My Media Week: Phuong Nguyen, eBay Advertising
A view from Hayley Hayes

My Media Week: Phuong Nguyen, eBay Advertising

This week Phuong Nguyen, the director of eBay Advertising, experiences the not insignificant task of defining the company’s three-year tech plan; the joy of promoting deserving talent; and a quintessentially London moment.

Monday

I could have started this piece with something like, "6:30am wake up. Ready for for an intense yogalates session and some meditation to prepare myself for a winning week". But I’m not going to lie to you... four snooze buttons and two espressos later, I’m ready for my week.

Mondays are all about the numbers. I dive into revenue run-rates, cost-per-mile fluctuations and traffic trends. We had a good week. Performance is improving for our clients after a slow start to February.

I congratulate the team for their efforts in making this happen. It may be an annoying sub-product of working for an American company for over 10 years, but I do love me a good hi-five. 

In the afternoon I’m interviewing a candidate for an internship position at eBay Advertising. It’s a process I love... delving into someone’s brain, trying to work out what they’re amazing at, what they’re afraid of, and what they’ve got the potential to be. I’ve always hired for aptitude over experience and over the years it seems to have worked, looking at our motley crew of a team that comprises of a finance analyst, an astronomer, and a children’s book writer.

The candidate’s got a good brain attached to his body. I think we should move forward with him, but I finish off the interview with my favourite final question... "If you were down to your last £20... what would you spend it on?"

Tuesday

Tuesdays are my people day, where I focus my time specifically on my team and their individual needs.

I have a routine of doing walking one-to-ones on the Thames riverside in Richmond right in front of eBay HQ. I find them to be a great way of generating new ideas and facilitating frank discussion, all while appreciating the gloriousness of our riverside surroundings (and cheekily getting my Fitbit steps up).

One of today’s one-to-ones stands out in particular. I’m doing Jean-Baptiste Goux’s annual review - he’s our head of programmatic and it’s been a good year: strong revenue growth, expanding European responsibility, and an IPA Rising Star award to top it off. I’m overjoyed to announce to him that he’s been promoted. It is without a doubt one of the most rewarding aspects of the job: the privilege of developing my team so they can learn, grow, and achieve great things.

Wednesday

Up at stupid-o’clock for a 7am flight to Milan to meet with the rest of my programmatic European leadership team.

The objective for the day is pretty audacious... define eBay Advertising’s technology strategy for the next three years. The day is intense. There’s a tonne of fervent discussion, debate, and future-gazing.

Our tech team from New York video-conferences in later in the day and we debate even further. But ultimately we finish the day aligned on the vision: leverage market leading ad technology, paired with eBay’s amazing repository of consumer insight, to deliver unrivalled media performance across the world’s most prolific shopping platform.

We finish the day with Peronis at the airport bar. Pretty sure we’ve earned these today.

Thursday

Start the day with a breakfast meeting at one of my favourite Soho spots, Lantana Cafe´. Amazing coffee made by Australian baristas (as an Aussie, I am a tad biased) and they do a ridiculously good corn fritter stack with streaky bacon.

Meeting with Danny Hopwood, who’s the vice president of solutions and platform ops over at VivaKi. Love catching up with this guy. He’s one of the most knowledgeable, passionate, and visionary guys in our industry and I leave the breakfast with a palpable energy and a good half a dozen new ideas to spring into action.

Well fed and caffeinated, I jump on a train down to eBay HQ in Richmond to spend the rest of the day with our sales director, Rob Bassett, to help put the finishing touches on a big pitch he’s got tomorrow for a major FMCG brand.

There’s a tonne of exciting things for us to talk to them about; eBay advanced targeting creating custom predictive audiences for their products, eBay cross-device tracking, and eBay Sandbox our top-secret innovation and testing ground that I really shouldn’t be talking about here. 

Rob even manages to somehow work a cat video into his presentation. It’s always been a hallmark of his work.

Friday

Friday mornings are typically marketing mornings. I have three hours of power locked in with Fraser Rattray, our marketing manager, and our PR agency, Firstlight.

It’s our monthly "Consumer Insight Riffing" session where we get highly caffeinated and bounce around ideas on what consumer trends and insights we want to delve deeper into.

We go everywhere from male baking enthusiasts, to silver skiers, to crochet bikinis (apparently they’re a thing). We end up with a list of a dozen fascinating consumer trends, which will now need to be developed into data driven experiments in order to validate whether they’re strong enough predictions to become targeting segments that our clients can buy media against.

It is 4pm on Friday. I’m in our sales office near Westminster and I’ve got one last conference call to do with the mothership in San Jose, California, to nail down our product roadmap for Q2.

It’s a surprisingly sunny day outside. I decide to do the call while walking back home from Westminster to Notting Hill. I pass Big Ben, through St James’s Park, past Buckingham Palace, before venturing into Hyde Park. I stop at Kensington Palace and have a moment. A truly London moment.

And I appreciate the fact that even after six years living in this glorious city, I can still look at it through the eyes of a tourist. Facebook status update: "Phuong is feeling blessed".

Lowdown 

Age: 35
Favourite media: Instagram, i, Pitchfork, IMDB
My biggest inspiration: My mum. She fled Vietnam after the war ended as a refugee and travelled over 1000 miles at sea, heavily pregnant with me. She eventually landed in Hong Kong where I was born in a refugee camp, and I owe everything I have in life to her strength and perseverance.
Dream job: Panda handler
Not a lot of people know this about me: I suffer from a unique medical condition that holds me back from being able to twerk