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Rituals for hypergrowth: An inside look at how YouTube scaled

Weekly cadence

Driving healthy execution with four meeting types, bullpen, and a broadcast email.
With a macro strategy in place, let’s turn to the weekly rhythm. We spent a lot of energy trying different patterns for this.

As a reminder from the intro, some core principles we arrived at were:
Define four types of meetings
(described below) and structure them accordingly. People will learn the patterns and hygiene for each — how agendas are set, how much prep is required, etc.
Avoid ad-hoc meetings:
Definitely the most controversial, but our process was designed to avoid the “just in time” ad-hoc meetings. We found that the trap of ad-hoc meetings had a lot of downsides. First, each one requires schedule coordination of attendees, so it can push discussions out (”can I get 15 mins to chat about X” ends up happening 2 weeks later). But even more importantly, the lack of a clear structure can often lead to unproductive meetings — people don’t know if it’s an information sharing meeting or a decision-making meeting, and it’s not clear what level of prep, etc is required. So a key litmus test for us was minimizing ad-hoc meetings by creating the right regular forums with enough time and the right attendees.
time and broadcast emails
to shorten and replace many meetings.
Come prepared and expect others to be prepared:
We almost never “presented” anything in meetings. Materials were always sent in advance, and people were expected to pre-read. This takes getting used to, but is a massive time-saver once it becomes part of the culture. It also meant that almost all of our meetings were 30 minutes (even staff meeting, complicated product reviews, etc), and often ended early.
Framing matters:
Rather than jumping to solutions, teams quickly learned how to ask the right “
“ and frame discussions in the right way.
Avoid rescheduling:
My Chief of Staff drilled this into me. First, he showed me that every time I moved a meeting, it had an enormous butterfly effect on the whole organization as they changed their schedules to match mine and then it cascaded through the team. Second, a team or person’s level of preparedness for a meeting is directly proportional to their expectation that it would actually happen. If I regularly rescheduled a meeting, I should expect that people come less prepared.
Don’t be afraid to cancel:
One of the positives of setting up standing forums and having people send materials in advance was that it was generally clear
the meeting whether or not there was reason to meet. We would often send out an agenda by email, resolve the remaining issues, and cancel the meeting.

Before we start, an overall map of the YouTube meetings

Four types of meetings

Group information sharing (G.I.S.) meetings and bullpen

Decision-making forums




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