Interview with Director of Business Development, Cloudinary – Gary Ballabio


“AI and automation won’t replace humans in sales, but it will require a new level of sophistication and understanding to succeed”

1. Tell us about your role in Cloudinary?
I joined Cloudinary three years ago to help manage and expand our strategic technology partnerships after spending time at Akamai Technologies. My years at Akamai gave me a foundation in best practices for web design and performance that is very relevant to the work we do here at Cloudinary.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
After seeing Cloudinary’s powerful image and video solution for web developers, I immediately saw the value as a way to streamline development, improve website performance and ultimately drive real business value for companies. At that time, Cloudinary was also moving into the Digital Asset Management (DAM) space to extend those benefits to business and marketing leaders.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
Technology continues to drive major change across the marketing sector. From the way AI allows us to deliver a more personalized experience and improve engagement, to new image and video standards that will allow us to deliver richer, more modern digital experiences.

4. How have visual advertisements empowered marketing organizations?
Brands have long relied on visual content and the power of visual storytelling to connect with consumers and sell products, and for good reason. People process visual information thousands of times faster than text, and retain 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read. We’re hardwired to visually sense emotions — and with 90% of purchase decisions made subconsciously, the experience the visual story creates is the key to its success. What’s changed dramatically in recent years is the volume of visual media we engage with every day, the pace with which we’re consuming that visual information, the number of connection points and devices we rely on to do so — and our rapidly shrinking attention spans. Visuals are no longer critical elements to brand storytelling and advertising — they are the story. Marketers that get visual storytelling right are at a big advantage over those that don’t.

5. How does your Media Management solution help eCommerce companies?
Cloudinary offers several capabilities designed to help e-Commerce companies more easily create and deliver better, faster and more engaging customer experiences — from web to mobile, across physical and digital storefronts. Cloudinary’s media management platform leverages AI and machine learning to greatly simplify content generation and management, accelerate time to market and boost conversions. From automating the photoshoot-to-web process and managing user-generated content, to making the creation and delivery of product listing and detail pages near seamless and automated, Cloudinary’s media management products support hundreds of the world’s most successful e-Commerce brands including Allbirds, Bombas, Everlane,, StubHub, Stylight, Trunk Club/Nordstrom and Under Armour.

6. How will your integration with Shutterstock benefit your clients?
Our new integration with Shutterstock provides Cloudinary users, who also have a Shutterstock account, with direct access to more efficiently manage their licensed images and videos using Cloudinary’s DAM solution. Managing and delivering images and video at the volume and speed required today remains a big challenge for business and creative teams. The Shutterstock integration alleviates this pain by making it possible for Shutterstock customers to directly load previously licensed images and videos into Cloudinary’s DAM without having to download and reupload them. Team members can easily search, browse, tag, organize, manipulate and distribute their licensed Shutterstock content.

7. What features of your Digital Asset Management solutions differentiates it from your competitors?
We set out to redefine DAM and create a platform from the ground up that would empower modern companies. As a result our DAM is unique in many ways. First, it sits on top of our award winning image and video management solutions — robust and comprehensive media solutions built by developers for developers to handle speed, delivery and scale. It’s also a fully dynamic solution, easily integrated with the creative process — allowing brands to bridge time-consuming workflow and collaboration gaps to focus on executing the successful campaigns they need to boost engagement and increase sales.

Our DAM significantly streamlines media management and collaboration so companies can focus on crafting the highly-visual experiences that engage customers on every platform and device. Capabilities include easy collections curation, enhanced commenting capabilities that allow users to comment on work-in-progress assets within the Media Library for improved collaboration, fine-grained UI access controls, and role-based permissions to help teams more easily manage campaigns and ensure that the correct/final version gets published.

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology start ups?
My time at Cloudinary has helped me understand how important it is to focus on what matters most when it comes to growing and scaling a company. Cloudinary is in a unique position because it is a bootstrapped company, which means that success and growth comes from its own revenue and profits. There are many key learnings that I’ve taken away so far from my time at Cloudinary, but here are three that I find are relevant to other tech startups, whether your VC-backed or not:

(1) Work-life balance matters and is critical to your personal and your company’s overall success.
(2) Stay committed to your vision and get good at saying no so you can stay focused on what truly matters. That level of focus will help free you from — or at least reduce — the distractions that often come in the form of all the smaller, day-to-day decisions that may be more detrimental than productive.
(3) Stay hyper focused on your customers and your employees — both are solidly tied for first place in terms of priority. Happy employees, happy customers and vice versa. It’s a partnership.

9. What is the Digital innovation in sales technology according to you that will mark 2020?
There will continue to be new intelligence added to existing platforms to help drive speed and efficiencies.

AI and automation won’t replace humans in sales, but it will require a new level of sophistication and understanding to succeed.

10. How do you prepare for an AI-centric world?
I think you start by recognizing that it’s here and the time is now. Once just a future’s promise AI is being utilized to automate time-consuming processes to help us work smarter and faster, and ultimately deliver more engaging and more personalized experiences. Those who leverage AI will be able to redirect otherwise wasting resources on repetitive or manual tasks and optimize business-critical tasks like organization and localization. With AI, media and content teams can auto-tag media assets for easy retrieval and reuse, auto-cropping and deliver an engaging experience at scale, no matter where your audience is viewing your content.

11. What are the major developments you are planning?
We will continue to advance our AI capabilities and extend our video solution to include next-gen experiences like 3D. We’ll also continue to expand our DAM solution with enhanced workflow automation to eliminate resource bottlenecks and ensure better collaboration so marketers can deliver the digital experiences they desire faster and more easily.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
We just crossed the 100 partner mark and our team has doubled in size since I joined. I’m proud of the work that we’re doing collectively to extend the benefits of our dynamic media platform through our strategic tech and channel partners. Today’s Visual Economy will require platforms to be open, flexible and scalable with a rich set of integrations. That we’re helping more than 6,000 companies and 600,000 users create a better Visual Web is pretty cool.

13. What movie inspires you the most?
Several movies come to mind, but one that stands out to me the most and that I can relate with throughout my career is the film, 8 Mile. Inspired by Eminem’s life, what inspires me the most about this movie is how close to reality the importance of one moment can potentially be to success — from something as small as a meeting you’re in, a tryout, an interview or a situation as dramatic that could propel you in your whole career. The theme of the movie is also captured in Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself,” reminding you to recognize those moments, own them and don’t miss your chance because you may only get one shot. The main character (B-Rabbit) was able to recognize his moment and it propelled his career and turned his life around.

14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
Cloudinary feels very much like a family. It’s a feeling you get from the environment, and this connectedness is rooted in our DNA. In fact, we eat together every day, as a family — sitting in the kitchens at all of our locations. Here is a picture from lunch at our Santa Clara (HQ) office.

15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
○ Podcasts
○ Calm
○ Google Keep

Gary Ballabio serves as Cloudinary's Director of Business Development where he helps manage the company's strategic partner ecosystem. Before joining Cloudinary Gary was a strategic sales manager at Akamai where he was responsible for key relationships including Apple, Facebook and Google

Cloudinary empowers the world’s top brands to deliver visual-first experiences that engage and convert. Founded in 2012 and with offices in the US, UK and Israel, Cloudinary’s cloud-based solutions for image and video management and digital asset management (DAM) harness AI-based technologies to remove traditional media management pain-points and allow brands to focus on delivering optimal digital experiences faster, no matter where their customers are engaging. Cloudinary has nearly 30 billion assets under management and 5,500 customers worldwide, including Apartment Therapy, Bleacher Report, Conde Nast, DoorDash, Forbes, HelloFresh, Hinge, Lululemon Athletica, NTT Resonant, Procter & Gamble, StubHub, trivago, Under Armour, Walmart Labs and more.

For more information please visit our Website.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *