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AI Alchemy: How Zack Rosenberg Turns Content into Gold

We’re diving headfirst into the madcap world of Zack Rosenberg, the maestro behind Qortex, the ad-tech powerhouse shaking up the industry faster than a Kardashian divorce. If you’re here for a polite, run-of-the-mill tech story, this isn’t it. This is the no-holds-barred, uncensored tour of how a sports fanatic turned AI wizard is rewriting the rules of digital advertising. Think of it as Kara Swisher’s sass meets Howard Stern’s irreverence, with a dash of startup chaos thrown in for good measure.

From Ball Games to Brain Games: Zack’s Unlikely Journey

Zack Rosenberg isn’t your average tech CEO. He cut his teeth in the live sports world, hustling for the New York Mets during high school and college. Picture this: a wide-eyed kid navigating the dugout, dreaming of home runs and hotdogs, only to find himself knee-deep in the digital frontier years later. The leap from cheering in the stands to spearheading Qortex’s AI analytics is like going from Little League to the World Series overnight. What lit the fuse for this pivot? Zack saw the untapped potential in social media as a primary channel for sports content—an idea that seemed as crazy as betting against Tom Brady.

Sports management was Zack’s first love. He went to college for it, and working for the Mets was a dream come true. But dreams have a funny way of morphing into something else when reality hits. By the time he was streaming minor league games on social media, it was clear that traditional broadcasting and digital media were about as compatible as oil and water. The struggle to monetize content with peanuts for ad revenue ($11 a day for 600,000 viewers, anyone?) was the wake-up call Zack needed. Thus began his journey into the world of AI and ad-tech.

It wasn’t an easy path, filled with more pivots than a ballerina on crack. When the dollars didn’t flow from streaming, Zack had an epiphany: integrate brands directly into the content. The result? The birth of Qortex. What started as a side hustle became a full-blown mission to revolutionize digital advertising. Zack’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and the art of seeing opportunity where others see obstacles.

Breakfast of Champions… or Not

So, what fuels the brain behind Qortex? I had to know if Zack’s morning routine was as manic as his career. Spoiler alert: It’s not all power smoothies and zen meditation. “Most nights end somewhere between 9 and 9:30,” Zack confesses, “Right before the NCAA Championship game. I wake up to that news, start off with some eggs, whole wheat toast, yogurt… well, ideally. Usually, it’s just a handful of eggs as I run out the door, juggling kids and chaos.”

Forget those Instagram-worthy breakfasts of chia pudding and avocado toast. Zack’s mornings are more like a scene from a family sitcom, where the dad is sprinting out the door with a half-eaten piece of toast in one hand and a kid’s backpack in the other. It’s real, it’s messy, and it’s the perfect metaphor for the startup life. There’s no time for pretentious rituals when you’re building the next big thing in ad-tech.

His candid admission that most mornings are a scramble is refreshing in a world where CEOs love to pontificate about their meticulously curated routines. Zack’s approach is all about pragmatism. He’s more concerned with getting things done than projecting an image of perfection. In the chaotic world of startups, it’s the ability to adapt on the fly that separates the winners from the wannabes.

Pivot or Perish: The Qortex Genesis

Zack’s journey from sports to tech wasn’t just a leap; it was a quantum jump. Starting Qortex wasn’t some overnight epiphany but a calculated pivot from his previous stint at Kiwi (now Anyword). His Eureka moment? Realizing social media could be the main stage, not just the sideshow. Teaming up with his cousin at ESPN radio, they started streaming small league games on social media. The result? 600,000 viewers a day but just $11 in ad revenue. Yep, less than the price of a stadium hotdog. The pivot to integrating brands into the video content? Genius. The birth of Qortex? Inevitable.

Imagine building an audience bigger than some cable TV shows and then realizing you’re making less money than a lemonade stand. That was Zack’s reality. But instead of packing up and going home, he saw an opportunity. He understood that social media wasn’t just a dumping ground for leftover content; it could be the main event. The problem was figuring out how to make it profitable.

Enter the idea of brand integration. Instead of relying on traditional ad revenue, Zack and his team started weaving brands directly into the content. It was a bold move, and it paid off. By the time they rebranded as Qortex, they had a winning formula: engaging content that advertisers wanted to be part of. It was a game-changer, and Zack was the mastermind behind it.

Dragons, Tears, and Payroll Fears

Every startup has its dragons to slay, and Zack’s had his share. From near-miss payrolls to desperate calls at 4 AM, it’s been a rollercoaster. One such moment? Calling a loan company at dawn to cover payroll, getting funds at 8:09 AM, and meeting payroll at 8:12 AM. Talk about cutting it close. But these near-death experiences have only made Qortex stronger.

The world of startups is brutal, and Zack’s had more than his fair share of war stories. Running out of money is a rite of passage for many entrepreneurs, but it’s the way Zack handled it that stands out. Imagine the stress of knowing you’re about to miss payroll and then pulling off a last-minute miracle. It’s the kind of pressure that would break lesser mortals, but for Zack, it’s just another day at the office.

These near-miss moments aren’t just about survival; they’re about resilience. Every time Qortex faced a potential disaster, Zack and his team found a way to turn it around. It’s a testament to their ingenuity and determination. These experiences have forged a company that’s not just surviving but thriving in one of the toughest industries out there.

 The Aha Moment: From Yawns to Yays

Not every pitch lands. Zack recalls a disastrous meeting in Chicago where potential clients yawned across the table. But just when he considered throwing in the towel, a blunt client gave him the breakthrough advice that turned everything around. That moment? The birth of Qortex’s success.

Picture this: a room full of potential clients, all of them barely stifling yawns as Zack pitches his heart out. It’s the kind of soul-crushing experience that would make anyone question their life choices. But in the world of startups, failure is just a stepping stone. For Zack, the turning point came when a client bluntly told him he was doing it all wrong. Instead of being crushed, Zack listened and learned.

This blunt feedback was the catalyst Qortex needed. It was like a light bulb going off. Zack realized he’d been approaching the problem from the wrong angle. By shifting his focus and implementing the client’s suggestions, he transformed Qortex from a struggling startup into a burgeoning powerhouse. It’s a perfect example of how sometimes, the best advice comes from the most unexpected places.

 The Evolution of a Leader

From janitor to CEO, Zack’s role has evolved. These days, it’s about repetition—endlessly repeating the vision so there are no mixed messages. Feeding the organization with talent and keeping the plates spinning. The goal? Ensuring Qortex runs like a well-oiled machine, ready for the next big leap.

In the early days, Zack wore every hat imaginable. One minute he was the janitor, the next the CEO. It’s the reality of startup life, where titles mean nothing, and everyone pitches in to get the job done. But as Qortex grew, so did Zack’s role. Today, his job is more about strategic vision and less about day-to-day operations. It’s about setting the course and making sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.

One of Zack’s key strategies is repetition. In a fast-paced environment, it’s easy for messages to get lost or misunderstood. By constantly repeating the company’s vision and goals, Zack ensures that everyone is on the same page. It’s not about micromanaging but about clear communication. This approach keeps Qortex focused and aligned, even as it grows and evolves.

Another crucial aspect of Zack’s role is talent management. Building a great team is half the battle, and Zack knows it. He’s committed to finding and nurturing the best talent, ensuring that Qortex has the skills and expertise needed to stay ahead of the competition. It’s about creating an environment where smart, driven people can thrive and innovate. And it’s this focus on people that will propel Qortex into the future.

Robin Hood of Ad-Tech

Qortex’s secret sauce? Contextual video understanding. It’s not just about identifying an airplane in a video but knowing if it’s a family vacation or a disaster. “You don’t want your ad on a plane crash video,” Zack jokes. The magic is in analyzing multiple data points—audio, transcript, computer vision—to get the full context. The result? Ads that hit the mark with pinpoint accuracy.

Understanding context in video content is like finding a needle in a haystack, while blindfolded, and with one hand tied behind your back. But that’s exactly what Qortex does, and they do it brilliantly. It’s not enough to recognize an airplane; you need to know if it’s a joyous family trip or a tragic crash. This level of nuance is what sets Qortex apart from the competition. They’re not just playing in the big leagues; they’re redefining the game.

The technology behind Qortex’s success is a blend of audio analysis, transcript scrutiny, computer vision, and sentiment analysis. It’s like a Swiss Army knife of AI, with each tool working together to understand the full context of a video. This comprehensive approach ensures that ads are not only relevant but also placed in a way that enhances the viewer’s experience. It’s advertising done right, without the awkward missteps that make viewers cringe.

This ability to understand and leverage context is what makes Qortex a standout in the ad-tech world. They’re not just throwing darts and hoping for a bullseye; they’re using precision tools to ensure every shot hits the mark. It’s a game-changer for advertisers who want to reach their audience in a meaningful way. And for viewers, it means a better, more relevant experience. Everyone wins.

 Privacy in the Cookie-less Future

Built with privacy in mind, Qortex doesn’t dabble in personal data. It’s all about understanding content at a deep level to deliver relevant ads without infringing on privacy. “Cookies are only effective about 30% of the time,” Zack says. Qortex aims to do much better.

The demise of third-party cookies has thrown the digital advertising world into a frenzy. But while others are scrambling, Qortex is cool as a cucumber. They’ve been preparing for this moment from the start. Zack’s vision was always about privacy-first solutions. By focusing on content understanding rather than personal data, Qortex sidesteps the cookie conundrum entirely.

This approach is not just innovative; it’s essential in today’s privacy-conscious world. Consumers are more aware than ever of how their data is used, and they demand transparency. Qortex’s method of analyzing content to deliver relevant ads respects these privacy concerns while still providing effective advertising solutions. It’s a win-win situation that sets Qortex apart from the competition.

Zack’s perspective on cookies is refreshingly candid. “Cookies are only effective about 30% of the time,” he says, likening the conversation around them to Groundhog Day. Instead of relying on a flawed system, Qortex offers a more reliable and ethical alternative. By understanding the content at a deep level, they can deliver ads that are both relevant and respectful of privacy. It’s the future of digital advertising, and Qortex is leading the way.

Navigating the Scaling Labyrinth

With a fresh $10 million in funding, Zack’s ready to scale Qortex. The plan? Expand the engineering team, develop new services, and build a robust business side. The secret to recruiting top talent? Creativity in compensation and attracting people passionate about solving problems.

Scaling a startup is like navigating a labyrinth, with dead ends and unexpected twists at every turn. But with a fresh infusion of $10 million, Zack is ready to tackle the challenge head-on. The plan is simple yet ambitious: expand the engineering team, develop new services, and build a robust business side. It’s about taking Qortex from a promising startup to an industry titan.

One of the biggest challenges in scaling is finding and retaining top talent. Zack’s approach is as creative as it is effective. Instead of chasing after high-profile hires with big salaries, he looks for people who are passionate about solving problems. By offering creative compensation packages, including equity and milestone-based incentives, he attracts talent that’s committed to the long-term success of Qortex.

This strategy has paid off. The team at Qortex is not just skilled but deeply invested in the company’s vision. It’s about creating a culture of ownership and accountability, where everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger. As Qortex scales, this strong foundation will be crucial in navigating the complexities of growth and maintaining the innovative edge that sets them apart.

The Five-Year Vision

In five years, Zack envisions Qortex powering the intelligence behind every video created and consumed. Whether it’s interactive in-video experiences or deep audience insights, Qortex aims to be at the forefront of video content intelligence.

Looking ahead, Zack’s vision for Qortex is nothing short of revolutionary. In five years, he sees Qortex as the intelligence engine behind every video created and consumed. It’s not just about placing ads; it’s about understanding and enhancing the entire video experience. Whether it’s interactive in-video experiences or deep audience insights, Qortex aims to be at the forefront of video content intelligence.

magine a world where every video you watch is enhanced by Qortex’s technology. Ads aren’t just interruptions; they’re seamless parts of the viewing experience, adding value rather than detracting from it. It’s a future where content is tailored to individual preferences, creating a more engaging and personalized experience for viewers. This is the world Zack envisions, and he’s working tirelessly to make it a reality.

The potential applications of Qortex’s technology are endless. From entertainment to education, from advertising to analytics, the possibilities are vast. Zack’s vision is not just about creating a successful company; it’s about transforming how we interact with video content. It’s an ambitious goal, but with Zack’s leadership and Qortex’s innovative technology, it’s one that’s within reach.

Zen and the Art of Startup Maintenance

How does Zack stay sane? Marry well, he says with a laugh. Having a supportive spouse who understands the biz and planning finances meticulously were key to his journey.

Running a trailblazing tech company isn’t a walk in the park. It’s more like a high-wire act with no safety net. So how does Zack stay sane in the midst of the madness? His secret weapon: marrying well. With a laugh, Zack credits his supportive spouse for keeping him grounded. It’s not just about emotional support; it’s about having a partner who understands the business and the challenges that come with it.

Having a spouse who gets it makes a world of difference. Zack’s wife, who works in video at a major media company, brings valuable insights to their dinner table conversations. It’s like having a sounding board who knows the industry inside and out. This mutual understanding and support have been crucial in navigating the ups and downs of startup life.

ut it’s not just about emotional support. Planning finances meticulously was another key to Zack’s journey. Before going full-time with Qortex, Zack and his wife put a plan in place to support their family without needing a salary for some time. This careful planning provided the financial stability needed to focus on building Qortex without constant money worries. It’s a reminder that behind every successful entrepreneur is a strong support system and a solid

So there you have it: Zack Rosenberg and Qortex, the ad-tech sorcerers who turned a near-bankrupt startup into a digital juggernaut, all while dodging flaming hoops and keeping their sanity intact. If you’re not inspired, you might want to check your pulse. In a world where AI is king and context is everything, Zack’s not just playing the game—he’s rewriting the rulebook. Stay tuned, folks, because this is one revolution you won’t want to miss.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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