AdExchanger: Why did Xaxis bring you on board now?
BOB HAMMOND: I’ve stepped into a number of preexisting organizations as CTO, so what I’ve become good at over the years is working with engineers and product organizations to mature them and help them grow.
The goal is to move into a self-managed engineering organization, where we can take cues from business and product and then hand off to ops to deploy.
What does it mean for Xaxis to hire an experienced mobile guy as CTO?
I don’t really view myself as the “mobile guy.” When we went through the interview process, we didn’t talk a lot about mobile. I do have a lot of experience on the mobile side with demand, DMPs, data and supply, which I’ll use, of course, but that isn’t why they brought me in.
It’s more about my ability to walk into an organization while doing what I call “keeping my arms down.” I don’t thrash around. I build relationships and nudge the battleship, so it turns slowly without whipping the organization around. Xaxis has excellent tech and cool people. My job is to unify those folks to a single cause.
How complex will the integration process be?
It’s complex. Right now, I’m thinking really hard about how to reduce the overlap in our architecture and to reduce data duplication around data export.
For example, a lot of the technologies and services deployed across ActionX and plista [Xaxis’s native content distribution platform] are redundant. Consolidating those into a single set of services is a big focus for me, but not in a monolithic structure. We’re looking to create a structured architecture so that independent products and services can access Turbine data in a real-time nature and consume it without needing to export it.
What exactly are you looking to build out at Xaxis?
Turbine is a big focus. It’s a programmatic media and audience platform, and it does a remarkably good job ingesting data, producing segmentation and retargeting models, to turn folks into sets of targeted segments in the advertising world based on what we do, what we consume and how we use the Internet.
But I think there is a huge variety of things Turbine can do beyond that around mobile, local and hyper-local – being able to decipher and use store locality and tiling information to target folks based on location. There is also beacon technology to think about, which gets you right inside the store. Something we’re going to look at is how to do all of those sorts of things inside Turbine.
How will you interface with GroupM Connect?
What I’ve been doing over the last three and a half weeks is looking inside my own organization, getting to know the engineers and our road map and understanding the tech stack. I haven’t dug into any of the Connect stuff yet, but this week, I’m going to start spreading outside of Xaxis proper into GroupM, and that’s what I’ll be looking at for the next six months or so.