15. Dave Moore – the epic of 24/7

David Moore is the CEO of Britepool, an advertising identity management and resolution company developing an alternative ID for publishers. An affable Midwestern dealmaker, he moved east to join a TV ad sales rep company and then CNN at the dawn of the cable TV revolution. He recalls going on sales calls with an exuberant Ted Turner, who sometimes helped and “sometimes … hurt.”

Dave worked at Petry Media and Lifetime Television before founding 24/7 Media somewhere between 1995 and 1998 (it was a complicated process). The company was an ad network that aggregated about 1,200 publishers at peak and sold to advertisers seeking national scale. As Dave tells Jill and Marty in this nail-biter of an interview, “What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that … ninety per cent of our revenues were coming from dot-com companies.”

That meant of course that when Alan Greenspan proved prophetic and “irrational exuberance” did indeed lead to “prolonged contraction” (as Greenspan predicted), 24/7 was almost wiped out overnight — going from a market cap of $1.8 billion and a stock price of $68 to a market cap of $15 million and a price of $0.15.

How did Moore keep his company afloat?

“It was tough,” he admits. “My favorite quote was from Winston Churchill, ‘Never give up.’ A short quote.” Facing an executive coterie begging to declare bankruptcy and auditors dubious of its solvency, Moore’s 24/7 cut its staff 40%, closed global offices and — in a twisty episode also described in our Dave Morgan episode — acquired Real Media for 19.9% of the company’s stock (the maximum allowed without board approval), after DoubleClick lost a bid by offending the investors.

What followed was a spectacular turn-around, year by year, as the stock rose and Moore managed the company, now named 24/7 Real Media, back to profitability and a $200 million run rate … and ultimately a $650 million acquisition by Martin Sorrell’s WPP holding company.

That turnaround is one of the “underappreciated” feats of the dot-com postscript, Morgan told us.

Moore stayed on at WPP for 12 years as Chairman and later President of WPP Digital until leaving in 2019 to found Britepool.

In this look back on a highly eventful career, Dave displays the humor and candor that have won him the enduring affection of former employees and colleagues. He’s a testament to the power of endurance and the value of that overlooked American salesman’s trait: true optimism.

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