Who am I?
An age old question, pontificated by the great and weak-minded alike.
Well for me, I think I’m Ryan Price, and therefore I am, and as I write this, I am nearing the end of the first of two Co-op work-terms for my fourth year in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Victoria… What a mouthful!
In addition to my Co-op, I am heavily involved in the Commerce Student Society as its current President, and I work part-time bartending to fill up the rest of my time. Since I haven’t got any free time at the moment, I don’t have many hobbies to speak of, but sometimes I think about taking a pottery course. So you could say I’m pretty into pottery.
My long-term goals involve starting and running my own business, and this work-term was a great starting point. Working as the Marketing Coordinator for Youneeq, taught me a lot about myself, and opened up my understanding of the booming technology industry. This position involved working in a dynamic and friendly work environment where I was able to experiment with different software, and explore new ways to achieve my day-to-day tasks.
What is Youneeq?
Youneeq, the company I have been working for, is a part of Digital Cavalier Services; it is a business to business, software as a service enterprise whose primary mandate is to increase its client’s revenue through user engagement. The majority of its customers are online media publishing networks that have large quantities of page views per month, but the product’s scalability is such that Youneeq works for publishers of any size. Youneeq functions through a set of industry-leading, machine-learning algorithms that track and analyze user behaviour, and present personalized content recommendations. These recommendations increase user engagement which in turn leads to increases in user dwell time, page views/user and eCPMs from ad agencies.
As a current business student, and coming from a background in the food and beverage industry, it was a new and exciting experience to begin working in what I like to call ‘a grown-up job’. Now, that’s not to say that my previous jobs were childish by any means, or that all activities at this new job are mature beyond reproach, just that this job at Youneeq marked the first step for me in terms of my new career path.
In my first few weeks at Youneeq, I felt as though I were traversing a whirlwind of information, fervently grabbing hold of everything that I could. I tried to learn as much about the company, the industry, our competitors, our products, and the people I worked with as fast as possible, in order to start contributing. One of the things I learned right away, and I think this is inherent of all start-ups, is that your job title does not wholly define your role. In a company that must remain flexible and adaptive, employees, both senior and junior, must ‘wear many hats’ as it were; the Youneeq team does a great job of this, with decades of collected business experience and enough developer brain power to make even a learned man such as myself feel the fool (unintentionally of course, they are all as friendly and welcoming as can be).
My Roles in the Company
I feel I was very fortunate in my role as Marketing Coordinator at Youneeq, as it was not just a matter of what I worked on, but whom I worked with that affected my progress. I shared an office with both the CEO and CTO for the majority of my work-term, and was privy to a great deal of high-level strategy sessions. I feel comfortable saying that I learned as much from this direct executive exposure as I did through my work in my role as marketer.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I came into this role a little green. At the beginning of the work-term I had very little knowledge of the B2B sales process, or even who to target in terms of campaigns. This position required a rapid learning process, which was expedited by Youneeq’s executive team, and coming to the end I feel I’ve developed a fairly good understanding of at least how Marketing in the tech start-up environment works.
Running marketing campaigns in the B2B environment is an interesting exercise in itself, as it involves attempting to convey your company’s value while hundreds, or thousands of others are doing the exact same thing. It feels kind of like casting a net into a pond filled with so many other nets you’re not even sure there are fish in there.
Content posts and material must have their own intrinsic value in order to even gain attention amongst the others, and be specifically tailored to appeal to the interest of target segments. Easy enough to say, but in practice keeping content fresh and relevant to potential customers takes more skill than I initially thought.
Graphic Designer… Kind of
Throughout my time at Youneeq there were many occasions where an image or logo needed to be altered, recreated, or repurposed to use in promotional or informational material. Before starting here I had very little experience with graphic software so I was a little trepidatious about using it to affect company logos. However, similar to my other learning experiences at Youneeq, it was fast paced and I was supported while I trundled along, created and editing things as I went.
Another one of the deliverables I was tasked with for my work-term was creating a series of animated, informational videos. Personally, coming from a background of very little videography or animation experience, this task came along with its very own sharp and pointy learning curve. Located here, I created two videos using GoAnimate, a third party software that provides a platform for video creation in the exact format I needed.
The first video gives a brief but detailed description of how Youneeq’s recommendation tracks, analyzes and presents behavioural data and recommendations. The second video gives an analysis of the differences in traffic tracking between Google Analytics and Youneeq, and how using the two together can give the user a more robust understanding of their site traffic.
From storyboarding to audio recording, these videos proved to be an interesting and entertaining use of my time, and it is a good feeling to know that something I created will be used by Youneeq.
As this post and my work-term come to a close, I fully realize and appreciate the opportunities that I’ve had working at Youneeq. I’ve felt like my contributions have made a difference and have learned a lot from the people I worked with, whose experience far outweighs my own. My term was all the more personally beneficial, as I kept an open mind to the tasks I was given; Similar to the rest of the team, I adapted to new responsibilities and objectives, all while maintaining the core mandates of the company.
If I can hold on to even a portion of what I’ve learned at Youneeq, I believe that I, my schooling, and my future career, will all be better for it. Moving forward, I fully expect to see great things from Youneeq in the very near future, and I will continue to hold everyone who works there in the highest possible regard.