Our first edition of the Amobee Employee Spotlight profiles Anand Natrajan. Thanks to his forward-thinking and willingness to help others, Anand helped launch an Amobee-led Public Service Announcement (PSA) ad campaign, to spread awareness about COVID-19 and lead people to responsible and authoritative sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization websites. To date, this ad campaign has served more than 4.2 billion impressions to over 2.1 billion people in dozens of countries. It is growing to include over 50+ partners in the ad tech industry, ads in 50 languages, and ads not only on the internet, but also on billboards and taxicabs. Anand’s driving motivation behind this campaign was to show that ad tech, and technology in general, can and should be about improving people’s lives.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Amobee?
My name is Anand Natrajan, and I currently serve as Amobee’s SVP of Engineering. I first joined Amobee as part of the Videology acquisition nearly two years ago. Prior to that, I was responsible for overall product development and strategy for display and video over PC and mobile channels.
What are your responsibilities?
I lead the development teams that work on our broadcaster platform. This platform serves digital customers like ITV in the UK, but also linear TV customers like Bell in Canada and Mediacorp in Singapore. Our platform serves enterprise customers, who tend to have a particularly low tolerance for error or risk, so we have a heightened scrutiny on our quality, but with all of the usual pressures to deliver things quickly. I make sure my team has a balanced workload of items that push our vision, respond to customers, and challenge us.
What excites you about coming to work each day?
No two days are alike. There is no set template for my workday. Sometimes, I spend time architecting solutions, sometimes explaining business requests to engineers, sometimes negotiating requirements with customers, sometimes coming up with madcap ideas that cause other people to do a lot of work… (:
Big picture, why did you join Amobee?
The vision and strategy we had was and continues to be a compelling one: The convergence of TV and digital advertising. I felt and still feel that Amobee brings a level of maturity, discipline and patience to that vision that is much needed. With Amobee and Singtel at the helm, our vision has a much better chance of coming to fruition.
You sparked the COVID-19 PSA initiative, can you tell us a little bit about what prompted you to kick-off this initiative?
We all have certain abilities, certain skills, certain talents and in the case of our company, we have this amazing technology that can do incredible things for our advertisers. I believe that it is incumbent on us to use this technology for society’s good as well, not just for the current crisis we are facing as a nation but for inevitable natural disasters, amber alerts and other crises that could benefit from our technologies at that time. The most important stakeholder is the public at large, and every responsible company should do its part to contribute to maintain society’s well-being.
Did you expect the initiative to gain so much traction? If not, what did you expect to achieve when proposing the idea to the larger team?
When I first introduced the idea to the team, I did not have high expectations, nor did I expect the amount of support it immediately received. All I thought was “we can do something about it, it doesn’t cost much, we have the technology, why not?” I believe it was a Saturday when I first made the suggestion and by next day, Sunday, the execs had already agreed to this. The marketing team, led by Krista Thomas, instantly donated $5K. Employees donated their time to draft the campaign, setting up the creatives — these are the guys who are going above and beyond. All I had to do was send some slack messages.
In your opinion, how does the campaign align with our company’s core values?
This campaign has truly been a reflection of our core values. Most of the people involved don’t even report to me. You have people from different teams coming together to collaborate and build something unique and powerful without hesitation. They do it simply because they’re passionate about the work that they do.
Any final remarks you’d like to share?
I think it is important to remember to continue having FUN while being the best. That’s what I would love to see more of — people having fun!
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