NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
President and CEO
When President and CEO Bill Demas started with Turn, Inc. in 2008, there were 35 employees. Fast-forward five years, and the company is expected to have a workforce of 350 and gross revenue of more than $350 million by the end of 2013.
Demas felt it was important to change the company’s strategy from a service provider to a platform provider. So, in 2009, he gave a speech — known as the “burn your boats” speech — asking employees for the dedication to do whatever it took to accomplish their goals.
As a result of this strategy shift and complete employee buy-in, Turn has a win rate of 90 percent over Google and successfully secured the business of five of the top six major advertising companies. He credits the success to being able to create products that fit the market, rather than vice versa.
Today, the company leverages big data from various sources to help marketers target their most valuable audience on any digital device. It was among the first to work on demand side platforms and data management platforms.
Demas enjoys working side-by-side with his employees, priding himself on being open and available. His office is a cube with a normal nametag, off to the side of one of the conference rooms. On a given day he can go from speaking with coders to sales calls.
He also believes that the team is greater than the sum of the parts. In order to maintain the teamwork environment, Demas let an employee go who accounted for 10 percent of the company’s revenue.
He stays involved in the hiring process with human resources reporting directly to him because people are the most important factor in growing a business. Demas feels the health of any organization can be checked by how close its employees are. He likes to ask, “Are you making a best friend at work?”
How to reach: Turn, Inc., www.turn.com