Matthew Wittering

Product Manager

Hello! You’ve found me.

I’m Matthew and this is my corner of the Internet. I am a Product Manager and Certified Scrum Product Owner for The Exchange Lab in London, UK. Previously I was a Product Manager at Ask.com.

Interests

Outside of work I’m a hobbyist programmer. I’ve worked on a number of things beyond this website which interest me and develop skills learnt whilst studying Computing and Management BSc (Hons) DPS degree at Loughborough University.

Podcasts

I love podcasts, they’re a fantastic way to distribute shows and listen in your own time. For me as a dyslexic, podcasts are a brilliant way to soak up information. I listen to a number current affairs and comedy podcasts. One of which I’ve listened to for over ten years.

To keep and curate these podcasts I have written a program to download new episodes and reformatting the ID3 tags to suit my needs. You may be wondering what is the point. Partly is because I can, but my doing so I have been able to create a catalogue of shows with interviews, comedy and debates far in excess of anything a smartphone can store which I can relisten to episodes as you might reread a well loved books.

FeatureWriter.io

I think it important to automate the repetitive. After seeing the power of Cucumber scripts for software test automation, I have a healthy interest in topic and acceptance criteria written in the Gherkin syntax. To that end, I’ve also created a small CMS to write and organise feature files stored at FeatureWriter.io.

Employment

Senior Product Manager

The Exchange Lab

Jun 2018 - Present

I work in the Technology team at The Exchange lab (TEL) in collaboration with others to develop and maintain Proteus; our solution for Reporting, Planning and Optimising online programmatic advertisement campaigns.

Proteus is connected with vendor partners offering solutions for ad serving, buying, brand-safety and verification technologies for campaigns. By aggregating these datasets we provide our customer with a unique and normalised view of the digital ad market. We’ve achieved this by connecting Proteus to breath of Ad Tech including: AppNexus, Google DoubleClick, MediaMath, Sizmek and The Trade Desk. The Company and Proteus were acquired by WPP on behalf of GroupM on the 18th December 2015 for this unique capability. We’ve since scaled the product for GroupM.

Within the department, I am the lead Product Owner for the development team responsible for vendor integrations. Together we develop software to powering the retrieval of data from our vendor partners. Once collected and normalised the data is utilised by Campaign Management and Reporting products visible to customers.

Our vast data collection apparatus is possible due to three applications:

  1. The Vendor Integration Engine, built to collect Aggregate Reporting Data, Log Level Data and Entity Data objects for campaign metadata on a regular schedule. We’ve engineered the VIE to run on a cluster to meet the scale needed to download terabytes daily for Customers across GroupM. This data collection is achieved via Reporting APIs, Cloud Storage systems and Entity read/write APIs for objects.
  2. The Data Lake, using an Amazon EMR cluster we have built a data processing pipeline to read, validate and normalise Log Level Data from our partners. This data is then published in a sanitised format used by our Data Warehouse for campaign reporting or by Data Scientists for further analysis.
  3. Entity Store, with an Elasticsearch database we can similarly ingest and normalise entity objects data read from our vendor partners their APIs. Once normalised into a canonical format it’s sent onto our Campaign Management product.

The team and I have achieved all this by using Kanban to manage our development life cycle. This allows us to focus on delivering updates and quickly to support our customers. We presently follow the pattern of two fixed release windows weekly for release trains.

Key responsibilities:

  1. Maintaining relationships with technical contacts at vendor partners.
  2. Identifying key requirements and specifying functionality of improvements or new features to three products.
  3. Delivering cross-team initiatives.
  4. Leading agile ceremonies including stand-ups, feature kick-off sessions and reviewing our backlog in Jira to agree on replenishment items.

Product Manager

The Exchange Lab

Dec 2013 - May 2018

While working as a Product Manager at The Exchange Lab (TEL) my role has had two distinct phases, pre and post-acquisition by WPP.

Post Acquisition

Once acquired our product vision switched to becoming the single point for reporting Programmatic advertisement campaigns operated by WPP. This required us to rebuild and reinvent process for detailing a with a considerably different scale for data collection. As the TEL we had 15 seats in various DSPs, while WPP has thousands.

To deliver this product vision, I became the Product Owner for the data collection infrastructure and retrieving the required dataset for our customers. Integrations range from a single seat for niche providers, to tens, or even hundreds of seats within a vendor’s platform. The VIE works in tandem with our Data Lake build on top of Amazon EMR to standardise the incoming Log Level Data into a normalised view for Programmatic Ad Buying for Analysts.

Pre Acquisition

When I joined TEL in 2013 I became responsible for running the support desk to mentor TEL employees and users for our DataLab reporting product to best utilise its features. I was also responsible for collating product feedback on our Workbook CRM implementation to find workflow improvements for the Client Services team. Much of this feedback fed into our Campaign Management product.

Creative Management

A unique selling point of TEL for our clients was our Multi-Platform approach using several Demand Side Platforms (DSP) to best find the desired audience of our clients.

To improve the effectiveness of the Operations team it became apparent that it would be advantageous to have a tool to industrialising the process of uploading 3rd Party Creative tags into multiple DSPs simultaneously. I worked with stakeholders to create an Advertiser creative library and bulk upload tool to push these iframe or JavaScript tags into three DSPs: AppNexus, MediaMath and The Trade Desk.

Campaign Management

I have also been the Product Owner for the Media Planning component of Proteus, called Campaign Management. Campaign Management was used by members of Client Service as TEL to plan how advertising budgets would be spent to achieve client goals across multiple vendors. Once the user has completed their planning, the process of building a Multi-Platform could be automated by pushing key settings entered into Proteus into four DSPs via their APIs.

Automating Inventory Management R&D project

Prior to our acquisition, I collaborated with colleagues in the Business Intelligence team on a big data R&D project; part funded by Innovate UK. This project was defunded post-acquisition.

We developed a prototype application and algorithms for automating the blocking of websites with non-brand-safe inventory by adding them to blacklists maintained by TEL. We did this in three platforms uploading changes into AppNexus, MediaMath and The Trade Desk via their APIs to extend the protection of the site lists.

These decisions were based upon Log Data from AppNexus, DoubleClick, MediaMath, The Trade Desk and Integral Ad Science (a Brand Safety vendor). Along with specifying the functionality of the automation and writing project reports for Innovate UK, I wrote the SQL for one algorithm used in a Proof of Concept to demonstrate the viability of the product to effectively block website domains.

Product Manager

Ask Jeeves

Jan 2012 - Oct 2013

After being promoted, my role in the SEO Group developed. My work focused on growth and quality initiatives for seniors stakeholders at Ask.com and About.com.

Due to algorithm changes by Google Panda to penalise poor or mass produced content - it was necessary to be more scientific and identify potential problem areas ahead of time. This created these complimenting work streams.

  1. The consolidation of all SEO content into a new single base URL and design allowing us to improve the user experience and reduce duplication of maintenance. Thus allowing the team to be more nimble and effective with their development changes.
  2. Additionally by merging overlapping content into a single page creating richer content for web crawlers.
  3. The modification or prune poor pages.

I identified poor content by writing Python scripts using the Natural Language Tool Kit to detect undesirable keywords and duplicated key phrases called n-grams. Our hypothesis was we could identify poor content before being penalised by successive Google algorithm and ranking updates. The results of this ongoing analysis highlighting of poorly structure pages with keyword stuffing on About.com and requiring reversion by Content Managers.

Other major initiatives included regular Bounce/Pogo-Sticking analysis to investigate user behaviour on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This involved finding Q&A pages reached via our SERP which quickly generated additional searches. We proceed with the hypothesis that users continued searching because our Q&A page didn’t contain the desired answer. These processes allowed me to spot poor pages requiring the attention of either Content Managers or Engineers to improve the experience.

Junior Product Manager

Ask Jeeves

Jun 2010 - Dec 2011

I worked on Q&A content sites to support a Search Engine Optimised content initiative to create and grow organic traffic from other engines, namely Google. This was achieved by review popular searches classified as questions and outsourcing the creation of appropriate answers to create new Q&A content. The Q&A sites had approximately 50,000 unique URLs.

Additional content pages were also seeded with search requests for other popular searches. The audience of these sites were UK, France, Italy, Spain and Dutch search markets. These sites were monetised by Google AdSense.

Along with launching new vertical sites, I reported on the current ad revenue, page views, popular topics and visitor measures to UK senior management.

Research Assistant

Ask Jeeves

Jan 2010 - May 2010

I joined the European Operations Teams at Ask.com, based in London, working on data collection and research projects. This work included a competitor analysis for Q&A websites and internal search results quality auditing projects for the European Director of Operations.

Education

Computing and Management BSc Hons 2:1

Loughborough University

Oct 2005 - Jul 2009

While at Loughborough University I read Computing and Management. The goal of this course was to give students a well-balanced education of hybrid skills; covering Computer Science school modules complimented with modules from the Business school covering management, psychology and marketing.

The degree provided me with a thorough background in the critical areas to work at the confluence of business and technology to capture requirements from business stakeholders and articulate the desired solutions to technical colleagues. This course has aided me greatly in my career in Product Management.

Modules covered during this degree included; Strategic Management, Marketing, Internet Marketing, Workplace Psychology, Leadership, Human-Computer Interaction, Advanced Human-Computer Interaction, Software Project Management, International Computing (i18n and L10n), Database Design and Programming in various languages.

Work experience

Web Developer

Andalucia Web Solutions

Jul 2007 - Jul 2008

While at Loughborough University I took part in the Industrial Placement programme. I did this at Andalucia Web Solutions (AWS), operating on the Costa del Sol. There AWS delivers custom website development, search engine optimisation and hosting solutions for clients. My responsibilities while at AWS included constructing and modifying client websites, and updating content Andalucia.com and trafficking advertisements to the same site. Andalucia.com is an information portal operated by AWS publishes information for tourists and expatriates in the south of Spain.

Assistant Software Developer

URS Corp

Jul 2006 - Sep 2006

In 2006 I took a summer work placement at URS Corporation during the summer between my first and second years of studies. While at URS I worked to produce a prototype web application to record ergonomic problems and solutions for employee workstations. The application was to be hosted on their Intranet with a suite of applications. The prototype was written in Visual Basic .NET using Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft SQL Server.

Student Engineer

Halcrow

Jul 2006 - Sep 2006

In the summer of 2005, I worked for the Halcrow Group in their project office in Bedford. My main task during my employment was to undertake a competitor analysis for Halcrow’s pedestrian modelling simulation software, Paxport. I also supported a number of additional research projects.