Work Diaries: Call Me Ace, music solutions by day, hip-hop artist by night
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: Ace Patterson is a Global Program Manager for the Music Partnership Enablement team, focused on Music Label & Publisher Development. He works to improve internal efficiencies that ultimately enable music labels and publishers to better grow and monetize on YouTube’s platform. Outside of work, he is also an independent Billboard-charting hip-hop artist, Call Me Ace.
8:00am: I’m still thinking about the brown stew chicken burgers I made the night before - this will be lunch for the next couple days, for sure.
This Thursday, the Music Partnerships cross-functional team will be having a quarterly forum highlighting the work done at the end of last year, as well as what the team will focus on for the next quarter.
My job is to finalize the script and flow of the deck. I’m also on call for supporting the speakers, answering their questions as they pop up, and ensuring they feel prepared.
11:00am: During today’s Global Music Partnership Enablement (GPE) team meeting, we check in with each other and receive updates on priority workstreams for the week. The GPE team focuses on empowering our internal Music Partnerships team to deliver the best services and solutions, so that our external music partners (labels and publishers) can thrive on YouTube. This includes things like identifying process gaps, building new tools/systems, and piloting ways to support our partners better.
5:30pm: Fortunately, minus some quick fire drills throughout the day, I spend most of my time working through the Music forum talking points and deck. It’s looking pretty good now. Some lingering open questions that my coworker (who’s co-leading this workstream with me) will work to close out on Tuesday. I’m thankful for the teamwork, and I’m grateful for how this is all coming together. Now time to go exercise!
7:30pm: I’m about to spend the next few hours sending invites and reminders to my private album listening session, happening this Wednesday at 7pm PST. My goal is to keep the event intimate.
11:30pm: I finally have the chance to watch the first draft of my second upcoming music video of 2021 (which I recorded during MLK Jr. Holiday weekend). I share a 7-point list of edit requests with the directors, and they immediately begin to revise. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad for a first pass!
Today’s highlight: I recently learned about a young student in New York City that’s a big fan of my music. I decided to send him a surprise assortment of personalized gifts as a way to share my gratitude and encouragement, and he tagged me in this Instagram post.
8:30am: I have my first official planning meeting for the 2021 Black@ YouTube Summit, which I’m co-developing with my colleague on the YouTube Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. It’s definitely a fun way to start the day - brainstorming some ideas for themes, speakers, and programmatic flow – all with the goal to provide our Black+ employee community with an invaluable and invigorating experience. This will be my second year on the planning committee since I started at YouTube last February, and I’m excited to see this one be even bigger and better!
11:00am: A Music Label Strategic Partner Manager (SPM) sets up some time to educate me on one of his current workstreams and the issues he’s dealing with that are preventing him from bringing the project to completion. This part of my job is very reminiscent of my consulting days, e.g. I listen to my stakeholders, assess pain points, and then develop strategies and solutions that we can then execute to make their lives easier.
10:00pm: While I was journaling in the morning before work, the idea came to me to create a presentation deck for my album listening session. The album is called “Out Of Office,” so it would be very much on theme. Plus, I’m a trained consultant. Decks and Excel is just a way of life. I’ll take about 3 hours to fully bake this out. Time to kick the grind into high gear!
Today’s highlight: Reading and feeling all of the excitement for my new album about to drop!
8:00am: We have a dry-run rehearsal for the Music Partnerships forum happening tomorrow. All 15 of the speakers are in the meeting, including Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube. Overall, the rehearsal goes solidly. I can’t wait for the whole Music Partnerships team to hear what we have prepared for them!
The final meeting of the work day ends, and I’m able to officially shift gears.”
5:00pm: The final meeting of the work day ends, and I’m able to officially shift gears. I have one hour to shower, change, make final tweaks to my listening session deck, and jump into the virtual “green room” with the rest of my music production team.
7:00pm: The virtual doors “open,” and people begin to join the listening session. Within 10 minutes, the room reaches a max full capacity of 100 participants and remains as such for the whole night! It’s definitely both a blessing when reflecting on the journey, but also a note to self to purchase the larger plan going forward.
11:00pm: My wife and I are still up celebrating the success of the listening party and recapping the play-by-play. The feedback was tremendously positive - people laughed, cried, kept that live chat super active, purchased merchandise, predicted how my rise to stardom was looking, you name it. We’re both too excited to sleep, so thank God for chamomile tea.
Today’s highlight: The success of the album listening party, for sure.
9:30am: Today we have the Music Partnerships forum (which happens live)! Because we are a global org, we have two versions of the forum for different regions of the world. First one goes successfully!
11:00am: I have a 1:1 with a coworker/senior program manager who I seek for some good advice around how to deal with a particular workstream/process situation I’m currently dealing with. Very tricky stuff. I’m very thankful for the type of work culture we have where we’re encouraged to ask questions and collaborate with one another.
1:30pm: Every Thursday at this time, I have a Weekly Music Data sync with a few other Music program manager colleagues, in which we work through any gaps and data/process inefficiencies we’ve discovered within our org.
6:30pm: I log on early to make sure my wifi, screen share, and mic are all functioning correctly. Once all the speakers joined the Google Hangouts, we go live to start the second session. Another successful Music Partnerships forum in the books! Once it finishes, Lyor thanks me and my co-lead, as well as everyone involved in making the forum a success. That token of appreciation definitely means a lot.
9:00pm: MY NEW ALBUM, “OUT OF OFFICE” FINALLY DROPS!! For the remainder of the night I just watched all the messages, posts, reshares, and feedback pour across my channels. My heart is definitely full :)
Today’s highlight: Reading all of the positive feedback from people that were listening to my new album.
8:30am: Around mid-2020, our org implemented a regular well-being practice called “Focus Fridays” as a way to encourage employers to reserve Fridays as no-meeting days (unless urgent). This allows folks to focus on wrapping up the week and transition into the weekend more easily.
Ironically, after a week like the one I had, it’s kind of hard for me to stay focused, but I’ll try!
9:00am: I have a standing regular coffee chat with a friend, a personal well-being practice that I also implemented mid-2020 during the pandemic as a way to stay connected while social distancing. My friend was also at the listening session, so naturally the check-in revolves around the success of the week and upcoming plans.
1:00pm: Meet with a couple team members to prepare for next week, which will be the start of a 2-month long intense workstream that involves much global cross-functional collaboration, lots of planning and tracking, and, of course, executive leadership sign-offs.
5:00pm: Besides responding to emails and preparing for next week, today more or less feels like a blur. I’ve been swimming in a plethora of positive feedback - both inside and outside work - on my new album.
I put my all into everything I do, so I’m glad I could end the work week with both sides of my worklife being appreciated.
Today’s highlight: Seeing my new album on HipHopDX’s list of Official Hip Hop Album Release Dates alongside the names of Grammy-winning artist, The Weeknd, and Grammy-nominated artist, D Smoke.