Computing and Management BSc Hons 2:1
While at Loughborough University I read Computing and Management. The goal of this course was to give students a well-balanced education of hybrid skills; covering Computer Science school modules complemented with modules from the Business school covering management, psychology and marketing. I took the four year variate with an option Industrial Placement in the third year.
- Present •
Technical Product Lead
- Present •
After joining Acorn-i as their Technical Product Lead, I began working closely with the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founders to develop our technology proposition for our Managed Service business and SaaS strategy. Since joining, I’ve worked to identify personas for internal and external customer groups, defined our product vision and mapped out a theme-based roadmap to enact our shared vision and strategy for, Ignite by Acorn-i.
Our product, Ignite, is our proprietary reporting and analytics solution for brands and merchants alike using Amazon as a direct to the consumer sales channel. Like Acorn-i, Ignite sits at the intersection of advertising and eCommerce. By consolidating large advertising and eCommerce data sets we’ve created unique insights empowering users to quickly understand critical business metrics and identify where to further invest time and resource to drive success. On the 5th February 2020, we launched Ignite with key Partners delivering the Minimal Viable Product we began developing three months previously.
Acorn-i is a specialist in generating sales on Amazon and ensuring brands are setup for e-commerce success. Consumers have changed the way they shop with e-commerce being the fastest growing channel accounting for one-fifth of total retail sales. More than half of all product searches now start on Amazon. Having a presence on Amazon doesn’t guarantee success. There is much work to ensure brand content and products must be discoverable on Amazon. Well designed content will remove friction from the consumer’s purchase decision and benefit the Seller.
Senior Product Manager
Within the department, I am the Lead Product Manager for the Vendor Integrations team. Together we develop software powering the retrieval of data from our Vendor Partners used in our data platform, Proteus. As a Product Owner, I produce Stories and Technical Documentation to enact our roadmap. This information is derived from external API documentation and collaborating with Vendor Partners to access custom data feeds.
I present these new requirements to the team during Feature Kick-off meetings and solicit feedback to realise the full solution based on their expertise. From there we to agree on the priority of our backlog items to replenish the To Do column on our Kanban board. Once new features are complete I am accountable for the successful release management and sending internal release notices. I also demo key enhancements to stakeholders and the wider technology team to share knowledge about new capabilities.
The team and I manage a portfolio of three products to enabling other applications in the Proteus product line. Proteus is our solution for Reporting, Planning and Optimising online programmatic advertisement campaigns operated across multiple AdTech systems. They are ad serving, buying, brand-safety and verification technologies. By collecting and pre-aggregating these datasets we improve the workflow of our users and remove the struggle of manually combining spreadsheets from various systems necessary for their client reporting tasks.
The three products which the team and I manage are:
- The Vendor Integration Engine, built to collect Aggregate Reporting, Log Level and Campaign Management data from our Vendor Partners on a regular schedule. We’ve engineered the VIE to run on a cluster to meet the scale required to download terabytes daily to service our customers across GroupM. This is achieved by integrating with Campaign Management APIs, Cloud Storage systems and Reporting APIs to retrieve the required data.
- The Data Lake, using Amazon EMR, is our data processing pipeline to read, validate and normalise Log Level Data from our partners. This data is then published in a sanitised format used by our Data Warehouse for campaign reporting and for further analysis by users.
- Entity Store, we can similarly ingest and normalise objects read from the Campaign Management APIs of our Vendor Partners to discover metadata describing the configurations made by users in DSPs and Ad Servers. We store the raw data in Elasticsearch before standardised this data. This data is then used downstream to automatically build reports for Proteus users.
The team and I have achieved all this by using Kanban to manage our development life cycle. This has made us very lean, focusing on rapidly delivering relevant incremental updates. We presently follow the pattern of two fixed release windows weekly for our release trains.
While working as a Product Manager at The Exchange Lab (TEL) my role had two distinct phases, pre and post-acquisition by WPP on behalf of GroupM.
Once acquired our product vision switched to becoming the single point for reporting Programmatic advertisement campaigns operated by GroupM. This required us to rebuild and reinvent the process for dealing with a considerably different scale for data. To deliver this product vision, I became the Product Owner for the data collection system, the Vendor Integration Engine. This system connects Proteus to various Vendor Partners. Integrations range from a single seat for niche providers to hundreds of seats within an industry-leading vendor. The VIE works in tandem with our Data Lake running, in Amazon EMR, for normalising Log Level Data.
Before the acquisition of TEL, I worked on many initiatives to enhance our data management. I collaborated with development teams on greenfield projects for:
To improve the effectiveness of the Operations team it became apparent that it would be advantageous to have a tool to industrialising the process of uploading 3rd Party Creative tags into multiple DSPs simultaneously. I worked with stakeholders to implement an advertiser creative library and bulk upload tool to push these assets into three DSPs: AppNexus, MediaMath and The Trade Desk, via their APIs. This product was built as a Windows application using .NET and WPF.
Next, I worked on our Campaign Management product for members of Client Service to plan how advertising budgets would be spent across multiple DSPs. Once the user has completed their planning, they could be uploaded to three DSPs connected to Proteus. Similarly, this product was also built as a Windows application using .NET and WPF.
Automating Inventory Management R&D project
Finally, before our acquisition, I collaborated with colleagues in the Business Intelligence team on an R&D project; part-funded by Innovate UK. We developed a prototype application and algorithms for automating the blocking of websites with non-brand-safe inventory by adding them to blocklists. This project was defunded post-acquisition.
After being promoted, my role in the SEO Group developed. My work focused on growth and quality initiatives for seniors stakeholders at Ask.com and About.com. Due to algorithm changes by Google Panda to penalise poor or mass-produced content - it was necessary to be more scientific and identify potential problem areas ahead of time.
To that end, much of my time was spent on investigative work to identified poor content. This was largely achieved with Natural Language Process to detect undesirable keywords and duplicated key phrases called n-grams. I also used site traffic logs to find other satisfactory content. The results of this ongoing analysis highlighted poorly structure pages requiring reversion by Content Managers and other UI enhancements.
Junior Product Manager
I worked on Q&A content sites to support a Search Engine Optimised content initiative to create and grow organic traffic from other engines, namely Google. This was achieved by reviewing popular searches classified as questions and outsourcing the creation of appropriate answers to create new Q&A content. These sites were monetised by Google Ads. I reported on the current ad revenue, page views, popular topics and visitor measures to UK Senior Management.