The Alchemy of Org Building: Onboarding Employees to Make a Lasting First Impression

Reflecting back some 15 years, everything I needed to know about my wife I knew in the first 30 days of our relationship.  What I could expect of her.  What she expected of me.  The values we would share.  It was all there!  What does that have to do with org building?

First impressions have a lasting influence. An employee’s first weeks and months on the job are no different.  The cultural cues inherited during onboarding are internalized and reflected back into the organization long after onboarding is complete.

Our onboarding process in AppNexus Global Services (GS) was designed with that in mind.  Training employees in the skills required for their role is obviously important. However, reinforcing the culture we want to maintain is a higher level objective. One way we achieve both is through what we call the “GS Olympics,” which has two parts – the Trials and the Events.

The Olympic Trials are a series of five weekly role plays that begin immediately after the employee starts. In each role play the new hire “teaches” a topic to 6-12 “students” (who are actually their peers). The students grill the teacher with questions, leading to some stressful moments, but also great learning!

The Olympic Events is a series of oral exams administered around month four of their tenure. Each covers an advanced topic which the employee should have mastered. For example, “Trouble-Skeet-Shooting” tests troubleshooting skills and the “Optimization Jump” tests understanding of AppNexus algorithms. We have set evaluation criteria allowing the event “judges” to award Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals consistently.

The GS Olympics has five design principles:

  • You don’t know what you know until you say it out loud. Our platform is very complex and our industry is new to most employees (see our hiring strategy). It is too easy to read about and use the product without understanding it well. The Olympics force new hires to speak coherently about what they have learned, which validates if they truly understand it.
  • Test to the point of failure.  The role plays are designed to test the limits of a new hire’s learning. The “students” will ask questions which completely stump “the teacher,” which is expected and helpful! The intent is to accelerate learning by identifying weak spots.
  • We learn best by teaching and doing. The best way to learn is to dig in, figure something out, and then teach it to someone. This gets you deeper and farther faster than more passive classroom style learning.
  • We perform better when the bar is high. There is a lot to learn as a new hire at AppNexus. It requires tremendous effort. We hire people who love that challenge. So we set the bar high from day one, provide a learning environment to support growth, and then the magic happens … rock stars are born!
  • Pay it forward: It’s important to repay the good deeds you have received by doing good things for people you don’t know. Each new hire has benefited from other new hires, who created much of our onboarding material. They are expected to repay their predecessors by doing something to make the onboarding process better for the next new hire.

How does this reinforce the culture we want to maintain?

“Teaching and Learning” is a core value at AppNexus.  Employees start living that week one!

“Making Greatness Happen, Together” is another core value. Our bar for greatness is high; the challenges we face are steep. So straight away we put a big mountain in front of employees and ask them to climb it!  Yet … we do it together. We use a learning management system to structure the learning experience. Employees are assigned a Knowledge Buddy to help with daily technical questions, and a Mentor who guides them through the process and shares high-level business context on the industry. This process instills in employees a deep commitment to learning, teaching, greatness, and togetherness which they bring to everything they do throughout their AppNexus experience.

So, if you are thinking through your new hire onboarding process, start by defining what aspects of your culture are deeply important to maintain over time. Then design your onboarding process in a way that requires employees to demonstrate those behaviors. First impressions last a lifetime; make yours count!

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The Princeton Offense

When I walked onto the Princeton campus as a freshman in 1995, I liked basketball. It was fun, good exercise, and social.

When I left Princeton, I loved basketball: the constant decisions, the intricate teamwork, the ebb and flow of the game.

The difference was three years under the tutelage of John Thompson III, then the JV coach at Princeton, learning the Princeton offense. No longer was I the big guy who was supposed to sit near the basket and rebound. I would get the ball at the top of the key and create opportunities for my teammates. I knew how to throw a back door pass, to force defenders to make impossible choices, to be a triple threat. I was part of an organism that operated on a shared set of simple principles. We were talented athletes who worked together to win. I wish I could share the feeling of throwing a backdoor pass through a crowded lane to a teammate who knows exactly where to be to score an impossible basket.

That feeling is what I try to create every day at AppNexus. We have a clear mission: to create a better Internet through better advertising. We have agreed upon four values –learn and teach, see and improve the whole system, empower customers, and make greatness happen together – which are our shared set of simple principles. We are a team of talented professionals who work together to win.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Jon Hsu is joining our team as COO and CFO. Jon is one of the few people with CFO experience at a public ad technology company, but more importantly is one of the best executives in our industry. I worked closely with him when he was the CEO of 24/7 Media and was impressed by his thoughtful leadership, strategic vision, and passion for the future of the industry. In business as in basketball, how you play the game matters, and Jon plays like an AppNexian.

In addition to Jon, we’ve added three world-class executives to our leadership team. It feels like we’re recreating the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, with the best talent in New York joining an already superior leadership team. Geir Magnusson, Jr. will become CTO; Casey Birtwell has been hired as SVP, Strategy & Operations; and Michelle Dvorkin has been promoted to SVP, People.

Over the past few years, my understanding of what it takes to be an entrepreneurial leader has changed, much as my understanding of basketball changed during my time at Princeton. To build a global company that can adapt and win in an ever-changing landscape requires a leadership team that is both talented and aligned.

With the addition of Jon and Casey and the promotions of Michelle and Geir, AppNexus has the team to win the greatest game of all: building a company that makes the Internet better.

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For AppNexus, Mobile Goes Global

This week, AppNexus joined thousands of exhibitors and attendees in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the must-attend conference for the mobile industry. There, our partner Millennial Media announced that MMX, the world’s largest premium mobile ad exchange, is now available in Asia Pacific and 20 new countries, including India, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia, among many others.

Driven by consumer adoption and usage of mobile devices – and enabled by programmatic ad technology – the mobile advertising market is expected to reach $36 billion by 2017. I hear from leading mobile marketers every day, and they’re looking for new ways to push the envelope and help realize this amazing market potential.

A real appetite for highly engaging ad formats, differentiated data, and effective performance is here today. App publishers are similarly thrilled by the opportunity to increase their differentiation, monetization, and control as they begin incorporating a programmatic channel into their arsenal.

We launched MMX five months ago with Millennial Media to deliver the world’s first mobile “must buy” – a premium exchange that offers access to Millennial’s platform of 55,000 mobile apps and sites, differentiated audience data, and deep mobile expertise. Today, we’re incredibly excited to see MMX expand, bringing premium inventory, high value audiences, and unparalleled effectiveness to buyers across the globe.

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The Alchemy of Org Building: Hiring for What Will Be Over What Is

The first startup I joined was a social venture called CitySoft. We were founded with the idea that a company can make a profit while making the world a better place. We believed the answer to poverty was wealth creation, and wealth creation comes through gainful employment. So we partnered with community training centers in low income urban neighborhoods. We helped them develop software programming training courses and then hired their best and brightest students to be our programmers. At one point, 80% of our programmers came through the training centers.

Although AppNexus isn’t a social venture, a common principle still applies – hire for what will be over what is. At CitySoft, the folks we hired from the training centers never had relevant work experience. However, they had the DNA for success – smarts, a deep desire to be better, and a passion for technology. In Global Services at AppNexus, we take a similar approach; only 13% of our team has previous ad tech experience.

Why does this work? Previous professional and educational experience is not the best indicator of a candidate’s likelihood of success in your organization. A person’s capabilities, passions and values matter more. These are the qualities that determine how high and far a candidate may reach. Let me explain:

Capabilities: Skills like consulting and programming are learned. Capabilities are inherent in a person and reflect one’s capacity to learn; things like the ability to break down complex problems into logical parts; the ability to focus on a subject until its mastered; the ability to communicate clearly about challenging topics; the ability to empathize.

Hiring for capabilities has three benefits:

  • It expands the recruiting pool. The pool of great people who know a specific domain is often limited. The pool of great people who can learn a domain is more abundant. For example, we have several great employees who were Teach for America volunteers, sustainability consultants, and even a lawyer.
  • It creates a dynamic environment. Bringing a diversity of skills and experiences into an organization lifts everyone because they learn from each other and develop better ideas.
  • It enables organizational scaling. As the org evolves employees, have the capabilities to easily change roles and take on new challenges. For example, one employee, over the past three years has moved from being a consultant, to a consulting manager, to a product strategy leader, to a sales leader. Athletes can play a lot of sports!

Although this approach requires a longer training period, it is a worthwhile investment!

Passions: Capabilities are helpful only when we are passionate about putting them to use. Combine passion with capability, and you have a future high-impact employee.

Values: Capabilities and passions are helpful only if a candidate holds your organization’s values. At AppNexus, we evaluate candidates on their ability to embody our values such as, “See and improve the whole system” and “Learn and teach.” Adhere to the Golden Rule of Hiring – values are a hard stop – along with the corollary rule, no jerks!

With that in mind, how do you identify candidates with these qualities?

In AppNexus Global Services, we train our staff to interview candidates using the dimensions below. We call this “DNA hiring.” We hire for this, regardless of work and educational experience.

  • Rock Star Potential: illustrates the personal qualities indicative of high achievers
  • Analytical Horsepower: maintains a passion and aptitude for complex problem solving
  • Technical Orientation: demonstrates success and drive in learning about technology
  • Consultative Nature: exhibits the desire to understand “why” and then evangelize “how”
  • Customer Service Gene: demonstrates a commitment to helping others
  • AppNexian at Heart: embodies our values; embraces our culture

Each dimension has a set of specific qualities to look for and example questions interviewers use to identify those qualities in candidates. For example, in the Rock Star Potential interview segment, one quality we interview for is: “Self Awareness: Understands their intrinsic motivations, their capabilities and tendencies, and how they are perceived by others.” Interviewers are armed with questions like: “What intrinsically motivates you? Why does that motivate you? Give me an example of you doing something impactful because of that motivation.”

The dimensions relevant for your organization may vary from ours. That’s okay. And of course roles may require some relevant work experience (e.g. a manager role will require management experience). The point is—optimize hiring for capabilities, passions, and values; develop a process that reliably identifies those qualities; and then invest in training new employees in the skills they need for their role.

We’ll cover new employee training in the next posting … stay tuned!

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The Alchemy of Org Building: Defining Your Organization’s Intention

At the most fundamental level, creating a great organization requires defining our intention along three dimensions: company purpose, group mandate, and employee experience. We should clearly answer:

  • At the company level, what is our purpose? Why do we exist?
  • At the group level, what is our mandate? What are we trying to achieve?
  • At the individual level, what is the employee experience required to achieve the above?

Let’s look at this in the context of AppNexus and my organization, Global Services.

Our purpose at AppNexus is to create a better Internet. This is why we exist.

We make the Internet better in a number of ways. By helping publishers better monetize their inventory we ensure that the Internet continues to be a vibrant ecosystem of diverse content. By helping advertisers find their audiences, we connect people with the content and services they find valuable. As we evangelize ad and inventory quality in the industry and invest in teams and tools that keep our ecosystem clean, we make it difficult for bad actors to flourish.

At an organizational level, Global Services, my team, has a mandate we defined together and this is the filter through which we measure success. We use it to define individual quarterly goals, assess annual performance, and decide on promotions. It is also the foundational way our team contributes to the company purpose. Our mandate is to:

  • Earn the unwavering loyalty of our customers by delighting them through every interaction.
  • Be generous cross-functional partners committed to collaboration and the success of all AppNexians.
  • Contribute to building a world-class company with scalable operational practices and a powerful culture.

Achieving a company purpose and an organizational mandate is only possible if the day-to-day experience of employees supports it. To that end, we should ask ourselves: if we achieved greatness, what were the qualities of the employee experience that enabled it? In Global Services, we define those qualities as:

  • We are a learning organization:  We are deeply reflective and intellectually honest about what is and isn’t working; we feel encouraged to challenge convention and speak freely; we have formal and informal channels to define success and evaluate progress.
  • We inspire each other: There is something about everyone we work with that inspires us in some way, big or small. It could be a personal passion, a professional skill, or just the way someone smiles every day! Whatever it is, we know we work with great people.
  • We find our work interesting:  Because we are interested in what we do, we work hard at it; because we work hard at it, we excel.  Excelling as individuals brings us together in teams and propels us toward our goals.
  • We matter:  We matter in ways large and small.  Whether we are making the Internet better, advocating improvements to our products, or simply making a customer’s day better by exceeding their expectations, a day doesn’t pass where we don’t make a difference.

Importantly, we defined our employee experience in a way that speaks to our deepest intrinsic motivations – learning, being inspired, being interested, making a difference. By holding them dear, we know our extrinsic motivations — great products, loyal customers, revenue growth — will naturally follow.  The extrinsic motivations are really just context.  They are easy measurements of greatness, but not the definition of greatness.  They are a means to an end, not the end themselves.  The “end” is the experience we have while achieving our goals.

Referring back to my first blog post, it’s worth noting that defining our intention across these three dimensions – company, group, individual – is a great example of focusing on process over outcomes. Cultivating your organization’s intention (process) creates the rich soil from which great companies grow (outcome). What is your intention?

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Alchemy of Org Building titled, Hiring for What Will Be Over What Is.

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AppNexus Mobile Buying Is Here

Last week, I spoke at the AppNexus Summit New York and had the great fortune to announce the general availability of AppNexus mobile buying. This announcement was the culmination of a well over a year’s work by dozens of amazingly talented individuals. With Mobile Buying GA we’ve done more than just release a handful of features, we’ve created an onramp for some of the world’s biggest buyers to bring their business to mobile at scale.

Today the AppNexus platform sees over six billion mobile impressions each day. That makes us the largest independent source for programmatic mobile supply globally. And we’re far from done.

I also had the chance to share that we’re helping Millennial Media accelerate the roll out of the Millennial Media Exchange (MMX). We’ve seen tremendous early results  from clients which have led us to ramp up volume even faster, bringing on new mobile web inventory earlier than anticipated. We’re even accelerating our expansion of MMX globally, launching Europe, APAC, and LatAm well ahead of schedule.

Mobile is here at AppNexus. We have the technology, relationships, and scale to have a huge impact on the market as we help each of our clients build their mobile business.

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Advertising Powers the Internet

Tom Butta joined AppNexus as CMO in April 2013. Tom has now participated in all three Summits this year – San Francisco, London and New York.

Every day, more than 550 AppNexus employees around the world come to work to make greatness happen. They do so in many ways, like building great technologies designed to crack the code on mobile advertising, finding new ways to better connect buyers and sellers of digital advertising, and waging a multi-front war to preserve the highest standards of inventory quality.

Why? Is it some deep-seated passion for advertising? Probably not. A desire to reinvent an old industry? Maybe. The free snacks? Can’t hurt.

In truth, we are all at AppNexus because we have a clear collective mission. We know advertising is the lifeblood of the Internet, where advertising funds most of the great content we’re used to getting for free. It provides the means to innovate, investigate, and entertain. And it makes it possible to reach the right audiences – large and small.

With Madison Avenue and Silicon Alley coming together at a moment of unprecedented transition, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to make the Internet even better.

No company takes to heart the imperative of powering the advertising that powers that Internet as much as AppNexus. That’s why we’re working to solve the business and technology challenges inherent in creating smarter and more effective Internet advertising for the world’s most important advertising and media companies.

As I walked the packed floor at our annual New York Summit last week, the reality of our mission was unmistakable. You could feel the energy emanating from executives invigorated by the innovation and opportunity ahead. Now the challenge for AppNexus and our partners is to put to work that brilliance and energy so advertisers get the most from their ads, creators get the most from their content, and consumers get the most out of the Internet.

For consumers, there’s no question that mobile is the future. And where consumers go, advertisers will follow. With that inevitability in mind, AppNexus spent most of 2013 going “all in” on mobile advertising. At the Summit Ryan Christensen, VP of Product at AppNexus, announced that our mobile offering – currently the largest independent source of programmatic mobile supply worldwide – is now available to all buy-side clients. AppNexus is now handling billions of mobile ad impressions each day, and that’s only going to grow as we continue to expand our mobile partnership with Millennial Media, and fully ramp up MMX in the U.S. and, soon, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

As digital advertising continues to explode in reach and spend, a commitment to quality and efficacy must be unwavering. At Summit, AppNexus’ Quality Team leaders Geir Magnusson and Preethy Vaidyanathan reiterated the company’s promise to uphold the highest standards of ad quality and our longstanding zero-tolerance policy for any invalid activity on the platform. AppNexus is taking a systematic and rigorous approach to these issues, including a relentless pursuit of all seven types of invalid traffic reviewed by Geir and Preethy. Not only is this ethically the right thing to do, it’s absolutely vital to the long-term economic viability of the Internet advertising business. As an industry, we simply cannot allow bad actors to undermine the growth engine fueling the free Internet ecosystem that benefits all of us.

Finally, many of you have likely seen a cover story in Adweek this past week outlining “everything you need to know about programmatic buying.” It’s a smart, timely piece worth reading as programmatic becomes an increasingly critical instrument for an industry that’s all about connecting people. Amidst all the face-to-face networking at Summit, AppNexus announced how it will continue to foster new innovations that facilitate more efficient human interactions between buyers and sellers.

Following previous Summits in San Francisco and London, New York completes the series for 2013. The ninth such event in three years, these invitation-only gatherings underscore the commitment of AppNexus to serve as the nexus for our industry, bringing people together, and generating ideas that will continue to drive digital advertising – and the Internet – forward.

Here’s to a strong finish to 2013, and an epic 2014!

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The Alchemy of Org Building: My Intention

My intention in writing this blog series is part educational, part aspirational, and part evangelical. If you have a passion for building teams, organizations, or companies please read along and contribute with your thoughts.

When I say intention, I mean it in its purest sense.

An intention is our innermost reason for why we are doing what we are doing. When we are clear and genuine about our intention, when we state it publicly with fearless resolve, we are freed and even compelled to move forward. Stating our intention clarifies our minds and creates a lasting resonance which keeps us true to our task. So, as I kick-off this blog series on org building, I’ll start there.

First, it’s educational in that I’ll share principles of organization building I learned while helping build four start-ups in a variety of technology industries. These principles apply regardless of team and company size, geography, or functional area. I’ll address topics like defining team mandates, hiring best practices, and developing leaders. The nuts and bolts of org building!

It’s also aspirational in that I try every day to live these principles and improve how they are applied. So I humbly acknowledge that the blueprint and the quest—the teaching and the learning—are completely inseparable. A core value at AppNexus is that we learn by teaching and doing and this series is written in that spirit.

Finally, it’s evangelical in that there is an impassioned perspective woven throughout this series: that in org building, and in all things professional and personal, we should focus on process over outcomes.

That may sound counterintuitive, so I’ll explain. Process is cause; outcome is effect. Process is business strategy and tactics, the perspective and energy we bring to issues, the conditions we create. Outcome is a result such as revenue, customer loyalty, and great products. The best way to achieve an outcome is to focus on process. Why?

 

  1. Process is deterministic. We can achieve our desired result by having mastery over the conditions that cause results. Developing that mastery requires ongoing attention and reflection.
  2. Process is in the present. Focusing deeply on the present makes us more aware of current conditions and more likely to see unexpected challenges or opportunities. When we focus on the future, most of us become fearful. We create scenarios that don’t exist but might, that are low probability but feel palpably imminent. We then get distracted from what we can influence, and from the reality we can create. We become emotionally drained and intellectually clouded by the fear of failure.
  3. Outcomes are ultimately beyond our control. There are unlimited conditions beyond our influence that impact if an outcome is reached. So we will achieve more with greater ease if we accept we don’t have control over the outcome and focus our attention on what we can control – the process.

Another advantage of focusing on process over outcomes is that it better equips us to deal with failure. When we are incredibly focused on achieving an outcome, and we fail, what happens? Most frequently anger, depression, and judgment take over. These emotions inhibit our ability to improve, to clearly see the conditions that brought about the failure. When our orientation is to focus on process, we don’t judge our failure, we observe it. We see it as an opportunity to improve our process. We easily snap back, reflect on what led us here, and identify how to improve. Fear of repeated failure or personal inadequacy doesn’t overcome us because the outcome was never the primary objective; it was continually improving the process.

With that context, I look forward to teaching and learning together. I hope this blog series inspires thought and dialogue that helps you build greatness in your organization!

About Brandon Atkinson

Brandon Atkinson is Senior Vice President of Global Services at AppNexus, which offers the digital advertising industry’s most powerful, open and customizable technology platform.  He also serves as the Co-chair of the People and Culture Leadership Team.

Previously, Brandon worked at start-up Opsware as Director of Global Services Operations & Education Services.  After two years, he was appointed Site Executive, Romania, where he started Opsware’s first off-shore engineering office and built it to 40 people over a 12-month period.  After Opsware’s acquisition by HP for $1.6B in 2007, Brandon became Solution Director, EMEA, Business Service Automation.

Prior to that, Brandon was Atlantic Director of Peter Marin Associates, which was acquired by ACS (Affiliated Computer Services), where he ran Sales and Services teams.

Early in his career, Brandon worked for the City of New York, Office of Technology, before joining his first start-up, CitySoft, where he was Managing Director, NY.   He has also served with AmeriCorps*VISTA as a community organizer for a nonprofit housing provider in Anchorage Alaska.

Brandon has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Livingston College at Rutgers University and earned highest honors for his thesis work.  He also has a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. You can follow Brandon on Twitter: @atkinson000.

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AppNexus Women’s Network Hosts “Funding & Founding the Next Frontier: Digital Entrepreneurship”

Lisa Shukovsky, director of global services operations, and Lisa Kalscheur, vice president, global marketing, are co-chairs of the AppNexus Women’s Network.

This evening the AppNexus Women’s Network is hosting a discussion (Funding & Founding the Next Frontier: Digital Entrepreneurship), exploring the challenges of funding and founding a startup in New York. The panel will be entirely made up of leading female entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the digital space. We look forward to welcoming Hayley Barna, Founder and Co-CEO of Birchbox, Veronika Sonsev, CEO & Founder of inSparq.com, Anastasia Leng, Co-Founder of Hatch.co, Anna Curran, CEO & Founder of CookBook Create, and Marissa Campise, Vice President of Venrock.

AppNexus has been fortunate to host many inspiring leaders for panels, and many of these included women. But we still thought it was important to have a discussion focused on the unique experiences and challenges that female entrepreneurs encounter. We wanted to hear how they both achieved personal success and also made a real impact with the new products and services they introduced to the digital space.

We also recognized that many of these women’s successes were accomplished through the support of other women — as well as men — who acknowledge the importance of female empowerment. We wanted to celebrate and continue this support system by creating an official community at AppNexus. This community would not only bring together talented women, but also create the forum through which we could push one another both personally and professionally.

We founded AWN in January of 2012 with the mission of igniting personal and professional growth through networking and educational events driven by the interests of AppNexus women. We also wanted to positively impact AppNexus culture by feeding back its recommendations across the company.

We’ve done that by hosting events ranging from a company-wide Lean In book club, “speed networking,” a negotiations panel, and now the Funding & Founding panel.

The group also gave us a chance to deepen our relationships with other female leaders across the company. We were impressed by Nithya Das, our panel moderator and active AWNer, from the first time we met – after years representing technology companies at a big firm, she realized that her entrepreneurial spirit and business judgment would be better channeled in-house at a company. After joining AppNexus two years ago, Nithya was recently promoted to AppNexus’ General Counsel. On top of it all, she is a mom. It’s exciting to us that AppNexus is a supporter of women at the executive level.

Women deal with the same challenges that anyone starting or funding a business faces. But, especially in the tech world, there social, financial, and cultural differences. We are excited to continue the conversion about female entrepreneurship within AppNexus, and through the amazing women that we have the honor of hosting tonight!

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Moving onwards…

It’s been six incredible years since Brian and I founded AppNexus, and after much self-reflection, I have decided that I am ready for my next adventure. I will step down from my full-time position as CTO at the end of the month, transitioning to an advisory role that will keep me engaged with the company moving forward. Since AppNexus has two Board seats explicitly reserved for management, my chair next to Brian will pass to Michael Rubenstein – and there’s no one who deserves it more.

AppNexus has experienced unbelievable growth over the last few years, growing from a team that was just Brian and me to a company with a full tech org of roughly 200. As a result, my responsibilities as CTO have dramatically changed. I’ve always been happiest building things, rolling up my sleeves and getting deeply involved with projects and problems, whether technical or not. Of course, at our size I can’t get involved in every project.

After much deliberation and discussions with Brian, Michael and Igor, I decided it was time to step aside and let the next generation of technical leaders (of which we have so many!) take charge. My decision was not an easy one, but it was made easier knowing that there are no better hands for AppNexus to be in than those of Brian, Michael, Igor and the absolutely world-class leadership team we’ve built in New York and Europe over the last year or so.

Having been in London for the past seven months working closely with our rapidly growing European teams, it made me proud to see first-hand the achievements we’ve made expanding our global footprint, strengthening our relationships, and getting ready for the big opportunities that lie ahead in the many markets here.

Although I’m sad to leave, I’m excited for my future – next month my wife and I will be starting an online business together!

This change has been in the works for a long time, and over the past few months I’ve slowly transitioned my remaining CTO responsibilities to Igor, Pat, and many others in our elite tech team. I couldn’t be more proud of that group, which will continue to deliver great products like Tango and mobile, and scale to numbers Brian and I couldn’t have dreamed of when we started the company working from a couch in his apartment.

This isn’t a goodbye. I will always be a friend of AppNexus and look forward to being engaged with the leadership and technology teams as an advisor.

All the best and don’t be strangers,

Mike

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