Yes, We're Still Solving The Same Fundamental Problems

I once had a conversation with the head of engineering of a large, successful software company.

I asked her how -- as her career evolved from tactical to senior managerial -- she maintained technical prowess along with respect from advanced technical teams. While being a front-line developer wasn’t her calling, she said her ongoing effectiveness in leading teams and solving complex engineering issues came from the quality of her early training and technical foundation.

She underscored that tech is cyclical. It used to be all about mainframes and dumb terminals, though now we're back to the same thing with the so-called cloud. The systems have iterated, and sometimes innovated, but the problems haven't changed all that much: performance, latency and security. A strong foundation and ability to recognize and deploy talent enables leaders to tackle challenges as systems evolve.

I feel the same is true in advertising and media, which are becoming very technical. When new channels and ad technology come along, people tend to get excited and focus on new native metrics and frameworks.



Yet it is the new and shiny stuff that must adapt as we come back to solve the same old tactical problems. Depending on your brand goals, they may involve some combination of targeting, response, recency, reach and frequency.

Ad technology and new channels are iterating quickly and becoming ever-more complex. We need front-line technical specialists dedicated to navigating and mastering them. Still, a strong classical advertising and media foundation is what will enable capable leaders to tackle the sustaining problems and deploy teams and resources to overcome them.

2 comments about "Yes, We're Still Solving The Same Fundamental Problems".
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  1. Bob Sacco from Travel Ad Network/Travora Media, February 25, 2014 at 1:35 p.m.

    Oh boy Max, you've opened a can of worms;) There are many folks making lots of money on both ends of this equation. Rather than pointing fingers at all the players that have an invested stake in specific technologies or services, which to me, (would be obvious and easy) let's state the obvious.

    It's one big conflict-of-interest.

    Online advertising has become a boring, dumb-downed, technically-bureaucratized profession.

    Its leadership failed long ago and now you are seeing the result.

    There is no vision. Just more pay-for-play research papers sponsored by bias, hidden parties.

    The online advertising community has become the pharmaceutical industry IMHO.

  2. Max Kalehoff from MAK, February 25, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.

    Great quote: "The online advertising community has become the pharmaceutical industry."

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