Building for Success: Wojciech Lichota, CTO and Co-Founder

Wojciech Lichota, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of AdTonos, joined the company just over three years ago, and dedicated himself to creating one of Poland’s best R&D teams. Wojciech and his team have built and continue to develop the robust AdTonos platform. Through the team’s efforts, today the platform has an incredible reach of over 1.3 billion HTTP requests per month (~250/S), over 272 million unique listeners monthly, and handles over 65 TB of uploads and 1TB downloads per month. The AdTonos platform also impressively logs over 13 billion DB operations per month (~1.5K/S), and has potential to reach 5 billion ad playouts a month, worldwide. 

Challenges that all Adtechs currently face 

In part 1 of our 3-part thought leadership series, we interviewed Wojciech Lichota, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of AdTonos about what makes working in audio adtech and at AdTonos so special.

In this second part, Wojciech shares his insights into the current challenges that senior and junior developers alike currently face in digital audio.

What would you say are the major challenges that adtechs have to contend with?

Apart from the obvious issue of third party cookies being eliminated in 2023, as a developer and CTO, I take immense pride in the products that myself and my team work on. This does, however, go hand in hand with perfectionism! There is a constant balancing act between ‘perfecting’ an existing product on the one hand, and on the other, meeting the needs of the business team by ensuring that the cost of scaling is not higher than creating another solution from scratch.

Other challenges arise when you consider how many products AdTonos offers. At AdTonos, I have seen the most traffic, internal messages, the biggest size of database, scale of projects and revenues than in any other project I’ve worked on previously. This is especially impressive for developers in Poland, as there are not many big projects in Poland to speak of, let alone projects matching the scale of AdTonos’ platform. It is a unique challenge that Polish developers won’t easily find elsewhere. You can grow your skills and portfolio more in a single year at AdTonos than you can in a bigger tech company across several years. 

However, this kind of traffic does mean that a lot of things happen at once!  

Developing and maintaining all of our solutions in tandem has historically been one of our R&D’s biggest challenges. But we’re a resourceful bunch – we’ve switched to dividing our wider dev team into three product teams, and we rotate debugging duties on a daily basis to different developers to better manage our workload.

What myths in the dev world need to be corrected and what steps can adtechs take to address these myths?

The first major – and most harmful- myth that I can think of is that because there aren’t many senior developers available on the market, junior developers will be under a lot of pressure to work on massive projects without mentors to guide them through the process. 

This is not the case at AdTonos! It is true that the amount of code is much bigger on our main platform, and working on the platform would be more suited to a developer with more experience and knowledge. However, juniors in our company will not be on massive projects alone without supervision. Our approach as a team is to create smaller projects loosely connected to the main platform on our site, which we built from scratch in January. Because there is not a lot of code base in these smaller side projects for juniors, and they use the same tech as the main platform. In this way, our junior devs grow their confidence and familiarity with our tech, and we ensure that the learning curve will be less steep. We help less experienced developers join the platform over time under less pressure. Developers don’t need to have a huge amount of experience to work on our big projects, as we actively take a role in helping them bridge the gap in their skillset at a much faster pace.

The second unhelpful myth is related to adverts being seen as inherently annoying. In my capacity as CTO, I’ve conducted many interviews as part of our recruitment process. I would say that many developers I’ve interviewed still see ads as intrusive, annoying and ultimately not respecting users’ privacy. At AdTonos we really want to show the world that you can have highly effective ads with high ROI, without needing to harm user experience.

Our new product, Sandstorm SDK is a good example of this approach. Through Sandstorm, mobile gamers receive background audio ads in loading screens or during intervals, without interrupting gameplay. This reduces irritation as Sandstorm does not limit the gameplay experience, creating a more immersive and pleasant experience. Our technology can help make someone’s day that much better, which is crucial in a world where we’re surrounded by little annoyances that can build up over time!

It is common during interviews for applicants not to like adverts, so we need to show them that working in modern ad environments, with better targeting and user experiences, delivering fewer but hyper-personalised, relevant ads to users, can still be profitable for advertisers and improve usability as well as customer experience. Ads can be more than just noise; they can be mutually beneficial to listeners and advertisers, and create value by making listeners’ lives easier, saving them time, and saving them money. 

A recent study shows that Europeans favour ads because they allow the internet and many services to remain open to all versus operating on a subscription basis where only the more privileged have access to platforms and services, so between having an understanding of why ads are necessary, and our solutions that make ads more relevant and less painful to sit through, I feel in time we can overcome negative perceptions of ads.

In the final part of our thought leadership series with Wojciech, we will focus on how to futureproof the audio adtech space and ensure that today’s junior developers have the niche skillset needed for future demand. 

About AdTonos

AdTonos is a world-leading adtech that exponentially increases monetisation for advertisers, publishers and developers. AdTonos’ solutions can integrate into mobile gaming platforms, audiobook platforms, digital audio streams, online radio and podcasts across Europe, the United States, Asia, Africa and LATAM. These solutions operate on smart speakers and voice-assisted mobile devices operating on Android or iOS.  

Missed the first part of our thought leadership series with Wojciech? You can read it here

For open positions in our R&D team, visit our careers page.