March 10, 20234 min read

Meet Our New Chief Technology Officer, Darien Ford

We are excited to welcome our new Chief Technology Officer, Darien Ford, to the Madhive team. We sat down with Darien to learn why he decided to join Madhive, how he’s thinking about scaling the team, and what his goals for the coming months are.

Welcome, Darien! You have experience across a range of industries; how do your skills translate to the adtech space?

DF: Whether you're in TV, programmatic advertising, video security, or fintech, the way you build software is effectively the same. The same practices and methods work. The same rigor works. Those methods are transferable across industries, so you can bring that expertise anywhere because, in reality, every company is a software company.

What made you decide to join Madhive?

DF: To be completely honest, I wasn't even looking in the first place. But Madhive has a story and culture that really stood out to me. What I love about Madhive is the position that it has in the industry. The market share that it has. The scale that it's running at. The 10 million queries per second that it deals with. Very few companies get anywhere close to that level of volume, and the opportunity to continue scaling this hyper-growth company really drew me in.

Tell us a little more about what you found so interesting about the culture?

DF: As I was talking with everyone, including [CEO] Adam [Helfgott] as well as the rest of the executive team, they just made it very apparent that humanity matters here. What I mean by that is the company puts a high focus on its people, and that is something I'm very selective about. I won't join organizations that don't have that as a first priority. And it was very clear that Madhive has that.

As you mentioned, Madhive processes large amounts of data to power its CTV campaigns. Why did that interest you? 

DF: When you're dealing with a 30 millisecond response time at 10 million requests a second, you're talking about microseconds of efficiency that can bring meaningful, incremental value to the business. As we think about growth, what works at 10 million may not work at 20 million. And so it becomes a really exciting challenge to scale.

How does scale give value to a client or an advertiser?

DF: Well, it's really simple. Because a large emphasis of the Madhive business is focused on implementing within the technology stack, we have a unique vantage point in that we power streaming advertising across a massive amount of content. As a result, we constantly have a great feel for what’s working across those different systems, and we’re able to make optimizations that benefit our customers without sacrificing efficiency. We can handle any campaign that a customer might want because we are able to run at such a high volume.  

You have quite a bit of expertise in banking and security. How much does security play into the TV ad space?

DF: We treat all of our customers’ data as extremely important. We have to put the necessary rigor and security around it. This is essential because there's an identity issue in the ad space. It's challenging to validate and ensure that ad requests we receive are coming from actual, legitimate sources. However, we have an incredible fraud prevention program where we can identify and correct for irregularities and bots as they attempt to infiltrate. As we continue forward, our plan is to integrate more machine learning so we can be even more predictive about fraud.

Attribution is a really interesting topic in the TV industry. How do we ensure an ad is actually watched by a viewer? 

DF: First, we have to start with the basics of better targeting and frequency management. When I’m watching TV, the ads I see are often not well-targeted towards me. In order for ads to be more impactful, they have to be more relevant. In addition, combining panel data with ACR data will help solve the co-viewing issue. This is going to help give an idea of who is actually on the couch watching. One of the things that attracted me to Madhive is the desire to constantly innovate, and I can’t wait to get started. 

Thank you, Darien. We’re excited to have you on the team!

To learn more about Darien, visit our About Us page