Earlier this week, Continuum Analytics was officially renamed Anaconda. This change is exciting, and equally as exciting is the journey, from our humble beginnings to today—a community of 4.5 million Anaconda users worldwide. No one tells our story better than Continuum co-founders, Travis Oliphant and Peter Wang. Read on for their thoughts and feelings on what’s next for Anaconda.
Tell me your what you’re thinking around the company renaming to Anaconda. How do you hope the community will react?
TRAVIS: We we started Continuum, we knew we wanted to be an innovative center that supported and funded open source software. We wanted to create products and services to help people innovate, and that helped bright, capable people bring their dreams to fruition.
That’s now manifesting in artificial intelligence, machine learning—that’s what’s hot. And every single one of those people need Anaconda: 90 percent of them are using Anaconda. Well, maybe it’s only 80 (laughs), but there are a lot of people doing artificial intelligence and machine learning, and most are using Anaconda to do it.
The surge in users happened from 2012-2015. It kind of ballooned up. The other activities Continuum was doing were also valuable, but it boiled down to—what do you push? You push the one area that has the most impact, right now. And that was Anaconda.
We’ve definitely been thinking about renaming for a long time—the massive growth of Anaconda over the past two years now allows us to do it. The timing is ideal.
PETER: What we’ve found now is when we’re in certain situations and people identify themselves as from Continuum, they have no idea who are they are. But then, they’ll say “we’re the people who make Anaconda” and the lightbulb goes off like “oh yeah! Anaconda! I just installed that and I’m taking this data science course, yadda yadda…”
And now, we’re seeing this start to happen in a commercial context a lot. So we thought, we’ve got to do something about this. We’re not helping ourselves by not giving people a clear path to realizing that Anaconda isn’t just a free bundle you download, it’s actually part of a large commercial offering, part of a platform, and there’s a company standing behind it, and if you want to use it in your business and want good support and good training, a good product suite that helps you use it in an enterprise context, you should talk to the Anaconda folks.
I think this renaming is kind of in that spirit. Stepping up and saying “hey everyone, it’s great that you like this, that’s us, we’re the Anaconda folks.”
It’s not a change in mission or who we are, it’s simply saying Anaconda has spread much faster and much farther than any of us thought it would, in a very short amount of time. Let’s just own that and make sure everyone knows they can come to us, as a company, and get great support and an enterprise-class vendor that provides commercial offerings around this.
TRAVIS: Right. We knew it would be important, Anaconda was always part of the company. I think how successful it’s been is testament to the work we’ve done to help it reach its potential. We did a lot of things at Continuum; it was often like five different startups inside of one. There’s still a couple left, but Anaconda rising to the top is pretty much what I expected.
Once we saw Anaconda skyrocket back in 2015, it just felt kind of like the natural course to rename. It’s not too surprising that it’s happening now, I suppose. But it’s definitely exciting.
“We knew it would be important, Anaconda was always part of the company.” – Travis Oliphant, President & Chief Data Scientist
How does it feel to see something you created in 2012 now blossoming into a full company?
PETER: I mean, to go from a tiny booth, not even a real booth honestly, at a PyData workshop at Strata in 2012 to now this massive 20 x 30 foot booth, with a theatre and so many displays and all sorts of stuff… that delta is really humbling. You know, the sheer amount of hard work that went into getting here, by everyone, and the amount of users coming by and supporting Anaconda and being so grateful and thrilled by it all, that’s massively validating.
Just seeing everyone at these tradeshows and online telling us their stories about using Anaconda, that’s really the coolest thing.
TRAVIS: It’s always been impressive to see Anaconda’s growth. We absolutely created Anaconda to be successful and something that ultimately helps people. And the fact is, it did.
To see the opportunity that creates to rally not just developers, but a lot of people around the cause of improving communication with sales, marketing, support, documentation—all the people necessary to create a full service community around something like Anaconda—has been amazing to watch.
It’s been a lot of work, a lot of coordination and a lot of people to make that happen, but it’s been fascinating to watch and to be a part of. To see the effort, different points of view—I’ve always been a firm believer in the more perspectives, the better chance you have at success. Having one mindset is the most limiting thing someone, or a company, can do.”
“…the amount of users coming by and supporting Anaconda and being so grateful and thrilled by it all, that’s massively validating.”
– Peter Wang, Co-founder & CTO
You’ve mentioned Continuum Analytics has been known in the community for innovation. Is Anaconda going to continue to pursue that innovation?
TRAVIS: Continuum was a start up. Startups have a broad reach and focus on a bunch of things. You’re casting a wide net, you’re trying to figure out what sticks; it’s more like a lab. As we move to our new identity, Anaconda will continue to innovate, but it’s more like we’re shoring up the pieces we know are working to take us to the next level.
So we’ll continue to innovate, it will just be a more focused innovation, targeted toward specific things we know are needed by the Anaconda products and customers and the open source releases.
Anything you do is going to have multiple communities, advocates and trackers. Because Anaconda started as a cost-free resource; people loved it, and it was a natural, large, positive response. Continuum was the smaller, lesser known group behind it that was known for creating amazing new technologies. I think the rename will help in terms of scaling and focusing that innovation. It’s the right thing to do.
“It’s always been impressive to see Anaconda’s growth.” – Travis Oliphant
In light of the name change, do you have any parting words for Continuum Analytics?
PETER: Long live Continuum! (laughs) It’s gonna take some time to get used to calling us Anaconda, for sure. But I’m very excited.
TRAVIS: I see Continuum Analytics as giving birth to Anaconda. I think such a thing could be done again. Continuum Analytics was a lean startup trying to find a place to make an impact in the world. It’s done some really amazing things, and Anaconda kind of became the billion dollar opportunity.
Everyone who worked for Continuum Analytics should be proud of what they’ve created—step one in the path to creating something really amazing. It’ll be forever remembered, by those who know, as the starting point to this new amazing company.
To read more about our name change, check out this blog post from our CEO, Scott Collison.