Monster In the Mirror: NPR’s Bryan Moffett

How NPR's Bryan Moffett Grinds Through the Day

People work in unique and fascinating ways; and, AdMonsters wants to highlight the creative methods that ad-ops professionals use to run their businesses and operations. Called “Monster In the Mirror,” each week we showcase how industry leaders work — from their favorite organizational tools and technologies to their favorite ad-ops trends.

This week, we showcase NPR’s VP of Digital Strategy and Ad Operations, Bryan Moffett. Moffett, unlike many of us (no shame), keeps his inbox relatively tidy and read just about every message that comes his way. As for the hottest trends in advertising, Moffett is all about responsive design and how the emerging technology may affect advertising in the long run. As for native advetising, well, just see what he has to say below.

And, if you missed our first entry in the series, read what makes Lisa Backman’s workday tick.


Name: Bryan Moffett

Title: VP, Digital Strategy/Ad Operations

Company: NPR

Location: Washington, D.C.

Current Computer: MacBook Air 11″

Current Mobile Device: iPhone 4S

One word that describes how you work: “Quickly”

How do you describe what you do to your family? I put ads on the Internet. I’m sorry.

Last AdMonsters Event: Mobile PubForum, San Antonio

Management of Time Questions

Inbox – aim for zero or is it infinitely long? As big as the Exchange file store limit allows. I try to keep my “unread” items under 20, but I stopped trying to file everything years ago. Read or unread is my filtering system; if it’s unread, it needs dealt with. We set up email aliases for important communications like new orders, proposal requests and such, and those all go by rule into specific folders. 

How do you manage your to do list? Outlook calendar and in my head, mostly. When things get really hectic I start putting flagged reminders on emails in Outlook.

What’s your workspace like? A mess. Embarrassingly so. I’m hopeless in that department. Every couple months I just shove a mound of papers into the trash.

Are you 24/7 or you turn off work at some point? It’s always on a little bit, but I try to keep the phone off when I am with my family in the evening.

What do you spend most of your day on? Management? Tech? Operations? Trafficking? Putting out fires and solving problems, mostly. Way too many meetings. I really like to roll up my sleeves and get under the hood now and again, but it’s rare these days.

Ad Operations/Tech Questions

Ad Ops/process apps/software/tools you can’t live without? Outlook. Still the easiest way for me to see what’s happening with my team and the business.

What systems are you fluent in? DFP, Operative, Salesforce, Basecamp and Excel occupy the most of my time. 

What’s your least favorite industry buzzword? Native ads. We used to call those advertorials, and I don’t see much new in them now. I think some people are approaching this in a novel way, but often “native ads” is just an excuse to run an advertorial.

What buzzword do you find yourself using the most? Responsive design.

What industry trend are you following the closest? Responsive design and how advertising works in that paradigm.

What’s your advice to up and coming digital strategists? Know how to do everything. Best way to do that is to build your own web site – take a passion or hobby and build a blog around it in your spare time. Try to attract an audience, and maybe even make some money. You’ll learn a ton of practical knowledge, even if it never goes anywhere.