Welcome to the first in our vi tech blog series. These posts will get under-the-hood of video intelligence’s unique systems and technologies – showing how they work and how we build them. We’ll go into as much detail as possible, so people can really learn the machinations and hopefully develop themselves as engineers. For the first post we’ll meet Sofia who will give an overview of our current project priorities.
Hi, I’m Sofia, product manager at video intelligence. I work in vi’s R&D center in Kiev, where I’m responsible for the development team, which works on the vi website and several core products.
How the team works
At the moment I oversee work of eight software development engineers. We work using agile and lean principles: some teams by Scrum, some by Kanban. We recently adopted an OKR approach so every developer knows what the company objectives are, and how it reflects in individual goals and daily tasks. This helps people to connect the dots and see the bigger picture.
Around 60% of my time is spent with developers: I refine requirements, prioritize issues in the backlog, communicate with designers, check whether complete user stories meet acceptance criteria, help to maintain and improve the agile process, remove bottlenecks, communicate the strategy and goals, gather feedback and ideas from the teams, and so on.
Here’s a quick run-down of the projects in development at vi at the moment:
- An SDK for publishers to embed our video ads. Using an RTB integration we’ll enable publishers to monetize their content. Being a publisher ourselves means that we know what data is valuable and how to maximize that value through connectors.
- We also have a programmatic bidder in development. This will connect to SSPs and develop in two ways: one for performance campaigns, and another as a self-serve DSP platform.
- We’re creating unique audiences for performance campaigns and audience targeting. This entails a lot of work on our DMP machine, led by our data science team.
- We have a team working on optimizing our performance campaigns. Since we buy on a CMP basis but deliver the campaigns for our clients on performance metrics, we need to continually update our algorithm to ensure we’re buying the best inventory.
The rest of the time I spend on strategy, gathering feedback and helping business users, external partners, and integrations with 3rd party systems.
In 2016 we made a lot of progress on our new products [watch this space for more info!] We improved the vi website a lot – and have just finished transitioning it to Bootstrap. We had a few pivots on a sell side which kept us on our toes, but our agile processes enabled us to move rapidly.
What’s in store for 2017
One of the great things coming in 2017 is the SDK, which will empower publishers to monetize their traffic. It’s a logical step for vi and a fantastic opportunity for publishers, as vi is already among top 10 video traffic sellers in US. Our programmatic selling will also become much stronger as we refine our tech.
One of the greatest challenges is, of course, a competitive pressure in a crowded ad tech market. So the products we develop need to be flawless. We’re going to spend a lot of effort to make sure that products are perfectly suitable for users both from the business and the tech sides.
Finally, I’m excited to have an opportunity to work closely with the CEO on some aspects of vi strategy. In 2017 we’ll launch some really exciting new products, and vi will build its burgeoning reputation.