Behind The Vine with Alex Roth

Alex from Mediavine arms crossed smiling

It takes a village for excellent full service ad management and that is definitely true at Mediavine.

We have an incredible team of Teal pros working constantly to maximize your every pageview and ad placement. While you might interact with some of them at conferences or through email, there’s a whole army of people behind the scenes that are also making the ad magic happen.
That’s why we’ve started this Behind The Vine employee interview series on the Mediavine blog. We want you to have the chance to get to know these awesome folks.

Alex RothWe’re kicking things off this week with Software Engineer Alex Roth. Alex was the fifth Mediavine employee hired and our first engineer after Eric Hochberger (CEO and co-founder). Welcome to the blog, Alex!

Tell us your name and where you’re from.

I’m Alex Roth and I’m originally from Bismarck, ND but now I live in Saint Paul, MN!

What does “Software Engineer” mean? What do you actually do in any given day?

At its core a Software Engineer is someone who solves problems with software! Lately I’ve been working with Cynthia, our Director of Yield Optimization, to connect all our data to our business analytics tools to help our publishers make more money without them having to lift a finger. It’s pretty rewarding to see the work I’ve done directly impact our publishers like that!

Alex Roth and Cynthia Butler

Alex with Director of Yield Optimization Cynthia Butler

How long have you been with Mediavine?

I started at Mediavine in November of 2016 so I’ve been here about 3 and a half years? It both feels like it hasn’t been that long and also that it’s been forever.

How have you seen the company change in that time? How has your job evolved?

Mediavine has grown significantly in the two years I’ve been here! We’ve gone from about 500 publishers to over 7200, and our team has grown from just 7 people to over 80!

I originally started out working on building up our development teams, taking care of hiring and managing, to now getting to work in code every day! It’s been full of a lot of interesting challenges and the work I’m doing today has changed significantly from where it was 3 years ago, and that’s part of the reason I’ve loved working here! No two days are ever the same and it keeps things interesting.

What is the one thing you want publishers to know about what goes into the Mediavine technology they use daily?

A lot of people don’t realize that software engineering is itself an art! The developers here take a lot of time to carefully craft the code that powers our ad tech, and it really comes through not just in the money it’s generating for your site, but also the code itself is meticulously put together in a way that allows us to keep building on top of it without it crumbling down!

You may not be able to see it unless you also speak code, but we’re building beautiful software that I think really compliments the amazing content already on your website. When you join the Mediavine family we’re not just putting another script on the page, we’re in a way displaying our own art in the code of your site, something each of us have put ourselves into when creating it. Our philosophy with hiring engineers has always been to hire people who treat their craft with respect and are constantly trying to improve. We take the code we write seriously because we know it’s your livelihood.

A German Shepherd/Lab mix wearing a red plaid bandana.

Alex’s dog, Hodor

How has the Mediavine ad tech evolved since you arrived? If you could describe the future of Mediavine’s ad tech in 3 words, what would they be?

So much has changed! We started out with all of our tech being in a single code base, which was great for 500 publishers but ultimately wouldn’t have let us scale to where we are today.

We now have different services, each with their own specialized jobs that lets us mitigate the risk if one of those services gets sick, and also helps us add more publishers as quickly as we do. We’ve also rewritten our script wrapper and video player so we could add in the Up Next feature, the sticky player and a LOT of performance improvements that have turbo charged the engine of our ad tech!

If I had to describe the future of Mediavine’s ad tech in three words, at the risk of sounding corny, they’d be “Better. Faster. Stronger.”

Alex Roth works on a laptop computer. A spotted Great Dane lays at his side, watching him work.

Alex working alongside Lead Technical Support Engineer Trista Jensen’s dog, Fritzie

What are the most exciting things you’re working on and how do you see them positively impacting Mediavine publishers?

Right now I’m working a lot with data and aside from affecting our yield, you can expect us to use this data to provide more powerful, personalized health checks that will provide even more insight on how to maximize your earnings, boost your traffic and engage your audience more effectively.

As a company, Mediavine is working to create a completely inclusive environment where all employees (existing or potential) feel welcome, included, properly represented and able to show up as their full selves. In this spirit, Mediavine has added Charity Matching, Social Responsibility and Community Service Programs.
What organizations/causes/movements/etc. do you feel most aligned with or choose to support?

I’m a firm believer in social justice across the board, but I specifically want to highlight some charities that I’ve personally contributed to recently:

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I spend a lot of time with my dog, playing video games, or just generally exploring the Twin Cities! I’ve also been working on strengthening my cooking skills and have gotten to the point where I can make some pretty great meals from scratch 🙂 I have to say, it’s been pretty fun looking up recipes from our publishers and getting to try them out!

A black cat lays on her back, feet curled up, head tilted to the side.

Alex’s cat Salem

Do you have any pets? What do they do for fun when you’re working? 😀

I think at this point I don’t have my pets, but rather they allow me to live with them since they run the home. I’ve got Hodor, a 3-ish year old German Shepherd/Lab mix who I rescued shortly before starting at Mediavine, and Salem, an 8 year old black cat who’s been with me since I moved out of my parents’ house back in the day.

They spend a lot of time catching up on sleep while I’m working or cuddling next to me so when I’m done working they’re ready to play! Occasionally they’ll chase each other around the house while I’m working which is a pretty great sight to see a 10 pound cat chasing a 90 pound dog more than 5 times her size!

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