40 Under 40 2016 : Ryan Schulke, Fluent

Ryan Schulke, CEO and cofounder, Fluent, 33

Ryan Schulke cofounded Fluent with longtime friend Matt Conlin. Schulke is responsible for Fluent’s corporate vision and strategy and expanding its leadership in the ad technology space.

He has a track record of creating scalable and sustainable product and business development strategies to support performance marketing, direct response, and database initiatives.

What has been your proudest career accomplishment to date?

Guiding Fluent to its first major transaction and into the public market was a tremendous milestone for me. We put in a lot of effort and fought through many challenges to get where we are today. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to future 40 Under 40 honorees?

Focus on the opportunity, not the obstacle, and don’t get emotional about business decisions. Many talented people mistake the difference between passion and emotion and it can cloud judgment.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?

I hope to continue building our brand’s equity in the data-driven marketing ecosystem through the expansion of our product portfolio and service capabilities. Fluent is well-positioned to take material market share, and we hope to prove that.

What is one interesting fact about you that few people know?

I’m a total mutt — German, Italian, Irish, English, Austrian and one unknown. I had great grandmother that was found on a doorstep in Germany, but was not believed to be German. I think that’s why I tend to look at things from slightly different perspectives with relative ease.

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