Tru Optik CEO and co-founder Andre Swanston’s professional journey has wended through high finance and nightclubs, ultimately landing in the world of ad tech – an industry known for many things but not racial diversity.
Last Wednesday, as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread across America, Andre sent a note to employees detailing the times he was dragged out of his car and handcuffed by police, and his dread knowing he will soon have to educate his children about how to interact with them.
“I like many others am emotionally exhausted,” Andre writes. You can read the letter here.
In this episode of Social Distancing With Friends, we get into his hope that these protests can finally spark systemic change, his retrospective thoughts about the four times he was handcuffed by police officers – though he hadn’t committed a crime – and the lack of minorities in ad tech.
Andre acknowledges that the issue of systemic racism is, of course, bigger than the ad tech community. But even within the small pocket of the world we inhabit, each company has the power to shake things up.
“I feel like you almost have to try not to be diverse in some of these departments, to be honest with you,” Andre says. “I don’t know how you can not have diversity there.”
On a less serious note, Andre chats about his rediscovered love of video games, and his recent attempt to get into Call of Duty – which Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan is also working on.
CoD has apparently become the ad tech CEO’s video game of choice.