AMA with Jimmy Secretan

Welcome to the eighteenth post in our series of BAT Community-run AMAs.

The ongoing AMA series on Reddit features various guests from the Brave and BAT teams, and, as of recently, guests from projects that Brave partners or works with.

The latest AMA took place on June 5th and featured Jimmy Secretan, Brave’s VP of Services and Operations. Jimmy fielded both pre-submitted and live questions from Redditors concerning a variety of topics, like what Brave’s grand mission is, the most exciting thing his team is currently working on, and where he sees Brave in 10 years’ time. Jimmy took in suggestions from participants for Brave Ads, like implementing a broader variety of opt-ins for users—for instance, notifications to signal live sporting events—and shared what’s coming down the pipeline for Brave Rewards.

Highlights can be found below, with a link to the full AMA at the bottom of this post.

The next AMA will take place on Wednesday, June 12th, and will feature guests Ian Kane (COO) and Daniel Gouldman (CEO), Founders and Co-owners of Ternio, one of Brave’s advertisers.

For the list of upcoming BAT Community AMAs through August 2019, see below.

bananablocks: First Q Every great pioneering company has a unique and ambitious mission. For example, for SpaceX, it’s colonizing Mars. I like to think of Brave as one of these companies. What is the grand mission of Brave that boosts morale and aligns all departments?
I think of Brave’s mission as providing the very best experience on the web, hands down. And a lot of things naturally follow from that. The best experience on the web should be fast and respect privacy. The best experience on the web should make ads a healthy part of the experience, not a burden. The best experience on the web should open up access to all the best content, in the way with the lowest possible friction.
razzashi: Hi, Jimmy! What is the most exciting feature you and your team is working on these days?
I am very excited about all of the coming work around supporting redemption of Brave Rewards. Of course, the team is hard at work on 2-way wallet functionality, but I’m also very excited about the ability to redeem for different types of rewards in-browser. We are currently working on integrating rewards redemption for gift certificates offered by our partner Tap. And once we have the underpinnings developed for in-browser redemption, we are hoping that using your Brave Rewards on premium content isn't far behind. I think that with a scaled, private, global ad network providing rewards to users, with a very low friction way to use those rewards to smooth out the browsing experience, the idea of the Brave Rewards ecosystem will really hit stride.
EddyTarantulo: Hey. Big Brave fan here! A question. When you guys are expecting to offer ads globally? Or at least full Europe? Also are you guys planning to add some warning that Brave ad blocker might break this site? I had quite a few website that did not work until I disabled the shields... It could be user reported database. Or something like that.
For ads in the rest of Europe, we are hoping to have that later in the year. My team and the research team have been working on scaling out the in-browser machine learning for different languages. Europe is of course a lot of work as we are tracking 20+ languages that we would want to deploy there. But the research team is putting in a lot of effort now to make those models easier to train and deploy. For Brave ad blocking causing site issues, while this isn't my area of expertise, I know that the browser team is putting in a ton of time on new ways to ensure the best web compatibility.
bananablocks: I work in a Business Ops role at a tech startup in the Bay Area and was surprised to hear in your description that you manage the engineering ecosystem (though you’re clearly qualified). What prompted for the engineering ecosystem to not live under Brian Bondy (he is the CTO for the larger group)?
Thanks, excellent question. So, yeah, to clarify, Brian Bondy, the CTO of Brave manages the bulk of the engineering team and focuses on making sure the browser overall is fast, private and has all of the best features to navigate the web. I manage the engineering teams that focus on Brave Rewards specifically, including the backends that service them. Brian and I naturally work closely together on this, as we want to make sure that Brave Rewards first and foremost fits in well with the core browsing experience.
lewicki: When using Brave with ads turned on, do you see the pop-up notifications as an intermediary step? Is the idea to have Brave eventually replace the current workflow of how ads are displayed on a site? By that, I mean, having your ad decision engine on the device instead of out in the world, but much of the same as to how they are displayed?
So, with Brave Ads, I think there are already plans in the works to consider other ways of signaling attention besides the pop up notification. And so yes, I think that definitely in the future, you will see ads in different form factors, but still with the decision engine running in-browser. However, naturally we consider any new form of notification very carefully before deploying, as we want to make sure that the ads experience always complements and never distracts from the browsing experience.
DiIIydiIIy: If I earn BAT for viewing ads and receive the monthly payout on the 5th. Do my earned BAT ever get taken away if not withdrawn or tipped prior to the next payout (each month on the 5th)? Thanks.
Not to worry, you do not have to tip or withdraw those earnings before the next payout, they will remain in wallet.
bananablocks: What organizational KPIs or success metrics can you guys publish to the community? I think it would be amazing to have some basic metrics in place for the larger community (# advertisers in the Brave ecosystem, # ads run by advertiser, $ / BAT spent per ad, browser DAUs, etc). Do you ever anticipate Brave publishing stats like that? You’ve seen how popular Maxence’s work is at (and that’s for publishers stats only) - the community would love for more (though I understand competitive intel might cause for these types of metrics to stay private for foreseeable future). tagging u/oogiefrenchieboogie - great work 🙂
First, it’s worth saying that I love Maxence’s work on bat growth. We are incredibly fortunate to have a passionate community that is willing to jump in and help promote the Brave Rewards ecosystem. So, we have discussed the possibility of publicly available ads KPIs. One challenge though is making those KPIs simple for an external observer to follow. So, for example, signing on 1-2 very big brands may be a much bigger win for the business then 10 mid sized advertisers in terms of building further credibility. And as for revenue, heavy seasonality is the norm. But I think that as we move into BAT Apollo, the next phase of development, greater decentralization will help make some of these metrics more readily available.
fubirino: when you plan to turn on ads on IOS?
Right after we release Brave Ads on Android, which is coming very soon, we are shifting our focus immediately to iOS.
bananablocks: If I also would like to join Brave someday, what are important characteristics you guys look for outside of capability/qualifications? Are there specific culture pieces that you think are important to understand? Thanks and I appreciate your time to engage with the community!
Openness is a huge part of the culture at Brave. The names of the BAT phases, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, are of course a reference to the early space race in the US. And in those efforts, NASA defaulted to a policy of openness. That meant both publicizing the successes as well as the failures. When undertaking a mission as ambitious as Brave’s, there will definitely be setbacks, mistakes and other bumps in the road. And the best thing we can do is admit those challenges, do our best to improve, and keep soldiering on. Also, we are definitely hiring: /careers/
Lewicki: Where do you see this company in 10 years? Do you have a broad stroked roadmap of what your milestones are? Major features, partnerships, usership?
Well 10 year horizons are always tough. Many of the industries we work in and around will have shifted fundamentally, and probably several times by then. In advertising for instance, programmatic as we know it was just coming on to the horizon 10 years ago, and has shifted a number of times itself. But the part that is probably not surprising is that we will be working to become the dominant browser by providing the best possible experience on the web, of which I think Brave Rewards is a major part.
Read the full AMA here.

See our latest AMA with Dr. Johnny Ryan, Brave’s Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer from May 30th, 2019 here.

Follow the BAT Community’s Updates here:

Upcoming BAT Community AMAs:

June 2019
Marshall Rose, Principal Engineer at Brave
Jordan Spence, CMO of MyCrypto

July 2019
Alex Wilson and Patrick Duffy, Founders of The Giving Block
Catherine Corre, Head of Communications at Brave

August 2019
Jeremy Epstein (Founder) and Donny Dvorin (GM), Never Stop Marketing Research

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