Today we are joined by our fearless product leader, Maciek Wiktorowski, who is the VP of Product Management here at Smaato. Under Maciek’s leadership, we don’t have to put out as many fires at work, but he’s used to fighting flames. Learn how these two careers come together in unexpected ways.
A Q&A with:
Maciek Wiktorowski, VP of Product Management
Thanks for joining us, Maciek! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Maciek: I am a product leader with experience mainly in ad tech and publishing business. I paved my way to ad tech by working on mobile apps for top publishers in Poland, and then I got attracted to ad tech by trying to understand monetization mechanisms. I built a DMP/audience management platform on top of the mobile and display audiences. I left the sell-side for the role of Head of Product at mobile DSP, and from there, I managed product teams for ad server, data integrations, creative builder, and exchanges. 15 years later, I think there are none/very few ad tech value chain components I did not build or integrate with. Hard work, little sleep, some stress are included, nothing comes for free.
In the meantime, I got married and had 2 kids (girl 8, boy 6), built a house, earned a PhD in product portfolio management, and became a volunteer firefighter in the village I live in.
Wow! Tell us more about how you became a firefighter? What do you find is the biggest overlap in these two roles?
Maciek: Product guys like to fix things they see, we are usually problem solvers. I think this pushed me to join the volunteer fire-fighting unit in my village. I never dreamt about becoming a firefighter, but since I moved to the countryside I felt attracted by this idea, as fire fighting is not just what the name says. It is far more. We are called to help with car crashes, medical first aid, removing hornets nests, pumping out water from the basements, and many other things.
I joined the unit early 2020 and since then, I have helped in about 20 interventions, including fires, car crashes, removing pollution, and even rescuing animals. Another compelling component was that as a complete newbie, I can nurture my curiosity by asking questions and learning new stuff, and doing work that brings immediate effects, instead of software development where the results take time.
I think the biggest overlap between my regular job and volunteering is teamwork. On fire fighting duty, you never act alone. You are responsible for your own and your colleague’s safety first. Also, the communication with the commander needs to be super-precise and brief. Other things are so different from the usual office job, but these two pieces really come in handy for both roles.
What is something that you can learn from fighting fires that applies to Product Management?
Maciek: I would emphasize the meaning of communication, feeling responsible for the team, but also that sometimes any decision is better than no decision.
What brought you to Smaato?
Maciek: There is no simple answer to that. There were a couple of aspects for that decision. First of all, there are the people. I liked the energy of the team that was interviewing me, their experience and the fact we share the same values. Team building comes naturally to me, and I saw an opportunity to help scale and expand the product management team and implement new processes. I was also excited by the business challenge: scaling up the omnichannel business in a transition in very turbulent times for our industry.
Finally, Smaato is a part of Verve Group, which is a full stack ad tech platform in the making. We have all the ingredients in place, we are working on scaling it up. The energy of the people within the team is awesome, I felt this is the ad tech’s hottest company right now, definitely a place to be.
Pardon the pun, but what are some of the hottest topics in the industry in your opinion?
Maciek: Definitely addressability and privacy/regulations, SPO, and the explosion of programmatic CTV. I think the structure of the Ad Spend we see now will be very different next year because of these trends.
Also, being in the market where DSP’s and SSP’s traditional skill sets/feature sets are mixing is an interesting feeling.
Can you give us a little preview of something you’re most excited to implement on Smaato’s omni channel platform?
Maciek: One of the most exciting projects we are doing right now is revamping our deal toolset, which is going to have a plethora of targeting options, almost real-time troubleshooting tools, and audience integrations to power Smaato’s CTV business.
There you have it, folks. We’re lucky to have this animal-saver, fire-fighter, and team leader at the helm of product for Smaato. To learn more about the innovations on our platform, get in touch.
To learn more, get in touch!