Effortless ‘23: Recapping DevRev’s inaugural tech conference
October 19th marked DevRev’s first-ever industry conference - Effortless. Hosted in the iconic Levi’s Stadium, the conference saw industry leaders from the fields of entrepreneurship, SaaS, biology, sports, and design come together to discuss emerging themes in AI and its implications for products and customers. The conference also showcased DevRev’s pathbreaking approach to breaking silos among teams, data, and tools to bring the product and customer closer through OneCRM.
Missed attending the conference? You can catch all the speaker sessions here on a recorded livestream.
Here’s a quick recap of the sessions.
Opening keynote speech
Speaker: Dheeraj Pandey, CEO and Co-Founder - DevRev
Dheeraj’s keynote speech captured the essence behind ‘Effortless’. He spoke about how our world today is all about ‘more’ - more software, tools, teams, meetings, emails, and communication channels. In this environment of increasing complexity, it becomes challenging for teams to come together and work ‘effortlessly’. Dheeraj introduced the idea of “left-shifting’, inspired by companies like AWS and Apple, which trimmed down complexity and focused instead, on the essential elements. DevRev brings this same philosophy to unite front-end and back-end teams around their primary focus - the customer.
Dheeraj outlined the typical journey of a startup - from a lean, nimble team to a complex entity that includes customer support clouds, product clouds, sales and marketing clouds, customer success clouds, and so on. As complexity grows, teams get further distanced from the customer and information within each cloud gets siloed. “Complexity is the silent killer of growth,” as Dheeraj puts it.
The speech included a live demo by Aditi Mishra (Product Marketing, DevRev) of DevRev’s Airdrop feature, which allows users to import data from their legacy tools to DevRev with just a single click. Using Airdrop, companies can sync data from disparate tools (such as Jira and GitHub) in real time to build a powerful knowledge graph that enhances analytics and semantic search capabilities.
Finally, he explained DevRev’s blank canvas approach to redesigning the apps for customer support, product development, and sales. Capabilities like clustering, classifying, routing, attributing, and generating, cannot be retrofitted on apps that were not designed for the AI era. AI and design are the yin and yang of DevRev’s OneCRM, making work delightful, collaborative, and effortless.
Creativity, digital experiences, and AI
Speaker: Scott Belsky, Chief Strategy Officer - Adobe
Scott Belsky discussed the evolving relationship between AI and design. He emphasized the democratization of creativity, as AI enables individuals to tell their own stories and explore various creative avenues. Scott highlighted key shifts in creativity and digital experiences, moving from siloed work to collaborative creation, and from limited exploration to limitless possibilities. Rather than viewing AI as a replacement for creative talent, he believes that the proliferation of AI-generated creatives will raise the bar for digital experiences, pushing designers and brands to think more creatively.
He also predicts that AI in design will herald a new era of hyper-personalization, where every digital touchpoint a user has will be designed specifically for them. Scott believes that AI will handle repetitive tasks, allowing humans to focus on creativity and storytelling, making authenticity and creativity central in the new landscape. The “soul” of design that truly moves us and makes us emotional will continue to be human craft.
Efforts in multi-modal GenAI
Speakers: Ely Greenfield, CTO - Adobe and Vinod Khosla, Founder - Khosla Ventures
The conversation between Ely Greenfield and Vinod Khosla revolved around macro trends in the field of AI. Khosla is one of the earliest investors in AI, having invested in deep learning startups from as far back as 2013.
The discussion began with Khosla highlighting how AI has democratized reasoning, analysis, and creativity. He shared his belief that AI will expand human capabilities, enhancing productivity, creativity, and other aspects of life. The conversation delved into the challenges and opportunities surrounding AI and intellectual property rights. Khosla argued that copyright laws should evolve to address the unique challenges posed by AI-generated content.
Greenfield highlighted the importance of creating verifiable chains of evidence and easily consumable symbols to enhance trust in the AI-driven world, citing Adobe's content authenticity initiative as an example. The discussion concluded with a focus on the future of AI, where Khosla predicted that AI would enable humans to be more creative and efficient with advanced natural language interactions, but that human storytelling and trust will remain at the core of creativity.
DevRev product keynote
Keynote speaker: Manoj Agarwal, Co-Founder and President - DevRev
Product demo: Steve Poitras, Product Architect - DevRev, Michael Machado, Head of Product - DevRev
Manoj spoke about how every company is fundamentally about the product and the customer. "In the absence of either, you don't really have a company," he stated. He took the audience through how DevRev seamlessly brings the voice of the customer to every team, integrates customer conversations into work processes and enables better collaboration between humans and machines.
Manoj talked about how work within different departments like engineering and customer support are usually carried out within separate tools. With DevRev, he describes how teams from any department can now view customer tickets, link engineering issues to them, get visibility into how much revenue a customer is bringing in, and much more.
Steve Poitras and Michael Machado illustrated how DevRev allows for seamless collaboration with a live product demo. He showcased the journey of a customer ticket, from the time it enters the system to when it gets picked up by support teams and ultimately influences product development. The demo also highlighted the platform's ability to automate processes, such as updating the status of tickets based on developments in the associated GitHub pull request.
Finally, Manoj invited on stage Vinod Muthukrishnan, CCO at Uniphore, to describe how Uniphore uses DevRev to support its customers better and inform product direction. Vinod emphasized the importance of motivated, mission-driven teams and the power of collaboration. He described how DevRev has helped his team move from a system of record to a system of action, with data including actionable insights for the end user.
Read more about how Uniphore built a proactive support culture with DevRev.
Efforts in customer success
Moderator: Mollie Holland, Customer Support & Success - DevRev
Panelists: Kshitij Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO - 100ms, Shikhar Agarwal, Founder & CTO - Spotnana, Amit Prakash, Founder & CTO - ThoughtSpot
The role of AI in analytics took center stage during the industry panel segment at the Effortless event.
The conversation kicked off with the panelists sharing highs and lows from their personal experiences working in tech. Innovation invariably comes paired with challenges. From refining natural language models to tailoring tailored services, the panelists deliberated on the nuances of marrying human intuition with AI capabilities. Shikhar candidly commented, "Achieving perfection in computer programs is a herculean task. It's an evolving journey."
Shikhar then discussed how Spotnana has used AI and analytics to transform the travel industry, making it more customer-centric and allowing for dynamic travel policy adjustments. Read more about how Spotnana uses DevRev to enhance customer engagement and team collaboration.
Amit Prakash spoke about the challenges of building AI systems and the need for fast iteration and exploration to find solutions. He also emphasized the importance of using AI to create authentic interactions and free people from repetitive tasks. Kshitij Gupta shared his excitement for the application of AI in media, especially in thinking beyond text to include video content. He also stressed the importance of connecting AI applications to real business use cases. Read more about how 100ms uses DevRev to deliver differentiated customer support.
The speakers emphasized the potential for AI to free individuals from routine tasks, allowing for more creative and authentic interactions.
Moderator: Danny Fortson, West Coast Correspondent - The Sunday Times
Panelists: Dr Emma Lundberg, Associate Professor - Stanford, Navin Chaddha, Managing Partner - Mayfield Fund
Danny Fortson, Dr Emma Lundberg, and Navin Chaddha explored the implications of conscious AI. Dr Emma Lundberg, a professor of bioengineering and pathology at Stanford University and co-director of the Human Protein Atlas, shared her perspective on the use of AI in creating virtual representations of cells. Navin Chaddha, the managing partner at Mayfield Fund, highlighted the firm's focus on investing in early-stage AI ventures. Chaddha emphasized their commitment to supporting AI technologies that enhance human capabilities and create jobs, rather than replacing them.
The discussion revolved around the concept of conscious AI and its significance. According to Chaddha, conscious AI involves developing AI solutions that elevate human potential by working in synergy with humans. Dr Lundberg discussed the potential of AI in the biomedical field, especially in democratizing access to expensive technologies and diversifying scientific innovation. She emphasized the importance of ethical considerations and open science in AI development.
Fortson and the panelists discussed the transformative impact of AI, likening it to the human operating system, which is rooted in language and communication. The conversation also touched on data privacy, data controls, model trust and safety, and the importance of ethics and responsibility in AI. Dr Lundberg underscored the importance of integrating ethical considerations into education and preparing the next generation of leaders and scientists to address these issues from the start.
Both panelists stressed the importance of ethical considerations in AI. Lundberg highlighted the need for educational initiatives to ensure the next generation is equipped to navigate the moral complexities of AI. Chaddha, meanwhile, discussed the importance of model trust and safety, emphasizing that AI solutions should enhance human capabilities.
Efforts in sports
Speaker: Zaza Pachulia, Golden State Warriors
Wrapping up the event was a riveting discussion led by Zaza Pachulia, an esteemed two-time NBA champion and former pro player. He recalled the early years of his career when he started playing professional basketball for a top European club in Turkey before he was drafted into the NBA at 19. Zaza emphasized how his experiences taught him the importance of having a winning mindset and chasing your dreams relentlessly.
Drawing from the experiences of great shooters like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Zaza stressed the importance of having a short memory. He said that the key to perseverance lies in maintaining confidence in your abilities regardless of how many shots you miss.
Zaza talked about how AI can enhance human capabilities and efficiency but emphasized that the true power lies in the collaboration between humans and AI. The conversation concluded with a connection between sports and entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of people working together with AI and technology to make life more efficient and interesting.
In essence, Effortless 2023 was a testament to DevRev's commitment to fostering innovation, promoting collaboration, and driving the future of technology forward. It wasn't just an event; it was a snapshot of where technology stands today and a glimpse into the boundless possibilities of tomorrow.