With the ever-changing pace of today’s job market, I was eager to learn more about what keeps someone happy, engaged, and inspired throughout a 10-year career. As an Employer Brand Manager, I’m always intrigued to understand people’s experience with Taboola, and with lots to share about community and culture, I was excited to sit down with Raz Vakil, Director of R&D, Algorithms, to hear what brought him to Taboola and why he chose to keep innovating here.

What attracted you to Taboola?

I’m Raz Vakil, Director of Machine Learning, and I’m excited to take you on a journey through my 10 years with this incredible company. Navigating through a decade of growth and innovation at Taboola has been nothing short of extraordinary. From my early days as an individual contributor to my current role as a director, every step has been a testament to the unique blend of people and culture that sets Taboola apart.

Choosing Taboola wasn’t just a career move but a defining chapter in my professional identity. The positive vibes during the interview process and a warm recommendation from a friend already working here drew me in. The special fusion of our vibrant community and distinctive culture makes Taboola a place where people stay for years.

Why have you chosen to continue growing at Taboola?

At Taboola, our people and culture are the heartbeat of our organization. This dynamic community has been the driving force behind my journey, offering unwavering support through every stage of growth. Starting as an individual contributor, I was promoted to become a team lead and later a group manager. Organic promotions are the norm, evident in the growth of my team, myself, and other team leaders. Beyond the technical challenges, what excites me most, is the opportunity to nurture individual growth and contribute to shaping cutting-edge systems (specifically delving into deep learning for recommendation systems on an immensely high scale)

Our unique culture is enriched by the wealth of data Taboola possesses—our lifeblood, so to speak. Few companies can match the vast amount of data at our fingertips. This, coupled with the innovation and expertise of our team, has empowered us to build an award-winning recommendation engine that stays ahead with the latest advancements in deep learning techniques.

What differentiates Taboola from other companies?

Transitioning to Taboola from a similar industry felt like taking a deep breath after a long dive. The refreshing atmosphere, collaborative spirit, and emphasis on growth and innovation continues to provide the perfect environment for me to thrive in my role and positively impact the business.

A distinctive aspect that sets Taboola apart is our close relationship with customers. We highly value their feedback, ensuring our product is not just a solution but the perfect fit for their needs. Whether it’s a minor feature tweak or a complete system redesign, we’re committed to evolving based on our customers’ requirements.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve learned at Taboola?

Reflecting on my journey, a valuable lesson I’ve learned is the power of trust. Trust-by-default is the key to establishing a strong team, and at Taboola, whenever someone seeks assistance, prompt support is readily provided.

When one of my employees, Zohar, proposed an idea that deviated from the established plan and its value was unknown at that time, despite some hesitation, we trusted him and his instincts, and supported the initiative. Ultimately, it turned out to be a gold mine, showcasing the power of trust in fostering innovation. This particular experience proved that while confronting significant challenges requires the right partners and toolbox, trusting my colleagues (and them trusting me) has resulted in some great successes!

What resources have helped you find success in your position?

Trust and honest feedback are two of the key resources that help drive my success at Taboola. Both have helped shape my professional development and it’s important to share that transparency, feedback, and communication are deeply engrained in our culture, which has been refreshing as I reflect on how I’ve been able to innovate and grow throughout my career here.

As I look back on my 10-year journey, I’m filled with gratitude because of the incredible experiences, challenges I’ve overcome, and relationships I’ve been fortunate to build. Here’s to many more years of growth, innovation, and shared smiles at Taboola. Cheers!

To learn more about why we are consistently ranked as a great place to work, check out the Taboola Life blog and visit our careers page. #TaboolaLife

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