Jody Mak
I build products that support ideas and stories of our changing world.
I'm a product manager passionate about design, research, and technology, but above all – people and stories. The intersection of my passions drives my continual interest in product strategy and process innovation in media organizations invested in shaping the future of society, business, and the world.
Harvard Business Review
Product Manager
Aug 2016 – Jan 2018
Joined HBR as product manager to help further expand the richest source of ideas for improving the practice of management. Product lead for the article page, curated reading experiences, new subscriber-only features, and MyLibrary, a reader’s personal space for organizing content and account settings.

One of the first products I helped launch at HBR, Spotlight is a package of articles from the redesigned print magazine that explore emerging research and stories through multiple perspectives.

We launched with an experience that includes a persistent table of contents and a much more visual introduction. We also created an experience in the CMS that allows editors to easily reproduce this format.

In the new template, we saw longer time spent on page, increased bookmark rate, improved SEO, and higher engagement on navigation feature than compared to past implementation.
Reading Lists

HBR has a growing archive that spans almost 100 years. Curated products like HBR's Must Reads book series are incredibly successful and provide readers with editors' picks out of thousands of articles. However, when it comes to the web, readers on have difficulty discovering content to help them solve their problem.

My team tested, designed, and developed an online curated reading experience, which launches later in 2018 along with other new subscriber-only products.
The Big Idea

HBR’s newest experimental editorial format featuring timely, big ideas each with lineups of articles, videos, assessments, podcasts, webinars, and events spread over a 2 week period.

Content released across multiple days encouraged readers to engage with HBR, which resulted in higher likelihood to register and subscribe. By launching with this new digital-first format, we received strong interest from high-profile authors like Adam Grant (Give and Take & Originals), Francesca Gino (HBS Professor), and Chris Anderson (CEO of 3D Robotics and Former Editor in Chief of Wired) to write with HBR.
Senior Analyst, Distribution & Partnerships
Jan 2016 – Jul 2016
Analyst, Distribution & Partnerships
Feb 2014 – Dec 2015
Lead analyst for 2 teams, Distribution and Partnerships, overseeing reporting and growth of reach and revenue across 100+ media, corporate, foundation and product partners of TED. Part business intelligence analyst, part account analyst, part product analyst.
I analyzed TED content on partner platforms and partner content on the TED platform - I oversaw analyses in product strategy, content strategy, sales operation and digital advertising. My key responsibility was to identify opportunities through data that amplified reach and revenue to fuel TED's mission of spreading ideas.
TED Radio Hour

Co-production of a podcast program, TED Radio Hour is TED’s flagship “1+1=3” partnership model where co-creation not only helped TED and NPR reach new audiences, but also generate new revenue streams from sponsorships.

As TED Radio Hour headed into its 4th year renewal amidst a booming podcast industry, I was tasked to analyze the history of the partnership and current market trends to shape the future of the multimillion dollar podcast. 
TED Institute

Working with partner organizations, TED helps companies identify internal innovators, connectors and creators using the same rigorous regimen as the main TED conference. The partnership culminates in an event produced and hosted by TED and the addition of TEDInstitute videos to the archive of ideas in business.

For each TEDInstitute partner, I created custom reporting on content engagement and advertising metrics. The metrics ranged from pageviews, video completion, cross-platform engagement, time spent on page, geography, demographics, psychographics, and social media interactions.
Lab Assistant, Atkinson Behavioral Research Lab
Sep 2012 – Jun 2013
Research Assistant, University of Sussex
Jun 2012 – Aug 2012
Research Assistant, UC San Diego Vision Lab
Sep 2011 – Mar 2012
Research assistant in cognitive science, psychology, and management.
Atkinson Behavioral Research Lab

As a lab assistant at the Atkinson Behavioral Research Lab at UC San Diego Rady School of Management, I conducted research with over 2,000 research participants in a controlled laboratory setting for 20 primary investigators. Learned a lot about research design while conducting research. I also ran my own research study examining positive social media feedback on risk preference.
University of Sussex

While studying in the UK, I was a research assistant in the psychology department at University of Sussex. I helped conduct research for John Drury's lab which examined cognitive and behavioral reactions during mass emergency evacuations.
Vision Lab

The emergence of 3D videos resulted in a data and compression challenge – double the video, double the data. The lab explored different ways to compress videos that maintained a high quality threshold. This involved techniques like lowering the brightness, changing frames per second, and increasing the blur on one side. Turns out our brain is quite smart, and doesn't necessarily average the two pictures, but rather will lean toward the higher quality image. Neat.
Download the paper
I'm open to freelance work in the following 3 product areas – strategy, analytics, and design. Contact me to learn more.

Have freelanced for the following:
Founder, Organizer, Curator
Founded and led a team to organize UC San Diego's first TEDx conference. Since the first conference in 2013, TEDxUCSD videos have been viewed over 3 million times.
Download the report

Themed Innovation & Tradition, speakers included a National Geographic Explorer, former chief evangelist of Apple, Innovator in Residence at, UCSD's Dean of Arts and Humanities, a biologist-turned-comedian alumnus, a TED2009 robotics speaker, nanomedicine and nanoengineering experts, nonprofit founders, a rainbow-algae biotechnologist, 3 UCSD graduate students, and 1 notorious hacker. 

The theme represents opposite ends on the spectrum of change – the constant challenge to find balance between new and old.
A few select talks from TEDxUCSD since 2013. Many more can be found on Youtube.
Volunteer Work
Here are some places I've volunteered at. Looking to get back into volunteering – seeking opportunities in teaching, mentoring, events, and design!

Interaxon is an educational non-profit organization that strives to promote higher education in underprivileged elementary, middle and high schools around San Diego County. The organization travels to disadvantaged schools in SD County with poor science funding or schools that otherwise lack the opportunity to learn about the brain and share with them our enthusiasm for Neuroscience through engaging students with interactive presentations.

As Program Director, I coordinated educational outreach programs and trained over 100 undergraduate students with teaching strategies for a younger student audience.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Volunteered with the Salk Mobile Science Lab, which hosts interactive biotechnology programs in middle schools in San Diego county. I helped teach DNA to students through hands-on experiments such as food coloring gel electrophoresis and fruit fly DNA extraction.

Designed some posters.

Produced a time lapse video for the TEDx group in my hometown.
In 2017, I began hand drawing tree rings. Inspired by woodcut relief prints of the late artist Bryan Nash Gill, I learned more about dendrochronology and drawing tree rings with brush pens as a meditative activity.
Black on white

A very early work, this is 24" x 36".
Neapolitan RGB

Throughout 2017, I experimented with different color ink and paper combinations. Neapolitan RGB is a series of 6 tree rings both imagined and encountered. The series is currently displayed at Juliet in Somerville, MA, which Bon Appétit named as one of America's Best New Restaurants in 2016.
Reading, Watching, Listening
Here are some things I've read, watched, listened to in product management, UX, design, teams, creativity, journalism, media, and behavioral psychology.

Mostly for me to reference later – Hope you enjoy as well!
An alternate framework for PMBalancing data with intuitionBalancing line length and font size in responsive web designBeating Henry Ford’s faster horseBehind every great productBrutalism: The ‘ugly’ web design trend taking over the internetConfusion online: Faulty metrics and the future of digital journalismCreativeMornings manifestoDesign words with dataDon't kill the modalEmbrace the shakeEmptiness – not minimalism – is the path to creativityForget big change, start with a tiny habitGetting to the next successful media modelsGood Product Team / Bad Product TeamGuide to automated journalismGuide to chat appsHear, All Ye People; Hearken, O EarthHow brands will survive in a post-screen worldHow to design wordsJobs to be Done: Theory to PracticeLaws of UXMotivating voter turnout by invoking the selfMuseums are finding creative ways to engage with their audience — a lesson newsrooms should emulateMust read literature on membership in newsProduct Manager vs. Product Owner revisitedRadical candor — The surprising secret to being a good bossShift Happens, Institutional Innovation, Scaling EdgesStorytelling: A brief intro to storytelling and the importance of storiesThe CMS is your first editorThe modern day Good Product Manager/Bad Product ManagerThe magic of microcopyThe need for Product Management in mediaThe overcommitted organizationThe paradox of choiceThe platform press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalismThe rise of the journalist product managerThe secret(s) to company re-orgsThe surprising power of online experimentsThe traffic factoriesThe year of investing in processTypography mattersVirtual reality journalismWait, What?: And Life's Other Essential QuestionsWe can't leave the business to the business side any moreWhat makes something go viral?When do habit-forming products become addictive?When to define company valuesWhy AI can't write this article yetWhy chefs and soldiers make the best product managersWhy companies should have Product Editors, not Product Managers5 exercises that break down barriers6 must reads on pricing6 storytelling principles to improve your UX8 beliefs about diversity, inclusion, and belonging12 ways to add design thinking into your project19 web design trends for 2018
Jody Mak
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