In our Campfire Stories, we spotlight Appi Campers and share their stories in their own words. In times like these where we are adapting to new circumstances every day, we invite you to get to know us and lean on our community- the app marketing experts and your camp friends- as we continue to grow, step forward, and learn together as a community.
Alex Merutka's Campfire Story
Alex has been part of the ad-tech space since 2012. During that time he has worked directly with over 400 brands, focusing on marketing and creative. Alex has worked at several renowned companies including AppLovin as Head of Programmatic and now Founder and CEO of Craftsman+, a creative technology company focused on interactive and ad automation.
Learn more about Appi Camper, Alex Merutka.
How Do You Do Your Best Work?
I’ll never forget the first time I asked myself this question. I was on my way to work when I began to think about the challenges I wished to overcome during the course of my career. At the time, I felt like I had done all that I could in my current position and I was craving more. When I arrived at work, I spoke to my boss and asked if there was anything more I could do to make an impact. Whether that be a new role, a change in office/location, or entering a new division within the organization.
Two weeks later, I ended up moving to New York to help build out the new office. In order to execute the role at my best, I needed to be challenged and a new city did just that. For starters, it’s NYC and if you’ve ever lived there, you know it comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. Seemingly easy things like renting an apartment would not only require a broker (and sometimes a broker’s fee), but to find an apartment with an elevator, a washer, and dryer, and have it be in a nice part of town was nearly impossible.
Get Stuff Done.
Overcoming such challenges gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset. Ever wonder why some days you accomplish so much and other days you’re in a slump? By challenging yourself (in either a professional or personal setting) you are conditioning yourself to do your best work. Moving to a new city was challenging both professionally and personally. On the professional front, the need to build a team, find an office, create a positive culture, drive new business, and network with a whole new array of potential partners were all challenges. On the personal front, creating a home, making friends, and knowing which street food was acceptable and which to be avoided were also challenges.
When faced with multiple challenges, whether intentional or not, and to get the most done, it’s important to be in the right mindset. If you’re in the “get stuff done” mindset, you’ll be amazed at how much more effective you can be at creating an impact. By constantly multitasking, you’re actively engaging your brain and solving problems. Whether that’s taking care of your kids, launching an office, moving to a new city, or starting a new role, you’re active. When you’re active, you get more done.
Create a Habit.
Ever have sprints where you do an activity every day for a week or longer? Activities like working out, meditating, early morning yoga, or stretching. Did you notice how much easier it was to accomplish these activities once a habit was created? You can impact your professional and personal life by creating a habit around always being challenged. You, as an individual, will seek out challenges. Typically, employers want their teams to act like owners. Seeking out a challenge in the org, you’ll be doing just that. The quickest way to a promotion is to create that role for yourself.
Do Something Impactful.
How do you make an impact? Take on a challenge that the rest of the team may have avoided, or haven’t noticed, and actively seek out this challenge. If you can’t find a challenge, do what I did and ask your boss. If you want to make a difference, speak up. Communicate with your team and deeply buy into the idea of the team. It’s ok to step away from the hierarchical BS and have an open and honest conversation with your manager about what more you can be doing to challenge yourself and help drive value to the org. To do this, you need to trust your team.
Pro tip: Don’t work for anyone you don’t trust. Use your instincts, talk to past employees, current employees, clients, and partners to vet the team you’re about to join. Make sure you’re happy with the company’s values and culture. This is extremely important. You can compare this to any new relationship. Ensure the core of what you’re joining aligns with your beliefs and then communicate effectively to drive growth.
How to Avoid Getting into a Slump
When you start to feel that you are not challenged, this is when people do their worst work. Similar to how you can get into a habit of being active, the reverse is also true. Snoozing your alarm one day turns into 10 days. Missing a workout because you’re tired makes you even more tired. Habits can be a powerful thing and they are agnostic to “good” or “bad” labels. If you notice something is off, that you’re not being challenged, or you feel unproductive; you need to act. Either consciously make a change that will affect this feeling, or ask for help. This is where communicating is really powerful and can make a difference.
Identifying these thoughts or feelings early can change your situation before it becomes a habit. So many of us accept the reality of our situation for what it is and don’t act to change it. We all have the power the change and I invite you to act on your wants and desires to make a difference.