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Marques Brownlee Y Combinator Interview

Marques Brownlee is a YouTuber celebrity with over 8 million subscribers to his channel MKBHD where he reviews electronics, drives electric vehicles, and interviews people such as Kobe Bryant and Bill Gates. How does he do it?

Updated on July 29
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Marques has been doing his YouTube channel for over ten years now, and while there are many other channels, consistency over a long time is what brings his subscribers back.

Check out Marques Brownlee on YouTube.

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Reputability [one could also call it herd mentality]. You are more likely to subscribe to a channel that already has millions of subscribers than the one with nobody listening to it.

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In the early days, companies would send Marques Brownlee computer accessories such as a mouse, keyboard, and even paid software to access and review. Phone items weren’t sent to him until later in his career.

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Instead of focusing on technical stats, Brownlee tries to evaluate a feature by thinking whether or not he would incorporate it into his daily life.

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Sure. Brownlee values high resolution and really nice screens for example, but that is not a big deal for most people, they won't even notice the differences between two high quality options. It does not matter in the long run, as listeners will calibrate themselves to his reviews, and discount the information that is not relevant to their tastes.

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Marques has been hearing this question for the past five years, and so far, we have not hit peak smartphone. He thinks the trends will continue and we are not going to peak any time soon.

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Yes, it can. Brownlee is currently 25. One fear for when he’s older is that he will not be able to grasp the latest trends in society. He thinks that the process will be slower for him because he’s so immersed in tech currently. If you stay in that world, you’ll continue it.

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His main goal is to talk with other creators and to get their insight and help. Given how far he's come up, there is no longer a manual he can get for how to proceed forward and to solve challenges that have not been addressed yet.

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According to Brownlee, a camera only slightly limits his work. RED camera, for example, is a fantastic camera, but it does not have auto-focus, which makes it harder to use his shoots. He wishes his camera had some minor features built specifically for YouTubers, but it does not affect his ability to capture his content.

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Start with context and momentum. Take a product that people want to know about and compare it to other products that came before and after it. Incorporate your personality in the content.

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Take your inspiration from other places, but always come back to your own voice and perspective. You shouldn’t try to be something that already exists. Find your own new angle, voice, and ways of talking about something. Luck plays a big role, but consistency in your videos is super important.

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Marques says the first few hours of YouTube comments after an episode is published are useless, but comments that come later on is where you can find great content. Those comments come from people who were looking for something.

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Even if you don’t have money, you can always offer something to make a video better. It has to be a win-win for everyone involved: the audience, creator, and the company.

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When considering 10 years, he envisions a media company containing a YouTube channel or two, a podcast, and a production aspect of assisting other channels. He is nowhere near that yet to step foot into these other categories.

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