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 @stephr_wong.

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

Weather Damage Reporting with WeatherCheck Founder and CEO Demetrius Gray

February 14, 2021
38 min

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Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) welcome Demetrius Gray, Founder and CEO of WeatherCheck, to this week's show. WeatherCheck employs advanced AI, meteorological data, and top class scientists and developers to provide homeowners and claims consultants with specific hail and weather damage data to safeguard one of life’s biggest investments: your home.

When Demetrius began running operations for a roofing company, he saw the pain and confusion weather damage can inflict on structures and people. WeatherCheck seeks to alleviate some of this stress by alerting homeowners of severe weather and helping them pinpointing exact damage that may have occurred. If property is damaged, WeatherCheck gives users tools that help them; work with their insurance on filing a claim, finding a contractor and funding repairs while awaiting insurance money.

Demetrius details the technology behind such a huge undertaking and describes how specific meteorological and other microservices have advanced the success of WeatherCheck. Their team of atmospheric physicists and data scientists perform analyses on weather instances every single day, and have built a multi-cloud system to manage this information and share it with users.

The WeatherCheck system has successfully helped clients identify damage minutes after a disaster, even if the client is miles from their home. Demetrius also discusses the company culture and what values and ethos are pervasive throughout. In that vein, Demetrius offers up advice for future company founders to create an efficient and comfortable workplace.

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Automating Cloud Infrastructure with Altostra Co-Founder Gal Zabib

January 31, 2021
32 min

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This week on How I Launched This A SaaS Story, Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) has an insightful chat with Gal Zabib, Co-Founder and CEO of Altostra. Altostra provides individual developers and engineering teams a no-code platform to create and manage cloud infrastructure based projects.

As a software engineer from a young age, Gal’s previous experiences with the Israeli Military Intelligence force and working for a startup as the R&D leader, really carved out who Gal is as an entrepreneur. With Altostra, Gal and her team use their varied engineering skills to accelerate and automate software delivery for their clients. She details the struggles faced as the company began with a small group of developers working tirelessly to get Altostra off the ground. We hear how they overcame these obstacles and became a company bridging the learning gap for developers and empowering them to adapt and use new tools with minimal time investment. In the fast-paced world of infrastructure development, engineers are constantly struggling to keep up with new and changing technologies. Altostra helps remove some of the learning burden by doing the research and updating pieces automatically so developers can focus their time where it’s better suited.

Later in the show, Gal explains how developers use Altostra and the ways it caters to different coding styles. We talk about why Altostra chose to offer a freemium version and what that means for clients and the evolution of the product. Partnerships are a big part of their business, and companies like GitHub have signed on with Altostra recently. Gal offers insights into why personal and business partnerships are so important for business growth. Their recent participation in the Startup Residency Program at Google has also shaped the company and we talk about how Google Cloud has helped them expand.

Just get out there and get started is the valuable advice Gal gives fellow entrepreneurs as we wrap up the show. She looks into the future and gives us insight into the next few years of Altostra and the cloud and wishes everyone a healthy 2021!

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Quality Networking and Relationship Building with Warmly Co-Founder and CPO Val Yermakova

January 17, 2021
33 min

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Stephanie (@stephr_wong) and Carter (@carterthecomic) welcome Co-Founder and CPO, Val Yermakova of Warmly today on the show! Warmly helps companies leverage business contacts and streamline networking practices for more efficient lead generation: think Warm Intros to Warm Sales Leads!

Val's intellectual curiosity and flexibility mean she's had myriad job titles and hobbies, including FulBright China scholar, Stanford Melanoma researcher, Security Analyst, Interaction Designer, Krav Maga and Muay Thai fighter, Circus Aerialist, Ex-competitive wrestler and figure skater, speaks Chinese, Russian, Spanish and English. At Warmly, Val continues to expand her knowledge base, learning from the many and varied industries that join. As a networking aid, Warmly helps sales departments in all fields find and foster meaningful relationships with people, allowing them to stay in contact with their network even as those people are promoted or hired by new companies.

To begin, Val describes the iterations of Warmly and how bringing on co-founders expanded and improved the company. Market research played a big role in refining the product as well. In the current setup, Warmly clients use the dashboard to control which contacts are monitored and how. When a network contact change is detected by Warmly, email notifications are sent to the relevant company employee along with applicable advice. Val gives us great examples of how this process can increase sales and network contacts

Later, we hear how the company will expand in the next five years. Google Cloud products have been integral in the development of Warmly, and Val explains how scaling has been made easier with Google Cloud. Val details how she incorporates positive mental health and nonviolent communication into the company culture and why emotional awareness is so important in work and private life.

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Customer-Driven Data Solutions with Splunk SVP of Cloud and CPO Sendur Sellakumar

January 3, 2021
42 min

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Sendur Sellakumar, CPO and SVP of Cloud at Splunk, joins our host Stephanie (@swongful) on our first episode of 2021. Splunk is revolutionizing how enterprises use and act on data, making the process cheaper, faster, and more secure. Sendur's background in engineering and finance means he understands not only the importance of building great software but of running a customer-focused, profitable business efficiently and with empathy. WIth the help of Sendur, Splunk has moved more than half their software focus to hybrid and cloud solutions, enabling their powerful data tools to be used by myriad enterprise customers.

Later in the episode, Sendur tells us the origin story of Splunk and how they started in the IT and security space. He describes what it was like advancing Splunk and it's customers into the cloud, detailing challenges of this shift and the solutions he found. Their focus on customer needs and support have been the leading factors of change along the way as they adapt and improve offerings to fit client needs. He talks about his time with the company and what it's been like leading as the company grows and changes.

Sendur details the offerings Splunk provides and how machine learning, streaming,  federated search, and other components work together to provide products usable by different types of clients at different stages of development. Through real-world examples, Sendur describes how users have discovered the power of data to solve current issues and empower employees.

We wrap up the show discussing how Google Cloud has enabled Splunk to scale with confidence. Sendur offers his insights on the future of Splunk and how Covid and a company-wide work from home policy have affected them. In his advice to other SaaS companies, Sendur says quantifying goals as much as possible is motivating for companies and their employees.

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2020 Year In Review: How I Launched This, A SaaS Story

December 17, 2020
33 min

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Stephanie Wong (@swongful) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) take us on a journey recapping serial entrepreneurs, surprising lessons learned, critical technology pivots and uncovering there is no silver bullet to security. The episodes of 2020 surprisingly revealed many common themes between founders, CEO’s and their respective companies. While dual pandemics plagued this year, we kept the recordings going in hopes of giving listeners a platform to learn, grow from and simply enjoy.

This year, we learned what it takes to start and scale global businesses. Being flexible and adjusting to trends and new technologies was a big theme, and we were lucky to hear advice from multiple professionals about how to keep companies effective as the world changes. The complete pivot CEO Dirk Hoerig of commercetools took early in the company's journey is a great example. Pendo CEO Todd Olson enlightened us on the importance of product-led growth in business and how sometimes things have to break to get better.

Bringing together industry tools to create something more than the sum of their parts was a big take away from episodes like TrueFit and Change Healthcare. Flexible, indexed data that's easy to use was another point a lot of our guests touched on, and MongoDB's product offerings focus on just that. We talked online security with guests like MongoDB's Lena Smart and how important it is to have functional, secure networks for users and employees.

From tips on productivity and remote working to understanding the social constructs that affect workplace comfort, we've tackled some of the big issues of 2020 and learned how entrepreneurs have leveraged technology to help overcome these challenges. Guests like Mandy Price taught us about the anonymous reporting system, Kanarys, that's working to create a safe and inclusive workplace. Aeris CEO Marc Jones joined us in a candid conversation about race and entrepreneurship as well, pointing out how a lack of support can create risk-aversion and limit opportunities for certain races of people. Companies like Upswing are striving to change that by supporting marginalized people through college and beyond. And when companies support diversity, great things can happen, Quitebit was a perfect example of this.

Outside the workplace, entrepreneurs are working for a healthier planet as well. Our very first episode tackled air pollution. We learned from Founder and CEO Davida Herzl, how Aclima is revolutionizing air quality improvement through data mapping and Olea Edge Analytics is helping companies conserve water with their unique meters.

Check out all the episodes from this year to hear in-depth conversations with these guests and more! Thanks for joining us, we'll see you in 2021!

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Software Delivery Management with CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey

December 6, 2020
39 min

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This week, Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) speaks with Sacha Labourey about enterprise software delivery company CloudBees. CloudBees enables developers to focus on what they do best: Build stuff that matters, while providing peace of mind to management with powerful risk mitigation, compliance and governance tools. CloudBees streamlines the software delivery management process for companies.

Sacha starts the show with a thorough explanation of how CloudBees saw a need in the market and filled it. Previously, companies would take months or years to get their software products out there, often guessing at what customers need. With CloudBees’ continuous integration and delivery processes, companies can now evaluate customer needs, build and adjust useful products, and get them to market quickly. By allowing companies to codify team roles and knowledge and integrate with hundreds of tools, enterprise software can be automated and secured, decreasing time to market.

Later, we talk about CloudBees’ specific offerings for different types of enterprise customers. Sacha details the process to build, iterate, improve, and deliver software quickly, all while efficiently managing the team members and tools used. We learn about the compliance and security measures in place to help clients not only work quickly but safely.

CloudBees continues to grow and expand their offerings, and we talk about what’s in store for the future. Sacha graciously shared stories of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, from getting the first customer to continually improving and learning from the lows while celebrating highs. Covid has impacted many businesses, and Sacha shares how CloudBees has handled this curveball.

We wrap up the show discussing the special relationship between CloudBees and Google and the changes customers can expect from CloudBees in the future.

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Online Reputation Management with Reputation.com CEO Joe Fuca

November 22, 2020
42 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This! Stephanie Wong (@swongful) is back this week hosting Joe Fuca of Reputation.com. Their advanced algorithms based on years of machine learning experience help companies find, manage, and maintain their online brand presence.

With his history growing companies into worldwide successes, Joe starts the show telling us about his fascinating experiences with category creation, from infancy to acceptance to widespread use. His current work at Reputation has brought him to the feedback economy, which he says is still growing. As more users leave reviews for various companies and services, these organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of customer opinions. Reputation.com is able to aggregate feedback from online reviews, surveys, social media, phone calls, and more to create Score X for industry-specific companies. This score allows users to directly compare vendors of the same industry and lets companies know how they're doing relative to their competition. It helps companies be found by customers as they research which doctor to use or car dealership to patronize. In addition, Reputation is providing businesses with specific, real-time metrics they can act upon to enhance the customer experience.

Joe tells us more about the progression of Reputation from novel idea to powerful tool. He talks about how changing technologies have affected the company and how they've been able to adapt and build a better product. From their start in personal reputation management to their current enterprise offering, Reputation.com has taken advantage of cutting edge technology to collect and analyze pertinent data. General Motors, a big client of Reputation, is a great example of how the company has integrated and adapted their platform for their enterprise clients.

Later, we talk about how 2020 has changed Reputation.com and how they're keeping up with the increased traffic the year has brought. Joe offers valuable advice to other company heads as they deal with Covid-19 and drives home how important customer loyalty is in these trying times. The future of Reputation.com will see a fun rebranding that really expands the reputation experience management platform.

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Perfecting Product with Pendo CEO and Co-Founder Todd Olson

November 8, 2020
39 min

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Stephanie Wong (@swongful) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) are back with a new episode of How I Launched This. This week, we talk with Pendo CEO and Co-Founder Todd Olson. With a passion for helping teams build and adapt digital products, Todd and his co-founders from Google, RedHat, and Cisco created Pendo to help companies analyze how their product offerings are used to optimize performance for customers.

Pendo offers analytical tools, messaging features inside products, feedback polls, and customer feedback roadmaps to allow users to impact product development and companies to adjust products to fit real-life user needs. With situations like the global pandemic, this has become especially useful as users adjust to a new way of working with products. Pendo helps them navigate the products in these new ways and provides feedback to companies so they are able to adjust if necessary to ensure user satisfaction

Todd is no stranger to startups, having launched many himself starting from a very young age. With Pendo, he wanted to focus on what users really want, what they really need, and how they're actually using products that digital engineers build. He tells us the process of Pendo's creation, starting with the initial ideas and partnering with like minded individuals. Todd feels it's important and quite honestly, more fun, to have co-founders to help support the mission and bring complimentary skills to a project.

Later, we hear more about Todd's journey through entrepreneurship, from his first company to Pendo. We talk about how a lifetime of entrepreneurialism has changed him, and he tells us lessons he's learned, giving insight into the process of building a company, realizing it's potential, then moving to the next project. He details the evolution of Pendo from inception to edited iterations, to the useful service it is today. We talk about tradeoffs entrepreneurs and their startups invariably have to make and how to make the tough choices.

We dig into the technology behind Pendo later in the show as Todd outlines the tools they use and why. Todd also takes the time to talk about his new book on product-led businesses. The show wraps up with a discussion of how product-led businesses can adjust for the future and embrace the changes that come with it. We end with Todd's thoughts on the future of SaaS companies.

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Supporting an Inclusive Workplace With Kanarys Co-Founder and CEO Mandy Price

October 25, 2020
45 min

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On this episode of How I Launched this, Stephanie (@swonful) and Carter (@carterthecomic) are excited to welcome the CEO of Kanarys, Mandy Price. The Kanarys platform is the first technology platform that fosters collaboration between companies and employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Through gathering anonymous employee data, the Kanarys platform brings about lasting change in DEI by helping companies get the specific data and insights they need to diagnose, prioritize, and optimize DEI efforts.

Mandy starts the show by distinguishing between diversity, equity, and inclusivity, stressing that these should be the goals of every workplace. Diversity, the mix of different social and ethnic backgrounds,is important. But equally important is an environment where each person has equal access to resources and feels welcome and nurtured within the company. Her unfortunate experiences with inequity in office settings sparked the idea for Kanarys. By giving employees a mechanism to voice their concerns, report instances that make them uncomfortable, and more, Kanarys empowers employees to effect change in work environments. Managers' jobs are also made easier, as the platform gives them the data they need to find and fix DEI issues and bring about change.

Later, Mandy describes the process that brought Kanarys to their current platform and details the user experience. The company dashboard offers insights and support to give businesses the best chance at change, while the employee dashboard provides a safe space for discussions on equity and inclusion. She outlines the types of data Kanarys collects and how, and explains how this process has evolved over time. Kanarys also helps companies with implementation plans once data is analyzed.

Mandy talks about her personal journey and how it influenced her entrepreneurial path. She smiles talking about the Kanarys team and how important it is to find employees who believe in your mission. To wrap up the show, Mandy offers valuable advice on how to build and run a powerful team and tells us about the new Resource Center they've just released.

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Reversing the Dropout Rate of Underserved Students with Upswing.io Founder Melvin Hines

October 18, 2020
47 min

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Stephanie (@swongful) and Carter (@carterthecomic) are back with a new episode of How I Launched This: A SaaS Story. This week, they welcome a Google For Startup Accelerator participant and a Google Black Founders Fund recipient, Melvin Hines, Founder and CEO of Upswing.io. Upswing.io began as an online tutoring platform to assist underserved students and has since scaled to create a full service, 24/7 online student support system that empowers underserved and nontraditional students to complete their education.

With a strong focus on online and non-traditional students, Upswing is harnessing the power of the internet to create a level playing field in the education space. Melvin's strong parental role models encouraged him to attend law school, where he began to raise awareness of education inequality. Later, while earning his MBA, Melvin began planning Upswing.

Melvin explains how Upswing works, giving us an overview of Upswing's three Rs:  Reach, Relate, and Retain. Reach means Upswing meets the student where they are. Upswing provides a virtual assistant, Ana, to help organize schedules and check in with student progress and mental health. Relating to the problems nontraditional students face, Upswing helps Retain students by providing tutoring services and facilitating other student support offered by the education institution at no cost to the students.

Later, Melvin tells us about Upswing's evolution to a full-service system, describing the early struggles and how they were overcome. He talks about the importance of finding good partners that share the vision and can help advance the mission. We touch on how race can affect entrepreneurship and how minority mentors and celebrities are working to level the playing field.

As a member of the Google Accelerator Program, Melvin tells us how the mentorships and connections have helped grow his business. We talk about how Covid has created a world of nontraditional students and the ways this has changed Upswing. Upswing continues to evolve, and in the future, will offer enhanced mental health aid through a partnership with Metta and better online support for financial assistance.

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Elevating the Customer Experience with True Fit Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer, Jessica Murphy

October 11, 2020
43 min

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Carter (@carterthecomic) and Stephanie (@swongful) are back this week with TrueFit Co-Founder and CCO, Jessica Murphy. TrueFit is revolutionizing online clothes shopping experience utilizing a data collective of size, fit preference, body shape, gender, brand preferences to precisely pinpoint the customer's true size. When retailers personalize every part of the journey, customers gain confidence in the seamless online shopping experience.

Co-Founder Jessica Murphy starts the show explaining a little more about how TrueFit came to be and how the program collects customer information and product information, analyzes the data, and brings the customer to the perfect fit in each particular brand. With this data, TrueFit goes a step further, offering style recommendations for your size and shape as well. Standardization between brands is a benefit of the program, helping customers find similar products across brands.

We talk a bit about data security and why building trust with companies and shoppers was so important to the growth of TrueFit. Jessica describes how her lack of technological experience at the beginning was no hindrance, explaining that a lot of the logic behind the algorithms now used was developed by her early on. Jessica and her Co-Founder, Romney Evans, learned software as they went, hiring friends and developers along the way.

As the company migrated to Google Cloud, important decisions had to be made, and Jessica tells us about this journey. She describes challenges they faced, including the rapid growth they've seen since the start of the global pandemic.

A first-generation Colombian in America, Jessica reflects on how family and cultural traditions shaped her as an entrepreneur. We touch on diversity in SaaS companies and why it can be a crucial component of a successful business and is vital to a successful AI model.

To wrap up the show, Jessica gives us her thoughts on the future of data, AI, and internet companies and offers some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Understanding Consumer Behavior with Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra

October 5, 2020
50 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This, A SaaS Story. This week Stephanie (@swongful) has the pleasure of speaking with Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO of Quantum Metric. Quantum Metric specializes in collecting, analyzing, and understanding real-time consumer behaviors with regards to technology. 

Mario, an entrepreneur from childhood with a background in molecular biology and biochemistry, has used his extensive skills as an engineer and computer scientist to advance the goals of four start-up companies. His main passion is with enterprise clients, identifying potential problems and solving them with new business ideas. In his latest entrepreneurship adventure, he has created Quantum Metric to help enterprise companies better understand their clients and adjust their offerings to maximum client retention. As people depend more and more on technology to fulfill their shopping needs, it's vital for companies to gauge consumer interactions with technology. It's equally important that this data be easily read and interpreted by businesses so the proper steps can be taken to optimize customer experiences, and Quantum Metric is making this a reality.

We talk more about Mario's time at Quantum Metric and his appreciation for the great company culture they've created. He tells us about continuous product design and the importance of creating a business culture that empowers people to make decisions, allowing the company to change and grow quickly. By essentially taking the idea of DevOps and transposing it on the functions of a business, both the technology side and business side can run quickly and efficiently.

Later, Mario gives us great examples of customers using Quantum Metric and continuous product design to take their companies to the next level. Stephanie and Mario dig into the tech side of Quantum Metric and share which Google Cloud products they utilize.

Mario wraps up the show with a look ahead at the future of SaaS companies and offers some advice for other new businesses.

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Superior Video Streaming with Wowza Media Systems CEO Dave Stubenvoll and Vice President of Engineering Ben Mesander

September 27, 2020
40 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This, A SaaS Story! This week, Stephanie (@swongful) and Carter (@carterthecomic) are talking with two executives from Wowza Media Systems, a world leader in live streaming content. With both managed services and highly customizable components available as downloadable software or in the cloud, Wowza is capable of catering to any client.

CEO and Co-Founder, Dave Stubenvoll, starts the show with a history of Wowza and how a project called Blog Cheese got him started in streaming. VP of Engineering, Ben Mesander, relates his streaming origin stories, explaining that he's always been interested in mathematical software problems and was naturally drawn to video compression.

Because Wowza is streaming so much data, Ben explains that proper bandwidth and scaling are important to reduce latency, minimize stutters, and more. He describes the steps they took to create the architecture in place now and walks us through a typical stream on Wowza.

Our guests talk about real-world use cases for Wowza, from things like gaming to the life-saving monitoring of infants in ICU. With the company ideals of worldwide availability and open minds, Wowza is used by all different kinds of companies all across the globe. Ben and Dave talk about the future of Wowza, including specific offerings they hope to deploy. We have an interesting discussion about the role of AI in video streaming and how this will continue to develop.

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AI-Driven Data Management with Informatica Senior Vice President Jitesh Ghai

September 20, 2020
33 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This, A SaaS Story. This week Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) hosts a conversation with Jitesh Ghai. Jitesh is Senior Vice President of Informatica and goes in-depth about the advanced data management software they've created for use with Google Cloud. As key players in the space, Informatica has excelled in facilitating customer and cloud provider relationships while also building specialized data migration and management tools for enterprise companies taking advantage of the cloud.

Jitesh explains how his passion for data and life philosophy of making plans while also being flexible led him to Informatica. Because data is so important to supporting fact-driven company decisions, Informatica's offerings like data integration, indexing, management, privacy services, and more are vital for most modern-day companies. Their auto-indexing, tagging, and advanced, rich metadata provide companies with a thorough understanding of not only what data they have but where it is. Informatica provides the Business 360 experience for enterprise clients with AI-driven data software that can not only collect and index but analyze customer buying behavior, streamline logistical systems, and more.

Later, we talk with Jitesh about Informatica's journey to market and evolution to becoming a true cloud-first, cloud-native solution. Jitesh describes the company's awareness of data fragmentation problems between on-prem and the cloud and their desire to create a flexible cloud data solution. He details real-world examples of companies benefiting from the software, and makes predictions for the future of data and the positive effects it will continue to have on decision making

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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 (@swongful) 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 (@carterthecomic) and Stephanie (@swongful) 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 (@carterthecomic) and Stephanie (@swongful) 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 (@swongful) 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.