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Author: Elizabeth Weyand

StackCommerce Welcomes Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the Executive Team

We’re excited to announce the addition of Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the StackCommerce team! Here at Stack, we are always searching for fresh voices looking to join our mission in creating innovative native commerce solutions that serve the world of online publishers. We’re thrilled to see how Karl will propel our vision to new heights. We welcomed Karl to the team (in true Stack fashion) by sitting him down for happy hour drinks and a live Q&A with the full team.

Before coming to Stack, Karl was Founder and CEO of the recently-acquired influencer monetization platform, Fanbread. That unique experience coupled with more than 10 years building sales, advertising and marketing teams at startups provided for some great advice and inspiration for our team — and even a brief magic show. Today, we’re happy to share a small piece of what we learned (you’ll have to BYOB this time, sorry).

Liz: You joined us after the acquisition of a company you built. Can you describe that journey?

Karl: Building and selling FanBread was one of my life’s biggest accomplishments. The journey began with quite simply with an idea I was passionate about. The scariest part was finding the courage to take the leap from my comfortable job and salary and commit to putting it all on the line. Once I finally took the leap, I quickly had to figure out how to fund the operations of the business, hire a team, gain customers and drive growth.

Prior to FanBread, I was primarily a revenue-focused professional. My experience at FanBread developed me into a more holistic leader – forcing me to solve operational, cultural, and technological challenges I had never before encountered.

Liz: What excited you about the opportunity at Stack?

Karl: Several factors excited me as Josh introduced me to the company, including:

Organic growth: Stack is in a very unique and impressive position to have achieved the scale it has with little venture funding.

The culture: The people I’ve interacted with at Stack are wonderful. The team is smart, driven, excited to be here, fun, warm … I could go on and on. But one of the things that jumped out to me most was the culture you all have created here. It’s very similar to what we were able to build at FanBread.

Interesting problems to solve: Stack is at a unique point in its growth. There are big, complex challenges that have the potential to unlock rapid growth for the company. I’m excited to be in the room with other smart people to tackle these challenges and take Stack to the next level.

Liz: As CRO, you will be touching several departments here at Stack. How do you begin to make an impact across such a wide array of functions?

Karl: It’s only been a few weeks, so I’m still developing a POV on where we should be focusing our resources to get the most bang for our buck. With that said, from a high level, one of my priorities as a leader is to remove barriers for the team and help increase productivity. Part of this effort includes providing training, advice and expertise to help team members grow within their positions. I also want to understand what objections we’re hearing in the market, and address those issues straight on to help them succeed.

Liz: At Stack, we stress the importance of work-life balance. What do you do to live a balanced life?

Karl: My family and my health are the most important things in my life. I try to be home before my boys go to bed every night. Most nights I miss dinnertime as they tend to eat on the early side, but I’m able to spend the mornings with them while my wife works. With two kids under 5, it’s been difficult to carve out loads of “me-time” for the past few years, but when I do, you’ll typically find me in the surf, in the pool or on the golf course.

Liz: What was the most important thing you learned in school?

Karl: The value of networking and building meaningful personal relationships. UCSB was a very social environment without a lot of downtime. It made for a really fun college experience, but also served as a great training ground for how to build connections with others.

Liz: What is your favorite thing about Stack so far?

Karl: The untapped potential. With this awesome team, Stack is well-positioned to double or triple revenue over the next few years. I’m excited to help unlock some of that growth with you all.

StackCommerce Welcomes Ben Gafni, VP of Publisher & Business Development, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Ben Gafni, VP of Publisher & Business Development, to the Executive Team

We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Ben Gafni to the StackCommerce team! With an expansive publisher network currently reaching over 1 billion monthly visitors across more than 750 publisher partners worldwide, we are always searching for new ways to better serve our ecosystem.

We couldn’t be happier to have Ben leading the charge on the growth and evolution of our publisher network as our new VP of Publisher and Business Development. Ben joined us from Google where he provided incredible leadership to the publisher-facing development team for over 12 years. Today, we are picking his brain on everything from his time at Google to his vision for the future of StackCommerece’s publisher network.

Liz: You recently joined StackCommerce after a long tenure at Google. Can you describe the evolution of your time there?

Ben: After starting my career in strategy consulting in New York, I joined a startup here in LA called Applied Semantics, which launched my career working with publishers. Applied Semantics created AdSense, one of the first contextual ad targeting technologies designed to help publishers monetize in a new way with text ads. When Google acquired the company in 2003, I joined Google’s publisher-facing business development team and worked to sign search and content syndication deals across multiple verticals. My role evolved over time, as Google acquired Doubleclick and began to work with partners in a much more multifaceted way led by ad platform technology and programmatic monetization across display, mobile and video. Most recently, I led a team in LA focused on Google’s largest partners in the entertainment and media space.

Liz: What excited you about the opportunity at Stack?

Ben: In looking towards my next role, I focused on high-growth start-ups in the LA area that aligned with my goals on several fronts — industry, culture, and leadership opportunities being paramount. The more I got to know the StackCommerce team, the more it became clear there was a true synergy on both sides. At Stack, I am able to leverage my experience with publishers but in a novel way: helping partners navigate the emerging sphere of native commerce. I have the opportunity to lead a fantastic team, and absolutely love the open, team-oriented, and dynamic culture.  

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Liz: What are some of your top priorities as our VP of Publisher and Business Development? What type of impact do you hope to make?

Ben: It has been great to dive in, learn the ins and outs of the StackCommerce model, and build a strategic plan for 2017.  Native commerce powered by Stack has become such an important part of our core partners’ businesses that I am focusing on building out our newer verticals such as Women’s Lifestyle and News — with the goal of having a tailored storefront offering for publishers of all shapes and sizes. I am also ramping our PR efforts to ensure our media presence reflects the impact we have been able to drive in the marketplace. Overall, I am aiming to apply rigor and strategic focus to what we do in order to drive revenue growth across the organization.

Liz: What is your favorite thing about Stack so far?

Ben: I have been super impressed with the spirit of collaboration and high energy that permeates the culture here at Stack. There is a constant flow of ideas and nobody hesitates to share thoughts on how we can make the company more successful. As a new member of the team, I have a ton of ideas about where we might take the business and have been encouraged by the collective willingness to entertain new approaches and challenge existing assumptions. Plus, everyone is just plain fun to be around – and working right on Venice Beach doesn’t hurt!

Liz: At Stack, we stress the importance of work-life balance. What do you do to live a balanced life?

Ben: Balance is something I’m constantly trying to achieve across many aspects of my life, most notably between work and family. I have 3 amazing daughters that throw me immediately into “dad mode” once I walk through the door each evening. Being able to toss work aside and focus on my family is something I value immensely. To that end, I try to separate from electronics until after the kids are asleep and avoid distractions as much as possible.
One thing I do for fun, exercise, and general sanity is play basketball. I’ve organized a twice-a-week game with a group of friends for the past 10+ years, which accounts for nearly 100% of my cardio and keeps the competitive juices flowing in a (mostly) friendly environment.

StackCommerce Welcomes Jaromy Pittario, VP of Sales, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Jaromy Pittario, VP of Sales, to the Executive Team

At StackCommerce, we thrive on delivering unique products and amazing deals to our publisher audiences. We don’t just sell products, we introduce the right audience to the right product at the right time. This all starts with our sales team, and we searched high and low to find the perfect leader for this essential part our business.

We’re ecstatic to introduce Jaromy Pittario, our brand new VP of Sales. Jaromy joined us from Velocity App, the leading global payment app in the hospitality industry, and has previously provided incredible sales leadership at Gilt, AOL, and LivingSocial. Today, we’re picking his brain on everything from the evolution of flash sale sites to leadership tips to what the future has in store for StackCommerce’s publisher and vendor network.

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Liz: You have amazing experience in your field, and specifically working with the flash sale model. In what ways have you seen this model evolve and change?

Jaromy: In the luxury space in particular, I’ve watched brands become more and more accustomed to the benefits of the revenue share model, and therefore open to working with flash sale sites. When I started at LivingSocial in Los Angeles, no one was familiar with it. But by the time I led the team at Gilt City, luxury brands and luxury shoppers alike were becoming more and more attracted to this model.

The experience transformed beyond the instant gratification of bringing a deal to a customer to a fully-branded journey that breeds engaged lifetime customers.

Liz: As a new member of the team in a leadership position, what are your key priorities?

Jaromy: My number one priority is to motivate and cultivate a cohesive team culture. As a sales team, our culture should be invitational so that our success is shared, not compared in a competitive fashion. Being approachable, relational, and goal-oriented also helps us become more available to cross-organization collaboration.

 Liz: In what ways do you hope to influence the evolution of StackCommerce through sales and vendor relations?

Jaromy: I am working to grow and bolster StackCommerce’s lifestyle vertical, in part by bringing on national brand partnerships. Not only will these brands benefit from StackCommerce’s product distribution and marketing capabilities, but these noteworthy brands will work to elevate the customer experience across our publisher sites.

This symbiotic relationship is what makes StackCommerce a unique alternative to traditional affiliate advertising and publisher monetization solutions. I look forward to getting the StackCommerce name out to brands that I know would be a great fit.

Liz: You recently joined StackCommerce. What excited you about the opportunity?

Jaromy: During the interview process, I was fascinated by the rare blend of a startup environment and proven success and profitability at Stack. The interview process was so conversational that I felt I was able to really get to know the business and the people who make Stack a wonderful place to work.

Liz: What do you enjoy doing outside of Stack?

Jaromy: Cooking! I have an instagram account dedicated to teaching people how to make healthy meals in less than 30 minutes.

Liz: What’s your favorite saying?

Jaromy: Work hard, play hard.