Marques Brownlee, ‘the best technology reviewer on the planet,’ talks about the past four years and his plans beyond YouTube

marques brownlee mkbhd

In 2014, I met a 20-year-old named Marques Brownlee, who former Google VP Vic Gundotra once called "the best technology reviewer on the planet."

Four years later, Brownlee is now 24, and his YouTube channel, "MKBHD," has grown exponentially:

– In 2014, Brownlee had 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 130 million total views on 640+ YouTube videos.

– As of March 15, 2018, Brownlee has 5.9 million YouTube subscribers and over 860 million total views on 997 total YouTube videos

You’re reading that right: Brownlee has produced nearly 1,000 YouTube videos over the last nine years, including tutorials, reviews, interviews, impressions, and explainers, all built with the singular purpose of helping anyone and everyone navigate the constantly-evolving world of consumer technology. And in a recent phone conversation, Brownlee told Business Insider he feels he’s just getting started.

"As far as the video production side, I’m still learning so much of that," Brownlee said.

Below is a lightly-edited transcript of my conversation with Brownlee, in which he talked about what it’s been like making YouTube videos over the past four years, and how he sees himself expanding beyond YouTube:

SEE ALSO: Meet ‘the best technology reviewer on the planet,’ who is only 20 years old

DAVE SMITH: Last time we talked was four years ago, which is long time in technology years and certainly YouTube years. You were working out of your dorm room in Stevens College back then. What’s your setup like now?

MARQUES BROWNLEE: We relocated, so basically everything is in a studio environment now, which facilitates video shooting obviously. It makes it a lot easier to have more space. But as far as a lot of the tech goes, it’s actually a lot of the same stuff. The desk is still exactly the same desk I was using in my apartment, the speakers are the same — it’s just all scaled up. The hard drives we need and the cameras we use are different, but it’s just growing from that exact setup from my apartment.

SMITH: How much space are you working with now compared to what you had before?

BROWNLEE: The room in the apartment was a couple hundred square feet at most, but the studio space is around 3,000 square feet, which gives us more room for us to mess with things like lighting, depths of field, framing, and building different sets for different purposes and videos. It’s been pretty great so far. I originally was looking to move out of my apartment into a bigger apartment that would have more space for me to build video stuff, but I ended up just moving and having a separation of where I work and where I live, and we found some studio space in New Jersey. It’s a blank slate for us.

SMITH: Over the last four years, what have you noticed about the kinds of tech your audience responds to?

BROWNLEE: I think one thing I’m able to notice more that I didn’t really have access to before is the bleeding edge of tech. There’s still the classic reviews of smartphones, tablets, people making a purchase decision — that’s still the core of the content, for sure. But then there’s also the “dope tech,” the crazy bleeding-edge stuff that most people don’t have access to, or don’t even get to see or experience for the most part.

Just being a window into that world has been really exciting. There have been companies reaching out and more than willing to offer a look at their tech, or a demo of something that may come to market eventually, or a prototype — fun stuff like that. That’s something I never really got to do before, but now that they’re willing to reach out to the audience that watches these videos, we get to have a little more fun that way as well.

SMITH: When you say “we” and “us” — who is your team these days?

BROWNLEE: For the last year — roughly, about 12 months — it’s been the two of us: Me and Andrew [Manganelli], my friend who’s been on full-time helping with production and logistics and management. Having two sets of hands and two brains to work on stuff has been really helpful.

SMITH: When did he join the team?

BROWNLEE: We’d been friends before because of Ultimate Frisbee, but he joined the team after CES last year, so January 2017.

SMITH: With adding Andrew, has your process changed at all?

BROWNLEE: The only thing that’s really changed is the actual shooting of the videos, but the process of deciding what tech to review, or listening to the audience, or interactions, has mostly stayed the same, which I think is good. There’s still a direct connection between people commenting on the videos and me reading them, so the extra hands come into play when it’s just more about making better videos or more videos in the same amount of time.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI