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Evolving the Databricks brand

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Some brands start out as, well, brands. A lot of work goes into the concept and painting the picture before the business is ever launched.

Databricks is different. It always has been and always will be an engineering-led company.

Databricks’ model for innovation is inspired by the open-source community. This is where our roots run deepest, as it underpins everything that makes us special — our platform, our culture and our ethos. And like the open-source community, Databricks is driven by the spirit of collaboration and its impact on innovation.

There weren’t many people willing to bet that a bunch of students and teachers in a research lab at Berkeley — with virtually no business experience among them — could take the open-source software that they helped create, enhance it and deliver it as a cloud-based platform for data and AI. Three major technology transformations would have to unfold in order for this to succeed:

  1. The cloud would have to go mainstream
  2. Open source software would have to become a standard in the enterprise
  3. Machine learning would have to become more than science fiction

Today, Databricks is one of, if not the fastest growing SaaS company in history. Our success is attributable to our relentless focus on innovation and making customers successful. More specifically, to putting all of our energy into simplifying data and AI so that data teams - engineers, scientists and analysts - can innovate faster.

But we didn’t get here because we focused on building an amazing brand.

In fact, some might argue that we intentionally avoided the “B word” because it was too much of a distraction. Some might say that focusing on it would have led to some kind of radical reinvention that would make us lose who we really were. Some might say that the absence of a brand was Databricks’ brand. But the truth is our brand was always there, embedded in our core values and the way we approached everything we do.

Brand is about how you’re perceived - it’s not something you can define for yourself. It’s crafted over time, through the sum of experiences that people have with your company. By definition, a brand needs this time — about seven years in our case — before it can really be captured and defined in a way that’s credible and true to your roots.

This is the first time we’ve ever been intentional about capturing our brand. We spent a lot of time with employees, our customers, developers and partners to understand how the people who know us best think about Databricks. Three consistent themes emerged, each of which describe how we operate internally as well as how our customers think about us:

Collaboration - We believe innovation happens faster when we work together, learn from each other, iterate and constantly improve. More than ever, data and AI is a team sport and Databricks is the platform for data teams.

Innovation - We believe in science and the limitless potential of data. Databricks enables organizations to realize that potential as quickly as possible.

Impact - Impact is everything. It’s why people work at Databricks. It’s what drives us. Most importantly, it’s what organizations depend on us for. We live in awe of the impact our customers are having on the world and are inspired by the role that Databricks plays.

We put a lot of thought into how we wanted to represent these attributes, both in our look and our language. Needless to say, we’re proud of the result — not just because it looks good or sounds good — but because it’s authentic to how people think about Databricks and the value that we bring to the table.

We think the video at the top of this blog captures it well - who we are, what we do and what our customers and the entire data community can achieve on an open, unified platform for data and AI. We’d love to hear what you think - email us at [email protected].

We didn’t always use these words to say it, but our mission has always been to help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems. Never have we been more proud or felt such a sense of urgency for what we can do together with our customers and partners. And as our mission continues to unfold, we can’t wait to see how our brand continues to evolve. We are just getting started!