If there’s one constant to the digital landscape, it’s that it’s always changing — just ask Adtaxi, the Denver-based digital marketing agency that is always preparing for what’s next.
Helping clients optimize their advertising campaigns across all platforms and tracking the results is the crux of Adtaxi’s goal. Behind that mission is a tech team that works to constantly evolve tools like its machine learning-based Quantum platform. We spoke with three team members about how they’re helping Adtaxi remain ahead of the curve.
EMPLOYEES: 230 (90 local)
WHAT THEY DO: Adtaxi optimizes client digital marketing campaigns by results tracking through its machine learning-based platform, Quantum.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Headquartered in Denver, with 12 offices across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
SINGLE CELL PROTOTYPE: Adtaxi’s machine learning-powered ad optimization platform, Quantum, started as a spreadsheet on Vice President Brian Kroll’s laptop.
Dave Elchoness, SVP, Product and Technology
Dave oversees all products and technologies within MediaNews Group, which includes Adtaxi. He helps a team of product and project managers, developers and data scientists develop new opportunities.
BEYOND WORK: Dave enjoys spending time exploring Colorado with his wife and three sons.
What are your goals for your team?
The digital landscape is constantly changing, so it’s imperative for the team to be aware of new technologies and opportunities to help the business grow and become more efficient. In the past few years, we’ve planned, built and launched Quantum, a large-scale Salesforce implementation, a Google award-winning search pacing technology, and more.
At the same time, we strive to maintain a fun and collegial workplace. I feel like I work among friends and some of the most highly committed experts in the field. I believe folks on my team like each other and enjoy working together.
How do you foster an environment where employees are encouraged to experiment?
I let my team apply their expertise to solve the company’s technology challenges. I ask them for their ideas, and they execute incredibly well. I also encourage learning new things to help drive the business. Several employees have changed their careers over the years thanks to our self-directed training and education.
Going through this project taught me that work is not just about getting things done — it’s about supporting your colleagues through challenging situations and coming out stronger for it.”
What project has you most excited at Adtaxi?
We developed and launched a large scale, custom Salesforce installation that touched on sales, operations, finance and every other aspect of the business. I’m excited by the potential for a massive transformation of the business. Going through this project taught me that work is not just about getting things done — it’s about supporting your colleagues through challenging situations and coming out stronger for it.
Rob Aumer, Lead Data Scientist
Rob puts Adtaxi’s numbers to work through new data and analytics projects and also assists other team members. He also acts as the administrator of Adtaxi’s R-based stack.
BEYOND WORK: If Rob doesn’t have to be in the office, odds are he’s outside rock climbing with a team.
How did you help shape Adtaxi’s Quantum platform?
I joined with the task of transforming some of Adtaxi’s early optimization models into a robust system, as well as with adding scalability, security and reliability. We’ve chosen to leverage the rich, vibrant and open source R language as the foundation of Quantum’s modeling stack. Many iterations later, our Quantum platform has revolutionized our ability to give our clients an optimal return on their ad spending. The most recent iteration, Omnichannel, allows us to optimize budgets at the campaign level, as well as across ad platforms.
How did Adtaxi’s value around never settling impact your team’s approach to developing the Quantum platform?
That culture is instilled in our team from the get-go. We hire people that already bring that attitude to the table each day. A great example of this is how hard we worked to build a framework that could handle the plans that Adtaxi had for its quantum platform. Early on in the project, we quickly realized that what we had was unsustainable. Our team did everything in our power to find a solution and solved it.
What’s your tech stack comprised of?
Our tech stack is foundationally built on the R programming language. Development uses Rstudio’s integrated development environment, and we serve our Quantum model to our React.js-based application using Rstudio Connect with a plumber API. The choice to use R, over other languages like Python or Java, was simple — we were already doing our discovery in R. Why do double the work rewriting the models for production?
That culture is instilled in our team from the get-go. We hire people that already bring that attitude to the table each day.”
What processes does your team use for each project?
While each project is unique, we loosely follow the Kanban project management process. We try to keep the lanes simple by dividing it into the backlog, in progress, validation and completion categories. Our stories are broken out to follow the data science life cycle of gather requirements, exploratory data analysis, modeling, validation and implementation.
Zach Swanson, Manager, QA and Ad Tech Support
Zach catches errors, bugs and shortcomings as they arise and fixes them before they become a problem. He works with other operations teams to ensure the highest level of ad performance and efficiency across all the varying ad platforms.
BEYOND WORK: Like many other Coloradans, Zach’s favorite activities involves escaping to the mountains for a weekend of camping, skiing or hiking.
What problems are you solving with technology?
One of the core problems I work on is proactively catching errors. I build algorithms to work for me around the clock and alert myself and our teams when something is amiss, which gives our team and clients peace of mind.
What project is your team currently working on?
We’re working on a big project that will give us real-time notifications when our tags on an advertiser’s website stop functioning. This will not only save our teams time, but it will also provide immense value to our clients. We’re currently breaking the project it into phases, which will give us time to test out solutions before we roll it out.
That collaboration process allowed for fresh ideas and different perspectives that helped us develop a solution.”
How often do you collaborate with other teams to solve issues?
That opportunity to collaborate is one of the most interesting perks of being on the QA team. We’re constantly supporting and working with all of the other teams in the company. We recently put our heads together to devise a solution to a recurring problem we were running into on the weekends. That collaboration process allowed for fresh ideas and different perspectives that helped us develop a solution. It continues to be one of my favorite things at Adtaxi.