An oversized impact
Last year’s migration from Studio Classic to the new Studio was another pivotal example of the CIR program’s strategic value. Reimagining the tools that millions of creators use everyday was a daunting task. But the residents were our window into a creator’s everyday workflow and effectively enabled the transition of YouTube creators to a new product. For every aspect of the migration, the residents were consulted. And as features were being ported into the new Studio, testing by residents gave us key learnings about when and why creators were using the “escape hatch” option to go back to Studio Classic.
Residents also had an impressive impact on the launch of Stories. In 2017, just a few weeks before its scheduled launch, our creator residents participated in a scavenger hunt through New York City with the goal of testing the feature’s creative editing capabilities and the technical infrastructure that supports it. A fundamental aspect of the residency program is that we ask creators to not hold back when it comes to raising concerns or offering negative feedback. The scavenger hunt was far from a success, and creators let us know it. They helped us realize we had critical infrastructure bugs that prevented creators from having the smooth experience we wanted to give them. Thanks to this day of content co-creation and partnership, our team realized that our product wasn’t ready for primetime, and our engineering teams ended up delaying the launch so that our teams had sufficient time to address the issues our residents raised.
And just because their residency ends after six months doesn’t mean that the work of participants is done. Periodically, YouTube will approach former members of the program to consult on special projects. For example, we recently partnered a handful of alumni from the residency program with the Comments team to work closely on co-developing features, roadmaps and more.