24 Hours With… AppNexus Asia MD Sonal Patel

Sonal Patel24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella Asia’s world. Today, we hear about a day in the life of the Asia MD of ad tech firm AppNexus, Sonal Patel.

6.00am. My iPhone decides to do a little dance and make a whole lotta noise and try to get me up. After the second snooze I jolt up.

6.25am. A bolt of energy and I do some light yoga; meditate and allow my chakras to breathe. Oh my grandmother would have been so proud!

6.55am. I turn on the music with a mix of new/old school music. Nothing like hip hop to get you up fully. Shower and change and get ready for work.

7.40am. I take a cab due to early morning calls and the fact that I’m in little mood with the rain to wait for the bus.

7.55am. Head into the office and make a quick cup of tea (you can move me to Singapore but I still have British habits!) and grab some pistachios to kick start my day.

8am. Meeting with my sales ops head to go through the numbers and plans for remainder of Q3 and H2. A status update is needed quickly for a business review. Trajectory looks great and momentum is tracking well for Q3. Next discussion is planning for 2017. Looking at asks and pulse of where the APAC business can go.

9.55am. Rush out from the meeting room and then greet my team who are at their desks discussing a multitude of clients, last nights’ sports event and I ask for their specific business needs. I rattle through as much as I can before gathering the team for the next meeting.

Sonal Patel

10.03am The meeting is with my ‘tiger team’ for a specific initiative and a white-boarding session on what, where, how and who is managing this initiative. It’s a session of collaboration, addressing each stake-holders questions, concerns and driving to next steps. We’re all exhausted but come to a conclusion with outputs assigned and a map in front of us on how to deliver it.

12.15pm. I usually get little time for lunch, but am meeting a client at 12.30pm and head down to Din Tai Fung to stand in the queue and pray I get a table. DTF @MBFC can be very challenging to get a table. Luckily my client spots me in the queue as I am the next in line. We banter about the queue, the weather and what’s going on in the industry. The conversation inevitably turns to business, and specifically mobile monetisation, a great opportunity for me to discuss our mobile header bidding solution, Price Check. We agree to continue this one with our tech teams next week.

1.45pm. I rush back to the office for a 2pm meeting with another client while checking my phone and ducking and diving the office crowds.

2pm. Our meeting starts with the client and some of my team to discuss our offering; the client is very interested in header bidding and our out-stream video offering. This has been something of a theme of late. It’s turned into a white-boarding session with lines interlocked across the ad-stack!

3.15pm. Client meeting ends and we’ve gone over by 15 minutes. But it was worth giving context and thrashing out integration questions. I hedged 30 minutes, so got 15 minutes back to walk over to my team and see how things are. I like to stay connected with the team and we have a Whatsapp group that cuts across work and play. I’m a big believer in open dialogue.

3.30pm. Have a 1:1 scheduled with a team-member and we go through OKR check-in and general questions on some client questions and changes that have come up.

4.00pm. Check my phone. I have tweets that I find interesting from friends; industry changes and a few emails from friends and family.

4.15pm. I decide to negotiate between another cup of tea or water and opt for the latter; reminded to stay hydrated as much as possible.

4.30pm. I put on my headset; blast some Method-Man, JayZ and a more balanced Mariah Carey and whip out responses to emails.

5pm. Call with UK team to go through marketing plans for 2017 planning and getting budgets assigned for APAC region. Negotiation one of the many that will be under my purview.

6pm. Head back to my desk, banter with the office. Back on emails.

7pm. Meet friends at China Square and grab a quick drink and some bar snacks and banter about copious subjects that are trending on twitter, ad-tech and movies.

8.40pm. Head home to get ready for calls with NY, HQ.

9.00pm. Get on vidyo with my manager in New York, and go through tracking for last week and cover topics where I need HQ input and insight into key initiatives for 2017 planning.

10.00pm Last call with CRO and it’s shut down for me. I’m trying hard to shut off emails.

10.31pm Enjoy a well-deserved shower while humming Katy Perry in the shower.

10.45pm Sneak peak at my email and end up spending 17 mins reading and responding. Lost the battle today. I really wanted to watch this British drama show but its getting late now.

11.02pm Call my sister in London to wish her good luck on a major presentation she is doing and remind her to let me know if she wants anything from New York.

11.20pm Open up ‘The Best I Could’ by Subhas Anandan and read about legal pursuits in Singapore. Nothing like crime to put me to sleep.

12.11am Put down the book and think of one thing I loved doing today and fall asleep.


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