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Day one of Opticon19 has just wrapped. It was a full day of networking around the triumphs and challenges of the world of experimentation, as well as a slew of new product launches set to help foster experimentation culture and drive its adoption. As CEO Jay Larson put it, experimentation is “the next big thing in business management”.

In addition to announcing Performance Edge, Data Lab and a tool for quantifying ROI, Jay rolled out On Demand Services (ODS). Simply put, you can run 50 ODS experiments for the cost of one employee, which may be one way to help out with resource constraints. A real-world example comes from Bay Area home furnishings retailer Serena & Lily who, by utilizing ODS, was able to triple their experimentation volume.

Customer Obsession at Its Finest

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Gibson Biddle Sharing His Favorite Obsession – The Customer

Gibson Biddle, former VP of Product at Netflix, gave a riveting talk on customer obsession setting the tone for the laser focus experimentation professionals bring to the craft of creating delightful digital experiences. To kick things off he walked the crowd through the personalization journey at Netflix, and demonstrated the value of experimentation in developing product. Time after time he would tease the crowd with a vital question about product development at Netflix and ask which they thought was the case, and nearly every time the crowd’s intuition had them choosing the wrong answer.

Quantifying ROI

The theme of Opticon19 is Out-experiment. Outperform, but a sub-theme could be ROI. In addition to launching our ROI model product, Optimizely’s Kate Nichol led a great panel on the value of quantifying the ROI of your experimentation program with Chris Darner from the Venetian and Jeff Blettner from Tinuiti.


Rolling out the Optimizely ROI Model

And while experimentation is one tool for democratizing decision making, it is equally important for a culture of diversity and inclusion to be in place to foster the highest participation and multiplicity of ideas. In a revealing panel, How Inclusion & Diversity Fosters a Culture of Experimentation and Drives Growth, six women from a diverse set of companies ranging from Accenture to Lockheed Martin underscored the gains made in the modern workplace while underscoring how much still needs to be done.

One soundbite that was telling, was hearing from Lockheed Martin’s Myra Nawabi, who told the story of how she was contacted by NPR for a story about African-American women in aerospace and in reply she said, “Sure. I would be happy to. Who else is on the show?” The answer, you’re it. There is nobody else. And to this day Ms. Nawabi has not found another African-American woman in aerospace.

Ashton Kucher

Ashton Kutcher closed out the day by sharing his journey, and how Optimizely was one of his earliest investments, which set him on the path of investing with “the greatest investors in the world.” And shedding light as to why he invested in a B2B company such as Optimizely, when other investments were in B2C like Uber and Airbnb he said, “Each client benefits from all the previous work of all the other clients. And I thought if they offered me a job, I would like to work there. Which is a good litmus test for me”.

Ashton also shared his personal philosophy around the “right to pursue happiness” and how through his investments he wants to help people, who might otherwise not be able to, have upward mobility.

To catch up on all the product announcements you can read our post from this morning here. And come back tomorrow for all the news and insights from Day Two.