in Engineering

Why I Joined Quantcast: Dennis Geels

By Dennis Geels, Principal Software Engineer

I had no intention of taking a new job at an ad tech company. In my 10 years at Google (a rather large and successful ad tech company), I had worked on eight teams in six product areas, but I never worked anywhere in ads or analytics. I was grateful the company made money to fund my salary, but I always found other projects I wanted to work on more.

Nevertheless, I felt ready for new challenges, and eager for growth. So when my now-friend Natalie invited me to a Quantcast recruiting/social event, I quickly…declined. I had kid-shuttling duty that night.

But I immediately regretted missing the opportunity. I kept talking with Nat and then some engineers on the team who used to work at Google. They told me about Quantcast’s business, the technology, and the culture.

An opportunity to make online advertising more useful than those annoying “retargeting” ads that show my kids the gifts I just ordered on Amazon?
Now you have my attention.

Smart, friendly people working on big data problems?
That’s fantastic, but nothing new to me.

Freedom to innovate without layers of bureaucracy and gatekeepers?
It’s very tempting, but easily claimed.

Hackathons – and “Quantathons” – with competitions and prizes?
You have my curiosity.

An opportunity to make online advertising more useful than those annoying “retargeting” ads that show my kids the gifts I just ordered on Amazon?
Now you have my attention.

I did talk to a few other companies. All were also relatively small but past the startup phase. Why leave behind my safe position (and employee retention program stock options) at Google and move to join another ad tech company in Quantcast? It was a difficult decision, but mostly it came down to the people here. Every conversation I had with the Seattle team and the top executives, and with even my remote interviewers, was refreshingly enjoyable.

A staff software engineer here had previously worked with much of the same tech stack at Google. He and I laughed and laughed about the familiar feature we had both spotted and worked around.

An engineer in Quantcast’s San Francisco office impressed me with his Quantathon stories and had me genuinely excited about what his team was building – big improvements for the whole industry. Watch this space.

I’ve worked with friendly, tech-smart founders and CEOs before, but I also know that the combination is a rare find.

My decision was pretty much wrapped up after I talked to Konrad. I’ve worked with founders and CEOs who are both friendly and tech-smart before, but I also know that the combination is a rare find. Konrad took the time to explain to me, unlettered in ad tech as I was, Quantcast’s edge in this industry, the big plans for the future, and how I personally could help push those plans forward.

The people you work with may be the most important factor determining whether you are successful in any enterprise, not to mention whether you enjoy the journey. And the people here impressed me. I slept on it for a couple of days, mostly to make sure I wasn’t simply being swayed by a fabulous British accent. But it was clear to me that I could not pass up this opportunity.

I’ve been at Quantcast (“The QC!” – no one calls it that) for a few months now, and I’ve learned a lot: new business, new tools, new products, new people. But I stand by my earlier appraisal: this is a great place to work. I can now vouch for the open culture and lack of bureaucracy others had claimed. I have yet to be told “you can’t do that,” and I stick my nose all over the place. If I have a question for another team, after one quick chat or VC, I get a friendly answer. I posted a bug that had stumped me to a chat room, and received a fix within minutes – from a director!

Also, I found my work/life balance here to be every bit as good as I had hoped. I never spend a minute on work over the weekend or evenings, unless I choose to shift work later so I can spend “office hours” with my family, which I value highly.

Quantcast is strong and healthy, and still growing, still learning, still maturing

Company Milestones

Another thing? Quantcast feels like a teenager. OK, technically the company is only 11 years old, and companies don’t get acne. But we are definitely past the childhood/startup phase, in which everything is a jumble and we can’t have nice things. We haven’t reached adulthood, though, with the stability that size and tradition bring, along with rigidity. No, Quantcast is strong and healthy, and still growing, still learning, still maturing. That means we have the freedom to shape the company and ample opportunities to have a big effect on our industry. And that’s why you should come work here, too.

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