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Quantathon MMXIV: Winning Team Profiles

After weeks of working, planning and testing, the winners of the 2014 Quantathon have been announced. Before they named the winners, Konrad Feldman, CEO and Co-Founder, and Michael Kamprath, VP of Engineering, announced that there were so many great projects this year, they added two more third place winners and a slew of honorable mentions, 14 to be exact.

This year’s winners showcased ideas ranging from process improvements and product enhancements to company culture and data visualization. The Quantathon is an opportunity for everyone in Quantcast, even interns, to step outside their day-to-day jobs and apply their creativity to solving problems and improving processes. As with past years, some of the ideas that came out of Quantathon have already moved into production as part of our products, and others will lead to improvements inside the company. While we can’t list out every winning project, the following profiles give a peek at three of this year’s winners:

Serenity Now!
Inspired by a Seinfeld sketch, Serenity Now! conducted internal and external research to develop an employee wellness program. They assessed stress levels of 305 employees and identified simple and effective methods to decrease stress. Composed of members of the Sales, Legal, Customer Research and Training teams, their goal was to help Quantcasters be more productive, more mindful, and happier at work. With a final proposal that included a full program and associated budget, their project is already in motion!

Project Snow White
With what the judges identified as the most complete Quantathon project, Project Snow White builds upon existing infrastructure to better prevent serving ads in proximity to offensive content, such as sites containing hateful speech or material that brands may deem inappropriate. The team built and tested a bidding strategy that actively blocks offensive content in real time. Their improvements help Quantcast continue to be a true steward of customer campaigns by being proactive about brand safety issues. Their solution uses a crawler and classifier to block suspect domains and then present that information to users, allowing action. They even scored the sites for likelihood of offensive content. On top of a great presentation featuring characters from the Seven Dwarfs (Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful…), Project Snow White also created a UI that makes the process significantly easier. The first version of this project will be ready for initial use soon. Snow White symbolizes innocence and purity, reflecting this Quantathon team’s effort to “purify” the content next to which ads are shown.

Team TekTon set out to streamline the ad trafficking process with a system that makes it easier to enter and edit the creative specifications. Reflective of their team name, meaning “builder” in Greek, TekTon built one centralized system that allows users to do everything: traffic and audit creatives, get alerts and fix all creative errors. Instead of memorizing variations in each creative execution, ad traffickers can simply follow the defined rules. The benefits of their proposed system include faster ad trafficking, better user experience and customer service, and fewer creative errors. On top of it all their system has bulk entry functionality making it incredibly scalable. With team members on the User Experience, Ad Operations, Engineering, and Product Management teams, TekTon represents the power that can come out of cross-functional collaboration.

Congratulations to all of the Quantathon MMXIV winners!

Posted by Capri Mali LaRocca, Marketing Communications Associate