Leading a product management group for AppNexus – a high growth technology company – means that I’m almost always recruiting, talking to people who are interested in our company, or selling candidates on joining our team. It’s actually a part of the job I quite enjoy because it involves meeting and learning from new and interesting people. Also, in talking to so many prospective employees, it’s really made me dig deep and examine what really appeals to me about working for such an innovative company.
A lot of people in the tech industry talk about the famously lavish perks (free lunches, snacks, etc.) when trying to sell prospects on joining their companies. I think all that stuff’s great, but for me, it really doesn’t even get close to the top of the list.
Working in a place where everyone is very smart is also high on the list – probably #2 – and a rare experience that everyone who sees themself as a top performer should experience at some point in their career.
But the #1 thing that appeals to me about working for a high growth tech company is having the ability to make a difference.
Let me explain.
In the past, when I’ve worked for larger companies in established industries, there were parts of the job that were downright dehumanizing. Junior employees had all of their work carefully scrutinized and checked multiple times before it could be seen by anyone. We had so much process and procedure that getting anything done was nearly impossible. I even had one role where every email I wrote to our clients had to be checked by my boss before I could hit send. Talk about an environment that kills creativity and passion.
In large established companies, it’s incredibly hard to do anything that really matters – it can take years. In mature industries, like finance or telecom, to do something so significant that it actually makes a difference for the industry you work in could take an entire career – and only a very small number of people will ever really achieve this.
In developing industries like ad tech, it’s completely different. Nearly every employee at AppNexus can make a meaningful difference to the course of the company’s future. Many employees make decisions and do work every day that affects our bottom line and growth potential. Further, we often have the opportunity – whether it be through new product launches, partnerships, or just thought leadership – to do something that really impacts the industry.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about what your goals are for your career. For me, more than anything else, it’s about being someone who makes a difference.