Brunswick Review Issue 13

The social media dashboard

Brunswick’s Janelle Nowak writes of her recent conversation with Ragy Thomas, CEO of tech unicorn Sprinklr

“Do you know your ATM password?” Ragy Thomas, the CEO and Founder of Sprinklr, asks me, about two minutes into our phone interview.

“Um … no, I … I don’t think so,” I stuttered. ATM password? It’s probably been six months since I visited a bank branch. Do I have a debit card? I honestly have no idea. Venmo? Sure. PayPal? Of course. By contrast, using an ATM card feels like waiting to see your pictures until they’re developed. It’s 2017.

“Imagine I write ‘9-5-5-9’ on a chalkboard in front of you,” Thomas says to me. “Then I ask you to guess what it is. My ATM code?” At this point, I think maybe I’ve dialed into the wrong conference call.

So I say: “Is that your address?”

“This, Janelle, is how I think about life. A concept I call ‘Integrated Living.’” Thomas goes on to explain what he means. The modern life is often divided between 9am-5pm (work) and 5-9pm (personal). 9-5-5-9 code is meant to make those divisions go away. When work and family and play all bear the same root – passion, or let’s call it purpose – then there’s no turning off any of them.

Valued at $1.8 billion, Sprinklr provides an enterprise software platform that is used by more than 1,200 large brands to manage social marketing, advertising, research, care and commerce across 25 social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WeChat. Founded in 2009, Sprinklr now employs more than 1,500 in 20 offices around the world. Still private, it has grown explosively while accepting only about $230 million from six carefully chosen investors. Thomas, a 44-year-old native of India, obtained an MBA from NYU-Stern and his undergrad degree in computer science from Pondicherry University in India.

Sprinklr’s value became apparent to me when I managed a team of social media managers at Capital One. Our job was to build strategy and create content to support our business partners across the entire company. Subsequently, we’d promote and publish social media content from those strategies across our corporate social media channels. Without Sprinklr, our jobs would have taken exponentially longer. For example, think about the way you log into your Facebook page: username and password – a two-step authentication. Now imagine doing that on multiple channels, from multiple associates, in multiple locations, each requiring a different password. Sprinklr consolidated that process while heightening Capital One’s security and making it easy to post exactly when and where we wanted, targeting the right audiences.

 

A graphic Sprinklr uses to explain what it does: help companies coordinate and engage on Twitter, LinkedIn - and 22 other social channels - through one platform. Headquartered in New York City, the company was valued at $1.8 billion last year.

Thomas sees no end to growing demand for social media and customer experience management. “The sad reality is that these [social media] channels are going to proliferate. One channel as the end game is really not going to happen.

In Sprinklr’s early stages, Thomas acknowledges that work-life balance was tough. In a highly competitive technology market, the goal was to build something faster, stronger, bigger than any potential competitor.

As the father of two children, Thomas knew working 24/7 wasn’t sustainable. To explain his solution, Thomas uses a parenting metaphor: when you have a second child, you are never confused about how to spend your time. You balance it between both of them. You know that each person’s life is valuable and you have to spend your time wisely.

“At Sprinklr, it’s not about how many hours you put in a day. We look for employees that have passion for this company – for one another, for their role and for the product. We hope employees take pride in their work, and we give employees plenty of reasons to come in every morning; if you don’t, the good ones will stop coming.”

 

Janelle Nowak, an Associate, is part of Brunswick’s Digital core specialist offer. She is based in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

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