What We Made This Year: Product Update

Holy road map, Batman! If you’re familiar with Paladin, you know that early versions of our software were developed when YouTube was still an adolescent platform and when it was practically the only online venue for video creators. So much has changed since that time. For us 2017 was Paladin’s coming-out party, when we consolidated our tech solutions into a single platform and introduced a collection of features leading up to the launch of our brand campaign management solution.

One User, Multiple Social Media Accounts

If there was a theme to our tech development this year, it was a response to the increasingly multi-platform nature of our space. When the year started, you could sign in to Paladin (or apply to join a network using a Paladin dashboard) with YouTube but not including accounts from other platforms. But early in the year, we created One User Profiles. It’s a capability that enables creators to join or log in using multiple accounts, with platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. In turn, our software now aggregates and tracks the presence and performance of creator accounts across these platforms. Treating each creator as a single user with multiple accounts and data points has, by design, enabled new features that are advantageous for creators, networks, and brands.

Single Platform

Paladin was initially developed as three separate product suites: one each for network management, digital rights management, and talent discovery. Each had a slightly different user interface and required a separate login from customers who used more than one of these products.

Establishing Paladin as a single platform became a major goal in the evolution of our product. We achieved it in May, meaning our customers need to sign in only once to use multiple Paladin tools. Developing single-platform Paladin meant streamlining the design of each solution, and having a unified homepage from which our customers could easily jump from tool to tool. This change wasn’t only about ease of use. It was about a shift in mindset and organization, the idea that all the account and performance information Paladin collects on creators, individual network data (which is private to each network, of course), and more become a cohesive whole for comprehensive insights and tools that talk to one another.

(Here’s a related fun fact: Paladin actually has the largest private data trove of its kind, tracking over 20 billion views per month.)

Monetization & Payments

Payments were as much of a priority this year as they always are for us (hint: we like to say we’re a leader in creator payments). In particular, we added an Asset Manager tool to help assign and pay out YouTube revenue where no Asset Channel ID is available in YouTube’s reports, and we enabled support for automating YouTube Red Music payouts. The latter automatically calculates payment rates by country, eliminating hassle so our customers don’t have to manually do the math by region.

We also incorporated support for new revenue streams, YouTube’s Super Chat and Sponsorships features (now commonly used by esports and gaming creators) that fall within the YouTube Paid Features Report. This update makes it easy to handle the unique revenue arrangements that networks may have with specific creators for Super Chat and related features. To eliminate other manual headaches, we also added the ability to enter different revenue shares for videos on a partner’s own channel versus videos claimed on their behalf.

Staying one step ahead of new and revised payments reports is what we do.

Campaigns

Our biggest new solution of the year was our Social Campaign Management tool for managing brand campaigns across platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Campaigns allows sales teams to easily find creators that align with the brand or agency being pitched, and to share beautiful, auto-generated RFP responses that are constantly updating with creators’ latest data.

Further, once a campaign has been sold, our customers can automatically track posts across each creator’s social media accounts. They can also aggregate data into automatically updated and shareable reports so third parties (usually brands) are always on the same page.

The bottom line is that Campaigns makes it way easier to package and pitch talent for brand campaigns, and to monitor campaign performance in real time.

Campaigns functionality continues to grow, and we’ll have exciting news to share on that front soon.

Data Insights

Having reliable data on individual talent, and aggregated across your network overall, is more complex and crucial than ever. We saw our clients struggling to aggregate data from multiple YouTube CMS accounts, as well as individual social accounts for each creator, so we dove into creating a solution.

With our Data Insights tool (now in beta), we leverage the power of the Paladin data warehouse to show a high-level snapshot of metrics such as views, followers, and more per platform across your network, as well as detailed analytics per creator so talent managers can audit performance and help creators grow with ease.

As our industry matures, having access to smartly organized business intelligence becomes increasingly mission-critical. It’s a way of making more informed decisions about creator roster and content creation choices, and even of determining the value and direction of your network.

Stay tuned for more about Data Insights in 2018. Finally, last but most important:

The People

This is not part of the platform, but we wouldn’t have the platform without these folks! We have two incredible teams of developers (one in Krakow, Poland; the other in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) whose discipline, talent, and productivity made our big year possible. We were also fortunate to have experienced team members branch out from their usual roles at Paladin and use their insight to inform our products. Our Head of Design project managed the development of the Campaigns tool, and a longtime Accounts Manager applied her knowledge of customer needs to our Creator Relationship Management dev team – ensuring that our network and creator dashboards continually evolve in response to client pain points.


If you’d like to learn more about any of the projects we described here, email us at [email protected]

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Things I Have Learned About Delegating: COO Blog

Recently I gave a talk to our team at Paladin about how to delegate effectively. In preparing for this talk, I found there are a lot of articles about delegating, most of which were recycled from some ancient listicle patient-zero. I also found few resources reflecting what I’ve found to be important lessons learned first-hand from managing teams locally and internationally. So I wrote down the abridged versions.

Delegate what needs delegating, not your bullshit.

The purpose of delegating is to reap benefits from focus and efficiency. Not so you can literally interpret the title of “The 4-Hour Work Week.” Don’t simply shove a task you don’t want to deal with onto someone else’s plate.

Here is when you should delegate:

  • When you know your employee is the best person for the job.
  • When delegating creates a learning opportunity for your employee, creating future efficiencies.
  • When you’re expanding team capacity for a certain functions and you’re assigning employees their share of the work.
  • When you have other critical work that takes priority, and only you can do it.

Context can change everything.

Always make sure whomever you delegate a task to knows why they are doing it. If the person responsible for a delegated task understands the team or company’s end goals, both short and long term, they can better act as a check point to ensure the team is moving toward those goals, or to suggest better paths toward those goals.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and context is critical information to ensure your employees skin it the right way right meow. Remember that a task can be accomplished as instructed without serving wider goals, or in detriment to them. You don’t want that.

The success of delegation is conditional.

There are a number of questions that should be asked before delegating a task to ensure the best chance of success. If the answer to any of these questions is no, it is likely whomever you’ve delegated the task to will fail.

  • Are the right resources for the job being activated?
  • Is there enough time to achieve the task?
  • Is it technically possible to complete the task?
  • Is delegating this task creating any resource conflicts with other projects?
  • Do the resources being activated have enough capacity?
  • Will the resources being activated be hijacked?

Delegation is negotiation.

If everything was purely top down, our business would have failed many times over. Make sure your employees understand that just because someone is asking them to do something, it doesn’t mean they do not have a voice to flag important considerations, set expectations, and ask further questions. Such conversations can materially change the scope, objectives, and timelines associated with a delegated task.

When you empower others, they become smarter.

When given extreme ownership of a project/product/whatever, people shift their mindset from requesting solutions to solving problems. When one’s own success or failure is hinged to the success or failure of things they are made responsible for, they are motivated to figure it out. Over time this is especially beneficial, as the individuals closest to products/clients/problems/etc are the ones crafting solutions.

Don’t get in the way.

There are many paths to a destination. Make sure that the goal of the task being delegated is clearly defined, but allow for independent thought and for employees to find their own way to the end objective. This will bring you an incredible amount of ideas that you never would have otherwise considered. That said, keeping an open mind with regard to pathways doesn’t mean abandoning your role in providing guidance — you may have learned an efficient path the hard way, and be able to save your employees a lot of time and headaches with course corrections. That said, learning the difference between subjectivity and substance in this regard is critical.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

It takes time to dial in a delegation process that’s successful for you, and that subordinates respond to. Consider failure as an opportunity to improve how you delegate. Don’t use failure to re-absorb responsibility, negating the benefits of delegating.

Parting Thoughts:

Do:

Make noise when the team wins.
Give credit to those responsible, don’t take it for yourself.
Make yourself available to inform or to teach, but not to do what has been delegated.

Don’t:

Blame. If a delegated task ends in failure, you did not properly account for conditions, did not properly fulfill negotiation, did not provide context, or you empowered the wrong person. If you set an example of accountability, you empower a culture of accountability.

Set arbitrary deadlines. How long will a task take with respect to the conditions and the resources available? Ask the person responsible for delivering, and let that be the deadline. Deadlines can move for a lot of reasons. Check in on delivery estimations, but don’t nag.

Interrupt (unless you have to).


Thomas Kramer is Paladin’s COO. Over the past several years he has managed teams in diverse areas, from technology developers and content optimization strategists to operations and marketing staff.

If you’d like to learn more about Paladin, start here.

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