Rudy is a fan of Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto. In the book, author and surgeon Atul Gawande tells the story of a three-year old girl who was saved after drowning. The girl was unresponsive, showing no sign of life, for over an hour and a half. Yet a small team in a local hospital in the alps of Austria not only resuscitated the child, they did so in such an efficient manner that she eventually regained full health.
As Gawande explains, “To save this one child, scores of people had to carry out thousands of steps correctly.” While each task required surgical skills, the necessity of following every step was literally a matter of life or death. “The degree of difficulty in any one of these steps is substantial. Then you must add the difficulties of orchestrating them in the right sequence, with nothing dropped.”
This, for Gawande and for Rudy, is part of the power of a checklist. A checklist removes the burden of figuring out what’s sequential. It creates order and ensures nothing gets forgotten.
As a digital media company, working at Cut.com is vastly different from working in the medical field. Still, Rudy and Cut.com’s production team approach video production in the same methodical way.
Cut.com publishes videos primarily under two brands: Cut.com, aimed at young adults and HiHo, geared towards families for dual watching experiences. Often funny, sometimes uncomfortable, their videos aim to bring people together and provoke conversation. Their series include the likes of Fear Pong, pitting friends and strangers alike against one another in a game of dares, and Parents Explain, where parents explain thorny subjects to their children. When the videos are funny, you laugh alongside these strangers; in moments of discomfort, you feel their pain, evoking empathy.
“At our core, we build unique media brands. We think of ourselves as a distributed media company, which means that our brand exists on the platforms where we distribute,” Rudy says. “We’re not trying to drive people [to a platform] to consume our content. Instead, we’re going where they are.”
“The way we tracked ideas was in a spreadsheet, the way that we tracked our production calendar was in an actual calendar, although not very consistently, mostly just ad hoc over email.”
Since Cut.com is building different brands and series at once, it’s important that the team is organized. “Previously, the way we tracked ideas was in a spreadsheet and the way that we tracked our production calendar was in an actual shared calendar.”
Rudy is responsible for leading the business team that produces and monetizes their brands, a mandate that includes everything from coming up with episode ideas, organizing and shooting videos, to post-production and distribution.
“My job as Chief Strategy Officer is to come up with the business strategy–essentially create a plan for our business at a high level, in terms of revenue, production and product goals,” explains Rudy. “Then, I manage the people who lead each of those teams.”
“When it came to distribution, and checklists,Continue reading