January 18 SNOW CEO interview

Please note that according to the website, the video interview is available only for 24 hours, “after which time an Acceleration Economy subscription will be required for exclusive access.”

The interview is very well worth watching, and for me it has only boosted further confidence in Snowflake’s leadership.

The times change incredibly fast in the technology/data world, and it seems like Slootman adapts to the environment and foresees the changes.

This ability to adapt, anticipate change, and constantly shift the company culture to embrace it, is very crucial, as SNOW competitors (Redshift, Databricks, Synapse etc) try to catch up to its technical capabilities.

Rather than keep the company “stuck” in the recent past (of only a few years) as “just a data warehouse tool”, it looks like SNOW is pushing hard to further entrench itself within enterprise end users and developers with regards to actual “business value” - which is why there is the continued emphasis on industry verticalization and the ecosystem for app development.

“Discussing vertical industries and the need to engage customers with industry-specific knowledge, Slootman notes, “it’s always been important but we have not always behaved that way…we’re technology people and we’re infatuated with our own technology. You can’t shut us up because we find it so interesting; well, customers don’t care.” They are more concerned with their own problems, meaning Snowflake and other vendors need to step into customers’ worlds, speak their language, and understand their challenges.
Snowflake deals less and less with IT departments and more with technically savvy line-of-business execs.…

Slootman says in the past the company would discuss database migrations and architectures but has changed its orientation toward the business.
The old protocol of engaging with enterprise IT is morphing fast…

Previously, customers would look at their workloads and want to know bits and bytes, or cost per compute unit. Now they’re asking business-specific questions and having very different conversations with their software providers. One example is an insurance company trying to understand why it had disproportionate bodily injury claims in a given quarter…”

Other notable topic discussed was about strict governance and security - it’s why, for example, Python took 3 years to develop on Snowflake when it could have been enabled in like, 1 day.
Remember that SNOW is all about prioritizing the big, big, big enterprises and their massive dollar contracts.
Achieving and maintaining high trusted standards is critical for these clients (and it’s also why I view it as a “barrier to entry” against SNOW’s many smaller competitors who likely will never reach the same governance/security levels)


So many great quotes!!

Snowflake deals less and less with IT departments and more with technically savvy line-of-business execs.

Data cloud positioning will always be core to what Snowflake does; customers need to be able to join and blend all their data sources and avoid fragmented data. That’s different than Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, which have a data cloud that’s specific to them, but Snowflake supports all your data across the “entire world” of sources and types.

Snowflake doesn’t create demand as much as it enables demand.

My favorite:

The chief data officer of a large media company told Slootman, “I need drink tickets because my people are getting wasted on Snowflake.”