Young Gun: Xandr product specialist Sanjot Singh

20 May 2021

Our Young Gun profile takes a look at some of the young talent across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to Xandr product specialist Sanjot Singh.

How long have you been in the industry? 
Seven years.

Duration in current role/time at the company: 
Two years in the current role and company.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?
Before moving to Sydney and joining Xandr, I was helping build the programmatic business unit for Affle India where I was an Appnexus client. I was fascinated by their thought leadership and open-source contributions (especially to the Prebid project). Once I moved to Sydney, I reached out to the team here about the product specialist role, got the offer and never looked back.

Define your job in one word:

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?
Hackathons, bougie parties and lots of SWAG!

How does the reality match up?
The perks are great, but the real treasure is the growth opportunities. We have an amazing team who do a really nice job at building each other up.

How would you describe what the company does?
Xandr is a leading open technology platform powering a global marketplace for buyers and sellers of premium advertising content around the world.

My role involves:
I help our clients drive the most value out of our platform by resolving their day-to-day technical issues, automating tasks and doing things at scale in a fast and efficient manner.

Best thing about the industry you work in:
By the time a product progresses from closed beta stage to generally available, its successor is already in alpha stage. The industry is so fast paced and agile that it becomes imperative to constantly innovate.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?
Technology in this space is very fluid in nature and the ability to unlearn something to make room for new concepts can be difficult. A resilient but coachable mindset is key for growth and staying relevant.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?
I’d definitely like to wear the commercial hat again – the outcomes are tangible and really help you bring your A-game to the table.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?
This is a pivotal moment in the industry as everyone is scrambling to prepare for the death of the cookie. But we have some of the best minds at work here and surely something inspiring is just around the corner for the industry.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?
The entire ecosystem is built around a couple players and they have managed to dictate favourable terms historically. With so many fundamental shake-ups w.r.t. user tracking and privacy coming in the next couple years, it would be interesting to see if the balance of power gets democratised or falls back into their control.

Who's your right hand person?
Niki Banerjee, an account director on my team, has been my mentor since my early days at Xandr. He has this great ability to enable people to feel empowered and get to the solution by themselves. This not only helps navigate the ship through the storms but also builds confidence for taking on more in the future.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?
Samuel Tan (senior director, market development) who leads the Xandr APAC business and my go-to person for career advice, investment strategy and golf tips.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2021 and how do you plan on getting there?
I see myself designing solutions and contributing to the next iteration of innovative adtech.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.
While we do see efforts being made to be more diverse and inclusive, there’s not enough diversity at the top level across the industry. There should be an active effort to not just hire more diverse teams, but also have diverse representation in management as well.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
My wife – she’s an extremely motivated and diligent individual and I can always turn to her for inspiration.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
As much as I love Australia, I am still petrified of spiders.

Favourite advert is:
Honda took the concept of Rube Goldberg machines to another level with The Cog.

What’s your personal motto?
Be the change you wish to see in the world.

I got into adtech because:
It seemed like the perfect amalgamation of tech & creativity.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Trying to become a pro squash player.

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