Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Jay Stevens

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Jay Stevens, currently President at Hudson MX, has long been a key player in the digital industry, working at companies including MySpace, Rubicon Project –  building its international business to make up almost half the company’s overall revenues when he left – and Adform.

Who is your digital hero?

It’s got to be Wenda Harris Millard.

What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?

It’s the collective sum of her career and the fact that she’s still working hard.  She was instrumental not only in what she did to build DoubleClick in the late 90s, but how she took Yahoo! out of the ashes of the dotcom bust and into the behemoth it became. 

And, of course, her current work at MediaLink! 

How has her heroism helped drive digital?

By getting brands to recognise the value of the channel, to increase investment by orders of magnitude, and to transform their businesses around it.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Bluntly, the rent is still too high. 

One of the major challenges still facing the ecosystem is that while programmatic has made buying digital easier and led to increased investment, the cost of the transaction is still too high. 

The entire ecosystem will flourish, and investment will spread more evenly outside of the duopoly when the taxes diminish.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

For me, it had to be what my International team accomplished at Rubicon Project, especially during the growth years of programmatic from 2012 to 2015, when it went from just being applicable in the US, UK, Netherlands, and in France to seeing true global adoption. 

It was an exciting time as we helped shaped the way digital was traded for hundreds of premium publishers in more than 40 countries around the world.