Classmethod’s Cloud Prowess Is Givings Customers An AWS Advantage
Satoshi Yokota’s passion for educating customers has made Tokyo-based Classmethod a cloud powerhouse that bested systems integration behemoths 100 times its size to earn AWS’ Global Systems Integrator Partner of the Year award.
(Left) Classmethod CEO Satoshi Yokota and Chris Sullivan, general manager of worldwide system integrators and strategic alliances at AWS
When Satoshi Yokota was 20 years old working weekends at a Tokyo electronics retailer, he learned the best way to be successful was to provide independent advice and no-nonsense answers to tough technical challenges.
“People would ask me how to use technology,” he said. “I would explain to them how to use a computer, printer or mobile phone, giving them good points and bad points, and tell them what the use cases were. Then customers would want to buy from me. My happiness comes from making customers feel good. My strategy was to not sell, but rather to educate customers. That is what made me successful.”
That passion for educating customers has made Classmethod, the Tokyo-based cloud consulting company Yokota founded 19 years ago, a global technology powerhouse with unrivaled technical knowledge on how to implement Amazon Web Services cloud services.
Classmethod’s technology leadership earned the company the prestigious AWS Global Systems Integrator Partner of the Year in 2022, besting global systems integration behemoths more than 100 times its size in terms of annual revenue. It also has made Yokota, as CEO of Classmethod, one of the best and brightest solution provider executives on the planet.
Market researcher IDC selected the winners of the AWS Partner of the Year awards based on strict criteria.
Classmethod’s DevelopersIO website with more than 40,000 technical articles acts as an open-source clearinghouse of sorts for customers looking for answers to hard-to-solve AWS issues. The company’s 500-plus engineers—who make up 71 percent of the staff—do deep drilldowns into AWS technology in blog posts each and every day. It was Yokota himself who started blogging on DevelopersIO each and every day. Now, all of Classmethod’s developers blog every day. “Everybody at the company contributes to the community,” said Yokota. ““We have a try-first culture.”
For seven consecutive years, Classmethod has obtained Premier Tier Services Partner status from AWS, the highest in that category. Classmethod employees hold well over 2,200 AWS certifications. That AWS certification depth and breadth puts it ahead of systems integrators that are many times its size in annual revenue.
Yokota—who prides himself on his own technical knowledge—holds all of the top AWS certifications including the SAP certification. That required him to learn the complex SAP ERP software from top to bottom. “I studied all night,” he joked.
Customers know when they go to Classmethod’s DevelopersIO website for answers on any and all kinds of cloud challenges—including the latest AWS innovation—they will not be disappointed.
More than 1 million unique users visit the Classmethod website each month, with many of them going on to hire the AWS superstar as their primary cloud consultant and integrator. The Classmethod model is a lead generation machine that provides a constant flow of new customers.
In fact, Classmethod, which has just 100 sales reps, generates more sales opportunities than nearly every other AWS systems integrator in the world.
Classmethod refers to DevelopersIO as an AWS recipe site that is in line with its mission “to support the creative activities of everyone.” Its three abiding principles are to provide fast and affordable service, spread technical knowledge and support creative engineers.
The prized flight jackets worn by the best and brightest technologists at Classmethod read: “Providing continuous support of creative activities to all people.”
That ambitious overarching principle even includes helping engineers from competitors, said Yokota. “My company’s competitors say thank you for providing technical content that solves a lot of problems,” he said.
Developers flock to Classmethod’s DevelopersIO to learn everything they need to know to push the AWS cloud services envelope. The company’s website has become a trusted source of technical information that has led to a constant flow of new customers.
Developers know when they are grappling with the most complex AWS cloud challenges, DevelopersIO is the place to go to get answers.
“There is no gate to Classmethod’s DevelopersIO,” said Chris Sullivan, general manager of worldwide system integrators and strategic alliances at AWS. “Anyone can use it. The Classmethod model and culture is incredibly unique. It is a culture that deserves to be celebrated. Anyone that wants to learn and improve themselves and their business is welcome to consume the incredible value that Classmethod creates.”
The same principles that drive Yokota to share technical content are pervasive in the Classmethod culture. Yokota holds an all-hands meeting every Monday that usually includes a story about how he spent time with his family and children over the weekend. From that start comes a look at what the company plans to accomplish in the week ahead.
The Classmethod culture has led to a profound “trust” in the technical community, which extends into deep and long-lasting customer relationships.
That trust comes from Yokota’s fierce commitment to making sure customers can take advantage of the fast-moving AWS innovation engine. Customers know that he is a trusted authority they can count on. “Trust is everything,” said Yokota.