Quantum LEAP 2021 in Review
On February 3rd and 4th digital product leaders from across a number of industries tuned into Quantum LEAP, the premier summit for digital product leaders. And we’re happy to report that Quantum Metric’s first-ever virtual conference was a huge success.
Product managers, native app developers, customer-obsessed digital experience creators, and others learned about the art of Continuous Product Design from VCs, CDOs, major tech companies like Google, and Fortune 1000 brands in retail, banking, insurance and other industries.
But we also had special appearances from an array of stars from outside the startup world, including freestyle rapper Harry Mack, muralist Captain Casual, the online comedian group The Try Guys, and the youngest ever Astronaut-in-Training Alyssa Carson.
Here’s a look at what happened at LEAP 2021.
“CPD, yeah you know me”
Attendees started the 2-day conference hearing Harry Mack rap about dragons, CPD, and “stock increasing like GameStop.” Meanwhile, Captain Casual—a former day trader turned muralist—jammed out to some sick beats for two chilly days in Dallas as he threw paint against the wall to create a wonderful masterpiece.
Then followed a keynote from our CEO Mario Ciabarra, who announced that the startup plans to expand the clients success and product development teams with the company’s fresh $200 million in Series B funding, which valued the startup at north of $1 billion.
In Ciabarra’s keynote, he pointed out that enterprises were not born out of a digital era, so they need a platform that goes beyond convection analytics—such as hard-to-read graphs, charts, and tables—to help brick-and-mortar organizations build empathy around the customer. That’s where Quantum Metric comes in.
“It starts with the culture of the CEO”
Mario then sat down with John Chambers, former Cisco CEO and founder of JC2 Ventures, to speak about Continuous Product Design and company culture.
When speaking about his time as CEO at Cisco, Chambers said, “I can tie back every acquisition I made back to two or three customers that made such a difference. It starts with the culture of the CEO, but also with customers first. Always has been.”
Every company is going to become a digital company, Cambers pointed out, and “speed is here to stay.”
The Try Guys, a multi-award winning American online comedy group, inspired attendees “to be willing to get it wrong.”
The four comedians spoke about taking risks and trying new things, but also learning from their audience. “We look at graphs to learn about our audience and gauge what’s working,” they explained.
Keith Habersberger ended the session with a Quantum Metric song that surely inspired the audience to keep trying and failing.
The Path to CDO
In the last event of the first day, Quantum Metric CMO Efrat Ravid spent the afternoon speaking with AT&T Chief Digital Officer Bala Subramanian about his path to becoming CDO of the largest telecommunications company in the world.
Subramanian emphasized that “you really have to obsess around the customer.” “We have to connect not just technology, but really connect customers, employees, and technology together,” he told Ravid.
The AT&T CDO also commented on how online will continue to complement in-person store experiences, and how technology can empower employees.
“How can the man and the machine work together so that we can be much better than what we could do individually?” he asked.
And let’s not forget that Quantum Metric announced ExperienceAI, which you can read more about here.
CPD or Bust
Mario returned for day 2 to have a spirited conversation with Don Fotsch, COO & Co-Founder of Greyscale AI, and Michael Spiteri, Group COO for Digital, Data, & Development at HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management.
After some minor technical difficulties, Fotsch jumped in and said “Just like Quantum Metric we’re getting real-time feedback and fixing it on the fly.”
The three participate in a lively conversation about Continuous Product Design, breaking down organizational silos, agility, and delivering value to customers.
“Continuous Product Design in some sense is a statement of the obvious,” Fotsch explained, referring to the fact that every great tech company, Apple and Netflix included, continuously modify their products based on both customer data and feedback.
Escaping the Build Trap
Produx Labs CEO Mellissa Perri wowed the audience with her talk on the “the Build Trap,” a common situation where product managers get bogged down managing the backlog and getting features out the door. This process, as Perri explains, sometimes means that product teams waste days, or even weeks, building products that no one wants to use.
Teams need to ask themselves, “Are we actually building the right things for our customers?”
To escape the build trap, Perri explains, teams need to align on what the customers both want and need, which requires customer data, experimentation, and meeting with customers.
The Future of Retail in a Digital-First World
Amy Eschilman, Managing Director of Retail for Google Cloud, moderated a fantastic panel where Kevin Diamond, Paul Fipps, and Joe Megibow spoke about how brands like Forever 21, Under Armour, and Purple are preparing for the future of retail.
Paul Fipps, the Chief Experience Officer at Under Armour, speculated that trends such as BOPIS, curbside pickup, delivery, and contactless checkout will continue long after the pandemic ends. Kevin Diamond, the head of Global E-Commerce for Forever 21, spoke about how the retailer drove customers online by closing stores, which prompted the fast fashion clothing company to invest in an omnichannel shopping experience. And Purple CEO Joe Megibow pointed out that the pandemic has surfaced new opportunities for DTC selling, since wholesale brands are investing in their online channels as shoppers remain weary of returning to brick-and-mortar stores.
Rapper Harry Mack returned for the last day of LEAP to introduce Alyssa Carson, who at 19 is the world’s youngest astronaut-in-training.
Carson told Leap attendees that she dreams of going to Mars sometime in the 2030s. There, astronauts are hoping to conduct research to understand the planet’s atmosphere, soil, and ecology in order to determine if it’s realistic to colonize the Red Planet down the road.
Her advice for the LEAP audience? “One of the important things about following your dream is telling people what you want to do,” she said in an interview with Quantum Metric’s Ashley Srb. Oh, and maybe we should be focusing our attention on Neptune, the gas giant where it sometimes rains diamonds.
And don’t forget the LEAP Bash
After two days of LEAPtastic content, Chicago’s Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos, the highest-rated dueling piano entertainment duo in the nation, closed Quantum LEAP 2021 with an hour of the audience’s favorite songs and even performed some attempted acrobatics like jumping off the stage to Van Halen.
In case you missed it…
- Daniel Murray and Filippo Catalano spoke about harnessing their customers ideas to drive digital and in-person innovation, such as curbside pickup.
- Jen Jansen, John Reichard, and Chauncy Cay Ford spoke about data accessibility.
- Quantum Metric’s Michael Hanson spoke with U.S. Bank about how data and real-time feedback are crucial for aligning teams and delivering standout customer experiences.
- Peter Meoli, GEICO’s Mobile & Digital Experience Director, talked about how his team successfully launched the insurance company’s mobile app.
- Tim Axon, George Kourakos, and Michael Wood had a conversation about how the gaming industry is adapting to Covid-19.
- Anshuman Singh commented on how disruption led to transformation at American Airlines.
- Zac Maufe, Head of Retail Banking for Google, spoke about how banks are leveraging more data than ever before, and how Google Cloud is partnering with retail banks to address challenges.
Keep the LEAP going…
With the Quantum Metric Community, you can continue the great digital conversation with your peers. It’s also home to our knowledge center which hosts a growing library of release notes and support docs. Visit: community.quantummetric.com.
Also, Continuous Product Design Foundations is a completely free digital leadership course to help organizations learn faster and align around the customer. Get certified and share it with your peers: www.ContinuousProductDesign.com.
And these highlights are only scratching the surface.
LEAP attends engaged in Slack channels, social media, and fireside chats to discover how their companies can create superior customer experiences across all digital channels.
Who knows what is in store for LEAP 2022?