Monday, October 29, 2007

Hulu, Sam, and the User Experience

Savvy calendar users can determine that it's been some time since I last updated this blog. That's owing to three important, and recent, new beginnings:

1) The launch of and its associated distribution network

This was the project that ate my summer. I was part of the launch team; initially, I focused on the destination site, and then transitioned to leading the product definition for the partner distribution network.

Hulu demanded a lot of time from me, and more-so our team of developers, who spent many sleepless nights aiding in the unprecedented launch of both a destination site and a network of distributed players across five of the most popular destinations on the Internet.

Prior to the announcement of the final brand, my teammates and I referred to it by its working (and roundly mocked) name, 'Newsite.' When Jason Kilar was hired on as CEO, he expedited the name search process and came up with Hulu- a name which, in his words, "is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce..."

Regardless of what you think of the name, Jason & crew have developed a service that is going to change the way people consume professionally produced content online. Their primary concern is the quality of the user experience around watching video, and it shows. They've done a great job around this launch and I am sure they're going to continue to build on their amazing experience in the weeks and months to come.

2) My new position as Vice President of User Experience at NBC Universal.

I typically don't speak much about my job on this blog for reasons of company confidentiality, but I can discuss the significance of my new team without spilling any beans. Creating the role I now occupy, and building the team to support me, is a significant move for NBC- it is a statement that we have joined the ranks of Google, Yahoo, and Apple in recognizing the strategic value of UX in doing business in the information age. Nowadays, our content can be distinguished not only by the quality of its writing and direction, but also by the ease of its discoverability and the convenience of its consumption. I'm thrilled to be part of the team tasked with this important mission for our company.

3) The birth of my son, Samuel Joseph Siry.

If a new site and a new job weren't enough, my wife Paula and I have added a new addition to our (mostly 4-legged until now) family- little Sam Siry. He arrived right in the thick of things, a week late on the last day of July.

Why did we name him Sam? Well, we had a few reasons for choosing that name, but I must admit that it's "short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce..."