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Former Microsoft employee is making YouTube videos and living a better life – News

Kevin Stratvert makes videos at his home in Seattle.

Tara Browne

when Microsoft In January, the company updated the Teams Communications app in a more sophisticated way to give PowerPoint presentations. 500 word blog post About the function. People can read the blog post and try to understand how to use it or consult YouTube.

About video services owned by Archrival GooglePublished by a former Microsoft employee named Kevin Stratvert video In presenter mode, more than 800,000 subscribers have received more than 180,000 views and hundreds of comments. Microsoft itself did not publish a video on this topic.

“We’ve built an audience for Microsoft,” Strutbert said in an interview with CNBC. “Microsoft content has gained a lot more viewership than non-Microsoft content. I ran Gmail and some other content, but not so much.”

It may be related to the range of Microsoft products. According to technology research firm Gartner, the company accounted for 86% of the email and authoring market in 2020. 1.2 billion Office users..

However, not all of these 1.2 billion people know how to do everything in Office. You also need to keep up with the latest updates provided by Microsoft. Videos from Stratvert and his YouTube contemporaries have helped that, and sometimes they’re getting more attention than Microsoft’s official videos.

Much better

Stratvert arrived at Microsoft in 2006, the same as Google. Won YouTube is $ 1.65 billion. His first YouTube video showed a video of a drone flying over the city of New Jersey. Stratvert then filmed a video of his trip beyond Puget Sound. Followed by how-to videos and gadget review videos.

He posted in 2017 His first Microsoft related video, He toured the tree house on the company campus with his wife, Kelly Strutbert (company manager). The video description included a disclosure that he was an employee of Microsoft.

Two months after the treehouse video, Stratvert was working on a small development team behind is a website that gives you quick access to online versions of Excel spreadsheets and other Office documents. The site was less well known, especially compared to Office applications for PC, so Stratvert and colleagues asked their marketing colleagues if they could spread about Marketers didn’t have enough resources to help, Strutbert said.

So Stratvert produced a video showing how to use to get most of the features of Microsoft Office for free. It worked well and his manager told him he did a good job.

He went on to make videos about Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, Windows, and Word. Microsoft employees on other teams noticed and began asking him to make a video about their product. That they can bring in new users by seeing how many people are watching and having him talk about their products, which in turn may mean more favorable employee reviews. I recognized.

“The team seems to admit that there is some sort of informal other outlet,” he said.

Then, in July 2020, a few months after the pandemic sent Stratverts home, he abandoned his position at Microsoft and began making five times as many videos as before. He no longer had to include a disclosure of being a Microsoft employee in the video, giving him more freedom to talk about competing products such as: slack And zoom..

The YouTube user pressed the subscribe button. He currently has 85% more subscribers than the official Microsoft 365 YouTube channel focused on teams and other Office applications, and says a team of 20-30 people is producing the content. I will.

“Economically, I’m much better,” he said. His wife is still working at Microsoft.

Promotion of external creators

Historically, product development and maintenance has been at the core of Microsoft. Today, almost 50% of our employees work in engineering. Marketing is a fairly small part of the business, with employees working on advertising, Microsoft website materials, events, and other promotional methods.

Over the past few years, groups within Microsoft have begun to focus more on YouTube.

“Especially on YouTube, we’re starting to explore the concept of what it’s like to be native to YouTube,” said market research leader Sonia Atchison, who worked on the Microsoft Creators Program. Podcast last year.

According to Atchison, YouTube is often used when you want a deeper understanding of Microsoft’s software, and Microsoft has a lot of its own videos on YouTube, but it doesn’t appear at the top of search results on the site. Not limited. Videos from outsiders can receive higher rankings.

There may be a video from a Microsoft employee there. The company has a large audience, including 26-year-old company veteran Mike Tholfsen, who shows how teachers and students can use Teams and other applications in a video.

Microsoft wanted more people like Tholfsen. The company formed a group to help people working on various products learn how to build large YouTube channels, after posting a YouTube video as Microsoft’s senior platform evangelist. DocuSign March. Sometimes there was a problem. Some employees asked why they were focusing on services owned by top competitors, and the team didn’t necessarily agree with everything the employee creator said in the video, Levesque said. ..

The effort wasn’t too far away, and with the establishment of the Microsoft Creator Program, Microsoft began promoting video from non-employees instead. The company started including outsider videos in video playlists and suggested using their videos for customer support. That led to some additional video viewing, Jason Sele said, his YouTube channel goes under the name Sele Training. In late June, Microsoft announced plans to suspend the program.

The most popular of the dozens of people who participated in the creator program is Leila Gharani, a software instructor in Vienna, with over 900,000 subscribers. After mastering Excel and other software skills at work, Gharani began teaching classes directly and online. She made her YouTube debut in 2016 in the hope of improving her shooting skills.

The channel started and it brought money. In addition, she attracted more students to the premium courses offered by her company, XelPlus. As the company grew, her husband left her position as Chief Financial Officer and joined her. They also brought in editors and writers.

Many of Gharani’s YouTube videos detail parts of Excel. That doesn’t mean she completely ignores the competition. One of her more popular videos was called in 2020 “Google Sheets BEATS Excel with these 10 features!”

Like Stratvert, Gharani has heard from Microsoft employees. After she posted the video to the whiteboard app, the program manager said the team liked her video and suggested that she see the latest information coming soon. The program manager didn’t tell her to make a video, but instead wanted to see if she thought the enhancements would be worth the video, Garani said.

She said users, unlike her, could empower YouTube creators working at Microsoft.

“People appreciate their presence at Microsoft,” she said. “They need to know what they are saying. If that is not true, they are not going to say it. That authority accompanies it, but not much.”

Jason Sele creates YouTube videos from tech RVs.

Jason Sele

It did not stop Garani from growing into a major entity. She boasts more subscribers than almost any Microsoft YouTube account. The Xbox channel is still the top attraction with over 4 million subscribers.

Sele likes the type of YouTube success that Galani and Strut Bart had. His video, which includes tips and tricks about Excel and other applications, has been played over a million times, but he’s not a camera star. After working with Microsoft products for 25 years as a director of information technology, Sele, who creates videos from RVs, narrates video feeds from computers with all visual attention. He said he spends his time carefully creating and editing scripts before hitting a record. He said YouTube money was enough to survive.

He said he wasn’t worried about competing with Microsoft. “They start all this training, but it’s not really a training that can be given to employees,” he said. “It’s either high or low.”


YouTube isn’t lacking in software walkthroughs, but YouTube is more than a careful learning destination. It is a place of entertainment. Garani understands that.

“It’s more passive and they don’t really have to focus,” she said of the people watching her video. “They also make you think about other things, come back and just look and you can get something from it. You can’t get from writing it.”

She strives to keep her YouTube videos moving at a fast pace. She doesn’t want the video to be too boring. Otherwise she wouldn’t have seen many.

“They don’t really have to learn anything, they just see the possibility of learning something, or they feel like they’ve learned something,” she says. I did. The purpose of her online course is different. There’s no background music, it’s slow, and she speaks less on the camera.

Thumbnail images of her videos on YouTube always show her face, and her channel uses her full name rather than cluttered words like OfficeIsSuperGreat. This will make her work stand out in the search results.

The same is true for Stratvert channels.

But his video could be longer. Some run after 20 or 30 minutes. He prevents them from getting bored by talking about how they use the software within the enterprise he has created. Kevin Cookie Company.. In one video about hosting a webinar on Teams, Kerry Stratvert appeared, pretending to be an employee of the Kevin Cookie Company who wanted to raise concerns. As the person running the conference, he turned off the microphone and camera and showed what the webinar organizer could do in real life.

For years, she called Stratvert’s YouTube channel a hobby and pointed out that she hadn’t recovered her investment in production equipment. She didn’t expect him to go full time. And last year he did.

“It worked very well,” he said. “My wife is watching it —’Oh guy, working from home, cranking out a video for a day, maybe I should do this too. Maybe I should put together the video.’ Her The same is true for my sister. “

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