Work diaries: Inside Isha Bhatt's week of co-hosting the Women@YouTube Summit
We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience the inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day period.
Featured today: A sneak peak into the week of Isha Bhatt, Director of Product Management at YouTube. See how she manages to juggle a number of balls - from co-hosting the Women@YouTube Summit to leading a team that powers commerce across all of YouTube Paid Products.
6:45 a.m. - The theme of the day is to get organized for the week! Starting my day and week with strength training sets the tone for the week. It motivates me, clears my head and gets me in a charged up frame of mind. Today was shoulders and arms day, which I love and I pushed myself pretty hard. Summer holidays have started and there are no school drop-offs, or lunches to pack and my kids are away from home… which means I have a very relaxed, peaceful morning.
8:30 a.m. - Mondays are virtual days, so today I walk up to my desk with my green tea, enjoying the calm morning. I start by writing the top three priorities for what I want to accomplish this week. It’s going to be a very busy week.
My three priorities for the week are:
- Make The Women@YouTube Summit a success.
- Score Q2 Objectives and Key Results and finalize Q3 priorities. It is almost the end of the quarter so it’s always a good time to look back on the progress, revisit our goals and think ahead on what the next quarter will look like.
- Prepare for product reviews. Product reviews are great forums to share progress, talk about hurdles and get feedback from the leads. This week we have a few planned and I need to review the documentation, work with the team and answer any open questions.
10:00 a.m. - The Command Center meeting starts for the Women@YT Summit. We walk through the Run of Show, iron out details and close out open tasks. It is a team of 30+ volunteers, all coming together for this amazing event. The summit is an annual event held globally with 600+ participants attending in a hybrid setting, put on by our Women@ ERG for women employees at YouTube and allies. Its mission is to support, inspire and empower all women at YouTube, of all backgrounds and identities.
This year’s theme is Thrive. My co-leads and I have been planning this for the last four months. It’s been an exhilarating experience! As we go through the Run of Show, I am excited and nervous as the scale of the event is massive and I am hoping things go as planned.
2:00 p.m. - Q3 Planning! I lead the YouTube Commerce team, which enables commerce across 15+ paid products, collaborating with each product very closely. YouTube is quickly becoming a multi-revenue-stream business through rapid growth of our direct-to-consumer products. My team powers the platform that enables the buying experiences across YouTube paid products - Premium, Music, TV, Channel Memberships etc. As part of the quarterly planning process, we review our priorities, the asks made by the paid product teams, prioritize and align on the scope for the quarter.
Today’s highlight - I go on my evening hike and have a coyote friend follow me back and forth on the trail. Thank god for a fellow hiker, who I bumped into and we decided to pair up for the hike.
5:00 a.m. - Today is the day!! The Women@YouTube Summit starts at 5 a.m. GMT. As one of the co-leads, I get up early, get ready and log on just in time for the EMEA folks to join in. I monitor the sessions, chat with the programming team, iron out minor details and I’m there to support the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) team.
I thoroughly enjoyed the RedTalks — these are 10-minute talks similar to the TED Talk format. My favorite topics were “Uncovering: A New Model of Inclusion” and “You Went There Alone… As a Woman?!”
7:00 a.m. - As EMEA takes a break for lunch, I get in the car and drive to work. Quick stop to get my matcha oat latte and then head to the office for the event. My co-leads Michele Bronstein and Lundun Jackson greet me. It’s happening!! Lots of emotions and feelings circling through my head.
We do a quick walkthrough of the room, meet the team of volunteers, some of them for the first time as we have been coordinating virtually so far and then take some pictures with my co-leads. I quickly browse through my emails for any urgent stuff, and set up my “out of office” and am ready to be fully present at the summit.
9:45 a.m. - The highlight of the summit is Susan Wojcicki talking to Malala Yousafzai. I am in the virtual green room with Malala. GOOSEBUMPS! I got a chance to say a quick hello and welcome her! I have been a Malala fan for ever, she has been a huge inspiration for my teenage daughter as well.
10:00 a.m. - It’s showtime. I run down from the Green Room to the event room. All eyes are on Susan and Malala on the two large screens. I have always been conscious of public speaking, seeing Susan on stage is always an inspiration. She has a very warm, welcoming aura and commands the room with ease. The conversation is electric. Malala's poise, confidence and humility mesmerizes me. It was a delight to see her eyes sparkle every time she spoke about education for women and her endeavors to further it.
The day went by fast and we celebrated it with a networking Happy hour.
The Women@Summit in numbers:
- Over 18+ hours for global content
- 1200+ YouTuber employees participated
- 20+ global locations
- 36 volunteers
- 32 Internal & External speakers
Today’s highlight - The joy to bring a global community together; to learn, to share and to support each other. It was satisfying to bring the YouTube Women community together in a new hybrid format. The speakers were authentic and the content was powerful. I will never forget this day and will be forever thankful for the opportunity.
6:45 a.m. - I missed my workout today and took it easy this morning, still recovering from the excitement and euphoria of the Women@YT Summit. With a smile on my face, I strike off the first bullet off my week’s priorities.
I allow myself some quiet time with my tea to reflect on yesterday. I think through what worked, what could we have done differently and change gears to the present moment and today. I quickly list my top focus areas for today, get ready and head to work.
8:00 a.m. - At work for my first meeting of the day with my engineering partner. Both of us work hand in hand for all things YouTube Commerce. We typically sync at the beginning of each week and then stay connected through chat all day long. As a Product Manager (PM), I value the eng/PM partnership immensely; it allows us to tag team and prioritize business goals with technology advancements.
10:00 a.m. - It is OKR/Planning time, and I need to do a lot of thinking, so there are a couple of hours carved out as focus time. This is when I am taking score of what the next couple quarters look like from a business growth perspective, from a platform advancement perspective and drafting the strategy and roadmap.
1:00 p.m. - Building new features and products for our consumers energizes me. It’s the best part of my job. I am constantly thinking of how to deepen the engagement on YouTube. I spent a good chunk of time on ideation, brainstorming and refining some new features that are in the works.
Today’s Highlight - Since the kids are away, I get to go out for dinner with my husband. We take the opportunity to go to one of our favorite restaurants: Farmhouse Thai!
6:00 a.m. - I make up for my workout that I missed yesterday; as always, it’s hard to wake up but once I am in it, I love it and push pretty hard.
9:45 am – I attend the major launch review - a meeting where upcoming feature / product launches are reviewed and approved by the leads. It is always exciting to see new features going out to users. Today, the roll out of Channel membership gifting to eligible creators was approved! See more about this cool feature here.
10:30 a.m. - I have my PM staff meeting, our bi-weekly check-in with the entire YT Commerce PM team. We have a light agenda that includes any pass-downs, key dates for upcoming reviews and spend the remaining time discussing what’s top of mind. It is a great forum for the PMs to discuss ideas/projects they are working on, an experiment that is doing great, or even how we can work and collaborate with our cross functional teams better.
4:30 p.m. - My team is presenting at a Tempo — a review with the leads. We are presenting our plans and strategy to create unified experiences across all YouTube products. A framework to create consistent design components for other paid products to leverage.
Today’s Highlight - No major highlights for the day, today was a typical day at work - back to back meetings, working on prioritization & roadmap planning, collaborating with our partner teams and fighting some fires.
9:00 a.m. - Ah it’s Friday. It’s been a long week and I am so looking forward to the weekend. Today is an unusually light day, and I am not complaining. I typically set aside time for office hours every Friday morning. But, today that time had to be taken to catch up on reading docs and slides that needed more attention.
10:30a.m. - Weekly Women@Summit leads meeting. We celebrate the success of the summit, talk about learnings and discuss a few loose ends that need to be tied. We are ecstatic with the success of the summit and cannot thank our volunteers enough. We plan for rewards and recognition for the volunteers and discuss the update we will provide to Susan and Scott.
12:30 p.m. - YTF (YouTube Fridays) - our weekly company-wide meeting. This week’s topics included - Updates on REP (YouTube’s Racial Justice, Equity, and Product Inclusion Initiative), Building Trust with Creators, and Scaling our Infrastructure.
I have been at YouTube for about 11 months, and love every minute of my job. The scale at which we operate, the experiences that we provide for our viewers and creators, problems that we solve daily to make YouTube safe, trustworthy and equitable is inspiring and motivating.
2:30 p.m. - Focus time, where I follow up on my To-dos, catch up on all the docs and slides I need to read up on and work on upcoming decks or docs.
Today’s Highlight - TGIF! My kids come back from Chicago and we plan to go “Segwaying” around Golden Gate Park tomorrow.