If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from my experiences in the tech industry, it’s that fostering better technology for our clients and building a great environment for our people go hand-in-hand. Since my startup, tap.me, was acquired by MediaMath in 2012, I’ve dedicated myself to evolving the state of our technology while advocating for a “people first” culture by continually testing our level of comfort in the pursuit of continuous improvement.
Now, as MediaMath’s newly appointed Chief Technology Officer (CTO), I want to take it further by driving our technical vision, ensuring scalable growth of our systems, and pushing the productization of our API & Technology platform while evangelizing our technology both inside the company and externally to the market.
My focus has been on building teams with a culture driven to experiment, move quickly and communicate clearly while building the best technology products possible to our customers. But I won’t be doing this alone. I’m thrilled to have a partner in MediaMath’s new SVP of Engineering, Steve Steir, who values the idea of investing in people first, in order to build great technology. Steve comes from VCE with a long career leading engineering teams, and like me, he’s passionate about recruiting the brightest minds he can find and unleashing them on the technical problems at hand. His proudest accomplishments are the cultures that he has established that made work fun and invigorating.
Together, we are going to redouble our efforts to put people at the front of the software development lifecycle.
Our philosophy is simple: people are most productive when they are happy. We believe it’s the job of our managers and executives to make and keep our people happy by fostering an environment where the work is rewarding, impactful, and friction-free. To make sure that our global engineering team is aligned on the goal of continuously improving people and products, I’ve created a manifesto to achieve exactly that:
- Be honest – Ask questions, call BS, embrace feedback and recognize success.
- Experimentation requires embracing failure – Success requires experimentation, and experimentation requires failure.
- Be Relentless about efficiency – Automate everything. Eliminate busywork and overhead. There is a delta between work and production, reduce this delta!
- Failure is a constant so build resiliently – Optimizing against MTTR (mean time to recovery) is more important than optimizing against MTBF (mean time between failure). Automation and impact isolation makes this possible.
Now to the tech.
Over the last few years, we’ve refocused our approach to development by aligning ourselves into service oriented teams, each developing their own microservices, while investing in internal platform substrate to reduce friction and sprawl. We expect this approach to ultimately lead to a more flexible and interoperable API product, benefiting API and UI clients alike.
As CTO, I’ll be driving our technology forward with three main themes in mind:
- Open Platforms – Modular. Composable. Self serve. MediaMath believes in the value of the connective ecosystem, realized through transparency and interoperability. Everyone benefits when our product is built API-first.
- Scaled and Dependable Technology – as a global company, we need to have the resiliency and stability to support enormous levels of throughput and budget. Our customers rely on us to power their businesses, and as engineers and technologists, we must keep them at the front of our mind at all times. Operational Excellence is paramount, and we spearhead this via “DevOps” applied and a great SRE practice.
- Usability – we meet our most sophisticated clients at the level that they work at. We also need to meet our clients that are new to programmatic where they are, with easy to use, packaged solutions that solve client solutions out of the box.
With that said, a transformation of this scale for an engineering team of more than 230 people is a huge task for me and Steve but we share a relentless focus on assembling the best engineering talent in a culture that promotes creativity, efficiency and empowered decision-making.