Women in Streaming Interview: Kristie Fung, VP of Product and Program Management, TMT Insights

Intro: In the “Women in Streaming” series of articles, we talk to incredible women who have contributed a lot to the growth of the video streaming industry and share their stories. In this installment of the series, we talk to Kristie Fung, VP of Product and Program Management at TMT Insights

Kristie Fung

Kristie is a Product Management executive at TMT Insights with over a decade of progressive experience defining product requirements, managing the development cycle, and delivering enhanced value for internal and external stakeholders. Kristie delivers value-enhancing multimedia and digital initiatives through clear communication of technical and business issues. She also creates alignment between stakeholders at all levels of development projects, from C-Suite executives to individual technical contributors.  

    Please tell our audience about your background – how did you get started in the media and technology industry, and your journey thus far.

    Right out of college, I started working in Finance at an aerospace company, but soon realized it wasn’t for me. From there, I pivoted into Finance Systems and jumped to media and technology. At the time, I wanted to move away from a rigid Finance role, into a more creatively challenging position as Business Analyst. Looking back, I was drawn to the fluidity of the tech industry – constantly adapting to the ever-changing environment by solving problems and creating new features with innovative approaches. So far, it has been an incredible journey collaborating with industry leaders, content providers, and vendors in media and technology, from whom I have gained, and continue to gain invaluable knowledge.

    Can you give us an overview of your VP of Product and Program Management role at TMT Insights? What’s your typical day look like?

    I oversee all client projects from a product and program management perspective. I work alongside our VP of Technology to ensure that my team has provided all requirements and to help his team continue driving development forward.

    A typical day is comprised of … a lot of communication! For me, the product and engineering teams must work cohesively to help drive success for the organization. That means check-ins and stand-ups with the product leads and engineering developers on our various client projects, ensuring we have forward momentum on any outstanding issues that are blocking any of the teams, keeping our leadership team up to date with the latest statuses on anything that needs to be addressed, and ultimately being the liaison for our clients’ needs.

    No one day is the same, which challenges me to be attentive, engaged, and ready to respond to any unexpected situations that may arise.

    You have extensive experience in product management. How do you approach client projects from a product and program management perspective, and what strategies do you use to ensure all requirements are met, and development continues to move forward?

    When it comes to client projects, my focus is on ensuring the successful delivery of the project, while working to ensure our team meets all necessary requirements. To achieve this, I focus on the following strategies to ensure that client requirements are met, and the development of the project progresses smoothly while maintaining a focus on high-quality deliverables:

    1. Requirements Gathering: To understand the client’s needs and objectives, my team and I have detailed discussions with stakeholders to gather all the necessary information and make sure everyone is on the same page.
    2. Project Planning: After gathering the requirements,I create a detailed project plan with key deliverables, milestones, timelines, and resource allocation. In short, I divide the project into phases so we can adjust along the way and adapt to any changes that come up
    3. Collaboration and Communication: Regular status updates and clear documentation keep everyone, from internal product and development teams to external stakeholders, informed about the project’s progress, help us stay on track, and address any issues that may arise.
    4. Risk Management and Mitigation: I’m always on the lookout for potential risks and work with our teams to develop strategies to handle them. By planning and being proactive, I can help minimize any negative impact they might have on the project.
    5. Testing and Quality Assurance: Thorough testing and quality assurance throughout the development lifecycle is critical to any project. We use various testing methodologies, such as unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing, to ensure that all requirements are met, and the final product meets or exceeds client expectations.

    kristie ibc
    Kristie at IBC

    What advice would you give someone wanting to break into video industry product management?

    Breaking into any industry requires continued persistence and dedication. Based on my experience I have four key pieces of advice:

    1. Deepen your industry knowledge: Develop a strong understanding of the video industry by immersing yourself in its trends, technologies, and emerging platforms. Follow industry news, blogs, and thought leaders to stay updated on video industry opportunities and challenges.
    2. Develop a diverse skill set: Learn about product development methodologies, UX design, and project management, then integrate that with further industry knowledge by understanding video-related technologies, such as streaming protocols, codecs, and video platforms.
    3. Continuous learning and growth: Stay curious and keep learning. As much as possible,engage in professional development through courses, certifications, and staying updated on constantly evolving industry trends and technologies.
    4. Be adaptable and open-minded: This will allow you to navigate the ever-changing and fast-paced industry that video and streaming is and identify innovative solutions.

    AI/ML has been disrupting the IT industry – you have worked on AI/ML in the OTT industry. How do you anticipate AI/ML will disrupt the video streaming industry, and what potential opportunities and challenges are associated with this disruption?

    Having spent a significant amount of my career in the OTT industry, I believe the following are ways in which AI/ML will continue to disrupt the video streaming industry as a whole:

    1. Content Generation: AI/ML can automate various aspects of content generation, including video editing, post-production, delivery, and even the creation of entirely new content based on user preferences.
      • Opportunity: Automated content generation can boost production efficiency, reduce costs, and accelerate time-to-market for new content.
      • Challenge: Developing AI models that can understand and replicate the creative aspects of video production is not an easy feat. Balancing automation while also maintaining human creativity and originality will be a key challenge.
    2. Content Curation and Discovery: AI/ML can make it easier to find and organize content by tagging, categorizing, and indexing videos automatically; these algorithms could then streamline the process of organizing and presenting content to users.
      • Opportunity: Better content curation and discovery means users could find what they want faster, stream for a longer period, and companies can then more easily license and distribute content.
      • Challenge: Training AI models to accurately classify and tag diverse video content is tricky. Ensuring the consistency and quality of metadata across different platforms and languages will also be a challenge.
    3. Personalized Recommendations: AI/ML algorithms will play a crucial role in providing personalized recommendations to viewers. By analyzing user preferences, viewing patterns, and behavior, AI/ML can suggest relevant content that aligns with individual tastes and interests.
      • Opportunity: Personalized recommendations can lead to greater user experience, increased engagement and retention, and improved content discovery, resulting in better monetization through targeted upselling opportunities.
      • Challenge: Developing accurate recommendation systems requires extensive amounts of data, complex algorithms, and continuous model training.

    What’s one lesson your career has taught you that everyone should learn at some point?

    Trust your instincts – ask forgiveness, not permission, when, and if, you fail. A mentor of mine always encouraged me to think this way and take initiative, be proactive, and embrace a certain level of risk that went along with it. 

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    This mindset has allowed me to break free from the constraints of constantly seeking approval and has empowered me to make decisions and take action with confidence. It has opened doors to new experiences, innovative ideas, and personal growth. It reminds me that sometimes, the greatest rewards come from stepping outside of my comfort zone and following my intuition.

    While asking forgiveness, not permission, may not always be the right approach in every situation, it has served as a powerful reminder to trust myself, embrace challenges, and take ownership of my actions. It has helped shape me into a more resilient, proactive, and self-reliant individual, constantly pushing me to reach new heights.

    Last, we come to our rapid-fire section – a list of fun questions about you.

    • Favorite way to relax: Reading – I love immersing myself in a world that an author has so vividly imagined
    • Favorite cuisine: French, but also any dessert
    • Favorite travel destination: Japan
    • Favorite movie or web series: The Rock with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage – 20% nostalgia sake for my city (San Francisco), 30% for the amazing one-liners intertwined with non-stop action, and 40% for just the absolute silliness that Michael Bay created and Sean Connery and Nic Cage both nailed!
    • Favorite sport: Baseball (aka non-stop eating!)
    • Favorite airport to transit: HKG (Hong Kong Intl Airport) – food, entertainment, and efficiency
    • Android or Apple: Apple

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