ThriveStack - SaaS Growth Insights
#38 — Inside story of Engineering the Amplitude Plus Plan, Ft Kelson Warner, Head of Growth Engineering

#38 — Inside story of Engineering the Amplitude Plus Plan, Ft Kelson Warner, Head of Growth Engineering

Discover the Journey of Innovation, Challenges, and Success in Building Amplitude Plus

In this episode, we explore the intricacies of Amplitude's growth engineering journey with Kelson, the Head of Growth Engineering.

We examine the evolution of the growth engineering team, the challenges they faced, and the key strategies they implemented to drive Amplitude's success. Kelson also shares insights into the Amplitude Plus plan and offers valuable advice for aspiring growth engineers and product managers.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Castbox, Google and YouTube.Early Days at Amplitude

Kelson's Initial Role and Responsibilities: When Kelson first joined Amplitude, he took on the role of building and leading the growth engineering team. His initial responsibilities included developing the growth engineering infrastructure, identifying key growth opportunities, and working closely with other departments to ensure alignment on growth strategies.

State of Amplitude's Growth Engineering Team upon Arrival: At the time of Kelson's arrival, Amplitude's growth engineering team was in its nascent stages. The team faced several challenges, including limited resources, a lack of established processes, and the need to quickly scale to support the company's ambitious growth targets.

Early Challenges and Milestones: Kelson's early days were marked by significant challenges, such as establishing a robust growth engineering framework, integrating new tools and technologies, and building a cohesive team culture. Despite these hurdles, the team achieved key milestones, including the successful launch of early growth experiments, improved user onboarding processes, and the development of a scalable growth infrastructure.

Evolution of Growth Engineering at Amplitude

Development and Expansion of the Team:

  • Initial Team Composition: Started with only three engineers and intermittent support from product managers and designers.

  • Current Team Structure: Has grown to include 10 engineers, three product managers, and two designers.

Key Projects and Strategic Shifts:

  • Initial Focus: Early on, the team tackled core product features and foundational growth experiments.

  • Strategic Evolution: Transitioned to more structured growth strategies, focusing on scalability and user acquisition.

Transition from Initial Efforts to Structured Strategies:

  • Early Efforts: Involved ad-hoc projects and experimentation without a clear long-term strategy.

  • Structured Approach: Developed a clear roadmap with defined goals, such as enhancing the self-serve experience and optimizing user journeys for better conversion.

Self-Serve Strategy and Infrastructure

Overview of Amplitude's Self-Serve Model:

  • Objective: To streamline user onboarding and empower users to independently utilize the platform.

  • Key Features: Includes features like in-app payments, demo exploration, and simplified onboarding processes.

Technical Stack and Infrastructure:

  • Core Components:

    • User Registration and Authentication

    • Multi-tenant Analytics Store

    • Proprietary In-house Ingestion System

  • Database Use: Utilizes MySQL for organizational data and a custom-built database for operational analytics.

Challenges in Scaling the Self-Serve Infrastructure:

  • Early Issues: Handling increased data volumes and maintaining system performance.

  • Solutions Implemented: Upgraded infrastructure to support larger data sets and improved query performance, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Key Learnings and Insights

A Journey Through Growth Engineering

  • Adaptability and Flexibility

    • Emphasizing the need for flexibility in strategy, Kelson highlights how adapting to market feedback has been crucial. The landscape of technology is ever-changing, and staying agile has enabled Amplitude to remain competitive.

  • The Power of Diversity

    • The success of Amplitude's growth engineering can be significantly attributed to its diverse team. With various backgrounds and expertise, the team has excelled in innovation and problem-solving, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

The Future of Growth Engineering

  • Innovation and Self-Serve Functionality

    • With a focus on enhancing self-serve features, Amplitude is dedicated to simplifying user interactions and empowering clients. The future involves broadening the product offerings to cater to a more extensive clientele.

  • Expansion into New Markets

    • Leveraging a solid foundation in growth engineering, Amplitude plans to penetrate new markets, bringing their robust solutions to a wider audience.

Kelson’s Words of Wisdom

Embrace the winds of change and commit to lifelong learning. The path of growth engineering is one of continual adaptation and learning. As the field evolves, so should those who practice it, with a mindset geared towards embracing new challenges and solutions.

“The most exciting part of growth engineering is the constant evolution. Every day presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn. This isn't just a job; it's a journey where each step forward is about finding new ways to make technology work harder for us." - Kelson

Key timestamps:

(00:00) Introduction

(00:35) Welcoming Kelson Warner

(02:15) Kelson's Role and Background

(03:04) Early Days at Amplitude

(06:02) State of Affairs at Amplitude when Kelson Joined

(09:02) Initial Challenges and Milestones

(12:14) Evolution of Growth Engineering at Amplitude

(14:07) Development and Expansion of the Team

(16:10) Key Projects and Strategic Shifts

(18:52) Self-Serve Strategy and Infrastructure

(20:45) Overview of Amplitude's Self-Serve Model

(23:10) Technical Stack and Infrastructure

(26:12) Challenges in Scaling the Self-Serve Infrastructure

(28:19) The Amplitude Plus Plan

(30:45) Introduction and Objectives of the Amplitude Plus Plan

(33:28) Engineering and Product Challenges

(35:10) Impact and Outcomes

Where to Find the Guest:

LinkedIn: Kelson Warner

Where to Find the Host:

LinkedIn: Gururaj Pandurangi