We are thrilled to announce the promotion of John Whitmore to SVP, Global Business Development – Lexicon. John will lead new Lexicon partnerships across the industry, working closely with supply-side platforms, demand-side platforms, data companies, and agencies. He is tasked with understanding the business needs of leading digital platforms and helping them create a cookieless infrastructure through Lexicon, the industry’s leading third-party cookie alternative.
John is a seasoned veteran in the ad tech industry with over 20 years of experience and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him during his almost four years at 33Across. Aside from all of his experience, he’s an all-around nice guy with a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude. I think those who have worked with him can attest to his integrity and positive attitude. Here are some snippets from our insightful conversation.
We’re heading into a year filled with a lot of headwinds and changes for the industry. Can you give me your hot take as someone who’s seen a lot of industry changes?
I started in ad tech during the boom and bust of the online bubble in the late 90s/early 2000s and was well into my career for the 2008 financial crisis. It was definitely an interesting chunk of my career and so much has changed since. Most recently, we saw how the pandemic created a rush for technology. Now, we’re witnessing many tech companies letting go of their employees as a result of economic uncertainty and overhiring.
I recently read an article that projected that we’re going to see talent shift away from companies like Google, Amazon, etc., and move into other marketing and advertising spaces over the next couple of years. It’s extremely unfortunate to see so many people being let go, but I think one positive is that we’ll see a lot of growth in other verticals as well as an increase in entrepreneurship. Ultimately, I think that there will be a big change in the labor force over the next year that could power a new tech focus. This could be very exciting, especially when you think about what’s happening with privacy and identifiers.
You’ve worked with so many different key players in the industry, what advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Things are very different from when I entered the workforce in New York back in the 90s. Technology has rapidly expanded, advertising has evolved, and there are different requirements to drive success.
I think those who are new to the ad tech space have a lot more opportunity today when it comes to being successful, which is a huge plus. That being said, there’s a lot more noise created by social media and trying to do too many things at once. It’s vital to stay focused, learn how to manage your time, and work efficiently. Just like in any space, it’s a learning process and will take time to adjust.
Once you’ve adapted to your new role, it’s not all about managing up. You’ll also need to manage sideways and down. Maintaining your integrity and creating good relationships with your co-workers, managers, and direct reports is important. My tried and true method is going back to some of the old-school ways of doing business, but still utilizing all of the new tools that we have today.
As a marketer, I love your enthusiasm for all things 33Across and Lexicon so it’s impossible to have this conversation with you without discussing what you’re most excited to tell the industry about how Lexicon helps create an addressable infrastructure.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it becomes very hard to execute. Lexicon solves for today’s third-party cookie deprecation and other IDs that are disappearing across the open web. In reality, it’s a product that evolved from privacy standards in the marketplace and the role browsers and MAIDs played. Without third-party cookies, not only are targeting and optimization an issue, but the heart of the programmatic supply chain — measurement, attribution, data activation – becomes almost impossible.
I’m proud that we have a product that’s proven to work for our clients. Lexicon works within the largest public SSPs in the world, and DSPs are seeing excellent results. What’s next for us, and what I’m really looking forward to, is continuing to evolve with the market. I’m a big believer that we have a solution that is transparent, privacy-focused, and performs well. Now, we need to continue to grow based on growing industry needs.
Outside of ad tech, tell us a little bit more about the man behind the 33Across vest. I understand you played college soccer and coached your kids in youth sports. Are there any parallels between managing a team and launching a product?
Playing college soccer and coaching youth sports teams pose different challenges from launching a business, but they do have similarities.
In sports, you learn about teamwork and competition, and that you will succeed and fail. This mentality prepares you for life and your career. I’m a big believer in a team structure – if you don’t build the right team, you’re not going to be successful. As we’ve been taught through team sports, you have to learn to fail because eventually, we all will in our careers, and how you handle failure will define you. At the end of the day, don’t take things personally, it’s business.
By far the toughest job is being a parent of two daughters. I grew up with two brothers, so this was a totally new learning experience for me. They’ve taught me a lot, and what I try to instill in them is if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, then you’ve got to pursue something else. You’re not going to be successful unless you’re passionate about what you’re doing and, of course, put in the hard work.
By: Lisa Mollura | VP of Marketing at 33Across