Episode 16

Privacy, Ad Tech, and AI: Julia Shullman, GC and Chief Privacy Officer, Telly

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:18

  • Introducing Julia Shullman, GC and Chief Privacy Officer at Telly.

Blending hardware, software, and privacy at Telly: 1:00

  • Creating the first-ever free-ad-supported device.
  • Entering the market with an emphasis on data transparency.
  • Pulling back on data use access and sharing.
  • Looking to European privacy regulations to see what is on the horizon for the US.

Finding your way from M&A to privacy law: 4:16

  • Pivoting from your early ambition to be a tax lawyer.
  • Being drawn in by the complexity of M&A work. 
  • Parlaying your experience at a major firm into your first in-house role.
  • Familiarizing yourself with ad server deals.

Transitioning into ad tech at AppNexus: 6:37

  • Defining advertising technology.
  • Searching for the right privacy counsel candidate.
  • Stepping into a chief privacy counsel role alongside the biggest names in the industry.

Identifying the necessary attitude to be successful in privacy: 10:42

  • The value of admitting what you don’t know.
  • How to be a good supporting partner to teams across the business.
  • Learning to find comfort in uncertainty.

Overseeing the transformation from AppNexus to Xandr at AT&T: 13:40

  • Bringing ad tech infrastructure to power AT&T’s innovative product.
  • Educating colleagues about the strategy connecting ad tech and privacy.

Taking on a GC role at TripleLift: 15:45

  • Coming in during a growth phase to help founders plan their exit.
  • Finding your place in small and dynamic companies.
  • Building a legal team of soon-to-be GCs.
  • Advising the sale to private equity during the pandemic over Zoom. 

Building trust with executive team and partners at Vista Equity Partners: 22:07

  • Aligning a management team during the most stressful days of the pandemic.
  • Seeing the goal of private equity as finding growth opportunities, not cutting costs.

Stepping away to found a privacy and policy consulting firm: 25:57

  • The difficulty of functioning as outside counsel.
  • Recognizing that privacy is greatly misunderstood by many companies.
  • Expanding beyond ad tech to retail media and AI.
  • Tackling all aspects of a business as a founder, beyond legal and privacy.
  • Preferring detailed corporate work to the distance of advisement.

Advice to lawyers searching for their next GC role: 32:12

  • Emphasizing the importance of nurturing your professional network.

Considering the future of the chief privacy officer role: 33:24

  • Observing an increase in business people taking over the field. 
  • Acknowledging the value of knowledge and experience in a complex specialization.
  • Finding excitement in companies that are making privacy fundamental to their product.

Speculating on the future of privacy and AI: 36:17

  • Solving AI’s issue with privacy (or privacy’s issues with AI).
  • Thinking in frameworks like a privacy specialist.
  • Ad tech’s unique perspective on bias and harm issues.
  • Being willing to admit what you don’t understand and search for people who do.

Book recommendations: 41:34

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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Julia Shullman
GC and Chief Privacy Officer, Telly

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