Product Scaling Challenges by YouTube Product Manager

YouTube is the second largest website in the world with 1,5 billion monthly logged in users and 1 billion hours of video watched every day. In a recent event, Product Manager at YouTube, Seung Nam, talked about what challenges he faced when redesigning this wildly popular website.

We hold similar Product Management events every week with top Product Managers from companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. You can check them here.

Product Manager at YouTube

Seung Nam is the Product Manager for on the desktop. He led the recent redesign of the website. Before YouTube/Google, he worked at BCG Digital Ventures, where he led the Product Management team of the enterprise startup

He also previously worked at Microsoft, where he worked on building pre-installed Windows apps. Seung holds a bachelor’s degree in Operations Research & Financial Engineering from Princeton University.

Building Products at Scale

Product managers are hired to build the future of products. However, when working on products and companies that are already at large scale, many Product Managers get stuck in ‘incrementalism.’ Seung talked about the challenges of building products at scale and shared some lessons learned from rebuilding

He discussed how to create a vision, and share it and how to build design principles, and actually uphold them. He talked about how realities of change divide us; clear visions unite us and reminded everyone to back it all up with complete data.

Product Scaling Challenges by YouTube Product Manager

Bullet points:

  • Secret about Product Management at scale: someone’s job is always on the line. If you make a mistake or big enough change somebody’s job is going to be negatively impacted.
  • As a Product Manager, you create a vision, establish a process, execute it and launch.
  • Vision helps others jump off cliffs with the Product Manager.
  • Vision:
    • Build the simplest story possible from your core team.
    • Back it up with data.
    • Establish clear and measurable goals.
    • Share it.
  • Process:
    • Define stages to get to your MVP: Stage 1: Prove that A and B are true. Stage 2: Build on it. Prove that C and D are true.
    • Your MVP: an actual product, only once you’ve proven stages from A to D.
    • Build it.
  • Execution:
    • Keep to your principles regarding your process, and establish your design principles.
    • Learn to say “no.”
    • Keep the team happy.
  • Launch:
    • Expect setbacks and last minute requests at the end.
  • Keep in mind that the more complex the project, the simpler the plan.

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