Predictive Will Be Abuzz at SXSW

Predictive is well on its way to becoming one of the hottest technologies of 2015, so it’s not surprising the topic will be featured at one of the biggest tech conferences of the year – the SXSW Interactive Festival, which kicks off this Friday. On Saturday, we’ll be facilitating a session titled “All Signs Point to Yes – Predictive is Here.”

SXSW Predictive

The panel will be moderated by Ryan Sarver, formerly an early Twitter employee and now a Redpoint Ventures partner who’s making big bets on intelligent applications in the B2B and B2C space. He’ll lead a discussion with our own Vik Singh, as well as Jonathan Foley, vice president of science at Gild, and Karl Rumelhart, vice president of products at Gainsight, about how predictive is making its way into every part of the enterprise.

Ever Tasted Grilled Unicorn? Lessons Forged In Hyper-Growth Fires

Originally published on TechCrunch.

Have you ever heard of a Silicon Valley unicorn? I rode one with Box for a number of years, and I’m so proud that my startup unicorn made it past the gates of the IPO with flying colors. Box’s exciting milestone (and my new start at Infer) have led me to reflect on the mindsets, strategies and playbooks that are most important when setting the stage for unicorn-like rapid growth.

To organize my thoughts about driving hyper-growth, I hacked the image at left below. Gone are the following cuts of unicorn meat: magic, wishes, giggles, rainbows, kisses, sunshine, surprises, hugs and hope. My new and improved creature (at right below) starts with the horn, the most special and integral part of the beast:

Silicon Valley Unicorn

The Rise of the B2B Predictive Marketer

Marketers have always been a curious bunch. Since Nielsen started conducting formalized surveys in the 1920s, there has been a long history of consumer-based market research that helped explain buyer personas, identify propensities to purchase, and explore the psychology behind the overall journey. Much later, and driven by the advent of the web, companies like Amazon, Target, Netflix, and Google took advantage of the explosion in new data-points to create robust recommendation engines using predictive analytics. The idea was to use statistical models examining historical behaviors to anticipate possible future actions. So if Pandora can suggest which musical artists a user is likely to enjoy based on listening patterns, why is the equivalent in B2B sales and marketing only coming into recent fruition?

PredictiveMarketer

How LinkedIn Could Take On Salesforce

Originally Posted on TechCrunchlinkedin-salesforce-collide

Today’s B2B sales and marketing folks struggle with the overwhelming number of channels for finding and reaching new leads. The customer “funnel” continues to expand as buyers do more of their own research before raising their hand to connect with a sales rep. But imagine if you could make the funnel wider by identifying leads when they’re just browsing your site and haven’t yet filled out your “contact me” form, or leads who haven’t yet visited but are likely to be a good fit for your product?

That’s hard to do with the primitive tools that are available for sales and marketers today, unless you bring together some very rare assets — which just so happen to all exist at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the only company with… Continue Reading on TechCrunch

Your Dreamforce 2014 Reading List

DreamforceArguably one of the hottest cloud events of the year is quickly approaching, and like many folks we’re gearing up for another exciting Dreamforce in San Francisco this month. With lots of Salesforce-related buzz going around, including rumors of an Analytics Cloud announcement, we thought we’d share a reading list to help everyone get up to speed. Here are a few articles that will get you ready for some quality Dreamforce networking:

Marc Benioff’s leak of the imminent Salesforce Analytics Cloud announcement probably peaked your interest. Check out these thoughts from our head of marketing, Jamie Grenney, about whether this move will shake up the predictive space.

“Salesforce is putting the spotlight on the data-driven sales and marketing movement, and asking companies to re-imagine how they operate based on data. While rear-view analytics are great, they can be even better when complemented with forward-looking predictions.”

Salesforce’s recent acquisition of RelateIQ is sure to be another hot topic at Dreamforce. Read what our CEO, Vik Singh, had to say about it in VentureBeat. Feel free to share your thoughts below about whether Salesforce is really ready to integrate predictive capabilities.

“As the world moves to predictive, the big question is if these automation players can integrate predictive properly. Is Salesforce.com ready to make the hard trade-offs to support predictive-first by designing a system around data intelligence? Or will third parties be able to innovate faster outside the core?”

Vik also recently expounded upon the Predictive-First” revolution in TechCrunch, addressing how this new era of applications is changing enterprise software. His article is a great read for anyone following this space.

“By focusing on predictive as your key product differentiator, you can more easily prioritize a minimum viable product that is intuitive and powerful.”

Predictive First: How A New Era Of Apps Will Change The Game

Originally posted to TechCrunch by Infer CEO, Vik Singh

Predictive FirstOver the past several decades, enterprise technology has consistently followed a trail that’s been blazed by top consumer tech brands. This has certainly been true of delivery models – first there were software CDs, then the cloud, and now all kinds of mobile apps. In tandem with this shift, the way we build applications has changed and we’re increasingly learning the benefits of taking a mobile-first approach to software development.

Case in point: Facebook, which of course began as a desktop app, struggled to keep up with emerging mobile-first experiences like Instagram and WhatsApp, and ended up acquiring them for billions of dollars to play catch up.

The Predictive-First Revolution

Recent events like the acquisition of RelateIQ by Salesforce demonstrate that we’re at the beginning of another shift toward a new age of predictive-first applications. The value of data science and predictive analytics has been proven again and again in the consumer landscape by products like Siri, Waze and Pandora.

Continue Reading on TechCrunch

What is Big Data? How Will It Impact Businesses and Society?

Big Data 2Big data is a buzzword that is ambiguous and often misunderstood. But it also feels like it could be the next big thing. To open up my perspective I found myself stepping outside the echo chamber of Silicon Valley. I enrolled in a class at the Aspen Institute called Socrates. They pull together a group of around 20 people from diverse backgrounds to spend a couple days digging into a topic and sharing their experiences.

No one in my group was a specialist in big data – we had a person who worked for a family office, a mayor’s office, an investment bank, a major consulting firm, an online advertising company, a hospital, the DEA, and of course I was there as the token enterprise software guy. Prior to the seminar, we had all studied a set of fascinating readings that ranged from the story of Socrates struggling with the advent of the written word, to the implications of a world where every detail is known.

Why Can’t All Companies Operate with the Same Data-Driven Intelligence as Google or Amazon.com?

Salesforce_Logo_2009 (1)Originally posted on PandoDaily by Jamie Grenney

When I joined Salesforce.com in 2002, the question we were trying to answer was “Why isn’t all enterprise software as easy to use as Amazon.com?” That simple idea gave rise to a billion dollar business.

The cloud-computing model was so disruptive because it dramatically reduced the risk and lowered the total cost of ownership for software. For the first time, companies of all sizes were able to successfully adopt CRM systems. Today I believe we are on the precipice of another disruptive shift. One that is going to unfold quickly and unlock huge productivity gains for companies.

What I Learned From Rebranding Our Company In 4 Short Weeks

My co-founders and I were ecstatic — we had just closed our $10m Series A round with top investors. Our two years of developing a great product in stealth mode and achieving profitability with key customers had culminated into a fantastic financing milestone. We finalized a launch date and put the wheels in motion for our first press announcement and coming out party. Little did we know we were about to begin a whirlwind roller coaster ride, during which we re-branded our company in just four weeks – naming, logo, website and all.

During my startup’s early days, we had little time to prioritize branding. In fact, we initially incorporated the company as “Party On Data,” which in introductory meetings would always result in ten minutes of questions about why. Soon after, we renamed our company to “Slice Data” and purchased slice-data.com (because slicedata.com wasn’t available). During our preparation for launch, it occurred to me that we should get the hyphen-less URL now that we had the funds, so I checked the domain again and it looked like a ghost town owned by two young guys in India. I figured the U.S. dollar would go far there, and we’d be able to purchase it fairly easily and quickly. Boy was I wrong.

Why Most Product Managers Suck

Originally posted on TheNextWebbrainstorm-idea-730x503

The first product manager (PM) is a crucial unicorn hire that no startup should compromise on. The reason is simple – your PM is responsible for managing your team’s most precious resource: time.

Unfortunately, nearly everyone seems to think they’d make a great PM (engineers, consultants, you name it), but the reality is that most folks just can’t hack it. I’ve worked with countless PMs at huge companies like Yahoo and Google, and over the past two months have interviewed over twenty PM candidates.