Behind the Scenes with Yue Zhuge, VP Research & Development and General Manager, Hulu Beijing

Yue’s Wall Photo at Hulu

The Behind the Scenes series is a collection of posts designed to give you a peek at the inner workings of the Hulu tech team and introduce you to the Hulugans who build our amazing viewer experiences and the systems that bring TV to the internet.

Name: Yue Zhuge

Title: VP, Research and Development and General Manager of Hulu Beijing

Joined Hulu: 5/28/2015

College / University: Tsinghua University, Stony Brook University, Stanford University

Tell us about your journey. How did you end up at Hulu?

Although I was always in tech, I had a very versatile career. I’ve been a researcher, a software engineer, a data architect, a program manager, a product head, a startup CEO, and now a VP at Hulu. I worked for large companies like Microsoft, and I worked for startups both in the SIlicon Valley and in Beijing.

Hulu is an excellent place for me — having worked at tech companies in both the US and China, I can bridge the gap that sometimes exists between global teams. I can be a bridge between cultures, and bring talents together across our different offices to collaborate and build an exciting, unique platform for our viewers.

What do you do at Hulu?

I am the VP, Research and Development and also run Hulu’s Beijing office, which currently has over 150 full time employees and 30 interns. Hulu’s Beijing office is focused on tech, composed mostly of software engineers, researchers, and TPMs. We focus on business critical, innovative areas like big data, AI-enabled content discovery and video understanding, security, video players and more. We have a tech-centric atmosphere and host a ton events like tech salons, research workshops, deep learning classes and hackathons. Of course, we also enjoy happy hours, wind downs (company meetings), all the good food at Hulu.

In what ways has Hulu challenged you and enabled you to grow?

Hulu is a rapidly growing company that’s constantly evolving. I learned to adapt and grow with the company — to lead the way. Hulu gave me a lot of opportunities to build a talented team, enable technical innovations, and work on new areas of the business.

Leading a remote team, I need to be both independent and well connected to the headquarters. As a GM, I need to take care of people, culture, projects, office events, logistics, and many other areas. All these activities challenged me to keep improving myself and growing as a mentor to develop the skills of my team.

Share three tips for someone looking to land a job like yours.

  • A leader leads. In a leadership position, you write your own job description, and success is in your own hands. If you want to run a team, don’t expect to take orders. Have a vision and run with it.
  • Be collaborative. One does not succeed alone. You need to collaborate with colleagues across the ocean, across teams, and across business functions. Provide support, provide value, and communicate well.
  • Have the passion and drive to build a world-class team and enable the company to win in the marketplace.

What do you love most about Hulu’s tech culture?

Hulu is a great place for learning. People sometimes say we’re like a university, with a lot of young and enthusiastic people learning even more on the job. Our industry and tech are always evolving, and we need to have a passion for learning cutting-edge technology. I’m always learning, and that’s what I love most about Hulu’s tech culture.

On top of leading Hulu’s Beijing office and all its functions, you’ve also written a parenting book. How has being a parent influenced your management style at Hulu, and what has your professional experience taught you about being a parent?

Indeed, these two “jobs” — being a parent and being a manager — have a lot in common. Being a parent gave me patience, a love of new things, and practice in mentoring people for the future. Being a professional manager taught me to recognize what skills are most valuable. Those two roles draw strength from each other, making me a better parent and a better team leader.

Tell us about your Hulu wall photo.

I am holding a Sphero Ball, a robotic toy from my son that can be controlled by a tablet. It is high-tech, fun, and provides a mixed-reality experience. Curiosity for what the future is what my wall photo is trying to convey.