All Xero Developer Podcast episodes
Hosted by Nick Houldsworth and Dan Young
This week Nick and Dan chat with Ludovic Ulrich (@ludoulrich) – head of Salesforce+Start, about building an ecosystem that entices developers, the problems of not having an ecosystem and the opportunities developers have in growing ecosystems.
In this episode, you'll hear tips for startups that are building their own platforms and ways to create flourishing ecosystems including:
-Growth through Foo Fighters; how big events and having fun at them, in turn, can drive the growth of the ecosystem.
-Creating gravity in the ecosystem, making people work with the platform but also with each other.
-Enablement through self-service courses to enable developers at scale.
Learn how Salesforce has increased innovation by building a successful incubator around their API, and hear why showing some business value can be stronger than hackathons when bringing on new devs.
So tune in to this episode of The Xero Developer Podcast to hear a stunned Nick and Dan listen as Ludo breaks down the AppExchange story by the (big) numbers.
Ludo Ulrich – (LU)
NH: I'm Nick Houldsworth.
DY: And I'm Dan Young.
NH: And this is the Xero Developer podcast.
DY: And we're here to chat about ecosystems and how to build super amazing SaaS platforms.
NH: Yeah and look, nobody's build a bigger and more interesting ecosystem I think than Salesforce, certainly it's a example that we often look to when we're thinking of how we build our own platform and I'm sure many of our listeners and many people in this industry do. We're very excited to have a guest from Salesforce today, I'd like to welcome Ludovic Ulrich from the AppExchange team at Salesforce. Welcome Ludo.
LU: Thank you very much Nick and Dan, very happy to be with you today.
NH: Now I'm no language expert, but I detect a slight accent there Ludo. You're not from California, are you?
LU: You're absolutely right Nick, I am actually French born, I moved to the US ten years ago and joined Microsoft at the time, so it's been a while since I've been here in the US.
NH: And can you just tell us a little bit about your role at Salesforce?
LU: Yeah, absolutely. So I joined Salesforce actually almost to the date four years ago to engage with the startup ecosystem; you see, I already use this word that I like so much, ecosystem. So it was kind of a 'carte blanche' to use a French expression; I hope you're going to appreciate, to, you know, find basically how to engage in a programmatic way with that growing startup ecosystem all the way from, you know, identifying how we can encourage startups to consider ourselves, you know, obviously Salesforce products but also creating more awareness about the fact that we are a platform company, we have a developer platform et cetera, et cetera.
LU: So it started as you know, I would argue general evangelism marketing towards the startup audience and over the course of the next four years, I build a few programs, including the Salesforce Incubator and things like this to engage with that audience as much as we can, yeah.
NH: I was really pleased to hear your passion for the term 'ecosystem', this is something we've touched on a couple of times on this show. And ecosystem is not just a marine biology fact, I met somebody recently who also had ecosystem in their job title and I felt relieved that I wasn't the only one. This is an area that you've been passionate about for quite a while, haven't you? And throughout your career - I wonder if you can talk a bit about your journey that lead to you working at Salesforce?
LU: Absolutely Nick, I mean, and by the way I think I'm also one of the ones who made a comment about your job title, right, because I think everybody, not to be too cheesy, but some sort of person in charge of ecosystems, all the way to the point maybe or CEO will have another meaning, right? Chief Ecosystem Officer. We have at Salesforce, we do have a Chief Equality Officer as well, so the letter 'E' starts-
NH: We could have a CEO for ecosystems, that sounds like a great title.
DY: I don't think you should flatter Nick so much Ludo, be careful.
LU: Yes, absolutely. No, but more seriously I think ecosystem is critical for a lot of tech companies right, I've been very fortunate to work for two great organizations like Microsoft and now Salesforce who really pay a lot of attention to it, you know sometime we refer to it as the 'partner ecosystem' or the 'developer ecosystem', but no matter what, it's part of the DNA and it's really something that's ingrained in the culture of those companies and the way they go to market. The way they build up products, right?
LU: But I think generally speaking, yeah, I like this work quite a lot because it applies in my opinion to a lot of industries, to pretty much any industry and if you don't have one, it could be bad for you, I mean if you look at a fairly recent example of the people watch or unfortunately it might be some fan of the watch company that doesn't exist anymore, versus Fitbit or even of course the Apple watch and one of the reasons that the analyst mention is the fact that they had no necessarily a developer ecosystem like apps around it that created some sort of you know, 'stickiness' that consumers love so much now, it's kind of a stable stake now.
LU: You have expectation, whatever the industry is, of course you need to have a great customer experience and all that good stuff around it, but also you need to have an ecosystem and more recently, just to put some perspective I was actually doing a presentation in front of a Fortune 500 manufacturing company here in San Francisco talking about ecosystems and it's funny how you can actually use the analogy with a company of any industry and the fact that it's very important for any company to think about who compliments themselves, who, and do it at scale, do it in self service way as much as possible right? I mean it's not enough to have some sort of a corporate venture arm and investing in companies and startups and I think you need to think about it more realistically.
LU: How do you engage with your ecosystem? How do you engage with companies whether they're startups or more advanced who compliment what you offer? Have some way of opening some sort of connection to you. Sometimes it's API and data, of course we're in technology, we thinking this way, but, some time for that particular manufacturing that was about identifying some of the assets that they can open up, right? It could be manufacturing capacity, or specific equipments that they are very expensive and they only have, some knowledge, some patents. Obviously the common denominator is usually access to customers and channel, so I think I guess to summarize my point is I think ecosystem is critical, and pretty much any company needs to attract an ecosystem around it. So I believe this discipline has a bright future.
NH: I really loved your comment around the watch, the Apple watch and having the apps on the platform is an example I've used sometimes in the past; talking about the history of the iPhone. When the iPhone first came out, it was very limited in functionality and there wasn't really any platform to build on and it was only the early adopters that were interested in using it. Over time, in fact, people hacked their way onto the iPhone, building apps before there was even an App Store.
NH: I think I really got interested in it by about the iPhone 4, when they had a front-facing camera and Skype was on there and suddenly it became a tool that I could use in so many ways, particularly video chat with my friends who were overseas. And so that power of the platform really created attraction for me as a customer. In reverse, you know, it was a real challenge I think for the Windows phone to gain traction and a market where you had two major platforms; Android and IOS and all the developers were building for them and all the customers were consuming apps on those platforms. It's very challenging to then enter a market and convince people to build on your platform when the demand isn't there. And so I think it's a really interesting point of yours, is it does create that really defensible position and market and obviously you've worked at Microsoft so you may have some knowledge of that.
LU: Yes, I was actually in the Windows Phone team, so I can tell first hand, you know. But at the same time you know it's also a great opportunity when a new ecosystem pops up to get noticed, right? You can be fairly diluted in a massive existing ecosystem, so, I think you need to be, as a developer, as commercial aspiration you can be very intentional about picking an ecosystem that's more emerging to actually have more visibility. That could be a trick, right?
NH: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
DY: Yeah, and I think, just going back to your point around you know, essentially building a platform rather than just a product is a bit of a no-brainer. I think there's still the need for a lot of companies to build that business case, to kind of make that happen and build the excitement around doing something like that. We were lucky in our early days, where our CEO was super geeky and he just got it, and so we could just get it going without having to have too much sort of bureaucracy or red tape around it. So yeah, we love platforms and we're kind of constantly talking about how, you know, this is how to build, like not just sort of your product but build an entire ecosystem which is you know, so much innovation. And to your point around the Apple watch, Nick, you never know what people are going to build and what type of things are going to happen, so it's, yeah, pretty exciting.
NH: Ludo, I know that you weren't at Salesforce at the beginning of the ecosystem; I wonder if there's anything you can kind of share about when it started and, you know, what size it's at now and some of the kind of numbers that you guys work with?
LU: Yeah, of course. So Salesforce is an API-first company, so I think it's great to see the innovation going on around us, you know, extend our products. I mean, a lot of people look at Salesforce as the traditional CRM in the CRM market, who is Salesforce automation, we do obviously we do much more than this. We have a bunch of different products around customer service, around marketing automation, around IoT, around analytics and obviously powered by AI. So needless to say that we have a lot of companies complimenting what we're doing and one of the big strengths of Salesforce is the platform exists since the very beginning, we had what we called the 'force.com' platform that enables folks to not only compliment our own products, so, if you think about our CRM we have a massive ecosystem of sales tools that compliment what folks are doing with this particular line of products, but we also have developers who build standalone applications just reusing some of the components of the platform.
LU: So the ecosystem is massive now, it's really easy to kind of touch and realize how it looks like, you can actually search it by going to appexchange.com, which his the leading enterprise marketplace out there for B2B apps and what all those applications and solutions have in common is they connect to Salesforce in some shape or form and what's very interesting as well, and we can dig more into this, is we have developers of all shapes and sizes today. Some are really doing a lot of point and clicks and simple utilization of the platform where they take a lot of those bricks and assemble something to create an application. I would almost call it 'no-code' or 'low-code' and we have some developers who actually use all the capabilities, all the way to using Heroku, which is also part of the Salesforce platform today, where we support a bunch of open-source framework et cetera.
LU: So there's a lot to talk about, about the platform, I think you asked me about the size, fast forward, we started the AppExchange in 2006, so a few years later, you have more than 5000 solutions on the AppExchange. 87% of Salesforce customers, 87% of them using an AppExchange app, so this is kind of a strong attachment and if you actually take the Fortune 100, it goes to 89%. So it's-
LU: Vast majority of our companies use AppExchange applications which is a massive opportunity for developers. As I said, I like to see it, developers who have commercial aspiration and in 2017, I mean, the size of the ecosystem is nearly four times bigger than Salesforce itself and it's expected to be five times bigger by 2022. So that's kind of when DCReports said recently, so it's growing fast and it's pretty amazing.
NH: I'm just digesting those numbers.
LU: Yeah, there's lots.
NH: I guess we live in sort of product which has a million plus customers and 600 solutions, we have something like 40,000 actually, approaching 50,000 developers building on the platform now and you kind of normalize to it, but you forget actually that the size and scale of it is pretty significant, especially for startups that are building up their own API's and thinking about their own strategy. What advice would you give, from someone who's been in this for a while and is working on a large platform for, I guess, a business starting today and thinking about a platform strategy?
LU: That's a big question right there. I think one of the things based on the conversation we had is removing any sort of friction is definitely number one. You know, the bar is pretty high, you can't just throw an API out there, as for access to your data. Developers are too busy trying to go where they have the shortest way to doing something meaningful, so I think it's really removing the friction without being too tactical; making sure that all your documentation, access to the API, your marketing is appealing and and all the access to all the sample codes is great, and all that stuff. So I'm sure, and I know at Xero you do a very good job at it, I mean, this is definitely the Twilio playbook, right? They did a very good job at it. I think thinking about evangelism and have some elected representatives of your companies can actually spread the word.
LU: Usually in Developer Marketing 101 you want to have the leaders that could be inspiring for other developers who would actually go play with your platform, so making sure you invest in a few and make them heroes and show what they're doing and have them speak on your behalf. At Salesforce we like to call them the 'trailblazers'. This is kind of the way we try to inspire not only developers by the way, just generally speaking our customers to kind of build stuff with Salesforce, provide customer value with Salesforce. So I think all those things are equally important and I would argue our table stake these days to attract developers who a lot of companies try to attract them, so, you want really to remove the friction.
DY: Absolutely, and it's not an easy thing to do, even in the beginning, but what we've found even with what Nick mentioned, 40,000 to 50,000 active developers, continuing to engage them, particularly after they've created their app and they're no longer sort of concentrating on being on-board it with Xero but then continually nurtured to either be really successful with their app or continue to be engaged in our ecosystem and for a company like Salesforce, and your ecosystem, it's probably not hard to attract developers to your platform these days, but one thing that we think about a lot is brand awareness and how you scale that type of thing and I'm just keen to understand how Salesforce have done that?
LU: Yeah well, one thin I would add is trying to put a number on the business opportunity as well, I mean, I'm going to give you another number, just for you Nick, but for every dollar that Salesforce makes, based on the DCReport, the ecosystem will make $3.6 today in 2017 and it's supposed to increase to more than $5 in 2022.
LU: So those numbers are also things that you need to put out there and when you get your brand awareness out there and you're skilled, you want to make sure you also lead with those messages. It's not just a hackathon, right? I mean, a lot of the developers that we are targeting add scale to your points, with all the good ideas that we talked about in the last few minutes, they need to understand what's the business opportunity; why they should spend their time there.
LU: So again, you're talking brand awareness, yes of course, but you want to have customers explain how much they love consuming apps, in our case on the AppExchange. Downloading apps, what brings value to them? How, as a Salesforce admin you could actually bring value to end users, not only through a Salesforce product themselves, but through the ecosystem around it and the different apps that they're actually literally install by default in any new 'org'; know we call it a Salesforce 'org' that they would use within the organization, so I think it's brand awareness, yes, but it's really showing the economic value and showing the customer demand, 'cause developers, some of them still want to do hackathons and learn the technologies through those, but I think that we are really in an age where you need to put some sort of business value to it.
DY: Yeah, definitely, and not to digress too much, catching onto another point that you made before, which I see as sort of brand awareness of your side of the business I guess and you mentioned API-first and a lot of companies struggle with that, at least in the early days. But when you become a platform, it's a necessary quote unquote 'evil' - how does Salesforce develop that culture internally?
LU: I think it's a good question, I think it's still something we nurture today. I think the ideas, especially in the team I am in and the leaders of the AppExchange we are always trying to remind all product leaders that they need to think of our partners when they build the products. So the baseline is API-first, but is also a bunch of capabilities, a bunch of elements of products that need to be designed in such a way where it can be complimented. So again, it's kind by design with Salesforce; we have a lot of those components, if you think about workflows, identity, permission sharing, all those elements that you would need in any enterprise application. We use that internally ourself to build our products so it's kind of easy to make them open and use the same data structure and et cetera to enable developers to compliment what we are doing. But I think, back to your question, yes. We need to remind product leaders that something need to keep in mind when they're building products, of course, yes.
DY: Absolutely. It's a constant education process for us but yeah.
NH: There's always the 'Jeff Bezos' approach, I think he's famously said "If anybody doesn't use a service, they're fired."
DY: It's one way, and I've written a few draft letters to everyone in the business. I haven't sent them out yet, but I'm thinking of tweeting Jeff just to kind of get a feel for his approach and whether that's something we should do.
NH: Ludo you've talked about Marc Benioff as being a real champion for this in the business and a Dreamforce in other events. Is that still true today?
LU: Yeah, of course. And it comes from the top of course, the platform has been very key to Salesforce since the beginning. You mentioned Dreamforce, this is where we actually gather the ecosystem, so it's usually between September and November and we gather 150,000, 160,000 people in San Francisco. A big portion of that audience happens to be partners and one of the very good thing about it is that yes, of course they it's a great check-point, it's a great way to launch product, a great forcing function for them to shift products in our ecosystem, celebrate that they listed a new application on the AppExchange and things of that nature.
LU: It's also an amazing opportunity to work with each other and one of the thing I love about the Salesforce ecosystem is that different partners would actually go to market together, because they have in common that they work with us, that's great by itself, but because they have supposedly sometimes the same data structure or connection to Salesforce and potentially a lot of overlap in their customer database, they end up working with them together and all the way down to the parties that they organize, adjacent to Dreamforce, a lot of companies will do them together, because actually it share the cost and they show that they have some sort of unified front, all the way down to potentially a common skill right, which is even better.
NH: Yeah this is something that was very important for me as a partner of Xero, so for about five or six years I worked at a startup called Vend and Xero was a partner of ours. We would attend Xero's conferences; we always did that and that way we could meet with their accountants and bookkeepers in the Xero team, but I really enjoyed meeting the other apps in the ecosystem. We were all growing at similar stages, every year you come back to the event and people would take on a new funding round, maybe they'd hired some more people and you expose the kind of pain points as a growing business that are very familiar with a range of other solutions who are often not competing with each other and we built some really strong networks, but then and there I think it's one of the great things about a platform with scale, is creating that gravity for people to work with you but also to work with each other.
LU: Absolutely, and there's nothing like the human touch, no matter what. I might say the obvious, but your story just totally relates to me. We want to have an engaged, present ecosystem who is vocal, who is helping us prioritize the different features and functions they want, helping us educate the rest of Salesforce who don't necessarily wake up in the morning thinking about ecosystems and partners and also give early feedback to the new marketing messages and the new products that we're launching, being on the forefront of innovating with those products, so I think the human touch is super important, for sure.
NH: And now a serious question - is it true that the Foo Fighters played at Dreamforce last year?
LU: It was not last year, but I think they did, yes.
DY: That's awesome
NH: That's very impressive. Our conferences are really interesting for accounting conferences, we said in the last episode we had a journalist who finally articulated what Xerocon is like. She said "It's like Coachella for accountants." There's lasers and there's smoke shows, but, sounds like Dreamforce is just Coachella. It's actually that big.
LU: That day some people said the 'Superbowl of Tech' but I think on a more serious note it's true that we manage to be kind of a center of gravity in San Francisco for that particular week for the industry. Dreamforce's actually the largest non-profit conference as well, because there are so many non-profits who are actually running on Salesforce. We have a pretty generous kind of way to offer technology and actually time of our employees as well, so it attracts also this so yeah it's definitely the concept is a key element but we just want to make sure the attendees have a good time beyond learning about the products and meeting each other and for some of them also generating leads because Dreamforce is a lead machine. A lot of those partners and ecosystem members organize themselves year round just for those particular events and garner interest from prospects in the booths in a very organized way, so there's a lot at stake that week so you want to have a little bit of fun and do this, right of course. The concerts helps, for sure.
DY: Absolutely, and I mean, we've been talking about some interesting numbers here, so 150,000 attendees I think from having a look at Dreamforce 2017, you had about 207,000 break-out sessions, which is amazing. We do our own conferences, which Nick said and we're doing our sort of more of a developer roadshow at the moment, but for those people listening and keen to kind of get in front of their customers a little bit more - what advice could you give for people kind of wanting to start that journey?
LU: Well actually, so perfect transition, so we actually have a developer conference happening next week in San Francisco. It's called TrailheaDX, by the time you listen to this podcast it might be passed, it's an annual conference where we share all the latest and greatest and it's really optimized for developers. That said, at Dreamforce there is a massive tract for developers and we call it the Trailhead Zone, which is a very interesting name, where we basically have a lot of activities and workshops and certification et cetera happening at the conference.
LU: So it's a good way to start your journey and that's physical, as I said I love the human touch, but one of the big investments of Salesforce over the last few years has been Trailhead as a platform online, so if you go to Trailhead.com, we call it the 'fun way' to learn Salesforce. You have a bunch of modules and track where you can actually learn Salesforce, whether you are advanced developers and you want to understand the latest and greatest, or you want to play with more of the advanced capabilities which is more inspiring, or if you literally don't consider yourself as a developer, you might be a Salesforce admin or you might have no idea about Salesforce, where you can train yourself. It's a massive enablement arm force because we want more talents on our platform; our customers are desperate to find more talents who actually know the Salesforce platform, so I would totally encourage you to go there, and again, there is a little bit for everyone there.
DY: That's awesome.
NH: Yeah, that's great, and lud you talked earlier about your work around creating this incubator at Salesforce, the Salesforce Incubator. Often when we talk about the platform at Xero, the partners that are building on there, clearly there's some partners now that have reached a certain size and scale and they've created successful businesses in their own right, but you need to make sure that all of those small startups working with your platform today have access to similar opportunities and the chance to grow.
NH: I'd love to learn a little bit more about the background of the Incubator, and I think you're in your second year now and some of the lessons you've learnt and how you see the Salesforce API as an almost like an incubator of innovation?
LU: So, first of all, we want to make sure that any startups can have access to our platform, so Trailhead is a key element, it's the education aspect, the making sure that the technology is understood, but making the technology available as well through developer additions and things like this and streamlined access to the AppExchange.
LU: We of course work on this so that any startup can actually get there in a fairly self-serviced way. We bring always a little bit of a human touch, as I said, but that's kind of self-serviced, largely speaking. Then what we want to do is drive innovation and once of the thing I would say is it's very democratic; of course we have opinions about where the ecosystems should invest, but we ask our customers. We ask them what they want and where they want to see innovation and we try to drive that agenda through a tool like the Incubator that we call now Accelerate. The program is now called Accelerate because to your point we had a lot of learning so we moved from a model that was physical, here, with some space in San Francisco, to a virtual model, and we moved from, I would say a fairly early stage with a focus on platform and artificial intelligence, et cetera, so basically a product focus, to an industry focus.
LU: So the current batch, the current class is actually focused on healthcare and retail and the reason is we know there is a lot of demand from our customers to have more innovation there, to literally see apps that you will end up finding on the AppExchange and so we were very intentional about working with the traditional funders who know VC's and Accelerators and Incubators out there that we partner with and accept some companies to basically try to accelerate, hence the name, their journey to the AppExchange and accelerate their go to market with Salesforce.
LU: So, we do that on the technical side, but we do that as well on the marketing/ sales side as well. We try to do as much as we can to manufacture basically those inspiring examples who would actually drive the rest of the market and inspire other developers to build a platform with the specific agenda, so that's kind of what we did over the last two years.
NH: I'm really passionate about the space, having been through a startup journey myself. We talked about how being a platform allows our partners to network and learn from each other, right? I feel like there's still a lot we as a company can learn from our partners too and when they're smaller and they can often be a bit more agile in how they're built and how they ship, but, when we work together we realize that we're a larger business and we're not always as fast at delivering stuff and I think that kind of creates pressure on us to keep up with our partners in some instances and to learn from those lean startups. I wonder if that's an experience, obviously Salesforce is such a big organization now, it certainly must be exciting being in that innovative and that startup side of the business.
LU: Yeah, absolutely, and obviously the companies that we are working with, some of them still consider themselves a startup when they have 70, 80 employees, but we also have some companies who are still at SIT stage, 10, 15 employees. So I love the connection that they have with Salesforce employees and Salesforce product leaders and developers, et cetera. So I'm sure it's a mutual learning, it's happening defacto.
LU: I think this is not the main goal of the program, it's not kind of a way to do some kind of external innovation or open innovation as we know, but we know that the question they ask triggers some great questions right? And the previous batch we are doing a lot of AI, we call it Einstein at Salesforce, so we acquired a bunch of companies, who have a lot of IP that we made available to developers and guess what, a lot of the question that those developers were asking were very informative for my colleagues in the product organizations. And so it's definitely something that can influence the roadmap to some extent but no matter what created those connections, that will help those startups and that's pretty priceless. It's hard to formalize that, frankly, beyond the interaction that we have every week, but I can tell you about a bunch anecdotal, kind of interactions that triggers into bigger things on both sides; on the startup side and on the Salesforce side.
NH: One thing that we really love to do is make our roadmap transparent to our third party developer community. I'm wondering, sort of, how Salesforce do that.
LU: Yeah, so we're trained to do as much as we can, we have panel forums across the world where we have one to one meetings as well as formal presentation when we share the roadmap and I think it's part of the job as well, of the partner account managers who have a relationship with our partners to actually provide highlights of where we're going and make sure they anticipate the moves that Salesforce will make across products. Of course we can't anticipate everything including acquisition, things of that nature, but it's of course, it's a partnership so we try to be as open as possible and that's a good challenge for companies to try to keep innovating, otherwise it's not Salesforce who are going to tell them they don't innovate enough, it's the customers themselves. It's going to be very easy to see the data on the AppExchange and download those things like this so you're right, it's the key components to kind of help your partners where you're going.
NH: Just a last question around the AppExchange, so 5000 solutions, I think is 87% of your customers are using at least one app. We often think about this, how do we match customers with the right solution? Clearly if they know what they're looking for 'search' is one way to do it, but often customers don't know that those are a pain point they can solve through the marketplace. Is this something that you guys have put some effort into? I know you've re-designed your AppExchange recently, what are some of the things that you're thinking about in terms of creating a better experience to help customers find the right solution?
LU: Yeah, excellent question, and Nick, I'm sure it's a question you ask yourself as well and how you do that at Xero, right? So especially as you get to having that many solutions, how do you not dilute it, how do you emerge? So, by the way, we offer opportunities for partners to do marketing and promote what they're doing, we have a fully-fledged program that we call 'Amp', where we allow customers basically to promote what they are doing, so what you would think of banners and optimization and the website. So that's one way.
LU: Of course, organically, you said that very rightfully, we at Dreamforce actually last year we announced a re-designed AppExchange with a better search, better categorization, so we try to get the information to be easy to find of course so that customers can self-select. We live in a world of our customer base, of course we have large organizations and enterprise accounts, but we also have SMB, so there is going to be a need where, for us to be of course easy to find, and help customers and prospect navigate the AppExchange on the website.
LU: And I will say last but not least, because of the size of the organization we have a lot of solution engineers, usually organized by industry who actually do that editorial job, where they go pick the nice, up and coming solution, as well as the more established one, of different sizes, and they try to recommend; by industry, by workflow, by type of scenario, a set of applications, right? So back to my point earlier, even better, the partners themselves figure it out and try to market themselves as a suite of applications, but no matter what, we'll do that job and I think that's our responsibility as a company and specifically solution managers, as we call them, to actually come up with that value customers. Above and beyond what our own products provide, of course.
NH: Yeah, I love that lens, the editorial piece is really important. If you only present solutions based on popularity, you're tending to lean towards those that have already been successful but the reality is there is always new solutions in the marketplace that solve pain points for particular use cases and sometimes you need to provide that guidance to your customers, sometimes you're not what they're looking for and they'll find it themselves, but I think it's a blend of the two that works best.
LU: Yeah, and I'm particularly passionate about this because you want to make sure you help, it's a chicken and egg thing. How do you help the new entrants, while bringing some new innovation, who may not have dozens of customers and dozens of positive reviews on the AppExchange. How do you help them actually emerge and be in front of massive customers who are eager, as you know, there is a massive demand from corporation around the world to work with startups and we have a responsibility of driving that in a way where it's providing value, right? It's not just this fad or fashion to be working with startups, but there is this reality of value and the new entrants to take a new stab and they look at a specific problem with a new angle so we want to make sure they're front and center, for sure.
DY: What does success look like for you and your team this year?
LU: Many different ways to look at it, of course KPI's and metrics, we're a fairly organized, fairly complex where we have scorecards and all of those things you would expect. I would say for the Accelerate program, we want to make sure that they all get to the AppExchange in a timely manner and they win new customers. We always look at having more apps, generally speaking, in the AppExchange, of course that's success for us, and one that's actually sometimes harder to track is how much of our own customers actually use a significant amount of apps. You mentioned the 80% of our customers use apps, but how do they use more than one, off course 5, 10, et cetera? So we're to drive that and in the AppExchange organization, we have people who are recruiting partners, trying to onboard partners, et cetera, but we also have folks who try to make sure we have customer facing marketing to encourage our customers to tap into that ecosystem that we spent so much craft and efforts to build.
DY: Absolutely. Hey this has been really really awesome and enlightening for us Ludo, thanks so much for coming on the show. Now if I want to be a Trailblazer, and build apps customers love, where can I go to learn more about developing with Salesforce and getting on that exchange?
LU: Thanks for the time, thanks for inviting me. I think that I would highly recommend to go to two different locations. One is if you just happen to be the core audience that I'm serving myself, you should go to salesforce.com/startups and it will expose the different opportunities to engage with us, you know of course we are an active investor, there is the AppExchange, we sell a bunch of products for SMB, et cetera, et cetera. And the other destination would be Trailhead, because you can start your journey, I think you asked me the question earlier, that's where you can learn a lot and I can't help adding a third one; it's AppExchange, because as you get educated about the possibilities of a startup as a developer, and you can train yourself, you want to make sure what you're doing matters and AppExchange is also a fantastic tool for developers because you can literally search what you're planning to build and see what's existing. If it's a green fill, it's very busy so appexchange.com, trailhead.com and salesforce.com/startups. Hopefully it's not too much.
DY: Excellent and similarly, if you want to live the dream and build to Xero's platform, head on over to developer.xero.com, also if you want to check out our marketplace, that's xero.com/marketplace. Subscribe to our social channels, find Nick's MySpace page or simply find me amongst all the other bearded coffee drinkers.
NH: Dan's mobile phone number is +64-
DY: Absolutely always up for a chat, so thanks for joining us everyone, and be sure to tune in next time.
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