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November 20, 2018

Giving Thanks: Learning from Adversity

The following post was written by Tatari's CEO, Philip Inghelbrecht.

I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving but it has become my favorite US holiday (well... preferably without the pumpkin pie because that still tastes wrong to me).  Families travel to be together, families eat together, and families hang out together (and yes, watch TV). But above all, Thanksgiving teaches us gratitude, something so easily overlooked, and definitely not practiced much where I was born (Belgium).

I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Tatari team is now 30+ strong, each and everyone an A+ caliber player.  Our client roster has equally grown in quality and quantity (tripled in the last year), and without them, we wouldn’t be here for starters.  And let’s not forget our many partners and the people around it: media companies, data vendors, investment firms, landlords (three offices, doh!), tech vendors, etc.

Ironically, my gratitude extends to some of the speed bumps we encountered over the last two years.  In particular, some pitches which we (surprisingly) lost at the 11th hour (e.g. Casper) and some companies who (equally surprising) parted from Tatari (e.g. PillPack).  Each rejection had its own reason, and whether fair or justified, we learned valuable lessons. In particular, our media-buying today is day and night from what it was a year ago.  Our pricing is more optimized than ever before, clearance is coming in with deadly accuracy (if you wonder why, read this), and the ability to scale has become a true competitive differentiator (to the point where we can run clients at $50M in annual spend purely on remnant inventory).  None of the above would have been possible without the proverbial “kick in the butt” (even if it felt more like a punch in the gut at the time). Tatari is so much stronger today than it was a year ago.  

Our plans and ambitions for 2019 are even bigger than before.  We are set up to conquer the market for OTT and Connected TV just like we tackled linear TV in the early days. Undoubtedly, we will face other headwinds along our journey. Thanksgiving, however, is an annual event and something tells me I will be able to look back at those too, with gratitude.  For now, please enjoy the break .. and your (not mine!) pumpkin pie.