8 min read
Innovation and Invention — We Couldn’t Do it Without You
By Kabir Shahani, CEO
When we founded Amperity in 2016, two short years ago, we wrote a simple mission statement;
Our mission is to empower the world’s most loved brands to create meaningful customer experiences by inventing software that uses data to unleash a team’s full potential.
In our conversations with leaders at consumer brands at the time, we heard a common problem: despite heroic efforts and substantial investment, it was impossible to connect systems and build a fully comprehensive view of the customer. Derek and I had personally experienced the pain and failure of these traditional approaches, and rather than pursue more of the same, we believed it was now possible to invent something new. Over the next year, in close partnership with early customers Alaska Airlines and Moët Hennessy, we built the first version of Amperity, which we launched 12 months ago.
Inventing Software Together
Our initial product offering, the Amperity Intelligent Customer Data Platform, is the first of its kind. But it’s not unique because of what it aims to deliver, because others share similar aspirations. Amperity is unique because of how it approaches customer data management: with a laser focus on meeting brands exactly where they are today ‒ rich with messy, incomplete, and unusable customer data. And the real solution wasn’t to be found by pre-building bigger piles of connectors or dreaming up a more perfect database structure. Instead, it came from deeper customer empathy and a set of early adopters who were committed to helping us build something better.
This approach to inventing software doesn’t always make it into the startup storybooks. Too often we focus on the big idea, the moment of invention, and the end product. While it is true these are magical moments, at Amperity these are only a small part of the story. In particular, they leave out the critical role that customers play in the invention; where they inspire the creation of a new product and then work together in the early stages to turn that idea into a reality.
So while it is true that my co-founder Derek and our early engineering team had a stroke of brilliance when they realized it was possible to take in raw data and use machine learning and cloud scale to unify it, even when it was messy and lacked linking keys. But that was only after diving in with real marketers, analysts, and IT teams about the true nature of their problems: connectors with complex ETL logic that broke when data changed; new systems coming online, and rigid databases that constantly needed updating; marketers and customer experience professionals who dreamed of being agile and evolving as they came up with new ideas and approaches to delight their customers; and above all innovators who were convinced there must be a better way.
These seminal discussions with our customers inspired us to build Amperity. And our ongoing relationships with our customers have helped us to continue to assemble exactly what they need ‒ from perfecting machine learning models and building the right customer attributes, to making data available in the right formats, sizes, and speeds for all external systems. None of this would be possible without early customers that wanted to work closely with us, share with us, invent with us, and take a chance on us.
Better Customers Mean Better Products
Let’s face it. We’ve been lucky. Lucky to start Amperity with new possibilities unlocked by commercial cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Lucky to work with customers who are convinced that there are better ways to serve consumers, who are comfortable challenging the status quo, and are willing to work hard to make change.
These individuals are trailblazers. They’re finding new ways to work within their organizations, imagining new ways to serve their customers, and seeking out new tools to fundamentally transform what’s possible.
The partnership we’ve forged with our customers is symbiotic ‒ for the first time ever, they can finally view their own customers in a complete and unified view. This in turn inspires new questions, new insights, and new opportunities ‒ which we’re able to incorporate and respond to by enhancing our product and inventing new products over time. And then the cycle repeats ‒ invention leads to insight; leads to questions; leads to invention.
Today marks 1 year from when we publicly launched the company, and we are hosting our 2nd Amperity Customer Summit. The Summit brings together all of our customers ‒ to share their ideas and visions, to help us shape the next phase of our product, and above all, to create opportunities for our customers to learn from each other as much as we’ve learned from each of them. We can’t wait to celebrate this milestone together, and to spark another year of invention.