Work Diaries: Product Support Expert also leads professional development among Asian employees
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: Lawrence Kao serves as a Product Support Expert. He makes sure new YouTube Partner Program launches have all the resources needed for teams that manage both our largest YouTube creators and our support teams that field everyday troubleshooting questions. He also helps to raise top issues and feedback from creators to the Product teams in order to constantly improve the YouTube Partner Program experience. Lawrence is also a Professional Development lead for the Asians@YouTube Employee Resource Group (ERG), helping to host initiatives like career-building workshops.
7:30 a.m. - I have an early meeting, so I rush over to the kitchen. My fiancée is the best, as she already has my morning coffee and smoothie ready for me. We bought a moka pot, which is like the original espresso machine. It makes great strong coffee! I actually drink way more coffee now while working from home.
8:00 a.m. - Met with cross-functional teams to track progress on some persistent YouTube creator support issues. We are constantly working to improve our support systems for things like Community Guideline appeals. However, COVID has made keeping up that same level of support difficult, with many teams working from home across the globe.
11:00 a.m. - Checking in with a colleague on a pilot program to make our Support Contact forms smarter and more helpful. Many creators who write into YouTube Support are looking for help with something that can be resolved without a human and within YouTube Studio. We’re testing some tools that will bring this desired info to the forefront right away, so creators can resolve issues immediately without relying on us to provide education.
Today’s highlight: Hitting the gym after work! I spent several months collecting enough equipment to build a home gym in my backyard shed. Sometimes I’m super unmotivated, but I never regret getting a workout in. It helps to have a program that I can follow to hold myself accountable.
12:30 p.m. - I attended a colleague’s personal ‘Red Talk.’ These “Ted Talk” style presentations are a casual way for our teams to share more about themselves and their personal lives, especially given how hard it is to connect with each other during COVID. Today, the Product Specialist I work with on YouTube Kids showed us her chicken coop! She has four chickens that she is raising in her backyard, and gave us the inside scoop on what it’s like to raise chickens from chicks to adult hens. They are super cute and are a great way to teach kids about where your food comes from.
Today’s highlight: Graduation night! I attended my last virtual discussion for my UC Climate Stewards certification course. With the damaging effects of climate change already here and BIPOC communities experiencing the brunt of these effects, I decided I wanted to take action and learn more about how to help. This is a new course in partnership with the Point Reyes National Seashore Association to prepare Climate Stewards to communicate and engage in local solutions to advance community and ecosystem resilience. We also took multiple field trips out to Point Reyes to learn about the effects of climate change at one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area. For graduation night, our cohort presented each of their capstone projects: a wide range of impressive projects, including work with local communities to protect and restore ecosystems. Check out my Capstone project: A Californian's Guide to Climate Action.
12:00 p.m. - I am one of two Professional Development pillar leads for our Asians@YouTube employee resource group (ERG). I work with the other leads in our group to host initiatives and activities for the Asian community at YouTube. I focus mainly on professional development, like fielding career advice from Asian leaders in our Org, in interviews. We have a bi-weekly meeting to check in with all the leads on upcoming projects. My counterpart is working on a ‘Closing the Confidence Gap’ workshop in June. This is being led by Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), a national nonprofit organization with a mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) through leadership, empowerment, and policy. We also have initiatives planned this month for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM) like a Fireside Chat with Skin-thusiast Creator, Gothamista, Tea Tasting with Asha Tea House, and an Introduction to Yeet Hay & Traditional Chinese Medicine with Dr. Rachele Lam.
Today’s highlight: I went to my first SF Giants/baseball game in probably over 2 years. It was an emotional experience, to be honest. I forgot where all the smaller scoreboards were and the COVID regulations make it a strange experience. The park is pretty empty and you have to show proof of a negative COVID test or full vaccination. On the plus side, it gives us a little taste of what normal life was like and is an indicator of how much progress we’re making!
12:00 p.m. - I worked with our Security team to organize a virtual self-defense course for YouTube employees. Sadly, with the surge in violence against the API community, many employees feel unsafe when just leaving the house to perform everyday tasks. Our Asians@YT ERG was able to sponsor a 5-week, self-defense course with West Coast Martial Arts for a small group of employees to help build their confidence and personal safety awareness when leaving the house. While everything is harder when done over video conference, we're hoping this course sets a good foundation for participants to build upon.
Today’s highlight: We live close to my fiancée’s parents and they have a thriving vegetable garden, so we are lucky enough to receive freshly harvested organic veggies on a regular basis. This week, we received a huge cauliflower (cat for scale) and some sweet crunchy snow peas. We’re spoiled to the point where we can tell the difference between these and store-bought veggies. It doesn’t get more locally grown than this!
4:00 p.m. - During the pandemic, our Go-to-Market Support and Solutions organization instituted Focus Fridays, where we don’t schedule any non-urgent meetings on Fridays. This helps us catch up on work that builds up during the week.
This afternoon, after catching up on my work, I was able to look into Google’s Anthropocene Employee Group. Anthropocene is a community of 2000+ Alphabet employees working together — in a volunteer / 20% capacity — to help Alphabet generate, build, and deliver climate solutions. Google has a culture that allows for employees to work on “20% projects," which means we devote a small portion of our time working on internal projects that we are passionate about. As you can tell already, I am passionate about working to help solve the climate crisis. I expressed interest in a Program Manager 20% role to help with running the operations of the group.
Today’s highlight: I spent time playing with our quarantine-adopted cat, Denzel. I have always been a dog person, but my fiancée finally convinced me to adopt a cat last May, since we are home most of the time now. His shelter name is what caught our attention. I’ll admit he has converted me with his playful and loving personality. He spends most of his days lying in our laps and following us around, begging for us to play with him or feed him. We’re glad he’s a part of our family and can’t understand why anyone would abandon him.