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“Coegi” means “to bring together” in Latin, and that’s the exact purpose of the company. We bring together best-in-class ad technology and a skilled staff that serves as a managed service layer for agencies.

Sean Cotton is president of Coegi, an independent programmatic media company that provides transparent and collaborative media services to agencies. As an expert in digital and programmatic best practices, Sean has been featured as a speaker or a contributor for numerous digital industry associations. Prior to starting Coegi, Sean built and managed a large digital staff for one of the fastest-growing media agencies in the U.S.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

While building a digital and social team at one of the fastest-growing media agencies in the U.S., I noticed that managing ad technology was becoming an increasingly burdensome and frustrating aspect of the media-buying process for agencies. It was clear that there was a real need in the marketplace to simplify things without losing the ability to effectively leverage programmatic — especially for mid-market independent agencies that didn’t have access to a programmatic trading desk.

“Coegi” means “to bring together” in Latin, and that’s the exact purpose of the company. We bring together best-in-class ad technology and a skilled staff that serves as a managed service layer for agencies.

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

A typical day for me starts in the early morning when I catch up on and send out emails. Once I get to the office, I usually assess priority items that need to be addressed that day and make sure there’s a plan to do so. Then, I try to spend time interacting with our staff and checking in with everyone before the day is too far along.

Throughout the day, I typically have several conference calls or meetings with current clients, prospective clients, or media and technology partners. I also spend time analyzing the performance of the company and constantly refining our business plan based on our current status, including staffing, client satisfaction, P&L, marketing, etc.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s very important to me that I am open and transparent with my managers and the company as a whole about our vision and road map. This allows everyone to give feedback and be invested in the success of our ideas. Sometimes, new (and better) ideas spring up from this type of open communication.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The Internet of Things is very exciting. As connected devices expand to include more and more of the things that we use every day, there will be dramatic shifts in people’s lifestyles.

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

I go to bed early and wake up early. Like they say, “The early bird gets the worm.”

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

As a teenager, I was hired to rake a 3-acre lawn during the hottest month of the summer. It was very hard, and I was miserable — but I finished the job. This taught me persistence, which is very important in business.

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

Nothing. I don’t find it productive to think like that. Learning from failures is a part of success.

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

We have a saying at Coegi: “Always double-check.” This applies to product, proposals, email messages, and anything else that impacts our business or image. When we follow that rule, our accuracy and quality are always exceptional.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Setting goals, providing the necessary tools to reach them, and monitoring our progress has been one of the most helpful strategies for growth. If I want the company to grow in new business by X percent, I know that we will need to engage X number of prospective clients.

Our quality of service goal is to have less than 0.5 percent errors, and we have implemented key software and tools to help ensure that we meet that standard. As a result, we find that our clients look forward to working with us more.

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

I started a business doing something I didn’t enjoy, so I sold it.

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

Start a business that employs Millennials to teach technology to older adults who aren’t digitally savvy. It will help the older folks stay connected, and it will teach the Millennials how to be patient.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I paid for the full warranty on my Surface Pro 3, which really came in handy two weeks later. I dropped my tablet and was able to replace it with a brand-new one at no cost.

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

Google because it is easy and gives me what I need. Excel because I need it every day to do my job. LinkedIn because it keeps me in contact with my colleagues and up-to-date on what’s trending in the industry. And Uber because it’s convenient for a business traveler.

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

Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It highlights how there is no substitute for hard work and experience.

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

Avinash Kaushik’s approach to accountable analytics has influenced me to emphasize what’s truly important when discussing performance and to tell a story with data. His website (http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/) has very good suggestions on how to do this.

Also, Richard Branson shares great insights on how to build a positive culture in your company.

Connect:

Coegi’s Website: coegiweb.com
Coegi on Facebook: facebook.com/coegiweb
Sean on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/seancotton

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