A Year at El Toro

By Joe Young

I was nervous as I entered the red door on the side of Distillery Commons. As I walked to the third floor I kept reminding myself that I was prepared for what awaited me. I took a deep breath and entered the El Toro office. The first thing I noticed – besides the amazing bourbon bar – was how over dressed I was in my suit. Everyone was wearing jeans or khaki shorts and t-shirts. This was far different from my current position working in a corporate atmosphere with a stringent dress code. I was shown around and got a chance to meet everyone on the team. The office was amazing, with the game room, bourbon bar, and graffiti room as the highlights. Meeting everyone in the office was the best part as they all made me feel right at home. I knew this was where I wanted to be and I hadn’t even had my interview yet.

The interview process was unlike any other I have ever been a part of. The questions are suited to make you think abstractly, and you are encouraged to work through problems out loud. I would be lying if I said I was prepared for any of this. After the tough questions, it came time to get to just talk to my interviewers. During this time I got to see the passion these guys have in what they do. Also, the brilliance in their product. That cemented it for me. I was ready to start working immediately.

Once I got the phone call offering me the job, I couldn’t contain my excitement. The next two weeks couldn't go by quick enough. 

The first week on the job was full of learning. I sat down and read every blog post about the company, the products, ad tech, …you name it. This is the exciting challenge that comes with working with proprietary technology – there is no manual, no classes, no textbook that will teach you what you need to know. The only way to learn was to soak everything up from the team. I started sitting in on sales calls learning how to pitch the product. I was with developers learning the ins-and-outs of how this technology works. Then I would be with the AdOps team learning how to run traffic and successfully manage and fulfill campaigns. It was a whirlwind, and on top of all that I got to learn about partying planning as well by helping setup for the El Toro Christmas Party. It was an amazing first week, and really set the tone going forward.

The responsibilities started out little different in the internship role. Yes, I had to go get lunch, refill the kegs of beer, and clean the office.  While those tasks might not seem like much fun, it’s something that you will see everyone in the company do from time to time. It makes you feel like you are earning your place with the team and the best part of working here is that you will be given every opportunity to try out different positions so you can see where you can be most valuable. I found my home in AdOps where I could be part of the team that runs traffic. I liked the thinking involved, how different each campaign was, and how each campaign had different ways to make it perform better. From there the responsibilities began to grow quickly. 

Here you’re given the freedom to work how you want to. You don't have a boss watching over your shoulder micro-managing how you fix a campaign or telling you what needs to be completed next. It’s on you to carry your own weight for the team, and get the work done properly. Having this responsibility really makes you grow quickly and become an asset to the team.  

Now I am working directly with clients and their campaigns all day. I might be pacing and running an analysis on campaigns for a car dealership in the South West, then I hop on a phone call to on-board a small agency in the North East. Next, I’ll help change some creatives for a dental group, or work on a matchback analysis for a large agency. This job has you working with everyone from all over the country, and all different businesses. You have to keep up with clients and their campaigns, and each one has a unique challenge. A solution that works for one campaign is not always the solution for another. You have to be able to analyze and make decisions on your own.  

As I am wrapping up my first year here at El Toro, and thinking about all the changes that have occurred  - from moving to our new office, with even more games and bourbon, to just wrapping up our most successful month as a company during political season - I can’t help but think about my days starting here, and all the learning that took place. It really gave me an appreciation for this place and the people who work here. With all the growth I have seen in my first year here, I can’t wait to see where the next year will take us.