Doing the real-time dirty work for online advertising may not be as sexy as buy side platforms and your favorite late model DMP, but 50-person strong Aerospike doesn't mind.
In fact, many ad tech companies including AppNexus, BlueKai and eXelate use Aerospike's database product to fuel real-time, big data interactions.
Today, the company announced (see the release) the appointment of a new CEO, Joe Gottlieb, who is no stranger to big data technology after steering Sensage, and its "big data for security solution", to KEYW in September 2012.
Gottlieb spoke to AdExchanger recently about his new role, online ads and his expectations for Aerospike.
AdExchanger: How do you think Aerospike's services speak to the evolution of marketing?
JOE GOTTLIEB: One of the things that's exciting about the [marketing] space is the degree of layering in “the stack.” Aerospike allows different layers to contribute their piece of the puzzle in a method that works - which speaks to the evolution of marketing.
It is quite different than the security space where everything is much more proprietary. The ad space got a nice leg up on many other sectors with multi-party collaboration going on in real time. It's efficiently enabling richer marketing scenarios to happen which allows people to bid on an opportunity, put their best foot forward to leverage that opportunity, and then to continue that cycle on an ongoing basis.
I've always enjoyed the concept of advanced databases, high performance computing, and applying that capability to something very specific. When I was at Sensage and going through the acquisition by KEYW, my eyes were wide open to potential opportunities in smaller companies again.
The fit for me was not only the interest in Aerospike’s technology and the impact it was having, and could have, but the opportunity to bring my experience in scaling companies, leveraging technology in a specific applied scenario and then taking into other markets.
It’s a great start that Aerospike has with the online advertising space, where this kind of database has proven quite useful in keeping up with the performance demands and enriching targeted advertising. There are other adjacent markets where we see could fit with the technology - not the least of which would be security, an area that I've been busy in for the last 15 years.
What are the key learnings that you bring to Aerospike from your past executive experiences? For example, from here it seems that Aerospike could be looking to you to help guide the company toward an exit and a larger strategic partner similar to what happened at Sensage?
At the broadest level, you're right. Any startup company in this space is looking for a strategic exit at some point. But, my experience is applicable here not only in terms of achieving an exit but also raising money.
There are other things that I’ll bring forward such as scaling up processes so that the company can start to become more efficient and effective as it takes on more personnel, more customers and, as I mentioned earlier, tackles new markets. It has to maintain a balanced distribution and channel strategy. These are things that I'll bring to the table.
Another one is growth. I’ve been through some good growth scenarios. I've also wrestled with market changes where suddenly markets go flat and you have to be better at penetrating your current markets as well as qualifying your new markets. Those will be some other areas where I can apply myself.
Finally, one more that lingers with me is the concept of turning your customers into partners and treating your partners like customers. What I've learned is that if you see that duality in both of those types of relationships, you can really deliver durable value. It's very shortsighted to see any channel relationship as a facile distribution mechanism.
So, enabling real-time interactions is one thing, but not everything necessarily needs to be performed in real-time. For example, successful brand awareness doesn’t necessarily need real-time feedback – the awareness is likely achieved over time after all. Where does the importance of the real-time database fit here?
My work at Sensage helps a bit - we spent a lot of energy helping the security industry stop thinking only in real time - primarily because the real time technology was limited. When people took a step back and allowed themselves to analyze patterns over longer timer periods, only then were they able to find the real threats that are wracking the security industry right now.
Good data analysis in security requires a combination of doing everything you can in real time, but also being mindful of where longer lead analysis and time horizons are required to discover patterns and to therefore isolate anomalies in patterns.
The ultimate in security, and I would postulate here in advertising as well, is to deliver your best understanding of how things can be acted upon given any applicable time horizons that affect your decision.
And, as it relates to online ads, even as impressions are happening in real time, a brand's overall approach has to take into consideration various communities, various behavioral patterns inside those communities, influencers in the community triggering other behaviors in your broader audience - and so on.
What are some milestones you would like to accomplish at Aerospike? You pick the timing.
Sure. I would say that what the company has done so far is establish a great set of very satisfied customers with our version two product. We've now just launched version three. Over the next year, the key point for us to establish is the same level of success with version three as well as demonstrate adjacent markets that are able to use that technology. That's a key objective for us for the next year.
Longer term? It's a matter of continuing to advance that price performance advantage and be very disruptive. We've entered what is a very exciting but also a very high stakes game in advanced computing by leveraging our optimization for flash across richer application spaces - this will be a two to five year ballgame. Being a leader in that space across multiple markets is a key objective for us.