Esteban Contreras

Director of Experience Design at Sprinklr. Previously at Samsung. Author of Social State. Advisor to early stage startups.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 23, 2015

Discussion

Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
Hi - I'm Esteban Contreras, Director of Experience Design at Sprinklr. I was formerly at Samsung. I wrote a book called Social State. I advise early stage startups on product and marketing. I'm fascinated by the convergence of technology and society. I'm originally from Guatemala City, lived in the US for 10 years and now I'm in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I like the Internet. Happy to be here - ask me anything!
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
Does advising other early stage startups help you see things differently in your current role?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@corleyh Absolutely. Tech startups by definition are trying to grow quickly and they need to be nimble and decisive. I love the environment of an early stage startup and in many ways, that's the kind of environment I'm building within my team at Sprinklr.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Partner, The Upstarters
Hey @socialnerdia great to have you here... As I mentioned to you previously I used to work @sprinklr - started working at TBG Digital in Sarah Field's team and then we were acquired by Sprinklr just under year or so later. Since then I moved back to Cardiff and have since joined the Product Hunt team 💃 How has the Sprinklr platform progressed in the last year or so? I know that there was always so much going on, being added and new things happening constantly so curious to see how things have evolved.
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@bentossell Time flies! Congrats again on joining the awesome Product Hunt team. You guys are killing it. Since the TBG Digital acquisition, much has happened at Sprinklr. I believe we've tripled in size (employees), opened up multiple offices (Brazil, Japan), and acquired six new companies into the Sprinklr family. We're as focused on our mission and vision as we ever have and we're excited about the future. We're optimizing and extending our platform in many ways. It's an exciting time at Sprinklr.
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community, Product Hunt ⚡️
What are some of your favorite books?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@jacqvon Psalms. The World is Flat. Ready Player One. Hackers and Painters. The Screwtape Letters. Accidental Billionaires. Blue Like Jazz. Don't Make Me Think. The Four Steps to the Epiphany. 1984.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
@socialnerdia What are some of the biggest challenges being Director of Experience Design of such a large and complex platform like Sprinklr?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@jakecrump It's a great time for enterprise software. I believe we are at a tipping point where enterprise SaaS is going to radically change. Consumer expectations are higher than ever and that means everyone working for a major brand expects the tools they use to be as good as consumer apps - or much better! I love working on experience design at Sprinklr because I get to think about the end-to-end experience, not just for our users but also for anyone that interacts with Sprinklr. This includes how we sound, what we look like and how we make people feel. We need to be frictionless, we need to be empathetic, we need to be proactive. The days of enterprise software that isn't user-centric are over. The challenge is in designing high standards and then implementing them across our organization -- and doing so in iterative manner. Moving quickly amidst great change is challenging, but it's also really rewarding. The challenge is what makes it fun.
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
@socialnerdia how do you think VR will affect the social media landscape and how will that be integrated with sprinklr? 😀
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@mscccc VR already shows great potential and the world's most important tech companies are investing heavily into its future. I believe VR will become commonplace in homes some days, just as PCs and to an extent tablets have. At Sprinklr we focus on serving our clients needs - and their focus is on creating great experiences for their customers. I suspect Facebook, YouTube and others in the social space will continue to offer VR capabilities, and brands/organizations/groups/communities will certainly be part of the equation.
Kate@katesegrin · Community + Product @ Product Hunt
What skills did you pick up at Samsung that have helped in your new role at Sprinklr and as an advisor to startups?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@katesegrin Samsung was an incredible experience for me. I learned to answer the question "Why?" And then answer that question two, three, four, fix, six times. Samsung is one of the largest companies on Earth and I was fortunate to be in the right time at the right place -- and had the opportunity to lead the company's initial social media strategy. In emerging technologies and channels (i.e. social media back then), Samsung is a fast-paced environment where you have to build an infrastructure five years into the future. I learned to think on my feet and think in terms of mass scale. And the coolest part was that I got to be there during some of Samsung's milestone events in recent history (i.e. 3D TV, the rise of the Galaxy S, IoT). It was an amazing time.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Thanks for being here today 🙌 During your career to date, what has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@ems_hodge a) My most challenging moment was after graduating from university. While I had been "working" in tech and marketing since I was about 13 years old (thank you mom and dad for the opportunity!), deciding to pursue a full-time job in the U.S. (I'm from Guatemala and therefore a visa was necessary) was a major milestone in my life. I chose to join Amdocs, an Israeli tech company were I learned a lot about how legacy software is developed and evaluated at major companies like AT&T and DIRECTV. b) My proudest moment is still yet to come but joining Samsung and later on Sprinklr were pivotal moments. c) My most surprising moment had to be an unpaid internship while I was in school a decade ago. It wasn't my favorite job by any means but I learned a lot about what I wanted to do with my life and the importance of having a good work ethic at all times.
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
Hey Esteban, do you remember how your pageviews at Sprinklr compares from first to second year? In terms of growth?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@nickifriisw I cannot share those details but huge growth from year 1 to today.
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
What has the strategy been for Sprinklr in acquiring new business - enterprise seems to be the focus, are you not looking to target smaller businesses?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@alexcartaz We've always been very focused on the Enterprise market. This was strategic and I believe an important differentiator for our product and culture. Our foundation was in envisioning and building an infrastructure that would allow the world's biggest brands to manage experiences, starting with social media, across various teams/functions and regions. Over time, we've expanded to serve smaller brands and rapidly growing startups seen many use cases in which smaller brands have great needs to scale (i.e. think of startups with a unique digital presence in each city).
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @ Twitter, Previously @ Product Hunt
What are some of the big challenges that Sprinklr has to face in the space?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@andrewmettinger Growing as quickly as we've been able to grow, one of our biggest challenges has been scaling our culture. With over 1000 employees in multiple countries around the world, it is very important for us to act as one Sprinklr. Our core values have been essential to this. One of them is "Never ever give up." Another is "Fix it, don't complain." One more: "Sprinkle, don't shout." We're working on ensuring the Sprinklr experience is unlike anything else for our enterprise clients, and that we show our clients the kind of company we are.
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
What is Ragy Thomas like to work with as CEO?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@russfrushtick Ragy Thomas is amazing. He is incredibly bright. A true visionary. Always imagining a better future, and passionate about creating great products and going above and beyond for our clients. He is amazingly humble and a remarkable human being.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Partner, The Upstarters
Sprinklr has acquired quite a few companies recently... which has been the most pivotal? And why have there been so many :)
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@bentossell Acquisitions have accelerated our roadmap and allowed us to bring great people into the Sprinklr family. While we don't simply integrate existing products, we do rebuild them on our stack. In terms of pivotal, I'd say they all have been equally meaningful, but the first two acquisitions were perhaps the most essential in us figuring out how to scale our culture.
Kate@katesegrin · Community + Product @ Product Hunt
In March Sprinklr was valued at over $1billion dollars… how big do you think this space could be?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@katesegrin Valuations in the private market are nice estimates but the real question is: How much value can be created? I think ultimately real value lasts a long time. I don't see Sprinklr as being in a specific "space." Instead I think of our contribution to human history and from that point of view, the value we can contribute is technically limitless. We'll do our best to make sure we are genuinely creating value and not simply making ourselves look good. It's essential to think long-term, in the decades.
Yoshi@dnxx28 · Student
@socialnerdia Thank you for coming today!! I'm Japanese Yoshi ! So what kind of social media do you like and do you think social media launch from now on?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@dnxx28 I love Instagram. I think it's a beautiful app and they've been incredibly thoughtful with their evolution. Unlike other acquisitions in the social space, Instagram continues to flourish with its own identity. I'm always excited to see what's next for them.
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@socialnerdia hello esteban Great meeting you here. What is your advice for app marketing strategy in the early stages?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@neeeharika In terms of traction, I recommend testing your own assumptions and the advice from anyone else. Every company that has succeeded with an app has figured out their own path. It's essential to test various traction channels and figure out what works for you -- and sometimes that means trying channels that don't seem obvious. Targeting, creative, technology, storytelling, etc. will all be essential in getting the word out. Ultimately, the product itself is what matters, but I believe the entire experience (from seeing an ad to deleting an account) should be thought of as "the product" and therefore be given much needed attention.
Lana@mstopham · Community Manager, Goodbits
(Fast-forward 14 years into the future; 2029) You're now talking to your 14 year old son. What career path would you encourage him to take (if any)? Would you have to wait and see? Or do you have an idea of what kids of that era could be focusing on for the brightest future?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@mstopham I'm quite biased towards the tech industry, especially the kinds of jobs that require humans. I'm also entrepreneurial at heart. I hope my son doesn't ever feel pressured in any way but I can imagine myself advising him to think in terms of solutions, not jobs. The world is always going to put a higher value on solutions than on tasks, ideas and activities. Whether my son seeks to become an architect, a soccer player or a software engineer, I'll be sure to remind him that he is unique - and that means he should be able to ideate and craft solutions no one else can :)
Laurie Shook@laurieshook · Unified Comms Manager
What are your predictions for how social media will change in 2016?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@laurieshook The largest players will continue to become metaplatforms: Multiple apps and multiple ways of extending from single experiences to the wider web (i.e. streaming apps) and the offline world (can someone please come up with a way to replace the QR code already? Believe it or not, still widely used in Asia). These players will also continue to overlap (i.e. Facebook providing Twitter-like features and Google+ providing Pinterest-like features). Messaging will continue to gain momentum and it will be at the center of every social network. I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing hints of how social networks will be layered as part of VR applications and content. I also think we'll continue to see intersections across what were formerly separate categories (i.e. market networks like AngelList and Houzz which combine social + marketplaces + SaaS).
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
Hey Esteban – how many percent of your budget is used on paid traffic vs seo?
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
What are your thoughts on affiliate marketing in terms of Sprinklr?
Esteban Contreras@socialnerdia · VP of Product at HYP3R
@nickifriisw I'm not a big fan of affiliate marketing in general but I do think there is a time and place for it. For example, Amazon does a great job with it. Other companies have figured out how to avoid this and pursue better paths (i.e. Dropbox). In the context of enterprise software, I think partnerships are a much better solution.