I’m a YouTube Consultant these days, and I just love it when people ask me if I’m Certified. Like it’s a trick question or something.

FYouTube Certifiedirstly, yes.

Secondly, OMG yes!!!

I didn’t just take the test, I made the test. I personally worked with the subject matter experts (SMEs) to write and refine each and every question. I set the standards for the test and uploaded the questions to the testing engine and measured the results.

I didn’t just watch the videos, I made the videos. I scripted many of them, directed most of them, recorded/edited a handful of them, made the initial video that set the standard for the team of editors and 100+ videos that followed, led the production team, co-led the post-production team, then uploaded them to the learning management system (LMS) and built out all the behind the scenes stuff that makes it all work. Then I convinced the LMS vendor to make the changes to their product that would make it work better. I wish I could say I was proud all the training, but we were moving way too fast for me to say that. Ask me about my about my 16hr days through Christmas and New Years. I can do better, but I’m just glad everyone else seems to like them.

I didn’t just work with the basic Audience Growth track, I revamped the Advanced Digital Rights track. The big hairy thing that almost no one even within YouTube really understands and everyone is scared of, I dove right in and made it better. I not only made it more interactive, I took what was historically the most difficult part of the content, created a totally new UI-independent visualization for it, and made it into a game. I didn’t stick around long enough to see how scores improved, but based on the reactions I witnessed, I’d bet money that this is now the best scoring part of the whole training.

Now, I didn’t do all this alone, it’s true. I was working with a great group of SMEs and nimble admins on the Partner Product Solutions team, the Global Manager of Training for YouTube Certified, and another consultant, Lee Rodrigues (now a trusted friend), who started just after me that kept me from running out of the room screaming a few times. I did the same for him, we got through it together.

I describe my experience at YouTube as a bunch of really smart people running in opposite directions at full speed and maybe yelling things to each other along the way. Google is a little more locked down, but YouTube is still like the Wild West in a lot of ways. It’s beautiful, it’s chaotic, it’s fast-moving, it’s high-pressure. I’m really glad to have spend 9-months there, and I’m really glad to have left while everyone still likes me.

Here’s what my manager had to say about me on LinkedIn (thank you Julio!):

I’ve worked at Google/YouTube since 2001, and Sam is the best Instructional Designer I’ve ever worked with. He possess both deep instructional design as well as instructional strategy. His innate ability to get the best out of our SMEs and to advocate for our creators/partners while delivering a lot of content very quickly is impressive. An example of this is tackling our hardest topic around copyright and content ID and making the track more digestible.

Sam’s skills expand far beyond training, and in a very short time he became the goto person on our team for scriptwriting, directing, most anything technical, everything to do with our LMS, and generally inventing or simplifying solutions to our daily array of issues.

I highly recommend Sam in not just doing what he was hired to do, but in taking a problem solving attitude, performing under tight deadlines and really thinking big on education and instructional learning.

Not too shabby, eh?

Lastly, yes I do know a little of the secret sauce. But no, I can’t tell you about it, and things move so fast there that by next quarter stuff will be old news anyhow. The interwebs are an ever-changing, topsy-turvy place, which makes it all that much more important to have a knowledgeable Consultant and proven talent like me to talk to.

…And yes, for the moment, I am available.