Power in People: Bryan Thurston bridges analysis and creativity in ad tech
With RTBiQ’s five-year anniversary quickly approaching, we continue to highlight the innovative minds responsible for providing a best-in-class product and unrivaled support with our Power in People blog series. Today, we will learn more about one of RTBiQ’s earliest hires, Bryan Thurston, RTBiQ’s Senior Platform Manager.
An early addition to the RTBiQ team in 2015, Bryan holds a significant amount of historical knowledge about the company’s inner workings. By virtue of this experience, talking with Bryan not only offers insight into the man behind the work but also reveals a valuable look into the company’s evolution as a whole.
With nearly a decade of media experience under his belt, Bryan is well-versed in the programmatic space. His introduction to programmatic came as a Media Planner for a digital agency based in San Francisco. Bryan was able to see a period of disorganization and confusion within the growing company as a prime opportunity to become the expert in programmatic media and audience buying. He recalls, “We were able to effectively not only reach but exceed the client's goals.”
Bryan’s interest in programmatic led him to a conference in New Orleans for Digiday. At this conference, Bryan met our Co-founder and CEO, Richard, who was working to start up RTBiQ at the time. Several months later, Bryan reached out to Richard and (thankfully for us) decided to get more involved with RTBiQ.
Getting started in the early stages of RTBiQ with a small, scrappy team, Bryan took on a multi-faceted position. This allowed him to dive into a wide variety of topics including marketing, sales, billing and, as he succinctly puts it, “everything under the sun.” Bryan says, “Richard was starting to take bigger and bigger clients and needed help, both selling and also just managing the clients that we had at the time.” Given the situation, Bryan knew that the company needed a dedicated Client Success department. Naturally gravitating toward wanting to solve inefficiencies and seeing education as the heart of being a strategic partner, Bryan was the perfect person for the job.
These years of experience with the company have given Bryan time to perfect one of “RTBiQ’s unofficial formulas.” Bryan describes this as finding the balance between supply and demand: knowing how to pull strings quickly to get the supply or data we need, and understanding ahead of time how to set ourselves and our clients up for success.
Bryan is enthusiastic about his role within the ad tech space because of the endless possibilities and opportunities for future development. He says, ”I think the thing that's always gotten me most excited is that the technology behind real-time bidding specifically is really in its infancy stages. It really can, and will, develop into anything.”
While Bryan is incredibly enthusiastic and hopeful about the future of the ad tech industry, he acknowledges areas in need of improvement, specifically in terms of diversity. “I'd very much like to see, and we're starting to see this shift, more female programmers and developers within the tech industry. It's still a very male-dominated world.”
“Another culture change I'd like to see is a shift in marketer perceptions as to how they market to the LGBTQ community overall.” Coming from a client-facing standpoint, Bryan has seen marketers repeatedly decide to blacklist gay dating apps, like Grindr. “I'd like to see a shift in that perspective and even if you think, ‘Wow maybe Grindr isn't appropriate for the specific creative,’ maybe consider messaging that does speak to the LGBTQ community. Nobody's looking for marketers or brands to pander to them, but representation does matter.”
It’s obvious Bryan puts a great deal of heart and energy into his job, but he also finds time to continue his passion to create outside of work where he spends his time as an artist of many disciplines. He says, “I always feel happiest when I'm actually creating something or working toward a vision. So, I paint, I dance, I sew, I eat fire, I'm a makeup artist, I knit... a lot of different stuff. It’s important to never stop learning.” Having grown up in a small town in Michigan, the kind of small town that has a “bring-your-tractor-to-school day,” Bryan has since found his home in Chicago where he is surrounded by a community of creatives that help drive his passions.
His artistic mind and attention to detail help Bryan personally connect to one of RTBiQ’s core values; This is our craft. Bryan has watched RTBiQ develop its own vision of programmatic. He explains, “There are a lot of competitors out there who've white-labeled or buy white-label versions of each other's UIs, bidders or optimization algorithms. We've developed everything from scratch and we know how best to use it for our clients.“
As for the future of RTBiQ, Bryan is very confident and excited about the direction of the company. He says, “I think that the key is bringing on team members who are really enthusiastic about what we do. It’s this necessary kind of fuel that we need to continue to move toward our goals.”
Want to learn more about the team? Check out our last post in this series where we interview one of RTBiQ’s dedicated Account Executives, Ginny Blankenfeld.