Ben Jolly is one of our most well-traveled employees, most recently moving from Mexico to Europe, and settling in Singapore for the last two years. He’s managed affiliate programs for some of our most strategic clients and has incredible global insight into the affiliate marketing industry. If you’re looking for travel tips or how to find the best places to eat, Ben is your guy.
How did you end up working at Acceleration Partners?
I was looking for a career change after getting my MBA about five years ago and saw Acceleration Partners (AP) on Inc’s list of fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts.
I checked LinkedIn and saw that AP President, Matt Wool was a fellow Boston University MBA alum, so I reached out. He responded immediately and set up some interviews. I didn’t have experience in affiliate, but the company was willing to train me on the industry.
In 2017 you raised your hand to move to Singapore to help with AP’s expansion into the Asian Pacific (APAC) market. What excited you most about the opportunity at the time?
I’ve always loved traveling internationally and interacting with different cultures, so the unique opportunity to live and work in Asia, a region of the world I hadn’t been to before, appealed to me immediately.
I also enjoy a challenge and learning the affiliate marketing landscape across multiple cultures and languages has been intellectually stimulating for me.
Expanding into a new market definitely presents some challenges. What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced managing Affiliate programs in the region?
The client account I was working had a vested interested in over a dozen countries in the APAC region. Prioritization of these countries, as well as figuring out the local and cultural nuances in conducting business was a real challenge and I learned a lot very quickly.
Focusing on the first-tier countries driving the most value for the client and relying on strategic partners in the second-tier countries was how we were able to prioritize within the region while still establishing an affiliate program in all countries.
Less than two years ago you were only the second AP employee on the ground in APAC. Today we have seven team members located in the area. How have things changed in the region since you arrived?
It feels less isolated. We now have a Managing Director, Janice Tan-David, who provides structure and direction. We have more knowledge in the market landscape and we’re hiring a diverse team of people from across the APAC region who can bring valuable local knowledge and insights to the table.
AP’s culture is highly recognized, winning multiple “Great Places to Work” Awards. What do you enjoy most about working at AP?
The flexibility and “own it” nature of AP really appeals to me. I’ve always been a self-starter and the trust that AP has in its employees, while still holding them accountable, is unique. The company lives by its core values and this is reflected in how well they treat their employees. With remote work, I’ve also been able to escape Boston’s winters, so that helps.
Haha, right now I bet a lot of our Boston folks would be keen to escape winter too! You’ve definitely earned a reputation as our resident world traveler. What’s the coolest place you’ve been too?
Turkey and Mexico were the first two places I traveled outside of the US many years ago. I’ve been back to both places in the last few years and they still impress. Istanbul is a city steeped in world history and stunning architecture, one of the best cities to walk through in the world. Mexico is a country vibrantly alive with its culture and this is reflected in the amazing food, music, and people.
I know from personal experience that you have a knack for finding the best places for local food. What’s your favorite local place to eat in Singapore and why?
This is a tough one, but in general, the hawker centers and small food stalls have the best (and cheapest) food. Good food really is everywhere in Singapore, but Geylang, Chinatown, and Little India are my three favorite neighborhoods to eat in.
Thanks for the tips! Where will your travels take you next?
I have a short trip planned to Yogyakarta, Indonesia and then I’ll be heading back to North America (Canada, US, Mexico) to catch up with friends and family this summer.
Sounds awesome. Safe Travels Ben!