Alon Carmel (CEO of AniView), an Israeli serial entrepreneur, founded Aniview, a leading video advertising company, in 2013 after he successfully launched JDate, the largest Jewish dating site. Alon and his team developed a video ad player that allows videos to auto-play when a new page was loaded – a seemingly minor detail, but one that made a huge impact on the digital advertising market. This proprietary piece of video technology led to a boom in video ads and continues to be used across the internet today.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Alon Carmel: Telling my life history will be a long lasting book which no one has the time to read. So in short, PASSION = ME. Passion gives me boundless energy and intense focus, with a single-minded path of willpower, to overcome even the most difficult obstacles. I take steps to define my own passion and put it to work with my career and business, but even more with my personal life.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Alon Carmel: I have been a serial entrepreneur since I was a kid and have been involved in dozens of startups. Mostly involved in the hi-tech field prior to Aniview, which I founded in 2013, I am most well-known for founding The Spark Network, which runs the JDate and Christian Mingle dating platforms. It was an amazing 10 years of true fun.
Yet, to-date, Aniview is one of the most exciting companies I’ve had the pleasure to see grow.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Alon Carmel: My team members are my inspiration and best supporters. They are the ones who gave me the strength to keep moving and overcome some of the most difficult and challenging moments we went through over the last 8 years. At some points when I felt the world was falling apart, I found Aniview team members to be the most unique professional, true givers, loyal and determined to create the best video monetization platform worldwide.
Read my lips: Aniview team members did it, and I am deeply appreciative and thankful to them. No outsider could have helped us to be who we are today, and no money would have solved what we went through. It was the collective passion that made it all work perfectly.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Alon Carmel: Whenever I talk about myself as a CEO, I think of myself as a “Curiosity” Executive Officer. I am always seeking knowledge, understanding, innovation, and exploration. When I first started, I wanted to see immediate results, but quickly I realized that things take time. I have become very tenacious over the years, as I internalized that nothing happens fast. The saying “Patience is a virtue” is one that all new business owners and founders need to and should emulate. Tenacity is the name of the game for those who want to become successful.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Alon Carmel: Our team has some of the best minds in the AdTech sphere. At Aniview, we look at the industry and see what the next trend in digital advertising/marketing is going to be, and find a solution that works with our platform and helps our clients adapt and innovate.
My responsibilities as CEO include managing the overall operations and resources of a fast-growing company. Currently, my most important responsibility is to keep my team unified, satisfied, and working with the company rather than for the company. By maintaining a strong company culture and great morals, you can go far beyond your goals.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Alon Carmel: Beyond the literal definition, they are the one who sets the company tone and provides its strategic vision, along with ensuring progress, function and leadership company-wide. Setting the tone for the strategic vision of your company is essential as a leader. Maintaining progress requires this. Your employees will be unable to comprehend the message if your leaders are not on the same page. In order to achieve optimal results, it is imperative to share your beliefs, objectives, and strategies with your team so that each member can be a part of the company’s endeavors. Regularly checking in with your team, your leadership, and yourself will allow you to do all of this.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Alon Carmel: I always knew what I was capable of, I never doubted myself, and I always saw the big picture. As an innovator and leader who wants to make a difference in this universe, it came as no surprise to me. It’s not so much that I think of myself as a CEO, as it’s more that I think of myself as a determined, success-driven, high-motivated leader that takes on responsibilities with great care and makes sure the right people are along for the ride.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Alon Carmel: I believe there is no single answer. Especially in an industry like ours, that is dynamic and constantly changing. As a company leader today, and certainly one who makes all the decisions, you must be flexible and develop skills that you didn’t think you would need in the past. Good and bad. CEOs today aren’t strictly judged on their appearance or performance. The expectation is for you to be empathetic, inclusive, and patient – even for things that you never expected to encounter.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Alon Carmel: During the course of 8 years at Aniview, we had internal discussions and temptations to become a video ad-network, on top of a SaaS video monetization platform.
All video Ad-networks have been making fortunes while using Aniview SaaS platform, while we earned a fraction of it. Thanks to our amazing team we decided to stick and focus on being a true AdTech SaaS video monetization platform, rather than making easy and fast buck$ . It was the best and most rewarding decision we could have ever made.
Today, we are probably the world’s largest video monetization SaaS platform, and we have successfully built on top of it an amazing lucrative marketplace.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Alon Carmel: Success is a mindset. Therefore, you should recognize that both things can succeed and fail, that the gap between the vision in your head and its execution to reality may be substantial, and that it might not be an easy road ahead. Success can only be achieved when you develop resilience and a strong center to deal with any external threat you encounter, without deviating from your path.
As long as you are anchored, it doesn’t matter how stormy the sea gets. This applies to both business and life in general. From this perspective, you can see and deal with things clearly and feel like you are always winning.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Alon Carmel: There is no innate trait in my eyes that is not an acquired skill. The goal is to dream big and, while in motion, grow to be the person who will fulfill that dream, including adapting all the necessary skills. If you are fixed you can succeed, but probably not for long. The wisdom is to always learn, to evolve, and not to accumulate gaps, because very quickly you will find yourself behind. Traits that were attributed to tough and serious-minded CEOs, today are received with less patience. Today, as the CEO is both spiritual and humane, and not just a business fox, he gets much more credit from the employees and the environment, simply because such traits create credibility and identification. In the end we are human beings, which is what we look for in every partner of ours in life.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Alon Carmel: We were very lucky. COVID-19 positively affected our business. As more people moved online, our publishers had more viewers, creating more space for advertising. We had a major increase in revenue, ad impressions, and the delivery of ads. Our company as a whole grew more than we could have ever imagined.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting out on their journey?
Alon Carmel: After working in the hi-tech industry for over 25 years, I have learned that the true key to success is tenacity. Building a business is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. But it doesn’t come without its challenges. This means you must remain determined to succeed, focused on your goal, and be patient. Success is not always immediate.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Alon Carmel: Singing, I simply don’t have the time for it – or never made the time for it. One of these days I hope to.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Alon Carmel: ‘Lucky Me!’
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Alon Carmel for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Alon Carmel or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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