New Opportunities

My involuntary break from work didn’t last for long. I had to get back into the Ad Tech world! Meanwhile it’s an area I’m very passionate about. So where did i find the new challenge? It’s a relatively small company compared to Oath (now Verizon Media) with overall 480 employees and only 15 in my location. A joint venture of an ad network called previously Netzathleten that has been founded in 2007 and that belonged to RTL with a traditional print publisher being Mairdumont that has been founded in 1948 and got into online publishing and advertising over the past years. Mairdumont Netletix (with Netletix being the ad network) I found a role that is both challenging and impactful. I already knew the company as a leader in ad fraud detection from the Admanagerforum summits and what I’ve seen in the first two weeks working there only confirms the picture I had. Highly impressive technology based on DFP that has been extended and enhanced in almost every area.

Mairdumont, the new majority ownership part of the company has a fascinating history. On the company website it’s available only in German so I’ve put it through Google Translate and posting it here. IMHO it’s worth reading. True passion for travel, travel guides and maps:

Pioneers of travel

“What counts is exploration alone.” The thirst for adventure and the urge to discover had lured Kurt Mair, the founder of MAIRDUMONT, into the world in the 1920s. He traveled throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, from the North Cape to the Sahara. He preferred to ride his motorcycle or the standard Vanguard. He documented, described and mapped everything.

After World War II – Germany was largely destroyed – he already had the vision: The Germans will travel. And even then he knew that nothing was as positive as traveling. In 1948 he founded the Cartographic Institute Kurt Mair (later Mairs Geographical Publishing and MAIRDUMONT) with his own exploration service. His goal was: being on the move for everyone, the democratized version of upper-class educational travel. In short: travel as we know it today.

Their own reconnaissance cars were constantly on the move, their drivers traveling hundreds of thousands of kilometers to map and pick up roads and destroyed bridges. There were no authorities at that time that were responsible for the destruction caused by the World War. A cooperation with all road authorities of the federal states quickly developed, which allowed the publishing house to also include the planning in the street atlases. Her own exploration, then a real pioneering achievement, turned the resulting cards into sought-after products: no one else was that accurate and reliable at the time. The first “Shell Autoatlas Deutschland” developed from 1950 to the most important companion of German motorists and was largely the model of whole Atlas generations. Your own exploration became the guideline of the publisher’s development, both for maps and later for travel guides.

Again and again Kurt Mair pursued his own passion, traveling. The whole family went to Africa, through Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and across the Sahara, through Europe and Turkey. The expeditions were great adventures and, above all, exploratory trips, because it was written down and mapped. For months the travelers were in the tent, setting up their tents in the most beautiful places and, if possible, even on Mount Vesuvius or Toubkal, the highest peak in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. Regulations, but also travel guides or a functioning infrastructure did not exist then.

His son Volkmar Mair took over after the sudden death of his father the publisher. He, too, has blood travel and crossed Russia in 1960, the first German car, from Berlin to Warsaw to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Kiev, Yalta and Odessa.

Since 01.01.2010 his daughter Stephanie Mair-Huydts is the spokeswoman of the management. His son Frank Mair is also in the management.

Pioneering spirit, thirst for adventure and the will to innovate were not only characteristic for the emergence of MAIRDUMONT. They can also be found in the history of publishers belonging to the publishing group MAIRDUMONT. Many of them were themselves far-sighted pioneers and pioneers in their field: the Baedeker publishing house. Karl Baedeker is considered the founder of the travel guide worldwide. In 1832 he created the world’s first travel guide with his title “Rheinreise”. Gerhard Falk invented the patented FALK city map folding and the hyperboloid projection. Hallwag and Kümmerly + Frey are deeply rooted in the history of travel with their roots, DuMont with its reputation for individuality, cosmopolitanism and intellectuality, as well as Lonely Planet, a synonym for individual tourism worldwide. All of our publishers and partners, pioneers of travel, are now united under one roof.

This spirit can be felt in the company today. Traveling is constantly changing. The media development provides new ways for information and inspiration for the traveler. MAIRDUMONT repeatedly creates innovations, whether in mobile or web-based media or in print.

From: https://www.mairdumont.com/unternehmen/pioniere-des-reisens/

The last day

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On January 31st 2019 was my last day in the former Yahoo office in Munich (now Verizon Media). The special items of past and current brands on the photo will get a honorable place on a shelf in my living room! After almost exactly 15 years, many roles & responsibilities, various company strategies and even company names, a CEO Challenge and a LEAD award it’s time to move on to find new adventures and opportunities. Bleeding purple has been always a way of life for me and for a very long time I had a sticker on the back of my car saying “Do You Yahoo?”. It has been an exciting journey for me from my times as Product Manager CNS to the last role as Technical Solutions Manager. It has never been boring! I met great people, learned a lot, worked with state-of-the-art technologies, have seen amazing places on off-sites and had the opportunity to get completely new perspectives with various company mergers.

THE FALL OF FLASH

Sometimes my company gives me the opportunity to do some really cool things. That happened recently. I composed a blog post for the BrightRoll corporate blog together with the technical writer and PR team about a topic I’m passionate about, the Flash deprecation. Check it out: https://brightroll.com/blog/fall-flash-what-video-advertisers-need-know

IAB SafeFrame

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Last week I had the opportunity to present a relatively new IAB standard on a local ad industry event in Germany, the Admanagerforum (More: http://www.admanagerforum.de/). It’s a technology I highly anticipated and supported at Yahoo, the company I work for before it was even submitted to the IAB. I certified rich media vendors for it and made sure it rolled out properly across Yahoo sites in Europe and Middle East (EMEA). Some peopele say that too specific standards kill innovation in the online industry but in my opinion it’s the cure to many problems in online advertising. From security, ad fraud, code quality to billing and discrepancies. SafeFrame is an important step ahead in improving ad code quality in rich media ad tags, improving security for publisher sites and it provides the ability for billing based on viewable impressions too (finally accredited by the MRC). Ad fraud is something that’s more difficult in a SafeFrame environment as well. About half of the audience in the summit has been on DFP and Google recently implemented support for this in GPT so the feedback and interest was better than I expected. Approximately one third of the audience indicated interest in learning more about the topic later.

Enjoy this great infographic from the IAB website (http://www.iab.net/safeframe) and listen to my colleague Sean Snider, the software architectect who mainly developed SafeFrame at Yahoo and James Deaker explaining the viewablity aspect. My presentation in German is available here via OneDrive: http://1drv.ms/1CCLwcs

safeframes-infographic

Mozilla Firefox to block 3rd party cookies

IAB 2013-04-16_1434

If you are an owner of a blog and you try to monetize it you won’t be happy about an upcoming feature of Firefox that Mozilla will introduce in version 22. Mozilla will block 3rd party cookies that are used by most banner ads. The Do-Not-Track signal will be also turned on by default. The IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has put up a petition against this. I encourage you to sign it!

http://www.iab.net/mozilla_petition/

More thoughts on Flash vs. HTML5

I started a video tutorial training at lynda.com on HTML5 as I’m getting more and more impressed by the new possibilities of HTML5 and CSS3. Yesterday during lunch I ran into a hot discussion about Adobe Flash vs. HTML5 with a colleague who is a former Flash developer, just as I am … I have been a bit more on the designer side but stopped working with Flash about the time MX came out. So we both are not using Flash actively anymore although I have to check FLA files from time to time and got recently into the Flash-Video topic at work as I supported a project related to online advertising and video. Moreover I had a Flash CS4/ActionScript3 training a few months ago at work so I got up to speed regarding the latest features and capabilities of Flash. A good starting point for an intense tech-discussion! 🙂 I also learned about the possibility of creating Flash projects without actually buying Flash by using FlashDevelop. So basically a hardcore developer can’t tell you anymore that he doesn’t get into Flash because for him it’s an ugly piece of 2D animation software and you can’t say that it’s a matter of money what you chose. There are many aspects of the discussion like the speed and reliability of Flash on mobile devices or older machines (Apple picked that up and banned Flash) and if you are more a designer who wants do do animation or really code stuff from the scratch.

In the end I think there is a fight going on to win the hearts and minds of developers (this article comes to the same conclusion: http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/05/the-future-of-web-content-html5-flash-mobile-apps/)… Flash, Silverlight and HTML5 are awesome frameworks for great web content but the question for me is: why should I build HTML5 sites that look and behave different from browser to browser where I can have a cross-platform-plug-in like Flash that renders them the same way everywhere? Is it because Flash is a proprietary technology (I know that Adobe claims the opposite) and HTML5 is an open standard driven by W3C, whatwg.org, Apple, Microsoft, Google and some other companies ? For sure it is but what has Adobe done wrong that would make people switch? Has it been abusing their market position? The answer is NO in my opinion. They never made people register for downloading the Flash player or tried to abuse their dominance too much. Microsoft provides with Silverlight an extremely powerful toolset… but yea, it’s from Microsoft so nobody really trusts them (I recently tried out their new Expression… pahh! Forget Adobe Dreamweaver! This is much more powerful for only-CSS-based-websites).

I’m very curious where the trend goes but there are indications about an end of the “Adobe vs. Apple” war. Apple now allows apps to be compiled in Flash for example: http://www.reghardware.com/2010/09/09/apple_ios_runtime_green_light/

So maybe Flash, HTML5 and Silverlight will peacefully co-exist in future. People who always used open source like PHP will probably support HTML5 and everyone who used to work with Flash like media agencies will keep it and Silverlight? Not sure but there must be someone using it 😉 I keep learning HTML5 and CSS3 just as I enjoyed learning Adobe Flash AS3 … and right now I’m downloading Microsoft Visual Studio Lightswitch Beta 🙂

One thing I forgot about… once HTML5 gets finalized the Flash vs. HTML5 debate will be over. Everyone will learn HTML5 instead of HTML4 or do you know someone who still writes HTML3 and embeds Flash for the advanced stuff? The question won’t be: “will HTML5 replace Flash?” but “now that I know HTML5 why should I use Flash?”. Consequence: Flash must get better (probably much better) to survive once HTML5 becomes a final standard.

Useful info on Flash vs. HTML5:

http://remysharp.com/2010/02/08/html5-vs-flash/

http://www.ludamix.com/archives/2010/02/entry_5.html

demos:

http://websatisfactionpr.com/projects/websatisfactionpr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=131:html5-demo&catid=51:tips&Itemid=18

http://www.mygeekpal.com/276/working-with-html5-the-future-of-web/

How AMD copes with Nvidia “standards”

AMD always had a a difficult time when it came to standards. Just recently they announced they are going to remove 3DNow! from future CPUs. AMD now recommends going for SSE (that Intel introduced BTW)… so here it seems they lost the standard-fight. For sure it’s not easy to establish standards against giants like Intel or Nvidia but AMD found a way to cope with this! … and a smart one too.

As I described in my last post Nvidia is trying to push PhysX & CUDA (their hardware acceleration standard for physics in games) with all their power they still have in the market. They team up with game software companies, support their game development and probably even pay them not to implement support for the technology of “the other guys” (that would be ATI – pardon AMD… now they are one company and are phasing out the ATI brand).

More or less the same happened with the 3D glasses technology… Nvidia pushed the market to support their standard with 3D Vision and some hardware manufacturers even followed them. It’s basically the only 3D shutter glasses set available right now… but here comes the trick: you can use it only with Nvidia graphics cards. Surprise 😉 Probably you could hack them to work with AMD but that’s a different story.

AMD could go ahead and invent their own standards and fight the standard-war trying to establish them… but you need a lot of money for such an approach and you probably are going to lose in the end (like with 3DNow!). AMD came up with a clever strategy here. They try to win with open standards against Nvidia and their proprietary technology. AMD supports OpenCL (physics engine acceleration), OpenGL ES (web browser acceleration) and just recently I learned about Open Stereo 3D (for 3D shutter glasses) . I just hope this works out for AMD!

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/3dnow-simd-extensions-phenom-sse,11128.html

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/03/15/amd.announces.partners.on.open.stereo.3d.standard/