Huffington Post’s 27-Year-Old COO Sees Its Global Expansion as an Opportunity for Advertisers

Reaching 200 million users around the world


Specs
Current gig Chief operating officer, Huffington Post
Previous gig General manager, international, Huffington Post
Age 27

Adweek: What's your day-to-day look like?
Koda Wang: The last thing I do every evening is decide what the handful of top priorities for the next day are. There will always be a million things competing for time and attention, but I anchor my day by having a clear head on what's most important and how to make really substantive progress on each. I also focus on both our U.S. and international businesses—they are each in different stages of evolution, and have very distinct needs. The U.S. business is a behemoth—and there are huge initiatives in distributed content, audience and tech/product that demand enterprisewide hustle. The international business is a collection of startups around the world, each of which has ambitions be a winner in its respective market. So, working with these smaller, hungry teams requires an entirely different kind of approach.

What are you bringing to the COO role?
I'm obsessed with global expansion and distributed content. On the global front, we've come very far in just a few years. We're now in 15 markets, and our international audiences are now larger than our U.S. audience—but there's still the rest of the world to explore, and we're not slowing down. Everyone brings a different flavor to a role—my formative experiences in editorial and business, international and domestic, always with a keen attention to tech, help me engage from different angles and move more quickly.

You're pretty young to have such an influential role.
I've benefited from an extremely compressed experience over the past four years at Huff Post. I've also been fortunate to have the mentorship and coaching from some of the top leaders in the industry—our founder and EIC Arianna Huffington, our former CEO Jimmy Maymann and present CEO Jared Grusd. With them, I've had the opportunity to work on editorial operations, building the business team, driving global expansion, and now tying it all together with every part of the company. The path was certainly not easy, nor should it be, but a superb team and relentless focus can bridge the gap between ambition and available resources.

Huffington Post is expanding its presence globally. What are the opportunities there for advertisers?
We've built a solid global advertising infrastructure. We reach 200 million users in markets that cover two-thirds of the world's GDP. And marketers and advertisers can reach them all with both display and native advertising with Huff Post Partner Studio. We've built Agora, a global marketplace that allows clients to buy display at scale, and have set up Huff Post Partner Studio in each of our markets as well.

What are you most excited about in digital?
I've certainly marveled at how digital has fundamentally transformed the media industry. But I'm also intrigued by how tech and mobile are upending other industries as well—healthcare, financial services, transportation, food and [hospitality], among others. And the most astounding part is the fact that it's still in the early innings, and there is so much more to come.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 9 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.