Before we open a new req at Microsoft, the recruiter sits down with the hiring manager and discusses the role, the business problem to be solved and where we might find this person. (Shocking, game changing, inside information I know, but bear with me… ). The reason I bring this up though, is that in my Advertising R&D -Development org, the problems we’re trying to solve have very little to do with the domain of Online Advertising.
Since the launch of Bing we’ve seen steady growth in our search share and tons of positive feedback on the features and user experience. This is all goodness, but frankly, none of Bing’s accomplishments matter if we can’t monetize them. This is where the Ad Platform comes in. Now that we’ve redrawn the search battlefield, we have to do deliver a “just as compelling” Ad Platform to take advantage of all these new eyeballs!
In order to do that, the big three areas we’re focused on in Ads R&D are: Scalability, Operability and Performance. Problems that are typically associated with large, online, distributed platform development more so than Click Through Rates, Search Engine Optimization and other Online Advertising buzzwords.
This perspective comes in handy when I read resumes and talk to candidates. I was on the phone with someone today who was very passionate about Distributed Systems, dealing with high transaction volume and very large data problems. He wanted to develop features for computing on a massive scale and could not wrap his head around why I was trying to sell him on a job in Internet Advertising. I explained to him that our Ad Platform was currently handling about 13 Billion transactions a day and that’s with a 9.9 Search share! I explained that figuring out how to scale that in a manageable way 100x was really the heart of what Ads R&D Development was focused on. Not surprisingly, the conversation went much smoother the rest of the way!