Luka was connected through an acquaintance with a recruiter of AdRoll at San Francisco (head office) and was introduced to a new position at the Tokyo branch office.
“There were about 30 employees in the office at that time. It was a small company compared to Rakuten but there was this momentum since the Tokyo office had just opened. I felt like I could do what I enjoy doing and hoped for an open working environment, which companies on the west coast are well known for. Moreover, I was making marketing tools for Rakuten so I didn’t find any difficulties to move into the digital advertising industry”.
Luka got the ideal job and jumped into the new environment. He recalls the time at AdRoll Tokyo as a “Happy Era”.
“I have seen it all, from onboarding of new customers through to advertising distribution. It was a new challenge for me. It was also a great opportunity for me to apply my unique engineering experience to their current approach, such as automating AM tasks.
As well as having excellent colleagues, a 360-degree evaluation system was introduced so that managers and colleagues can evaluate individuals accurately, to help with their personal growth.
On top of the flexible working style, there were enhanced welfare programs, such as yoga classes at work and team-building activities. The working environment was great, we all listened to each other”.
While he was enjoying his work life, he heard the surprising news, that AdRoll Tokyo was to become a joint venture with Rakuten.
Speedy decision making leads to the development
“I was surprised, it made me think that Rakuten and I are inseparable. After the news, some people left the company but I decided to stay. I wanted to become a full-fledged engineer, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to develop some original products for this new joint venture. I put in a request for the ideal position with my boss, Luciano, and he simply replied as – Sure!”.
At present, not only does Luka develop the products, as an engineer, for Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten travel as well as “Display Ads” which is the core product of Rakuten’s advertising business, but also leads the team and trains members. “I can only experience this with Rakuten AdRoll. I would think that at most companies a lot of the decisions have already been decided which makes it difficult for the young engineers to develop new products and train other members”.
Rakuten AdRoll inherits a lot of cultural aspects from AdRoll Tokyo. For example, at one of the regular off-site meetings to build teamwork, Luka told the members that his personal goal is “I want to build an excellent team”.
“I’m sure that if one lets people have independence, they will develop the spirit of ownership. Then they will think about how to progress, which products to focus on and even to decide upon their own schedule and roadmap. I would like to give people these opportunities to experience making mistakes and making decisions. I believe that if a company gives this chance to their employees, they can grow through the experience.
Working at a startup company usually requires a lot of decision-making which helps to develop personal growth. Although Rakuten AdRoll is a startup company it is also a joint venture, so there is this sense of stability between the two large parent companies as a foundation.
Dynamic work and a flexible mindset
“Can you describe Rakuten AdRoll in a few words?”, he answered with “Dynamic and Flexible”.
“Things can be changeable within the business and the engineering environment. I am often facing a situation where I need to make dynamic and speedy decisions. The managers and team members have a flexible mindset which makes it easier for us to work as a team.
He also wishes for future employees to have a flexible mindset and value their experiences.
” If you thrive for challenges and want to make decisions, this is the place for you. It’s been a year since the merger. It’s been great and from now on, it will get even better”.
Luka knows the most of both Rakuten and AdRoll Tokyo and here talks about Rakuten AdRoll and himself, not only as an engineer but also a leader of a team. He will pave the way for more company expansion.
When it comes to his parents, his serious gaze turned into a gentle one. “In the chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union, I’ve been seeing my parents protecting my family. Compared to them, I still have a lot of growth to do.
His words “Dynamic and Flexible” may also be the words to describe his life and who he wants to become.