Attracting Technical Minds to Ad Tech

In a recent interview, Kevin Haley, our Chief Scientist, was asked about engineering students entering the Ad Tech industry and remarked that:

Technology has changed so many industries over the past couple of decades. Young people today should realize that they can be part of the evolution of the TV advertising industry.

Here at Videology, we tend to hire engineering, math, and computer science graduates into our Product Management team.  It’s not that these are the only backgrounds that can lead to success.  (One of the newest additions to our team studied English in college, but he also has a passion for technology and has been spending his free time on CodeAcademy, recently building a Ruby-based hockey game).  Rather, a STEM education is one indicator of an aptitude for understanding complicated technical concepts and building products that simplify this complexity for our clients.  

Over the past few weeks, product managers on our team have been involved with some of the following:

  • Researching different geo-IP lookup providers to test whether we have an opportunity to improve our ability to detect ZIP code on an ad request.
  • Meetings with several enterprise clients to better understand their internal systems and the types of APIs that we could provide to them to facilitate easier connectivity with Videology systems and interfaces.
  • Working with our publisher partners to discuss their plans to support VPAID 2.0 and what that means for our business.
  • Reviewing the IAB Digital Video Focus Group’s presentation on SCTE 130 and how that will impact addressable advertising on set-top boxes and DVR.

The important trait we look for in Product Management hiring is an innate ability to understand technical concepts, coupled with a desire to be the “translation layer” between our engineering team and our end users – who are not always technical by training.

Advertising agencies should endeavor to hire similar entry-level minds into their own organizations.  In a recent meeting with the head of digital of a major agency, I was asked what they could be doing to recruit people who really understood “big data” and how to vet various 3rd-party technology providers.  My response was that agencies need to recruit technical talent proactively – increasing their presence at engineering school recruiting fairs, holding case competitions and “hackathons,” and making the pitch to young engineers that the advertising industry is a better place to launch one’s career than say, consulting or investment banking.  This is something that companies like Google and Facebook have been doing for years, and it is a great sign that agencies seem to be moving in that same direction.  Most recently, this has been a hot topic at industry events like the 4As conference.

The Ad Tech industry is one that is often at the forefront of technical innovation.  In order to maintain that pace of innovation, all the players in the space, including agencies, need to make sure they are attracting and retaining the brightest young minds.

Haskell Garon

Sr. Director, Product Management

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