The Transformation Series: Wenzhao “WZ” Yang
by Wenzhao (WZ) Yang, Senior Manager, Marketing Science
I grew up in China and when I was a kid I dreamed of playing professional basketball, but I stopped growing at 6’ and that aspiration came to an end. So I set my sights on other things and decided to come to the US where I’ve been studying and working for the past 10 years. Back when I was in college, studying math and statistics, I was trying to decide which career path to take. I started reading a book about which majors make a lot of money and that’s when I stumbled on actuarial science. You aren’t alone if you have no idea what that is, I had no idea myself. I started researching it and found that in order to be successful in this degree, you have to take some really rigorous and difficult exams. Taking exams is a major strength of mine and the book said I’d make a lot of money, so I went for it.
Turns out, I was successful in completing all exams and the major itself. The hardest part came when I was trying to actually find a job. At this point in time, there were many factors making it difficult for me to find a position as an actuary. A cousin of mine knew I was having a hard time and got me an interview at the company he worked for. The position wasn’t for an actuary, it was for a marketing science role at an advertising agency and that’s when I made my entrance to the media and advertising world. Needless to say, the two fields are not directly related. But my degree didn’t go to waste, it set me up for success. In my role at the agency, I needed to be able to read data and QA it, catch mistakes or inconsistencies and pay very close attention to detail. That’s exactly what my actuary studies taught me to do and ultimately, enabled me to grow as an analytics person in media sales.
A lot has changed since then. For one, I decided to make the move from the agency to VideoAmp which was a huge transition. Marketing science means so much more here than it did at the agency. In my previous role, it was hard to see where my work was making an impact. At VideoAmp, I can clearly see how every project I work on directly affects revenue or our internal teams.
Admittedly, when I first joined VideoAmp, I felt a little stressed. I was overwhelmed when trying to ingest and understand all of the data, products and offerings. But with the team’s help and my own determination, I’ve been able to grow exponentially. At first, I was working on smaller projects like TVM reporting and from there I got more and more challenged with each task. It was never more than I could handle, but just enough to keep me growing, learning and solving new challenges. And I owe a lot of this to my teams and the time we take to brainstorm together.
It’s really refreshing and inspiring to see how the people at VideoAmp work together towards common goals. At my previous role, it was easy to feel isolated because I was often working on solo projects or on very small teams. What I love about the culture at VideoAmp is how everyone is so willing to offer help and answer questions. What I also love about the culture is how vocal team members and execs are when it comes to raising each other up and highlighting each other’s accomplishments. Feeling appreciated and recognized for the work I’m doing motivates me to do so much more and give 100% everyday.
Culture aside, one of the most motivating factors about working for VideoAmp is believing in the mission and goals. The measurement solutions and products being created and perfected were major draws in accepting the job and have proven to be just as exciting and innovative as I thought they’d be. Getting so much exposure to the linear and measurement side of the business has been eye opening and invaluable. On top of it all, the leadership has so much experience and endless amounts of knowledge for me to learn from and grow.
I think one of the most unique things about my time at VideoAmp has been how both my soft and technical skills have grown. Usually you only see one of these skill sets grow at a job.
But at a startup you are given so much more opportunity, responsibility and visibility. I’m not a piece of the small atoms within the machine, I’m a large part of the machine. My colleagues trust me and I appreciate it so much. I can honestly say that joining VideoAmp was one of the best life decisions I’ve made so far and I’m so excited for the year to come and what else is in store.