As the VP of Technology, Lauren Hutton is involved with a lot of managing, creating, and executing. From high-level strategizing to detailed decisioning, Lauren is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. What does an average day look like for her and how does she continue to grow? We explain all that, and more, in her aX Profile!
A Day in the Life
Lauren is the incredibly talented VP of Technology at AUDIENCEX. Working in such a fast-paced company means that no two days are ever the same. Her team is responsible for three major pieces of the tdX offering: data and analytics, strategy, and platform solutions. This means that on any given day she could be developing new organizational processes, assisting her directors or members of their team execute projects, or doing incredibly important, but tedious tasks like data entry and transformation mapping.
In her own words, “the limit does not exist!”
Life Before AUDIENCEX
Lauren was always drawn to start-ups but it wasn’t until later in her career that she took the time to realize that her gravitation towards this workplace and culture had a lot to do with her personality. “I’ve learned that I derive pleasure in work that makes an impact, and I’d like to believe I made a positive impact on the companies I previously worked for.”
Lauren started her career in executive recruitment for adtech start-ups, focusing on executive level placements for companies that had either recently received funding or were expanding rapidly due to organic revenue growth. “The recruitment firm I worked for was very well known in the Silicon Alley (NYC) tech scene and itself was a start-up consisting of 4 people including myself. This experience really allowed me to understand the digital landscape from an outside perspective, as well as gauge the movement of money and talent in our space. When I decided to move back to California, I knew I wanted to work for a mobile company – after all, it was the year of mobile. I found a position with Tapit!
As one of the first 15 employees, I was immediately overwhelmed by the fact that I was the dumbest one in the room. These individuals hustled, and I wanted to keep up. I spent a lot of late nights in the office to catch-up to the baseline knowledge of my colleagues – all of whom worked in adtech for years prior to joining. Within the first year of joining the company we were acquired by Phunware, who just recently went public (PHUN) rising from a $300 million market cap to a $9 billion almost immediately. I learned so much from this company, but here are some of my favorites:
- Being the dumbest person in the room is an opportunity to learn more and evolve – take advantage of moments in these rooms, as you progress they are harder to find.
- No matter how unlikely you think it might be for a company to go public or get acquired, ask for stock – you will never regret negotiating this part of your contract but you may regret not doing so.”
Lauren then recognized a market shift from mobile to programmatic and left Tapit! By Phunware to join Acuity. When she was hired, she was the only person on the West Coast and the 4th employee in the United States – the rest of the team sat in NYC under a US VP. She didn’t meet an individual on the team until after she was hired, and rushed through her 3 phone interviews to get an offer in time to consider it against one other company’s. “Everything felt right, and I followed my gut and signed without hesitation.”
Acuity was everything she could have hoped for and more: challenging, exciting, nimble and progressive. Lauren helped build out the West Coast, managed a team and then decided to go back to an individual contributor role, helped see the company through 3 acquisitions (140Proof, Visible Measures and AdMan), and did all of this working remote from her apartment in Beverly Hills. She eventually left to join the team at AUDIENCEX, who she had worked with closely the entire time she was with Acuity. “Of all the lessons I learned there, and there were many, the ones that I try to carry with me daily are:
- Trust your gut and do what feels right, never be afraid of making a wrong decision because the regret of not making it will always be worse.
- Every company has incredibly smart and talented individuals, find those individuals and bother the hell out of them until you’ve learned all you can. I did this in particular to our VP and Director of Ad Ops, who taught me everything I know about media buying.
- Those that are flexible and willing to work outside the normal boundaries of a job can excel significantly faster than others – take a few years, put in the hard work and it will pay off. If you have to work on a different time zone sometimes, over weekends or on PTO, think of it as a learning experience rather than a negative experience.
- Respectfully demand your voice be heard and your opinion taken into consideration when business decisions are being made – otherwise, don’t complain about the outcomes.”
What made AUDIENCEX the right fit?
“There is so much I love about AUDIENCEX, but I think my favorite anecdote is that working for aX is being paid to get a Master’s in Business. This company offers an unparalleled learning opportunity, as we touch more technology than any other company I know of in the industry. Every individual at this company that wants to challenge themselves is encouraged to do so, and supported in that process. In tandem with the technical knowledge one can acquire, the company’s transparency policy allows each employee insight into operations, revenue and evolutionary growth. We aren’t just watching the company grow, we are participating in it.”
What has Lauren’s favorite moment with the aX team been so far?
“I am a total night owl and love working late — it gives me time to focus and there’s much less distractions after 6 pm in the office. After working from home for over 4 years I crave being at my command center (what we call my desk with the 3 monitor set-up) and with few people around. It can get lonely sometimes though, so I love when people stay late with me, even if were not talking. The late new crew has been my favorite bonding experience with my colleagues and it’s always fun when someone who usually is more of a morning pereson joins the crew. We have a whole dinner order process and try to sit around the large table upstairs to eat together family style. Family dinners, as we call them, are really the best part of any day! We also have a hilarious debate process over where to order from each night that breaks up the end of the day monotony and wakes us all back up.”
According to Lauren, she loves to be challenged and to challenge those around her. Previously, she accomplished this with discussion and research. Now that she is “knee deep in our dashboard development and surrounded by data,” she finds herself focused on utilizing data to drive her decision-making and process development.
The real key though is to surround yourself with exceptional individuals who naturally push you to grow because they are an incredible wealth of knowledge and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. “I am incredibly lucky to have two such directors on my team, as well as work with an org-wide leadership team that brings different perspectives and demands exceptional work.”
Helping Her Team
Lauren always assists her team with all escalated problems that arise, no matter the source. She will never turn away an individual who comes to her asking for a solution. She always makes the time – even if that means staying late or working through lunch. “It takes a lot of humility for people to admit they need help, and to me that warrants extra attention and support.”
Lauren also turns to others for guidance and support. “In particular Brittany Wray our Director of Platform Solutions, Joe Horine our Director of Strategy, and Tom LaPlante our Senior Director of Technical Operations are my sounding boards. There isn’t a process decision I’ve made without running it by at least one of them to ensure it is what is best for the greater team vs. my purview. They are fantastic at providing critical feedback, pushing back when they feel there are better solutions and driving me to prove the use case in those situations. My former managers also are fantastic resources, if my former CRO or VP from Acuity are in town we always schedule a meal so I can pick their brains.”
Outside the Office
Even though Lauren “loves to talk all day at work”, her favorite thing to do after work is go home, plop on her couch, and binge watch everything on TV. “A great weekend for me is staying in PJs, ordering in every meal and binge watching every show on my must-watch list.”
Lauren also loves to travel and tries to go international at least a couple times a year. “I have a running bucket list of places to visit that I am always trying to cross off the list. A couple of my favorite international trips were actually with co-workers – Spain, Portugal, and London with Shane and Roy, and Reykavick with Roy.”
Lauren has two dogs that she is “beyond obsessed with and even run a micro-influencer instagram for @hocuspocuspups. Nothing in this world is greater than the love and loyalty of a dog companion – except maybe a monkey, which I would also LOVE to have as a pet.”
What apps, shows, and podcasts keep her busy during the week? The slack app for sure: “we have so many fun channels and I never have enough in-between moments to fully catch up on the office gossip!”
Choosing a show was slightly more difficult: “There are too many to even list honestly! There are very few shows on television that I don’t actively watch – I love when people challenge that, worst case I find a new show.”
In terms of podcasts, here’s what Lauren had to say: “I usually hate podcasts, and find it frustrating when people are having a conversation that I can’t participate in. Luckily for my commute though, I recently found a podcast that really challenged me and kept my attention, even in LA traffic – TED Radio Hour. I’m totally hooked and highly recommend these episodes for anyone looking to dabble: The Next Frontier, Bias and Perception, Don’t Fear Math and Hardwired.”
- Lauren is still to this day obsessed with 90s gaming and never graduated to better gaming systems. She has an old windows laptop so that she can play the original Roller Coaster Tycoon, Age of Empires, and this embarrassing math game from the 3rd grade that “really entertains me!”
- Lauren is incredible at making animal noises — “it’s really my only party trick!”
We asked Lauren what 3 things she thinks will change in the advertising industry in the next 3 years and here’s what she had to say:
- Attribution — the demand for affordable and easily integrated attribution solutions is too high for technology companies to continue to leave unaddressed. I think in the next 3 years we will see more players come into the scene that offer attribution beyond that of a tag management or ad-serving solution but not necessarily as robust as market leaders.
- CTV — as cable service providers continue to lose market share and streaming services like YouTube TV, SlingBox, and others cannibalize linear TV audience share, we will see CTV evolve dramatically in tandem. There is still so much more to be desired of CTV offerings, much like display in its infancy. I am looking forward to participating in evaluation of the supply and targeting offerings that come to market.
What type of ad does she think she will be targeted with next? “I have no doubt it will be an airline ad. My boyfriend and I have 10 weddings to attend this year and I just started booking some of the airfare – let’s just say these advertisers do not have their frequency caps on and I’m here for it! Send me those deals!”
What is Lauren looking forward to most in the next 5 years?
Continuing to evolve with this rapidly changing industry – I think the most exciting part of my job is all of the unknown, which gives opportunity to learn, grow and push myself in new ways!
About aX Profiles
aX Profiles provide a glimpse into the bright & fun personalities that shape our culture. Stay tuned each month for additional stories, and thanks to all who have shared their story!