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Monday, Mar 19 2012

From Our Team: Staying Current in Video Production and Video Education Training

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Interview with Jeff Macias a Video Training Expert at eBay

jeff.macias.picture3-e1332190122130-150x150We recently sat down with team member Jeff Macias, a Video Training Expert at eBay, and discussed how he keeps up with the fast paced world of video communications and his thoughts on the future of video education in enterprise companies. Jeff is a recognized expert in the video training field, with his areas of expertise being: Dreamweaver, iMovie, Flash, Photoshop, Audacity, Podcasting, RSS Feeds and HTML. His degree in Radio Television Film and minor in Communications of the Information Age at San Jose State prepared him for the current job he is doing at eBay.

Jeff’s current project at eBay works with education production as a whole; by building courses from existing and new material. The project deals with the development of tools within the company, specifically in the data hub, which is constantly underdevelopment and improvement, he follows that layer. The tools that he uses to complete his projects are mostly outsourced, but some are also from in-house. He said that they are developing the tools in front of us and it is a fast paced environment. When things move faster we have to keep up with it. We always have the constant development of tools and materials to make whatever is needed to make videos. All of the videos that we produce are for the internally company but are used globally.

We started out the interview by asking Jeff how he keeps his skills and knowledge up-to-date.

We found that his team is very lucky because conveniently he is in the training field, therefore people are submitting new information, new services, new products, and they are making the training videos. Many of the new skills he uses come from the projects he is working on because the team is actually documenting the new technology for eBay.

Outside of the work place he prefers good old fashion hard-back books. You might find Jeff brushing up on his skills at the library by checking out biographies on top industry leaders. Next on the list? He plans to read the Steve Jobs book written by Walter Isaccson. In regards to online education, he said that he doesn’t search for much online, “It’s not my first place where I look information. If I need a specific answer to a question, I will go online. For continuing education, I go to the books, because online and books serve different purposes.”

In addition to keeping his skills up to date, we asked him how he continues to be successful as a consultant.

He focuses on being detail orientated and deadline centric.  Since they are a SCRUM team we have short timelines, it is important to concentrate on deadlines and scheduling as our top priority. It’s all about tasks, to-do’s and deadlines. He said, “I love the SCRUM system that they have put together, it’s fantastic and works the way we need it to for me to be successful.”

He continued, “Our team is always searching our own personal experiences and education to help us with what we are doing in our current project, especially with tools. We are always looking outside the box and trying to utilize all of the skills on our team.”

Jeff has worked with Armada for five years so we asked him, “What do you enjoy about consulting and contract opportunities, and how have you enjoyed working with Armada?”  He spoke positively about consulting because his experience with Armada has been enjoyable and a very positive one. His reasons were, “Armada gets quick answers when I have a question, I am able to get all my work done here at eBay and there is no extra work that I need to do for Armada.” He continued to say that everything runs smoothly, and all the background work is taken care of, so that he can focus on his project on site.

“Armada also makes it very easy to stay in contact with them through things like Facebook and other company activities; such as “Adopt a Beach” last January. I enjoy having the source of social media to see what the company is doing. I remember when the Armada Facebook page started!”

We asked Jeff some specific questions about his field, and how online training is impacting major organizations.

He said training impacts him a lot! He since he makes the online training videos for his company internally he watches the feedback traffic and status comments from the trainings. He said, “I hope that it is making a big impact. The feedback I get is very positive and we take any new ideas into consideration.” Online/video training is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s enterprise companies. Some people say that videos are taking away from the personal aspect of a company, but Jeff said that both learning from video and learning in person are great for different reasons. If something is static and basic, like an introduction to a tool, then a video is helpful and can be used over and over again. If something focuses on a more specific topic, then they might hire someone to come speak to the group about it to educate them. You wouldn’t only use one style or another—they must co-exist.

Finally, we wanted to know if there were any other trends in the industry that eBay is using right now.

Jeff said Cloud is huge right now, and it is impacting the mobile field. If he makes an education or training video, the employees don’t have to be logged on to the company network to watch the video. Instead, they can download it and use it at their own leisure. He mentioned that his department is not currently using the Cloud at this point, but they are always looking for ways to utilize new opportunities that could help his team’s success.