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AWS CEO Adam Selipsky: 10 Bold Remarks At Fast Company’s Innovation Festival

‘Amazon is always about having very high standards and about being vocally self-critical, which is a term you hear around here a lot,’ Selipsky says. ‘It’s an important part of my job — not just an opportunity, but a responsibility — to try and help us to continue to improve and to bring some things that maybe I’ve been able to observe being gone a few years.’

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Partners and customers can expect machine learning and data and analytics to feature prominently as new Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky continues to push the cloud computing provider’s rapid pace of innovation, according to remarks today by the former Tableau Software leader.

AWS has a tremendous amount of machine learning resources, and there’s many new services that customers want AWS to build to help them with the technology, Selipsky said today at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival.

“There’s a huge thirst for AI- and machine learning-driven services today, not only to offer directly to customers, but also to underpin and make more intelligent all these other services that we offer,” Selipsky said. “There’s…a big opportunity to put machine learning capabilities inside of many, many of the existing AWS services and to make them better and to make it easier for customers to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish.”

While AWS has a lot of data and analytics capabilities, it’s just getting started in the area, according to Selipsky, who led Tableau, the Seattle-based analytics platform provider, from 2016 until he rejoined AWS this year.

“The whole area around data and analytics is still a big need,” Selipsky said. “Sometimes I kind of make a joke about a day in the life of a bit. If you look at that whole data value chain, I still think there’s a lot of building-block components that are left to build and a lot of abstracted capabilities on top…to make that process a lot easier, a lot faster, a lot more convenient, so you can get to better decisions faster.”

But while customers are pushing AWS in a lot of different areas, it’s very important that AWS doesn’t neglect its first fundamentals: storage, compute and databases, according to Selipsky.

“There’s still a lot of lot of innovation to happen there, and it’d be a mistake to take our eyes off of that ball,” he said.

AWS always will be focused on hardcore developers, Selipsky said, but as it grows from millions of customers to hundreds of millions of people directly or indirectly consuming web services and cloud computing, there’s going to many who don’t have the capability or desire to be highly technical.

“For those people, we have to continue to, over time, dramatically improve the ease of use, come up with more abstractions, come up with higher-level services — like our call center solution, Amazon Connect — find other areas where there are horizontal or industry vertical solutions that our customers are demanding that operate at a higher level,” Selipsky said.

AWS named Selipsky as former CEO Andy Jassy’s successor in March. He formally started in the position in early July, returning for a second term at the Seattle cloud provider. Selipsky previously worked for AWS from 2005 to 2016, when he left his role as vice president of marketing, sales and support to lead Tableau.

“Needless to say, AWS is an incredibly successful business, and there are many things that I just want to not get in the way of,” Selipsky said. “I don’t want to be the one to mess up. But nothing and nobody are perfect. Amazon is always about having very high standards and about being vocally self-critical, which is a term you hear around here a lot. It’s an important part of my job — not just an opportunity, but a responsibility — to try and help us to continue to improve and to bring some things that maybe I’ve been able to observe being gone a few years. Some of those things are around bringing that sense of community in and really continuing to grow and build out the worldwide Amazon community and an ecosystem, and to continue to help customers and employees both be inspired by a mission and…why we’re here as an organization on this planet and what it is we can really help customers to accomplish and the joy and inspiration that employees can feel along that journey.”

Here’s a look at what else Selipsky had to say in his talk with Stephanie Mehta, editor in chief of Fast Company, a New York-based business media company.

 
 
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