Amplitude: Digital products to drive business growth

Spenser Skates, CEO and Co-Founder at Amplitude, spoke to AI magazine about his role and how the company is helping customers improve their businesses

Tell me about Amplitude, your role and your journey to founding the company

Before co-founding Amplitude, one of my co-founders Curtis Liu and I tried to build a different company called Sonalight. We were building a voice recognition app, like Siri, but eventually realised we were a little too early. But while building Sonalight, we made an important discovery: most companies had no idea how their customers were using their products. We had built a platform to give us visibility into which Sonalight features our users liked, where they were getting stuck, etc. and we realised that solution was actually more valuable than Sonalight itself. So we shut down Sonalight and put all of our focus into the solution—Amplitude. 

Now, 10 years later, Amplitude is the #1 ranked product analytics solution. We want to help every company use product data to drive their business. What Adobe is for marketing teams and Salesforce is for sales teams, Amplitude is for product teams. We’ve also expanded beyond product analytics. We help companies with experimentation, help marketing teams understand the entire customer journey, and recently launched the industry’s first insights-driven CDP. We’re focused on building a generational technology company, offering the most comprehensive set of tools out there for product and marketing leaders.

How does your platform help companies understand the behaviour of their customers and improve business growth?

It’s more important than ever for companies to have a deep understanding of how customers interact with their digital products. What people do with a product is a far stronger signal of what they want than what they tell us. Our Digital Optimisation System helps teams deeply understand digital customer behaviour, predict which features and actions lead to business outcomes, and adapt each experience in real time to maximise impact. 

This is all critical to driving business growth, especially in a down market. Product data can connect the things companies are building – a new feature, a new release, a new campaign – directly to revenue and retention. That’s incredibly powerful because it ties the work product teams are doing to the success of the business. It makes the product organisations the revenue centre.

Why do you believe we are still not solving the main issue in product development: knowing what customers want? How do we rectify this?

Knowing what customers want sounds simple, but it is incredibly difficult. If you get this right you’ll do great. If you don’t it doesn’t matter what else you do. If you’re measuring downloads, web visits, and total users, you may think you know what your customers want. The problem is these are all vanity metrics—they can give you a summary of what people are doing, but they don’t tell you why. This is what we call the product gap at Amplitude. For many companies, the entire customer experience is a black box. And this has created incredibly frustrating products, where instead of technology adapting to us, we have to adapt to technology.

The answer to the product gap is data-driven products. Armed with this, you can learn exactly what customers are really doing by monitoring their behaviours, and take this rich data to test, learn, validate, and evolve your product. No more guesswork, you can build products that anticipate and deliver every single time. With data-driven products, there is no longer a big gap between what people want and what products do. Now, technology adapts to people instead of the other way around.

How important is data to both customer needs and business growth?

Data is critical to understanding your customer and driving business growth. However, data quickly moves from an asset to a liability when it’s not actively planned and managed. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. To best drive business growth, organisations need a data solution with deep analytics, proactive data governance, and a tightly integrated tech stack. This can include data warehouses, marketing platforms, and other business applications that all play critical roles within the customer experience. We heard from our customers that there was a gap in the market for a CDP solution that checked all of these boxes, which led us to launch Amplitude CDP in May.

What is next for Amplitude?

At Amplitude, our goal is to provide a real-time, all-in-one digital analytics solution that equips companies with critical customer insights. This means continuing to roll out new products and features that help our customers reach critical insights faster and ultimately make better business decisions. 

We also plan to grow our team. We want to become a world-class company, and that starts with a world-class team. Currently, we have open roles across all our teams and across the globe, including several open roles in Europe and specifically in London. We want fast-moving, hard-working, status quo-challenging individuals who will continue to elevate our teams and help us become a world-class organisation. 

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