San Francisco Trip Day 5 – YouTube Excursion
[Editor's Note: While the rest of us visited Fleishman-Hillard, a public relations and integrated marketing agency, to speak about the role of PR in sports marketing, two of our MBA cohorts arranged a visit with YouTube. Katrina Galas and Mitzi Ing toured the internet video giant's headquarters. Mitzi shares here experience and lessons learned below. This is an example of how the Warsaw program allows its students to make the most of these trips; thanks to all involved in making both of these meetings happen. -MVW]
Social media is a trend that is on everyone’s radar, especially in the sports world as athletes, teams, and organizations leverage the different platforms to tell their stories and to speak directly to their fans. Broadcasters have bought in to social media, with live streaming of content the next obvious arena for viewership. In March, official U.S. Olympic broadcaster NBC signed a deal with YouTube to be the video player for highlights and live streaming of the London Games. Both homepages will direct traffic to each other, providing a great win-win for the entities. CEO Salar Kamangar states, ““When you think about the impact cable had, we think we’re in a position to have a similar impact for video delivery, like what cable has done with broadcast.” The deal is expected to provide viewers 3,000 hours of Olympic coverage.
My high school classmate and great friend, Rick Malins, Head of Consumer Insights at Google, took Katrina and me on a tour of YouTube on Friday morning, April 6th, the last day of our SF visits. Prior attempts to get the entire Warsaw class in to meet with someone from YouTube Sports unfortunately fell through, but Rick kindly offered a personal tour and breakfast to make up for it.
YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65B in stock and is now located in San Bruno, CA in a building that looks much like a school. The three-story facility is home to 500 employees and includes its own cafeteria (all meals are free – Google policy), gym, swimming pool, and its own fun red slide. The young environment oozes creativity and fun with a mini putting green, life-size cutouts of Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber, conference rooms named after movies and stars, Razor scooters to jet across the floor to meetings, and tall whiteboards for employees to draw out ideas for all to see. It’s not uncommon for major artists like the Counting Crows to swing by and do a quick concert after a business meeting. In fact, YouTube is currently building a stage for these impromptu events for employees. How cool is that?!
Over a buffet of eggs, Canadian bacon, yogurt and fruit, Rick talked about Google, its products, and of course its relationship with YouTube. A few major takeaways were: 1) Google is leading the movement for users to have just ONE Google account across its products (Google+, YouTube, Gmail, etc.) for easier identification and content relevancy; 2) YouTube retains its unique culture and is staying true to its roots as an entertainment and content platform; and 3) YouTube and Google cultures push employees to perform the best they can and to better understand the business they are in. According to Rick, Google and YouTube feel they can make the greatest difference in the world as technology platforms and they stick to what they do best – provide scalable and cheap/free technology that works.
It was a quick trip to YouTube but well worth it to visit an old friend and see an upcoming game-changer in the sports industry. There was a lot of space to fill in the building – it’s clear that the small company is still growing and outstretching its branches. A big MAHALO NUI LOA to Rick and now it’s time to upload some videos…
- Mitzi Ing, Warsaw ’13