Monster In the Mirror: LiveRail’s RJ Payomo

LiveRail's RJ Payomo Tells Us How He Works

Among the dry-erase boards filled with to-dos, dual monitors, family photos and a company plant nursed back to glorious health, LiveRail’s RJ Payomo creates programmatic video gold. Balance between work and life is important to Payomo, who heads out at six most days. And, when it comes to workspaces, Payomo opts for what he calls a “controlled mess” of myraid to-dos and diagrams scribbled on the glass that makes up the left side of his desk. And, what’s Payomo’s tip for getting to the front of the digital strategist pack? Hint: freshen up on your cells and formulas.

Read more on Payomo’s workday below, and check out our previous Monster In the Mirror, featuring our resident czar of content, Rob Beeler. 


Name: RJ Payomo

Title: Director of Marketplace Operations

Company: LiveRail, Inc.

Location: San Francisco

Current Computer: My Dell Laptop is coming to the end of its rope at four years. When I pop off the bottom case to install memory it looks like the metal plate caught on fire at some point.

Current Mobile Device: Samsung Galaxy S3

One word that describes how you work: “Scientifically”

How do you describe what you do to your family? I keep it simple and tell them that I work in advertising. If they ask for more, I ask them to show me their favorite video website and I point out the ad is served by LiveRail!

If you weren’t in ad operations, what would you be doing? I’d be a teacher, a carpenter, an ethnomusicologist… at the same time.

Last AdMonsters Event?  I was excited to have LiveRail attend Admonsters’ most recent Publisher Forum in Sonoma!

Time Management

Inbox – aim for zero or is it infinitely long? I try to keep all fire drills managed by scanning notifications and subject lines; I tackle everything else within a day of receiving it. There’s a lot of unread email, but I find many things work themselves out without my meddling.

How do you manage your to-do list? I keep old school with a pen-on-paper monthly planner for major appointments, Google Calendar synced with Astrid tasks for every day, and my desk is covered in bullet points.

What’s your workspace like? It’s a controlled mess. I have one monitor that I work in and a second monitor where dashboards are running. Written on the left side of my desk (it’s glass, like a dry-erase board) are markers with my to-do list; on the right side I have scribbled diagrams and an equation solving for X (I know, right?). There’s a plant that came from LiveRail’s very first office that I saved from death next to me and a frame of my niece and nephew.

At home, I work on my dining table because my desk is covered in snail mail.

Are you 24/7 or do you turn off work at some point? I start reading email as I head in to work on BART. Unless I have something planned, I take off at 6 on the dot to feed and walk my dog. I check email and dashboards in the evenings and weekends and have an occasional call at odd hours of the night. I do find time to completely shut down when I need to. When I’m on PTO, I do unplug by leaving gadgets at home.

What do you spend most of your day on? Management? Tech? Operations? Trafficking? Operations and strategy.

Ad Operations and Tech Questions

Ad Ops/process apps/software/tools you can’t live without? LiveRail’s platform, of course! Also, Chrome, Excel, Powerpoint, Yammer, DropBox, Pidgin and Skype.

What’s your least favorite industry buzzword? “Premiere.” When everything is premiere, nothing is premiere. Outside of that, “phablet” is really annoying.

What buzzword do you find yourself using the most? I like the word “sample”. It has two syllables and turns mundane data into something interesting that you scrutinize, like on a petri dish.

What industry trend are you following the closest? In video advertising, it is interesting and exciting to see the rise of programmatic buying for premiere (ha!) inventory. Most people associate RTB with remnant activity, but programmatic buying is being leveraged more and more for efficiency.

What’s your advice to up and coming digital strategists?

To stand above the growing crowd of digital strategists, become a master of spreadsheet applications; lookup and reference functions, pivot tables, goal seek, and macros will save you time and make you an invaluable asset. There are great tutorials on DailyMotion and YouTube that you can use.

Find the person at work who is the best with Excel and become their friend. Teach other people. Also, I can’t highlight enough how important it is to buff up your ability to manage and negotiate between internal and external customers. After all, that’s probably why you wanted to go into strategy in the first place.

Anything you’d like to add? In Excel, there’s a function called “concatenate.” That’s a fun word to say.

(Image Courtesy of LiveRail)