Discover more from Terms of Service with Chris Martin
How MrBeast Became the Willy Wonka of YouTube [Content Made Simple]
Issue #315: Microsoft AI, Sesame Street on TikTok, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
Thanks to the amount of money up for grabs in the YouTube economy, there’s a large cottage industry on YouTube itself devoted to giving advice on becoming a YouTuber, and clips of Donaldson interviews in which he discusses his observations of the algorithm and successful strategies for working within it are treated by the mass of would-be YouTube stars the same way Warren Buffett remarks at Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings are treated by armchair investors. (Not entirely without reason: In 2022, Forbes estimated that Donaldson brings in $54 million a year.) And the core lesson, one he repeats frequently, is that YouTube viewers — and the algorithms that herd them through the site — reward visible expense and effort.
This is a good article by Max Read, one of my favorite social media and internet culture writers today. Runs parallel to my piece about MrBeast from a few weeks ago, even though we come to different conclusions.
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
Since the founding of the United States in 1776, how many different flags has the United States had?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
I ADORE the Sesame Street TikTok account.
The open secret of brand + team sports social: it’s tough to secure the spokespeople or pro athletes to make original content for social. Most companies don’t give social teams enough support in this area, choosing to tippy-toe around celebs & stars instead of confidently asking for their help to make great marketing.
Fortunately, Bert & Ernie seem plenty comfortable lending their time to TikTok. It’s clear that Sesame Street has prioritized their social, securing the puppeteers, voice actors, and presumably the show’s writers in the name of content.
Very good article from a legendary tech reporter.
I never thought I'd write these words, but here goes. Satya Nadella—and Microsoft, the company he runs—are riding high on the buzz from its search engine. That's quite a contrast from the first time I spoke with Nadella, in 2009. Back then, he was not so well known, and he made a point of telling me about his origins. Born in Hyderabad, India, he attended grad school in the US and joined Microsoft in 1992, just as the firm was rising to power. Nadella hopped all over the company and stayed through the downtimes, including after Microsoft's epic antitrust court battle and when it missed the smartphone revolution. Only after spinning through his bio did he bring up his project at the time: Bing, the much-mocked search engine that was a poor cousin—if that—to Google's dominant franchise.
Saw this coming from a mile away. Big news in a niche of the internet you probably don’t care about, but your kids will.
Up until then, Dream refused to show his face online and relied on fan-made avatars and a mask to represent himself. However, in October 2022, the YouTube star decided to do a face reveal and took off the mask in a video that took social media by storm.
THE FUNNY PART
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Trivia answer: The U.S. has had 27 different flags in its history.