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Women in Tech Series: Ann Hsieh

Women in Tech: Ann Hsieh

By putting her passion for video out there, Taipei-based Ann Hsieh helps recruit young talent across China.

For someone who was so shy she barely spoke as a child, Ann Hsieh sure has plenty to say now. The 24-year-old amateur YouTuber produces charmingly tongue-in-cheek videos that rack up thousands of views. In one series, she pretends to be an alien living among humans; in others, she gives her young viewers tips on negotiating life, including how to celebrate New Year’s Eve alone and how to politely avoid talking to people you don’t like.
It’s far from what Hsieh thought she’d be doing when she was studying mechanical engineering at a vocational high school in Taipei, and it has led her career in a direction she didn’t expect. While in college, Hsieh did a yearlong internship at HP and then started her career there as a mechanical cost engineer. Her early days at HP were spent tearing apart the guts of computer gear from both HP and its rivals, comparing them to find ways to cut HP’s costs.
All that changed when a video Hsieh had made about her experience as an HP intern had put her on the radar of the company’s managers, who recommended her for a video project that global HR was doing for HP’s Career Vlog. So, in addition to continuing her engineering work, Hsieh started interviewing a variety of HP employees on camera about their jobs. Those experiences made her see that she could choose a different path.
“Slowly, I realized that I would like to try new things,” says Hsieh. When a role came up at HP Star, a new recruitment program aimed at attracting the best and brightest graduate students in Asia, Hsieh jumped at the chance. Now, she’s helping to develop HP’s two-year program in mainland China.

What inspired you to start making your videos?

I started watching YouTube videos regularly when I was in high school. While I was discussing my obsession with a friend in college, he asked: “Do you have your own channel?” Simple as that, I decided to launch my YouTube channel. I immediately fell in love with it.

What kind of videos do you make?

My content can be very different based on the inspirations and ideas I have at that moment: skits, comedy, storytelling, songs, music video, parody, role-playing, travel vlog. There’s no limitation as long as I am happy with the result!

How did people know about your videos?

Originally, I kept them secret because I was afraid people wouldn’t understand what I was doing. For the first few years, I would openly talk about this hobby only with close friends - until my YouTube path crossed my HP path.

How did that happen?

When I was an intern at HP, I was selected as an #HPInsider to promote life at HP on social media. I decided to shoot a video to talk about it, and I uploaded it to my channel. Stuart Pann, HP’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, saw it. When he traveled to Taipei for an all-employee meeting, he decided to surprise me by inviting me on stage with him to talk about my experience.

Was that a shock?

I didn’t know any of this was going to happen until he called me up! There I was wearing comfy clothes, and the first thing I said when I got on stage was, “I’m trying not to pass out.” Then he played my whole video during the meeting. That has led to a lot of conversations at HP with people I don’t know that begin, “Are you that girl who makes videos?” - which I absolutely love!

What's the best thing about your job?

Working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. I'm currently collaborating with a lot of people from India, Singapore, Australia, the UK and China. It's really interesting to see how these cultural backgrounds and nationalities can lead to different experiences while working with them.

What were you like when you were a child?

I was very shy. I only talked using hand gestures. Everyone knew that I barely talked to anyone.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. When I started writing when I was in elementary school, that’s probably when all of my words came. Not speaking yet, but writing them out. Now I write a lot. I write my video scripts. I write lyrics. I write novels.

What’s on your desk right now?

My watch - a traditional watch, not a smartwatch. I cannot go anywhere without my watch. Underneath my watch on my desk is a jewelry box with four different strands of Rafikis, these beaded strands you can use as a necklace or a bracelet. A Canadian nonprofit called ME to WE sells them. They’re handmade by women in Kenya to raise money to send Kenyan girls to school.

What’s on your wall?

It’s a work in progress. I make my videos in my room, and some viewers had complained about how blank my walls were. I have a friend who’s an artist, whom I collaborate with, so she came up with a world map that she customized for me with different colors. I put it up happily - and the response I got from my viewers was, “Meh - you have to do better”! So, I made four posters. Alas, they aren’t much better.

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