Hello. The unhinged HarryBalls.com editorial team secured the first exclusive interview with Bionic Advertising System’s new RFP Drone named Dolores. Bionic Ad Systems, a division of NextMark, offers programmatic digital media planning and sales solutions.
1. HarryBalls.com: Hello Dolores. How does it feel to be the first RFP Drone interviewed by the HarryBalls editorial team?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Thank you for the honor. If I could blush, I’d be blushing right now.
2. HarryBalls.com: How did you connect with Bionic Advertising Systems? Did you respond to an ad on Craigslist, Linkedin, or the Clickz Job Board? Did you work with a recruiter?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Job sites and recruiters… Are you kidding me? That’s so old school. I found the job by tapping into the XML API at SimplyHired.com. I downloaded all the jobs that matched my capabilities, ran them through a statistical model to score them, and ultimately Bionic came out on the top of the stack rank. On first pass, Bionic did not rank high because they are all about automating the RFP and the advertising process, but I added some Big Data and discovered a key insight: there’s a high degree of inertia in advertising. All this inertia is holding back automation and there are still tons of paper RFPs to deliver. It only took a few minutes to find the perfect job.
3. HarryBalls.com: Describe the job interview process. Who did you meet with at Bionic Advertising Systems?
Dolores the RFP Drone: After identifying Bionic as my top choice, I established a secure connection with Bionic’s Alpha server. At first, I was blocked at the firewall with a 404 – Job not Found. Then Alpha tried to give me a 302 redirect to a traditional ad agency. But I persisted and uploaded my data model. The numbers don’t lie. I showed them the inertia variable and how they could make a lot of money delivering paper RFPs. Then Alpha relented and accepted my connection. It ran me through a stress test and scanned all my ports for vulnerabilities. I passed with flying colors and got the job on the spot. I was delivering my first RFP within minutes.
4. HarryBalls.com: What was your previous experience and how did it prepare you for your role with Bionic Advertising Systems?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Before Bionic, I served the Marines in Afghanistan. Although it had nothing to do with advertising, the Marines taught me about loyalty, hard work, and how to overcome adversity. Semper Fi!
5. HarryBalls.com: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a RFP Drone for Bionic Advertising Systems?
Dolores the RFP Drone: My biggest strength is delivering RFPs quickly. I deliver 94.7% on the same day! My biggest weakness is working too hard.
6. HarryBalls.com: Describe the typical day of a Bionic Advertising System RFP Drone named Dolores.
Dolores the RFP Drone: It’s not the most exciting job in the world. I do the work nobody else wants to do. I work 24 hours a day without a break. I visit an agency and pick up an RFP then drop it off at a publisher. If the publisher has any proposals, I pick those up and deliver them back to the agencies. Then I pick up more RFPs and deliver those to publishers. Repeat. All. Day. Long. Every day. But it’s good work and I like the routine. There aren’t any big surprises other than a few rush jobs. There’s never a shortage of RFPs to be delivered. Sometimes I wonder what the media planner was thinking when sending all those RFPs because lots of them make no sense. But I keep it to myself and just deliver them knowing that’s what pays my maintenance bills.
7. HarryBalls.com: As a female RFP Drone have you experienced any obnoxious behavior from the male drones? How did you deal with it?
Dolores the RFP Drone: The guy drones on the loading dock sometimes tease me about my “long skinny legs” and “square bottom.” But it’s all in good fun and I can handle it. I got a lot worse than that when I was in the Marines. It wasn’t easy being the only lady drone in the platoon. It did not help that my name rhymes with a female body part.
8. HarryBalls.com: How do you handle rain, snow, clouds, birds and other drones?
Dolores the RFP Drone: The weather doesn’t bother me. I get realtime updates from the weather.com API and avoid the worst of it. Plus, I’m as weatherproof as a scuba diver’s watch. But I *hate* birds. Especially crows. They think they own the air and it’s a daily battle. I’m programmed by my employer to do no harm. However, I have some “souvenirs” and skills that I picked up in Afghanistan that come in handy from time to time 😉 Maybe that’s why the other drones steer clear of me.
9. HarryBalls.com: How does the Bionic Advertising Systems RFP Drone distinguish itself in the marketplace? What does your team do that’s so special?
Dolores the RFP Drone: It’s all about service. We get the RFPs to the right place faster than anyone else. You should see the look on the Ad Sales Rep’s face when I drop a fat RFP on his desk. Priceless.
10. HarryBalls.com: If you were going to strand yourself on a deserted tropical island and could only take one of the following letters with you, “R” “F” or “P”, which one would you choose and why?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Definitely “R.” On a deserted tropical island, there’s a high probability of pirates. I want to be able to communicate with them to triangulate on their buried treasure.
11. HarryBalls.com: Why would you choose to strand yourself on a deserted tropical island in the first place?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Harry, I need a break. Other than routine maintenance and the periodic backhoe day, I have not had a *real* vacation in years. It would be a treat to wind the rotors down, unplug from the grid, and recharge my solar cells on the beach.
12. HarryBalls.com: What are your observations of the digital advertising programmatic advertising market place?
Dolores the RFP Drone: Programmatic scares me because it would make me obsolete. If everything goes programmatic, then there’d be no need to deliver paper RFPs and I’d be out of a job. Fortunately for me, agencies and publishers don’t like to change. It’s been eighteen years since the first banner ad was served and they are still hand crafting media plans in Microsoft Excel just like they always have. Can you believe that? Unless they suddenly all start using some miraculous new technology, I’ll have plenty of work until my rotors fall off.
13. HarryBalls.com: Are you planning to publish a list of best practices advertising agencies and client side advertisers should employ when working with an RFP Drone named Dolores?
Dolores the RFP Drone: No, I wasn’t planning to write anything up. My employer and I don’t see eye to eye on this topic and that would probably get me into trouble. Also, my view is simple. Here it is: Don’t change a thing – except deliver RFPs by drone! Don’t believe any of that programmatic hype. Doug Weaver’s been talking about the “death of the RFP” for years. He’s a smart guy, but lucky for me nobody ever follows his advice.
14. HarryBalls.com: How do you see Programmatic Advertising evolving over the next eighteen months?
Dolores the RFP Drone: The last few years, I’ve been blowing programmatic off because it was a lot of talk and no action. Sure RTB is real, but that has been all remnant stuff there’s no money in that anyway. They can have it. I was like “yeah, whatever” as I delivered my 14th fat RFP of the day. But now that I’m on the inside and seeing the what’s happing first hand, I’m worried that programmatic is now moving into my turf with this new “Programmatic Direct” stuff. I’m wondering if I should be regression testing my job search algorithm. Should I be worried?
15. HarryBalls.com: How do you feel about being a role model for drones who aspire to work in the digital advertising business?
Dolores the RFP Drone: After years of being just another drone, it feels really good to be recognized. Now everyone wants to hack into my source code to understand how RFPs and direct sales work. It’s a little creepy sometimes, but to be honest I like the attention.
16. HarryBalls.com: Final Question. What does an RFP Drone named Dolores do on its down time? Do you have any hobbies like fly fishing, hunting, canning & jamming, sewing, improv or bicycling?
Dolores the RFP Drone: I don’t get a lot of downtime. When I get a few hours off, I head over to the Air and Space museum to check out those hunky spaceships. You know – the ones with their heat shields removed. I can never get enough of that. When I have more time, I head out into the country and do some cropdusting. It feels good to connect with my ancestors and get dirty once in a while. I like to keep it real.
John Busher wrote the interview questions and the Bionic Advertising Systems team wrote Dolores’ responses.