16. David Carlick – untold story of Poppe Tyson and DoubleClick

David Carlick was a key player in the early years of DoubleClick and lead the Silicon Valley office of the legendary B2B agency Poppe Tyson, which did so much to bring ads to the nascent internet via clients such as Netscape and Silicon Graphics. (Poppe Tyson, a division of Bozell Worldwide, later merged with Modem Media and its name was retired; Modem merged with Digitas and both joined the Publicis Groupe.)

Starting life as a dropout in the Vietnam Era, Carlick kicked off his entrepreneurial life in the waterbed business in a thriving California market. After earning a CPA and working for a bit as an accountant in the Valley, he succumbed to the lure of advertising and started his own business, working with clients such as Intel and Osborne, the first successful PC, honing his high-tech storytelling and sales skills.

Carlick’s work for a once-rocking, now kaput, PC company.

As Carlick tells Marty and Jill in this groovy episode, Poppe Tyson was run by a legendary New York-based raconteur and ad man named Fergus O’Daly – a habitue of steak houses, firecracker for liberal causes, and beloved personality of the old style. O’Daly was the man who came up with the name “DoubleClick” as a label for the gestating digital efforts of his team in New Jersey, then focused on CD-ROMs.

Fergus O’Daly (left) and David Carlick discussing ad strategy

At some point in 1994, Carlick visited Kevin O’Connor in Alpharetta Georgia in the labyrinthian basement office he used to found his company, then called Internet Advertising Network/Systems. Both Poppe Tyson and O’Connor’s company were building an ad server to support a network of pubs; both agree O’Connor’s (built with Dwight Merriman) was “further along.” They joined forces and the mighty DoubleClick, as it was called, was born as part of the Bozell family.

As recounted in our recent #PaleoAdTech episode with Kevin O’Connor, DoubleClick spun out from the agency and went public. Shortly after the IPO, Carlick ran askew of the company’s management due to what he describes as a complicated miscommunication, and he left and began to focus on investment, board and advisory roles.

Those roles took him on many adventures in adland – some of which he shares with us. He takes us behind the scenes at AskJeeves, a highly-valued natural-language search engine represented by Mike Ovitz, and MySpace, which Carlick describes as something of a “cobbled-together product” that ultimately lost to Facebook due to its inability to scale.

These days, Carlick is an independent director working with companies in fintech, sponsorship and digital media among others.

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