In our series, “Five Minutes With,” we’ll introduce you to team members at Facebook with five questions/answers. Today, we’re talking with Ashley Y., Instagram Director of Product Management on the Instagram Interests team. Learn about how her team is helping to build some of Instagram’s favorite features, why Instagram’s culture empowers her to be authentic, and what advice she gives to women in the industry.
What Excites You about Your Role and the Real-World Impact Your Work Has?
I lead the Interests Product team where I oversee the work we do on Instagram Products like IGTV, Live, Ads, Search, Explore, and Shopping. There’s a sense of real-world connection that comes from interactions on social media, whether it’s someone sharing their day on Stories or getting inspired to pick up a new hobby. It’s incredible to be part of a team that helps people grow closer with their family, friends, and communities around the world.
“We’re small but mighty and we work hard to build a simple platform that brings you closer to the people and things you love.”
How Do You Describe the Culture at Instagram?
Our culture is centered on simplicity, people, and craft, and it flows into the way we work with a focus on our community. We want people to feel proud to be a part of the Instagram community, so we take the time to make sure we’re providing the best experience possible. In the office, this thoughtful attitude starts at the top. Leadership does an incredible job of cultivating a space where people can be their most authentic selves. People are supportive and honest. In turn, we have an internal community that’s built on trust and genuine human connection.
What Does Innovation Look Like at Instagram?
When it comes to innovation, we look to our community to tell us what’s next. Whether it’s pain points we can address or new features they’d love to see, we let the people on our platform tell us what’s important to them. Stories is a great example of something we built after our community told us that they wanted a more direct way to share their day-to-day, rather than posting to feed where they felt increasing pressure to only post their highlights. Innovation comes from how we can better address real problems for people.
Ashley Y. announcing the launch of IGTV
What Does Leadership Look Like at Instagram?
Throughout my six years here, I’ve learned that leadership at Facebook is about truly serving your team. This means understanding what motivates people and helping them get what they need.
“The most successful product managers make sure their teams feel supported and empowered to build the best products. ”
What’s Your Best Advice for Other Women Who Want to Pursue a Career In Tech?
In an industry where it’s common to develop a sense of imposter syndrome, I always encourage women to be proactive about working toward their self-confidence. Some tricks I’ve developed to build my self-confidence are: joining Lean In circles or other structured communities/support systems with safe spaces to talk through challenges; prepping talking points before big meetings so I can enter with more confidence and stay focused; and taking time at the end of each day to reflect on one thing I am really proud about accomplishing.