Podcast

Scaling Up [S2.E3]: The Secret Powers of a Generalist – Anneka Gupta, Co-President of LiveRamp

In this episode, Anneka shares her unique perspective leading a business through spins-offs and acquisitions, all while preserving its cultural DNA. This is a story of courage, heart and exceptional leadership.

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Ed (00:55)
Welcome to another episode of Scaling Up season two. And I’m just thrilled that Annika Gupta joins us as the guest on this episode. Annika is one of the rising stars in the US technology scene. She’s currently the co-president of LiveRamp, a New York Stock exchange listed $2 billion business with officers right around the world. Her own corporate journey is as fascinating as the company itself, a journey that highlights the potential of generalists with ambition and passion who when a new door opens, have the courage to explore it with their full attention and heart. She started as an engineer at LiveRamp straight out of college when the business had just 20 employees. And while it was a division of Axiom, she worked her way up to become the Co-President and lead over 1200 people. She gives great insights as to why when LiveRamp was acquired by Axiom, she insisted the business ring fence.

It’s highly agile and mission-driven culture and operator as a standalone business rather than be subsumed by its owner. As a young leader, she gives invaluable views on the challenges of leading a hyper-growth business in an ever-changing world, how she’s managed both cultural transformation and innovation and the lesson she’s learned along the way. As a culture carrier, she’s the epitome of a great modern day leader and there’s no doubt that her voice will only become more well known right around the world in the coming years. For those interested in further insights and commentary, TDM Growth Partners has been posting to their new Medium publication TDM Tidbits, which can be found at medium.com/tdm. If easier though, we post all our content to Twitter, so if interested, follow at TDM underscore growth to get all the news and views there. If you’re enjoying what you hear, there are many episodes of scaling Up coming down the pipe, so make sure you subscribe on your podcast platform of choice.

And don’t forget reviews and shares, help others find the podcast as well. So share the Love on your own social channels. Just a note for clarity and accuracy up front. LiveRamp’s corporate history is somewhat convoluted and as such, Annika’s title has varied over the years. When LiveRamp was a division of Axiom, her title was co ceo, but she’s now post Axiom Divestment, known as the co-president. There are a few times in the podcast where I make the error and mix between these two, and I thought best just to flag up front for completeness. I hope you find this conversation with Annika as enlightening as I did. Annika Gupta, welcome to Scaling Up.

Anneka (03:26)
Thanks for having me here.

Ed (03:27)
You have had just a phenomenal career trajectory and what a corporate journey it has been. Maybe you can give some color. This is a story for the generalists among us, but from engineer to product manager to CMO, head of HR. Now the co-CEO of LiveRamp, which of course is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, 400 million in revenue, it’s a very big business. Could you possibly give the listeners some context?

Anneka (03:54)
Absolutely. So I’ve been with LiveRamp now for almost 10 years. This is going to be my 10 year anniversary coming up in August. And it’s been, as you said, quite a wild ride. I joined Live Remp when we were 25 people before we had product market fit. I was on the engineering side, I had just graduated from college. I was figuring out what it meant to be in the working world, and I really wanted to be at a startup because I wanted to see how companies made decisions and I wanted to really understand what all the different roles were and opportunities because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my career at that point. So I ended up joining a company that ended up having quite a rocket ship trajectory, which was very lucky. And I always tell people when they’re thinking of earlier in their careers about what kind of companies to join is try to find something that scales because you get so many opportunities to do so many different things.

So over the years as LiveRamp grew, as we found product market fit, I became LiveRamp’s first product manager, which was very exciting. I didn’t know what product management was at the time, so got to define a bit of my own role that, as you said, I ran marketing and recruiting for about a year as we were going through our very early scaling days and starting to sign up our first tens of customers. And then for the majority of my time after that I was running product and then expanding the scope to run operations and technical services and eventually engineering and security and eventually the whole thing. So we’ve been on a really interesting journey because in 2014, this was when I was running product, we got acquired by Axium, and Axium was a much older, larger company than us. A 3000 person company headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas acquired us as part of their digital transformation strategy and we became a division within the larger company.

We were largely left on our own in Ring Fence so that we were able to manage and grow the business separately from getting gobbled up into the bureaucracy of a much larger company, ours. And we did a reverse integration where we actually migrated all of the customers on Axiom’s digital product to LiveRamp, and then the business took off and so did my career because I was able to keep growing with the company. My teams grew. I think when we were acquired, I probably had three or four people on my team by the time I was leading the division, right before I moved into the divisional co-president role, I was leading a team of 70 or 80 people. By that time we were doing 200 million arr, so the company had grown quite substantially. And then about a year and a half ago, our parent company decided to divest the legacy assets, Axiom Assets and LiveRamp became the whole company. And so at that point, my role became president and head of products and platforms. So I oversee product engineering, security, and a bunch of our technical operations teams.

Ed (06:50)
There’s no doubt the LiveRamp corporate history story is slightly yes, yes. And maybe I’ll give a little bit more throughout the podcast and we’ll try to explain that. But upon reflection, it’s just a great example of an incredibly smart and capable person who deeply believes in the mission, this cultural carrier for the business, having this monkey bar of a career, so many people look at their own career as a pyramid and there there’s an apex and there’s only one way to the top or an actual fact, it’s almost like a tree and you can swing from branch to branch.

Anneka (07:23)
Yeah, absolutely. And I think especially now, because companies are so dynamic now and everything is changing so quickly, the technology is changing quickly. Whatever landscape that your company operates at an ecosystem is changing quickly. And so there are many opportunities to jump around from one role to the next. And I think that there’s a lot of value in jumping horizontally as well as jumping vertically because the breadth of experience that you get and the appreciation that you have for all parts of the company really grow.

Ed (07:54)
And there’s no doubt this breadth has helped you in preparing for your life as a CEO.

Anneka (07:59)
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s been great. I mean now in my role as co-president involved in so many different aspects of the business, not only the teams that I run, which are quite broad, but also working with my peers across the organization and trying to figure out how do we solve the big challenges that we have, because many of the challenges that we have now as a business, they’re very, I mean they always have been, but especially now given the company is so big, we’re now about 1200 people across at least 15 or 16 different offices. So the geographic spread, just the number of people that we have now makes it a lot more challenging. Whenever we have a new opportunity we want to go after or ways that we want to mature the way that we operate the business, it requires change all the way from sales to support, to product, to engineering, and we have to be really well aligned.

Ed (08:54)
Let’s just turn the clock back momentarily. As you say, 10 years almost to the day, employee number 20, there’s now 1200 employees at Ramp. I know when you first joined, the values of the business was presented to you on a piece of paper. Are they still the same values that are holding firm today?

Anneka (09:11)
Yeah, that’s a good question. I remember when I got my offer letter, part of the offer process was our CEO at the time, walking through the values of the company and making sure that when you joined the company you were signing up to those values and really understood what they meant, which I loved that. I thought it was a great way to make sure that the values were instilled in people as they were joining by the CEO himself. I would say if I look back at those values that we had, a lot of those values, maybe not word for word, are part of the values today. They’re certainly embedded into the fabric of the culture. And then there’s some values that have changed over time as well, because the culture that we had when we were 25 people, it just can’t be the same as the culture that you have as a 1200 person company, especially if you’re going to be a high functioning company. However, the underlying principles of those values do remain the same, and I definitely believe that all of the underlying principles of what we were trying to get at in the early days of LiveRamp, those still hold true today. They just may look and feel a little bit different.

Ed (10:15)
And going back to First principles, why have these values been so important to LiveRamp scaling so quickly through these stages of hypergrowth?

Anneka (10:25)
I think a few reasons. One is it comes down to the people. So when you’re scaling a business so quickly, the people that are in there with you and on the ride with you, they need to change really quickly and you don’t want to be bleeding out people because if you’re at the same time trying to scale the business and replace a bunch of people that you’re losing along the way, it makes your job so much harder. So being able to have these values that have enabled people at the company to see their own growth trajectory, to enabled them to be really excited about the environment and the people that they’re working with, that has made it so much more easy for us to scale as we’ve gotten bigger and bigger because we’re able to retain people that are thinking about how to bring the cultural elements that we care about as well as shedding practices that may no longer make sense. And it’s a mix of you want to retain the really star talent that you have while also augmenting that with external hires that you make because you need those external hires to bring in a new perspective when you hit a size that no one on your team has ever faced before. Which for me, every size that we’ve hit has been a new experience for me, and it’s been very enjoyable, but very challenging in different ways.

Ed (11:39)
That’s something you touched on there. Ramp is a complex business that there’s no mistaking that have the values helped you sell the proposition to employees. You we’re based here in San Francisco. Yeah, this is a of technology talent, absolutely. But it is so competitive. Yes. Deeply competitive. Do you think that that has helped you sell the mission?

Anneka (12:02)
Yes. I think that it’s not the written values themselves that have done that, but it’s the feeling that people get when they show up at our office and when they’re interviewing with our team. One of our values from the very beginning and one that we’ve retained today is we respect people and we respect time. And candidates that go through a recruiting process with LiveRamp, they really feel that we get back to every candidate. There’s never a candidate that we just go cold and never respond to. We respond to them within 24 hours at every single stage of the interview process. And we move things along really quickly. And I think that’s something that sounds so easy and trivial, but so many companies overlook that candidate experience and then they lose really good talent that’s potentially coming in the door. And the fact that we’re able to show our values in that process as well as show the candidates, all the incredible people that we’ve hired onto the team, I think that has really helped us attract talent and grow and scale.

Even when a lot of candidates coming in, they don’t necessarily understand our business. They know we’re in data and technology and marketing, but that’s not like mission-driven work necessarily. I think that the mission is very valuable, and I think once people get into the company, they see the value that we create for our customers and they get excited about that, but we’re not solving world hunger, and that’s okay. And I think that the fact that people really enjoy coming to work and enjoy the environment that we’ve created that has absolutely helped us both attract and retain talent.

Ed (13:31)
And how else, zooming out a little bit, how else do you feel you are attracting talent? Because as I said, it’s very hard to get your head around how competitive it actually is. It’s true in San Francisco. So how else are you trying to attract the stars to LiveRamp?

Anneka (13:49)
I think part of it comes down to the product and the value proposition that we create. The exciting thing is that LiveRamp is an ecosystem player. We’re really enabling many companies across the marketing and advertising ecosystem. And because of the strength of our product and the strength of the team, we actually get a lot of inbound from people that are leaving jobs across different really big ad tech, MarTech, advertiser, big advertisers, all of these different companies. When people are starting to leave those companies, one of the first places they’ll call is LiveRamp. And I think that isn’t just because of the culture that we’ve created, it’s really because of the product that we’ve created and they see that we’re doing something really unique and innovative and that we continue to push the boundary and we continue to innovate quickly. And that kind of environment and the product and the place that we occupy is really exciting to them. So that’s another way that we’ve been able to attract All-Star talent into Live

Ed (14:48)
Ramp. We’re going to come back to the culture of innovation that you’ve created. The next theme I do want to explore, and you touched on it LiveRamp. It started as a standalone startup. It was acquired by a very large public company, but it operated in its own silo, and that was deliberate. And then when Axiom was then sold, LiveRamp is now its own standalone public company. So this sort of theme of cultural mergers, and you mentioned the word Ring fenced, and I know you purposefully ring fenced the culture of LiveRamp outside of Axiom. Can you describe how and why this was achieved?

Anneka (15:25)
Yeah, I think it came down to the vision that the CEO of Axiom had, who’s now the CEO of LiveRamp. Scott saw when we were going through the process of due diligence and Axiom had made an offer to acquire LiveRamp saw the value in that entrepreneurial innovative culture. We were a 50 person company at that point in time, so we were much smaller than Axio, which was around 3000 people at that time. And so I think he really saw the value in Ring fencing the business because it was such a big bet. Axio paid a third of its market cap for LiveRamp, this tiny company. So it was in many ways about the company move. And I think he recognized very early on that in order for this to be successful, LiveRamp couldn’t get subsumed into Axiom. So I think that set the stage that really gave us within LiveRamp the opportunity to really focus on what we needed to do to grow our business and not let the distractions of an integration.

And no matter how good the intentions are of leadership, and we’ve seen this with acquisitions that we’ve made too, it’s really hard. There’s always going to be distractions and there’s always going to be people saying, Hey, we want to integrate the recruiting systems. We want to do all these things. And we as a leadership team within LiveRamp had to say, Hey, which of these things are going to add the most value in which of these do we want to punt to a later date? And we were given the autonomy to actually do that, which really helped us accelerate our business and take in the resources from Axiom that would help accelerate the business while not getting distracted by things that were potentially not really going to add a ton of value early on. And so that I think was really important in the way that it was set up. And then over the years, we’ve employed a lot of that same philosophy when we’ve made acquisitions and we’ve made about five pretty small, not huge acquisitions, but small tuck-in acquisitions over the past three or four years. And those have all been, knock on wood, pretty successful I think because we know what it was like to be acquired by a bigger company. And we really try to protect what makes those companies so valuable and make sure that they have the autonomy to execute while funneling resources to them so that they can hopefully grow faster.

Ed (17:41)
It is a different theory around merger and acquisition, almost having a sense of multiculturalism Yes, within a business because often as businesses will be subsumed and then from day 30, this is how things are done, and often that can really slow the progress down.

Anneka (18:00)
Yeah, absolutely. I think we started to really appreciate having multiple cultures within LiveRamp when we started to expand our offices outside of San Francisco. So I remember probably about a year and a year and a half after we were acquired by Axiom, our sales team was saying, Hey, we really need to open a New York office. We have so many customers in New York, we have so many partners in New York. We need a presence in New York. And I remember at the time amongst the leadership team, it was kind of a contentious subject because we were very concerned that we didn’t know how to stand up the same San Francisco culture that we had in New York, and we ended up having some people from our San Francisco office that moved to New York, which helped to see the culture there. And then the New York culture emerged as its own, it’s its own thing. And I think that through that process, we understood that the culture doesn’t have to be exactly the same in every location or every unit of your business. You can have different cultures based on the locations or the types of businesses that you have as long as it comes together under a similar set of values that keep everyone using the same principles as they’re making decisions across the business.

Ed (19:12)
And as a, what I’ll describe as a cultural carrier from Employee 20, you’ve seen the whole journey. How have you seen your role as this cultural carrier both through sort of structural and also cultural transformation?

Anneka (19:28)
I think a big part of my role in that regard is helping people through change. Because I think a lot of times when you’re faced with some kind of transformation or change, and that may not be transformation like what we’ve had where there’s major structural corporate transformation that’s happening, but it can even be just growing your team and doubling in size. That in itself is a cultural change or having more locations and spread or doing acquisitions. All of these things are changes to the business. And I think often the human reaction to change is to be afraid of change and not embrace change and to look at change and say, Hey, this is really going to change our culture. And the connotation around that is it’s going to change our culture for the worse instead of embracing the change and saying, Hey, how can this change our culture for the better?

And what are the things that we truly care about? And what are the things that we’re okay shedding because they don’t serve us well anymore? And I think that’s something that can be really, really hard. And so part of my role, because I’ve seen us through so much change, I have the confidence that no matter what happens ahead, we can still stay true to our values and not hold on to things that don’t serve us well anymore. And I think because I’ve been at Live Rent for so long, I’m to with a lot of authenticity, say, Hey, I’m really standing behind this and I think this will be before the better, and that we will still be able to hold onto the things that we really care about from our culture. People do believe that

Ed (20:59)
Great insight.

We touched on this culture of innovation that LiveRamp really relies on, and you’ve made what you’d probably call Horizon two and three bets. Yeah, you’ve planted a lot of seeds for the long term and you rely on this innovation to grow. But as a standalone public company, you are reporting quarterly. There are pressures to to meet guidance. Investor pressures are often very short term. How do you think about this and how do you ensure that you are not only communicating how you are thinking for the long term, but also managing this culture innovation?

Anneka (21:54)
Yeah, I think when we were a division of Axiom and we were within a larger parent company in many ways we were sheltered from the quarterly pressure we put, still put pressure on ourselves. We said, we have these numbers, we really want to hit them around bookings and revenue growth, customer growth, et cetera. But the spotlight wasn’t on us. And that actually I think enabled us through the years of really intense scaling. We’re more than doubling the number of people every year and the business every year where we were able to really focus on, okay, what do we need to do to make this business 10 times the size that it is today? And really planting those seeds for the future while also executing on what needed to get done today to get us there. I think as we emerged in the spotlight as standalone public company, there was a lot of fear internally that would change that we would focus only on what was happening this quarter or next quarter.

Luckily, we are a great business. We’re a subscription SaaS business, so a lot of our revenue for the quarter is already locked in. And so it’s not like we have to make all the activities that we do this quarter are going to impact us this quarter. All the activities that we do this quarter are going to app impact us 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 quarters down the line. And so from that perspective, I think we’ve been able to keep that. But I think also we have a leadership team, like the core leadership team that came from Axiom into LiveRamp and the leadership team within LiveRamp that merged with that. Our leadership team has been very, very focused on the long term. Our CFO, Warren Jensen is incredible and he, he’s always been a person that wants to take big swings and he’s looking to enable leaders across the business to figure out what those big swings could be to make LiveRamp 10 times valuable in the future than it is today. And I think that mentality encourages innovation and encourages trying, fostering of new ideas and discovering of new ideas. And those ideas can emerge from anywhere across the organization. And we will actually take those ideas and we have a proven track record of taking those ideas, investing in them, and seeing them blossom into great businesses.

Ed (24:07)
That’s amazing how it is often the people at the top that are setting the standard

Anneka (24:13)
100%

Ed (24:14)
But it’s the people on the front line who are executing, they need to be on the journey.

Anneka (24:18)
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think sometimes the hardest part, especially as you get bigger, is how do you communicate effectively to those people that are on the front lines? How do you keep them engaged in the shifting strategy? And the fact that your vision of what you are as a company is constantly evolving and your identity as a company is constantly evolving to be bigger and bigger and making sure that as a leadership team, it’s so easy for us, I know to get really deep into these discussions about who we are and what is the value we create for our customers. But if we don’t actively communicate that in a way that the rest of our employees can really understand and get behind, then it doesn’t matter how great our strategy and ideas are, we’ll never be able to execute on it.

Ed (25:02)
Do you ever see when you are pulling these different levers that there’s a range of sort of potential unintended consequences, cultural or otherwise?

Anneka (25:13)
Yeah, definitely mean You can never predict when you’re instituting a change, whether that changes hiring a new senior leader onto your team that’s coming in from the outside, whether that change is making an acquisition or launching a new product line, you could never anticipate what is actually going to happen. You have a hypothesis of, here’s where I’m going to get the value. Here’s what I care about. Here’s what this person or this product is going to bring into the company. But it’s very hard to predict what that actually looks like. And when you bring in, for example, we made an acquisition of this company that’s a consent management platform in Amsterdam. They’re called Factor last year. And one of the benefits that we’ve gotten from that is that they had a group, they had contract engineers that they were using that are phenomenal, and they’re based in Eastern Europe, and they’re such a great group. And we’ve actually been able to leverage those contract engineers for more projects than beyond what that team was focused on. And that has actually allowed us to stand up new products much faster in a specific area because we’re able to use that team and scale it out. And that was an unintended benefit of doing this acquisition. So in many of these changes, there are unintended consequences. Some of them are good, and then some of them you have to work around because they’re just different.

Ed (26:35)
Have you any, or could you provide any examples where it’s maybe worked the other way? You have seen a negative unintended consequence?

Anneka (26:43)
I mean, yeah, for sure. So I think that as we’ve gotten more geographically spread out, because we have done many acquisitions and most of those acquisitions have meant that we have a new office location and a new city, one of the things that we’ve struggled with is how to integrate all of these locations together and how do you make sure that people don’t feel left out because they’re not in a headquarter location or in a main hub location. And I think that has made us rethink how we do all company meetings. How are we communicating effectively across our employees? What are the kinds of rituals and activities where we do bring people together? And I think the importance of some of those rituals are much higher now when we have a much greater spread. So I think we’ve had to, that has been really challenging in many respects, and different locations have had different challenges, but it’s never easy to not be in a headquarter location. And especially once you start getting many time zones away, communication is much, much harder. So it’s something that we constantly have to work on and figure out.

Ed (27:52)
Having been lucky enough to talk to many global CEOs of fast growing businesses, there’s no doubt that that is at the top of their list in terms of scaling friction.

Anneka (28:01)
Yes. Yeah, it’s really hard. The time zone itself makes it hard, not even just the physical distance and the fact that you’re not in all one physical location, but when you have teams in both Asia Pacific and in Europe and in the us there’s no time zone where you can actually speak to your entire employee base and not have it be the middle of the night in one of those places.

Ed (28:26)
And that obviously puts incredible pressure on you, specifically as a co-president. How do you think about maintaining a normal life through that when there’s no doubt your phone’s buzzing for 24 hours a day?

Anneka (28:40)
Yeah, I think over the years as a company has scaled, the way that I work in my personal life into my work life has changed. Certainly at this point, I could be working any hour of day because we have teams all over the world. Our leadership team is often traveling, including myself, I’m often traveling to different locations. And so everyone’s in different time zones all the time. And so it’s very easy to work 24 hours a day. So in those circumstances, I’ve really had to have a lot more self-discipline around deciding when I’m working and when I’m off and not working. And that could be one hour to the next, or I’m just taking an hour long break to have dinner or watch a TV show or just do something relaxing and then signing on because something, cause I have a call with someone maybe really early in the morning or really late at night in another location, and that’s okay, I’m okay with that.

I think it’s actually in some ways created more flexibility because it’s not like there’s these eight hours in a day where everyone is available. Actually everyone is available at different times of the day. And so there are some times when, yeah, there are busier obviously the, because our headquarters are in San Francisco, the work hours here are the busiest times of day. But I mean, if I needed to go take some kind of personal meeting or something like that in the middle of the day, it’s easy for me to step away knowing that there are many things that I can do just as effective later in the evening.

Ed (30:05)
That’s a great sort of mental model to apply for people that are under time pressure. It doesn’t always have to be done now.

Anneka (30:12)
Exactly. Oh, it almost feels like, especially if you’re a type A person, I am that it feels like everything has to be done now. But the reality is once you hit a point where you really cannot achieve everything that you want in a given day, you start to realize that there are plenty of things that don’t actually need to be done right now.

Ed (30:29)
It’s probably a nice segue onto leadership lessons more specifically. And by any measure, you’re a young leader and I’ve heard you talk about the importance of things like asking for help, not assuming that all the answers or not pretending that all the answers. What are some of the other key lessons that you’ve sort of picked up along the way?

Anneka (30:51)
I think one of them is just realizing it’s along those lines is realizing not only that there’s something to learn from every person that I interact with, whether they’re younger than me, older than me, come from a totally different industry, in the same industry, in the same role, in the same industry. There’s something that I can learn from everyone, but I think one of the harder lessons is actually realizing that I have something to give to everyone as well, even if they are much more experienced than me and recognizing that value. I think as a young leader, that is often difficult because most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are more experienced than me, including the people that report to me. They’re much more experienced than me in the roles that they’re in. And it’s easy to feel self-doubt that, oh, there’s nothing that I bring to the table because they have so much more experience. But the reality is there is something I bring to the table. And realizing that value and embracing that just as much as I am embracing that I have a lot to learn from them, I think has been a really valuable lesson for me.

Ed (31:50)
You talk about managing your own expectation. Is that something that’s learned or was it ingrained in you? I know your mom was a formidable leader in her own writing. Yes. As she passed down some sage advice over the years.

Anneka (32:04)
I mean, both my parents, both my parents were entrepreneurs and ran their own companies for many years and took them public. And they’ve both offered a lot of advice, some that I didn’t even realize, I think while I was growing up. And I think one of those pieces that both my parents have been very encouraging of me since I was very small, was just to always be curious and be curious about topics and subjects and learn as much as possible, but also to be really curious about people. And I think that curiosity about people has allowed me to build relationships with people that are a lot different than me. And I really experienced that when we went through and were acquired by Axiom and I was suddenly interacting with people that were not in Silicon Valley, had spent a very long career within Axiom, maybe in a very specialized function, and we’re just had very, very different backgrounds than I had or anyone else that I had met.

And I just had this natural curiosity about people. And I loved getting to know all of these different people and building relationships with them. And that served me really well in the future as we would come across problems that we had to jointly solve and things like that. And that was something that came a little more naturally to me. And I saw people around me not necessarily investing in relationships, and they really struggled because when a problem arose and they were picking up the phone to call someone for the first time, not having that relationship meant that it was harder to actually collaborate together. And so once I started to realize that that was something I was doing and others weren’t, I really tried to help people understand the value internally at LiveRamp of building relationships, of picking up the phone and calling someone instead of sending an email or a Slack message

Ed (33:50)
Very hard to do in this modern digital age

Anneka (33:52)
Yeah, because it’s so easy, it’s so easy to send an email, so easy to send a Slack message, but emails and Slack messages can get misinterpreted so easily. And especially if you don’t know someone and you don’t, there’s not already this foundation where there’s an understanding that the intent is positive. It’s very easy to read an email or to Slack message and infer negative intent where that may not be the case.

Ed (34:14)
That in itself is an achievement in the modern day technology business. You talk about your own intellectual curiosity, and as I sit here and look around your apartment there, there’s a multitude of books across a wide variety of topics. Yes. Where do you get the time to dig into a bit of Ben Horowitz?

Anneka (34:33)
Yeah, I love reading. So that is something that has been carried with me since I was a child. And I love reading on a variety of topics. I love reading non-fiction, so I don’t actually read that many business books, even though I’m reading Ben Ben Horowitz’s new book right now. I tend to, on the non-fiction side, read a lot of history or science books or just things that go really deep on different topics because I just love to learn about different topics and go fairly deep on them. And then I also will read science fiction and fantasy for fun to relax. So I don’t know. I mean, think it’s part of my wind down routine in the evening is I’ll read a book or do a crossword puzzle and just try to let go of the workday before I go to sleep. And I found that in doing that and having a routine, I sleep a lot better at night, which means that I don’t spend hours tossing and turning, and that’s probably where I get the extra hours to actually

Ed (36:31)
And if you could turn back the clock 10 years and you could give yourself one piece of advice as you walked in the door of LiveRamp, what would that be?

Anneka (36:41)
I think that I would have, so this is one piece of advice that I think I did, and maybe I’ll also say one that I wish I knew at the time. So I think the thing that I did embrace was just learning as much as possible. And that’s what I advised to new people that are starting at LiveRamp today, is just learn as much as possible. Learn about the people that you’re working with, learn about other parts of the business that you’re not in, because as you get bigger and bigger opportunities present themselves, that if you have already built a relationship with someone or you already know a little bit about some sort of subject area, you can provide value. And that opens up new career opportunities. And it also helps build connections because I certainly feel as the company has gotten bigger and bigger, there are more silos and those people that are able to effectively cross silos, add so much value to the organization and also have incredible career growth opportunities.

So I think that’s one piece of advice. I think one piece of advice that I wish I had known was, and I still need to practice today, is just not hastily sending off emails when something is going wrong. I really actually try to do most of my work off of email now and picking up the phone and calling someone or trying to work something out. In going and finding someone in the office and chatting with them, I’ve found that I’m so much, I can get so much more done if I go have those conversations versus sending a hundred emails and trying to just get stuff off my plate instead of really engaging in conversation, engaging in conflict or disagreement and trying to find a resolution live.

Ed (38:14)
Fantastic place for the boss, Annika. Thank you so much.

Anneka (38:17)
Thank you. This was really enjoyable.

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