Winning Big and Losing Small With Chris Malone, CEO of Applause

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“The vision all along was – ‘Is there a better way to test technology in the wild?’ That has been our core from day one”


Software applications are used by people like you and me. Therefore, shouldn’t real humans test them before they launch? Chris Malone, the CEO of Applause, explains how the Applause platform activates a community of experts in order to ensure applications will truly serve their users.


Key Insights


Why is democratizing access to technology disruptive? 

You might think you’ve thought of everything when it comes to an app – but you’ll never know the full scope of what it’s capable of – or how people will use it – until it’s in the hands of users. Getting different perspectives on tech can be a gamechanger if you choose to listen. 

“Software, when you put it into the hands of users… you get some pretty interesting use cases. The differentiation – why people come to Applause – is that we bring the power of a software platform, but always with a community that’s half a million strong. It’s very unique. It’s very disruptive.” 

What can a community platform tell us about innovation? 

Having a finger on the pulse of tech means we might be able to tell what’s coming to change the world next – if we know where to look. According to Chris, the next wave of tech has a unifying thread: it has to be quick. 

“I think thematically, it’s a dispersed world where users obviously want instant access to all forms. And so you have blockchain, you have web 3.0, you have the metaverse. I think what we are seeing with our clients is the ability to onboard new, emerging technologies… it needs to almost be instantaneous.” 

How can you keep the mission consistent during growth? 

While some things might change, it’s important to never lose sight of the mission of a business – the heart of a brand should stay the same, even with massive scaling or industry shifts. 

“We help companies launch apps that win. That still holds true today… those foundational principles are unchanged from where they are today. Our core values, as a company, are unchanged.” 

About the Guest:

Chris Malone is the Chief Executive Officer and a Board Member at Applause. Chris joined Applause in 2013 and served as both Chief Financial Officer and President, prior to his appointment as CEO. Since joining Applause, Chris has taken the company through multiple rounds of financing with leading investors such as Goldman Sachs and Accenture and stewarded the company through its acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in 2017. Chris has been instrumental in Applause’s growth and international expansion.

Prior to joining Applause, Chris worked at NTT Data, a top-five global IT service provider, as the CFO of the North American Business, responsible for financial oversight and operations of a billion-dollar operating unit. Chris took on that role after successfully exiting Keane to NTT Data in 2010. Prior to NTT Data, Chris held a number of leadership roles in Finance, Sales & Operations. Chris began his career at KPMG and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Chris received his Bachelor’s degree and MBA from Babson College in 2000. Chris serves as the Chair on the Babson College Advisory Board.

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Episode 50