New Relic CEO Lew Cirne kicked off FutureStack14 in style yesterday, showcasing new products, new features, and a historic acquisition while setting forth his vision of the future of New Relic and the increasing role of data and software in all our lives.
In addition to announcing New Relic Browser Pro, New Relic Synthetics, crash reporting for New Relic Mobile, several new features for New Relic Insights, the New Relic Data Apps Platform, and the acquisition of Ducksboard, Lew celebrated the ascendance of data nerds and their increasing impact not just on business but on how people spend their time.
Emarketer recently said that people now spend an average of six hours a day in front of software, but Lew wondered how much of that time is spent in something that makes us happy (green) versus just getting stuff done (yellow), or in the red zone, the frustrating time that we’re waiting for pages to load, dealing with crashes, and so on. It may seem like waiting five seconds for a webpage to load is “the mother of all first world problems,” Lew said, but it’s an unpleasant reminder that your software is robbing you of your limited supply of precious time. “Life is too short for bad software.”
Put another way, “moments matter,” Lew said. Citing some “amazing companies” that understand that software is no longer just about running back-office stuff, software is actually a game changer. To demonstrate, Lew invited leaders of two such companies to share the stage.
John Paul, founder and COO of VenueNext, a subsidiary of the San Francisco 49ers, talked about his Levi’s Stadium app that does just about everything—from in-seat food delivery to digital tickets to instant replays—for fans at the team’s new home. “No stadium app has ever gotten more than 5% usage,” he said. But the Levi’s Stadium app is at 30% usage, and 61% of season ticket holders have it. And now VenueNext is ready to sell its app to other venues. “Not just sports,” John said. The app could be used any place you get more than 5,000 people together and need services and food and so on.
John MacIlwaine, CTO of the Lending Club, talked about how his business is using software, technology, and data to disrupt the banking industry. For example, he said, “We look at 1,000 pieces of data for every borrower,” and use that data to try to eliminate fraud, among other things. If a loan application says the person lives in one city, for example, but their IP address and social profile don’t match that location, Lending Club can investigate before approving a loan.
Lending Club relies on New Relic to keep everything working as the company grows. “If the software’s not working, it’s like every branch being closed,” Lew noted.
“The biggest APM problem in the history of APM”
To put the power of software and data in perspective, Lew recalled an email message he received last year at FutureStack13, reading simply: “WH needs help.” Once he realized that “WH” meant “White House,” he saw that fixing Healthcare.gov was “the biggest APM problem in the history of APM… if we don’t help, people won’t get healthcare.” Within two days of getting started, he said, New Relic was installed across an incredibly complex infrastructure, and a wide variety of people were able to quickly use it to see where the problems were. Not coincidentally, page response times were soon cut from 8 seconds to less to 1 second and error rates fell from 6% to well under 1%.
Of course, there’s always gridlock in Washington, so there were some objections. Project leader Mikey Dickerson from Google occasionally had to bring down the hammer, Lew said, famously bellowing: “If I hear one more person telling me we can’t use New Relic, I’ll punch him in the face!”
Hopefully no punches, but you can expect more great stuff from FutureStack14’s Day 2 keynotes starting Thursday morning.