Heart Work (Left Chamber)

I hate the phrase “1% Inspiration/99% Perspiration.” I understand it, and I don’t disagree with it in principle, but too many people assign the wrong values to its numbers. As a wise one once said, “Numbers don’t lie. People do.” Think about it. What exactly do those percentages represent? Are they time spent on a given aspect of a project or are they meant to quantify the effort put into two equal halves of something? If it’s the former, is it saying that for every 1 minute of designing a product, I should spend 99 minutes marketing it? If I lose a day of sleep working on a painting, I should expect 99 days of insomnia from trying to get gallery owners to exhibit it and potentially sell it?

Obviously, if I make a painting, the amount of time I spend on it is not going to affect whether or not I sell it and how much I’ll get for it. My efforts don’t mean a damn thing to the person who wants to hang it in their gallery. I’ve always known that.

You may have also heard a boast to the effect of, “I can sell a dairy farmer his own cow pies.” or “I can sell snow to Eskimos.” It’s the same issue. It’s dehumanizing. My effort into the painting doesn’t matter to the person selling it, but that’s not the same as me calling the buyer a chump who will shell out a fortune for a doodle I made in a lazy evening. These same people likely describe either their own failures or yours as, “Well, clearly we didn’t want it hard enough.” which is equally unquantifiable and unhelpful. To its credit, it’s only slightly less useless a phrase as “1% Inspiration/99% Perspiration.”

To better bring the point I’m trying to make to the forefront, I offer the case of the artist John Romita Jr., JRJR to his fans. As his name implies, he is the son of famed comic artist John Romita Sr. (they actually have different middle names, so Junior isn’t a true Junior, which is important though not the way you’re going to think it is). The way JRnotJR tells it, his early days in the industry were rife with accusations of nepotism, “You’re only here because of your father.” and the like. He worked to overcome this, work he described as thumping his chest and shouting at the top of his lungs for his right to be there. The anedote wraps up with, “After a lot of that, I realized I had to sit down and draw.”

This is the perfect rebuttal to the Inspiration/Perspiration “rule.” All the marketing in the world cannot save a bad product. The Pet Rock was not a bad product because it wasn’t a product at all. It was an accessory to a book, which is what you were truly paying for when you bought one. A lot of people probably don’t even remember the Pet Rock including a book, a satirical instructional guide on how to care for your Pet Rock. There was some clever packaging too, complete with air holes and straw matting. At the end of the day, the Pet Rock is a terrible example of a marketing strategy because despite his efforts, his perspiration, Gary Dahl was never able to repeat the success of the Pet Rock. At best, it’s a good example of how taking a risk is always more profitable than taking no risk at all.

If you do nothing, you get nothing. That’s what should be emphasized and offered instead of a useless pie chart as drawn up by someone who doesn’t know what a pie chart is.

That brings us to the boulder in the room: cheaters and the illusion of meritocracy.

I always feel like I have to be careful in answering certain questions on Quora because when it comes to YouTube, a number of questions come from people for whom English is not their first language, and therefore their ability to articulate the advice they may asking for can often get a little muddy. It’s hard to distinguish malice from ineptitude, and the wrong word or phrase can render the discussion academic.

The short version of the story that follows is that a guy wants to know how to succeed… quickly… and without trying… or does he?

What are the ways to grow a YouTube channel fast except quality content, YouTube SEO and consistency?

Furkan Çavdar (fuck a cadaver?)

One little four letter word that starts with “F” set the tone for this question to where I cannot read it any other way than some yahoo is trying to find an easy way out. For the record, when someone posts a question to Quora, they are presented with a list of users based on the topics chosen. The person who posts the question can then select up to a certain number of names (depending on how many other questions they’ve posted within a given time period) who will receive a notification that their expertise is being called upon. What I’m saying is I generally do not seek these people out and give them grief. Anyway, given how I could only see this as lazy desperation, I asked, “Why so lazy yet desperate?” We’ll get to his response anything but quickly.

There are certainly many ways of growing a presence on a social platform such as YouTube, some perfectly legitimate, others less so. If I had to pick a Top 3, however, Furkan has just named them, if out of order of importance. Quality content, consistent uploads, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The third option is where matters of integrity get muddy.

Once upon a time, in the early days of YouTube, a good way to get your video to appear in searches was to find out what video was trending that day, and then retitle your video to match it. If the number one video of the day was “Mother Cat Hugs Kitten” then changing your video’s title to that exact combination of words was how your video would show up ins search results when people searched for “Mother Cat Hugs Kitten” or some variation thereof. Here’s the problem, it didn’t matter whether or not your video had any of those things or was in any way, shape, or form tangentially related to that subject. It could be you unboxing a smartphone, but if your title matched a trending video, it was going to show up in search results. As you may have guessed, this trick doesn’t work anymore and hopefully I don’t have to explain why that’s a good thing.

If I do have to, look up the term “bait and switch” and then tell me why it is not a strategy of questionable ethics. I dare you.

Back to the list, the way YouTube‘s “almighty algorithm” works now is by favoring content from creators who post regularly and of a length that allows for some time to be devoted to advertising. YouTube gives you a platform for your content, and all they ask in exchange is a spot for advertisers to advertise what they are advertising. This allows YouTube to maintain its service without relying on an out-of-pocket cost from you directly. This is why consistent uploads are an effective strategy on YouTube, more uploads from a content creator means more people tune in consistently, and that means more eyeballs to wave advertisements in front of. While this tends to favor some types of content over the others, there’s a saving grace, and that’s number one, quality content.

Given what we’ve described in how YouTube works, the odds are stacked against animation channels. Whenever animation is not obscenely expensive, it is soul-crushingly time-consuming. Channels such as Domics have grown to where the original creator has a small team of animators working with him to offset the time he would spend on his animations. Obviously, the trade-off is that this carries a cost because he’s no longer a solo operation. Despite this new workflow, he still doesn’t post nearly as often as someone like Pewdiepie, whose entire operation is sitting in front of a camera, with the rest all being so much window dressing (that’s not knocking Felix, just highlighting the different content). However, because of the time Domics has spent building up his audience and the effort he puts into his work (with his team or otherwise), when he does post, it typically makes a big splash and it’s not uncommon to for one of his videos to be in the top 5 trending videos for a particular day or week. He’s not alone in experiencing this phenomenon either. Let Me Explain, Emirichu, Alex Clark, and Jaiden Animations all have similar workflows and schedules. All of them are also extremely talented. They’ve earned those millions of views because there’s more that goes into an animation (however limited) than someone sitting in front of a camera and taking a phone out of a box.

Quality beats out quantity, but quantity can sometimes make up for a lack of quality. Obviously, though, it’s not fair to compare ReviewtechUSA to GinjaNinjaOWO in terms of quality. They are very different types of content and obviously attract different audiences.

So, given Furby Cavendish‘s question, how else can one grow an audience?

For lack of a better term, there’s what I like to call the art of not giving a damn. It’s where you simply post what you want and whenever you want to without bothering to actively promote it in any way, shape, or form and by virtue of sheer luck will attract an audience. It may be slow and take years to build up, but because you focused on your content rather than what’s trending or popular or fashionable, you–

Wait, what’s that? How can one grow an audience quickly?

Well, what’s the rush? Did you burn bridges at your job before realizing that a full-time YouTube career is nowhere near as turnkey a solution as you thought it was? I mean, if you’re saying that producing quality content with some kind of consistent schedule is off the table and the very idea of putting relevant tags on your videos is somehow too onerous, you’re not leaving many options as is without applying a qualifier of expedience to it.

Matthew, thanks for your comment. I didn’t understand what you mean by that. I am looking for new ways to improve my skills and want to learn what can i do more.

Funky Cab Driver

Fokker Caviar, when you say you want something to happen quickly, you are casting a shadow over “improving your skills and learning what you can do.” You’re also casting doubt on virtually every decision and choice you may have made up to and including the launch of your YouTube channel.

You are asking for an easy way out.

You are looking for a magic bullet.

You are well aware your own advice to people is bullshit.

If those three statements are inaccurate, you only have yourself to blame. Maybe you simply don’t understand what “fast” means or you possibly meant something else. However, in the latter case, your qualifying reply doesn’t actually indicate you meant anything else for “fast” besides an easy solution to a complex problem.

Imagine there was a fast and perfectly ethical way grow your YouTube channel, and that I could tell you this, but it would cost you one million dollars and had no actual guarantee of working. I mean, it will definitely meet your speed requirement, but you never said it had to be free of charge.

Had you simply asked, “Is there another way to grow my channel?” and left it at that, with no qualifiers, that would be a different matter. In fact, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose that your question was “In addition to Quality, Consistency, and SEO, what can I do to grow my audience?” that would be even better.

You didn’t ask that, though. Whether or not you meant to ask in that manner is irrelevant because… and this may shock you, so make sure you’re sitting down if you’re faint of heart… words mean things. Nobody in the history of ever has asked for a speedy success without effectively throwing effort and hard work out of the window. I don’t know how else to put what I’m trying to say to you, except maybe:

“How can I qualify for the Olympics quickly without training, preparation, and all the proper paperwork?”

That’s your question. It isn’t the exact same words or context, but it is the very same motive.

If you’re having trouble getting your message across to the point that you’re adopting the language of a conniving cheater, maybe you shouldn’t have a YouTube channel. Maybe you shouldn’t even have a job with a degree of responsibility above emptying trash cans while supervised.

Look, I get it. Anymore it feels like the few people who have found a great level of success have done so through any other means than merit. Performance-enhancing drugs in pro-league sports, the recent college admissions scandal involving celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Laurie Laughlin, the anything-but-presidential president of the United States who couldn’t even make money off a Fucking Casino, and so many other bar-plummeting events make it seem like merit is just an illusion, a comfort fantasy for unsuccessful people for when they screw up.

“I guess I didn’t want it enough to take the easy way out.”

2 thoughts on “Heart Work (Left Chamber)”

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