From a philosophy and religion major, to touring the country following the Grateful Dead and even becoming a professional canoe guide, Michael Weaver, VP, Product Strategy, Growth Media at MediaMath, never thought he’d end up in the advertising field or digital economy while in college.
“In my dorm, there was one person who had a computer that we all tried to share to write papers on,” said Weaver. “But most of my papers were written on a typewriter!”
Now, Weaver is at the forefront of mobile.
He got his first taste of digital through a friend. “In 1993, a friend of mine who was very involved in the new age of computers was talking about the World Wide Web which we were just coming into familiarity with. So we started a little company out of our apartment where we would go to stores and restaurants offering to build a website for them.”
After his first exposure to the digital landscape, Weaver’s college roommate started his own company called BlueStreak. Here, Weaver was able to go to ad agencies and explain that there’s this thing called the internet.
“I’d have to explain to people that they’re going to need a website and, when that happens, they’re going to want to advertise. And when they advertise, they’re going to need to measure and deliver ads,” said Weaver. “So it was a lot of explaining the future to a lot of ad agencies in that role.”
After BlueStreak, Weaver started his own company Third Screen Media because, he says, “I saw mobile coming.” This was pre-iPhone days, pre-apps, pre-universal SMS, but he saw it coming because it was the future and advertisers were interested. Thereafter, it was sold to AOL, which was known as America Online at the time and after a stint at Microsoft, Weaver landed a job at MediaMath.
“Mobile is necessary. It’s 60 percent of the supply right now coming in to the bid stream, so six out of 10 hits on the internet are basically mobile-first. And if you start to skew towards millennials, its even higher,” said Weaver. “So it’s new and it’s exciting, but it’s not new because people are there. And its funny, I think back on talks and how positioning mobile has changed and it used to be messaging. Now it’s just ubiquitous, and it’s there and it’s the primary way people consume media, and that’s only going to increase.”