Meet Nick Cuniffe, Senior Director of Product Management at SpotX. As a SpotX employee since 2013, Nick knows what it takes to be successful working on the product team at a global company. Check out his insights and answers in the SpotX Hot Seat!
If you could describe the culture at SpotX in one word, what would it be?
NC: Tenacious. Ad tech is a fast moving industry and SpotXers are always ready to swarm each and every challenge in front of us. Most importantly, despite significant growth and global expansion, SpotX hasn’t replaced its “get it done” mentality with bureaucracy.
Do you have any favorite tools or techniques that help you stay productive?
NC: The Product Team’s role is central to many tactical and strategic conversations, which basically means we are always heading from one meeting to another. I always try to block off my calendar for a few hours a day to do meaningful work and I spend time every Friday thinking about strategic innovation. It’s important to make a conscious effort to balance urgent vs important efforts on a weekly basis.
How do you stay connected with your teammates both at SpotX HQ and remotely around the globe?
NC: Lots of Slack and Hangouts. Having global product and ops teams makes it hard to have casual conversations that are inclusive to everyone. Hangouts are important for that face to face connection but Slack has been the biggest game changer. Rather than managing communication through hundreds of daily emails and various threads on the same topic, Slack allows us to consolidate our communications in an open forum that is accessible to all, on demand, regardless of time zone.
What makes the product team work well together? Is there a workflow, process, rule, etc. that helps?
NC: I think it all starts at the beginning in the interview process. The interview process for the product team is a rigorous one. A member of the product or product marketing team works with every team at SpotX, and the interview panel represents the cross-functional nature of the role. In addition to the formal interviews, an offsite social hour with a cross-functional team is part of the process. We think it works, despite growing from 2 members to 15 and counting, we haven’t lost our tight, small team dynamic.
How does the product team work cross-functionally with other teams?
NC: Our team continues to find ways to make ourselves more available and accessible to all parts of our business. Whether hosting trainings, AMAs (ask me anythings), or attending QBRs and industry events we are always trying to be present in all aspects of our business.
I’m actually writing this blog while sitting in our Hamburg, Germany office. A few members of the product team have spent the last few weeks in Belfast, London, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Many of us travel monthly between our Denver HQ, SF, and NYC offices.
What advice would you give someone thinking about applying for a position on the product team at SpotX?
NC: Being successful at SpotX requires initiative. Not many candidates have a background in ad tech, but it helps if you have done some research before your interview about SpotX and ad tech in general. Some places to start:
- SpotX Product Pulse: Server Side Header Bidding vs. Client Side Header Bidding
In terms of core skills, we have a preference for candidates who can demonstrate success managing products from the very beginning through their launch and subsequent iterative releases. Experience working directly with developers, scrum teams and writing user stories is a must. It also definitely helps if you have experience collaborating with Product Marketing, helping define product positioning and go to market plans.
What types of projects is your team currently working on?
NC: We have our hands in a little bit of everything, we are even building our first mobile app!
Connected TV, and bridging the gap between linear and digital are top of mind themes for 2017, but there are many exciting things I can’t talk about here!
Can you describe a typical day for you or someone on your team?
NC: No day is ever the same, except they are rarely slow. Typically we all start our days with stand-ups with the engineering teams, from there anything can happen! We try to balance our days between product ideation sessions with our customers and dev leads, preparing products for launch with Product Marketing (usually 3 a week!), and customer calls to gather various kinds of feedback. Our fast paced days keep us all engaged and excited to come to work.
Join the team at SpotX and check out our open positions at SpotX here.