In our first Employee Spotlight of 2020, we sat down with Director of Technology, Jesse Mastro to learn more about his career at Acceleration Partners (AP) and the ways he stays productive and motivated in a 100% remote work environment.
How long have you been with Acceleration Partners and what is one of the reasons you’ve stayed for so long?
Five years! I’ve stuck around because AP’s culture really resonates with me and supports the flexibility and growth mindset that are important parts of my life. I also work with some extremely smart people, from whom I am constantly learning. Of course, that helps!
How did you find your way to AP?
Bob Glazer (our CEO) was a mentor to me at a company I started a while ago. When it came time to shift my career path, what better way to continue learning than to work with Bob and his team. I was lucky enough to secure an interview and the rest is history.
What’s something that may surprise most people about the role of Director of Technology?
Having first spent some time in client services for AP, people are often surprised that I ended up in this role, given I don’t have an extensive tech background. The reason for this is that I love learning new things and bringing solutions to the team that helps them perform their jobs more effectively.
Having been here for five years, I have an intimate knowledge of how the company runs and where we could use some improvement. To me, this is an important ingredient in leading with the right technology for the business.
Affiliate marketing can be a bit nuanced. How do you describe what Acceleration Partners does to your kids?
Well my kids are 2 and 4, so their concept of what I do is press a bunch of letter buttons all day long J.
Maybe in 10 years, I’d describe affiliate marketing simply as establishing partnerships (at scale). I’d likely tell them “if you had a website about your favorite Amazon toys, and your readers wanted to buy those toys, Amazon would pay you every time someone bought a toy you recommended.”
What has changed in affiliate marketing since you first entered the industry?
Years ago, affiliate marketing was a bit messy, where inadequate technology really led to a bunch of bad apples entering the space.
Since then, better technology, better people and the realization that performance-based growth is king has really led to a change of perspective. Today, it is seen as a critical growth channel for most forward-thinking brands.
How do you personally take advantage of the flexibility of working in a totally remote environment?
I love the ability to spend time with my family and myself on my terms. I’ll often drop my kids off at school and then take a walk on the beach before starting work each day. To me, this is a very peaceful way to start the day (versus sitting in traffic) which ultimately leads to a higher level of productivity.
You’re originally from the Northeast but spent some time living in the Florida Keys. What was your motivation for the move down south?
I had lived in New England for about 14 years and was fortunate enough to be hired by AP (remote work) while also being engaged to my now wife who also worked remotely.
We decided to take advantage of this situation and try something new. We sold our house in Massachusetts, drove to Alabama to get married, and then just kept driving south. Warm weather, some family, and the love of the Keys were all contributing factors to living there for a couple years.
What are some tips you have for staying productive and engaged in a remote work environment?
For me, controlling notifications and taking control of my time has really been a game changer. If you schedule mornings to be for working out, and evenings to be with your family, it’s critical that you stay true to that time, and don’t let a Slack notification pull your attention away from what is really important to you.
I also suggest compartmentalizing your time throughout the day as much as possible (email time, project a time, project b time, Slack check-in, personal time, etc.). Lastly, make sure you don’t have too many treats in the house, because you will eat them…all.
What three things would you bring with you to a deserted island?
If I was stranded: A fishing pole, machete and matches. If I arrived by boat: A hammock, good book and a really nice bottle of Tequila.