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Rob Leathern
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Rob founded Optimal in 2008. Recognized as an expert in the field of online advertising and e-commerce, Rob has built scalable technology-based media businesses and advised Fortune 500 companies and startup firms alike on their online revenue-generating strategies. Rob previously held senior management positions at Consorte Media and Root Markets, and was the first general manager of advertising at LinkedIn in 2006. Before LinkedIn, Rob was at NexTag where he built up NexTag’s display advertising lead generation and media business, propelling the firm to a position as a top 5 US online advertiser according to Nielsen//NetRatings. He led the creation of the firm’s advertising server systems, yield management, media buying and creative creation tools, which enabled an unprecedented automation of media buying and management. Rob began his professional career as an investment banking analyst in New York with ING Barings/Furman Selz, and then in 1999 joined Jupiter Communications as an e-commerce research analyst. Rob left Jupiter in 2003 and joined Nielsen//NetRatings as the company’s director of commerce analytics, where he delivered custom analysis and led strategic engagements for Nielsen’s financial services, retail and Internet clients. Rob holds an AB degree in computer science and economics from Dartmouth College, and received the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst®) designation in 2003.

Entries by Rob Leathern

Why We're Drowning in Junky Data and Sensational Headlines

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 2:04 PM

We are drowning in studies and statistics, many of them dead wrong. This applies to business research just as it does to academic studies. The Economist just wrote about some of these problems and how scientists are dealing with them:

There are errors in a lot more of...

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The LinkedIn Dilemma

(4) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 5:52 PM

Most of us spend a quarter to a third of our days working. Jobs and employment are by definition a key driver of all economic activity, continue to have structural inefficiencies and comprise the largest "lead generation" category of all. It's not a stretch to say that LinkedIn could be...

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Why Advertisers Aren't Asking for Transparency and How Facebook May Change That

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 11:06 AM

I've always had a desire for fairness and transparency that takes many forms. I grew up in South Africa, which in the 1980's and 1990's heavily censored the press, and I think it added to my desire to be totally clear and upfront with anyone I work with, about what...

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The Most Powerful Facebook Mobile Ad Feature Most Marketers Don't Know About Yet

(6) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 6:08 PM

In September 2012 Facebook announced a new targeting option called "Custom Audiences," which it mentioned in its earnings release but which not enough marketers and very few Wall Street analysts appear to understand. It lets marketers target their existing customers by doing a match with hashed versions of their opt-in...

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Why Platform Apps like Pinterest, Socialcam and Viddy Will Help Facebook Grab More Ad Dollars

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 6:25 PM

Risk Factors for Funding the Next Social App Gold Rush


Pinterest is an amazing viral growth story, having grown to more than 18.7 million monthly U.S. visitors in March 2012 according to comScore. We're already seeing other crazy growth numbers from cross desktop/mobile apps like Viddy...

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Just-in-Time Advertising: Why Immediacy Wins

(3) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 11:18 AM

Just-in-time manufacturing has earned companies billions of incremental dollars of profit. Driven by now-CEO Tim Cook shutting down its own manufacturing and outsourcing to more agile suppliers, Apple reduced its inventory on hand from 90 days to five days over several years by switching to "just-in-time"...

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800MM and Counting... Where's Your Brand?

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2011 | 2:34 PM

Let's say you're a brand manager or a newly-minted social media director of a mid-to large-sized brand. You sit down one day to look at your Facebook presence. Or more importantly, to start analyzing your engagement levels across social media. Chances are, you're going to fit into one of these...

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