Adrien Sommier and Amplement

I recently learned about Amplement, an intriguing tool for professionals to communicate and interact, with a clean and minimal design with features drawn from work chat, video chat, and professional networks. I had a chance to ask some questions of the founder, and I’m even more intrigued afterward.

About Adrien Sommier

adrien sommer

Adrien Sommer

Adrien founded France-based Amplement in 2010, and leads the company as CEO. Previously, he worked in web strategy and communications for several large companies in France. Amplement has grown to 15 staff members, and has over 500,000 users.

The Interview

Gigaom: Amplement seems like a modern and minimal competitor to Linkedin and Xing, where professionals can interact in private and public groups, and also find job offers that match their profiles. Those interactions are a lot like chat in Slack, it seems. Is that a motivation?
Adrien Sommier: Amplement is a web application which enables users to collaborate and discuss in real time with other professionals around the world. We aren’t like Linkedin or Xing because we aren’t a social network.
Before Amplement, professionals couldn’t use a single website for business interaction. They were forced to use many tools: Slack for collaboration, Linkedin to find profiles of other professionals, and Skype to conduct real time discussions or video calls.
Amplement is the only web application which brings together — on a single platform — all the tools professionals need. It’s a single page application.
So, to answer your question precisely, we are a little competitor for Slack, for Yammer, for LinkedIn, for Skype. You see?
G: An all-in-one tool for professional communication. I see. But the challenge for you is this: will people that are already using Slack, Skype, Yammer, and so on switch to using Amplement?
AS: There’s basically nobody in the professional world who doesn’t already use one of those tools. That tells me that most, if not all, of the 700 new users we get each day are open to trying alternatives.
The thing that keeps people from adopting new platforms is hesitation to add “yet another app” to their workflow. We don’t face that issue because we’re condensing their workflow, not bloating it. That and we have an extremely short learning curve, so those who can’t yet replace their use of Skype, Slack, etc. entirely don’t have anything to lose with us.
G: Is job search the primary use case, or just a way to monetize the professional network?
AS: No, in fact the job search isn’t hasn’t yet launched in the U.S. Unlike LinkedIn, our job search feature isn’t there for monetization, but instead because it’s an important feature for our members. On a professional platform, people want to manage their professional careers.
G: Which means connecting with others and sharing profiles? Is that the model?
AS: That’s right. And since you use the same profile for your career development and your daily work, employers can import the same profiles they used to hire someone directly into their work channels. They’ll be all ready to work before their first day in the office!
G: I’ve read that Amplement has over 400,000 members, and over 100,000 job offers have been made since the 2013 launch. What are the user expectations when they join?
AS: We have a half a million active users. Users join Amplement because it’s the fastest app for finding other professionals, communicating with them, and doing both quickly.
G: Amplement does not offer file sharing or integrations with Google Drive or Dropbox, at least not yet. Is that on the roadmap? What other features can we expect in the future? Bots?
AS: We plan to support file sharing soon. Users will be able to work with their teams on Amplement like other tools, such as Slack. We have not developed the integrations, but that’s underway.
G: What about LinkedIn’s approach to support posting, updates, and so on? Will we be seeing that in Amplement?
AS: Staying up-to-date with your network is a key part of your career, so absolutely. Many of those features are already finished.

The recent acquisition of Linkedin by Microsoft shows that the integration of professional networks and the tools that people use to get their work done makes sense. Amplement’s founder, Adrien Sommier, may have seen that future fusion coming earlier than others.