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Rituals for hypergrowth: An inside look at how YouTube scaled
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ouTube was born in the same generation as Google Apps and so we inevitably ran our rituals in a matrix of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, most of which are quite confidential and still at Google. Over the years,
I’ve seen companies adopt these practices and use new tools
(like Coda!) to build much better versions of these systems. Here’s a running list of a few resources I would recommend for getting started:

Planning cadenc
e
Top-down brainstorming and picking Big Rocks:
This
template is an engaging way for your leadership team to simulate how they would make tradeoffs and determine your list of Big Rocks. Uber does something similar:
.
Bottom-up brainstorming:
See this template for our
. A few other great resources are
, this
, and former
Shopify
CPO
which automates async reviews.
Goal-setting and tracking
:
A simple way to handle this is in
. Other great resources are the
guide from John Doerr (the one who brought OKRs to Google) and Brex’s
doc. And with goals set, use Shiva Rajaraman’s template to
.
Matrix planning and allocation:
Our process for
became a key way for us to ensure our priorities were well staffed and clarified team alignment.

Weekly cadence
Group information sharing meetings:
Adopt Zapier co-founder and CEO
for hyper-efficient meetings (and bonus interpersonal communication tips).
1:1 meetings:
I’m sure for most people the 1-on-1 doc is what Coda’s Head of HR Raechel calls a “forever scroll” mega doc — full of 60 pages of notes broken up by date markers.
breaks the doc into key steps instead, including a staple in my own 1:1’s: the partnership agreement.
Catalyst:
Every Coda meeting is separated into two parts: A Q&A to add and vote on questions and a sentiment tracker to express thoughts on the meeting’s focus. This combo,
, works to remove groupthink and create a forcing function to discuss only important topics. And with the vocal minority no longer dominating the conversation, we amplify the voices of people that might otherwise be quieter.
Tag-ups:
Use this simple template to hold one of our most common meeting types:
.
Bullpen:
One of our early experiments that turned into one of our key secrets for avoiding ad-hoc meetings. We ran them in-person, but there’s a simple virtual guide in
.
Broadcast emails:
See
.
Managing your calendar:
Once you come up with a taxonomy for your meetings, assign each type of meeting a color and have your admin color them accordingly. Then you’ll see at a glance what your week feels like. Want to try this for yourself? Color your calendar with
.

FAQ
If you want to contribute comments / thoughts, feel free to
to see the comment-enabled version of this doc.
Do you run Coda in the same way?
Some elements of these patterns have definitely found their way into Coda. We do
, have a lot of
and use
. A few key differences:
Because of the pace at which we move, we don’t do 6 week / 6 month planning. We adopted a “Quarter+1” model — every quarter we plan for the upcoming quarter, and give some insights for the quarter afterwards.
Since we’re much smaller, there’s less need for resource allocation and we don’t do anything like
yet.
I’m working on a separate writeup on the Coda processes, so stay tuned for more!

Does YouTube still run this way?
From what I’ve heard, some pieces are similar (e.g. YT Stats, etc), while others have adapted as the team has grown and the culture has evolved. This is great — this writeup reflects a decade old system, it’s great to see it improve!



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