Reflections On The YouTube Contest

You may be asking yourself? “What YouTube contest?” If you were, you can find the answer on the YouTube blog post “August’s On The Rise nominees”. In a nutshell, they give four YouTubers a chance to be featured on the YouTube homepage for a day. The one that gets the most votes.

Initial Contact

For anyone curious as to how I was selected… join the club. I asked and I was told that it’s “a secret algorithm developed by a team of Google Gorillas that have been given the Planet of the Apes virus and currently reside in the San Diego Zoo.” Actually, here’s a bit from the email I received:

As far as selection for this project… it’s pretty confidential at this point πŸ™‚ The main criteria you should be aware of are that the partners selected have fewer than 100k subscribers, but are showing recent growth and potential for bigger success on YouTube.

Now you know what I know.

I got the first email on July 18th (about a month before the contest) but was asked not to spread word about the contest before then (I told some friends and family of course). I also just noticed this bit from the first email:

you agree not to use any contests, giveaways, or other means to incentivize voting for On The Rise

I think I may have broken that rule a bit but… That’s OK. I ended up in 4th place anyway and had a good time coming up with all of the ideas.

Why Me?!

That’s the first thing I thought. I hadn’t been very active on YouTube for a while, even though it looks like I have a lot of subscribers I don’t think the majority of them are active and there must be 1,000s of other YouTubers who (based on their stats, what did they say?) “have fewer than 100k subscribers, but are showing recent growth and potential for bigger success on YouTube.” It’s obvious to me that I wasn’t selected because of pure numbers (because I wouldn’t even show up on an algorithmic radar). It must have been because someone with selection powers liked something about (a video, a blog post, a tweet, etc.) Here are my guesses (in no particular order):

  • One of [THESE] [TWO] posts or this video about Google+ got attention
  • A friend (or friend of a friend) was like “Choose him.”
  • Someone inside of Google stumbled upon my awesome.

If I was a betting man (and I am), I would put money on it being my posts and video about Google+. The timing is too close for it to be a coincidence (IMHO, the blog posts and video run from July 9th-11th and I was contacted on July 18th). This is what I think happened…

Google+ was released and I go apeshit for it (because I’ve been patiently waiting for Google to do SOMETHING, they already owned what I thought was a superior product in orkut). Then I make those two blog posts and video about Google+. Then Google (because they’re Google) digitally catches wind of the posts and/or video because they’re monitoring what people’s initial reactions to the product are. Then they go through some of my content (which is all over the interwebs) and realize how much of an cosmic wizard I am. Someone from Google contacts someone from YouTube. Someone from YouTube contacts me.

This is all purely speculation, but that’s what I think.


This is the second thing I thought. πŸ™‚ I’ve been active on YouTube for going on 6 years now and I’ve seen a lot of different things happen, I’ve seen really cool community stuff happen and… I’ve never seen YouTube REALLY get involved with the community. I’ve seen YouTube do… “douchey” community stuff or community FAIL (all IMHO of course πŸ˜‰ ). I didn’t trust that they were authentically trying. After a few email exchanges and looking around the YouTube blog and new community stuff (like their Meetup Everywhere page) I was like “OK. It looks like they’re really trying now and not just trying to look like they’re trying.” πŸ™‚

If I Don’t Have The Numbers, How Will I Win?

This was my next question. Like I said, I don’t think I was chosen because of my numbers so I didn’t think I would be able to win based on them. That means I would have to do two things:

  1. Redefine what a win was for me.
  2. Leverage someone or something else to make up for the numbers I lacked.

Redefining WINNING

If I didn’t statistically think I was going to win the contest how could I still come out ahead? One thing that I already won was a place on the YouTube blog, not for a day, but (theoretically speaking) for the rest of my life! This was a chance for me to begin rebranding myself as a YouTuber for global change! I wanted to make sure I chose a video that, when I looked back on it 50 years from now (and people look back on it 500 years from now), would say “That was one visionary mother fucker.”

The other thing I could do is use this as an opportunity to strengthen my new focus (Social Milwaukee). As I type this I just realized that it my have been a better idea to choose a video about Milwaukee for the blog but… hind sight is 20/20 (that and I didn’t really have any Milwaukee videos that I liked enough to feature on the blog).

Based on the parameters above I hit a grand slam. πŸ™‚


How was I going to leverage a larger community? Because I was so busy getting ready for the first Social Milwaukee event I didn’t give it much thought until THE DAY of the contest. Up until then I just had some vague idea of getting Milwaukee involved… somehow. Actually, scratch that. The Friday before the contest began (it started Monday) I was looking for which video to have posted, came across an I-Power video about changing the world and realized that was potentially the PERFECT video for the contest. The I-Power crew stands for the shit I stand for, they have a community and they have a YouTube channel with over 500,000 subscribers.

It was a long shot and I didn’t dare ask them directly for help with promotion, I figured if they saw it and liked it they would get back to me about it. Otherwise it was still a cool video to feature on the blog. πŸ™‚ After I chose that video I got back into their community figuring I could “rally the troops” but… things were pretty quiet there, so instead of rallying troops I decided to help build their community (since I’m focused on community building/management now).

Getting Milwaukee involved came later. First with a video I created myself, then a website to go with it, then this professional ass shit right here (put together by Orphonic):

So I had 2 long shots combined. Getting media attention from Milwaukee and recruiting the help of the I Power crew.

What I Would Have Done Differently

Put simply, hustled earlier and hustled more often.

Making a spartan effort to win this contest has taken my level of hustling to another level (another win I didn’t plan for). I’ll come back to that. The main 2 things I would have done differently is put aside a couple of hours to seriously make a plan (I kept telling myself I was too busy with XYZ) and then started implementing that plan right away.

I probably would have come to the same conclusions as I did 3 days before the contest a month before the contest if I had given it any real thought. If I had a month to plan and implement I would have prepared press releases and gotten them to all of the news and radio stations, I would have rejoined the I Power community earlier and put more work into it (thus increasing the small chance that they may have helped πŸ™‚ ) and I would have reached out to some internet friends who could have helped me make a bigger splash when things started.

It’s all good. The biggest win was the one I didn’t plan for.

Next Level Hustling Apparatus

Next Level [Insert] Apparatus is a phrase I like to use in person. I got it from this episode of Epic Meal Time. I love that episode (Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon… WHAT UP RIBS!) Anyhoo…

It began with my attempt to make one video a day after being notified of the contest. That got me used to making regular videos again. Then when the contest started I went… HARD. I put together websites, made videos, epic spammed and… just stayed in hustle mode pretty much 24/7. About halfway through the contest it hit me “What if I just kept hustling this hard from this point on?” I mean, I’ve been telling myself I needed to get into some next level hustling, but it hadn’t happened until just then.

I originally thought I was going to stop making regular videos when the contest was over, but now I want to not only make regular videos, but make regular blog posts. And clean up my online profiles (I recently redesigned the blog if you haven’t noticed). AND I’m going to be doing MORE things than I was before (in an organized, don’t stress yourself taking on too much kind of way. πŸ˜‰ ) All-in-all this contest has had a VEY positive impact on me.

It’s crazy to think that it all started because of a rant I posted to YouTube about my Xbox dying… lol

In Closing

The whole contest was a fun ride. It breathed life back into my online self (I had been focusing on my offline self since my last manic episode). It connected me to some cool new peeps. It inspired me to start miltownpops’ internet presence (which I think will one day be greater than mine). It brought the MilTownKlan up from the ashes. And it’s gotten me to decide that now is the time to become the local and international celebrity I’ve planned on being (to spread awesome more than… being a celebrity. πŸ˜› )

Good times ahead (that was a long post! Wasn’t expecting that.)

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2 Responses to Reflections On The YouTube Contest

  1. Penney Morse says:

    Well, you did quite a bit of reflecting in this blog. So winning isn’t always about winning what you thought you were after. Glad to see you won something.

  2. Eklctc says:

    That was a Long ass post but interesting, nonetheless. Well, I will support you as much as I can. You seem to be a stand-up guy with great ideas. πŸ™‚

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