[quote style=”boxed”]I have my day broken out into sections, where most of my interactions with the team, clients, and vendors happen in the morning, while the internal planning happens in the afternoons. It allows me to capitalize on my morning energy, and be more introspective in the afternoons with planning.[/quote]
Tom Alexander is founder and chief executive officer of PK4 Media located in El Segundo, CA. He has applied his ten years of experience in digital advertising to develop a mutually beneficial platform for advertisers, publishers and content creators. Tom began his career in sales leadership positions with ad network companies including BlueLithium (acquired by Yahoo! in 2007), ValueClick and Dedicated Media, where he gained a keen understanding of the digital advertising industry and the voids present in the marketplace. In 2009, he founded digital media solutions company PK4 Media and has grown the organization without any outside investment to date. Originally from Silicon Valley, Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California San Diego. He is an active board member of thinkLA, an advertising trade association.
Where did the idea for PK4 Media, Inc. come from?
PK4 Media was born out of years of online advertising network experience. After spending time at several major ad networks, the holes in how online advertising campaigns were actually delivered became more apparent. The goal of PK4 Media is to refine the process and help advertisers be more effective with their ad budgets.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have my day broken out into sections, where most of my interactions with the team, clients, and vendors happen in the morning, while the internal planning happens in the afternoons. It allows me to capitalize on my morning energy, and be more introspective in the afternoons with planning.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have found the best way to bring ideas to life is to have a great team around you. Our team is extremely close, and regularly discusses new directions and strategies together. Once we’ve decided on a path, I try to stay out of the way and trust my team to bring it to life. There is very little red tape. It’s a simple process for our team to delegate duties and move forward. We pride ourselves on our ability to move quickly and effectively when we find a new concept we want to execute on.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The current movement in online advertising to cross-platform targeting is pretty amazing. Advertisers can find relevant consumers on mobile, tablet, and online devices, wherever the users are most likely to interact with their favorite brands. The ability to share data on one platform between devices is something the industry has talked about for years, but is finally becoming a reality.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I thrive on constant interaction with thought leaders, vetting ideas, and searching for the points in a process or system that can be improved upon.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked at a small startup where the management team did not understand the industry or the sales process. I learned to be prepared by understanding every aspect of what you want to pursue as an entrepreneur.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d put more trust in intuition when evaluating people. Sometimes when considering a potential partner, new hire, vendor, etc. your intuition can encourage you to make good decisions faster and conversely prevent you from making bad decisions. Your subconscious can pick up on cues that your conscious mind may miss.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I take time out of my schedule a couple times a week to sit and read a book. I read something totally non-work or industry related, just to pull my mind out of the focus of the company. It helps me relax, and makes me more effective when I am back to focusing on the growth of the company.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Simplify everything! When things become too complicated, that’s when mistakes happen. The main concept that started PK4 Media was to simplify the ad network space, and revive the strength in a simple concept.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The hiring process can be very challenging. I have found it works better when you bring in additional people to evaluate a candidate. Our current hiring process involves a series of interviews with different department heads to ensure the candidate we move forward in the process is able to communicate and work between departments.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think in the future there will be a lot more emphasis on benefit corporations. This is not an idea per se but rather a philosophy applicable to any business idea. Businesses should be able to grow profitably while also responsibly supporting all of the stakeholders that affect their operation: clients, vendors, employees, the community and the environment. Business is not about winners and losers – it’s about creating value for all parties involved.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I started to learn how to fence.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Most recently I’ve downloaded and used Refresh for my phone. Through multiple meetings per day, it helps give me background on everyone I am meeting with, which helps me be more prepared in these meetings.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Built To Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. It gives an analytical breakdown of why certain companies are considered ‘visionary’ and how those companies were able to succeed throughout multiple management changes, intense deadlines, and difficult financing times.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Peter Thiel, Warren Buffett, Jerry Porras, and Malcom Gladwell.
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