We exchanged emails for this interview and it has been slightly condensed and edited.
Marc Goldberg: Tell me about your journey?
Shiv Gupta : I fell ass backwards into ad tech, just like everyone else in this industry did. I knew I wanted to be a ‘businessperson’ in ‘tech’, so I went to a job fair and there was an Internet company there called ‘Advertising.com’ hiring Business Analysts. The interview was like a consulting interview, and to my pleasant surprise, I nailed it. From there:
~10 yrs at Ad.com / AOL in operations, sales, sales leadership
1.5 yrs at Criteo as VP Sales
Founder of U of Digital, a digital advertising education company
At some point during my time at AOL, I started guest lecturing at my alma mater (shoutout Johns Hopkins), which then turned into more guest lecturing opportunities at universities and within AOL. I realized I loved teaching, and helping create those lightbulb moments in people’s minds, which ultimately led me to U of D.
MG: So what is UOD?
SG: U of Digital is a digital advertising education company, and our goal is to make the industry better through objective, credible, digestible, and applicable education. This industry thrives on complexity, jargonization, and confusion; we take the opposite approach. We believe in meeting the learner where they are, by accommodating different learning styles through a multi-medium (live, online, certification, etc.) approach to education. We also believe that education for this ever-evolving space cannot be treated as a one-time event, it must be an ongoing process, which is how all of our major partnerships are structured. Today, we are proud to say that we provide industry education to employees at companies like Google, Indeed, Criteo, TikTok, Comcast, GumGum, Lotame, Smartly, and more.
One last thing: we are cause aligned. One of our foundational pillars is helping advance education for underprivileged youth across the globe through charitable donations and work.
MG: So you were a sales leader, coffee is for closers is this move that you just preferred tea?
SG: Actually I prefer sparkling water and beer lol.
In today’s world, effective tech sales is all about effective education. A strong salesperson leads by educating and informing their customer, and earns trust in that way. I realized that I loved that part of sales more than anything, and I also realized that there was a MAJOR gap in our market on the ability of salespeople to effectively teach their customers. That really led me to the concept of U of Digital in the first place: transforming salespeople into industry experts that could serve as true consultants for their customers in order to build more trust-based, more lucrative partnerships.
Today, our offering is built primarily for enterprise customers looking for a structured way to upskill their commercial teams. However, before the end of the year, we are going to be launching a self-paced, single-user, walk-up education offering as well. We are super excited about it, as it will help us better achieve our mission of making the industry better by educating as many folks in the industry as possible!
MG : What are 3 things you help organizations achieve?
SG: Three things are generally
- Employee satisfaction and retention through industry training
- Improved perception and reputation across the industry through a smarter sales force
- Revenue, revenue, and more revenue
MG: What are some of the themes sales organizations are asking UOD to come in ?
SG: The hottest topics right now are:
- CTV / OTT
- Competitive landscape
- More identity
- Buyer perspective
MG: Sounds FLOCing fun. You have a great drunk history podcast. What is your go-to drink of choice?
SG: An overpriced craft beer with a high rating on Untappd.
MG: Where are you travelling when the world opens again?
SG: Japan (this has less to do with the world opening up, more to do with 2 young boys and me not wanting to take them with me haha).
MG Concert, Sporting events, or movie. Where do you want to go first?
SG: I just want to go to that goddamn Thom Yorke show that got cancelled on me because of the pandemic! Please!