Amped Software was founded on April 10th, 2008. Today we celebrate its 15th anniversary: what a ride so far! I take this opportunity to share with you a bit of what working at Amped means.
Trusting Lindy’s Law
Have you ever heard about “Lindy’s Law”? According to Wikipedia, it is a “theorized phenomenon by which the future life expectancy of some non-perishable things, like a technology or an idea, is proportional to their current age. Thus, the Lindy effect proposes the longer a period something has survived to exist or be used in the present, the longer its remaining life expectancy”.
I am not sure if it holds for companies and their CEOs. However, if it does, I hope it’s an indication that in 15 years I’ll still be around. In this post, I will talk about the fil rouge that drove us so far and that I hope will keep us going.
I usually write about technology, but this time I want to speak about people.
Last summer, we organized our first AGM, which stands for “Amped Global Meeting”. Almost the entire team had the opportunity to meet, hang out, and work together at our headquarters in Trieste, Italy, for a week. It’s been a wonderful experience on the personal side for all of us. For several people, it was the first time they met in person colleagues they have been working with on daily basis for quite some time.
One of the evenings, we were in a pizzeria after a company-wide bowling game. The vibe was great, everyone was chatting and enjoying their time. One colleague came to me and asked a very interesting question. I don’t remember the precise words, but it was something like this: “Are you more proud of the software you have created or the team you managed to put together?” I looked at these people and the good time they were having. I replied, almost moved, “The team, for sure”.
For developing software, we have programming language and strict rules. However, creating a team and its culture is different, but not so much. Rules are replaced by values, and these values should be both explicitly defined and shown by example. I think the most important value of our company is contained in our name.
What’s in a Name
The most common question I receive is “Why did you call the company Amped”? Let me travel back in time.
Back in 2006 I was participating in a business plan competition. I was brainstorming with myself ideas for a company name. The initial inspiration came from a snowboarding videogame (I was and still am a fanatic snowboarder). Why did I like the name “Amped”? For a few reasons.
- It gave the feeling of “amplifying” something
- It started with A, and this is very useful since often lists are sorted alphabetically (I heard later this was one of the reasons why Steve Jobs named Apple in this way, and for a similar reason chose the stock ticker AAPL, with a double “A”)
- It had the .it domain available; unfortunately, the .com was already taken; for this reason, later I did a light rebrand to adding the word “Software”
- I thought the word was short and simple, and pronounced similarly all over the world.
Oh, boy, how I was wrong on the last point!
The third most common question I receive (after the one above and the second “Can you enhance that?” 😏) is “How do you say Amped?”. It is usually spelled as “emp’d” in the US, “amp’d” in UK, and “à m p e d” in Italy 🤌 and other Southern European countries. In other places, it’s a random combination. 🤦♂️
Nevermind. I realized much later what’s the most important aspect of this name. A few years ago, during an interview, I was asked how I could define my company and team in a few words. I kept saying the word “enthusiast”. Well, I think that the informal word “Amped”, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “filled with energetic excitement and enthusiasm”, describes us pretty well.
Amped Team and Amped Users
A so simple word summarizes our values so well! I personally do the first part of the onboarding of all new hires. I like to set things straight from the beginning, explaining a short list of essential values that should drive their behavior and way of working with us.
All these values, though, derive from two main perspectives of the word Amped.
Inside Amped, for employees, it means prioritizing above all to be enthusiastic about the job, the company, and our mission. We spend a major time of our life working; so we should aim, if possible, to have a job that we love, in an environment that makes us comfortable. At the same time, we should behave in a way that makes our colleagues comfortable, too.
Outside Amped, it means uncompromising attention to the user, providing a product, support, and training that makes users enthusiastic about everything we do. It’s useless to have the best products if you don’t provide support (being technical, commercial, or otherwise) that’s at least as good: as much as possible we should be fast, nice, competent, and transparent.
The World, Before and After
So, here we are, after 15 years. Since 2008 the world has changed a lot. Back then, I was still sometimes receiving videos on VHS, and – in one instance – even an export from a surveillance system on a floppy disc! But overall, a lot stayed the same, too. What’s been true 15 years ago is still true:
- Video evidence is growing, and always at a faster pace
- Image quality is never good enough
- Digital multimedia evidence poses a lot of challenges, especially for what regards the interpretation
I think the pace of change in the next 15 years will be much faster, for our industry and the world at large. It’s not fully clear to me (and I don’t think it is really clear to anybody) the amount and kind of impact that artificial intelligence will have: photos and videos, our trust in them, their processing, analysis, and interpretation.
Since I didn’t know any better I asked ChatGPT 🤷♂️:
“What will change with video evidence in 15 years?“
This is the generated reply:
“As an AI language model, I cannot predict the future with certainty, but I can offer some educated guesses based on current trends and advancements in technology.
In the next 15 years, we may see significant changes in video evidence technology that could include:
- Increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI can assist in video analysis by detecting objects, recognizing faces, and even predicting behavior based on patterns.
- Augmented Reality (AR): AR can allow for the overlay of digital information onto real-world video footage, potentially aiding in crime scene reconstruction and other investigative purposes.
- Improved image and video quality: Advancements in camera technology and image processing algorithms could lead to sharper and more detailed footage.
- Enhanced security and encryption: With the increasing use of video evidence in legal proceedings, there may be a greater emphasis on security and encryption to protect the integrity of the footage.
- Widespread use of body-worn cameras: Body-worn cameras are already in use by law enforcement, and we may see a wider adoption of this technology across other professions such as healthcare, construction, and transportation.
Overall, the use of video evidence is likely to become more pervasive in the next 15 years, and advancements in technology may make it even more reliable and effective in investigations and legal proceedings. However, there may also be ethical and privacy concerns that need to be addressed as the use of video evidence continues to expand.“
Maybe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy? 🤔
I think the moment for gratitude has come. If we are still here after 15 years, it’s thanks to all of you.
Thanks to you: all the people who work, or have worked in Amped. You are a part of what Amped is today. Your contribution is part of us. We are growing and improving every day.
Thanks to you: our users, who keep trusting our solutions to improve safety and justice in our communities, all over the world. We have learned so much from you. If our software and company are here now, it’s because of your tireless efforts to help us improve with your enthusiastic feedback.
Thanks to you: our partners, who help us reach our users all over the world, communicate our message and strive in this important industry.
See you here in 15 years! I hope it won’t be an AI writing the next post then. 💪