Tim Cronin is undaunted. An industry veteran, he’s still charged by both the thrill of existing in an ever- evolving and growing arena and by a personal sense of enthusiasm.
Tim began as the VP of Sales at AAX in March 2019, becoming the first AAX presence on US soil. Since then, he says, the AAX position has just gotten stronger…and his excitement level and enthusiasm are just the same as when he started. The fact that there’s “lots of work left to do” only adds fuel to the fire.
We talked about his time at AAX, looked back on a career that began in 1997 when Tim was at his first start-up, and touched on what the future will bring.
And of course we talked about what’s keeping Tim, who’s based near Boston, occupied during the era of COVID-19. Short answer? Creating a family-wide “jog club” that keeps everyone fit and reduces stress, and becoming a (sometimes reluctant) star of his daughters’ trending videos on TikTok.
AAX: The path that led you to AAX has been a fascinating one—you’re been in tech since the very beginning of tech! Can you tell us a bit about that?
Tim Cronin: Yeah, I was at my first start-up back in 1997. If there was an “aha” moment, it was getting equity—to be young and get stock options is a formative thing!
What that meant to me, in that moment, was the reason we all work so hard: because you have a little piece. And that piece has worth. It has worth monetarily, of course, but it’s also valuable because it points to something bigger. When you’re in a career with so much risk/reward it’s amazing to see that the reward is real.
Plus, when you take the time to look back on it, the reward is seeing how far you’ve come and accomplished and knowing there’s more to do.
I think the success in that first start-up launched me in a very real way: when you experience success you chase that. And I love that about the ad tech industry: it’s always evolving, always presenting new ways to serve ads to the consumer. There’s so much innovation and growth, and I love the excitement of that.
AAX: Was it that excitement that led you to AAX, then? Or was it something else?
Tim Cronin: It was another early stage ad tech challenge, and there’s always excitement there! I really saw the need for AAX and a unique value proposition for publishers and brands. We talk a lot about restoring balance between monetizing quality content while providing use controls, and that’s exactly it: AAX brings some badly-needed balance.
When I first came to AAX— I was hired to reach out to American publishers—there was a lot of groundwork to be done to be a presence. I felt comfortable that we had a great value proposition and great product.t. Most importantly, I knew that success was attainable after meeting the team, our most valuable asset.
I was drawn to AAX’s global culture. Work environments need to provide you with a place where you’re primed to succeed: you need a healthy, positive culture. The energy needs to be focused on moving forwards. And that’s what AAX has.
AAX: You’ve been at AAX since March of 2019. What’s changed since then, if anything?
Tim Cronin: Our position has just gotten stronger! We’re able to work with some really high quality publishers and reach these unique users.
The pandemic hit everyone, but aside from some changes to me personally (like working from home and eating a lot of the bread my wife has been baking) things are going full steam ahead at AAX.
AAX: You didn’t get into bread-baking, then?
No, I went the fitness route! My family started something called Jog Club: just jogging around the track at the high school down the street. Everyone in the family—my college-aged daughters were home during lockdown— was running at different paces, but we started and ended together. That was great for me as a dad.
Then I made a few TikToks with my daughters. I indulged them at first but now it’s a little annoying. Sometimes I’m still in their TikToks, but it’s more in the role of an unwilling star.
AAX: From your vantage point, what are some challenges ahead? How is COVID-19 going to change things up for the industry?
Tim Cronin: I’d like to see continued consolidation in the marketplace and fewer middlemen. There have been a lot of middlemen in the ad tech space. What I’m hoping to see in the era of COVID-19 are more acquisitions and consolidation—that’s a good thing.
AAX: And what does the future for AAX hold?
We’ll continue to be the marketplace for the web’s most tech savvy, well educated, and discriminating consumers.
And when it comes to these consumers, our focus will continue to be on the choices they make, and their right to enjoy an excellent online browsing experience. AAX will keep prioritizing the serving ads to exclusive consumers and continuing to respect their feedback, letting them decide what the right amount of ads is.
There’s a lot of work left to do—but my excitement level and enthusiasm is just the same as when I started.