Thought Leadership

Quarantine Q&A: How Kevin Andersen & Alex Garcia are Adapting

April 10, 2020
By Rubicon Project

Covid-19 has altered the way people in our company work, keeping us at arms-length even as legacy Rubicon and Telaria employees work to integrate. We spoke with Kevin Andersen, Sr. Director, IT, and Alex Garcia, Account Director, LATAM, to find out how they are doing, what’s keeping them sane, and to discover any tips they have for getting through this trying time.  

Kevin Andersen

What is your name? 

Kevin Andersen

What do you do at Telaria? 

I’m the Sr. Director of IT at Telaria

How are you doing with the quarantine? 

While I enjoy the family time, I do want the world to return to normal. I’m a creature of habit, and having the routine broken up took some adjusting!

What adjustments have you made to your work life? 

My wife is a teacher, and we have three high schoolers in the house. That’s a lot of video conferencing! I have moved my office to the basement to keep everyone separate, and to minimize the interruptions.  

What gets you going in the morning?  

I typically like to run in the morning. When I was commuting to NYC, I would run at 4AM – that’s not so necessary now!  

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home? 

Stick to a routine, and keep your workspace clear – just like you would at the office.  More importantly, set that coffee machine on a timer!  

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation? 

Spending more time with my family is a blessing – we would usually see each other around 8PM during normal times. I’ve also been amazed at the community response to this crisis. I’ve seen neighbors helping elderly residents out, birthday parades passing the houses of young kids, and a ton of people actually outside (while maintaining social distancing!)

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family? 

We’ve had video conferences for trivia night, happy hour, blowing out birthday candles, and just about every other reason you can think of – don’t need an excuse really!  

What is your favorite recipe you’ve concocted out of things lying around the house? 

Chocolate chip pancakes – we ran out of chips, so I diced up some Hershey’s kisses.  

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours?  

My wife has made sure I’m not bored – there are plenty of projects to be completed around the house! Our kids also set up a bracket of sports – this is the most competitive family I know. I’m proud to announce that, despite predictions to the contrary, I have advanced to the Final Four!  I’ve included a picture of our bracket – yes that it is a white board bracket taped to our living room wall. That was up in prep for March Madness, and was repurposed for bragging rights. 

How are you staying active during this situation? 

My wife and I walk regularly, and I’ve been running and biking. There are plenty of trails nearby, so it’s easy to avoid people. On top of that, we’ve been keeping the kids active in their respective sports. A lot of baseball and basketball going on.  

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend?

I should be ashamed to admit, but I’ve been pulled into Tiger King on Netflix – it’s like a car wreck that you can’t turn away from. On top of that, we’ve been watching reruns of NCAA March Madness and pretending it’s live – that’s getting old.  

When all this is over, how will you celebrate? 

Our favorite thing to do is to watch our kids play sports. Our biggest celebration will be being able to sit and enjoy a baseball or basketball game!

Alex Garcia

What is your name? 

Alex Garcia

What do you do at Rubicon Project? 

Account Director – Latin America

How are you doing with the quarantine? 

So far, good. I really can’t complain about my current situation from a personal point of view. I think Michelle described it best in her post “ At the end of the day, I’m just so thankful to have my health, a roof over my head, and a job that can be done from the safety of my home.” Apart from the basics of life, trying to live as normal as possible within the confines of home. 

What adjustments have you made to your work life?

I used to commute about 2.5 hours per day. I now invest those hours working as opposed to sitting in traffic, or maybe taking a little longer at breakfast with my dog and girlfriend. We have a weekly team video conference call where we catch up on all the work and life events. Also, the Miami Office is just 2 people at the moment. I have been working with Patrizio for five years, every single day, so it’s a change to see him virtually and listen to his “Italian” ways. Truth be told, I already miss our daily arguments. 

What gets you going in the morning?

As an Argentinean, a good Mate every morning and throughout the day.

I also walk my dog around the block in the early morning, breathe some outside morning air, hear the birds chirping, and get a sense of the day ahead. 

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home?

Pick your best dress shirt, and no pants, so we never forget where we are (just be sure not to stand up during video calls.) 

I think it’s important to set a schedule, speaking from experience. At the beginning of this quarantine, I was going straight to the computer at 7:30am to check emails. I would get caught up and not realize it was Noon. At night time, I would work till 8:00pm, replying to any email, question, or concern that would come in until everything was done. 

At the end of the second week, I was physically burnt out. I decided that not everything was urgent, and that working from home was not a prize, but rather a change of atmosphere due to a national emergency. 

I now have proper work hours, prioritization, and a proper balance (as I sit here on a Wednesday night at 9:30pm, typing this.

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation?

I think self reflection on the things that really matter in life. 

On every client call, it’s about how they are doing, their families, their loved ones, their country’s situation and health – before talking about the account. For once, we are united as humankind, and not as individuals. We are all in this together, clients, competitors, agencies, publishers, tech, buyers, sellers, ad networks, resellers, direct – all facing the same situation with the same goal in mind. One of our clients was Covid-19 positive with his entire family, including his son who had asthma. That really got me thinking.

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family?

Thanks to tech today, via WhatsApp, Hangouts, Instagram, Facebook, Facetime, etc. We are all constantly connected and in touch. I had a hangout with my two best friends from high school, across the globe, which we had never done. Now we just need to put a pre-roll before every free call. 

What is your favorite recipe you’ve concocted out of things lying around the house?

I stocked up nicely before the quarantine began, so my freezer is totally packed. I’ve been making outside Asados (argentine BBQ) twice a week, in my backyard. I would say this keeps me sane, as it’s part of my “normal” life and provides a fresh breath of air. 

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours?

My crossfit gym provided free equipment to work out at home, and we have daily at home workouts via Zoomin and IG. Some of the workouts leave me exhausted, and I just want to shower, cook and relax. Also, walking my french bulldog around the neighborhood, and watering the mango, lime, lemon, and avocado trees at home is quite relaxing every afternoon. 

How are you staying active during this situation? Are there any exercise videos or tips you recommend?

If you follow the crossfit community on IG, or even at home workouts on YouTube, you will see tons of videos to do. Something as simple as burpees, pushups, crunches, squats, runs, and jump rope will get your heart pumping and adrenaline going. All these can be done with virtually no equipment. 

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend?

Baby Shark Dance | Sing and Dance! There is even a 60 minute non stop version to do while you workout or chat with clients. What else could you possibly need?

When all this is over, how will you celebrate?

Going for a mountain bike-camping trip with friends, a long weekend paddleboarding in the open ocean, a drive to the Florida Keys and an extended weekend road trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, weaving through the mountains in my 6 speed Porsche 911. I can’t wait! 

To learn more about life at Rubicon Project, email us: contact@rubiconproject.com