Humans of Ogury: A Q&A with Business Intelligence Director, Dimitar Kostadinov

Nov 21, 2019

Alexandra Matthews

This month’s edition of ‘Humans of Ogury’ profiles Business Intelligence (BI) Director, Dimitar Kostadinov, affectionately known as ‘Dimi’ in the London office.

Since joining the company in 2016, his personal progress has been as meteoric as Ogury’s itself. Having started out as an intern, a little over three years later he was recently promoted to director level in the BI team.

We caught up with Dimi to find our what’s changed at the company during that time, how best to work with his team, and what makes Ogury a special place to work.

For the benefit of those that might not know, how would you sum up what the BI team does?

Normally when you hear the name ‘Business Intelligence’ you might imagine a lot of data visualization. That analytics part is maybe 20-30% of our work. 

The majority of our time is allocated to ad operations. In other words, setting up the campaigns, optimizing them, and making sure they perform towards the clients’ KPIs.

How much of that work is done manually, and how much is down to Ogury’s tech?

Optimization is a mixture between the machine learning (Ogury’s AI engine) and our team’s expertise. It’s about 50/50.

The algorithm learns with every campaign to uncover the users that clients are trying to reach. Let’s take an example: imagine we set up a campaign that’s designed for users who love cats. As we look over the results, of those cat lovers who clicked on the campaign, a significant chunk of them also showed an interest in lions. So the next day, the algorithm will serve to people who like cats AND lions. And if the results are successful, we can push more ads to those users.

In terms of identifying types of users, that’s the algorithm. Everything else – where we serve ads, and how we serve them – is manually done by our team. For example, if certain apps didn’t perform well in a campaign, then we won’t push there again. There’s a lot more to it, obviously. But that’s our secret sauce. 

So you’re not scared about being replaced by robots just yet?

No, not just yet. Sure, parts of what we do can be automated, and a lot of it is highly automated. But you need a degree of human oversight. Someone still has to pull the levers.

It sounds like it. How did you end up working in BI, and then at Ogury?

I’ve always had an affinity towards technology, analytics in particular. I’ve always been a bit of a… geek… if I can say that?

In high school and university, I started experimenting and setting up web pages. For example, I learned HTML on my own, picking it up on the go for the most part. This continued while I studied for my degree in Birmingham (UK) for four years, during which I also took a year out working at PwC.

A friend of mine recommended Ogury to me. He was also doing an internship here and tipped me off that they needed one more. He sold me on how it was a new company doing exciting things in an emerging field, and when I looked into it myself, I realized he was right. It did look pretty cool. 

I started out in the publisher team, as an intern, straight after uni. I liked it a lot. I was mostly analyzing data and improving the way the team handled reporting. But then an opportunity came up for a role in BI that I felt suited my skill set even more so I made the transition.

And three years later, now you’re a Director of BI?

Yes! We had a few transitions internally, and I was able to take on more and more responsibility. I progressed to a Senior BI Manager role. Then, of course, we kept growing, meaning we needed to hire more people. And now with the new structure of the team put in place, I was given my latest promotion. 

You won't find Dimi without a smile on his face.

What are your top tips for anyone looking to get into your line of work?

Have an open mind, and be ready to learn. 

I’ll be honest; what we do has a steep learning curve. There’s a lot to take on board, and always a lot of new tech to get on top of. The landscape changes quickly. Another player might introduce a new feature that suddenly all of your clients also start demanding. And while that can be initially stressful, it’s an opportunity. If you can master new processes, you can be ahead of the competition.

Today we take many more things into account than when I first started. New KPIs, new measurement tools, new stats. So be prepared to embrace change.

What’s your favorite part of working for Ogury?

First, the people. We have a great bunch here who I’m happy to call my friends. Especially in my team, but also in the wider company. People here are driven. They want to grow and learn, to be part of the journey. That sounds like a cliché, but it has been a journey for me. 

When I joined we were about 20 in the UK and 70 internationally. Now we have that many in London alone, with hundreds worldwide. That growth is a challenge, but it’s exciting to be part of it. Looking at the campaigns we book today, some have budgets that I would never have dreamed of back when I started. It’s been exciting to see, and to be a part of.

Finally, you’re from Bulgaria. Is there anything from Bulgaria that you miss in the UK?

Hmm… [pauses for a long time, seemingly deep in thought]

My family and the food. The food’s better there. The drinks are also stronger. Here, a small measure is 25ml, a large is 50ml. Back home, the small is 50ml and a large is 100ml. We’re getting short changed in London.

Keep up with Dimi and the rest of the ogury crew by following us on Instagram: @weareogury