The digital dozen – Tom O’Day, Director of Product Strategy and Operations, OpenX

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The Digital Dozen is a series of profile interviews with thought leaders in the technology industry. Here we speak with Tom O’Day, Director of Product Strategy and Operations at OpenX, about his career path and ask the question on everyone’s lips… what’s your favourite doughnut?

1. Name your three best qualities

  • My straight forward/direct approach
  • Pragmatic problem solver
  • Passionate

2. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your working life?

Always be where the action is, and never shy away from a challenge. While it may be appealing to avoid hard work, there is no better place to learn than at the coalface. It will grant you access to greater professional experiences, unlock a wealth of information and help you meet brilliant, inspiring minds. Simply put, it is the best environment to learn, and develop professionally.

3. What has been your best idea yet?

Boarding a plane and moving from Australia to the United Kingdom. This is where I first cut my teeth in the media industry, met my partner and escaped from the sweltering heat.

4. What advice have you been given that made a difference?

Work on the basis that “there is always a solution.” This advice was given to me by an invaluable mentor. His suggestion was that there is always a way of navigating a problem; it may not be a glaringly apparent at first – you might need to think laterally, look for new resources, collaborate with a wider team, or work from the answer backwards – but fundamentally, there is a solution to every problem.

Another valuable piece of advice I was given: strong leaders embrace the best ideas, many of which will not be their own.

5. What’s the best thing about your work?

Programmatic advertising is a constantly evolving industry with a wealth of benefits and opportunities. It attracts smart, inspiring people, who come up with inventive solutions to solve complex challenges facing their media and technology partners.

My role challenges me to be constantly learning and developing. I have the opportunity to experiment with disruptive new ideas and technologies in a fast paced environment.

6. What do you think will be big in media in ten years’ time?

High quality content will prevail in both audio and visual media. Radio will continue to evolve, and the explosion of voice-enabled connected devices will empower users to interact with services and content in new, interoperable ways. Television will continue to prosper, but consumption will be less passive – audiences will want to engage more proactively with the content via augmented reality or virtual reality.

Importantly, the vast majority of media, whether that’s the next phase of TV, audio, or something else, will finally complete it’s shift to being sold programmatically, due to the efficiencies it can provide both advertisers and the content owners.

7. What career path would you advise your children to follow?

Something that gives them job satisfaction. If you’re passionate about what you do, it’ll never feel like work.

8. What career path would you be following if you weren’t in your current job?

I would be a member of the Australian curling team. The sport requires precision, teamwork and may in fact be the only winter sport where being 6ft 6 doesn’t become a hindrance. I’m also confident I’d make the squad, I’m not being modest, they currently have no team. 😉

9. Which TV programme would you like to star in?

Game of Thrones.

10. Who would be your four perfect dinner guests?

  • Wilbur Smith
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Ned Kelly
  • David Attenborough

Not sure if they’d all get along, but it would certainly make for an interesting dinner.

11. What three items would you take to a desert island?

  • Solar panel charger
  • Kindle
  • WiFi box

12. And finally, the question on everyone’s lips… what’s your favourite doughnut?

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