Season 01 • Episode 02

Adrian Sarasa & Deniz Varol, letgo

To learn about The Appy Hour Talk Show by App Growth Summit, click here!

Adrian Sarasa (Director of UA) and Deniz Varol (UA Manager) from letgo join us in our second episode! Letgo is a marketplace app for second-hand buying and selling. Adrian and Deniz give us a first-hand account of how many tattoos they might have, the joy of dogs in offices, the importance of fitness/yoga/martial arts as a way to balance your mind and your life, and call attention to the essential requirement of doing what we can to progress diversity in tech for greater inclusion and acceptance. For their Talk Nerdy to Me segment, we’ll dip our toes into the Retargeting and Attribution in UA waters.

Episode Transcription:

Louis: Thanks for joining us. Our guests today are Adrian Sarasa from letgo, and Deniz Varol, also from letgo. How are you all doing?

Adrian: I’m great. How are you?

Louis: I’m doing amazing. Thank you for asking. Adrian is so nice. Deniz, on the other hand, she’ll crescent kick you, and we’ll get more into that later.

Deniz: Yep.

Louis: Yep. And our co-host today is Kali, also from App Growth Summit.

Kali: Hello, everyone listening.

Louis: And just so you know, I’m Louis Tanguay. All right. So, Adrian, Deniz, thank you for coming in. What’d you have for breakfast today?

Adrian: I just had a protein shake on my way here.

Louis: What brand?

Adrian: I kind of made it home.

Louis: You make your own protein?

Adrian: No, it’s like heme protein and I mix it with a banana and peanut butter.

Louis: Did you get a workout in, too?

Adrian: Yeah, I did my yoga workout this morning.

Kali: Good for you.

Louis: You know, Adrian is also a certified yoga instructor.

Adrian: I am.

Kali: Interesting.

Louis: What’s your RYT? 500? 1000?

Adrian: Oh, I can’t tell. It’s a secret.

Kali: You know, I’ve never done yoga before?

Adrian: Ooh.

Kali: Yeah, I know.

Adrian: You should come to one of my classes.

Kali: I should. A couple of Christmases ago, I didn’t know what I needed. Because people are like, “Oh, make a list,” and I’m like, I don’t know what I want to put on it. So I put a yoga mat, thinking I was going to get into yoga. I’ve never unrolled it once. So… Next time I’m in New York I will come to your yoga class.

Adrian: Cool. Call me.

Kali: I will call you. And we will do yoga.

Louis: Well, if you’re going to unroll a yoga mat for someone, it would be Adrian.

Kali: Done.

Louis: And Deniz, do you work out in the mornings?

Deniz: No, I tried it once. I did a 7:00 AM hot yoga class last week and I almost died…

Louis: Was it Adrian’s hot yoga class?

Deniz: No, no. It was just a yoga studio in Williamsburg.

Louis: Brooklyn.

Deniz: Brooklyn.

Louis: Where do you live? What borough, Adrian?

Adrian: I live in Brooklyn.

Louis: All right. So, thank you for coming on over to Manhattan today.

Louis: So, one little known fact about Deniz is she does Capoeira.

Deniz: Yep.

Louis: How long have you been doing Capoeira?

Deniz: Just a month, or month and a half, but in general I really like martial art stuff. So, I’m learning.

Louis: What other martial arts have you taken?

Deniz: I’ve done Krav Maga for a while. Just a couple of months, but I feel like I learned how to defend myself in general.

Louis: Yeah, that’s what Krav Maga will do. If you don’t know what Krav Maga is, definitely Google it and look it up because it is the best form of self-defense ever.

Deniz: Yeah.

Louis: And I will say that because I used to be an instructor in Krav Maga and I am a black belt in Krav Maga.

Deniz: That’s crazy.

Adrian: Is it for real?

Louis: Yeah. I can show you a picture of me getting my black belt and fighting two people at the same time and everything. So, I don’t just double as the MC and the host. I am also the security.

Louis: I think martial arts is incredibly important for everybody. I think good for confidence, self-discipline and of course, whenever you live with other people and other humans, it’s always good to know that you can at least do something if you need to.

Deniz: Yeah. And it’s a good workout, too. I don’t like running or going to the gym, so it’s much better to just work out.

Louis: That’s actually why I probably did it at the beginning mostly, too, besides the cool factor of, “Wow, we get to fight.” But it’s also so much better than running on an elliptical.

Deniz: Yeah.

Louis: But yoga is an important part of any martial arts routine because it helps you stretch and recover. Nice balance to help you do your kicks better.

Adrian: And give you strength.

Louis: Yeah. Yoga is amazing. In preparing for my black belt, I made sure that I got weekly massages and yoga classes, to stay limber and ready to go.

Adrian: That’s amazing.

Louis: Kali, what martial arts do you do?

Kali: None. Because I didn’t even know what any of these meant, so… I have some Googling to do. Some YouTube videos to watch.

Louis: What are your go-to workouts, Kali?

Kali: I’m an elliptical person, or a treadmill person.

Louis: As we just shoot on all of your…

Kali: That’s okay.

Louis: Sorry.

Kali: No, everyone has their cup of tea, but yeah. I used to be a runner and then I stopped running and I try to get in the gym sometimes. You sleep in or when you get home from work, you just don’t want to, so hopefully… a couple of times a week.

Louis: You know what you can do? You can unroll that yoga mat.

Kali: I know. That’s smart to just do it, right in the middle of my living room.

Louis: You could, with your dog. Have you seen those Instagram videos where the person is doing yoga or anything and then the dog comes over and ruins it all? You do one of those videos.

Kali: Yes. Maybe I can call Adrian for some tips.

Deniz: That happens in the office sometimes.

Louis: What, dog just runs in?

Deniz: Yeah, because Adrian gives yoga classes at the office, like once a week, and then we have dogs in the office. So, they come over and lick your face while you’re doing yoga poses.

Louis: Well, you’re doing downward dog, so…

Adrian: Yes, literally.

Louis: So they’re like, “Hm…”

Kali: Dogs in the offices are the best. Can we just comment on that? If you’re having a bad day… You have like 10 emotional supports if, you know, there’s 10 dogs in the office. If there’s five, there’s five, but…

Adrian: And actually, Deniz is an unlimited source of new dogs in the office. Every day she brings a different dog.

Louis: Why? Are you a foster parent for doggies?

Deniz: Yeah. I mean, we started doing dog-sitting through Rover recently, my roommate and I. So, right now we have three dogs in the house and I bring a couple of dogs a day.

Kali: Oh, my gosh, I love that. I would be in Heaven.

Deniz: It’s good, but it’s also a lot of work.

Louis: So now, Kali’s going to ask you more non sequitur questions as if that wasn’t fun enough, just to kind of switch things up and ask some random bits to be more fun.

Kali: Yeah. So I’ll just ask a couple. Which is better, Mario or Sonic?

Adrian: Ooh. Mario. I’m a Nintendo person. I have a Tri-Force tattooed on my arm, actually.

Kali: That’s cool. What made you get that?

Adrian: I play old Zelda games. I decided to get a tattoo.

Louis: Is that your only tattoo?

Adrian: No, I have a few more.

Louis: Ooh, that sounds like he’s loaded. It’s like, “No, I have a few more.”

Adrian: No, I have a big one on my left arm, a shoulder, and a small one on my chest. And the Tri-Force on my other arm.

Louis: Do you have any tattoos, Deniz?

Deniz: I have one, but I want to go back to a tattoo designer and change it up and add more stuff on top it.

Louis: Oh, cool. That’s where you start, right? You start with one and it’s moderate to small, and then it just starts from there.

Deniz: Yeah.

Louis: I don’t have one, but I have this design that I made up when I was like 14, but at this point it’s like, well, I’m an adult now. I don’t want to look like I’m the modern equivalent of getting a Corvette.

Adrian: “Time to stay young.” Tattoos are for any age.

Louis: That’s true, because they’re forever.

Kali: I have a tattoo on my foot.

Louis: Yeah?

Kali: Yeah, that’s it.

Louis: Of what?

Kali: It’s a quote.

Louis: Are you okay to share the quote?

Kali: Yeah. It says, “Curiosity leads us down new paths.”

Deniz: Nice.

Louis: Look at that.

Kali: Yeah, I’m one of those cheesy people that likes words of wisdom.

Louis: Well, you are from Wisconsin.

Kali: I am.

Louis: Oh, hashtag #deadjoke.

Kali: I love the Midwest. Shout out, Wisconsin.

Louis: Everyone in Madison is cheering right now and subscribing to this podcast.

Kali: I hope they are.

Louis: Do we have another random non sequitur question for this two awesome letgo’ers?

Kali: We do. Do you like your music loud or quiet when you’re working?

Deniz: I would say loud. In my earphones, obviously, because I get distracted when I hear people around me. And so, I always listen to this playlist on Spotify called Brain Food. It’s pretty cool for working.

Kali: I’ll have to check that out.

Deniz: Yeah.

Adrian: Loud, definitely.

Louis: It’s got to be loud.

Adrian: Yeah. To keep myself away from whatever is happening around.

Louis: Yeah. The only time I like it low is if it is three in the morning and I’m still working and cranking, and it’s like, okay, just have it as background music or something.

Kali: Cool. One more question. Do you think you operate better at night or during the day?

Louis: Perfect segue.

Adrian: I know, that’s a good question. So, I used to be a night person, but as I became older, I’m becoming a morning person, which is something I never thought I would be. Ever. But I am.

Louis: Is that because of the yoga?

Adrian: Actually, kind of is, I think, because I started in this routine of waking up early to go to yoga and then I have to wake up early, I have to go to bed early. So, actually, yeah, it changed that. Seriously. I never thought I was going to be one of those.

Louis: Yoga literally changed your life.

Adrian: Yeah, it did, literally.

Louis: In multiple ways.

Deniz: I’m not a morning person, but I feel like I’m most productive at 10:00 AM after I have my coffee.

Louis: All right, now we’re going to get to a segment where, because this is technically an industry podcast, so this segment’s called Talk Nerdy to Me. So now we’ll talk a little bit of tech and, as everyone’s eyes roll, they’re like we’re having fun with the non-tech questions.

Adrian: We’re getting to the boring part.

Louis: Yeah, right… well, hopefully not. Everyone’s going to be excited about these amazing tech answers.

Louis: So, what are you fired up about right now in the industry? What’s a hot topic? What are the things that you’re working on that you’re excited about? Just shoot off like one of those random things. Deniz?

Deniz: Retargeting these days. Facebook has a pretty cool product called Dynamic Product Ads that you can either retarget or do prospecting. And with the Dynamic Product Ads unit, you can now show different products to users who have already shown interest and it’s basically dynamically created.

Louis: Awesome. And then when we have a summit, maybe you or both of you can give us a little talk on that or join a panel.

Adrian: Yeah, that would be fun.

Louis: And Adrian. What are you fired up about?

Adrian: I would say attribution in general, but it’s something that it’s always in the back of my mind. I guess because historically we ran a lot of TV campaigns and a lot of performance as to try to figure out what’s the right attribution? Which is something that I don’t think anyone has really figured out. So, I think, whenever I have some time, I always dig in the numbers as to figure out if there’s a better way or if I can figure something out, which no one has.

Louis: Maybe because there is no holy grail.

Adrian: Probably.

Louis: The correct answer to most things is it depends.

Adrian: Yeah.

Louis: Right? It depends on the product, the time, the target audience. All these things. But generally speaking, there should be best practices. And unfortunately those best practices vary with who you ask, right?

Louis: So speaking about the fact that we’re still learning things and still figuring out best practices, go in reverse order, Adrian, how do you see the industry changing in the near future?

Adrian: I think it’s going towards a point where, as marketers are going to be less and less involved in managing campaigns, because everything is getting more and more automatic. Like Google, UAC… Facebook recommends just to open your targeting and it will find you users. So I think probably it’s going somewhere where we’re going to be more focused on, again, data analysis, research… And also I guess that fine line between product and marketing.

Louis: And if you look at data analysis, there’ll be you have no control over the targeting any more. How good is that going to do you?

Adrian: That’s a very good question. No, but even if you didn’t have any targeting, I feel there are still certain data you can figure from a creative standpoint, for instance. So there are certain things you can still influence, but that do require crunching the numbers and finding some trends. I think there are still going to be a lot of value there.

Louis: Yeah, I think with AB testing and stuff, there’s still… To know which creative is resonating.

Louis: That’s like the lost art. In the last art is creatives, because that’s the one thing you can control to still put into the machine, is you could still decide what you put in there.

Adrian: Yep.

Louis: Deniz?

Deniz: Yeah. I totally agree with Adrian.

Louis: Of course, he’s your boss, you have to. Kidding.

Deniz: It is becoming more automated, so I think our job is going to become more and more into the creative side or finding more partnerships that are not only bidding on stuff, but actually partnering with people who create value in social media or out there in the world. And I think data privacy is going to become huge. It’s becoming huge already. And I think that’s very necessary because we’re all users of many apps and we want to own our own data.

Kali: All right. So we’re going to play a little game called This or That. We’re going to give you two choices and you just choose one.

Kali: So, first one: iPhone or Android?

Deniz: iPhone.

Adrian: iPhone.

Kali: Awesome. How about Apple music or Spotify?

Adrian: Spotify.

Deniz: Spotify.

Kali: PayPal or Venmo?

Deniz: Venmo.

Adrian: Venmo, I guess. Actually, no, PayPal.

Louis: Ooh.

Kali: Why?

Louis: Dissension.

Adrian: Because I cannot use Venmo.

Louis: Why?

Adrian: My phone number I got here when I moved to the US, it was already registered with Venmo from someone else, so I cannot use Venmo.

Deniz: Oh, my God. That’s weird.

Louis: That sounds like a flaw in the product.

Kali: Have you contacted Venmo?

Adrian: Yeah, I did. I should send them proof that it’s my phone number, but it’s like at work for numbers, so it’s all complicated.

Kali: Okay. Thank you for sharing that.

Adrian: If someone from Venmo is listening to me, can they please just activate my account?

Kali: Help. SOS.

Louis: Find Adrian on LinkedIn and tell him how you can help him. Only for Venmo people, not everyone.

Kali: Air Pods or Beets?

Adrian: Air Pods.

Deniz: Air Pods.

Louis: How about scooters or bikes?

Adrian: Bikes, I guess.

Deniz: Electric bikes. So much better.

Kali: Game changer, for sure.

Louis: Did you take the city bike here?

Deniz: I do sometimes. They used to have electric bikes, but they don’t any more. Unfortunately.

Adrian: I don’t, but I moved to Brooklyn recently, so I think now that I moved to Brooklyn, I’ll do it, but I wouldn’t dare to do it in Manhattan. I don’t want to die.

Louis: Yeah, exactly, because all of a sudden the light’s red; cars don’t stop crossing. I took an electric bike in Berlin and it was pretty exciting for the first time. It’s like you start peddling and then all of a sudden it goes. You’re like, “Whoa, I don’t have to do any work.”

Kali: We’ll do just a couple more. Since you guys seem to be breakfast people, waffles or pancakes?

Adrian: Both. Is that an answer?

Kali: It’s like stack them, one on top of the other.

Deniz: I don’t like sweets in the morning, so I would have pancakes, but then I would put tomatoes and stuff next to it, which is weird.

Kali: How about Airbnb or a hotel?

Deniz: Airbnb, always.

Adrian: I’m torn. I would say it depends on the city.

Kali: How about in New York? Airbnb or hotel?

Louis: I would not do an Airbnb in New York.

Kali: Yeah?

Louis: I would say I would politely disagree or just give you an alternative decision because we come here… Hotels are way better in New York because the Airbnb is not legal. So we have to find someone on a corner that has a lockbox and a payphone and meet them around the corner. It’s like, “Ah!”

Adrian: That’s actually, a good point. Why you said that because also it’s the same case in Barcelona. So if you go to Barcelona, I wouldn’t recommend you to go to an Airbnb.

Kali: I’m staying at an Airbnb in Barcelona in a month.

Louis: Well, there you go. You’re good. Just not in New York. Airbnb’s, on the other hand, are almost mandatory in San Francisco because our hotel prices are ridiculous. So it’s like you have to Airbnb there. So it’s like you said, depends where you’re at.

Kali: Would you rather go to the movie theater or Netflix and chill?

Adrian: I guess it depends.

Louis: It just depends who’s at the movie theater and who’s Netflixing and chilling.

Kali: You can Netflix and chill by yourself. Have some wine, have some popcorn.

Adrian: I would say Netflix and chill.

Deniz: Yeah, let’s say Netflix and chill.

Louis: You could definitely Netflix and chill with yourself.

Kali: I think so, after a long day. Have some wine, have popcorn. Snacks.

Louis: Yeah. You do you, boo.

Kali: That’s exactly it.

Kali: Well, thank you for playing This or That.

Louis: “Thank you for playing!” Cue the game show music.

Louis: Okay, so now, is there anything else that you’d want to talk about or tell the audience or let them know it exists?

Adrian: Yeah, there is something I want to mention, and there is a topic that I’ve been very interested on lately, which is diversity. Also, where we work, we recently started a diversity and inclusion committee, and I think it’s a very hot topic in the tech industry in general, not necessarily only mobile, but in the tech industry. And I think Louis’ got a great job with women in the mobile initiative, but I think there’s definitely a lot of room for other faults. Like trans people, like non-binary people, even people of color that to be… I think we all should strive for a little bit more of diversity.

Adrian: And also I wanted to mention that for anyone who’s interested, there is a nonprofit called Out in Tech, which basically, they are doing a great job promoting LGBTQ plus people on the tech industry. So, if anyone is interested, just Google them and they have a lot of different initiatives in different cities in the US. Just go and join them.

Louis: That sounds great. We’re going to change the world, one conference at a time.

Louis: So, thank you all for coming in. That was amazing. It was awesome to chat with you both and get to know you both a little better.

Kali: It was great to talk with you guys.

Adrian: Thank you for having us. It was fun.

Louis: Great. I guess we’ll see you at the next App Growth Summit event.

Adrian: You will.

Deniz: See you there.

Louis: Hey, you made it to the end of the episode! Thanks for taking the journey with us and we hope you found it exactly as advertised, where it was mostly fun and entertaining, but we did manage to get in a little tech talk in there as well so you can kind of tell your managers that this was actually time spent doing work stuff. Trust me. We won’t tell on you.

Louis: Please subscribe so you can get notifications every time we release an episode. Let us know what you thought or let us know if you’d like to be a guest in a future episode, or recommend the guests. That would be absolutely amazing. Please tell all your friends and colleagues about the Appy Hour and be sure to have lots of laughs until the next episode.

App Growth Summit Testimonials

Lucas Oliveira

"The event was absolutely great! Nice people, great talks, very well organized. I am proud the had the opportunity to be part of AGS."

Lucas Oliveira, Bolt
Ludmilla Veloso

"App Growth Summit is a great event! One of the few that actually brings people from the market that is actually willing to share their inside knowledge! The experience was awesome and I really connected to a lot of the people participating!"

Ludmilla Veloso, Airbrush by Meitu