YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki ’98 at UCLA

Well, what a Thursday! Twice I was able to listen to Susan Wojcicki ’98, CEO of YouTube telling her story. Written below are my highlights from her Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series presentation in Korn Hall. Or, feel free to watch her presentation here and enjoy for yourself.

20160211 Susan Wojcicki 1998 Opening Slide IMG_4197

Dean’s Distinguished Speakers Series with Susan Wojcocki ’98

Susan opened with some of the “Wow Stats” about YouTube, and the global consumption of video.

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1 in 7 people on the planet visit YouTube each month

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400 hours of content uploaded per minute. Can you imagine the server farms?

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What a first decade!

Susan then got more personal, telling us her journey from UCLA Anderson to her position as CEO.

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Susan gets asked a lot.

Susan’s first post-MBA job was with Intel, and she was quick to acknowledge her respect for Intel still today. But, she didn’t even stay at Intel a full year. She left Intel and it was risky to leave, not just because she was going to a start-up; she was also pregnant at the time. (Susan shared that she is the mother of five children.)

We all know the story of the start-up she left Intel for, Google. She happened to be renting her garage in Menlo Park to these two young men, Larry and Sergey.

20160211 Susan Wojcicki 1998  Larry and Sergei  IMG_4208

… because Larry and Sergey rented her garage…

So Susan became employee #16 at Google.

But, how did you get from there to be CEO of YouTube?

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“I get asked this all the time,” said Susan.

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In 2005, Susan was running Google Video. Remember that?

Believe it or not, a dominant conversation in 2005 was “Will people voluntarily upload videos of themselves? Is this just a pipe dream to make a video distribution platform?”

During her tenure running Google Video, Susan had an “Aha Moment” when she saw this user-generated video posted online, straight from a dorm room in China. Have you ever watched this one?

Susan didn’t just “like” this video. Her reaction was going to change history [Dylan’s editorial, not Susan’s statement] because her viewing this video became the seed that grew into her championing Google’s ultimate purchase of YouTube, for well over $1B.

Buying YouTube was a second risk that Susan took. And it wasn’t like everyone agreed with her. As you see, the ever-bombastic Mark Cuban has this to say about the acquisition:

20160211 Susan Wojcicki 1998 Mark Cuban    IMG_4236

Turns out Cuban was inaccurate.

Susan saw that there was something authentic about those lip-syncing college men from China, all the way to the third roommate in the background, who is completely ignoring the whole scene. I mean, who’s never had to ignore roommates before?

YouTube allows for both authenticity and diversity.

Of the top 12 YouTube performers according to view counts, only 3 of the 12 are actually “famous” in a traditional sense (e.g. Bruno and Taylor). The other 12 (e.g. KSI and PewDiePie) have all connected to their global audience via their authenticity, via the platform of video.

20160211 Susan Wojcicki 1998  Authentic  IMG_4247

YouTube connects people who would never connect otherwise.

Susan pointed out the incredible diversity of voices YouTube brings together.

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So Susan’s journey has led her to the role of CEO of YouTube… So far.

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Turns out Mark Cuban was wrong

Susan’s story is one of education, preparation, risk-taking, great luck, more risk-taking and more hard work.

But what’s next? Where is Susan “Thinking in the Next”?

She addressed some “where things are going” ideas.

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Is your company still dealing with transitioning communications from desktop to mobile?

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TV viewing patterns are changing

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Susan told about video bandwidth requirements being the bottleneck to the next Billion users coming to YouTube.

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And yet in spite of bandwidth limits in the developing world, YouTube is connecting people in new and amazing ways. Here is a young man in Kenya who built a homemade airplane via watching YouTube videos.

20160211 Susan W  Virtual Reality   IMG_4250

Virtual Reality. It’s coming!

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Speaks for itself. Thus, Thinking in the Next.

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Susan back at Harvard in undergrad. She was a History and Literature major. But took another risk and took a very popular Introductory Computer Science Class, CS50, that launched her love of tech. Remember, it’s not too late for non-techies: Easton Technology Leadership Program is waiting to introduce non-techies to technology-sector opportunities.


Here was Susan, earlier Thursday at the Media Mogul Lunch at UCLA. To her left is Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu and FEMBA 2001.

At the end of the Dean’s Distinguished Speakers Panel, Susan took questions from Dean Olian, from the audience and from Twitter.

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Hope this re-created some of the flavor of Susan’s day on campus. It was humbling listening to her. There was, in this author’s opinion, a marked absence of showmanship. She was centered and confident and her results speak for themselves. It was inspiring.

Best day,



PS  Thanks to Britt Benston from UCLA Anderson Marketing. Britt got a signed copy of our brochure for me from our very own Mike Hopkins ’01, CEO of Hulu, after the lunchtime panel with Susan.

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What amazing heights will you and your FEMBA classmates reach?!?  Keep Sharing Success and Driving Change and you’ll find out.





New business + 2 children + Flex: meet Ashley Merrill ’15

Ashley Merrill ’15, CEO/Founder of Lunya, is an inspiring person to watch. After Leadership Foundations her first year Ashley and I had coffee, and I have been amazed witnessing her FEMBA journey ever since. As member of the very first Flex cohort, she both launched her own company–Lunya, an innovative women’s sleepwear company–and also began her family.  See

Here is Ashley reflecting on Flex and FEMBA, as recorded by her Flex classmate Ivaylo Datchev ’15, VP Advanced Plant Nutrition.  The password for the video is ANDERSONFLEX

20150424 Ashley Merrill 15 vimeo screenshot

Most Famous FEMBA: Corey Berse 2011

I had a star sighting Sunday morning, walking down Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

20150419 Corey Berse 11 and Dylan on Wilshire

“Hey Dylan,” came the voice of none other than Corey Berse, FEMBA 2011, Vice President, Head of Marketing, Houlihan Lokey. Corey was leaving breakfast with his wife Heather and we got to catch up.

“Are you still running the Commercial Challenge?” Corey asked during our conversation.

“No. I had to let go of that last year, as we wanted to focus on FEMBApalooza,” I replied.

For your Monday viewing pleasure, allow me to dust off two of the finest pieces of FEMBA cinema ever produced, the 2010 and 2011 All-Anderson Commercial Challenge, prize-winning entries submitted by Corey and his amazing FEMBA team “Exploding Head Productions.” These Commercials have stood the test of time! Enjoy.


Corey will be attending FEMBApalooza 4, so bring your autograph books. Maybe he’ll reunite Mark Harper and Belinda Cheng and all those amazing 2011s…  We can dream, can’t we?



CEO of Hulu. Joe and Josie Bruin. And more.

Happy Friday afternoon; hope you got some rain. Here are some quick highlight moments of the last few days UCLA.

#1 moment – Seeing FEMBA Alum, Mike Hopkins ’01, CEO of Hulu, on-stage in Korn Hall kicking off the 5th annual Pulse Conference this morning. Mike spoke about the opportunities he’s facing as CEO: navigating digital markets and trends, hiring hundreds of new “Huligans” and on-boarding them into the culture, and more. Inspiring!

20150130 Pulse Conference Mike Hopkins 01 and Professor Sanjay Sood

Mike Hopkins ’01, on-stage with Marketing Professor Sanjay Sood today.

Moment #2 – Having a one-on-one with new FEMBA 2017 Laura Lefkowitz this afternoon. Laura’s a unique FEMBA in that she was originally a full-time MBA at my alma mater, Chicago Booth. For various reasons, Booth wasn’t the right fit and she picked up and came to California and we happily admitted her to FEMBA. We were comparing notes, and it was insightful.

20150130 Laura Lefkowitz 17 and me at Il Tram

Moment #3 – Having a Joe and Josie Bruin siting yesterday in Ackerman!

20150129 Joe and Josie Bruin Christy Maureen Ackerman

L-R Joe Bruin, Christy Marquez, Josie Bruin, Maureen Riley and me, at Ackerman yesterday.

Moment #5 – Last Saturday’s Open House. Great Crowd. Great Panel. Watch it here.

20150124 WQ OH Panel Matt Gorlick David Duon 15 Heather Layne 15 Krisin Palchak 16 and Ryan Swank 15

Our amazing panelists: Matt Gorlick ’13 (moderator), David Duong ’15, Heather Layne ’15, Kristen Palchak ’16 and Ryan Swank ’15

20150124 WQ OH Icebreaker left

Ice breaking and Networking

20150124 WQ OH Icebreaker right

Ice breaking on the other half of the room

20150124 WQ OH Panel Matt Gorlick David Duon 15 Heather Layne 15 Krisin Palchak 16 and Ryan Swank 15 from back view

Our panel sharing their FEMBA experience.

Moment 5.1 – Getting this cool AnderProm promo video from David Duong ’15

Moment 5.2 – Getting this cool FEMBA Section Wars promo video from David Duong ’15


Moment #6 – Forgetting my computer bag
All the Admissions leaders meet once a quarter, and I left my computer bag yesterday in the doctoral office suite. I went home without my bag and it reminded me of a blog post I wrote back in 2011, called “Going to work naked.”

20150130 going to work naked

My temporarily lost shoulder bag, and the beautiful view from the 5th floor of the C building. You’re seeing the Dean’s Office courtyard and Bel Air in the background.

Final great moments of the week – Going to church last Sunday with my two boys. My wife was out of town, doing her residential at Gonzaga for her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. Here are our shadows. To the left is my two-year-old, looking up at his hero, while to my right is my seven-year-old, doing his crazy “chicken butt” dance… Ah fatherhood.

20150125 shadows with my boys

My boys and me last Sunday. These guys keep me motivated.

Seeing this amazing sunset over Westwood, as I picked up my little guy from day care yesterday and pushed him on the swing.

20150129 Swinging sunset



Welcome to 2015 FEMBA!

Welcome to the best year ever! All the best to all our FEMBAs as 2015 begins.


2015 – best year ever

Last post of 2014 ==> first post of 2015

It’s been a wonderful year, learning to blog, and as I approach 50,000 views I have to say thank you to all the “shared success” that these FEMBA victory stories represent.

Below are two awesome videos shared to me by FEMBA alumnae, Valerie Sun and Rosaleah Macareah, both 2013. The videos capture FEMBA life-long friendships, international travel and ongoing career expansion (both Valerie and Leah are considering moving to Shanghai at some point in their careers).

Today’s my last work day of 2014, and tomorrow I’m on a 7:00AM flight with my wife and sons to visit family and friends in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Texas. I can’t wait to see Christmas through the eyes of a seven-year-old and a two-year-old!

This year was a biggie. The entering Class of 2017 set all kinds of records: largest class ever, most women, most MDs, most military, most in Flex. At over 900 total students, FEMBA is now the second-largest (of the over 100) graduate program at UCLA.

My deep thanks to our amazing FEMBAassadors and FEMBA Council, to my team and to all the faculty who earn our school’s reputation.

2015 – best year ever

For next year, I’m playing a game called “2015 – best year ever” and anyone and everyone who is interested in welcome to play too. I played this game in 2012 with a group of friends and my wife. In 2012, the following miracles opened up while playing the game: we had our second son, I got to teach at Anderson, Flex launched, and Dean Carla Hayn surprise-promoted me to Assistant Dean in front of over 500 people at the first-ever FEMBApalooza. Pretty cool year!

I’m a big fan of this game “best year ever.” It focuses the conversation and adds an element of “time is precious” to the living of my life. I invite you to consider playing along next year. I’ll create more infrastructure in January.

Valerie and Leah’s amazing videos

And now the best part. Serendipitously, Valerie sent me the link to this first video this week, along with this description.

Valerie: Hey Dylan and Maureen, Thought you might enjoy this video Leah Macaraeg put together. There were the 4 of us traveling to Thailand and Cambodia and we visited our friend Pankaj (also FEMBA 2013) and his wife Megha in Singapore (he is featured toward the beginning of the video).

Our videographer and the mastermind behind the video was Rosaleah Macaraeg so I would love to credit her if possible. :)The 4 travelers (and obvious children of the 80s) are:
Rosaleah (Leah) Macaraeg, FEMBA 2013
Director, Strategy and Special Projects at DaVita Healthcare Partners
Valerie Sun, FEMBA 2013
Director, Regional IPA Operations at HealthCare Partners

Paisha Allmendinger, FEMBA 2013
Director of Finance and Operations, Smarter Balanced at UCLA
Naomi Hartono, FEMBA 2013
Webmaster, Metrolink (Southern California Regional Rail Authority)
All of us participated in the global immersions during Anderson and we continue to travel when we get the opportunity. Almost 2 years out of FEMBA, and our friendships are still going strong, even with former classmates who live abroad. Our strong drive motivated us to hit up all 5 pools in one afternoon in Phuket. Negotiation and BATNAs came in handy with the night markets. Other than that, we just had fun playing with elephants, getting $7 massages, eating good food, exploring temples, and watching tourists and locals laugh at us when we filmed segments of the hammer dance.

Dylan: Hi Valerie, I was laughing out loud and loving the creativity and the dance moves!  Look out world! 

For your enjoyment.

2014 Thailand – You Can’t Touch This from Leah Macaraeg on Vimeo.

Then, just today, I got this second video, from Leah Macaraeg ’13.

Leah: Hi Dylan!  You can’t put a price tag on lifetime friendships (especially the kind that will Hammer with you through South East Asia). 

To that end – just one last video I thought you might enjoy.  It was intended to be a FEMBA summary…but it’s mostly the FEMBA social life (happy hours, shark cage diving, white water rafting, climbing Table mountain in South Africa, getting lost driving in Italy for GAP, para sailing, Tough Mudder, karaoke, hiking, Rangar Relays, bungee jumping, fundraising for homewalk, beach volleyball, etc) sandwiched in between graduation.  Makes you wonder when we got all our studying done!

Work Hard Play Hard from Leah Macaraeg on Vimeo.

The Power of the Network

Two great stories this week–Jump for Jude and Readydesk–both showing the power of networking and the power of FEMBA.

Story #1 Jump for Jude. Make a difference for a child in need.

Hi FEMBA, I’m Ashley Nathanson FEMBA ’11, and with my friend Katie Malone, we’re taking on a dare, Jump for Jude, to raise money in order to help my beautiful godchild, Jude DeMatteis, and his amazing family.  Before we get to the dare we want to tell you why this is so important to us. READ MORE ABOUT THE DARE or watch our video.

Jump for Jude is raising money for the DeMatteis family using Darelicious, the entrepreneurial brain-child of my 2011 classmate, Jorge Jernandez ’11.



Story #2 Readydesk: Kickstarter campaign

FEMBA Ben Larson ’13 has already raised 165% of his Kickstarter goal, but he’s leaving the kickstarter campaign open, and you can see it above.

You can also see Ben’s company website here Readydesk and learn why it is time to break up with your chair.

20141205 ReadyDesk Ben Larson

Our very own Ben Larson ’13, on the left, with his business partner Joe Nafziger. They’ve been best friends since age 4.

20141205 ReadyDesk product

The Readydesk–I want to buy one of these!

20141205 ReadyDesk

Here’s background on Ben’s entrepreneurial journey to Readydesk, including FEMBA’s contribution.

Ben Larson Bio

Ben is currently the Worldwide Communications Strategy Manager for the Immersive Systems group at Hewlett Packard, where he’s just finished working on the launch of Sprout by HP—the company’s first Immersive Computer. For the past six years he has worked in the technology and entertainment industries, in rolls spanning from operations to strategic marketing and communications. Prior to this Ben’s work history includes serving in the Illinois Air National Guard, touring as a professional bass player, and traveling for six months as an adventure travel guide.

Ben’s Education

BS Physics, Illinois State University
BA Philosophy, UC Irvine
FEMBA UCLA Anderson School of Management 2013

Joe Nafziger Bio

Currently a Creative Director at i.d.e.a., a San Diego-based marketing and communications shop, Joe has spent the past decade as a copywriter at various advertising agencies in the Western United States. His colorful work experience includes selling cars, catching shoplifters and jumping a child-sized motorcycle over 50 pizzas while dressed as a client’s mascot.

Joe grew up on his family’s farm in Central Illinois. There he discovered an inclination toward mechanical function and visual solutions…an idiosyncrasy that aided in designing the Readydesk.

Joe’s Education:

BS in Marketing, Illinois State U.
Graduate of The Bookshop School of Advertising, Los Angeles

Some more context from Ben…

Like Joe, I grew up on a farm in Central Illinois (in fact, our farms were 2 miles apart and we’ve been best friends since age 4). Both of us have had to work since we were old enough to pick up sticks or push a lawn mower. I think these early work experiences, combined with a broad range of life experiences since, have equipped me with a strong work ethic and a willingness to take the road less travelled.

With regard to product development: Anderson taught me the importance of making a minimum viable product and getting market feedback. I had to laugh at “you made it look easy” because we spent so much time trying to get the design right. Neither of us have product design experience. We hired multiple industrial engineers off of craigslist. We got feedback from all of our friends. We built the prototypes ourselves. We did market tests with follow up surveys. Joe has a good eye for functional design even though he has no training. That helped. Also Joe’s advertising background and copywriting skills helped us develop really compelling communications, which goes a long way on Kickstarter.  

I was motivated to earn an MBA first and foremost because I wanted to learn the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur. Marketing was something that I gravitated toward while I was there. It’s been a lot of fun seeing a little bit of everything I studied—supply chain, operations, marketing, finance—all coming into play in the course of setting up a business. It’s on a small scale, but it’s really cool to have that end-to-end view and to have the knowledge set to make informed decisions in all areas. Maybe the biggest asset Anderson gave me was the confidence to just get out and do it. I was sitting in classes listening to successful entrepreneurs speak, watching classmates start businesses, and then I see my buddy Joe has built this crazy stand up desk. So I call him up and I say, “I think we can sell this thing.” One of the lessons that really stuck with me from my Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation class is that succeeding in a new venture is “1% idea, 99% execution.” The MBA taught me the importance of that 99% and gave me the skill set to get it right.

On future plans:

We’re already thinking of ways to grow the “Ready” brand into new products. Aside from add-ons and accessories for the Readydesk (cup holders, cable management, and standing pads) we’re looking at other areas in life where being “ready” helps people. Our company exists to improve people’s lives by designing products that allow them to work in healthier ways, and to be “ready” for whatever life throws at them. We believe that by helping people make small adjustments to their daily habits, we can significantly impact their health, improve their performance, and increase their happiness and sense of well-being.