Guilty of YouTube Drive-bys? See What You’re Missing.

I read an recently about a top YouTube channel called DisneyCollector which has video after video of a faceless lady unwrapping cheap Disney toys and describing every detail.  Apparently toddlers – by the droves – are fascinated by them, in a video category cleverly called “unboxing”.  And it’s not the toddlers who are logging onto YouTube – there must be A LOT of parents in need of a distraction mechanism while they get sh*! done.   Check out a .

This got me thinking – what other strange secrets do I not know about YouTube?  I really only find myself using YouTube because someone shared a link on Facebook, or to occasionally look up an old music video…don’t ask.

I guess I’m not part of Generation C.  Coined by Google, they’re described as: “a powerful new force in culture and commerce. Sixty-five percent are under 35 but they span the generations, empowered by technology to search out authentic content that they consume across all platforms and all screens, whenever and wherever they want. They can be difficult to reach with traditional media”.

They’re talking about the power of YouTube.  It looks like kids don’t watch network TV anymore.

You remember these kids, right?

So I dug around and saw YouTube channels are a big thing. The Top Channels get so many subscribers they’re almost always invited to join a Multi-Channel Network.   A whaa?  Well that’s basically like getting signed to a record label.  Meet a few of them:

  1. PewDiePie – At just 24, he’s the reigning supreme video creation master.  His channel has been the most subscribed channel uninterrupted since December 2013.  His schtick is commenting on video games, like a Bob Costas of Sims.  Gaming’s not my thing, but as I perused his videos, I found it pretty funny when he tried:
  2. BF vs GF – Humorous and endearing,  you can watch boyfriend/girlfriend Jeana and Jessie duke it out on each video to some sort of competition, like: 
  3. Smosh – Wikipedia describes them dryly as a web-comedy duo.  Okay.  This 26 year old pair have been making vids since 2005 – and here’s a good nugget from a few years back:  

So going beyond top channels, I wanted to find out what were the top viewed videos of all time?  Well you can pat yourself on the back – you’ve probably seen most of these. (I ignored all music videos which crowd the very top spots, except for Gangnam Style since it’s ranked #1):

  1. 2 billion views
  2. -760 million views
  3. (apologies, it’s that annoying chicken song) – 418 million views
  4. – 217 million views

In case you’re still here not sucked into that other site I keep linking to, I’ll wrap up with some of my personal video favorites.  However it was that I landed on them, they are creations I’m in awe of, and could watch over and over:

  1. – beautiful hyperlapsed footage plus great soundtrack.
  2. – I didn’t know what it was either until watching this.
  3.   – yes you read that right.

Hired! In San Francisco

When people find out that I’m a native San Fransican – it’s typically met with – “Really?!” San Francisco is full of newcomers, transients, and passers-by. It’s part of what makes the city so wonderful and unique. I’m often asked by people who have recently moved here, or are about to move here, how to go about tapping into the thriving job market.

There are a few basics that are necessary:

A killer profile

There are plenty of online resources with and on how to highlight your best qualities. Stick with concrete accomplishments, a few strong recommendations, and as many connections as possible.

Personal website

Most people who have worked in San Francisco, particularly in tech, have an online presence of one sort or another. Making a simple website using , , or (for the more sophisticated users) is a great way to tell recruiters that you exist and are serious about being in technology. Doesn’t need to be complicated, just include your resume, a few hobbies, and any portfolio of projects. It’s a great way to express yourself and differentiate yourself from the crowd. If you’re applying for a technical role, be sure to include you github account; for designers, a portfolio is a must.


The best way to get a job is through an introduction from someone you know. Period. Bar none. Network, network, network. LinkedIn is a great tool for this. Find a job or company you’re interested in, and then search to see how you might be connected to someone who works there, or who formerly worked there. The valley is a small place – you’ll quickly be connected to many companies. Ask to be introduced, go get coffee, or a drink with folks you know.

Start looking specifically

Job boards

Venture Capital Firms

Read the news

If you are new to the area, and new to the industry – welcome! There is a plethora of information to read about the technology world. , , and all report on the goings on, mergers, investments, and new companies. You won’t want to look uninformed in an interview when someone asks you what you think about that latest and greatest happenings.

Show up in person

It’s possible to start applying to jobs before you arrive, but most companies will want to meet you in person – more than once.

Here is a common interview process one might go through:

  1. Skype / Phone interview with recruiter
  2. Phone interview with hiring manager
  3. In person interview with hiring manager and a few other folks
  4. Meet the whole team

Common practices for technical roles

  1. Technical interview (architecture / thought / whiteboard exercise)
  2. Coding test (actually writing code, solving problems)

Common practices for design roles

  1. Design workshop (lead creative workshop on sample project)
  2. Design project (take – home creative project)

Culture fit

It’s easy to think that applying for a job is about the best skill set – wrong! Culture is a very serious part of the technology community here – each company has it’s own vibe, practices, and unique culture. Pay attention to the subjective things you learn about the company through the interview process to learn if you’re going to fit in well. The company will certainly be evaluating you on culture fit as well. Basics such as being friendly to recruiters, office management, administrators, are key – as well as more traditional etiquette such as thank you emails, punctuality, and preparedness.


Whatever you do – don’t show up in a suit! My first day at my first job I didn’t know what to wear. My manager had told me casual, my parents encouraged me to “step it up.” I ended up wearing a pencil skirt and a blazer. At the end of the day – bless her heart – my manager (a wonderful Executive who was the Chief of Staff at Verisign internationally for many years) took me aside and kindly mentioned that tomorrow, I should feel free to wear jeans.

Not dressing the part demonstrates that you don’t understand the world very well. Dark jeans and a button down with well groomed accessories is good measure for most start-ups. Just be prepared that whomever the interview is with probably will be dressed more casual.

Notable exception:

– Enterprise sales executives: dress the part!

Get the basics right and you’ll have a job in no time. Much easier than finding an apartment!

 Find me on LinkedIn.

A Shazbat Remembrance

It’s not every day that someone mentions the latest celebrity death and the entire office gasps. There are so many reason to be sad about the passing of Robin Williams. How depression impacts people. How it relates to addiction. The passing of one of the funniest people on the planet.

I grew up in the era of latchkey kids. My Mom went back to work when I was in 3rd grade, right around 1978.  I’d walk up the hill to my house, make a snack and go turn on the TV while i did my homework. Yes, TV became my friend.  And right around 1978,  one of my best friends was Mork. Mork and Mindy was one of those shows that you watched with you parents and everyone laughed. Sometimes my parents laughed at a really strange part and for two seconds I wondered why.   Even with those crazy suspenders, Mork made the most complex, adult issues seem easy for an 8 year old.  Years later, it was great to watch the re-runs and revisit all the jokes  that had previously gone over my head.

Another childhood favorite was Popeye. This movie brought together cartoon characters, live action, musical numbers and clearly took all the scariness out of Shelly Duvall’s role in The Shining. I was never a huge fan of the cartoon, but it was a movie my brother and I could both agree to watch as young children. (God forbid)

As I got older, the roles Robin Williams took had a familiar father/teacher theme.. Dead Poet’s Society, Hook, The World According to Garp, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, etc… In a world where everyone told you that you can’t change people (especially men), Robin played roles that did. He made his students better people, learned to love his children more, and helped a really smart guy communicate better. As a young woman deep in the dating pool, it felt like he hit the trifecta of unobtainable change.

After that, he joined the wonderful world of Disney.I am a huge fan of Disney animated movies. I remember when they said that the next animated movie was Aladdin. After Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, I couldn’t imagine how they were going to make this move featuring a male lead enjoyable. Then they added Robin to the cast and it was a whole new world. My favorite tweet remembrance so far comes from Aladdin via The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science,”Genie, you’re free.” It’s become somewhat controversial but I take it to represent his metaphysical state now, not how he got there.

On and on it went. At every major milestone in my life, there was a Robin Williams movie that accompanied the change.  I couldn’t bear to watch when he played dramatic parts, but he alway came back to the quirky, funny and vulnerable roles that I loved. I know every generation goes through this type of experience. The passing of a major entertainment figure that marks a moment of time. I think it came too soon for Robin Williams. I think it might feel too soon for everyone. Maybe my parents said the same thing about Elvis.

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