A Conversation with Madhukar Kumar

Companies are not only consuming more code, but some – such as Lyft, Uber and Netflix – have actually turned into code.

Q1. You recently joined SingleStore as chief marketing officer. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am joining SingleStore with more than 18 years of experience leading global product marketing and product management teams. Previously, I worked at DevRev, where I served as head of growth and marketing and led the development and scaling of its PLG engine. Before DevRev, I held leadership positions at Nutanix, Redis Labs and Oracle. I began my career as a journalist turned developer and eventually found my way into running product management, marketing and growth teams. I love to bring creativity and technology together to build compelling brands and stories across different mediums. 

Q2. What are the main lessons you have learned in your career working for a range of tech companies?

Having built my career at a range of tech companies, I have developed full-stack experience as both a product builder and marketer. I have seen marketing evolve into product-led and code-driven growth over the years. This is useful because now we are all moving from activities that drove vanity metrics like impressions and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), especially in B2B, to dollar efficiency against tangible sign-ups and product adoption metrics like Daily Active Users (DAUs), Weekly Active Users (WAUs), etc. This new marketing era will see the convergence of creativity, data science and product user experiences.

Q3. You have spent years teaching a class on new product development and PLG at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. What are the key takeaways you can share with us?

Companies are not only consuming more code, but some – such as Lyft, Uber and Netflix – have actually turned into code. This accelerated during the pandemic and changed people’s behavior in many ways, including buying behavior and expectations from brands and companies we buy from and work for. In this world, product-led growth and marketing have become not just a trend but are here to stay. Marketing is evolving, and marketers need to adapt or be left behind by AI advances. Some principles of code-driven marketing include: 

  • putting your product out as a freemium or trial to let users try your product.
  • automating the instrumentation and measurement of the user journey and adding levels into the journey that nudge interested users into adopting and eventually becoming repeat customers
  • experimenting frequently, but only when you have a hypothesis
  • and, finally, launching often to stay in the attention zone of your audience

Q4. How do you see the cloud-native database market evolving this year?

This year, we will continue to see much more convergence among the major players trying to become general-purpose databases by adding features to address both OLTP and analytics use cases. From a customer point of view, we will see a lot more focus on consolidating different databases.

Q5. What does the unification of transactions and analytics in practice mean?

Over the years, databases have been used for storing and managing data for transactions – for example, a record that someone purchased an item or someone accessed an application screen. This is a classic transactional use case. You want the database to be swift for transactional use cases because it affects the user experience. When someone within the organization wants insights into the data, that’s typically managed in another database, and here, given the size of the data and the use case, companies have a higher tolerance in response time from analytics databases. With databases like SingleStore, you can now address both transactional and analytics use cases with sub-millisecond response times. Some use cases that employ this kind of database include ridesharing (imagine different offers for all Uber or Lyft riders in real time), inventory management, fraud detection and more.

Q6. What is special about SingleStore? 

SingleStore is paving the way forward for the real-time analytics marketplace. SingleStore enables companies to process and compute extremely large and fast-moving data in real-time. This makes it unique because now companies don’t need multiple databases for different use cases. They can also use SingleStore to augment and speed up existing analytics databases because of SingleStore’s performance in ingesting and querying massive volumes of data in sub-milliseconds.

Q7. What are the key KPIs you will be using for defining SingleStore’s growth trajectory? 

We will be looking at both user acquisition and adoption metrics coupled with the dollar efficiency for each dollar earned in revenue.

Q8. SingleStore was recently invited to join the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Innovators Community. What is it? And why does it matter?

The World Economic Forum is the international organization for public-private corporations. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations from the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. Its activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society.

SingleStore was recently invited to join WEF’s Global Innovators Community to contribute to new solutions that overcome current crises and build future resiliency in data policy. Companies invited as Global Innovators engage with one or more of the WEF’s platforms to help define the global agenda on critical issues. We were thrilled to have SingleStore’s CEO Raj Verma participate in a recent “Start-Ups in Austerity” panel in Davos, Switzerland. Raj published an excellent blog with his reflections and learnings from the event.


Madhukar Kumar, chief marketing officer at SingleStore 

Madhukar is a developer turned growth marketer and an expert in product-led growth (PLG) with more than 18 years of experience leading product management and marketing teams. He has successfully implemented PLG at Nutanix, Redis and DevRev, and is a guest lecturer at Duke University on PLG and new product development.

Sponsored by SingleStore

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