C-suite career advice: Aaron Goldman, Mediaocean

name: Aaron Goldman

company: media ocean

job title: chief marketing officer

position: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Aaron Goldman is the CMO of Mediaocean, a mission-critical platform for omnichannel advertising. Mediaocean drives $200 billion in annual ad spend through its software, providing foundational solutions for connecting brands, agencies, media, technology and data. In its role, Goldman leads a wave of global initiatives across corporate marketing, communications, content, branding and demand generation.

What’s the most valuable career advice you’ve received? “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. It doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with your role, the company, the industry you work in, or the people you work with. But you have to love at least one of these things at any given time, and being able to tick all four boxes definitely helps.

What’s the worst business advice you’ve received? “Don’t do business with your friends.” Throughout my career, I have been very lucky to work with some of my closest friends. It’s a shame we have to keep those worlds separate because we spend so much time with the people we work with. It can take time to build.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start a career in the IT/Technology field? Go all-in on the metaverse. seriously. Over the next few decades, all businesses will have to embrace the virtual world, and they will need experts who understand how it works. Jump in now and you’ll be in the driver’s seat (and possibly your headset) as these platforms take off.

Whether it’s the metaverse or other aspects of Web 3.0, I definitely recommend getting there early. When I graduated from college, I chose between working in traditional media and working in online advertising. I chose the latter, which allowed me to climb ladders quickly.

Have you always wanted to work in the IT/Technology field? In school, I started in journalism and turned to the advertising industry. I can’t say I was passionate about technology at the time (unless you count video games), but it was clear that the future of communications was digital. Fast forward he’s 22 years old and I’ve spent my entire career in ad tech. I can’t think of anything else.

What was your first job in IT/Technology? My first job was as a sales planner at L90. I helped manage advertising campaigns across a network of websites. We ran banners and pop-ups and rented many mailing lists. Those were vibrant times and it felt like the Wild Wild West. There was even an advertising unit called Wild Bill, a digital billboard named after its chairman.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/technology? The biggest misconception is that I know how everything works so I’m the family’s de facto tech support. Have you tried unplugging and plugging it in? ok that’s all i got.

What advice would you give to someone looking to become a manager? Be adaptable and approachable. There is no direct path to management. You can learn from every role you play and every person you meet. Please keep it accessible at all times. Sometimes just responding to an email can make a difference.

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? Taking the company public is definitely on my to-do list. When the time is right, I would love to help guide Mediaocean through its IPO.

Do you have a good work-life balance in your current role? Balance is in the eye of the beholder, so I direct this question to my team and my family. If they feel love and a strong connection, I think they are on balance.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? “I can’t change, I can change, I can change, I can change, but I’m here in my mold, I’m here in my mold.”

Would you recommend a coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? There were no coding bootcamps when I was in school, but I struggled with programming VCRs. By recording, deleting, and repeating, we managed to make it through an entire season of The Simpsons on just one tape.

How important are specific certifications? In general, I recommend getting a professional degree and as many additional certifications as your schedule (and wallet) allows. The key to being in a leadership position is being balanced.

What three skills or abilities would you look for in future candidates? Passion, punctuality, punctuation.

What keeps you away from candidates? People who just keep talking don’t expect their thoughts to end. Because they just keep running, they keep talking, and eventually they run out of sentences…

What are the most common mistakes candidates make in interviews and how can you avoid them? The biggest mistake a candidate can make is not asking any questions. Shows unpreparedness and general apathy. The best way to avoid that is to end every answer with a question. Look what I did there

Do you prefer technical skills or business skills or a combination of both? Individual contributors can perform very well as specialists and have very successful careers. But people’s leaders must combine both. The presidents and CEOs I reported on always brought a nice blend of depth and breadth to the table. As far as the metaphors are mixed in here, you could say that’s the recipe for bringing home bacon.

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