How I accidentally became an automotive YouTuber

How I accidentally became an automotive YouTuber


so we decided to meet right in the middle at me keeping the darn car [Applause] [Music] now that we’re alone viewers holy cow 500,000 subscribers when we set out producing content for this channel about 15 months ago I never imagined that we would get here I never thought we’d even develop our own audience I mean I’ve known a lot of automotive youtubers I knew Robert Himmler who was kind of a pioneer of a lot of this back when I was at the dealership I’ve known Doug De Niro since he wrote the article about us on the Cannonball Run record I’ve known tovarisch and all these guys I was even a guest speaker and a Cars and Coffee pittsburg party and we did a whole live stream with Ferretti and that dude and blue David Patterson TJ hunt Evan shanks and then Rob Dom showed up a bit later I had sold him as Diablo and even had a mutual friend with him that was on The Bachelorette in the same season he outlasted rub in the courtship there but we still love you Rob and I love your diablo even with all of its accidents and sordid past but as we kind of thought about how we were gonna market vin wiki the company which we started back in 2016 yes in case you didn’t understand that vin wiki is not just a youtube channel where people sit here and tell car stories we have a free app that’s kind of a social vehicle history reporting platform you can think of it like a crowd-sourced version of Carfax or Auto Check and as we’ve tried to evangelize that concept to the world obviously we do different things we had social media channels Facebook Instagram Twitter and even a YouTube channel or we’ve done some just very basic informational things and I had known from loaning my cars to guys like Freddie or David Patterson that when they drove them and did kind of car review things and they mentioned VIN Wicky we got a lot of users but around the middle of last year we only had about 5,000 active than Wicky users in our app and that was great and they loved it it was growing nicely but not explosively by any standard and so I figured hey let’s see what YouTube can do for us and let’s think about a more dedicated content strategy and see what happens and my original plan was never to have our own channel I thought I’d get a bunch of friends together we’d sit around our warehouse and tell some good car stories and capture them for the Internet and I thought that I would get Demuro or Ferretti or tovarisch or somebody to release them on their channel kind of as an additional show and as I approached them about it after we’ve shot and edited them and I a friend of mine Daniel McCullough who’s a very accomplished video editor and videographer and he had made a great production set and helped us really set it all up and build a template and I loved the way they’d come out so when I shared them with them I was kind of surprised that none of them really wanted to do it and I’ve come to learn that the analytics that YouTube offers are very descriptive rather than prescriptive so it tells you what happened but the only thing you can really decide to do based on that is continue doing whatever you’ve been doing and so the idea of a different type of show is really scary and that’s why you see guys like Doug starting a second channel for their more passion projects the stuff they really enjoy doing because they know that the people who come to their main channels are really there to see a specific type of content and so we kind of ended up saying all right well let’s just put them out on our Channel I figured we got 25 really good stories that are cut and edited will release one a day and if we get 2,000 views per video that’ll be a huge win maybe we’ll do some more well they did exceptionally well and we had ones like the McLaren f1 maintenance nightmares video and the prostitute Guyardo video do exceptionally well and those kind of blew up and carried the channel and all of them did really well you know with almost a million views in that first month which was a huge shot to me so I decided yeah we got to keep doing this but Daniel kind of saw the writing on the wall and said you know what this is gonna become someone’s full-time job and I just don’t want it to be me so he kind of left me there and I understand that entirely because it certainly can be a lot of work to put all this together and release content on a daily basis but I really wanted to keep it going so I bought all the equipment and started trying to learn and so after those 25 or so early videos you’ll see about 10 or 15 in our catalogue that are just utter abysmal failures and those the ones where I was trying to learn how to shoot and edit in the Lighting’s bad and the audios awful and the editing is really bad and choppy and everything’s just bad I apologize for that but I think at this point we’ve kind of got it down to a system and if somebody sits here and talks towards that chair then we can pretty much end up with a reasonable product and I appreciate you guys for pairing with us for watching the videos for sharing them I can’t tell you how humbled I am to have had the opportunity to share my stories to meet so many amazing people and invite my friends to tell their great stories because it then wiki we really believe that it everybody has a really good car story and they need to be immortalized we wanted to give people a chance to really tell those epic stories and let them be out there forever on the internet for people to consume that might never get the chance to bump into them in a party or somewhere or at a car show and hear these great stories and so I’m so grateful I’m so humbled and I’m so honored to have had the chance to share these with you and so in honor of this ridiculously cool milestone 500 thousand subscribers I decided to do the most youtuber ish thing that I could think of so obviously I took some junk car that I have no aspiration to sell to Carmack’s for an appraisal so the logical candidate was the 2002 mercedes s 55 with its 12 owners to accidents frame damaged airbags deployed in its salvage title to car match to see what they would pay for it and I thought hey even though I paid fifteen hundred bucks for this thing I’ve spent probably 17 grand to make it a competent cannonball car that we ended up winning the 2015 running of the 2904 in and I figured it surely they’re gonna give me for a functional s-class with 1200 worth of tires more than 1500 bucks and I can end up with a catch phrase or something that I’m shrewder than Carmack’s whatever and so I drove it over there and they actually ended up offering me $300 for this car which apparently entitles me to a $21 sales tax savings if I buy something out of their inventory so it appears it seems that car max is much shrewder than I am when it comes to such negotiation so we decided to meet right in the middle at me keepin the darn car but I appreciate the chance to just do youtuber ish things I never thought I’d be an automotive youtuber at this stage of my life but again I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to share the stories and I’ve got plenty more where those came from I don’t know exactly how many but I guess at some point I’ll run out and want to decide what to do there may be some vin Wicky reruns as I look back on some of the early stories I know I could have done a better job in telling them and so maybe we’ll do some of that but there’s plenty more great people to come and share car stories and we’ve got no interest in slowing down and one of the coolest things that we’ve discovered through this entire process is that it works I mean the course of of humiliating 500,000 subscribers and a hundred million video views we found out that it really does help drive traffic to our app we’ve grown by over a hundred thousand users in the venn wiki app I think today we passed a hundred and seven thousand users which is just amazing and I love what it’s becoming in terms of a tool and a utility but also a social opportunity for enthusiasts to engage together and post information about their own cars and cars they know something about but it is actually becoming a great place to discover information that you can’t find anywhere else about the cars that we love and so I hope that continues to work out and it’s definitely motivating us to keep this all going obviously we never really addressed the fact that these are YouTube videos I try to keep them nice and dense and not make them any longer than they need to be if four and a half minutes tells a great story it’s great if 13 minutes is what it takes like tomorrows is I think 13 and a half but every minute of it is epic and I think you’ll all enjoy it but we never tell you to smash any buttons or press any likes or whatever the case may be but in honor of this 500 thousand subscriber episode please do comment with your favorite video that we’ve done or like this post or smash up Bell or whatever you’re supposed to do ah Who am I kidding just do whatever you want if you’d like it do whatever that means and if you enjoy the videos please keep watching and we’ll keep making them because they’re truly or not words to express the gratitude we have for you guys coming along on this journey with us thank you so much [Music] I’d like to thank the guys that Avalon King for supporting the channel this month you want to try it out yourself there’s a link in the description below


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