Tapad

Tapad

New York, NY

www.tapad.com

Grade: A

SummaryGreat access to CEO, company has own constitution, great collaboration connectivity, unlimited vacation days policy, good perks and fun and of course a relaxing lounge with an artificial fireplace.

Intro: CEO Are Traasdahl, EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, puts a lot of time and energy into hiring the best and the brightest. That investment demands that we establish and nurture a culture that enables employees to thrive once they are here. We’ve even committed it in a self-authored document called the ‘Tapad Constitution.’ The signatures of every Tapad employee – the same folks who helped forge our constitution – can be seen on the document.

Additionally, having Tapad’s CEO know his employees on a personal level and readily available to discuss company updates, issues, or brainstorm future ideas is a huge competitive advantage. Tapad brainstorms and executes as a team, and the company’s multiple opportunities to bond as a team in both professional and recreational settings encourage this.

Staying connected is a top priority at Tapad. Despite having 13 offices in four countries, Tapaders stay connected through weekly all-team updates, video chats, conference calls, office visits and even our remote-in robot, Tappy. Each year, external office employees fly to Tapad’s HQ in New York for an all-team company meeting and holiday party.

One of the most common questions we get asked by potential engineering hires is what kind of cloud service we use. Despite the cloud being a great solution for some companies, it is not the right solution for Tapad.  Due to dealing with latency issues, we have our own data centers which operate around 18 Petabytes of data per day. On the development side we use technologies to scale for both our frontend and backend development teams. We are a 100% Scala shop for the backend and JavaScript on the front end. Advanced technological solutions to dealing with massive amounts of data are a significant draw for top-tier developers.

Tapad also utilizes the “Netflix” unlimited vacation days policy and we encourage constant transparency across all departments and communication. We encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and want our employees to take the initiative with no red tape. Working at Tapad offers a great work-life balance.

In addition to providing growth and development opportunities at Tapad through continuing education and the “Tapad Talent Mobility Program,” the company also offers competitive wages.

Impact statements: 

  • One of the most appealing aspects of our company to technology workers is that we are very forward thinking and flexible in terms of the technology we use.
  • CEO Are Traasdahl, EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, puts a lot of time and energy into hiring the best and the brightest.
  • We’ve even committed it in a self-authored document called the ‘Tapad Constitution.’ The signatures of every Tapad employee – the same folks who helped forge our constitution – can be seen on the document.
  • Additionally, having Tapad’s CEO know his employees on a personal level and readily available to discuss company updates, issues, or brainstorm future ideas is a huge competitive advantage.
  • Staying connected is a top priority at Tapad. Despite having 13 offices in four countries, Tapaders stay connected through weekly all-team updates, video chats, conference calls, office visits and even our remote-in robot, Tappy. Each year, external office employees fly to Tapad’s HQ in New York for an all-team company meeting and holiday party.
  • We are a 100% Scala shop for the backend and JavaScript on the front end. Advanced technological solutions to dealing with massive amounts of data are a significant draw for top-tier developers.
  • Tapad also utilizes the “Netflix” unlimited vacation days policy and we encourage constant transparency across all departments and communication. We encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and want our employees to take the initiative with no red tape. Working at Tapad offers a great work-life balance.
  • In addition to providing growth and development opportunities at Tapad through continuing education and the “Tapad Talent Mobility Program,” the company also offers competitive wages.
  • CEO Are Traasdahl, EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, puts a lot of time and energy into hiring the best and the brightest. That investment demands that we establish and nurture a culture that enables employees to thrive once they are here. We’ve even committed it in a self-authored document called the ‘Tapad Constitution.’ The signatures of every Tapad employee – the same folks who helped forge our constitution – can be seen on the document.
  • Additionally, having Tapad’s CEO know his employees on a personal level and readily available to discuss company updates, issues, or brainstorm future ideas is a huge competitive advantage. Tapad brainstorms and executes as a team, and the company’s multiple opportunities to bond as a team in both professional and recreational settings encourage this.
  • Staying connected is a top priority at Tapad. Despite having 13 offices in four countries, Tapaders stay connected through weekly all-team updates, video chats, conference calls, office visits and even our remote-in robot, Tappy. Each year, external office employees fly to Tapad’s HQ in New York for an all-team company meeting and holiday party.
  • One of the most common questions we get asked by potential engineering hires is what kind of cloud service we use. Despite the cloud being a great solution for some companies, it is not the right solution for Tapad. Due to dealing with latency issues, we have our own data centers which operate around 18 Petabytes of data per day. On the development side we use technologies to scale for both our frontend and backend development teams.  We are a 100% Scala shop for the backend and JavaScript on the front end. Advanced technological solutions to dealing with massive amounts of data are a significant draw for top-tier developers.
  • Tapad also utilizes the “Netflix” unlimited vacation days policy and we encourage constant transparency across all departments and communication. We encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and want our employees to take the initiative with no red tape. Working at Tapad offers a great work-life balance.
  • In addition to providing growth and development opportunities at Tapad through continuing education and the “Tapad Talent Mobility Program,” the company also offers competitive wages.
  • Tapad has a relaxing lounge with an artificial fireplace, record player, lounge chairs, sectional sofas, bean bags, as well as standing desks and lap desks throughout. For more active methods of rebooting, the office has Razor scooters, a DJ booth, wireless surround sound, several flat screen TVs, a bike rack, pull-up bar, soundproofed game room with XBox and Wii, ping-pong table, custom cornhole and a professional-grade foosball table for employees to enjoy as needed.

Compensation:

The three main factors determining compensation levels at Tapad are: Benchmarks, Performance, and Time. Tapad uses market benchmarks to establish its internal compensation standards, which determines the baseline for employee compensation. Compensation can also be influenced by performance, time spent with the company, and length of time since the last increase in compensation.

Advancement Opportunities:

Tapad has long had an informal policy in place: if there's an open position at Tapad and employees think they would be a good fit (regardless of department), they are encouraged to raise their hand, and Tapad will do their best to make it work.

In the last year, however, Tapad has rolled out a formalized “Tapad Talent Mobility Program.” The goals are simple. First, make all open opportunities transparent and accessible to everyone at Team Tapad. Second, give current team members priority over external candidates in the interview process. Third, keep every employee on the path to professional success. Ultimately, this ensures that we have the best person in every role.

Tapad encourages their employees to continue advancing in their career paths and break out of their comfort zones in any way they can. We subsidize relevant training and continuing education programs, as well as encourage mentorship. Additionally, Tapad has promoted several employees to regional manager, general manager, vice president, senior vice president and C-level roles in lieu of hiring externally.

Training opportunities:

Starting day one, Tapad encourages employee training. We fly every remote employee to Tapad HQ for their first week to partake in a robust onboarding program, including briefings with each department head so that each employee gains a broad understanding of how their work fits in with the overall trajectory of the company.

Tapad prioritizes, encourages and enables employee professional development. As an active member in all of the major trade organizations for the advertising technology industry (Interactive Advertising Bureau, Digital Advertising Alliance, Mobile Marketing Alliance, etc.), Tapad supports employee participation by covering costs associated with membership fees and event attendance.

Tapad also holds monthly Lunch & Learn sessions where industry experts speak about a variety of topics while employees enjoy a catered meal. For those who cannot attend, the sessions are recorded and posted to Tapad’s internal education website. This internal site ensures all continued education materials are available for Tapad’s global workforce.

We also host internal boot camps run by Tapad employees. Additionally, we reimburse employees who take relevant continuing education classes aimed at improving job efficiency.

Our sales force in satellite offices are welcome and encouraged to visit HQ. We also host all-company business trainings once per year, concurrent with the all-team holiday party, for which remote employees are flown in to HQ.

Medical benefits:

Tapad offers comprehensive health insurance packages that offer 80% – 100% paid medical benefits, and an above industry standard parental leave policy. To promote health and wellness, Tapad hosts quarterly wellness events, a bi-annual wellness overview and offers in-house flu shots. In addition, we stock office pantries with healthy snacks, fresh fruit and a variety of beverages, as well as provide a well-rounded catered breakfast on Mondays and Fridays.

There are three Tapad United intramural sports teams – softball, soccer and volleyball – in which employees are encouraged to participate. We also offer periodic company activities such as fully sponsored private yoga and Soul Cycle classes.

Special accommodations:

We had an engineer living in Seattle who could not move to New York right away. We let him work from Seattle for the first month and a half of his employment until he could comfortably move. Relatedly, we offer relocation packages to help with moving expenses for the employee and their family.

Community service/charitable causes:

Cause

Action

“Tapad Cares”

Is an effort for Team Tapad to give back to the Silicon Alley community

“Tapad Cares”

Tapad has donated millions of Public Service Announcement ad placements across multiple devices

“Tapad Cares”

Sponsored a grant for a female coder to attend Hacker School and given countless hours to fixing bugs in Scala language based open-source projects.

“Tapad Cares”

We have had several Tapad engineers mentor in the Technology Education And Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program.

Measuring satisfaction:

Tapad strives to be diligent in collecting employee feedback through regular surveys and team check-ins. Tapad distributes an Employee Engagement Survey every September, as well as surveys regarding various aspects of Tapad work life and culture, and pertaining to specific departments.

Within the Product and Engineering teams, we have a peer-recognition Kudos system where employees can thank and congratulate their peers on work done well. These are collected weekly and physically distributed to recipients while also announced via e-mail. That person also gets the Kudos Drink Cart, which allows them to “host” a happy hour to celebrate their accomplishment.

All new employees are asked to give feedback about their orientation and training experience, and internal recruiting checks in with new hires after the first 30 days of their employment to see how things are going. New employees are asked if their experience is meeting their expectations, what the company can do better, etc. Additional one-on-one check-ins are also scheduled to follow up on feedback given.

Creative meeting places:

Internal events (celebrations):

Museum of Mathematics – Mathematics illuminates the patterns and structures all around us. MoMath’s dynamic exhibits, gallery, and programs stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics.

Goldbar – Adorned with vintage images of rock and roll icons.

Brooklyn Winery – A boutique urban winery set in the heart of Williamsburg, one of the borough’s most vibrant and creative neighborhoods. Winemaker Conor McCormack produces premium small batch wines, combining the quality of tradition with the freedom of innovation.

Brooklyn Crab – Brooklyn Crab is an homage to Maryland style crab shacks, and East Coast regional seafood specialties, with incredible views of the New York harbor.

Meetings and trainings:

The Scandinavia House – The Nordic Center in America is the leading center for Nordic culture in the United States, offering a wide range of programs that illuminate the culture and vitality of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Scandinavia House offerings include diverse exhibitions and film series, as well as concerts and other performances, readings, lectures, symposia, language courses and children’s activities. Designed by the internationally renowned Polshek Partnership Architects (now Ennead Architects) and inaugurated in October 2000, Scandinavia House is the headquarters of The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) and the site of ASF’s cultural and educational programming.

The Edition – The event spaces offer breathtaking views, using recessed lighting and large windows to bring the beauty of Madison Square Park to the event experience.

Unify Tech Summit: 10 On the Park at Time Warner Center’s renowned location in the heart of Midtown Manhattan boasts the striking architecture around Columbus Circle overlooking Central Park.

Perks:

Tapad keeps multiple healthy-leaning snack and beverage options stocked throughout their offices.

A commercial grade caffeine station with a Wega espresso machine and a kegerator for seasonal craft beer on tap.

Tapad also brings in catered breakfast on Monday and Friday.

Employees often make use of the oven in the kitchen to bake treats for the rest of the office.

Fun:

Tapad has a relaxing lounge with an artificial fireplace, record player, lounge chairs, sectional sofas, bean bags, as well as standing desks and lap desks throughout. For more active methods of rebooting, the office has Razor scooters, a DJ booth, wireless surround sound, several flat screen TVs, a bike rack, pull-up bar, soundproofed game room with XBox and Wii, ping-pong table, custom cornhole and a professional-grade foosball table for employees to enjoy as needed.

Tapad1

Tapad2

Collaboration tools:

Employees across all four countries stay connected and productive through weekly all-team updates, video chats, conference calls, office visits and a remote-in robot, Tappy. Tappy enables employees to have a virtual in-office HQ experience while working remotely, improving inter-office satisfaction and sense of belonging.

Conference rooms at Tapad can be reserved via tablets outside each room. They are equipped with flat screen TVs, Apple TVs and Chromecast.

How corporate vision is communicated:

The Tapad corporate vision is driven by employees on all levels. CEO Are Traasdahl knows his employees on a personal level and is readily available to discuss company updates, issues or brainstorm future ideas.

Empowering employees:

As a company where millennials are the majority of our workforce, we realize how important it is for employees to feel like they have autonomy and purpose within their teams. One example of how we empower employees is having once a month all-hands meetings where different team members present in front of the company and offer updates on what their specific department is working on. This, in turn, gives employees exposure to the rest of the company and the confidence to present in front of the CEO and other executives. It shows that we are giving employees opportunities to grow and stretch themselves.

The company culture at Tapad is guided by an employee-developed “living” constitution. The constitution is open for changes by any and all team members, so that all employees feel they can contribute and be respected, appreciated and understood. One of the tenants of the constitution is to “maintain open, cross-functional communication and collaboration,” meaning everyone should feel empowered to share ideas and feedback across different departments and levels of seniority. To that end, Tapad holds daily cross-functional standing meetings (agile scrums) and weekly cross-function commercialization meetings.

Tapad recognizes team members with both individual and team-focused awards for achieving defined and attainable company goals. For example, promotions and role changes are communicated internally on a quarterly basis. Tapad’s Marketing Communications team honors the most socially engaged employee as “Tapad Socialite” on a monthly basis. There are also quarterly awards for Media and Data business units, as well as sales-specific contests. Winners from these are shared company-wide via weekly internal team update, monthly all-team meeting and in the “What’s Tappening Deck” that displays in HQ.

Birthdays, work anniversaries, kudos and significant personal milestones (engagements, marriages, parents to be) are also acknowledged among Tapad employees with gifts or recognition.

A Tapad hiring practice is to ensure recruitment of new team members who will inspire their teammates to do better, think harder and innovate more. Tapad's team members give extra effort to achieve company goals in various ways. An example of this is how our data science team holds an analytics workshop for the professional development of non-technical members of our team. This is essentially a 10-week course for non-technical teams, such as platform solutions, account managers, or product managers. The goal of the workshop is to give lessons to spread awareness to members of our team on how data science tools can be applied into their work on a day-to-day basis. The 2.5 hour weekly sessions require dedication from the attendees and allow them to absorb knowledge in areas such as programming, statistics, and how our data is stored. Another example of this is our weekly Lunch & Learns in which different teams host company-wide presentations to share what they are working on, promote transparency and encourage communication across teams. Moreover, we also believe engaging with our community through talks and presentations is critical in accomplishing Tapad's goals. The analytics workshop sessions, Lunch & Learns and speaker engagements are all examples of how our team is dedicated to ensuring everyone is using the most effective measures to apply to their work, which in turn ensures Tapad's success.

Ensuring well-being:

The Tapad executive team is highly accessible by all staff at all times. Tapad employees are encouraged to reach out to CEO Are Traasdahl and the rest of the executive team whenever needed. Tapad’s unlimited vacation policy allows employees to use vacation days at their own discretion, without worrying about running out if, for example, an employee needs to travel to visit family for an important occasion. In-office team bonding events and summer outings help to foster strong team relationships, so employees feel empowered and supported within their teams. And of course our strong emphasis on wellness helps us support healthy life habits for our employees.

The Tapad workplace has an open floor plan with no offices or cubicles. Blank walls and columns are all utilized as white-boarding surfaces. Any wall space can be used for collaborative work, freeing up conference rooms for larger groups. All employees have access to standing desks and additional monitors if needed.

Tapad also prides itself on its eco-friendliness. The office has an eco-friendly carpet, paperless bathrooms, and is painted with non-toxic paint. Boardrooms are furnished with reclaimed wood tables, and the office kegerator keeps cans and bottles out of landfills.

Tapad facilitates numerous “sponsored leisure” activities after-hours. The company hosts monthly TapIns (company hosted and catered happy hours) and TapOuts (company sponsored bar excursions) for those interested in having a cold drink after a busy day.  There are regular ping-pong tournaments, foosball matches and company partner game nights (both board games and video games). Additionally, the company sponsors Tapad intramural soccer, softball, and volleyball teams. This provides employees with opportunities to pursue interests outside of work and bond with their co-workers in a non-work related setting. Tapad team members frequently choose to spend time with each other outside of work even when it is not on the company’s dime.

For keeping up with their personal lives, Tapad employees enjoy an unlimited vacation policy so they can truly balance work with life.

Standard work hours are 9-6, but we encourage flexibility within that timeframe. If employees do their best work in the morning, we encourage them to come in earlier and leave earlier. We avoid the “watching the door” mentality as we don’t believe it brings out the best in our employees. Instead we want our employees to exercise freedom in accomplishing their work in a way that is comfortable to them.

Tapad employees enjoy the Netflix “unlimited vacation” policy. Employees need only to arrange for time off ahead of time and provide ample information to their team to accomplish work without them. Here at Tapad we believe that we are hiring responsible, high-performing employees – we do not feel like we need them to “punch in” and “punch out” in order to be a star performer. We are more concerned with the results they are producing rather than the hours they clock in the office. This shows our employees that we respect their work life balance and also want to encourage that balance.

Teamwork:

In addition to Tapad’s employee-driven “living constitution” and the collaborative work space, Tapad also strives to make sure teamwork is accomplished practically. A primary company initiative is ensuring employees are able to perform against fair, openly communicated and agreed-upon metrics. For example, Tapad’s engineering team was built on an ‘agile’ system, which gives the developers clear two-week goals on which to execute. Similarly, Tapad’s multiple business unit teams hold weekly meetings where they discuss measurable, pre-defined performance goals. Through implementing this approach, all employees know what is expected of them and can manage those expectations in reasonable time increments.

Diversity:

Tapad understands diverse teams perform better when solving hard problems collaboratively. In order to accomplish our goal to build the best team, we know diversity must be a core value for Tapad. Our commitment to diversity in our hiring is a priority. Some initiatives include representing the company at diversity conferences, such as the SALLY conference for women in tech. Tapad plans to keep diversity at the forefront of our recruiting, with plans to attend more college recruiting fairs targeted specifically for minorities. With this said, 2016 has been a banner year for hiring on the engineering side for Tapad, and we have been successful in our efforts with the addition of diverse engineers who had attended our college career fairs.

At Tapad we work very hard to recruit the best and brightest talent. Because we offer a unique startup culture, along with benefits and processes of a more mature company, we attract candidates from all different walks of life. Due to this we have a large pool of very diverse candidates. Diversity is on the forefront of our minds throughout the recruitment process and we are constantly exploring how we can improve.

Longevity:

Average tenure at Tapad is approximately 2 years.

Closing company statements: Tapad uses various open source programs and languages. One key selling point we have is that we will teach candidates Scala. Other companies require candidates to have experience in their main programming language. Here at Tapad we encourage people to join Tapad as a way to learn Scala. In turn, this shows the candidate that Tapad is more about being a community of engineers who are willing to assist each other. Candidates start to notice during the interview process they will be working engineers who have a startup mentality, however it’s balanced with large company initiatives and goals. There is training and guidance on how to be promoted.

On the business side, it’s really selling that you get to work at a company that is the leader in cross-device targeting and we’re constantly being innovative with new products (such as our linear TV product). It’s selling the culture and the teams with whom new candidates will be working. They are going to have the ability to grow within the company and learn a lot as time goes on, as we love to promote within. Over the last couple of months (since Tapad’s acquisition by Telenor), one question we are constantly being asked is “how are things now?” People are always apprehensive to join a company after it’s been acquired. This acquisition has really been the best of both worlds where we have the backing of a big established entity but are also still operating separately now and moving forward.

Back to the entire list of TMCnet 2016 Tech Culture Award winners.

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