Onboarding our first international customer to the new platform

October 31, 2022
Martin Berg
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Dear Friends:

DX has a lot to celebrate lately. As we complete the onboarding of our first international customer in Mariannelund, Sweden, it seems like an appropriate time for us to reflect on our latest successes. Right now, I feel a bit of pride, nostalgia, and the need to share. It’s a big deal, even if the journey is still long to go.

This week DX is launching the first pilot in our Early Access program for the next version of our platform. This is the start of a new phase in our journey that we began 18 months ago when we set out on our most ambitious adventure yet as a company: To rebuild our entire platform from the ground up. We gave ourselves the challenge of bringing our experience and insights from 25 years in the entertainment industry to create a new DX platform that would represent the next level in customer service -- but with none of the previous tech that had made us successful in the past. Yes, we decided to start a complete rebuild of our product in the middle of the pandemic.

We know that abandoning our successful platform in favor of building something brand new sounds dangerously like a “New Coke” fiasco-in-the-making, but to understand why and to talk about where DX is going, we first need to look at our history.

DX has operated in the Norwegian entertainment industry, serving hundreds of cinemas and venues, for 25 years. Throughout those years, we’ve continually improved and iterated on our products in the traditional ways of software upgrades, adding value for our customers, with our customers through conversations, discussions, and most importantly; listening about how to improve our product. Our customers have been partners with us on this journey and have championed our products as much as we have.

Our current platform runs in the cloud. For a modern tech company, that's something to take for granted if you’re creating a new platform from scratch. But for a 25-year-old company, that’s an entire journey on its own – and many companies would rather move on to another project than decide to take that journey.

So why did we embark on such a challenging journey? I am a big believer in the concept of local and global maxima. What that means is that all software products are based on assumptions and principles of the time they are made. For example, a software product developed in 1995 adheres to the technology available at the time to address the then-current problem/solution of the industry the software serves.

Unfortunately, these create limitations, or local maxima, for how far the product can go in the future. Software that was originally developed pre-internet couldn’t simply just incorporate the internet in its functionality in its next version because the software wasn’t designed with that in its original form. Telegraphs and typewriters, as advanced as they were in their time, could only advance as far as their technological limitations allowed.

Breaking through that local maxima ceiling often means doing exactly what DX started doing 18 months ago. It requires radical turns to break free of the invisible, but very real, “ceiling” of the original product and build towards global maxima – in other words, the best possible product vision in the future where there is no end in sight.

Yes, we know that before this change we already had a stable product with a lot of customer love and support, and that is something we take immense pride in. We could have continued building on that platform. Nevertheless, we also felt that our product was approaching its local maxima, especially when we viewed it through our long-term lens of where we see the future of DX. To enable DX to build the products our customers – you – require to thrive in the future, we need to have the best possible foundation for building for the future in place. We accepted that our product for cinema operations – as well as the products of many of our competitors – was built on assumptions and technologies that are very likely to become obsolete.

We envision a future where entertainment venues like cinemas have to deliver best-in-class digital experiences for their customers. To do that, cinemas need tools that not only give them easy access to insights but also proactively help improve efficiency and decision-making.

We also see a future where new technology paradigms, like the ones represented by web3, will enable entirely new ways to communicate with, engage and enable cinema audiences. It’s not just an opportunity, but also a prerequisite to staying relevant and authentic when cultivating the new generations of cinemagoers. Some of this change will play out over the next year, and some of it will play out over the next ten years. We're building out our new platform now so that we can help our customers position themselves and leverage these opportunities across both of those timeframes. We’re building this for the next 25 years, and we’re doing it together with our customers as partners.

After that? You can be assured that we’ll be ready to start all over again to provide the best possible product and experiences for our customers, period. But as of right now, we’re ready to show you what we mean about powering great experiences of the future. We can’t wait to show you what’s next.

CEO, Martin Berg

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