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Under the Hood with Lotame’s Kevin O’Connor

This week’s “Under the Hood” employee spotlight features Kevin O’Connor, Lotame’s VP of Software Engineering. He’s been with Lotame for 10 years; let’s see why he has chosen to spend so much time here.

How long have you worked for Lotame? Where did you work prior to Lotame?

I am coming up on my 10th anniversary next month. Prior to Lotame, I was with a consulting firm focused on enterprise content management. Before that, I was with Advertising.com/AOL along with quite a few of my fellow Lotamites. These 10 years have flown by for me.

How would you describe your management style?

I hope my style is people first. People are our most important asset and we are fortunate to have an extremely talented team and some impressive alumni. In my role as a manager, I hope that I have helped to facilitate opportunities to learn and grow while balancing the needs of the product and the company. I also hope that everyone I manage knows that I care about them… because I do.   

Tell us what your typical day to day looks like at Lotame.

I spend a lot of time talking and listening to people. I have weekly one-on-one time with all the people reporting to me and that always takes up part of my day. I try to help clear roadblocks for the developers and give my opinion on product matters in our daily scrums. I also try to keep a close eye on any trouble that current clients and users are running into as they use the platform. I usually wedge that into my day whenever I can.

How has Lotame changed over the years?

The way I see it, we were a DMP before the market was ready for a DMP. We pivoted early to “eat our own dog food”, so to speak, building a successful media business with our the DMP at the forefront. Once we reached that point, I think it was clear that we had a bigger opportunity for Lotame to help other companies realize the potential of harnessing their data with a DMP. We got out of the media business to make sure the market was crystal clear on our intentions from that point on.

How has Lotame changed through the years, in terms of our data ingestion processes?

Nothing can ingest as much data as we have over the last ten years without putting on some weight. We really have come a long way when I think about it. The real-time feed via our JavaScript tag was where we started, but today, we have mobile SDK implementations, the ability to ingest data in batch offline using either our profile ids or that of our clients/partners and most recently, with our partnership with Liveramp, the ability to ingest offline data via a partner’s ID. We have a far more mature process these days then we did in the beginning and we’re constantly looking to improve and add to it.

What is it like working with your weirdo of a brother?

I’m sorry, who? Two things have really helped. The first is that I was recently tabbed as the younger brother by some new Lotamites, despite being 6 years his elder. The second is that as the favorite, I can always play the Mom card whenever we disagree about where to take the product.

On a serious note, Brian’s experience growing our business, leading our strategic account managers and working across many facets of our company makes him the perfect fit for heading up the product team. I could not be prouder of him for the jobs he’s done here at Lotame over the years. I am admittedly biased but I doubt that I’m alone on that.

Tell us one thing that we do not already know about you.

I once played two-on-two pickup basketball against Will Smith here in Columbia, MD in an indoor racquetball court. I believe Jada Pinkett’s mother was getting married that weekend in the late 90’s, at least that was the rumor as to why he was in the gym that day. He was shooting around with two older guys so I walked in and asked if I could join them. I think we played a few games but I honestly don’t remember who won. I do remember deliberately trying to keep my elbows to myself, more so than normal. He’s a good athlete.