Friday, August 19, 2016

What My Boss Taught Me Before Leaving the Organization | The Secret to Achieve Anything

Some things we don’t want to do or plan for in the first place, but it happens anyway. Similarly, I never thought I would be working in the advertising industry – and here I am, having completed my first work anniversary at Exponential Interactive recently.

In the past eighteen months, I have learned a lot and grown more so. Credit goes to my manager, Chandra. He taught me a lot of things – but one of the most important and useful stuff was how to achieve anything by setting up goals.

Before I knew about it, I wondered how big businesses are built. How successful people lay plans and achieve what they want to. I used to think there had to be a genie behind all of this – some kind of high-level strategist.

Turns out it’s no rocket science, there is no secret. It is actually pretty simple: convert and break your goal statements/objectives into numbers. What it means is turning your objective statements into actionable sub-goals which you can track and make efforts accordingly.

Key here is to make things quantifiable because you know, making mere statements like, “I want to save more money” for instance (or put your own life goal here) doesn’t work practically. You would want to see yourself making progress towards your goal.

Let me give you a quick example. One of my work responsibilities is to acquire ad inventory for spending ad budgets we secure for our publishers. At times, we get more ad bookings than what was earlier expected. My job is to support demand with adequate supply. For this to happen, we need to know the exact demand and inventory requirement. We set goals for this – we put numbers in place.

For instance, we serve 1.5 BN ad impressions every quarter in a particular market and say it needs to be increased by 50%, i.e. 2.25 BN per quarter. That means 750 MN per month (2.25 divided by 3) against 500 MN we already have (1.5 BN divided by 3). So, we need additional 250 MN every month (750 MN – 500 MN). Here’s a little chart (you can make your goal sheet too):


We further divide it into number of publisher partners we need to acquire the deficit – 10 publishers each with 25 MN capacity or 5 publishers with 50 MN each. Rest is up to us how we achieve it. In the next few weeks, we would track our progress to know where we stand and adjust things accordingly.

This makes objectives easy to realize. And it pretty much applies to everything we want to do in our lives:

“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to save more money.”
“I want to finish this book.”

If you want to lose weight, measure what you weigh now and set a target weight you want to achieve, say you’d like to cut it by 9 kg. Then decide on a time frame, 3 months? So, 3 kg every month. Now, go on to decide how many meals you need to take every day and nutrient quantities (again numbers here) per meal. Track your progress in between to check if you’ve lost 1.5 kg by mid-week or 3 kg at the end of the first month. You’ll see a new version of yourself after 3 months.

Similarly, for saving more money, measure how much you want to save and put numbers in place. For saving 50,000 by the end of 2017, how much you have to save every day, every month. Start saving and keep track of your progress.

Finish the book you were thinking of reading for a while now? Count the pages and decide by when you want to finish reading it. 200 pages in 20 days? That’s 10 pages every day. Then depending on your reading speed, how many hours you have to put per day to finish 10 pages, 2 hours? There you go.

You can use the same process over and over again to plan and achieve the things you want.

This post was pending due my first anniversary at Exponential. But, there could be no better time than now to publish it to show my respect and gratitude for Chandra. He has been a great mentor and friend to me – and will always remain to be so.

Chandra used to ask me to write something related to ad tech every now and then. I haven’t written any new blog post in the past one year. I am writing one now, because of him. May be this is my parting gift to him.

Chandra resigned few days back and today is his last day at work. During work transition, I had few doubts and whenever I used to ask him or wanted to discuss something, “Boss, what about this?”, he always corrected me with a smile, “Ex-Boss.”

You’ll always be the BOSS, Chandra.

P.S.: Enuf said. If Chandra is reading this, he’ll get the reference.


  1. Nice way to say Goodbye .....good to read something that's worth thinking about....!!
    Write more often if you can !!