I took some time this week to catch up with Katie, a Program Manager who works with Xbox Media, whose name you might recognize from recent posts about Dolby Vision. Learn more about Katie, her work bringing Dolby Vision to the Xbox One and much more!
Hi, Katie! Really appreciate you chatting with us; it’s awesome to get the chance to introduce you to our Xbox Insiders. Mind sharing what you do at Xbox?
Certainly! I am a Program Manager on the SiGMA team, working on Xbox Media. Basically, I help deliver top media experiences on Xbox through new features and external partner support. Day to day, my role can include working with external partners (like Netflix and YouTube) to best support their apps on our platform, working with internal devs to fix various bugs or issues, or evaluating new features we would like to enable.
You recently worked with Dolby to bring Dolby Vision to consoles for the very first time! Can you tell us a bit about what that work looks like?
Bringing Dolby Vision support to Xbox was a really exciting and challenging project to work on. When we started looking at this technology, no other game console had implemented Dolby Vision. We worked extensively with Dolby to architect a solution to support their technology on our platform. It also required a significant collaboration with Netflix in order to bring this new feature to their application. This was a huge endeavor, and required very close partnership with all three companies. It was an amazing experience to lead such a large project, and have a successful feature launch.
OK, I’ve gotta know: What kind of TV do you have, and is it compatible with Dolby Vision?
Ha! I’m a little embarrassed to say, I don’t own a real TV. I have a 10 year old computer monitor with a VGA adapter for video, and a hardwired controller plugged into computer speakers for my audio. I’m fairly low tech at home, and instead spend a lot of time outdoors. However, I have been eyeing the new LG OLED TVs, and may upgrade later this year.
We’ve worked alongside the Women in Gaming group to feature the women on our team, and one thing I really enjoyed was how we were asked to offer up advice to women now aspiring to work within the gaming industry. Do you have any advice for the women reading our blog on how to get started in gaming or technology?
Great question, I’m really passionate about helping people (especially women) get into the gaming and technology fields. My biggest piece of advice is to go big – seek out opportunities that scare you. When I was graduating college, I signed up for an interview with Microsoft in the hopes that I would get a free lunch (there was no way I thought I would actually get an offer). And a year ago, a dream job opened up on a different team, but were looking for a Senior or Principal Program Manager and I was still very Junior. However, I went to the hiring manager and told him, “You should hire me for this position. This is an area I love, and a technology I know. By the way, my name is Katie.” A week later I had the job, and have loved it ever since.
I think women especially have a tendency to sell ourselves short. We are constantly bombarded by the imposter syndrome and the fear of not being good enough. So my advice is to go big and be bold in spite of these fears. Search out the areas you are passionate about, and go after opportunities even if you don’t think you may be qualified.
What are you currently playing? Or do you have an all-time favorite game that you don’t think people should miss out on?
I enjoy repeating games and picking up on all of the funny jokes and references I missed the first time through. Right now I’m replaying Borderlands 2, and I really enjoy Tiny Tina’s explosive character. She has a quest to collect crumpets, and now whenever I see a crumpet store in Seattle, I think of the game.
In the same vein, what’s the coolest Achievement you’ve unlocked?
In Borderlands 2, there’s an arena called the Circle of Slaughter. It took my friends and I almost a week to last all 5 rounds and get the achievement for Went Five Rounds. There was lots of shouting involved as we made it all the way through.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us, Katie! Are there any spaces online our readers can reach out and follow along with your work?
I’m not really on social media, but if anyone has follow-up questions, feel free to direct them @xboxinsider on Twitter. Thanks for having me!