It’s been almost 2 years of a video every Sunday on this channel but I’m now taking a break. Here’s what’s next.
Taking A Break From YouTube – What’s Next?
Wow, what a year.
In this video I want to talk about
what we’ve accomplished here in 2021
and where the channel is going in 2022.
2021 is now over, it’s been a
very interesting ride for most of us.
Maybe you’ve gotten COVID like myself.
Maybe you’ve moved, changed jobs…
Just dealt with the instability
and the unknown
of where this world is going.
My wife and I were reflecting last night
about the last 16 months.
We’ve lived in four places.
We lived in Ukraine
when the pandemic started
and because the content
was all international
that was shut off, impossible.
So we decided to come back to the states
and there are plenty of stories here.
So we moved back to Vermont
for six weeks.
That’s where I grew up.
The first 17 years I spent there,
that’s where my mother lives.
Then we went to California
where I’ve spent
the majority of my adult life.
lasted about six months there.
Moved to Fort Lauderdale Florida
and now we’ve just moved in the last week
about an hour north.
And excuse me for the blown out voice,
we were at a Florida Panthers game
two nights ago.
Cheering, yelling, screaming,
it was nine to three, it was amazing.
And I gotta say,
I’m not really a big sports guy
but my wife and I
have gotten into hockey this winter.
And I think it just fulfills
a subconscious need of being with people
celebrating, of being happy,
of getting away from politics.
Of giving high-fives to random strangers.
It’s been amazing.
The channel has had huge growth this year.
We started at 348,000 subscribers
We’re now at 870,000 subscribers.
1.1 million subscribers on Facebook.
In December alone, 6.9 million people
watched this content on YouTube
and just over 3 million on Facebook.
What’s crazy is that this channel
is outperforming some
pretty sizable networks
and it’s me, my wife, and you guys.
Whereas those institutions
have huge overhead
huge advertising dollars
lot of real estate,
equipment, all these things.
It’s just you, I, my wife
competing with that.
Which is quite a cool phenomenon
and that’s the beauty
about the times we’re in.
It’s been a fantastic, phenomenal year
and it’s growing
at quite a good clip right now.
I think there’s just a void.
There’s a void of content online
of just normal people showing their lives
and explaining their problems
or their dreams, aspirations
or how they see the world.
I started off this journey
a little bit… No.
Quite a bit annoyed
with the mainstream media
and how it shows this divisive story
most of the time.
I get it, that’s what the model is.
But I’m like,
“No, there’s another story in this world.
There’s another way of looking at
your neighbors or the world we’re in
away from a lot of the politics,
away from the divisiveness.”
In 2021 we got in deep.
We got in with the Hasidic Jews.
The US, Mexico border.
Muslims in the USA.
Plus other stories.
I believe I did 61 videos.
So that’s more than one a week,
but it’s really been every Sunday
one a week.
It’s been almost that way
for two years now
and I made it a goal.
I made it a goal to myself
and silently to you
that I would do one video a week
until the end of this year.
My coming back to the US
was really the absolute best move.
I’ve had a lot of foreign experience,
lived out of the country for years.
The last stint was four years in Ukraine.
Traveled to 85 countries,
lived in five countries in total.
pretty much just pushed us back
and by doing so,
I’ve discovered the USA.
It’s a fascinating place.
I mean I’ve traveled the US
quite a bit in the past
but I never went in deep like this,
into all the different sub-culture.
Different regions, different ideologies.
And I’ve come to realize
it’s quite a beautiful thing.
It’s quite a fantastic thing.
Despite all of the
negativity right now, right?
That’s at an all-time high I gotta say.
At least in my lifetime.
And there are all these forces that are
pushing at us, to divide us, to…
To make us look at “the other”.
To oversimplify the nuance,
the differences of an ideology, opinion…
All the different cultures here,
it’s really a beautiful experiment
the United States.
What I’ve realized in this work,
especially this last year is that
there’s the online reality
that we’re all looking at, right?
We’re all looking at the computer
seeing these stories
and the more divisive,
usually the more interesting.
That’s how it goes.
But when on the streets
I have had zero problems with anybody.
Nobody cares about
my political affiliation.
Everyone, if you come out with respect
you get it back.
That still holds true in 2021
and it will hold true in 2022.
Most people are cool.
Most people want to live in peace.
Most people, if you’re respectful to them
they’ll be respectful to you.
That’s the point of this content:
To show that, to put that reality
on the online world.
Instead of most of the online world
which shows the opposite.
It shows we’re this far from each other
at all times.
I’m going into neighborhoods
where I’m obviously the outsider
I’m going in not just as the outsider
but with a camera,
rolling in a camera, you know?
Rolling up, down the street
with a camera.
So I have two things,
in a way, going against me
That could be in the hardest hood
in South Central Los Angeles
or East New York
or in with the Hasidic Jews
who are known to be very private
which they are.
Look, I had some connections,
I had ways in
the only problem I had
was in my hometown where I grew up.
Just one problem.
Dozens of hours of content,
My aim with this channel
is not to tell you what to think
it’s to show things
in perhaps a different perspective
than what you’ve seen before
or give you a different angle in.
I’ve always said, “Don’t just watch
Watch other content.”
Because no matter how open
I’m trying to be
It’s still my angle in.
It’s still the way I’m seeing the world.
That’s one view in.
You gotta take that angle,
you gotta take that angle…
and then you gotta use your mind
and come together.
What do you think is the truth here?
2022 is going to be
a huge year for this channel.
I’m super excited.
I just went live with my new website
and I will start in a couple of months
with a regular newsletter
and a line of merch.
I’ve also created a video feature
so you can navigate the content easier.
Many of you have asked
what my first videos were
how you can find them easily
well, you can now with the website.
You just click “oldest to newest”
and you can see
the whole chronological order
or you can go over and hit by topic
you can hit by region.
So I’m really working to tweak it
so you can find
exactly what you’re looking for.
Also, I’m going to be hiring here
in the next couple months.
I need help.
It’s me and my wife.
And we need to expand
and I need to focus more on the content.
My goal is just
to get you guys better content.
Do more research into the story.
Get the best characters I can find.
Get the best story I can find.
That takes a lot of work,
that’s a lot of digging.
So I need somebody
that can help with social media.
That can help with the newsletter.
That can help with the merch.
Do all these little tasks in the background
that are quite time consuming
and take me away from making content.
So I need to find that person.
If you feel like you are that person,
I’m gonna put a job application out there.
But if you want to get
an early start on this
I got a link down below here.
You can hit “careers” and type in,
“What can you offer the channel?’
What are your skills?
What are you looking for as far as pay?
As far as hours worked.
Tell me your story here.
Perhaps I’ll find the right person
before I even post the ad.
So what’s in store for 2022?
I’m gonna start the year
by taking a break from posting content.
For the next four or five weeks
I’m not gonna post
but after that time
every Sunday religiously
through the end of the year.
The reason I’m doing this
is I really need to
stop and reflect for a bit.
Like I said, four moves…
All this content, I’m getting into
all these things that fascinate me.
Whether that be the Hasidic Jews
or the Amish or inner-city America.
And sometimes those are
even like days apart when I’m filming.
There’s so much information I’m taking in.
There’s so many people I’m meeting,
there’s so much going on…
That I wanna just let the chips fall.
I wanna let the dust settle
for a little bit
to reflect, to write
to process all the information
that’s come through
and then get ready
for this next year of content.
I wanna step it up a level
with the videos I produce for you
and I wanna plan that out
a little bit better this year.
So my wife and I will be heading off
to Southern California in about two weeks
and working on a few stories.
Trying to get in with motorcycle gangs.
Trying to get into some remote
more off the grid communities
and also the Sikh people.
But for the rest of the year
Really want to do a deep dive
on Native Americans.
I’ve been wanting to do that
for quite some time.
With COVID, the restrictions have been
very tight on the reservations.
So I’ve held off on that.
This year, hopefully those loosen.
We can get in deep there.
More remote places and communities
Israel, Palestine, that was on the radar
in 2020, obviously got delayed.
I still want to do that,
don’t know if it’s gonna be possible
but I’d like to do that one.
You know, that’s a part of America
most of us have no idea about.
And Russia, I would like to get to Russia.
Some of those I’ll be able to shoot,
some of them I won’t.
And there will probably be
some other content coming in there
but that’s my rough outline
of what I want to shoot this year.
I feel really good
about it this year because
have the momentum.
Have a following now,
have a channel that’s of size
and the confidence that come with that.
The confidence that comes with
making 200-plus videos now.
I know what I’m doing now
more than I did.
With that said, some videos aren’t as good
as others and that’s just the way it goes.
I want to thank you, the viewer.
All your comments, your watches,
your emails, kind words
constructive criticism, all of it.
Obviously without you,
none of this is possible.
So thank you,
you’ve allowed me to live my dream.
And I love the moments
where I meet one of you on the streets.
A quick hello or a conversation,
I’ve met some of you for coffee.
That, to me is the ultimate success,
having an audience
that I want to hang out with.
I love it, it’s amazing.
Now, I want to thank all of those
who have been part of my videos.
You’re the actors and actresses
that have brought us all into your world.
these videos would be nothing.
So thank you all for that.
I want to thank my amazing wife Natalia.
She’s the glue behind the scenes
of this whole operation.
She keeps it together.
She makes the teasers
at the beginning of the videos.
She posts the videos,
she does the social media.
She does a lot of story creation, emails,
all these things that come together
to make the final product.
Without her support,
her hard work
her beautiful mind…
You know, I come up with some things
that just don’t make
great sense sometimes
and she’s an extra set of eyes and ears
My videos would be
not nearly as good without her.
So let’s all give a big
shoutout to Natalia here.
Many of you ask,
“When’s Natalia gonna be in another video?”
Because she was in some videos
in the past.
She doesn’t want to be on camera,
Thank you all so much.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2022.
We have big things coming.
Admiration and respect to you.
Thank you for coming on board this journey.
[hands slap table]
See you soon.