Vin: Welcome to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you’re going to put in your ears. I’m Vin, the Associate Producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is chat with industry leaders, and get their take on the current challenges of the market. And, we’ll have a little fun along the way. In today’s episode, Vincent and Ajay talk with Anudit Vikram, the Chief Product Officer at MediaMath. He talks about how the global pandemics effect on remote work helped workers develop better relationships with the help of video calls, and also about how cookies going away affects the industry. Ajay visits the Spurs headquarters, and Vincent is a teensy bit jealous. Give it a listen.
Vincent: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Stirista’s The Marketing Stir. I, of course, I am one of your hosts, Vincent Pietrafesa, the Vice President of B2B Products and Partnerships here at Stirista. It is so great coming at you, Season two. You’ve already heard some of the great episodes we have. We have even more ahead of that, including this one. I’m very excited about this one, and this person, and this company. We’ll get to that in a moment. A little teaser there, I know. Ladies and gentlemen, first, let’s get it out of the way. People are wondering. Maybe they’re listening to us for the first time. We appreciate that. Stirista, who are you? At Stirista, we are a marketing technology company. We focus on Identity. We have our own business to business and business to consumer databases. Companies utilize us to target some of those individuals to get new customers. Again, Identity. We have our own DSP, so we could do display. We could do connected TV, OTT. Email me, email@example.com. Maybe we can help you. I’m confident we can help you; I just gave you my email address. Ah, the other thing I’m confident about is my barber, because I get a haircut every 10 days, and my co- hosts ladies and gentlemen, the CEO of Stirista. I can’t wait to hear some of the stories. This guy is killing it in the tennis world, as well as the business world, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What’s up Ajay?
Ajay: Hey Vincent. I did something you might actually enjoy for a change. Got invited to the Spurs headquarters. We had a photo taken with all of their championships.
Vincent: I saw that. Now, I’m not a Spurs fan. I am a Chicago Bulls fan. We have six championships, by the way, to the San Antonio’s five.
Ajay: Yes, yes.
Vincent: However, I was jealous. I’ve never been that close to a trophy, like that.
Ajay: Yeah. They almost let me touch it, and then they yelled. I was getting way too close.
Vincent: I saw that picture. It looks awesome. Regardless of who the championships are. it’s the eyes, the G what? Your arms out with the five. That was pretty cool. What was that event for?
Ajay: They, it was an event to sell the court side tickets, I think.
Vincent: Okay. All right. Well, hey, I’ll wait. I’m coming in to San Antonio. I don’t think the season will start, but what are we thinking, at Stirista? We think in courtside seats, or what? You have to now, you touched the trophy. That’s the rule; you almost got arrested.
Ajay: Yeah, no. I think it depends on how nice you are to me for the next month or so.
Vincent: All right. crosstalk Can I say you look glowing today? You’re glowing on this.
Ajay: Thank you, Vincent. Sounds very authentic.
Vincent: Ah, right. Yeah, no, that wasn’t, but there’ll be more, that’ll feel more authentic, because I am coming to San Antonio soon. Going to be great to see all of the teammates they’re. Not on the Spurs, my teammates at Stirista, but that is awesome. Love it.
Ajay: I’m just going to toss something out, and this is where marketing and sales related. There are about four different salespeople that came up to me, and almost every one of them have the same pitch, which was great. I guess Spurs is doing something right. They were looking at the seats that Steve and I were looking at, and the first thing they said,” This is the one right next to David Robinson. We don’t even have to sell you on it.”
Vincent: Oh wow.
Ajay: Every single one of them said it. I don’t know if David Robinson actually has those seats, but they sure did a good job promoting it.
Vincent: Well, they did. You could go a few different ways there, because it’s like,” Well, you like the consistent story.”
Vincent: But also, read the room. Someone already pitched that to me, so where is the authenticity? That is the “you’re glowing” comment of the sales pitch.
Vincent: It’s that, there, but that is awesome. Also, you just say,” I know Manu Ginóbili.” You do. You’re at the same crosstalk.
Ajay: I did drop that. I asked for a discount, because he plays on the same tennis club.
Vincent: Yeah. I knew you were going to do that. I was just waiting for you to say it. Good, I love it. Look forward to seeing you. Also, I’m very much looking forward to this guest. I love the company he represents. It’s MediaMath, ladies and gentlemen. I’m in New York city. I visited the offices there. I know many people there, but I want to talk to this individual. We’ll get to MediaMath. Of course, great organization. This next guest, he is our first Chief Product Officer on the podcast. We are very excited to have him. Ladies and gentlemen, a warm Marketing Stir welcome for Anudit Vikram. What’s going on?
Anudit: Hey. Thank you, Vincent and Ajay. Thank you for having me here. What’s going on? Lots, lots going on, but not much going on. That’s the way life roles nowadays, in this new pandemic world of ours. It’s good for the business front. The market’s doing really well, so good from that perspective. I’m very, very grateful for the fact that I have a job. I don’t even call it a job, because I just love getting up in the morning and doing that. It’s almost like it’s fun. It’s not a job. I’m really grateful for that fact. My immediate family, close friends, and everybody, are healthy. Thank God. I have to admit my extended family and friends, they’ve been pretty badly decimated, if that’s the word for it. But, immediate family’s good. We’ve got to take the good things, and the bad stuff that happens every so often. All good.
Vincent: Well, good. Yeah. It’s great to see you. It’s finally nice to meet you. I know so many people at MediaMath doing great stuff there, at that organization. We haven’t met in person, you and I. We will.
Vincent: We’re close by. Hopefully, we finally will. I’ve got friends there, Terrence Friedman, Kim Teal. Great organization. Anudit, for people who don’t know MediaMath, like Ajay and I do, talk a little bit about the organization. Then I’d love to learn your specific role there. What you’re doing, some of the day- to- day.
Anudit: Absolutely. Thank you for asking that. MediaMath, for those who don’t know, is a DSP. Vincent, you mentioned you do have a DSP. Similar from that perspective. We work on behalf of buyers, so brands and agencies. For running media campaigns on their behalf. Our call to fame is the fact that, one, we are one of the OGs, if you will. We are the founding fathers of the DSP space, in many ways. Obviously, we’ve been building on that. We are omni- channel. We run campaigns across digital, whether it is TV, or mobile, or video, or display digital out of home, audio. All of that. Obviously, CTV is taking up more and more mind share, and wallet share, nowadays. Really excited to be working in that front as well. Something that really excites me about what we do with MediaMath, we pretty much stay on the leading edge with some very niche technologies. Identity is something. You mentioned about Sirius, and the work that you’re doing on Identity. Identity is a calling card for us as well. We’ve spent a good amount of time re- architecting our Identity’s infrastructure, and strategy, to essentially prepare ourselves for the world where the cookie goes away. We plan for it in multiple stages. Cookie going away. First- party identity becoming prevalent. Aggregate data being required. Any user identity being prohibited, and the world goes back to a pure contextual world, that we might see happen, based on the way of privacy and regulations, and so on, are coming through. Then last but not the least, something that we have pioneered in the industry. I’m very, very proud to talk about is the concept of source. The transparency in the supply chain. The working with the ecosystem, and ensuring the buyers, and the sellers, have full visibility into what happens in this very, very complex supply chain that we run for them. The fundamentals of source are allowing around adjustability, which means ensuring that whatever the identity might morph into, or however you are targeting an individual, a device, or a piece of content, our promise to you that we will have something real on the other side of the screen. It’s around alignment, which is ensuring the buy side and the sell side are aligned with each other. You can see the feed that are being transferred back and forth. It’s about ensuring we share data between the buy side and the sell side, so we can maximize optimization for the buyer and the seller, both. It is about accountability. Ensuring the buy side, or the sell side, are accountable for what happens. We make all of this real through a very robust technological framework. It is not just, not to abuse the word, just marketing speak. It is real, real technology, that drives these three pillars of accountability inaudible alignment. We are very excited about bringing that to the world, because it helps us stand out in a way that is very close to my heart, which is, it helps to stand out by actually bringing the whole ecosystem along with us. It’s not about just us being a DSP. It is about us working with the likes of you, with the likes of other identity providers, with technical providers for fraud detection, creative management, dynamic creative optimization, blah, blah, blah. There are so many… We have a very robust ecosystem we worked with in the ad tech space. I’m proud of the fact that we as a company help that ecosystem grow. So, yep. That’s MediaMath in, naturally a nutshell, little nutshell. Yeah. You wanted me to tell you what I do?
Vincent: Yeah. Some specifics around that. Also, I’d love to talk about… You started out specifically in a marketing role. A lot of the companies you’ve worked at, a lot of companies we know, and really like here. It’s within our industry, like the Merkel’s, and Dun & Bradstreet. Talk about that shift. How you got into marketing to begin with. We’d love talking about that, and then you’re shifting to the product side.
Anudit: I’ve been in a marketing role, in the sense. It’s been more around the business of marketing technology, if you will. My initial days at Yahoo were purely on building out. Actually, it was Right Media, and remember there was the ad exchange? The first ad exchange out there. Then it became Yahoo. That was more about solutions. Marketing solutions that we would bring, due to market based on the technology we had built. Then with Yahoo, it was more about growing that, and expanding that out, to be able to maximize the use of Yahoo inventory as well, obviously. From then on, I went to Merkel, which was about marketing technology again. Merkel was, again, one of the pioneers in bringing CRM to the digital space. We started Merkel as a CRM agency, purely, and then it became more of a digital agency. Now, obviously, they are massive. Then I moved to D & B. That was more of a data role, really. It was marketing, but data- enabled marketing. My job was more around making sure we have a set of products, or product lines, that will allow us to maximize the commercial viability of Dun & Bradstreet data in the digital ecosystem. From there, I’m here now at MediaMath, with a very short stop in the middle of that. At Ascential, that was more about sales technologies, so to say. Working with Amazon, and the likes of retailers, who would actually try to manage sales in the digital, or the E- commerce world. Then now, in MediaMath, it’s purely technology. It’s product. My teams are responsible for the things we do with Identity, the things we do with source that I spoke about. Obviously, our flagship DSP, and everything that we do there. I also am responsible for our product marketing. I can’t let go of that marketing aspect, certainly. Also, I’m fortunate enough to have a really strong data science and analytics team, both internal as well as customer analytics, that works for me. Excited. Excited with what we can do. Essentially, I say this very often,” There’s no point in having a fabulous product, if it doesn’t really mean something for somebody, or solve somebody’s problem.” That’s where the marketing piece comes in. We pride ourselves on solving the marketer’s problems, and making their lives better. That’s what we do with MediaMath now.
Vincent: Anudit, you started right at the beginning of the pandemic, at MediaMath. Based on wherever we are filming this, I’m guessing you guys are not really back in the office still, right? How has it been getting to know your team all remotely? What are some of the tips you’ll give to people who are starting jobs in a very remote environment?
Anudit: Oh, great, great question. Yes, you’re right. I started MediaMath about a few weeks after we had gone fully remote, because the offices are closed because of the pandemic. The three times I had been inside the MediaMath office, since I was an employee, I’ve been at MediaMath multiple times before I was on MediaMath employee. Since I’ve been an employee, I’ve been to the office thrice. Once there were four of us in the office, once there were three, and the last time there were just two.
Vincent: Wow, and that’s a big office. I’ve been there before.
Anudit: It’s a massive office, yes. A beautiful office, by the way.
Anudit: It’s a beautiful office. But no, you’re right. It’s an interesting ride, starting up something brand new, in the middle of a pandemic, in a totally remote world. As technologists, we are a little used to it. Most of us now are used to it, because the world is so global, very often we are working with somebody who is not in your zip code. Very likely not in your state or country, either, so you are doing things remotely. I have to say, if it wasn’t for Zoom, or the concept of video calls, it would’ve been a lot more difficult, because sitting on a phone with them, just staring out into nothingness, and trying to focus on a voice for a long time, is very difficult. I would encourage that everybody who is in a purely remote world, as long as they are in a position where they can be video, and turn video on, please keep video on, because it allows you to at least create some kind of a connection. You see the patient expressions. You see the body language. It gives you a little bit of that feeling, there. I can’t even imagine how I could get through eight to 10 hours of calls every day, with multiple people on the same phone line. With at least the video, you know somebody’s talking, and you can focus on them. Building relationships is a little bit more challenging, but there’s a good and a bad to it. The bad to it is that there are things that you do when you, to use a very archaic term, break bread. When you sit together, and you have a drink, or you have dinner, you build the kind of relationship that is very different from a relationship that is built purely on,” This is who I think that person is.” The real person comes out when you’re in- person with them. However, the positive is, when you are a distributor team, there is always a little bit of an imbalance when there are some people who are closer together in a location and they can meet more often. Then there are some people who are farther away, and you don’t really see them in person. The relationships you develop becomes slightly imbalanced. I’m talking about leaders. It certainly is true everywhere, but I’m talking very specifically about people in leadership positions. Whether we like it or not, there is a subconscious psychological thing which forces us to be slightly imbalanced, because you feel you know somebody a little better, than somebody you’ve never really met. When you do these conference calls and meetings, and you have eight people in a room, and one person sitting on a phone somewhere, and then two people sitting somewhere else, these eight people have a different experience than the others. What this world has forced us to do is balance out that experience across everyone. Everybody is in a room by themselves. Everybody is, basically, equal at that table. Honestly, the relationships I’ve been able to build with everybody, and I have to give it up to my team. They were very, very generous with their time on getting on the phone, getting on the Zoom, just talking to me. It allowed me to spend this same amount of time with a colleague of mine, who’s in Singapore, or Australia, as I worked with a colleague who is three buildings down from me. I was able, in some ways, to build better relationships all around. Maybe they were an inch wide, instead of being a mile deep, but that inch matters when you can get it across the entire organization. It’s difficult. I still miss the human interaction, but it’s possible, because you can learn through the digital engagements, if you will. If anything, it’s taught me a few things about myself. I thought I was a huge introvert man. I never needed to see anybody. I was on a plane four days a week, so I was forced to see many people every time. I thought,” I’ll be so happy when I don’t have to travel so much.” Oh my God, no. I want to see people. I’m not really… I’m an introverted extrovert, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s the right word for it. I thought that I could just live my life watching TV. Oh God, no. I don’t want to watch TV. I’m done with all those things. Get me out of here. Just get me in front of people.
Vincent: Yeah. I would say we have had similar experience to you. I’m fortunate enough to have had dinner with you once. I feel we’re part of a small club of people, that have had dinner in the pre- COVID world. One thing that stood out to me was last year, we did our virtual conference. For the first time, we were able to include our employees in India, and Serbia. That normally didn’t happen, because all the US guys would get together, and then the India guys would get together separately. Some other remote guys were just out of luck. We were able to do this, and I think that’s something we’ll continue doing, even when things normalize, because it was such a great experience to have every single person on the Zoom call. One of the raging questions in our industry now is this change in iOS, and cookies going away. We’d love to hear your perspective on how you see that affecting, particularly the media buying side of things.
Anudit: Yeah. A great question. And yes, it’s a raging topic nowadays. I say this,” The only constant is change” This had to happen. In some ways we brought it upon ourselves, by just being so laissez- faire, and disrespectful of the way we managed privacy, because the third-party cookie allowed us to do so many, many things. The worst things like a pendulum, right? It doesn’t normally stay still. It swings on one side, and then either swinging back, it over- connects onto the other side, and just keeps coming back and forth. I have been fortunate enough, when looking at it in a very myopic marketing lens, I’ve been with Yahoo on the publisher side. I’ve been with Merkel on the agency, the buy- side, and I’ve seen the pendulum from both the lenses. I know we over romanticized what we could actually do with the third-party cookie. We ignored the negatives that it brought with it. Quality of data. What was real- real, and what was actually just,” I have a cookie that says you’re a male or female.” Ignoring for a second, the multiple genders that are possible. If you just say male, female. Sure, you are 50% right, but it can be wrong. inaudible We accepted a lot of those things as being part for the course, and we just went along with it. Then of course, that resulted in a bunch of privacy issues, and so on, and here we are. Here’s my take on it. The going over to the third- party cookie, I think it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. We have solutions. Technology is advanced well enough, that we have some pretty good replacement, using first- party IDs. The quality of data, while are first- party IDs, is so much better than what we haven’t tracked by the cookie. Sure, the scale is lesser, but the quality is massive. However, we have some really cool technologies using artificial intelligence, and machine learning, that can allow you to infer a lot more with smaller data sets. Therefore, you will have good enough responses, or good enough ways to do attribution, and so on, using smaller data sets. I think that’s a good thing. Apple, with IDFA going away, getting into a purely aggregated mode. Yeah. Attribution changes. The way you do measurement and attribution changes. But come on, let’s be honest. How good were we? Were we actually really good at attribution? Or did we fool ourselves into believing we had already solved that problem? Maybe we had not. We might have solved the attribution problem in a channel, within a very narrow scope. As long as you kept your marketing within that channel, sure. You had a pretty good view. Now I will give it to the inaudible. When they see end- to- end, when they can do everything to see where the user comes from, what the user buys, where the user clicks. Sure. They can do attribution end- to- end. But remember, again, it’s within that channel. No marketer today runs their entire marketing campaign inside one channel. Omnichannel marketing is marketing. I don’t think we even call it… We use the word omnichannel to differentiate it, but it’s not. All real marketing is omnichannel. It’s not like we had really solid attribution anyway. I think understanding the fact we want to be able to do things at aggregate level, and understanding the quality of data, while the first- party ID is so much higher. Understanding that we did a pretty good job of actually getting the same messages across in the good old days of magazines, and looking at targeting only contextually. There is no reason why we cannot still provide the value to the buyer, and the value to the user, that they both deserve, using the tools and the technologies that are available today.
Vincent: I love hearing that perspective. One of my questions is around… My last 10 years, I really spent in the B2B marketing space technology data. It looks like that’s been similar for you. I would love to hear what draws you to the technology, or the B2B aspect of marketing?
Anudit: Oh, great question. I’m glad you brought it up the way you did, because most of us in this industry, we talk about marketing, and measurement, and targeting, and so on. Our mind goes to one- to- one. We go to personalization. One is to target, and so on. All of us in the B2B space know that doesn’t exist. We target companies. We use people as proxy, for companies. We are always working in the aggregated space. We are not really working… Sure. I was at D& B inaudible. We had 300 + companies in our database. We knew about people who worked at those companies, and we could target C- level employees, and Director- level employees, and blah, blah, blah. We used what the company was doing as a proxy for what those people are interested in. That’s great. It works. What excites me about B2B marketing, in some ways, is that we went from, I use this example of targeting in magazines and doing contextual targeting for users, to this hyper- focused, hyper- localized, hyper- targeting. The B2B world always stayed in this aggregated targeting mode. I think the rest of the world can actually learn from B2B, on how to run campaigns that are not necessarily hyper- localized, micro- targeted. The B2B world has done some really cool things, as it relates to maximizing the efficacy of events when it comes to driving in our business, and seeing how to use that, and to use similarly into the consumer world. What you do at point of sale at a Walmart, or a Target, or a Costco, versus what you do at your booth at an event. Then you go back, and you try to maximize or amplify that message, by doing one- to- one targeting via the browser, or via the app, and so on. Those are very, very similar use cases. For the wonderful, better word, the ticket value, of B2B sales are so much higher, it’s so much more fun. When I know if I can word one user, I’m drawing, if I’m HP, $ 2.5 million, versus I can word one user and drink$ 2. 50 to sell inaudible Certainly fun from that perspective as well.
Vincent: Yeah. I share some of the same interest there, in B2B. What drew me to B2B marketing. Staying on marketing, and understanding how MediaMath operates, in terms of marketing, what types of problems are you able to solve for your customers?
Anudit: Yeah, great question. We pride ourselves on a highly performant and optimized platform. I’m going to spend a good chunk of my time talking about consumer marketing, for the most part. Then certainly, we do service the likes of IBM, and B2B marketers as well. From a consumer marketing standpoint, the marketer’s singular goal, is to maximize the efficacy of their campaigns, as it relates to running them on various different channels, and seeing whether the message that is being delivered is actually resonating, and whether that message is then converting into sales. What MediaMath does, we have a core technology that we have very, very smartly labeled The Brain. The MediaMath Brain takes in a multitude of signals from the point off,” What is the kind of inventory source that a certain type of user actually prefers? What is the type of creative that resonates, and the message that resonates, with type of users? What time of day do users prefer? What type of creatives?” Then certainly, the first- party, third- party data that we can actually get. We use that within The Brain to influence, or to inform, the algorithm, which then generates bits for us to decide whether,” For this user, on this property, at this time, would it make more sense to show them a Callaway Golf ad, or a Cosmopolitan magazine ad, or something else, depending on the characteristics that we know for user?” What MediaMath also does, is it allows marketers to do use this Brain in more aesthetic fashion. For example, if you are an insurance company, and you’re running… When you run marketing at an insurance company, you’re not marketing for yourself, but then each of your insurance adjusters, or so on, they are running their own little business within your company, and they’re running their marketing programs within their locations, and so on. What we allow you to do is, we allow The Brain, that is running the program for the insurance company, to then spawn off these little brains, which all these smaller brains can then actually learn from the big one. They can immediately start running optimized campaigns for new insurance people, as they come on. That’s one example. The other thing that we do is, we actually create. We have technology that allows us to extract, or modularize, our systems. If you are a company that is in a regulated industry, and you’re not allowed to expose your data outside of your walls, we can take our entire algorithm in our systems. Think of it as BYOB, bring your own hardware, bring your own data. We can implement that inside your walls, so that your data, and your systems, will be localized to you, and you can still influence the larger DSP to do the work on your behalf. Then finally, not finally, but one more thing that we do is, we also allow you to fully white label the platform, to create specialized solutions for you, to enable your marketing campaigns in the way you want them to run. Integrating into your marketing stack, your systems, whatever your tech looks like.
Ajay: That’s one of our signature questions we like to ask here is around LinkedIn. I’m guessing, based on your job title, you get almost an unlimited stream of unsolicited messages. Our question is, what is it that gets you to respond? And what is something that really drives you crazy?
Anudit: What drives me crazy? I like to address those questions first, because they are more fun. What drives me crazy is when… I actually got an email the other day, and it says,” Anudit, I have noticed that you have been sending many SMS messages.” No, no, no, no, no. I haven’t sent a single SMS message. That’s it. That little header of the text. I don’t even have to open my email; it shows up right there. I’m never opening that email. When you send me a note, that message comes to me multiple times, and then it changes slightly too,” It looks like you haven’t read my email.” Obviously, I have not read you earlier, and at some point in time, you got to get the message, and not send me the same thing over and over again. That drives me crazy. What gets me to open is, if you have somehow been able to get a more brand- oriented message in front of me at some point in time, so that when I see an email from you, I can draw a connection to something that actually stayed in my mind. It’s very, very rare that I will open a cold email, without there being any connection whatsoever. Maybe if it has a subject line, that is so relevant to something that I am just thinking about, maybe. But even then, likely not. I am looking at right now, at the risk of making me sound really, really bad, I have 8, 794 unread emails in my mailbox. I will tell you this: every weekend, I go to inbox zero.
Anudit: Every weekend, I spend time going to inbox zero. That doesn’t mean I read all my 8, 000 emails, but I’ll at least parsed through them. I’ll either delete them, or I will move them out. When I start work on Monday morning, my inbox has zero unread.
Anudit: Right now, there are, like I said, 8, 000 and some unread.
Ajay: That’s awesome. That’s always my goal, but I always end up starting the week with 10 or 15 that are leftover. I just can’t seem to get rid of them.
Anudit: I’m sure I miss crosstalk
Ajay: You are pretty active on LinkedIn. One of the things that we have picked up on, is that your wife is a very accomplished writer. We’d love for you to share on the podcast a little bit about her, and the books she has written.
Anudit: Oh, absolutely. She’d be happy. I’ll make sure that she hears the podcast, because she believes that we don’t know anything about what she does. Yes, she is. As somebody very nicely, Jay Sears, I don’t know if you guys know him, but he’s a very good friend. Yesterday he commented on the little video she had put up there. And my video, that it’s quite obvious that I’m a little bit married up. Yeah, that’s true. crosstalk My wife, she actually has a marketing background, but she is a Holistic Health Counselor, and Ayurveda Coach. She works with women, essentially. Empowering women who are facing difficulties, because of domestic issues, or because of displacement due to immigration, and things of that sort. This is her 13th book, if I remember correctly.
Anudit: This is a nonfiction. She’s written two novels in fiction, a few books in poetry, and this is nonfiction. This is about… It’s a book called A Piece of Peace. It is on Amazon. Anybody can search for A Piece of Peace on Amazon. It’s how to live your life in a holistic way, and Ayurveda tips to manage a balanced life. Which all of us, I’m sure, but it meant that… I’m going to put my hand up and say that I fail at managing a balanced life. I actually have at least matured enough to a point when I recognize my imbalance, and try to work on it. If you had spoken with me about five or seven years ago, when I was much, much younger, I was actually proud of my imbalanced life. Her book is about,” What should you do? When you find yourself in an imbalanced situation, what can you do to get better?”
Vincent: Oh, that’s great. Yeah. Again, that’s A Piece of Peace. Check it out. Thanks for sharing that, Ajay, and Anudit.
Ajay: Vincent, I think you should read that one.
Vincent: I should. Yeah, right? I do need balance crosstalk.
Anudit: P- I- E- C- E.
Vincent: Yes, A Piece of crosstalk.
Anudit: P- E- A- C- E. Yeah.
Vincent: Absolutely. Yep. I could say those are the people who are watching the podcast on YouTube. You could see it in the back there, the title. I see the poster in the back there.
Anudit: Oh, actually, yeah. crosstalk. So nice.
Vincent: Yeah. Let’s reflect back on your career thus far. What are some shining moments in your career, at any of the jobs you’ve had there, that stand out to you?
Anudit: Oh, that’s nice. That’s such a nice question.
Vincent: Yeah. We’re near the end. We always like to see,” Now, let’s reflect.” It’s a reflection point on a career shining moment. Yeah.
Anudit: Yeah. It’s nice, thinking on the nice things. I’ll say this, my shining moments are really funny ones. Funny ones, and I don’t know how many people will relate to them or not but, they’re more about… I was working at Microsoft in those days. Way back when. Very, very early in my career. We were doing several implementations for our bank, and we had some problems with implementation. There was just no way that we would figure it out. Nobody was able to figure out what was wrong. This was going on for months, like three, four months, or something. We were not able to figure it out. I have a very simple philosophy in life,” If it’s technology, it can be fixed.” That’s a very simple philosophy that I have. We went into this situation after we’ve acquired it, when nobody else could actually figure anything out. We went in there, asked a few very basic questions. Asked some questions that we thought were really, really dumb. I thought that would be really dumb, but I was like, “What the hell? I’ll ask it anyway.” Lo and behold, you go through some of that, and then you put a few tweaks and fixes and it works. Everybody’s like,” Oh my God. How did that happen?” I had no idea, other than the fact that as long as you stay true to the first level fundamentals, the first principles, things will fix themselves. You will be able to fix things. That to me was a shining moment, because it reinforced my belief that first level principals always work. Another one was about a diamond. This was relatively recently, few years ago. I had a few team members that were in a position where they were not able to see the forest for the trees, or through the fog, into the other side. It took a little doing, but working with them on a regular basis, and then talking to them about how they should be thinking about life. Very often, when you’re at work, it’s your life that is in the background. Your subconscious that is playing on you. That influences your decisions and your thinking. Then everything starts becoming very bright, or very murky, depending on what angle you’re coming in it at. Seeing the light go on in people’s eyes, and giving them hope again, on what can be better going forward, that makes me very, very happy. It’s something that, personally speaking, I was working at a news channel when we were building out the model that would help call the election night. The presidential election, which happens four years, every November. That was the Bush/ Gore election. That was the first time we built the model. I was very, very proud of the fact my model actually predicted that that closing would eventually be called on just a single State. I’m very excited about that. Those are three things that stand out in my mind. They’re random, but they’re very exciting to me, personally.
Vincent: Yeah. Three very different experiences, but thanks for sharing that. Then finally, for fun? What do you like doing for fun? Besides watching the Patriots, as you and I were talking about. Me, the Giants. Talk to me about what you like to do.
Anudit: Pre- pandemic fun was different fun in the in- pandemic fun. To put all of that aside, golfing. I love golfing. I have a travel bug, which is itching at this point in time. I need to get out. Love meeting friends and family. It’s great hanging out with my nephews and nieces. Just something that can calm my mind, clear my mind. Absolutely, football; Patriots. Real, real big tug of war between Patriots and Tom Brady at this point in time. But you know what? We’ll just do them both.
Anudit: I’m fortunate. I love reading books. There are many things I find I’ve recently found myself getting more and more into, like art and painting. I love acrylic painting, and woodworking.
Vincent: Oh, wow.
Anudit: I love doing things, just working, making something come to life. Yeah, that’s, that’s the fun things.
Vincent: Sounds awesome.
Anudit: If I could do cooking for fun, that would help.
Vincent: Yeah. You’re doing all these great things, woodworking… How about some cooking? How about,” I’d love a meal?” Well, another time. Now, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and taking some time with us here on The Marketing Stir. I love the way you explained things, and break it down in various levels. Thank you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, this has been another episode of The Marketing Stir. That is Anudit Vikram, the Chief Product Officer at MediaMath. Look up MediaMath, give them a look. I’m Vincent Pietrafesa, that’s Ajay Gupta. Thank you so much for listening and watching. We’ll talk to you soon.
Anudit: Thank you.
Vincent: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir Podcast, by Stirista. Please Like, Rate, and Subscribe. If you’re interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks for listening.