Four years at SpotX has provided me with countless personal and professional experiences. I’ve had the privilege of working with world-class publishers here in the US, and I’ve had the pleasure of coming into the office every day and working alongside people that I respect and consider close friends. But none of my experiences was as unique as the opportunity that I had last summer when I was asked to live in Singapore for three months to help out our Supply Operations team.
Getting the opportunity to live in a foreign country is not something that I thought I would ever have the opportunity to do professionally. I was happy with my role on the US supply team, and didn’t give much thought during my day-to-day work to the state of ad tech around the world. All I knew about Singapore was that it was really hot and that you weren’t allowed to chew gum. Part of me wanted to stay in Colorado and enjoy the mountains for another summer, but the chance to go to a place I had never visited before eventually won out. Six weeks and twenty-two hours of flying later, I found myself in a sparsely furnished AirBnB in the Orchard district of Singapore.
I had spoken to a few of the team members before flying out, but the reality was that I arrived in a place where I did not know a soul. From day one, the Singapore office welcomed me as a part of the team. They took me to the famous hawker centres, introduced me to all sorts of new dishes, and helped me adjust to life in a foreign place. Nonetheless, the transition was challenging. The dynamics of working in a small office with a wide range of roles differed greatly from what I was used to in HQ, where the roles are much more specialized and there is no shortage of resources. In the US, account teams are comprised of a Platform Services Manager, an Account Manager, and an Account Coordinator. In Singapore, as the saying goes, I would have to “wear all three hats.” Aside from assuming additional work responsibilities, I had to navigate other new challenges like language barriers and adjusting to new cultural norms.
During my three months in Singapore, I was able to travel to eight different countries. Many of these were weekend tourist voyages, but several of the trips were to visit publishers. My exposure to customers from all over Southeast Asia gave me significant insight into the state of ad tech in the region, which still lags far behind the US in important areas like the adoption of CTV and OTT. My experience working with these kinds of publishers in the US was extremely helpful to our Asian customers, and the insights I gained from my meetings with our Asian publishers proved equally beneficial to my colleagues at SpotX since I returned back to HQ.
The decision to spend three months of my life in Singapore was immeasurably valuable both personally and professionally. Had I chosen to stay in Colorado, I would have never hiked ancient ruins in the Cambodian jungle, kayak through caves in Thailand, drink an extremely overpriced cocktail from the top of the Marina Bay Sands, or present SpotX’s SDK integration offerings to a room full of Vietnamese publishers through a translator. As much as I had missed the mountains, they were still here when I got back.
This article was written by Austin Rubel, Product Manager at SpotX.