomputers to the Cloud

Tim and Rachel navigate part 2 (of 2) of a digital odyssey to trace the evolution of computing from the first PCs to the omnipresent cloud of today. Discover how the personal computer began as a rare luxury and morphed into an indispensable fixture in homes and businesses worldwide. From the creation of microcomputers in 1975, sparking the home computing revolution, to the establishment of the internet, paving the way for web browsers and eventually leading to cloud computing in 2006 — this journey explores how our digital landscape has transformed dramatically, enabling not just greater connectivity but also a seamless integration of technology into our daily lives.

Episode 10: From Early Statistics to Early Analytics

In this episode, Tim and Rachel explore the evolution of early data analytics. They trace its development from early statistics concepts to Florence Nightingale's pioneering work in healthcare to Ronald Fisher’s foundational null hypothesis and randomized controlled trials (despite his deplorable role in history as a eugenicist) to John Tukey’s advocacy for exploratory data analysis. Through it all, we see how various threads contributed to the methods and practices underlying today's data-driven decision making.

Episode 11: From Small Data to Big Data

How did we go from the very first databases of the 1950s to modern data analytics on massive amounts of data in the cloud? Tim and Rachel continue exploring the world of analytics, tracing its evolution from the mid-20th century to today's dynamic data-driven landscape. They unravel how early mainframes using punch cards and magnetic tapes laid the groundwork for the sophisticated databases of the present. From the costly storage of the mid 20th century to the affordable, expansive capabilities of today, they shed light on the pivotal shifts that have led to big data, profoundly shaping industries and individual habits alike.

Hear more from the real-time analytics community

Real-time analytics is the next frontier in the event-driven, real-time data revolution. If you are a hands-on practitioner, or if you are a leader in your organization charged with staying on top of the advancements in the industry, this is the event for you. Hear about what thought leaders in the space are doing by catching up on the on-demand sessions from Real-Time Analytics Summit 2024, available here!


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