Author Archives: Spenser Skates

Spenser Skates

About Spenser Skates

Spenser is the CEO and Co-founder of Amplitude. He experienced the need for a better product analytics solution firsthand while developing Sonalight, a text-to-voice app. Out of that need, Spenser created Amplitude so that everyone can learn from user behavior to build better products.

Spenser Diversity Post

Amplitude’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

As an analytics company, we’re always thinking about growth. We ask ourselves constantly how we can help our customers leverage data to grow their product and their business. That’s one of the reasons we’ve made growth mindset one of the three cultural values we want every Ampliteer to exhibit.

For Amplitude as a whole, growth mindset doesn’t only pertain to adding more features to the product or getting more customers. It means growing our ideas. We can’t grow as a company if we remain static, fixed in our ways. We can’t grow as a company if the ideas we come up with are unchallenged. That’s why having diversity of thought in the workplace is essential to our company’s success.

Diverse thoughts come from diverse individuals. Diverse teams help to build better products and better companies.

Back in March, with the formation of the diversity team, Amplitude started taking its first steps towards addressing diversity in the workplace.

Today, I want to talk about what diversity is at Amplitude and share our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Continue reading

growth clinic retain or die 2016

Get ready for Growth Clinic: Retain or Die

You may have caught wind of the exciting things that are happening at Amplitude recently. We refreshed our website and brought our visual brand into this decade (advantages of having an amazing brand experience designer), and a couple days ago, we announced ‘Compass,’ a sophisticated addition to our platform that helps you uncover the user behaviors that do (or do not) lead to their retention.

We’ve spent months writing and talking about retention and working tirelessly to build Compass — a powerful user retention tool in and of itself. Why, though? Because user retention is the cornerstone of sustainable growth. Even if you can produce a flawless graph of daily active users or downloads showing hockey stick-like growth, if the bulk of your users are slip through the cracks within a couple of days, your company is effectively running on fumes. The growth you see just won’t be sustainable. If you can’t retain, you die.

Continue reading

Companies Overspend on Marketing, Underspend on Product

Nothing exhibits financial promise like a company with a telltale hockey-stick growth graph. Pre-revenue, seed-stage companies, in true lean fashion, launch a minimum viable product and then throw all their resources into acquiring users as fast as they can. Most average-sized tech companies spend around 10-20% of their revenue (or ARR) on marketing and sales — some early SaaS companies can spend up to 120%.

Continue reading

Dashboard Outage Post-Mortem

Amplitude Dashboard Outage: Post Mortem

On Monday, January 4, 2016, from 8:22 PM PST to 11:37 PM PST, we experienced an outage that prevented our customers from accessing their data on Amplitude. Following the outage, data on Amplitude remained stale until 3:23 PM PST on Monday, January 11, and several important features on Amplitude were inaccessible. We know many of our customers rely on Amplitude being available and up-to-date for their businesses, and we let you down. We’d like to take this opportunity to explain what happened, how we responded, and steps we are taking to prevent future outages like this from happening again.

Continue reading

startup to company

Growing up from a Startup to an Enterprise Company

We started off the new year with a failure. On January 4, 2016, one of our engineers mistakenly deleted several tables containing Amplitude metadata critical for processing and visualizing event data. Although we were able to fully recover all data, the deletion resulted in a week-long outage that affected all of our users worldwide. This was our first major outage as a company. We made a mistake – one that was costly to us, and more importantly, costly to our customers. We failed to maintain the quality of service that we committed ourselves to provide.

The days following the outage were a frenzy of figuring out how to best remedy our mistake and how to communicate what had happened to our customers. I wanted to provide insight into our decision-making process during the outage, what we’ve learned, and what we’re doing going forward.
Continue reading

Equity post (1)

Employee Equity is Broken, Here’s Our Fix

Equity compensation for startup employees is broken. Ownership of a company is supposed to be one of the biggest upsides of joining an early stage startup, but it’s riddled with traps. Employers don’t share as much information as they should and employees don’t know the right questions to ask to make sure they get treated fairly. I have only seen prospective hires ask questions about equity compensation when they have been screwed over by a previous startup. It took being screwed over to even know where to look!

Founders are in the lucky position that they have a seat at the table during any decisions that impact their equity and can advocate for what’s important to them. I’ve never seen employees be afforded that even though they’re the biggest contributors to a company’s success (much more so than the founders or investors).

We feel strongly about changing the status quo at Amplitude. Today we’re announcing two big improvements to the standard way startups grant equity:

  1. We’ve extended the post-termination option exercise window from the standard 90 days to ten years for all employees – regardless of how long they’ve been at the company.
  2. We provide every hire with detailed information about what the equity that we’re granting them means.

Continue reading