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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 17th 2014

Jeff Lawson: What Uber has done is, take the communication part of calling a taxi and seamlessly integrate it into the whole experience. Communication used to be a standalone activity. Now communication just becomes part of the workflow that you have when you use Uber. We see this in many software companies. In the transportation space alone, you’ve got Uber and Lift. These are all customers of ours who are using communication to provide a great customer experience.

Sramana Mitra: This is a new category of applications. The call center is an old category. You’re replacing other players who have serviced the call center industry for a long time with a more modern architectural offering. Uber and that whole category of application is a new category. If you look at the design of Uber, how much of the capability of what you can do with Uber, technically, makes Uber possible versus due to Uber?

Jeff Lawson: Obviously, Uber is a fantastic company and they have a lot of software engineers. They build an amazing service. When it comes to the communication part of their business, Twilio powers their ability communicate with their customers via those text messages and phone calls, and facilitate the communication between the drivers and the riders that is so critical for that great customer experience.

Sramana Mitra: But I would say that is the customer experience of Uber.

Jeff Lawson: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What else is the customer experience of Uber?

Jeff Lawson: It’s a great mobile application that they’ve built and the fact that there is only supply available when you need it.

Sramana Mitra: There’s the technical piece of Uber and then there’s the logistics piece of Uber of bringing together all the cars and drivers. Of course, Uber is putting in a lot of investment and a lot of work into making that logistic flow work, which is definitely a critical part of Uber. From a technology point of view, it is that communication piece that is the real experience of the Uber customer.

Jeff Lawson: We think that that type of experience and how communication enables customer experience and companies to operate more smoothly is a critical part of how people are going to use communications going forward. You hear companies all over the place saying things like, “We want to build that Uber-type customer experience.” I think that’s what they’re talking about. The Comcast and eBay CEO say, “We want the Uber customer experience.” What they’re saying is they want to have this great seamless communication with customers and integrate that communication proactively into the workflow of using their product. Communication isn’t like, “Here’s our product and by the way, if you need help, just call a toll-free number.”

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio
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