I’ve always admired people who work on the tech side of things. As a human resources professional, product management is far from my wheelhouse—but the task of building a tool that helps people to solve big problems is incredibly impressive to me.

Take Basis, for example. Basis is a first-rate DSP, which means that it automates the process of buying digital ad inventory from a variety of sources. Building, maintaining, and constantly improving upon a piece of tech that enables this media buying at scale is its own challenge, but Basis is also a lot more than a DSP: it unites all the parts of the media buying process into one streamlined workflow, leveraging many forms of automation to simplify an incredibly complicated process.

I wanted to better understand the big problems our technology teams are solving, so I reached out to two of Basis Technologies’ Directors of Product Management. To help me understand their work, Yura Zelditch shared how his team tackles optimizing Basis’ DSP, while Marshall Bessières discussed how his team approaches all of Basis’ holistic, “more than a DSP” functionalities.

Want to peek behind the curtain to see how our tech teams build Basis? Read on to hear from Yura and Marshall:

Yura Zelditch (Director, Product Management)

What are the problems your team is solving? How are you solving them?

Yura Zelditch

My team is evolving our DSP engine. A DSP is this mega system that processes hundreds of billions of advertising impressions each day. There are only a handful of systems that operate at the scale a DSP operates on, so one of the exciting things is that we get to solve problems that affect hundreds of millions of people daily. Basis DSP processes more impressions and more transactions daily than the New York Stock Exchange or Amazon!

What is the impact to end users?

Anyone who browses the Internet, uses mobile apps, or watches streaming TV is impacted by advertising. At the same time, people don't like to be annoyed by advertising. One of our jobs is to optimize for a seamless end user experience—as you can imagine, if your website takes a minute or two to load, it's not the experience you're looking for. We’re making sure that all these interactions between advertisements and channels like CTV and mobile happen within milliseconds or hundreds of milliseconds, so that the ads that run through our DSP are positioned in a way that’s beneficial to advertisers, and non-disruptive for end users.

What are the challenges that come with maintaining Basis DSP?

The main challenge is time and performance. To maintain performance, we have to process bid requests in under 10 milliseconds—and we have hundreds of billions of bid requests coming through our systems daily! There’s also a huge portion of our work that’s related to AI, machine learning, and other forms of optimizations to make sure that campaigns run and execute as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. In the end, we want the people viewing ads that run through Basis to have the best experience possible, and we want customer satisfaction from the marketers using Basis to fulfill their campaign goals.

Marshall Bessières (Director, Product Management)

Marshall Bessières

What are the problems your team is solving? How are you solving them?

Media teams are buying digital media across many different channels to complete a full campaign. In a world without Basis, they are doing that in different places for each method of buying with completely different experiences for activation. This results in a very fragmented approach to managing a campaign. Regardless of how a marketing team is structured or set up, people are having to work in many different tools in many different platforms, resulting in a high volume of manual work to pull everything together. Basis puts that all in one place, from planning, to buying, to optimizing, to reporting on a campaign.

What is the impact to end users?

The primary goal is to really to help brands and agencies scale out. We want to give marketers the ability to be more successful with their campaigns, and collaborate more easily with their teams. For agencies, we want to help them support more clients and more business and meet their goals.

Basis offers a unique benefit to marketers in that we’re part of the entire digital mixed media buying funnel. Because our platform unites all these channels into one place, marketers can see the relationships between those channels when it comes to campaign performance.

What are the challenges that come with maintaining Basis?

The big challenge is always breadth versus depth. How deep can we get in any individual channel, and how many channels can we cover? The uniqueness of each channel makes this a very big problem to solve. We have to deal with the complexity of those differences while also making it somewhat seamless, unified, and integrated together inside of one platform, so that it still feels like everything is managed in a holistic way. That’s not easy, but it’s also one of the things that makes this work so exciting.

There are a lot of point solutions that have been created to help with the complexity and fragmentation of the marketing landscape—a lot of adtech companies choose to focus on one discreet problem. We’re one of very few teams that gets to think comprehensively across the entire digital media buying experience. I love working for Basis Technologies because there’s a boldness in saying, “we’re actually going to tackle the bigger problem—media fragmentation—by unifying all aspects of media buying.”

Interested in joining our technology teams to help improve upon the industry’s most comprehensive, automated, and intelligent advertising platform? Check out our open roles!

This is the eighth in an 11-part series of blog posts that focus on Basis Technologies’ corporate guiding principles, and how those values show up in the workplace and in the lives of our people.

While many are calling this period the Great Resignation, there’s another emerging term that may describe it better: the Great Reshuffle. People are reevaluating the kind of work they want to do each day and shifting their careers to match those needs. Case in point: an analysis from Pew Research found that 53% of employed US adults who quit their jobs in 2021 changed their fields or occupations at some point that year.

One of Basis Technologies’ core values is “Do the Right Thing.” While this value often applies to how we treat others, it also pertains to how we treat ourselves, and live our lives with integrity. With the Great Reshuffle in mind, I’ve been getting curious about what it means for people in our industry to make career decisions that result in more happiness and job satisfaction.

Luckily, I have many coworkers with alternative career paths to inspire me.

To share that inspiration with the rest of the world, I interviewed four coworkers with non-typical career paths who work in our sales department. I encourage you to read about their journeys below—it might just spark the inspiration you need to make your next career move a daring one!

Claire Keating: By Way of Agency Life

First, meet Claire Keating, VP of Client Development. Claire started her career as a strategy associate, buying media for big brands like Miller, Walgreens, and Best Buy. She eventually transitioned into a sales role at her agency, where she witnessed one of the first DSP solutions. Eight and a half years ago, she was eager to try new opportunities, and applied to a position at Basis Technologies.

What was it like transitioning from the agency world to the ad tech world?

Claire Keating: The transition from agency life to ad tech/sales life was not nearly as challenging as I expected. I certainly had a lot to learn given that my background was rooted more in media strategy than tech, but the fast-paced environment and incredibly collaborative nature of all Basis’ employees allowed me to learn more in six months about ad tech and the digital landscape than I had learned in my nearly six years agency-side.

Don’t get me wrong: the organizational structure and breadth of experience on the agency side gave me a great foundation for my advertising career. However, it was extremely refreshing and exciting to move to a company like Basis, where I was thrown into the mix right away, empowered to make decisions on behalf of our clients, and encouraged to collaborate with upper management, regardless of what area of the company they were in. I had never experienced that type of culture before.

Sohel: By Way of IT, Project Management, and Front-End Development

Next, I spoke with Sohel Bootwala, a Sales Engineer here at Basis Technologies. Before starting at Basis Technologies, Sohel started his career as a project manager in IT. Working in tech inspired him to learn to code, and he took a six-month hiatus from work to teach himself and take an intensive coding bootcamp. After two years as a front-end developer, Sohel learned that his true passion was helping people to solve complex issues—and that sales was the way he wanted to pursue that.

Here at Basis, you started out as a Client Development Associate (CDA) and have now transitioned into a Sales Engineer position. How did you realize you wanted to make that switch?

Sohel Bootwala: When I started at Basis, I knew I wanted to meet as many people as I could from different teams and get a good understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and struggles. I jumped on any opportunity to come into the office, talk with coworkers, and learn about their work. After talking to Mike Destree on the Basis Solutions Implementation team, it was clear that the Sales Engineer role was the perfect blend of technical know-how and customer facing interactions for me.

Sarah: By Way of Client Media Services and Solutions Implementation

Our next interviewee is Sarah Newell, an Account Lead on Basis’ Candidates & Causes team. Sarah started at Basis Technologies as a Media Associate, where she joined programmatic buying trainings and became enthralled with Basis' tech. After first spending some time on the Basis Solutions Implementation (BSI) team, Sarah transitioned into sales.

What steps did you take to get to where you are now as on the Candidates & Causes team?

Sarah Newell: Even as an associate, I grabbed every possible opportunity that came my way. In the media associate role, I persuaded my manager to let me join the programmatic buying trainings so I could start building that skill. I saw the full power of Basis, and became determined to work closer to the tech. When BSI opened an associate role, I took a lateral move to that team. Once again, I persuaded my boss at the time to let me start demoing the tool for prospects sooner than we originally planned. That’s when my interest in sales really started to increase. I loved working with the different sellers and seeing how Basis was positioned in the marketplace. After a few years on supporting sales with BSI, I felt I was ready to own those conversations myself.

Heather: By Way of Biology and Yellow Pages

Finally, I chatted with Heather Spinner, a Senior Client Lead here at Basis. She graduated college with a degree in biology—but had no desire to go to medical school or spend life her life in a lab. With rent and student loans hanging over her head, her career in sales was born out of necessity, and she started out by selling print yellow pages over the phone. Through that experience, she realized her ability to influence income through personal performance, which clinched her decision to pursue a career in sales.

You were at your last company for almost 12 years. What was it about Basis that spurred you to try out a new team?

Heather Spinner: The people, the product, and the culture. I initially ignored the outreach from Basis because I had told myself if I was going to switch companies it would be for something in a completely new field. However, after doing a bit more research I realized that this opportunity was worth exploring due to the following:

There you have it: Charting your own unique career path comes down to trying new things, meeting new people, and going with your gut.

If these Basis teammates have piqued your interest in sales, why not check out our open roles?

This is the sixth in an 11-part series of blog posts that focus on Basis Technologies’ corporate guiding principles, and how those values show up in the workplace and in the lives of our people.

Leadership is a complex ideology: as teams evolve, so do their needs. However, there are a few best practices that will always hold true.

At Basis Technologies, our guiding principle of Humility recognizes that there is no such thing as individual success in life. To follow this principle, we constantly acknowledge those who have helped us along the way, and know that team chemistry and collaboration are critical to achieving our goals.

I sat down with three Basis tech leaders—Jeff Smith (Dir, Production Operations), Victoria Bateman (Mgr, Data Operations), and Jonah Rosenberg (Sr Dir, Software Engineering)—to ask them how humility plays into their leadership philosophies.

Read on to check out my takeaways from this conversation—these five humility-focused practices are sure to benefit leaders of all kinds!

1. Eliminate Your Ego

Jeff Smith: Ego is a toxic thing inside of an organization. It creates artificial hierarchies that suggests that good ideas can only come from certain levels in the hierarchy. Humility is the personality trait that negates that. At Basis Technologies we’ve always said, “check your egos at the door.” That’s because we know ego is something that prevents the best ideas from shining through.  

Victoria Bateman: Basis Technologies values humility because it recognizes that team performance and success is greater than the sum of individual successes. The leaders of Basis Technologies show us every day that humility leads to openness and trust. This creates an environment that motivates employees and encourages innovation. 

Jonah Rosenberg: Basis Technologies has always placed a key focus on hiring and retaining great people. To do that successfully, I believe leaders must show humility by providing growth opportunities for their team and placing their team members’ successes above their own. I try to practice "servant leadership”—delegating responsibility to my team members, placing a large emphasis on transparency throughout the decision-making process, and supporting my team by doing all that I can to help them to succeed. 

2. Allow for Space to Make Mistakes

JS: First, it’s about making sure people are calculating risks correctly. Taking a risk is only valuable if the payoff is worth it. You wouldn’t wager $10 to make $1. But you’d probably wager $10 to make $100. What does that tipping point look like for your team as it relates to your goals?

Being able to evaluate risks in the context of your larger goals is key. We create space for these risks by making them learning opportunities. Even when you miss on a risk, there’s tons of invaluable information to be learned, and chances are you’re going to learn much faster than you would have in a traditional setting. Being able to pull something positive out of a risk saves it from being a wasted effort. 

VB: I try to show my team that I’m human, I make mistakes, and I fail. It’s my role to teach the importance of ownership when mistakes happen. Most importantly, I want my team to know they're in an environment where it's safe to fail, learn, and do better. I believe learning to fail forward is essential to innovation and growth as an individual, and as a team. 

JR: I believe that to take risks, an individual needs to feel comfortable and supported by their leaders and peers. As a leader, I first focus on building trust with my team by forming positive relationships, showing that I care, and helping without micromanaging. If struggles arise and trust has been formed, then it’s a combined effort to fail forward together, which can be a positive learning experience for all to take into the next challenge. 

3. Be Vulnerable

JS: Think of the type of leader you’d want to work for. Do you want a bombastic, egotistical task master? Probably not. It all starts with vulnerability. I think to be a humble leader is to be a leader that’s comfortable exposing their vulnerabilities—both as a means of connecting and also as a means of humanizing yourself.

Leaders have warped perceptions of themselves because they often forget about the role power they have within an organization. I feel like I’m just Jeff, the approachable Ops guy, but other people might see me completely differently. I have to continuously work at letting people know that I’m approachable. Humility is a practice, something you have to live out. Remember that as often as you can. 

VB: In my view, the first step to becoming a humble leader is acknowledging to yourself, and others, that you don’t know everything. The next step is committing yourself to lifelong learning. The best way of getting started today is to take a step back, to listen, to ask questions.  

JR: Focus on achieving success by uplifting others. Set the example that it’s okay to make mistakes. Delegate autonomy to your team and find joy in your team members’ successes.

4. Encourage Collaboration

JS: Imagine the best marketing campaign ever for a product that doesn’t exist. Imagine a great product that nobody has ever heard of. Imagine a computer system so secure that nobody can use it in a meaningful way. We live in an increasingly complex world and as a result, we’re becoming more and more interdependent.

We have to measure ourselves on an aligned set of goals and objectives. If my team was measured on goals they can deliver on their own, the teams would optimize for that at the expense of the whole. As leaders we need to make sure we’re building goals that take the whole organization into account. That will also mean making sure people understand how their work fits into the larger picture. 

VB: For me, encouraging collaboration is about two things. The first is modelling collaboration. I do my best to ask for input from my team or teams across the company when working on significant tasks or projects. The second is gratitude. I recognize other people’s contributions and give credit for every task or project they complete. 

JR: Our teams place a high priority on hiring kind-hearted and supportive teammates. When team members want each other to do well, collaboration becomes easy – wins turn into team wins, and mistakes are about growing and improving for the future rather than placing blame. At our bi-weekly staff meeting, we have a standing agenda item for “Shoutouts” – a crowd favorite! Team members are excited to show their appreciation by raising up their teammates for the hard work they put in. 

5. Empower Those Around You

JS: Creativity is a hard thing to inspire because everyone gets their inspiration from a different place. The best thing I can do is provide a space for that creativity to take hold and that’s through empowerment. The simplest way to empower a team is to define the goal and the constraints and then leave it to the team on how to get there.

As a leader you obviously will have your own ideas, but keep those ideas loosely held.  You’ll be amazed by the things people come up with when you’ve removed your own influence from the solution. For example: "Rent a truck to move this sofa to the new office" is a task that is filled with your own ideas on how it should be done. "Get this sofa to the new office" opens up a world of possible options for the team. 

VB: Every individual on the team, no matter how long they’ve been at Basis Technologies, has new ideas to contribute and different perspectives to share. I regularly ask my team to take on challenging problems and new projects, and bring new ideas to the table. I want everyone on my team to feel empowered to have a voice. 

JR: I try to lend autonomy to the team to solve the hard problems we’re faced with each day. By building a positive environment where team members want to help each other, opportunities arise to form safe spaces for differing opinions and ideas. I try to provide space for those quieter voices in meetings, which has become even more important virtually, and I expect my team members to do the same.

When we all support each other, we also challenge each other to grow and learn from one another. Focus on achieving success by lifting others up. Set the example that it’s okay to make mistakes. Delegate autonomy to your team and find joy in your team members’ successes.

Learn more about Basis Technologies’ culture here.

This is the fifth in an 11-part series of blog posts that focus on Basis Technologies' corporate guiding principles, and how those values show up in the workplace and in the lives of our people.

At the beginning of the year, there is no shortage of work. Many people’s minds are racing as they try to keep up with their regular workload, while making big plans for the year ahead.

At the same time, there has been no shortage of stressors over the past two years. Outside of the workplace, concerns have included the pandemic, the economy, finances, and more. Professionals are continuing to feel these effects, with nearly half of employees surveyed by McKinsey & Company saying they’re feeling some symptoms of being burned out at work.

One of Basis Technologies’ guiding principles, Choose Positivity, has taken on a new meaning in this context, as there is a greater need for empathy and gratitude from individuals and employers alike.

In reflection on this past year, I asked John Botero (Director Platform Support), Ayse Pamuk (Platform Operations Manager), Mike Rizzo (Agency Lead), and Christine Kim (VP, Client Learning & Enablement), on how they keep a positive mind and what steps we can all take steps towards making work a little less stressful.

Kasia Sosin: How can professionals encourage more positivity in the workplace?

John Botero: Show gratitude. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Gratitude helps build trust and appreciation amongst peers. Something as simple as verbal praise or a quick email can go a long way in making someone feel appreciated and that their contribution is valued.

Also, smile! Sounds simple but smiling is contagious and can change the energy in the room. A genuine smile can improve the mood of those around you. Fake smiling can have a negative effect (people see through the insincerity) so don’t do it, but a real smile can help strengthen relationships and contribute to a positive culture. 

Ayse Pamuk: I think it all starts with communication. This does not mean verbal communication per se, but the energy we are radiating while interacting with others. I remember reading once that mood is contagious and that we’re all affected by how others around us are feeling. There will be good days and some bad days so it is not easy to spread positive vibes all the time, but I think we shouldn't shy away from it when we can! Collaboration can also help. Learning from others' experiences, seeing that we're not alone in thinking/feeling certain things, or sharing our opinions and being heard can mean a lot. 

Mike Rizzo: This time of year always serves as a great reminder for me around the importance of gratitude, hope and empathy. Through empathy we develop deeper understanding and authentic relationships, while choosing hope and expressing gratitude allows for a more positive outlook and greater appreciation throughout our daily lives. 

Christine Kim: Work-life balance. I believe that when you give people the freedom & trust to create a flow that maximizes their work output, it creates a unique space. For example, do they need some flexibility because they have kids at home? As long as clients are happy and work is getting done and the employee is happy, what more can you want? This space opens up the opportunities for people to get creative and figure out what makes them happy and happy & creative people equals positive and outstanding work!

Recognition is also key. When it comes to my role, I work with so many different teams across the company from IT to Marketing to Customer Success to Product to the Media Services team. As you can imagine, this means that whatever I do in my role is really a result of collaboration, thus anything positive that is accomplished is a win for ALL and not just myself. That said, something that is always top of mind for me is making sure I take the time to say thank you and recognize the hard work that people do for the programs I work for. This comes in the form of thank you notes, remembering birthdays, sending small gifts, and always sharing wins with other people’s bosses so that they can see how much they helped! 

KS: What's something you’ve done this year to uplift those around you?

JB: With most people working from home nowadays, keeping in touch is a priority. To facilitate that I created a slack channel that my team all logs into every morning. We all touch base as we kick off the day and before leaving at the end of the night. Saying hello and goodbye seems like a small gesture, I believe it helps us to retain that team feeling while working remotely and that adds to a positive work environment.

I also try and reach out as often as possible to touch base. Whether that’s through a scheduled one-on-one or a quick “hello” during the day to check in, I believe these routines add to a positive team atmosphere, especially when working remotely. This way you’re not only reaching out when there’s an issue or you need something.

AP: I use humor to manage stress and stay positive. Jokes and laughter can really make all things more bearable. My yoga instructor encourages us to smile in challenging poses. There's something powerful about this attitude so I do my best to apply it everywhere in my life, workplace included. 

MR: Being present and curious in regularly scheduled one-on-ones. Our transition to virtual work environments has been an adjustment for us all and I’ve made it a priority to consistently check-in personally and professionally with my team, colleagues, and clients to ensure we’re supporting one another as best we can. 

CK: My hope is that I uplift people unintentionally by trying to live my own life authentically while striving to become the best version of myself. However, intentionally, I try to remember small things about people and try to find small moments to make them feel special. This can be in the form of a birthday cards, a small gift, coffee, a ping to say hello or to tell them about something that recently reminded me of them! 

KS: What’s something someone else has done to uplift YOU in the workplace? 

JB: I had a colleague recently send me a quick thank-you note after helping to solve a problem their client was facing that was causing a real issue with the account. When you work in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment it’s easy to overlook the niceties when dealing with colleagues, but that quick note made my day and helped to strengthen the positive relationship we already had. I know I said it before, but a simple thank-you note can go a long way.

AP: When I look back to 2021, I think joining the Women in Tech leadership group has made the most notable positive impact to my life. Connecting with women in our organization through events and the mentorship program, as well as attending recruiting events outside of our organization has empowered me beyond my wildest dreams. So I can't thank the WiT leaders (Victoria, Christine and Kelsey) for bringing me in! 

MR: Conscious Leadership trainings with Lola Wright. I am extremely grateful to Basis leadership for prioritizing these sessions as well as Lola and all of my colleagues for showing up, sharing their own unique perspectives and experiences while allowing the space to learn and grow together and individually. 

CK: Earlier this year, we brought home the award for Best Education Program by Ad Exchanger. When you’re such a small team, this type of recognition puts you on another level of glee! It becomes a direct output of the hard work you put into it. When this happened, I had so many people go out of their way to text, call, email to say congratulations. It truly felt like a company celebration and I was so proud of the entire team for bringing it home. 

KS: The term “toxic positivity” refers to the belief that no matter how difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. How do you move away from spreading this belief in your interactions with team members or direct reports? 

JB: It’s been said that positivity does not imply the absence of negativity and I believe this to be true. A healthy positive outlook can only be acquired when negative situations are confronted. To move forward on a positive foot, negativity must first be acknowledged.

To combat toxic positivity I feel the first step is to not ignore the issue or pretend it’s not a problem but to rather face the issue, acknowledge the situation and then find a solution that works. Ignoring the issue will not fix the problem, and acknowledgment is key; if you don’t acknowledge the issue you won’t learn from it, and you miss out on an opportunity to grow and better yourself and your team. At the end of the day, a negative outlook is never a good way to move forward but negativity can be the seed of growth that allows us to do better or be better and that’s always a positive thing.

AP: Thinking positively doesn’t mean we should block out all negativity. In the end, all feelings are valid and one of the worst things one can do to another is to ignore their reality. So whenever someone shares something negative about a situation, I do my best not to judge but just to listen. I also try to avoid giving advice unless I am asked to. I think this alone helps a lot with creating a safe space to further discuss what can be done to improve conditions that's causing stress. 

MR: While I do my best to always choose positivity, it’s vital to feel and work through all that life throws our way, the good and the bad. Lola shared a quote with our group by Dr. Michael Beckwith that really resonated here—“pain pushes us until our vision pulls.” Toxic positivity hinders our ability to push ourselves further and continue to grow as a partner, parent, colleague, and friend. 

CK: It’s almost easier and tempting to tell someone to look at the bright side or to highlight the silver lining. While usually not intentional, a response like that can feel dismissive or has a “get over it” tone. It’s important to validate and recognize people’s experiences. Unless someone is explicitly asking me for my input or another perspective, I try my best to simply sit and try to listen and validate what they are saying – even if that means sometimes I don’t have anything to add to the conversation. After all, it’s not about me and my response in those moments. I try to make it 100% about what the other person might be going through. 

KS: What's one thing that made you smile today? 

JB: Knowing that I get to work for a company that helps to facilitate a positive working environment where people feel appreciated, respected, and genuinely cared for not only puts a smile on my face every day, but it’s also one of the many reasons I love working at Basis! 

AP: I found my old journal today that I thought I'd lost while travelling 4 years ago! I read a few pages and realized that I am no longer bothered with most of the things written there. It gave me lots of hope that whatever I'm struggling right now shall pass as well. 

MR: Gratitude for my wife and our almost-four-year-old who’s silliness, curiosity and kindness always brings a smile. 

CK: My pandemic puppy—all day, every day!

Learn more about Basis Technologies' culture here.