Dan Crow - Becoming a Data Driven Company LEANCONF 2013

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Talk given by Songkick's Dan Crow at Leanconf 2013

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Dan Crow - Becoming a Data Driven Company LEANCONF 2013

  1. 1. Dan Crow Songkick: becoming a data-driven company
  2. 2. whois Dan Crow CTO, Songkick @crowquine Ten years in Silicon Valley ● Apple ● Verb ● Unicru ● Co-founder: Blurb Five years at Google ● Google Squared ● Ads and Android
  3. 3. Songkick We do live music ● Started in 2007 ● One of first 10 startups in London ● Tell us who your favorite bands are, we’ll alert you when they play in your town ● Second largest live music service in the world
  4. 4. Core product
  5. 5. Boomtown It’s a rat trap, and you’ve been caught
  6. 6. Where we were Mid 2010: ● 2M monthly uniques ● Big ball of Ruby mud ● One big dev team ● One release every 2 weeks ● Velocity trending to zero ● Unhappy dev team But: talent + agile = hope
  7. 7. Simplify the product After four years our product had accrued cruft ● Complexity in user interface ● Complexity in features Time to radically trim what we delivered ● What do users actually use? ● What do we need to support core use cases?
  8. 8. Simplify the technology Simpler product means: ● Delete a lot of code ● Service-oriented architecture ● Page-component web app model ● Reduced build times ● Continuous integration ● Web apps separated from backends ● Create new apps fast ● Support many more apps
  9. 9. Technology impacts team Componentized tech means: ● Small, independent teams ● Clear goals ● Clearer roles, e.g. Tech Lead ● Distributed, devolved decision making ● Need for process across teams
  10. 10. Results ● ● ● ● Build time from 4 hours -> 25 minutes Developer velocity improved 4x Site performance improved 2x User satisfaction increased ○ faster site ○ less cluttered, easier UI
  11. 11. releases per week The impact
  12. 12. Continuous deployment I made my way to the top of the hill...
  13. 13. How it works for us ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Jenkins build server Ten minute build time Automatic push to production Features can accumulate behind flippers Acceptance testing in production Manual testing in production with real data Business metric monitoring Roll forward
  14. 14. CD workflow
  15. 15. Mostly a cultural change ● ● ● ● ● ● Quality becomes a dev issue Whole company must buy in Business must be willing to break things Development is a flow, not a cycle Some people won’t adapt to it Took us 9 months to do right
  16. 16. Experiments
  17. 17. How to experiment Everything in a startup is an experiment: your company, each product, each feature ● Experiments answer a question ○ Don’t present a fully formed feature ● What’s the lowest cost way to the answer? ○ Most experiments fail, so move fast ○ e.g. Do our users want to share? Sharing buttons that do nothing
  18. 18. How we do it Multivariate testing environment: ● Feature flippers allow us to direct traffic ● Split traffic across versions A/B/C… ● Use a variety of stats packages to analyze ○ Google Analytics ○ Songkick “skab” package ● Code and design are always thrown away ● Successful experiments = feature rebuild
  19. 19. Again, a cultural change ● ● ● ● ● Always find the MVE Be comfortable with lower quality Get used to experiments failing Experiment often Trust your users, not your intuition
  20. 20. Downsides ● ● ● ● ● Frequently changing user experience Can get stuck in local minima Hard to maintain consistency Stats can be challenging to interpret You need traffic to make it work
  21. 21. Benefits ● ● ● ● Only users can tell you what works Avoids question-asking biases Ties feature improvements to business goals Results constantly surprise us
  22. 22. Wrap up Data is good
  23. 23. Where we are now ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 9M monthly unique users iPhone and Android app (2M users) Tourbox - portal for artists Detour - crowdfunding for concerts Integrations with Spotify, Foursquare Comprehensive ticketing product Smaller dev team, moving faster
  24. 24. In summary ● Getting the technology right is critical ● Experiments are the heart of lean ● It’s always about the culture ○ ○ ○ ○ Hardest thing to change Takes time and effort You need everyone to work that way Has the biggest impact

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