When I was making my way through Manhattan from Penn Station at 9:00 in the morning, I was not sure what to expect from AppNexus. Prior to this experience I thought tech start-ups were just small companies with not that many employees and not too big of an office. When I got off of the elevator and entered the AppNexus office, I was thoroughly impressed. I was faced with a welcome desk and seating area with glass doors leading to the work area. Through those doors I could see a wide open room filled with tables with people’s computers and work on them. I was surprised by the openness of the room, but then again, AppNexus doesn’t believe in isolated work or cubicles. I was also greeted with a very familiar shade of orange on many of the walls and furniture.
I started my day by meeting my host, Tommi Hurme ’08. I was given a tour around the office and introduced to some of his coworkers. I then got an overview explaining what the company actually does. I learned that AppNexus deals with both ends of online advertising. I was told that AppNexus essentially holds auctions that take place in milliseconds to determine what ads show up on what webpages, using contextual and browsing history data. I then was able to sit in on a Sales Team meeting. It was very interesting to see how the team collaborated and figured out steps that needed to be taken to progress forwards. On the second day, I was able to attend a Product Team meeting. During this meeting, eight of the team members reported to everyone in the conference room on what they had been working on that week and how much progress they had made. It was really interesting to hear some of the things that they actually did on a daily basis. It was also cool to be able to see a young company growing as some of the projects were near completion or completed.
I also had a chance to meet with a few other Princeton alums. First I met with Michael, a member of the Products Team. He described to me the daily functions of his position and some of the stuff he was currently working on. He also explained how the interface that all employees and clients worked on was operated. I also met with a recent graduate who worked on the more technical side. We discussed what it was like working at AppNexus and some of what he did for the company. I found it very interesting how comfortable he felt at the office, having only been there a few months. I also met with quite a few other Princetonians who all gave me the same impression that AppNexus was an innovative company and a great place to work.
I really appreciated everyone taking time out of their day to give me a better understanding of what AppNexus does and what each of their roles were within the company. I think one of the best things about AppNexus was just how friendly and open to collaboration all of the employees were. Thanks to everyone involved for helping me make the most of the two days I spent at AppNexus.