Digiday’s Oral History of Ad Tech podcast, episode 1, with Brian O’Kelley

This is part of a series that explores the once lucrative and tumultuous ad tech industry. More from the series →

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Few would argue Brian O’Kelley’s right to claim the title of being one of the godfathers of ad tech, for what is still one of the nascent spaces of the media industry, his tenure in the sector dates back three decades.

During this time, O’Kelley has helped build two of the most notable independent ad tech companies that later sold to the biggest names in telecoms and internet history, and now at the helm of Scope3, he aims to decarbonize digital media.

In the first episode of Digiday’s four-part Oral History of Ad Tech podcast, we hear his first-hand, candid account of some of the most crucial industry developments. These include how O’Kelley:

  • Helped build the first ad exchange at Right Media, only to feel the burn after its $680 million sale to Yahoo, and then later built one ad tech’s most iconic companies
  • Brushed shoulders with (as well as ruffled the feathers of) Madison Avenue titans in AppNexus’ toe-to-toe battle with Google in the ad tech power game
  • Walked away from AT&T, after its $1.6 billion purchase of his company, over concerns on the telco’s strategic misalignment

In the coming weeks, Digiday’s History of Ad Tech, produced by Digiday Media’s audio producer Sara Patterson, lifts the lid on some of the key undercurrents in ad tech over the last 20 years with Seb Joseph, senior news editor, and Ronan Shields, senior reporter, advertising technology, in conversation with some of the key players during that time.

Subscribe to the Digiday podcast now on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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