Ask lots of questions – “I don’t understand” is one of the most powerful statements you can make. It’s honest and it tells someone that their jargon-filled explanation of an expensive solution isn’t working.

Scott Portugal is an industry veteran of the ad technology space, bringing more than 15 years of experience working alongside the world’s leading publishers, ad agencies, and brands. He has held senior roles with several top companies in the programmatic advertising industry. Prior to starting Scott Portugal Consulting, Scott was GM, Publisher Platform of Yieldbot.

Scott Portugal has served as SVP, Programmatic & Strategic Alliances at PulsePoint, where he was responsible for managing global programmatic business and strategic partnerships, and Chief Revenue Officer of TRAFFIQ – the industry’s first programmatic direct platform. Previously, he has held roles as VP, Publisher Development at both Tacoda and AOL.

Where did the idea for Scott Portugal Consulting come from?

It’s an idea I’ve been playing with for some time. The ad technology space is confused, convoluted, and always changing. The need to help mid-sized brands and publishers navigate this space has always been relevant. Now, with ad blocking on the rise and connected devices everywhere, the time seemed right for an expert to step in and help clients navigate these waters, so I started Scott Portugal Consulting.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

First thing I do is read – newspapers, Flipboard, and industry blogs. I try to get through anything that requires a lot of concentration early – writing, analytics, client work. I always carve out one hour a day to listen to music – this is my time to discover new music, catch up on things I’ve missed, claw through emails, etc. My afternoons are usually client calls and meetings.

How do you bring ideas to life?

If it’s important, make it a priority. And the only way to know what is important is to set goals. I find this exercise, both for myself and with my clients, is the single most important effort in actually getting things done. Once you understand what really matters, then you can focus the right amount of time, energy, and resources on making it happen.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Self-driving cars. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the ultimate walled garden and the ultimate chance to create meaningful interactions with users. According to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch, an average American spends 101 minutes per day driving. That’s an hour of time where a user will be online and mobile.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Networking – constant networking. Meetings create more meetings and being an active listener helps me pick up ideas, information, and contacts every day.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I once had a sales job one-call closing sports hospitality packages to major sporting events. Horrible job, but a great “boiler room” environment where I learned to pitch effectively and hunt for the decision maker on a sales call.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d spend more time learning to code and learning to query big data structures – quickly accessing data and assembling it into a workable system for insights is critical in diving deep into any business and picking out the data that really tells the story of what’s happening.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask lots of questions – “I don’t understand” is one of the most powerful statements you can make. It’s honest and it tells someone that their jargon-filled explanation of an expensive solution isn’t working.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Focus on a repeatable methodology so every project, which will naturally be customized, starts to fall into similar patterns. Pattern recognition is key in quickly assessing any situation, and it also helps establish comparable benchmarks & case studies that can help clients feel assured that your methodology produces results.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve recommended a technology solution that didn’t work – it ended up being more costly than anticipated and slower to take effect. The client wasn’t happy, so I found alternate providers who would not only provide a more cost-effective solution and also unwind the solution of the previous vendor.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Given the amount of “self-publishing” that people do today (Instagram, Linkedin, FB, Twitter, Pinterest), there is an opportunity for a platform that aggregates this together in a way that is more than a blog, but in fact resembles a content management system for individuals. These can be ad-supported pages, so a single user can not just manage their own social profiles and content production, but also engage with their networks’ pages – and once a network effect takes place, the ad volume (and revenue) goes up as well. Think of it as HootSuite for everybody.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Personal: took my kids to the Bronx zoo. You forget how amazing it is to see animals that are endangered.

Professional: Linkedin Professional

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Linkedin is the best professional tool I know – it’s more than just a network, but a chance to find & reach potential clients, publish content, and keep abreast of trends. Beyond that, for my money, nothing beats Excel and a Pivot table. I do use Google Docs & Sheets, but some things require more tools – and Excel continues to evolve as a masterful tool.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson. It totally changed my approach to not just selling, but thinking about my own business. The basic concept is that you don’t want potential clients simply agreeing with you – you want them to reframe/rethink their own business, and then understand how your business truly delivers value by addressing un-noticed opportunities.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Jon Mendez
Dave Morgan