How I Launched This: A SaaS Story

from Google Cloud

About the podcast

SaaS embraces the full potential of the cloud and is transforming the way organizations work. In each episode of this podcast, we go in-depth on a different SaaS story, talking with global leaders from some of the most innovative companies. Go behind the scenes as they share stories of success, failures, and what they learned along the way.

Learn more about SaaS

Hosts

Stephanie and Carter in the studio

Stephanie Wong is a Developer Advocate, host of Google Next onAir, the creator of several Cloud developer YouTube series, and supports women in tech. She is a hip hop dancer, former pageant queen, and has an unhealthy obsession with dogs. You can find her online at @swongful.

Carter Morgan is a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud, an international stand-up comedian, and a believer that #BlackLivesMatter. Previously, he was a programmer for the USAF and Microsoft. You can find him online at @carterthecomic.

Episodes

Flexible Databases and Cyber Security with MongoDB Chief Information Security Officer Lena Smart

September 13, 2020
47 min

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This week on How I Launched This: A SaaS Story, Stephanie Wong is pleased to welcome Lena Smart from MongoDB. MongoDB is a force in the database industry, offering indexing and storage capabilities for any document.

We start the show with a thorough discussion of Lena's background and her journey to becoming one of the top Chief Information Security Officers in the business. With the vital importance of security online and the ever-changing laws and regulations proliferating the space, Lena tells us that security should be part of a business's culture. She offers tips for achieving this ideal, including instituting a policy of mandatory security awareness training and supporting your strongest link - your employees.

The episode continues as Lena tells the story of MongoDB's founding. With the growth of mobile and cloud technologies, it became clear that the world needed a better database. MongoDB rose to the challenge by providing an intuitive, easy, secure solution for companies that is scalable and customizable. We learn about MongoDB Atlas, a global database platform with out-of-the-box layered security measures and additional available add-ons like Atlas Data Lake. Lena explains this layered approach to MongoDB security, comparing it to the physical securities a brick-and-mortar business or home might employ. We learn about MongoDB's field level encryption specifically and how it's changing database security.

To wrap up the show, Lena talks about the hiring process for security personnel and how a few good team members can help influence and mentor others. She stresses the security culture mindset, emphasizing cooperation between departments. We talk about the partnership between Google and MongoDB and how these two companies have learned from each other. Lena leaves us with a powerful message to be yourself and continue to grow and learn.

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Internet-Connected Products and the Importance of Giving Back with Aeris CEO Marc Jones

August 30, 2020
48 min

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Welcome back to How I launched this, A SaaS Story! This week, Carter and Stephanie welcome Marc Jones, President, CEO & Chairman of Aeris, a technology company that helps organizations create and sell internet-connected products that consumers and businesses love. Aeris’ software powers 15 million connected devices worldwide, enabling medical professionals to remotely monitor patients, homeowners to remotely lock their doors, and vehicle owners to download self-driving capabilities at the push of a button.

With a long-term view of how hardware and software will necessarily converge, Marc explains how he and his colleagues jumped into Aeris and refocused the company in the early 2000s, harnessing the power of wireless connectivity to help businesses do more things more easily. We hear the story of growth as Aeris grew 35% year-on-year, from zero revenue in 2009 to more than $100M in annual revenue today -- all leveraging its own profits and with no venture capital investment.

Later in the show, we discuss race and how it has influenced Marc’s path, and he offers valuable advice and inspiration for other Black entrepreneurs as they begin their careers. Emphasising the importance of responsible risk-taking, Marc explains why he feels people of color are underrepresented in the technology industry and how he hopes to improve this situation through his involvement in Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT works to mentor and support men and women of color, providing them with the opportunity to network with and learn from successful role models.

We wrap up the show with a look at how Aeris is connecting the world and helping non-profit companies leverage connectivity technology to accelerate their impact. Marc provides powerful examples from around the world -- from Syrian refugees to African farmers --, showing us how people and companies working for good can create a better planet for everyone. He takes a look into the future and tells us the advancements he’d like to see, not only in the technology space, but in society, and how the two can help each other.

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Cloud-Native Enterprise Imaging Platform With Change Healthcare VP Archie Mayani

August 23, 2020
48 min

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This week on How I Launched This: A SaaS story, Carter and Stephanie are talking all about their journey in creating a cloud-native medical imaging management platform and clinical applications, and how Change Healthcare is improving the space for both providers and patients.

With a passion for helping people, Archie Mayani, VP of product management at Change Healthcare, tells us how working in healthcare has driven the pursuit of purpose for her. Her mother's cancer plight led Archie to realize the need providers had for a better way to share large images to secure more accurate diagnoses. The goal for Archie at Change Healthcare was to create a platform to provide access to the right images to the right physician at the right time to save lives.

Archie describes Change Healthcare's journey to becoming a powerhouse medical services platform for everything from image storage, analytics to revenue cycle management. The focus has always been on making life easier for providers so they can focus on patients, she says. Change Healthcare has continued to expand their offerings, building new solutions as customer needs develop. Archie describes challenges the company has had along the way, including the struggle to find right talent with health care knowledge.

The partnership between Change Healthcare and Google Cloud has been important in the growth of the company, Archie tells us. We talk about the effects of Covid-19 on the industry and on Change Healthcare, and Archie offers advice to other SaaS companies, stressing the importance of making good technology choices early.

We wrap up the show with a discussion of the future of Change Healthcare and how AI can benefit the health care space.

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Open Source Memory Database Systems with Redis Labs Chief Product Officer Alvin Richards

August 16, 2020
50 min

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We're back with How I Launched This: A SaaS story! This week, Stephanie Wong talks with Alvin Richards about Redis Labs, a company optimizing the Redis open source memory database system to build better managed tools for enterprise clients.

Alvin begins the show describing how his love of solving complex development problems and great people skills have put him in a unique position to act as intermediary between engineers and clients, gaining insights into real-world problems and how to solve them. Looking to the future, Alvin's team also anticipates client needs, creating database products that will continue to help clients as their projects evolve.

Later in the show, Alvin describes how the Redis system built in the cloud was reworked to also provide on-prem offerings. We learn how Redis Labs was able to fill a gap in the market by offering a database product that both developers and clients could understand, adapt, and use. Alvin introduces us to other Redis Labs products, including Redis for Enterprise which allows tiering between memory forms, in-memory caching, scaling, and more for a flexible database experience.

We wrap up the show with a discussion of what it's like coordinating the development of such a large open source project and why Redis Labs supports open source. Alvin offers advice to other companies, stressing the importance of building solutions with both the creator and client in mind and educating clients and developers to use the software effectively. We talk about the future of open source in SaaS companies and how important it will be for scaling SaaS technology. Alvin concludes by encouraging everyone to ultimately find joy in what they do.

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Distributed Search with Elastic Field CTO Steve Mayzak

August 9, 2020
46 min

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Carter Morgan and Stephanie Wong are back this week with another episode of the SaaS Podcast! This week, we're speaking with Field CTO Steve Mayzak about Elastic and how they're perfecting the thorough search of data in distributed systems.

Steve starts the show explaining the role of a Field CTO and how he helps develop strategies for the future of Elastic. He describes the function of Elastic in detail, sharing that the search capabilities they've developed can do anything from satisfy your curiosity on Wikipedia to protecting submarines from attack. Whether it's online shopping, sifting through years of web logs, or detecting threats to your project, people expect to find exactly what they're looking for fast, and Elastic has the power to do that.

Later, we talk about why open source is so important to Elastic and how it led to the development of programs like Logstash, software that can manipulate and search through logs, Kibana, software that improves UI and simplifies data organization for any system, and Endpoint, security software that searches out threats to the system. Steve talks about real-life use cases of these Elastic products and how companies like car manufacturers can use the system to predict machine maintenance, thus decreasing downtime. We discuss the future of Elastic and learn how these use cases influence future product development.

We wrap up the show with a detailed discussion of the Elastic stack, including the technologies they use to keep the system running smoothly, ensure data is well indexed and organized, and perfect the scalability of Elastic. Steve talks about roadblocks the company has faced and the solutions they found, as well as Covid-specific changes they've made and how they're helping other companies deal with issues caused by the global pandemic. He offers advice for companies now facing this work-from-home scenario and ways to run efficient teams no matter their location, as well as the future of data management.

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Submerged in Data Lakes with Qubole Co-Founder & CEO Ashish Thusoo

August 2, 2020
42 min

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In this week's episode, Stephanie Wong and Carter Morgan speak with Qubole co-founder & CEO Ashish Thusoo about data lakes, analytics, and how Qubole is solving real problems in the data usage space.

While working together at Facebook, Ashish and his partner Joydeep recognized the power of data to analyze the past, understand current trends, and predict the future, but data analyzation programs at the time fell short of realizing this potential. Thus the data lakes evolution began. Qubole was able to take this new idea mainstream by offering an open platform to simplify data lakes for enterprise companies.

Ashish explains data lakes in detail, telling us that true lakes allow you to store any kind of data and run multiple use cases on that data. Data lakes keep data flexible, allowing users to store whatever and analyze however they need to anytime. Qubole provides customers with this storage while also offering a plethora of features that make it easy for customers to understand and use their data lakes.

Later in the show, we learn how data lakes have evolved and the different ways they can benefit any business. Ashish gives us real-world examples of companies using Qubole today, detailing the Qubole services available and how they're used. We talk tech shop and hear about Qubole's stack, issues they faced building such a big piece of software, and why they value openness and advanced security.

We wrap up with Ashish's ideas on the future of data analysis and SaaS companies.

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Easy Data Scaling with DataStax Chief Product Officer Ed Anuff

July 26, 2020
40 min

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Stephanie Wong and Carter Morgan are back with another episode of How I Launched This: A SaaS Story! This week, they're talking to DataStax Chief Product Officer, Ed Anuff, about how the company has managed to create massively scalable databases capable of running on any cloud platform.

Ed starts the show by explaining the inspiration for DataStax and why they chose Apache Cassandra to build their software. At DataStax, they recognized the need for packaged software to allow businesses to harness the power of data securely, and their appreciation for open source software meant Apache Cassandra was the perfect fit.

Later in the show, we talk about the evolution of DataStax and Cassandra and how they've changed as technology has evolved. Ed talks about their newest offering, DataStax Astra, explaining the ways it allows Cassandra to work efficiently in the cloud. Specifically, Ed details Astra's scale-out capability and how it's handled on different cloud platforms, including Google.

The show wraps up with a look at the future of SaaS and the technologies Ed believes will  become more and more popular. He makes the point that as technology continues to advance, developers will need to think more about integration of products and services.

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Optimizing Utility Usage with Olea Edge Analytics CEO Dave Mackie

July 21, 2020
35 min

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Carter and Stephanie are back this week on "How I Launched This: A SaaS Story", speaking with Olea Edge Analytics CEO Dave Mackie. Olea is a company using cutting-edge technology to help utility companies optimize water usage, prevent water waste, and more efficiently generate revenue.

We start the show as Dave Mackie, CEO, tells the creation story of Olea. Dave and his team observed high percentages of commercial water meters that were not working correctly and set out to fix the problem. Using a sensor array and edge computing platform, the Olea system monitors water meters, identifying both functioning and malfunctioning meters. The system can then pinpoint problems in malfunctioning meters, enabling fast, efficient repairs and maximum revenue for utility companies. Dave explains how this benefits utility customers as well, citing examples from early Olea trials in Atlanta.

Dave talks technology later in the episode, elaborating on Olea's creation of sensors and their perfecting of a true edge computing process to send analysed data to customers. Olea is now working towards pressure sensors and leak detection to expand utility company revenue retention and further minimize water waste.

Frank Kaplan, VP of Sales, details the conservation implications of Olea devices and how utility companies can use them to address water management issues like scarcity and waste.

We wrap up the episode talking about the future of Olea and how they hope to continue to improve the water utility industry. Dave also offers up some great advice for other SaaS companies.

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Seamless Shopping with commercetools CEO & Co-Founder Dirk Hoerig

June 25, 2020
40 min

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On this episode of the SaaS podcast, your host Stephanie Wong chats with Dirk Hoerig CEO of commercetools about what it takes to create a seamless shopping experience across multiple platforms.

Commercetools came about in 2006 when Dirk and his co-founder saw the issues with online retail scaling and management on premise. By creating their own cloud infrastructure before the cloud was popular, commercetools was able to help companies accomplish these scaling and management tasks faster and easier. Dirk tells us that as technology has advanced, commercetools has adapted and evolved, reinventing themselves in 2010 and then becoming the world's first API led commerce platform in 2013.

In the newest iteration of commercetools, Dirk explains what was most important to them, including ease of use for customers, functionality across devices, and ability to change with technology. With the new system, customers are able to easily configure their commerce system by picking and choosing applicable commercetools components. Dirk details how commercetools was built to accomplish these goals, why making parts of it open source was important, and other issues and successes along the way.

To wrap up the show, Dirk tells us about commercetools newest additions using machine learning, gives current use-cases of companies taking full advantage of commercetools, and talks about the future of technology and software as a service.

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Enabling Customer Centricity with Qubit CEO Graham Cooke

June 19, 2020
37 min

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This week on “How I Launched This: A SaaS Story,” your host Stephanie Wong talks online customer service strategy with Qubit CEO Graham Cooke. A self-described lifelong geek, Grahams fascination with the latest technologies and his interest in online consumer shopping behaviors converged into his most recent project, Qubit. Qubit is a data-driven model that collects information as users shop in an effort to understand how to turn browsers into buyers. Qubit creates profiles that help retailers understand the specific needs of that client, allowing businesses to create a more direct strategy for sales. In the end, the retailer makes the sale and the customer gets exactly what they wanted when they wanted it with less hassle and frustration.

As an ex Googler, Graham tells us the lessons he learned there and how they positively impacted his recent ventures. He details online buying trends he's seeing and how companies should pivot to meet customer needs. From better personalization to nudging the consumer at the right time in the right place, Graham believes retail websites could be doing so much more. Creating a customer-first strategy is the future of retail, and Qubit is helping clients achieve this with the power of machine learning.

Later, Graham tells us about Start, the newest addition to Qubit, and how it uses machine learning to get retailers started with automation and customer personalization. He explains how it compares with the more thorough Qubit Pro, how both systems were built, and the logistics of their personalization platform.

To wrap up the show, Stephanie and Graham talk about Qubits stack and what Google products they use to get the job done. Graham leads us through onboarding of a client and how each of the Qubit products benefits retailers at different stages of customer-centric platforms. He tells us about lessons they learned along the way and how those lessons changed Qubit for the better.

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Environmental Intelligence with Aclima CEO Davida Herzl

June 12, 2020
26 min

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Welcome to "How I Launched This: A SaaS Story" from Google Cloud! In our first installment of the podcast, your hosts Stephanie Wong and Carter Morgan talk with the folks at San Francisco-based Aclima about environmental itelligence. Aclima's air quality mapping platform aggregates and analyzes air pollution factors to aid in the diagnosis and remedy of these problems for a safer breathing environment, both locally and globally. The air quality data is collected by sensors on vehicles and input into the SaaS platform for customers. The analyzed data can quickly be interpreted so appropriate measures can be taken to mitigate air pollution.

Davida Herzl, CEO of Aclima, starts the show explaining why she felt the world needed Aclima and how advancements in technology made it possible to collect, store, and analyze data in a new and more useful way. With their hyperlocal data collection system, clients can see city-block by city-block numbers and learn how the air quality affects each individual person, making the system much more personal. The data can of course also be analyzed in larger numbers for city-wide, state-wide, or even global solutions.

Davida and Robert Murphy, VP Strategy and Business Development, later dive into the technical side of Aclima, describing their technology stack, development procedures, and suggestions of SaaS best practices. Davida also elaborates on the development of the hardware and how these sensors are deployed. She addresses the growth of Aclima and how company management and technologies have changed and grown with the business. She wraps up the show expressing her excitement at how technology can continue to improve our world.

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Welcome to How I Launched This: A SaaS Story

June 9, 2020
2 min

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Welcome to “How I Launched This: A SaaS Story” from Google Cloud. SaaS embraces the full potential of the Cloud and is arguably changing the way organizations work. Each episode, Stephanie Wong and Carter Morgan will go in-depth on a different SaaS story, sharing the initial challenges, approaches, and ultimate impact various global leaders have faced implementing their own SaaS solutions. Stay tuned to learn more about SaaS, the technologies being employed, other lessons learned and stories from industry leaders all over the world. Stories like sustainable futures, full-stack monitoring, AIOps and headless commerce.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest on SaaS, Google Cloud and this show, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, follow Google Cloud on Twitter and give us a share. Reach out to Carter and Stephanie with suggestions, comments and questions to keep the conversation going online. Check out each episode’s show notes for more information, rate and review our show on Apple Podcasts and stay tuned for our frequent releases.