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.
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:
- 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.
- We provide every hire with detailed information about what the equity that we’re granting them means.
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of creating a data-driven culture. I always read about how important it is to set up your analytics infrastructure properly and get your entire company using it. It’s great that so many companies have access to data – but how are they actually getting value from it? Continue reading
10 Million Events a month. Completely Free.
Analytics is often the single largest infrastructure expense for a company.
We’ve been taught to pay for analytics linearly by data volume: see here, here, and here. This is bad for product managers and bad for analytics culture. Paying by event volume discourages you from tracking everything you want to. You’re effectively performing a cost benefit analysis with every event you instrument. Continue reading
Analytics and the inaccuracy of phone-reported timestamps
When your analytics code runs on tens of millions of phones, strange things can happen.