Real-Time With Richard Jalichandra, Isocket's New Chief

Programmatic direct provider isocket has a new chief in town just weeks after striking a deal to become Microsoft's programmatic direct partner of choice. Richard Jalichandra has been named the company's new CEO, effective immediately. Founding CEO John Ramey will stay on as Chairman of the Board.

RTM Daily asked Jalichandra some questions via email about the ad tech space in general, including what he would outlaw were he overlord of the entire industry. 

RTM Daily: What is it about ad technology in general that interests you?

Richard Jalichandra: Advertising literally powers the Internet. Billions of people enjoy the Web largely because advertising powers the business model to make the Web free. So it’s not only a fantastic business opportunity, it’s also gratifying to be part of the engine making the whole thing go for publishers and consumers.

RTMD: Microsoft recently named isocket their programmatic direct partner of choice. It came at the same time Yahoo and AOL announced plans of their own to invest in programmatic direct. A logical thinker would imagine isocket is attempting to partner with Yahoo and AOL as well. Is anything like that in the works you can share?

Jalichandra: At isocket, we’d like to think we can work with everyone on both the demand side and supply side. We’re designing our products and services in such a way we can be all or part of the mediation layer not just between any media buyer and publisher, but also their other trusted service providers.

It’s my first day, so I haven’t talked to anyone yet! But we’d like to talk to anyone who either wants to make buying or selling premium guaranteed ads easier.

RTMD: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2013? What about by the end of 2015?

Jalichandra: The end of 2013 is right around the corner, so I’ll focus on where we want to be by 2015.

It goes without saying that we want isocket to be the market leader in programmatic direct as well as a growing and profitable company that can continue to scale. The only way we get there is by starting with the simple mission to make the process of buying and selling guaranteed, premium advertising easy, trustworthy and flawlessly executed.

RTMD: If you could be CEO of any company in the world (excluding isocket), which would you pick? Why?

Jalichandra: Solve world peace. End world hunger. Seriously, I think this is a fascinating time to be in advertising. Ad tech is still a relatively young industry, and programmatic direct is even younger. I really don't want to be anywhere else right now.

RTMD: Same question as above, but narrowed down: If you could be CEO of any (other) ad tech company, which would you pick? Why?

Jalichandra: Same answer. I wouldn't want to be in any company in ad tech other than the one I just joined. I'd been out of the media space for a couple of years, and isocket is the opportunity that grabbed my attention back because the automation of buying and selling premium inventory is something I’ve been thinking a lot about the past five years.

RTMD: What will the balance be like between you and John Ramey? If you don't know yet (considering it is your first day) what do you imagine it being like?

Jalichandra: John had a great vision, and he hired me to help take that vision to the next level. Part of that is embracing our complementary skill sets to make the sum greater than the parts.

We will continue to work closely on vision, though much of the day-to-day execution now falls on to my shoulders.

RTMD: What percent of direct deals do you envision being done via programmatic direct? Is there any reason it can't be 100% some day?

Jalichandra: There are always going to be custom sponsorships or custom content that can't be automated, and will always be done manually — so for that reason programmatic direct can't ever cover 100% of direct deals.

That said, there are a lot of the so-called native placements that require some customization right now that programmatic direct may be able to handle in the future. It also depends on the publisher's vertical category and industry, but ultimately, I see 50-80% of direct deals being done via programmatic direct.

RTMD: If you were overlord of the entire advertising industry, are there any practices/words/methods/etc. you would outlaw? Why?

Jalichandra: One thing I'd outlaw is the overuse of jargon and overcomplicated marketing and sales pitches. I think a lot of companies (deliberately or inadvertently) use buzzword on top of buzzword, and it just becomes impossible for even a tech-savvy marketer or publisher to actually figure out what they do.

RTMD: Thanks for your time. Any final comments?

Jalichandra: I’m very excited to get started. As I said earlier, I’d love to talk with anyone interested in eliminating or reducing the current 40-50 steps involved between generating the RFP to the post-campaign reporting process!

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