Our profile feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to Berlin to meet Gary Lin.
Job title and company:
Founder and CEO of glispa.
In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?
We help advertisers get their products in front of a global audience on a performance basis.
What are the company’s unique selling points?
With our global platform and multicultural team representing 39 nationalities and 24 languages, glispa can launch clients’ products and apps into more than 187 countries worldwide. glispa is deeply entrenched in the mature US and EU markets, while maintaining a particular focus and deep expertise in hyper-growth BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and SEA (South East Asia) markets.
Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?
The last twelve months have been an extremely exciting time for us at glispa. Early in 2014, we opened our Beijing, San Francisco and Bangalore offices to help us solidify our foothold in these regions and develop a more personal relationship with our clients outside of Europe.
We’ve also filled several new senior management positions with very highly respected experts including, Jens Brückmann as CFO, Nicole DeMeo as CMO and most recently Freddy Friedman as CPO. Finally in March of this year we received a 77 million euro strategic investment from Market Tech Holdings in the UK which we will use to strengthen our international team and build up new assets through ad tech acquisitions. The next twelve months look even more exciting than the last!
Duration in current role:
We moved glispa’s headquarters to Berlin seven years ago but, I founded Glispa LLC in New York in 2001 – 14 years in total.
Where are you based?
Berlin, Germany although I rarely get to stay there for long. I’m often on the road for strategic meetings or conferences around the globe.
Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:
I spent several years at Beyond Interactive setting up teams in Brazil and Hong Kong during which time they were acquired by Grey Global Group. Since then, Grey has been acquired by WPP which forms part of the first ripples of consolidation in the digital advertising space that we’re seeing now.
What are your main job responsibilities?
My focus is on strategic development of the company with a major focus now on M&A.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:
We have our weekly management meeting every Monday morning at 9:30pm. I work closely with management and key division meetings to set objectives for the week. Since I have an open door policy there are always lots of other things that come up through the course of a typical Monday.
What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?
TechCruch, VentureBeat, AdExchanger
What are your top tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
It is so important to have crystal clear focus, especially when resources are limited and competition is high. A fast-growing company will always have resource constraints and chances are competition will always be fierce if there is a clear opportunity. It takes personal discipline to say no (when it is needed) and a strong core team to hold each other accountable to stay on the path. Many companies also tend to pay too much attention to what others are doing. It is important to be aware of your competitors, but do not be too influenced by outward appearances and trust your own instincts.
Always be pushing to do better. I’m a firm believer that you cannot skip steps when building an organisation and it simply takes time to create a strong foundation. This does not, however, mean we can’t take baby steps quickly. One needs to instill a philosophy of continuous improvement if they want to create something sustainable. That to me is really what a startup is. It doesn’t matter if the company has been around for a decade. It is still a “startup” as long as the organisation stays hungry and doesn’t let complacency set in irrespective of the level of success it has achieved
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?
I can only imagine I will be in the same place in three years' time except we’ll be in bigger offices and there will be more coordination with international teams we are setting up now. The market opportunity is just that big right now.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I try to meditate (even just for 5-10 minutes) everyday.