The Digital Dozen – Andy Evans, CMO, Sovrn
The Digital Dozen is a series of profile interviews with thought leaders in the technology industry. Here we speak with Andy Evans, CMO of Sovrn – reach 1bn monthly unique users – about his career path and ask the question on everyone’s lips... what's your favourite doughnut?
Name your three best qualities.
I’m genuine, honest, and I say it as I see it. I’m also a good listener with two ears and one mouth – to be used in that order.
What's the biggest lesson you've learnt in your working life?
Life is a roller coaster, it’s full of wonderful ups and downs. So you need to take the rough with the smooth, especially if you are entrepreneurial you should take risks where those ups and downs are steeper than most.
What has been your best idea yet?
The OnScroll viewability product I invented in 2011. I saw the viewability issue before the word was invented and developed a product to proactively solve viewability for publishers. This product is now widely used by most of the UK’s leading publishers. Since my business partner Babac and I sold the business to Sovrn Holdings Inc., it is in the exciting process of being rolled out globally.
What advice have you been given that made a difference?
Be mindful. We spend a lot of time at work, so it is important to enjoy what you do, just don’t let it take over your life. Remembering to take time out to spend with your family and friends is the key to enjoyment. Never forget that life is short.
What’s the best thing about your work?
I’m fortunate enough to work with a really great global team. Everyone values honesty and we all get on well, which really makes a big difference. Also, I just love technology and the internet, so working with Sovrn enables me to help find ways to benefit the thousands of publishers we have on our portfolio.
What do you think will be big in media in ten years’ time?
I sincerely believe that phones won’t be the way we consume most of our media in ten years time. Just look at people walking down the street with their heads looking down at their phones, this simply doesn’t make sense. While people might have laughed at Google Glass, they were definitely onto something. Intel have now furthered smart-glasses technology which look like normal glasses and have loads of great practical uses. Technology works best when it’s woven into our lives, not when it takes over our lives like phones do.
What career path would you advise your children to follow?
I think a lot about this, as I truly believe that the current schooling system is not fit for purpose in this current day and age, as Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, explained at Davos 2018. Technology is overtaking us, AI and robots can do many things that humans can do, so we need to teach our kids skills that cannot be replicated by machines. That being said, it’s of the utmost importance that you do what you love. We spend a lot of time working, so shouldn’t waste that time on something that doesn't bring us joy.
What career path would you be following if you weren't in your current job?
My first job was as a baker at a major supermarket chain. I dare say that if my parents had not encouraged me to look further, I might still be working for that supermarket chain today – but perhaps I’d be CMO or CEO there? After all, I’ve always been ambitious.
Which TV programme would you like to star in?
Having founded and sold three businesses, I’d have to say the BBC’s Dragons Den or the US version: Shark Tank. I love working with startups, helping them to grow and develop.
Who would be your four perfect dinner guests?
- Prince, if he were alive, because his love for music was unparalleled
- Ricky Gervais because he can mix politics and comedy
- Barack Obama because he seems to be a very level headed bloke who was one of the best American Presidents
- Richard Branson because of his unrelenting entrepreneurial attitude
Otherwise, I’m happiest when out for lunch with my wife and two sons.
What three items would you take to a desert island?
Food, water, and my wife.
And finally, the question on everyone’s lips... what's your favourite doughnut?
It has to be a Krispy Kreme – The Ultimate Salted Caramel.