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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Thank you for calling me, Mr Hamburger. I don't get that a whole lot. So I think how did I get where I am today? I think it was a long journey. I studied English at the University of Michigan because I didn't really know what else to study. I had always loved writing telling stories, and it just seemed like a natural fit for what I could do until I figured out what I wanted to do. And during that time, I was interning, at Merrill Lynch, assisting a financial advisor and, you know, actually really was interested in, like, markets stocks investing during that time. But it didn't feel like it was my calling or my passion, but I didn't really know what else to do. And it seemed like it would be a good job that would help me, you know, have a secure, source of income and, you know, a pretty predictable career path. And then when I was at Michigan, I discovered this program called the New England Literature Projects, and a lot of English majors had going in the past. And essentially, it's a program where you go to Maine, and live in log cabins for seven weeks like a Children's summer camp that you just take over 40 kids, 13 teachers. So the teacher to student ratio was pretty unbelievable. And, during that time, you know, we had no electricity, no phones, no computers, just like, you know, the only I think the only electricity we had was for, like, lighting in the main mess hall. And you just really learned to, like, live off the land. And every day we would do classes read, you know, the transcendentalist writers like the row and Emerson. And really a lot of that writing is about listening to yourself than listening to your environment, trusting yourself, being self-reliant. And I think we were judged not on any papers but on our journals and our self-discovery, which really, like, changed my entire life. And I got back from that. And I'm like, I'm not gonna be a financial advisor. You know I'm lucky enough the way that I was raised. I have a lot of opportunities. I feel very, very privileged and lucky to have those opportunities to take risks, which not everybody has. And, I got back and I was like, I like technology more than anything. I've been reading Tech blog's my whole life like Engadget, Gizmodo, and even the Wall Street Journal's Tech journalist. And, I was like, I'm just gonna start a tech blogger Michigan. And so I think probably the biggest experience that's shaped my career path, is the experience of reaching out to people and asking them questions not just for help, but asking them questions. And you never know who you're gonna meet. And what I did was I emailed Ah, the technology editor of The Wall Street Journal. And I was like, How did how did you do this? And I wrote him a really sincere email about what I appreciated about his work, which I think is always important when you cold email someone and keeping it short, not asking for anything right off the bat. And he responded in immediately, and, you know, he got on the phone with me a week later. I was so nervous. Nicole actually didn't go that well. I think my questions were a little too I don't know, to formulated they were. He was like, are you doing this for the school paper? Like, what is this? And I think that was my first clue that maybe I could be a reporter. I've always loved asking questions, and I've always been curious. And so I took some of his advice and just started writing. I reached out to a women's leadership magazine. Michigan called lead, and I was like, You know, maybe I can help you expand your male audience and they let me start writing tech stuff and really today you know, a lot of it is just showing your work. And I applied to business Insider into Gizmodo and in New York for tech writing, and all I needed was just to show them my work. And I'm like, Look, I can do what you're doing every day and I got an internship and really, my journey within reporting. I was a business insider for a year. Then, as I was saying on theme, I reached out to the founder of the Verge, who was one of my idols on. I was at the Verge launch party and I approached him personally, and I was like, I love everything you're doing. Let me know if I can be a part of it. And he ended up reaching out to me a month later and I worked on the verge for a few years and long story short. That's how I got to meet Evan, the CEO Snapchat who, you know, another big theme for me is just keep gravitating towards the people who seemed the smartest and the nicest and the most passionate and thoughtful. And Evan, it was the most thoughtful founder I'd ever interviewed. I'm like, I want to work with this guy. And I eventually told him I was thinking of getting out of reporting and he invited me to join, so I think that's kind of the story of how I got to Snapchat. And, you know, here I've worn a lot of hats from copyrighting to more recently running the Strategy team, which is trying to ironically similar to reporting, you know, here old story, find the most interesting part and then share it with your audience in a really compelling way. And so a lot of it still comes back to writing. But more importantly, the ideas at the center of it all. So start with the long-winded answer. It's taken a lot of twists and turns, but I think you know, the way that I've been able to make it this far, I think, is just by continuing to talk to as many people as I can and just keep gravitating towards the people on and things I like the most, which I know. Not everybody has the ability to do given the types of jobs you have a choice to take. But I think I've been really lucky in that regard.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? Discuss weekly hours you spend in the office, for work travel, and working from home.

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Yeah. I think my responsibilities. I think the simplest way to summarize it is that you know, Snapchat has 1,000,001 products coming out. You know, it's like we have a camera that has augmented reality. We have a messaging app on one side. We have a news app on the other side. We have a maps app. You can see where your friends and family are hanging out. And, we always have a lot of products launching all the time, like literally one or two every week. And so typically somebody will come to me and say, Hey, we'd like to promote the launch of, Let's say, a new product that allows you to take snaps with your friends. But in three-D, and I say okay, like while we could just make a video of someone using the product. But how are they going to use it? What's gonna make our audience want to use it the most? And I think my instinct, you know, given my experience in reporting and just being a tech consumer myself, is that three-d isn't very cool, you know, the last thing people saw in three-D that they really enjoyed was probably Avatar and 3D TVs never took off, 3-D phones never took off. Nobody wants to sit on the couch with their friends with glasses on. And I think the answer to me was that if we want to promote this, what we should focus on, it's not 3-D but in how it makes you feel just a little closer to your friend. Given that, that's one of the goals of Snapchat, just like this video chat right now, you know, is to make you feel like you're in the same room with someone, and 3-D can add just a little bit more to that. And so the strategy I wrote was essentially a story saying why we should use this strategy, including what I just said about 3Ds history and say, it should be about making feelings bigger, not a flower more beautiful in 3D. That isn't something that you'd want to use it for every day. And typically I'll have a couple of those types of requests per week, and it's fun for me because I love learning. I get to, look at what others are doing and landscape. What's Instagram doing? What's Apple doing? What's Google doing? Look at our audience and what they like. Some, for example. Our audience doesn't like to look beautiful all the time. They just want to be themselves like like you were talking about that you had seen personally. You know, people just wanna have fun. And 3D for fun is a lot more of a high-frequency use case than 3D for beauty photography. And so it's trying to come up with right positioning, as they say, for each of these new products that come out And, this as far as my workload in ours. Typically, I'm here from 9 to 6 or seven. Were lucky enough in Snap to have free meals cafeteria. So I often take advantage of that. Which starts it, 6 30 So typically I'll stay Until then at least, and, have done a little bit of work travel in the past. You know, I think if you're a storyteller, sometimes you get called upon to tell the story of various audiences or hear the stories of others and translated into insights. So I think this past year, you know, I briefed some reporters on what Snapchat is all about in Europe. That was a week or two, and more recently I've done some focus groups which are essentially just talking to users about what they think in Chicago in L. A. Over the last, a few weeks. Not much working from home, I think, at this company, at least collaboration in person, getting your hands dirty is really important. And I think the jobs, at least on the marketing team are things that are a lot harder to do when you're isolated. So I almost never worked from home unless I really, really, really need to get a ton of work done ironically. Because you know the office can be so distracting.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) do you use at work? Do you prefer certain tools more than the others? Why?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Yeah, this is a good question because I think being adept at modern tools is absolutely crucial because if you can't actually express your ideas in a deck, in a word document a story, as a video as, as a meme, even I think being able to express yourself visually is increasingly important. And so the tools that I use mostly is the Google suite. So I spend most of my time telling stories, in Google slides, which is nowhere near as good as KeyNote, but from Apple. But, it is collaborative. Everybody could be in it at the same time and making changes, leaving comments on. And I think, you know, the future of work is very much about more seamless collaboration. So, for example, I sent a deck I worked on to the CMO, and he's able to comment on specific words or slides in my deck, which you can't really do on keynote. And so he doesn't have to send me a whole email of like, on slide six on slide five on slide 10 and I think you know the age of emailing attachments over email. For you know, pdf, sir, word documents or whatever I think is that age is coming to an end because you don't know if what you have is most up to date and you can't collaborate in real-time and see what the most recent changes are. So, for example, I could see that the CMO had opened the document on That's like an important context. You know, that you have a lot of in-person that hadn't really been reproduced online before. So Google slides, Gmail, Google calendar, Google docs, which is like the worried equivalent. I also, you know, I still have a little bit of experience, that photoshop and even Google slides. You know, it doesn't work that well with videos, which is kind of interesting because they own YouTube. But, the easier way to actually show videos. If you don't need the audio, let's say I want to show how a new feature works on Snapchat. I'll actually do a screen recording in quick time, which is something a lot of people don't know. You could do! And then I'll import that screen recording into an app I use called Gift Brewery, and I'll make a GIF, you know, which is like a little looping video that's very lightweight, and I'll just insert it right. It's the slide. And so I think the main theme here is tools that are flexible, collaborative, always up to date automatically. And I think that means a lot of this stuff is in the Web browser. It's ironic, given that so much of what we do on our phones is in the Snaps. But I think you know another tool I use for work. A lot of Snapchat, it opens right to the camera. So you open it, you take a picture, and then you can circle something like you take a picture of a whiteboard and you'll circle something and add a caption being like, I really like this. Ah, it's really a way to be able to take what you see and send it with your thoughts as quickly as possible to somebody else, which still isn't always that easy on computers. You know, a lot of people don't know the keyboard shortcut for even taking a screenshot so and then, you know you have to open it. You have to use apple editing tools to edit it with your mouse instead of your finger. And, I think a lot of it is just finding the right ways to express yourself visually so people can understand exactly what you mean.

What things do you like about your job? Were there any pleasant surprises?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
I like that I could be myself. You know, I think most people in the world aren't lucky enough to be able to choose what job they have. I feel really, really lucky to have found something that, I like doing and that I can be paid for. There is a Japanese diagram called IKIGAI that I share with people sometimes. IKIGAI. And it is essentially trying to get you to the intersection of what's good for the world, what makes you feel good, what you could be paid for and also what you're good at. And if you can find that intersection in the middle, you know, you're the luckiest person in the world. Unfortunately, most people don't have that luxury, but I think you know, being myself means telling stories, having fun, making people laugh. I think I love making people laugh in my slide, Dex surprising them, using real examples, being self-deprecating as a way to really build trust and, you know, be honest with people and probably more than anything, just like my love for technology and culture. And now I live very literally bring that into all my work, you know? So it's part of my job to be on Tik Tok, YouTube all day, seeing what teenagers are doing because that's where culture starts. And so I think that's been pleasant surprises that Aiken essentially used my interests a za way to do research, even playing video games right now, learning about new forms of storytelling, new kinds of narratives. I mean, everything is a story, and I think people don't really want conventional advertisements as much as they used to. They just want good content. And if you can get your brand into good content, you know, you're doing well. So I think, uh, it's all that.

What are the job titles of people you routinely work with inside and outside of your organization? What approaches do you find to be effective in working with them?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Yeah, as a strategist, as if this week I'm now leading the strategy team, which is cool. And I think I sit in between the marketing side that's focused on business. So, like, what are our goals as a company? How much do we want to increase, you know, user engagement or favorability for our brand? Sitting between them, they give me the goals. And the people who execute my strategy are the creative teams. That's people who make videos, people who make you know, graphic design and Photoshopped or illustrator, people who make this make the content with their hands effectively. And so I think probably people I work with the most are the brand manager, which is the person who, you know, is in charge of out laying out the goals for, Let's say, Snapchat or the future I'm working on, and then I'll create a strategy and hand it off to the creative director on. The creative director manages the people who will actually bring the idea of life. So I'll come to the creative director with strategy. Let's say 3D for fun, not beauty, and they will get together with their team and come up with 10 ways to illustrate that point. I think the most effective way to work with people is just to get to know everyone. You know. Work is not transactional. It's about connections like this one with people that, you know, that allow you to better understand how to work with someone what they need. I mean, the more I know about graphic designers, the better I can adapt. My strategy is to be inspiring to them. You know, for example, my strategy could exist on a spreadsheet, but that isn't how best to communicate with creative people. And so I think it's really getting to know everyone in their unique nuances And, how they like to work and adapting yourself to, you know, I have his seamless relationship is possible with all these people are just being incredibly flexible on forgiving. Not everybody communicates in the same way

What major challenges do you face in your job and how do you handle them? Can you discuss a few accomplishments?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
I think the biggest challenge is just time. You know, it's like I may be working on a new, brief new idea around how to share what Snapchat is all about with people who don't use the app. And what do we know about people who don't use the AC? What did they misunderstand about us? And a lot of times, you won't have all of the research to know and I think you have to do is best. You can't talk to as many people as you can to have as full and understanding as you can of the world and the people in it, because the world is bigger and full of more kinds of people than ever. And the people that surround you are not representative of the world's. And if you're you know, a lot of my friends who are still in reporting, I believe, rely a little too much on their personal experience than on the experience of of of others across a lot of different kinds of audiences when they're judging new products and companies. And, I think that's always a challenge. Is getting ahold on your audience when it could be millions. If not in our case, hundreds of millions of people, you know, like I think I have a sense of who they are and what they care about. But I have no doubt I have barely scratched the surface of the nuances of how they like to live their lives, how they like to talk to their family members. For example, my friend Rajan, who's on the research team here? He's from India, and he was talking about how he feels that there's there's a little less of a selfie culture there. Then there is in America, and you know, that was news to me, and that's something that fundamentally affects our business and the way we promote our products there. And so I think the biggest challenge for me is having information on everybody we're talking to on. I think the way to handle it is, in part, you know, making sure that the team is structured in the right way. I don't think everybody can do their job if they're trying to wear too many hats, and for a long time we didn't have a research function on marketing and that made everything really difficult. I think you know you could make an innovative product. But trying to make an innovative company structure is, I think, a lot harder because every company has tried it. And there's some pretty tried intrude ways to manage, let's say, but the structure of the marketing team. And so I think handling it is making sure that leaders are aware of where the gaps are. Knowledge in the team. As far as a few accomplishments, I think probably my favorite is coming up with the creative concept for our campaign for android users. So we have a new Snapchat for Android, and I think we've actually in India specifically had some PR problems and woes with some somethings. Evan, our CEO, had said that were taken out of context around the markets we were focused on, I think for Snapchat, which requires a lot of bandwidth and data usage. The focus for the time being a few years ago is very much on the Western world, and I think a lot of folks perceived that as saying Snapchat wasn't for them, which, you know, we're very sad that it was perceived that way and sorry that it came out that way. And, I think we had to earn back the trust of android users. And our new app was better, but not 10 times better or five times better. It was just It worked for the first time for Android users, and my strategy was not to make a claim about how fast the APP was. It was instead to say, Hey, look what Android users care about, who do they trust? And Google is one of our biggest partners. You know, most of our business is run on Google. A lot of cloud computing that happens for our back. And, you know, computing needs are with Google and also a Sam with Amazon. And so my idea, given our ghost mascot is such fun. Hey, what if the ghost in the android, or kind of like goofy, little bit awkward friends because of our relationship with Androids, been a little bit tenuous in the past, and that was my strategy in order to earn their trust instead of trying to pitch them directly about, come back to us and I think it was pretty well received. You know, obviously, a lot of people were, like, Still screw you guys. I remember. You know what you said, or I remember how bad the app used to be ignored us. But I think we got some research results back on how people felt about the brand, and it really changed. You know, it the people who cared about us or thought fondly of us. The android community, you know, went from here to here, and that was really satisfying to see, to come up with a fun idea that was also effective.

What was the hiring process like for your job? What were the roles of people who interviewed you? What questions were asked and how did you answer them?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
I've told you, I've been very lucky in my life. I was hired by the founder of the verge and hired by the founder of Snapchat. People who build something like nothing more than when you get it and appreciate it and show them the love for the thoughtfulness and the energy they put into their baby, you know, And I think that's a sure-fire way to do better in interviews. Obviously, you don't want to lie. You want to care about what you're doing and you want to apply to companies that you care about, and if you care about them, tell them why you care. That makes them feel better about their daily job working up in the morning. It feels good about the choices they've made and talk about the decisions the company has made that resonated a few that say I could be a part of this culture. So my interviewing processes were pretty unconventional, but I think as far as the questions I was asked how I answered them, I think I would love to just talk a little bit more about how they answer questions and in interviews. So I think that's really a way to stand out and beyond. Talking about what's meaningful to you about the company and their products is, remembering that you don't have to answer the questions. That's not what interviews are about. You asked me questions. I'm gonna talk about what I think is most interesting. It's probably related to what you asked. You know, if you ask me about my qualifications, I'm gonna tell you the qualifications. But for the most part, interviews are an opportunity to show how you think why, you're impressive, what you can do, what you're capable of, what you're gonna be like to work with. And I think I always remember that in the same in politics, you know, it's like politicians get asked a question and they're gonna respond with their talking points, even if they're a little off. But I think interviews in the same way. I was an interview yesterday with someone and they were asking, answering the questions in a very straightforward manner, as if there was a right answer. But really, every question is just a starting point for you to talk about something that makes you valuable to this company. And you know, your answer shouldn't be too far off from what they asked you. But really, I would think about interviews more of a conversation and a way to prove that you're someone they want to work with versus just a pop quiz, I would say.

What qualities does your team look for while hiring? How does your team interview candidates?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Yeah, I think, obviously, you have to be qualified. Beyond that, it's about your enthusiasm for your work, your passions, your life. In my opinion, that's what I trust. What's what I ask about? Another thing that I found to be really useful is that while it's a little bit more work, God, is there anything is nerve-racking is not knowing if the person who shows up on day one could do the job, even if you know, they say, Oh, I know photoshop so I could do graphic design. It's like I've always found that trying to create tests, give someone two days to, do a fun little assignment to show that they can actually do it. I've found this really, really effective way to judge talent. Beyond just kind of their culture fit for his interviewing candidates. We typically have 30 minutes, per person, and then there are four or five people on the interview panel. So somebody else sit and be interviewed by, you know, one person for 30 minutes, another person for 30 minutes, and typically the recruiters give us each something specific to ask about, so even full grasp of the person. Some, you know, personality and qualifications. And, you know, mine is usually people's knowledge of snap their interest in the company. And I mean, you don't need to use snap, but are you? Do you love new things? You know, this is an innovation company, and I think if you're someone who is a late adopter, it's gonna be hard for you to provide a lot of value here because there's so much change.

What are some future career path(s) for you? What skills, certificates, or experiences do you plan on acquiring?

Based on experience at: Senior Marketing Manager, Snapchat, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Nov 29 2019
Yeah, I think you know, I certainly plan to be in Snap for the foreseeable future. I still love the product. The people here love what I do. I mean, any company's gonna be frustrating. So you can't really think about that stuff as a man. It may be there's someplace better. It's like there are so many stars aligned. I think for me here, especially since I've been here for five years. And I'm connected to you know, the founder and the people who are making decisions. And, you know, as an employee, the best feeling is having an impact. And I feel like I'm having an impact here, which I'm very grateful for as far as the skills, I think a lot of it. The skills are changing rapidly in many, many professions. And I think, you know, going to school for a specific skill. If it is new. If it is a new profession, it may be outdated by the time you know, I think for more or less people be doing accounting the same way for a while. But strategy, you know, in marketing is kind of a new field And so what I'm pursuing is who were the best strategist in the field, and I listen to their podcasts who are meeting up to talk about strategy, some going to an event called Strategy L. A. On Monday just to talk to people and, like, I don't really know anybody there. But we all do the same thing, you know, and reaching out and talking to people and learning. Is this fun no? And I think you know, it's been really the biggest theme for me, and my career is just putting myself in situations with people and giving it a go and see what you can learn and not being a transactional. You know, no one's going anywhere like the more people you meet, the more you're gonna be surrounded by all those people for the rest of your career in your life. And I think that's always been the route to success for me.