In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that
have shaped their business philosophy.



Co-founder and CEO, LockerDome


Background:  

LockerDome embeds interactive widgets across the world’s top media properties, reaching more than 100 million people per month. For brands, LockerDome’s native ad platform delivers engaging content and transparent results. LockerDome packages and delivers real-time insights on conversion data, helping advertisers drive down cost-per-acquisition rates.

The Mistake:

We’ve made hires in the past that really cost us. So when we first started doing ad sales we hired someone directly from the industry.

We asked those hires to sell advertising for our platform. Now, what they knew is how people sell advertising on other platforms. It wasn’t based on where the market is going, it was how everyone else sells advertising, how I have done it for 20 years and I could do the same thing here.

That doesn’t really work.

We have used other peoples’ technology too – other peoples’ ad platforms. Again, that has you taking rule sets and things that are very different and then you are trying to apply them. You can’t use yesterday’s solutions to solve tomorrow’s problems. It generally doesn’t make sense.

And this happened on almost every team, where the assumption was outside people in the industry can bring preexisting knowledge into a company like this and help us do well.

Experience means nothing.

The Lesson:

The philosophy that we typically use at LockerDome is that experience means nothing.

We see a lot of people knock on our door that will market their own background, from the company that they came from to the type of education they have. But the only thing we care about is what you can actually get done.

One thing we talk about all the time now is don’t underestimate somebody’s ability to learn your entire skillset and learn your subject overnight. That happens all the time, because today when you look at the way people learn … information is a complete commodity. In the past, what was in your head was actually valuable, but it’s no longer valuable. You have more information on the internet than you could possibly consume in your entire lifetime.

The ability to regurgitate somebody else’s thoughts does not make you intelligent. The ability to process data better than the person sitting next to you and to apply it better than him – that’s what makes you intelligent.

What we started doing was taking people that were already working at LockerDome and shifting them. So, almost everybody that runs a team here started at the bottom. The person that runs our publisher development team, he was an intern two and half years ago. Our CTO was our second real employee and was just a developer when he started. Our head of media sales started as an intern with no experience in publishing or advertising three and half years ago.

Gabe Lozano is on Twitter at @gabelozano and LockerDome is at @lockerdome.

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