George’s CV reads like a who’s who of digital media. He’s been in the industry since 2000 with a vast array of companies including Exponential, Yahoo, Adloqi, Papyrus and Fiducia. In 2005, George co-founded Yormedia, a full services publisher services agency.
Who is your Digital Hero
I have been fortunate enough that in my 20 years in this industry I have worked with some amazing individuals, a special mention to Tim Brown, who once my boss and now a friend and mentor and to Pascal Zahner, someone whose influence shapes my approach to any given scenario.
However, my digital hero is Dora Michail of The Telegraph.
What have she done to win hero status in your eyes?
I first met Dora on her 1st day at Blue Lithium in 2006, a 1st day that involved an 11hr flight to San Francisco to attend a sales conference. By chance we were seated next to each other and it those 11hrs I recognised that Dora was smart, articulate and possessed a kindness that to this day is integral to who she is.
My remit at Blue Lithium was broad but for Dora, it was understanding the campaign optimisation process and how best apply product and tech to improve campaign performance.
I was given the responsibility of being Dora’s manager, I say responsibility, but that implies a burden, the reality was the opposite, she required little management, mere guidance. We worked collaboratively and with the enlarged team our work was critical to the success of the UK business that was ultimately sold to Yahoo Inc.
At Yahoo, Dora forged her own path and fulfilled the potential that we all knew she had and now has a senior role at The Telegraph.
Why does this make Dora a hero? It’s not just her progression to the upper tiers of her chosen profession but the way she achieved it: through hard work, dedication, ability, excellent execution and no undue reliance on relationships.
I will argue that she should be a role model for many who she has worked with and in what is a male-dominated industry, Dora should be held up as an inspiration to women who are starting out in the industry.
What are the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
We already operate under, at best oligopolistic conditions, we need to be very careful that this does not stifle innovation and progress, working with publishers as I do, they face inordinate challenges to maintain standards of journalism on what appears shrinking budgets.
The proliferation of fake news and click bait makes it harder for reputable publishers to operate.
We also need to address the lack of transparency in adtech fees. Who is adding value to the ecosystem? With improved transparency we will hopefully see more ad spend flow through to the publisher and I applaud the efforts of Jicwebs and the likes of Fiducia DLT in trying to solve this issue.
The industry needs to come together, recognise the issue and address it.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
On April 1st 2020, I will be celebrating 20 years in the online advertising industry, cast your mind back to April 2000, the dotcom bubble had burst and doubt at this new medium of e-commerce was rife.
I remained convinced that this was the right path and with Deal Group Media (DGM): we operated one of the first affiliate networks and set up an early-stage ad network. When many others were failing, we succeeded and IPOd in 2003 and my contribution was key or I would like to think it was.
However, up there is Yormedia Solutions, a business I co-founded with Barrie Jarrett and one we have grown into a team of 20+ staff, bringing together experience and knowledge to offer solutions to publishers and advertisers alike.