‘Helping clients navigate the murkiness of the digital ecosystem excites me’ – 24 hours with… Integral Ad Science’s Shawn Byun

Ensuring digital is a safe environment for advertisers makes the long hours worthwhile for Shawn Byun, Integral Ad Science account director, sales Southeast Asia. But there's also time for team-building lunches, reading and even a spot of self-reflection

7.00am – On most days I wake up between 7 and 7:30 and start my day with manuka honey and avocado, a habit I picked up from my university days. It keeps me going until I grab my breakfast on the way to the office

As much as I’d like to say that I hit the gym in the mornings – I don’t! .I do a quick scan of my emails and calendar to get a sense of priorities for the day. I action urgent emails and chats. Fuss-free mornings are my thing.

8:15am – I leave for the office. On the go, I scan my media feeds to get a macro perspective on global/regional events. The IAS office is located at the OUE Downtown Gallery. It’s an enviable location with many F&B options.

But I stick to my regular breakfast which is either Chicken Char Siew from Yakun or Chicken Ham sandwich from Freshe. It’s usually accompanied by ice tea without milk and sugar, or as locals call it – Teh O Kosong Peng from Yakun or Old Tea Hut.

9.00am – I  plan my day around urgent and important deliverables – to do’s, to follow up. Planning is key for me. I’m someone who likes to approach my day in a very planned and organised manner to make sure I achieve most of my day and am able to prioritise key tasks.

Once that’s done, I clear my emails and action them in accordance to priorities. I allocate time to dive into general news and ad tech news through various media sources such as Reuters, Bloomberg, Google News, Detik, Kompas, Adweek, ExchangeWire to name a few.

I make a point of sharing the articles with my team, and external contacts, if it’s relevant to them. I also share external research/trend papers pertaining to digital practices with my agencies and clients to help them stay up to date with the latest news and trends.

10.00am – After taking care of the urgent tasks, I return to my inbox and get to the long-winded explanation/clarification emails which I often follow up with calls, so clients can quickly clarify and get what they need to action the insights.

After clearing emails, I prepare for internal meetings. I update the deck with product/sales updates from the global team and share with the wider teams so they have the most recent insights to share with their industry partners.

11.00am – A big part of my job involves driving relationships with large brand advertisers and their digital/social agencies to align their media needs to the opportunities presented by IAS. I liaise with brands/agencies in the region and keep them abreast of wider tech/digital trends to help them stay ahead of the curve.

I schedule regular syncs with the MD to talk about sales activities, insights about markets, the product roadmap and global updates. We also brainstorm challenges and upcoming opportunities in the region as well as local markets and address any obstacles.

12:15pm—  We’re halfway through the day. Lunchtime it is! The team braves the crowd to grab lunch near the office and that could be Amoy Food Centre, Chatterbox Express, Shenton House and Han Ka Ram (한가람) at AXA.

Since I travel a fair bit across the region for work, when I’m in Singapore, lunch serves as “we time” when I’m able to chat informally with my teammates, check on each other’s day/week or bond with them over shared interests. The hour flies by.

I make a point of grabbing another cup of Teh O Kosong Peng at a nearby Old Tea Hut on my way back to the office, again a matter of habit.

1:30pm—  Afternoons are mostly dedicated to regular catch-ups with my team which includes the Customer Success and Client Services teams to ensure our priorities around client activations are on track.

I get the team to flag any challenges that need immediate resolution. I provide a region-specific update and get into deep-dive analysis into any major tier accounts. Mentoring the team to help support clients make informed decisions on their digital practice is what I enjoy the most.

3:30pm – It’s one of those days where clients meetings are packed in the afternoons. During my catch-ups I take time to listen, understand and clarify with our partners their business and campaign challenges and help them with possible solutions. That could be around media quality education/awareness or IAS product.

Helping clients navigate the murkiness of the digital ecosystem and being able to support them in making informed decisions is what excites me most about my role. Making digital a safe place for advertisers to confidently invest in digital makes the long hours worthwhile.

Whoever knows me well, knows I’m passionate about technology and its ability to disrupt the status quo for organisations or even individuals, and eventually add value.

6.00pm— As the day comes to a close, grabbing dinner – preferably Asian cuisine – becomes my top priority. Dinners are usually at a food court or restaurant with a friend or colleague. It’s a good time to discuss and debate technology, and some of the cool stuff companies are doing.

8.00pm — I get back online. Since I’m in a regional role and some markets are an hour behind Singapore, I use this time to help the partners with any end of day asks/clarifications. After wrapping up work calls, I catch up with friends and family.

10.00pm I don’t watch TV or have a subscription to Netflix, so that affords me time to engage in self-reflection every evening. It’s probably the most exigent and therapeutic part of the day. Cutting through the day’s noise and finding those moments of truth, feedback which will help me do better the next day.

Being able to quantify my achievements, successes and failures makes me strive harder to achieve the milestones that I’ve set for myself.

11.00pm – It’s almost bedtime, but not quite. I sometimes have calls with US teams to liaise on products, sales etc. If no calls are scheduled I engage in pre-sleep reading on technology, merger and acquisitions and startup news.

12 midnight –  It’s bedtime.

Shawn Byun is account director, sales Southeast Asia for Integral Ad Science


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