YouTube, Tesla, Streaming, Last Lecture

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In this newsletter:

Post: YouTube Has No Rules
ICYMI: Tesla Updates
ICYMI: Streaming, DVDs, and VHS
POTW: The Last Lecture

YouTube Has No Rules

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a consumer of the service and social network that is YouTube. Even over the last 5-10 years or so, I’ve minimized the amount of TV shows and movies I’ve watched, along with the amount of music I listen to, in lieu of watching YouTube. At quick glance, I am subscribed to roughly 150 channels. Of those, I’d bet I watch at least 1 type of video from over half of them at least once a month. I add and remove channels regularly and try to keep my feed clean! I bet it’s safe to say I am a connoisseur of all that is YouTube. Although I may not watch all the larger channels, I generally know of most of them. But I also know I’m not nearly as invested as others, just way above average.

Let’s hope if you’re reading or listening to this you have at least heard of Mr. Beast. With over 200 million subscribers and 35 billion total views, he is arguably the biggest creator on the platform. However, what you may not be aware of is, he also has multiple other channels. Including Beast Philanthropy, where he donates all revenue from the channel to food pantries in his local city of North Carolina, and is involved with tons of other philanthropic activities across the globe. Oh, and all of his videos are dubbed in 13 other languages voiced over by professional voice actors within the given language they’re viewed. Including: Japanese, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic. When I tell you Mr. Beast has an empire - that empire employs hundreds if not thousands of people across the globe and is single-handedly changing the landscape of YouTube. He’s been known to spend millions of dollars on a single video, too.

Back in 2005, I was in college when YouTube started and vividly remember watching some of the earlier YouTubers as well as seeing many come and go over the years. But that is just what this is about. What does it take to make it as a YouTuber? I think every creative type person at one point had the thought of starting a channel to potentially make more money in a month than their full-time job pays all year. Not only can it be done, it IS being done for thousands of YouTubers. I started my channel back in 2012 with the intention of sharing things with students that I didn’t quite have time to talk about in class. Or as much in depth. Here I am 10 years later still publishing random videos. To be clear, this newsletter and my minimal involvement on YouTube is not my full-time job.

Pick a topic, any topic, and you can probably find what you’re looking for on YouTube. There are videos to teach you how to make an odd soda replacement, watching a couple thrift for golf clubs, all the way to interviews taking place while eating hot sauces. There’s one hit wonders that sold their video as an NFT. There’s a random top 10 channel that only has 21 videos and somehow managed one million subscribers. Up until about 3 years ago, Joe Rogan was posting 2+ hour long videos earning tens of millions of views every day! It was so successful, Spotify paid for exclusivity - to the tune of an estimated $200 million. Long-form isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, either. Flagrant and Lex Fridman, among many others are proving what the people want. Even a famous TikToker, Bobbi Althoff, is proving how successful this model can be.

Then you have a few superstars who post a few videos a year. Two of my favorites you may have even heard of. Simone Giertz created a gift to the world - Truckla. Mark Rober keeps us entertained with the Squirrel Mazes while keeping us safe from porch pirates with the Glitter Bomb Series.

Generally speaking, popular YouTubers are currently doing things they didn’t do when they first started. They changed their style of creating content and adapted to their audience. A popular example is Ali Abdaal. He’s a medical doctor who turned mentor/teacher, then turned productivity ninja. Others niche down very deep. So deep, their whole YouTube presence is dependent on another company. Thomas Frank is a Notion expert who provides incredible support for a fairly simple app that is ultimately very complex.

Ultimately, content is irrelevant, length of video is irrelevant, consistency of uploading videos is irrelevant, the type of talent on screen is irrelevant, and any other thing one can imagine that “makes” a video popular - doesn’t. There’s an audience for anything and everything. You just have to find yours. And if you do find it, it only takes one video. Suffice it to say - to make it on YouTube, there are no rules.

ICYMI: Tesla Updates

As Tesla delivered their Q3 earnings call, they also announced deliveries for the Cybertruck will start on November 30th. As more cars are being sold, total revenue is up 9% while total gross profits went down 22%. Although the Cybertruck is being released a little later than it was hoped, production wasn’t even planned to begin until late ‘22. Which, seems right on track. It appears Elon is playing the long game and if history has proven anything, deadlines are sometimes optional. While the Cybertruck website shows a 500-mile range for the new variant of the 4680-type batteries, Toyota is working on new battery technology.

The Verge is reporting Tesla is near completion of a new manufacturing process that would cast an entire underbody in one piece. By way of implementing 3D printing and sand, the assembly line process would be much quicker.

On the software side of things, Tesla now allows third-party apps to access the API. This would essentially allow Tesla vehicle’s screens to have their own “App Store” for downloading applications to run next to or on top of Tesla’s built-in system.

ICYMI: Streaming, DVDs, and VHS

Netflix has recently joined Apple and other streaming services with a price bump. On a positive note, they did add a lower tier version supported with ads. I realize some people don’t mind paying a premium to not have to watch ads, but just as many opt to save funds if it means watching a few commercials. Now, plans start at $6.99 and can go up to $22.99. Let this stand as a reminder, you probably don’t need the 4K package unless you know your TV is 4K, you have a 4K streaming device, and most importantly - you can tell a difference. Spoiler: if you have a TV smaller than about 55”, you probably can’t tell. That also doesn’t mean if your TV is larger you CAN tell.

With the success Netflix has seen from two docuseries they released, Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing, members from each association will compete in a live-streamed 9-hole golf tournament on November 18th. It is being reported Apple may be trying to steal away some thunder by bidding on exclusive streaming rights for Formula 1 racing.

Variety reported Best Buy is planning on ending all DVD and Bluray sales in early 2024. If you have a collection to keep up, Amazon, Walmart, and Target still appear to offer physical media. However, if you want to buy in bulk or have plans to resale, consider reaching out to Pete Davidson for tips. While being a guest on The Tonight Show, he talked about his extensive VHS collection.

POTW: The Last Lecture

What talk would you deliver if given a terminal diagnosis and 6 months to live?

In honor of his birthday (October 23rd), I would like to share what is titled, “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. Before his passing, he did just that. He gave one last lecture that included “insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multidisciplinary collaborations, working together with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and more.”

As a computer science instructor and mentor to many students, he may arguably be one of the most influential programmers to kids without even realizing it. As the lead for the Alice Project, he helped create something resembling the first major WYSIWYG editors before web development was even a thing. Years later, there are numerous apps available for kids that resemble the Alice interface.

Buy the book on Amazon

Watch his talk on YouTube