In the world of YouTube gaming and technology reviews, few names rank higher with community affinity and influence than self-professed geek, Austin Evans. Though he’s been “in the game” for the better part of YouTube’s entire history, Austin is quick to advise aspiring YouTubers to “be persistent,” recounting the 3 years it took him to get “a handle on what makes a good video and another two years before [he] could actually deliver the content.” Along the way, Austin has built a vibrant tech community and highly engaged follower base — one that pitched in and helped him get back on his feet with a new MacBook Pro when he lost everything due to a house fire in 2014.
Now arguably one of the biggest and most respected names in tech, Austin began his YouTube journey six years ago in 2009. In the years to come, Austin, who’s work has been prominently featured by Mashable and is frequently a topic of favorable discussion on reddit, ascribes his massive success to constinual learning-based growth. Earlier this year, Austin was part of tech media network The Verge’s CES 2015 roundtable with other top YouTuber friends, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) and Jonathan Morrison (TLDToday).
Check out Austin’s exclusive Mediakix interview feature as he details his humble beginnings to working alongside global brands like Castrol and VIZIO, shares how the YouTube vlogging world has significantly changed, and the kinds of epic projects Austin only imagined working on when starting out.
Mediakix: How did you get started making YouTube videos?
Austin Evans: In 2009 I was just getting into doing written reviews of the first batch of iPhone and iPod touch apps, a friend was starting to make video app reviews and he suggested I give it a try. I made one video on YouTube and never looked back.
What was your first video?
It was Application Review 1. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I didn’t even own a camera at the time. I took screenshots on my iPod and recorded a voiceover using the microphone from the game Rock Band on the PlayStation. A few people liked the video though and that was all the motivation I needed to keep going.
What was your breakout moment?
You know I don’t think I ever had one big moment where everything just clicked. It’s really been a steady ride the last six years, lots of consistent learning and growth.
Has anything you’ve posted gone viral?
My first big ‘hit’ was a speed test between the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Mashable picked it up and it got 100,000 views the first day which was huge for me. Funnily enough two years later an updated version of that video with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 also blew up with nearly 5 million views so far.
How has vlogging and YouTube changed since you got started?
Back in the early days nothing was really all that figured out, there’s a much better understanding of the platform and what resonates well with an audience these days.
Where do you see YouTube content creation evolving?
Everything is a lot more legit now. Production values have gotten massively higher, YouTubers are taking on big projects on a regular basis that we could have never pulled off five years ago.
What’s on your list of daily watching?
People like LinusTechTips deliver great tech videos on a daily basis and the Motor Trend channel consistently put out really entertaining videos about all things cars. Vsauce3 is easily one of my favorite channels on YouTube as well, he might not create daily content but it’s some of the highest quality stuff on the platform.
How do you keep up with social media?
I absolutely live on Twitter. It’s where I get my news and keep up with many of my friends, I keep a Twitter app open on basically any device I use 24/7.
If you had more time, what would you do more of?
Videos for sure. Back in the early days I used to be able to do five to six videos a week but the process is so much more involved now I’m lucky to be able to create two videos a week.
What are your top three favorite videos you’ve done?
I really liked how What if computers disappeared came out. It was the perfect storm of a topic I had wanted to tackle for a while and an awesome brand that was happy to help make my vision happen.
Another big video was How Real is Virtual Reality? This was another lucky coincidence, I was working on a video taking a deep dive into virtual reality when Castrol reached out to see if I was interested in checking out their Virtual Drift project where they used an Oculus Rift headset in a real car with a stunt driver behind the wheel.
Last but not least was Gaming in Ultra HD for VIZIO. I haven’t traditionally done videos on TVs so I had to get a little creative with this one by filming myself several times to show up on multiple screens throughout the video. It ended up being a lot trickier than I expected but the end result was a really fun video.
What advice would you give to a YouTuber just getting started?
Be persistent! It took three years before I really had a handle on what makes a good video and another two years before I could actually deliver the content. It’s all about constant improvement, never stop taking on big new projects to challenge yourself. You’ll have issues along the way but don’t let that put you off, I’ve learned far more from my failures than the successes.
What advice would you give to brands looking to build a campaign or partner with YouTubers?
Trust the YouTuber. It’s a different world on YouTube, we have very personal relationships with our audiences and they’re 100% tuned in to authenticity. The best result is a collaboration that results in a cool video that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Tacos are delicious.
Austin’s First YouTube Video
iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3 Speed Test
iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 Speed Test
Favorite Videos: “What If Computers Disappeared?”
Favorite Videos: “How Real Is Virtual Reality?”
Favorite Videos: “Gaming In Ultra HD”