We recently sat down to chat with Ido Ram, Director of Account Management here at Keywee. We talked about his role at Keywee, career advice to new graduates, and his take on account management roles in startups.
The interview is part a series highlighting alumni of the Keywee Greenhouse program – our prestigious training and certification program for new grads looking to get into the worlds of digital marketing and fast-growth startups.
Hey Ido. Tell us about what you do at Keywee.
I’ve been at Keywee for almost four years now. Currently, I am Director of Account Management. I manage a team of Customer Success Managers (CSMs) in New York, and have account management responsibilities with the rest of the Success team in Tel Aviv. This means I own all customer communication responsibilities in the company – everything from defining how we build and maintain strong relationships with our customers, how we structure our reporting systems, to how we run our weekly customer calls.
My team handles 22 customers directly – publishers like Tribune, Univision, E! Online, Motley Fool, Digital Trends, and Red Bull.
What do you like most about your role?
My role is a roller coaster and I love it.
On the “Up” side, you get to work with amazing customers, and when you do well and succeed they’re so appreciative and happy. On the “Down” side, the challenges are just as extreme. It helps me push myself to learn more, be better, and learn how to handle failure and become better as a result.
I work with one of the best teams of humans in the world across all different departments at Keywee, which I love. I get to wear different hats throughout the week – I might be an account manager on Monday, strategy planner on Tuesday, provide product feedback on Wednesday, and join a sales call on Thursday.
What’s been your career progression at Keywee?
I was the first CSM at Keywee, and the 5th Keywee overall! I had the privilege to onboard our first customers and manage our very first campaigns. When new CSMs started to join Keywee, I trained them. Then I became a team leader, and later on became Director of Account Management, and relocated to NYC about a year ago.
What did you learn at Keywee?
From an industry perspective – everything. I learned a ton about our space, what do publishers do, how do they make money, what their challenges are. Learned so much about running marketing campaigns, optimizing them, owning both the strategy as well as the execution sides.
I also learned how to deal with the challenges in our field – how to keep scaling campaigns, how to maintain performance as you scale. Also, how to reinvent yourself – as a vendor, and as a publisher, who are facing so many changes in the market today affecting their monetization.
I learned a lot about management, too – how to manage people, how to build a team, how to help individuals grow.
And equally important, I learned a lot about what I didn’t want to do… And through my recent move to New York, I’ve been constantly learning how to work in a different country and culture.
Did you do any sort of training?
When I started at Keywee there weren’t a ton of resources. My managers told me from day one – “you need to figure things out, we’re in this together, look at what other people are doing.”
Self-learning is still something that’s very important at Keywee.
Working at Keywee was my first time working with software developers, who would sometimes write code to answer my questions. For me, understanding what can be achieved with code was extraordinary, a mind boggling experience. The Keywee team overall has always been an amazing learning resource.
The common thread running through all of my learning experiences is learning how to become better — finding the resources to be the best, not just “do your best.”
What has been your most exciting moment at Keywee?
I think it was when we moved to the new office in Israel and had a Values Party combined with an Office Warming Party. Having everyone on our amazing roof deck, in our brand new office, and taking a few hours to say “Whoa. Look what just happened.”
I remember taking a step back and understanding that Keywee is now this beast that’s beyond my control.
It’s also always super exciting to experience great customer wins. Every time I go visit a customer at their office and they have their CEO come to the meeting to hear what I have to say, that’s pretty exciting.
When comparing yourself now to the Ido who started at Keywee four years ago, what are the main differences?
Today’s Ido is a lot stronger. I fell and picked myself up a lot of times. I have a lot more self-confidence, too.
I know a lot more. You can throw me into a room and I can “talk myself out of it.”
That said, I’m still as hungry as I was four years ago. That’s another amazing thing about Keywee — after four years, I’m sure many people feel they found their place and want to rest. I don’t.
What kind of people would succeed in your role at Keywee?
People who are eager – eager to learn, eager to prove to themselves that they can be the best at what they do.
People who can pick themselves up and are able to face difficulties and failures. When you work at a startup, half the time you’re doing things nobody has done before, and many times you don’t succeed. Failing is OK, because that’s how you learn what not to do. You fail with one customer, and then apply your learning with 20 others. If you’re focused on the failure and not on the opportunity, it takes a toll.
I’ve worked with dozens of CSMs over the years. The most successful ones wanted to prove to the world every day that they are the best.
What advice would you give someone who’s just graduating from college / university and looking to break into tech or digital media?
- Want it hard – it’s an acquired taste. You might not love it at first, but if you know you really want it and stick through the tough times, it will get better, and eventually become great.
- Be humble, come in to learn. You learned a lot at school, but there’s so much more to learn. It’s easy to get distracted and miss out on key lessons.
- Try to have fun!
Thanks so much for sharing your lessons learned, Ido!
And… Keywee Greenhouse is accepting applications from recent college / university graduates, both for Keywee’s Tel Aviv and New York offices.
To learn more and apply, check out Keywee Greenhouse.