Meet Jason Toff, a product manager at YouTube in San Bruno

Meet Jason Toff, a product manager at YouTube in San Bruno

We sat down with Jason Toff, a product manager for YouTube, to learn about the differences between product management and product marketing and why he’s so excited to be working here.

How did you end up at Google?

Jason: I started at Google in 2008, right after getting my B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, where I majored in Management, Operations & Information Management and minored in music. I was originally interested in management consulting; but then I interviewed at Google, and quickly realized it was where I wanted to work.

What was it that convinced you?

Jason: Googlers get a tremendous amount of responsibility right away. In my first role as a product marketer, it was one other person and me doing the marketing for Chrome! And I’ve never been told, “This is what you’re going to work on.” I seek out opportunities and, presuming it makes sense for the business, my manager gives me the go-ahead. That’s really motivating.

You started in marketing but now you’re a product manager. What exactly does a PM do?

Jason: Right now I work on two YouTube products—Video Editor and Video Manager. As the PM, I manage cross-functional teams to define, prioritize, develop and implement feature sets. I connect engineers with teams across Google—like marketing, user experience (UX) and PR. It’s the kind of place where you can take a great idea and bring it to life by connecting the right people.

Ok, what’s one example of a great idea brought to life?

Jason: Teach Parents Tech. It’s an idea from the Gmail team to create a collection of approachable tutorial videos to help people like our parents learn how to use technology. It took us less than three months from idea to launch, and it made me really appreciate working at a place that allows for such creativity at such a fast pace.

Sounds like a place where you can turn your passions into a reality.

Jason: It is. In college, I made fun videos with my friends and here, a few years later, I sometimes find myself doing the same thing! Last year I organized Google’s April Fools joke, Gmail Motion. Google takes April Fools' very seriously, and our team produced a video with high production value. It was important that Gmail Motion be convincing as a real feature. Our main video got more than 7 million views…way more than any of my videos from college.

Speaking of millions of views…any chance that we might catch you on YouTube?

Jason: Indeed! I’ve got a bunch of stuff on YouTube. I grew up playing piano, taught myself guitar and ukulele and then took sitar classes in college. I like making music and recording videos of music—so working at YouTube was a natural fit.

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