Optimove Announces New COO to Strengthen the Company’s Engineering Services
Yarden Malka will play a key role in growing Optimove's technology DNA, reshaping its organizational structure and ensuring it will keep providing clients and prospects with the most advanced product. We sat with Yarden for a short introduction interview
After experiencing record growth in 2017, completing the acquisition of DynamicMail, expanding into APAC and increasing our client base by 40% – we reached a pivotal point in Optimove’s path. And with it, the aspiration of continuing to grow at our desired pace becomes more challenging.
One of Optimove’s core values is continuous improvement. We strive to release new versions of ourselves all the time. With that in mind, we thought about how to take our backstage technology departments (Product, R&D, DevOps, Operations and Research Lab) to the next level of excellence. The departure of our former COO inspired us to take a substantial step. We decided to look for an experienced veteran who would help us stay ahead of the technology curve and continue providing our clients and prospects with the most advanced product. After a long process, we are proud to announce that Yarden Malka has been appointed Optimove’s new COO.
Before joining Optimove, Yarden served as VP of Engineering at Earnix, an advanced analytics solution for the financial services industry, where he was in charge of R&D, Customer Support, Cloud Operations and IT. Yarden also spent 14 years in various executive roles at Model N, a revenue management solutions provider, from its inception through its public offering at NYSE, and beyond. Read all about Yarden’s extensive experience on his LinkedIn profile.
We thought that Yarden’s onboarding would be a great opportunity to chat about his work experience in the high-tech sector, spanning over 30 years, 3 continents, 3 bubble bursts and countless changes and progress.
What drove you to join Optimove?
“Well, first, It’s a cool company with very talented people. I don’t have a lot of experience coming into a medium-sized company that’s on the rise. There’s a big difference between joining a company with a hundred something employees, vs. a mega company where it’s hard to really have an impact.
What challenges do you foresee?
“There’s a charm in such companies, joining them at this exact stage of growth. This is the type of company I was looking for, I wasn’t looking to join a small start-up nor a giant company. Optimove is a profitable company; it currently owns its destiny, including which fields to explore, what to invest in, and where not to go. It’s uncommon, and it’s impressive. But I know, and our CEO knows, that remaining profitable will become more and more difficult over time.
As a company grows—and Optimove is not a small company anymore—the cost of operation becomes more and more of an issue. And this stage in a company’s lifecycle is very tricky. Think of it as a Jumbo Jet constantly in the air. At some point, you’ll need to make some engine repairs, give it a paint job or handle the upkeep of wear and tear. But you can’t land the plane for those repairs, and it all needs to be done while we’re still flying towards our destination at high speed.”
What’s on your to-do list?
“I’ll lead functions I’m well familiar with – Product, R&D, Engineering Services, and Science Lab, which are very professional, but too decentralized. Getting them all to work more in harmony will be a great strength for us.
I will try to bring in ideas, notions, and hopefully a different way of thinking and approaching things. But what we’ll do will need to match Optimove’s DNA. Optimove is a successful company that has many satisfied customers. There’s no point in turning things upside down. There’s no real need to, either. We’ll try new things. If they won’t work, we’ll try something else. I’m highly optimistic. I’m convinced it could be the next unicorn company in the Mar-Tech space.”
Can you share something about the ‘Customer 360’ initiative you’re involved in?
“Finding a holistic POV about the parts of the company that interact with the clients and the parts that create the functionalities is tough. The goal is to get everybody on the same page. Part of my job is to better connect the back end and front end. One of the first things I’m putting effort into is ‘Customer 360,’ where customer-facing representatives across all departments meet regularly to analyze customers’ pain points and come up with action items to resolve them.”
You have more than 30 years of experience in this field. What are the major changes you’ve witnessed during this time?
”The one thing I’ll point out is the transformation into a more agile way of thinking and operating, from the old waterfall model. My first project, more than 30 years ago, took eight years, and for the entire first year, I wrote specification documents. These were the days of the PC revolution and the relational database disruptive innovations, but you couldn’t change anything. It took a lot of time and it’s still an issue for certain companies to move from thinking in a ‘project’ way to an agile way of thinking, saying: let’s do what we need to do, and not worry about changing or refactoring and such. The alternative is to work in a way that embraces ongoing change and adaptation while ensuring you only develop and deliver what customers really need and will use.
Another thing is the cloud revolution. We can now use resources more effectively. We increase them only when we need to and give them up when the need subsides. You get more and more ‘help’ from outside, that allows you to concentrate on your goals and leave a lot of the worries behind. It’s a big advantage.
And the last thing – and I’m sure it’s going to expose how much of a veteran I am – the Internet. When I started working, the Internet was only in universities. Not to elaborate too much on the obvious, but I do think about our perspective here at Optimove – we’ve reached a point where we can close the circle between a campaign and its results in no time, in real-time even. In a similar manner, the continuous integration and continuous deployments in the development process were concepts you couldn’t dream of back then. This revolution enables our clients to perpetually monitor and react to the needs of their customers, but also allows us to develop our product in a way that’s nearly continuous.”