ZEDO is About Winning by the Inches

I celebrated 5 years here at ZEDO on Sunday August 4th. I remember coming to ZEDO the first time and meeting Summer, then Joseph and finally  Roy, who was in India at the time.

During these past 5 years I have worked with some of the brightest people I have ever met in my lifetime.  Each of you adds so much to this company, our success each and every day. You should be very proud of the work we have done & will do in the days ahead.

But this is also a sad time for me because it was 6 months ago that Joseph was killed in a tragic accident in Missouri.

I am not writing for those of you who knew Joseph, as we all have our own memories.  I am writing  for me and for those of you who are new to ZEDO these past few months; sadly you will never have the opportunity to understand, appreciate and yes sometimes even fear who Joseph Jacob was.

One day while cleaning up the office I came across a copy of “Life at ZEDO” published July –August 2007. One of the articles was “Joseph shares his thoughts on work ethics” under the heading “Expert Zone”.  Joseph titled this piece “Winning by the Inches.”  I would like to share it with you now.

 

Expert Zone

Winning by the Inches

– Joseph Jacob

 

I wanted to write a clever article about optimizing code, freeing up resources when they are no longer needed, and the need to write elegant but simple precise code, but my heart was not in it. Writing good code is important and I would very much like to share my thoughts on it. But not today. The house must first be built on rock before we focus on the embellishments. Today, I would like to talk to you about more simple but at the same time much more important concepts.

 These concepts may be simple, but in the end it is the simple concepts that do you in. It has been my undoing sometimes, often at great personal cost. I wish I could go back and teach myself these lessons, but I can’t. But you are young and full of promise and someday you will face these same choices that we all have to make. And in the end , having these concepts firmly in place is more important than any code you will ever write.

 We are built on our collective strengths, so it is important to understand where strength comes from. True strength comes from constant practice, our character, our faith in ourselves, others, and God. It does not come from who you know for that is fleeting and/or from those you report to for it that is at the whim and fancy of those who have the least to lose. So look around and those who need your help and take the trouble to help those who will have the least to give back to you. All altruism aside, you will find that, that strength is more permanent and something you can rely on more than anything that comes from above.

 Courage is much maligned today, confused, diluted, and perverted to such an extent that it has lost its meaning. Courage today has come to mean fake it till you make it, to over promise and under deliver. Courage is really about standing for what is right when it is much easier to be silent for what is wrong. A time will come, if it has not already, when it is easier for you to take shortcuts, lie when you know the truth will make you unpopular. It is about doing the right thing in the simplest things you do; of making sure that the ends never justify the means. For the sum of those little things will someday become big and in the very end, end up defining you.

Never run, from your job, your life and most of all your problems. Every time I have tried, it has just waited for me around the next corner. Running away is easy, but never solves anything. You will find that you are going to face exactly the same problems in your next job because in the end the fight is really all about yourself. Fighting does not mean, never failing. Our failures define us better than our successes. In fact, success without failure is meaningless for success that comes too easy is of doubtful parentage. But in failures you stand alone,  for that is when you are really measured and when the finger pointing begins is when you realize where you really stand. It is always in failures and never in success that the true depth of character, strength and perseverance is found.

Do not criticize just for the sake of criticism. Criticism is the second worst thing in the world to do, second only to acquiescence. It takes very little intelligence or empathy to criticize. See the best in your friends, your peers for seeing the worst merely exposes the worst in you. If you must criticize, discuss a better way of doing something or make it constructive. If you think you can’t dolt better, do us all a favor and shut up. You are not helping by kicking someone who is already down, by flogging just because you have a whip.

In this time of prosperity and comfort I sometimes think we have forgotten about the value of hard work and learning. You must not forget what comes easily will someday leave that way too, what is earned easily and without effort will be worthless tomorrow. It is the lessons you learn with most effort and time that will teach you the most and be your best and most valuable assets in the future. It is often easy and convenient to be worried about how well others are faring, be they be your friends or our competition. It is much more important to stay focused on the job at hand and make incremental improvements, daily and steadily. For these little improvements will add up and until some day they become the big changes we want to see. I know that we have got some fairly important changes with Post Impression Tracking, IDX V2, several ZEDO problems that have seemed insurmountable at times. We need to stay focused and place our energies into solving the remaining problems with renewed persistence and have faith that others who you rely on will do their part as well.

I would like you to watch the following clip. It is from the movie “Any Given Sunday” a pep talk by Al Pacino for a team that is down in the dumps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myyWXKeBsNk

 I sincerely hope that you liked it as much as I did. Now, let’s get back to work, we have a lot to do.

The Rise of ZINC

Things at ZEDO and in the ad market are so exciting. For a while now we’ve been working on our new division, ZINC, hiring people, moving to a Madison Avenue office in New York, and re-branding as way more than an ad server. In the last month things have continued to accelerate.

This has really been an amazing week for ZINC. It’s as though we have unlocked a pent up desire on the part of media planners for something online that will engage visitors and not violate them, and all we have to do is show up, give a demo, and we get an insertion order. Our sales teams have never been so welcome in the offices of media buyers.

Admittedly, some of our other high impact formats, like the slider and the shuffle, have always done well. They’re easily measured as 99% viewable, and they are visible without being obtrusive. They only appear when a viewer is there to see them, so they can be placed below the place formerly known as the fold. We’re certainly not complaining about their performance; the company has grown revenue about 20% this year (unusual for a company that’s not a startup), and it’s been mostly because of them.

But the icing on ZEDO’s cake, and what makes it seem like a startup again (but with huge resources), is the ZINC division’s new large canvas InArticle video unit, which is not a standard ad space, but so much more. When you hover over the ad, the video begins to play, and the sound goes on. And if you click, the video expands to full screen. People who see it are blown away. Auto brands are using this format to reveal their new models, TV networks to tease their new shows, and CPG companies to show their products. And small agencies across the country buy directly from our online platform: www.zincx.com.

What’s even better? We always had a network of premium publishers to place these ads with, but now the publishers are more willing than ever to get on board with us. When we show up with an insertion order from a major brand, we no longer have to wait for the contracts to be signed.

What’s missing from this picture? We can’t hire fast enough. We need enthusiastic people who want to be in the advertising business and sell to major brands, entertain agency clients and take meetings with studio heads, and do all the exciting things the ad business is known for. We’re looking for people who have just a bit of experience in digital media or sales, but it’s the energy we really  want, and the willingness to learn and create what advertising will look like in the future.And if sales is not your forte, we also need account reps to take care of these agencies and brands once they’re on board.

Praise for ZEDO Support

It can make an entire company’s day when a customer shares praise for its product or service. We’re fortunate, because we get quite a few emails of thanks, especially for our support.

Every time we receive one, we make a point of sending out a company-wide message to acknowledge the  team. The support team is one of the most important parts of any company, yet often it’s sales that gets the glory — the commissions, the rewards, the motivational treatment. But sales is only as good as the company’s support, because losing customers makes the sales team’s work irrelevant.

In an industry as complex as advertising technology,  with a product as familiar as an ad server, ZEDO differentiates on its forward-thinking technology and its support. Our sales team actually can “sell” our support.

So here’s the latest compliment. “I just wanted to send a quick note relaying some feedback I received from one of my clients… about a week ago….He had nothing but great things to say about the support team that has been helping him over the past few years. He then sent the following note (pasted below) to our support team reiterating that point. This is great feedback to get from a client and thanks to everyone on the support staff for being such a great resource.

*From Client

Hello Everyone,

I work a lot of support staff both at work and personally and I want to let you know you all are really the best.  I can’t begin to thank you for the help you have given me and how patient and nice you all are.”

We’re proud of our support team!