Hi Rafael, how long have you been in your current role?
I've been at AppLovin for almost six years since it started back in 2012, which is crazy because it hasn't felt that long at all. We were a small team then and now we’ve grown into a larger company. But, it still feels like a small, tight-knit group of people, all working together towards one goal.
In one sentence, describe your role...
Describing my role at AppLovin in one sentence is a challenge, but if I had to say, in short, my team and I help mobile app developers hyper-scale and monetize their businesses.
How did you get into performance marketing?
When I was 16, I was an intern at my brother's performance marketing company, Social Hour. My role there initially was to help code up ad landing pages and produce ad creatives. During my years in high school, I was always fascinated by the marketing industry in general. My brother recognized this fascination and threw me into an intern role at Social Hour. From there I was able to learn and digest what it takes to be a good performance marketer and apply that to the rest of my career.
What excites you about performance marketing?
I love finding developers with great products and helping them grow their business. There’s a real gratification in seeing small indie development projects through to become massive-scale production studios. At AppLovin, my team and I are in a great place that allows us to assist businesses in growing into successful, profitable companies. The mobile industry is fast-paced—we regularly get see tiny studios with one app grow very quickly within just a few months. Partnering with our customers in this way really makes us feel like we are fighting for success with them. The passion that devs put into their games from the beginning is admirable, and seeing the payoff for them when they gain traction and acquire a ton of users is awesome.
Do you have a professional role model?
I have more than one answer to this question. Early on in my career, my brother Eddie helped me to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship. He allowed me the opportunity to develop a real interest in tech and encouraged me to pursue my curiosities. So for that reason, I would definitely say he’s a role model of mine. Another person who has had a huge impact on my professional development is AppLovin’s CEO, Adam Foroughi, who has been a great mentor for me. He’s helped me to learn the importance of a quality product versus just a “sale,” and also the importance of balancing being a team player while also being a leader.
What would be your top tip for newcomers to the industry?
No matter what anyone says, always look into the data yourself. Data can be interpreted any number of ways, and to properly apply your own individual skill set, it’s important to get the full picture. Once you’ve gained an understanding of it for yourself, it’s important to share it with your team and across the company. This allows the team to gain a full picture of what is and isn’t working and allows everyone to align on the bigger picture.
If you won the lottery tomorrow, you would…
If I won the lottery, I’d double down and put all my earnings into cryptocurrencies...just kidding! Realistically, I’d probably travel to a few cool places with my friends and family, then put the rest of the cash away. I’m a pretty conservative guy when it comes to spending money.
If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Aaron Swartz. He was a brilliant individual. Aaron was an incredibly gifted technologist—he helped create RSS and Reddit when he was a teenager. But not only that, he also sacrificed his freedom trying to make academic data more available to the public for free. Back in the day, he had a blog called “Raw Thought” that I used to read regularly, so I’m sure we’d have a lot to talk about!
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