A Week in My Life: Rob Wass, co-founder and CEO, Adzooma

David Prior's picture

Rob Wass is the co-founder and CEO of online advertising platform Adzooma.

The Manchester-based firm aims to simplify online advertising for SMEs and organisations with a “microbudget” by using AI-powered technology to aid optimisation.

Here he runs through a week in his working life.

Monday

So, this is somewhat different to a typical working week I would have experienced a couple of months ago, as we hit week 10 of lockdown.

With our connections internationally and following the progress of other countries, we already had life geared up to work from home a good month prior to the lockdown and it’s working well.

So back to Monday...

My week and days start pretty much in the same fashion. The kids come and get into our bed at around 6am, although today we are in luck and they go back to sleep for another hour, result! We get up around 7:30am and head downstairs for breakfast. I love this time with my wife and children, a true perk during this isolation period, some family time without the rush of the commute. I enjoy sipping on my coffee and listening to the funny conversations that young children have.

I start the morning with a video call with David (co-founder) and Ashley our CFO to discuss the new financial modelling. We were due to change our pricing system earlier this month but due to the situation we decided to halt this activity. Instead, we chose to do the opposite and provide free platform access for a period of time (including freezing subscriptions for all our paying customers). It’s a big move and we need to make sure it’s financially viable but we feel really strongly about it and want to do what we can to help marketers, businesses and agencies. We make the numbers work and agree on the decision. It’s a go!

Next up is a video management team call. We announce we are pushing ahead with our complimentary platform access plan and the team are really enthused, they’re totally behind it and agree it’s the right thing to do.

We subsequently announce the exciting news on a 90-people strong Skype call. There’s an unbelievable buzz from the team, they love the fact that they are working on something that could help businesses and create some positivity from an incredibly unnerving time. We realise that the services we provide are not on the frontline in this global effort. Our gratefulness to doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, teachers and delivery drivers - everyone who is risking their own health and wellbeing and acting so selflessly under unprecedented circumstances - cannot be understated. We all owe them our wholehearted thanks and praise. But it still feels good that we can help in our own little way.

Tuesday

It’s an earlier start on a Tuesday morning. I make porridge for the kids whilst my wife has a workout on the spin bike. Luckily we managed to get one delivered just before lockdown so we can get our daily exercise in!

I’m excited to head upstairs to work and get stuck in. We’ve had a great uptake of companies joining Adzooma after announcing the offer and I can see Skype is already buzzing. The sales and support team are sharing messages from happy customers and it’s a really great way to start the day.

We’re very much a people company, they are the essence of the business and hence it’s imperative that we look after everyone and ensure they are fit, healthy, happy and feel supported. We jump on a call with our Head of HR and schedule daily Skype and Hangout chats just to ensure everyone is involved. We want to keep up communications and work together to get through this.

Before I know it, the kids are bursting into the office to inform me it’s time to come home for tea. The usual routine kicks back in, tea, bath, story and bed.

Wednesday

We have our OKR meeting with the sales team today.

We usually have these meetings in the office and they tend to get very animated, so video call adds a new layer to the format. In fact we concluded that the virtual meeting was actually highly productive, people were more prepared and ultimately it was much more concise.

We gain everyone’s buy-in, and they are now pumped and ready to get going on some ambitious targets.

We have just recently implemented this OKR methodology, with the sessions chaired by Richard Gregory, who has been highly influential in helping us to set stretch targets with the teams. The results speak for themselves; the teams are more focused and there is greater alignment across all departments.

We see news of our free access offering hit the news, and some of our partners and other businesses, along with SaaS companies reach out to ask if they too can get involved to help businesses, which is great.

Thursday

Today is a big day. We have a call with a multi-billion dollar a year company. They contacted us earlier in the week about using our ad technology within their platform to help small businesses scale their advertising and we arranged to have a chat about it today. This is a big deal for us.

The video call goes really well, they’re interested and want to progress with discussions. It’s an amazing feeling and closely follows news of our recent partnership with Revolut Business, showcasing the scale Adzooma is achieving now. We’ve come such a long way over the past few years and it sometimes seems surreal to be working with companies of this size.

I hit the spin bike for some down time.

Friday

David and I have a one-to-one video call with various members of the team, to check in and see how they’re getting on. Spirits and productivity is high, so we’re in a good place.

It’s Friday and to regain that Friday vibe, we have an afternoon company quiz! Today is crazy head gear quiz day. I’ve brought my children along and they join in. My daughter is wearing her Elsa costume and wig and my son is dressed up as a knight – but he decided to put on a blonde wig. I’ve been put in a long rainbow wig and crown. It’s brilliant to see everyone from the team having a good time. In the end we end up crashing the video software – but it was fun whilst it lasted.

It’s been a great week. I’m really impressed and proud of how the team have adapted. We had been discussing the concept of how we roll-out working from home and this situation has in effect forced our hand. I can see us working even more flexibility when we return to the office.

To suggest somebody for a Week in My Life, email david@prolificnorth.co.uk