44 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
His Face on Every Billboard in London and a 2.6M+ Strong Cooking Empire- #151: Ben Ebbrell | Creators
Seeing his and his friend’s faces plastered on billboards and newspapers around London, it seemed that Sorted had finally made it. If YouTube recognized their content’s worth, then surely hundreds of thousands of followers would be quick to follow—or so Ben Ebrell thought. Instead, what Ben has found through his many years of experience is that there is no making it on YouTube, no closing the fridge door for good and saying the hard part’s over. With over 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube, his cooking channel Sorted Food has grown massively since its start in 2010. But before reaching mainstream success in the UK, Ben had to make his way through 1500 bottles of free beer, sell the 5000 college cookbooks in his garage, and create countless baked goods out of thin air. And before all of that, Ben was a little kid, picking fresh vegetables in the garden at eight years old and wondering how to bake his first fish pie.
28 minutes | Mar 16, 2023
Psychic Powers, Haunted Dolls and Becoming TikTok's Biggest Medium- #151: Kelsi Davies | Creators
You just heard from Kelsi Davies as she describes how her haunted doll Lola changed her TikTok career forever. If you haven’t heard this name before, Kelsi is a social media superstar with 5 million followers on tiktok and more than 800,000 YouTube subscribers. As a creator, psychic, and medium, Kelsi has brought us some of the most haunted content on the web, posting vlogs from enchanted forests and fields, cursed ocean liners, and the infamous Cecil Hotel. From first discovering her psychic ability in elementary school to juggling influencer politics and mental health, Kelsi’s story mixes her unique supernatural perspective alongside her relatable struggles with interpersonal relationships. Working as a professional medium can be isolating, and Kelsi realized a crucial fact early on in her life: psychics get scared too sometimes…
31 minutes | Mar 9, 2023
How To Get Retweeted By Kim Kardashian- #150: Adorian Deck | Creators
Adorian had dabbled in Youtube fame before, but it wasn’t until he checked his phone after school to 40,000 new followers that he realized the true potential and speed of the online world. I mean imagine…in 2009, twitter was only 3 years old and the hashtag was even younger. Amidst working on high school homework and filming SMOSH-inspired videos, Adorian had somehow stumbled on the opportunity of a lifetime— he’d be one of twitter’s first non-celebrity creators. Now at 3.5 million followers on TikTok and more than 90,000 YouTube subs, Adorian is a seasoned internet veteran and self-proclaimed ‘facts guy’. You may have seen his multi-million view videos on your feed before, as he teaches followers how to escape bee attacks and what came first: sharks or saturn’s rings? But it wasn’t all fun edits and trivia questions. In his journey through the early internet landscape, Adorian ran into swindlers, lawsuits, and even an early case of cancel culture. Growing up as one of the first ‘chronically online’ species, he started small, far away from the sophisticated algorithms of tiktok + instagram today, in the land of role-play edits…
29 minutes | Feb 27, 2023
How One Photographer Changed Instagram Forever- #149: Tati Bruening | Creators
You just heard from internet sensation Tati Bruening, as she recalls how a one-off joke set an entire viral instagram movement into motion. Known by her instagram handle ‘illumitati’ or her tiktok ‘illumitatiana’, you might have seen some of Tati’s distinctive photography or celebrity shoots on your for you page, as she has gained a following of 323,000 and 2.6 million followers in only the past few years. Through reinventing what could come up on your TikTok feed to reshaping the Instagram algorithm, her behind-the-scenes efforts have fundamentally changed the landscape of social media as we know it. Still, Tati did not always foresee herself in this career or entertainment itself. Along with the rest of her 6’ family, it always seemed she was headed for the land of D1 athletics…
20 minutes | Feb 23, 2023
How Inventing a Drinking Game Almost Bankrupted This Creator- #148 Ali Spagnola | Creators
You just heard Ali describing one of her breaking points, where a battle for a copyright claim over one of her creations caused her to file a lawsuit. Now, Ali Spagnola, musician, comedian, and artist, has proved herself to be a creator you can’t look away from. With her eccentric dedication to living “outrageous”, Ali has won over 1.4 million tiktok followers and more than 400k subscribers on YouTube with her bubbly enthusiasm and boundless creativity. From turning her car into a chia pet to fighting for the world’s right to party, Ali’s career has been anything but mundane. Yet before music parodies and unusual crafts became her way of life, Ali had already fallen in love with the piano, plunking out melodies on her family’s baby grand…
32 minutes | Feb 16, 2023
How a Magic Trick got 21M Followers- #147: Sean Sotaridona | Creators
Watching as he racked up tens of thousands of new fans over the course of the day, Sean Sotaridona let out a sigh of relief he didn’t even know he was holding. This success, this new and unexpected online stage, was what he had been looking for all his life. It only took him 16 years to find it. Going by the username SeanDoesMagic, Sean’s masterful magic tricks have garnered more than 21 million followers on TikTok and 5.44 million followers on YouTube. From networking with meme accounts over Instagram dms to performing tricks for Addison Rae and Dixie D’amelio, Sean’s unparalleled tenacity and drive have taken him on a wild journey. However, before his trips to vidcon and tryouts for America’s Got Talent, before Sean was even born, his roots grew far away from the beaches of Los Angeles and Florida…across the Pacific in the Philippines…
26 minutes | Feb 9, 2023
How a 15 Year Old Gained 100k Followers a Day - #146: Nathan Triska | Creators
Despite exploding in popularity on YouNow and finishing up his first national tour, Nathan Triska realized that the creator lifestyle was not always as glamorous as it seemed. His online presence didn’t do much for his high school reputation– in fact, it seemed to make things worse. Flash forward to the present and Nathan has found even more success through his role of Frankie on the breakout web series Chicken Girls and his social media work. With more than 950k followers on Instagram and over 10 million fans on TikTok, Nathan has carved out a niche for himself on the internet for nearly a decade, migrating from Younow to Vine to Musical.ly. Still, though it might seem like Nathan was born for the influencer lifestyle, the 23 year old was once far removed from the world of livestreaming, likes, and ever changing algorithms. Praying for cell phone service in his farmhouse’s laundry room, Nathan still somehow knew that celebrity was within his reach.
49 minutes | Feb 2, 2023
How One Photo Traveled Around the World - #145: Brenton Kelly | Quail Springs
You just heard Brenton Kelly describing the leadup to the murder of American conservationist Diane Fosse in Rwanda. Employing rigorous anti-poaching methods towards the end of her life, Fosse made more than a few enemies. But how do Fosse’s and Brenton’s stories connect? Well we’ll get to that later… let’s introduce Brenton first. He’s the treasurer and advocacy director of Quail Springs Permaculture, living far away from Africa in Socal’s Cuyama Valley. There, he helps to advocate for sustainable groundwater policies in the region’s wetlands and works to include earthen building materials in California’s outdated building code. To get an up close look at Brenton’s unusual lifestyle and find the answers to some of my burning questions, I traveled a few hours outside of Los Angeles to stay a couple days at Quail Springs. I arrived late at night, and found that, here, immersed in this remote farmland, stars were much brighter and the mornings were full of new experiences including squeezing goat’s milk right from the teat into a cup of coffee. After we got settled, Brenton, a couple dozen goats, & I traveled a few miles from the homestead to begin the interview surrounded by nature.
55 minutes | Jan 26, 2023
You Have 30 days to Make it in the Film Industry- #144: Inga Lam | Creators
Struggling to find work in the entertainment industry and fearful of disappointing her parents, Inga’s filmmaking career could have ended her first year in LA. Maybe it was time to look at something practical, something safe. Flash forward, and we now know Inga Lam as an immensely talented video producer and food influencer at Buzzfeed’s Tasty, Bring Me, About to Eat, and her own personal channel. She’s appeared all over your feed in viral videos like ‘Mom Teaches Daughter How to Make Bao” and “I Made The Impossible Cotton Candy From Ancient China.” These videos have racked up tens of millions of views as she shares her cultural perspective with an eager audience. But the creative path wasn’t always that clear. Growing up in Hong Kong her parents urged her to play it safe, but Inga knew she wanted more…
44 minutes | Jan 19, 2023
How to Create a Best-Selling YA Series with No Money- #143: Kimberly Derting | Creators
Despite having two hit book series under her belt, it was at this moment that Kimberly caught a glimpse of the publishing industry’s true nature. The world of literature had a short term memory and she was only as good as her most recent book’s sales. No matter how proud she was of her stories or how many book tours she’d finished, it felt like maybe she would never get the chance to reach the same heights. Luckily, this burnout didn’t last forever and Kimberly Derting is here with us today as an established author in both Young Adult fiction and children’s books. She mixes the genres of horror, mystery, and romance to create the captivating narratives of the award winning Body Finder series as well as the Pledge and the Taking trilogies. But before she spun these unique worlds from scratch, Kimberly was an imaginative kid who spent her days reading at the library and checking out the new releases at the neighborhood bookmobile. Words provided an escape from the darkness of her surroundings, banishing her home life and rough and tumble neighborhood with the flip of a page.
37 minutes | Jan 12, 2023
Why 20 subs is Enough to Quit Your Job And Pursue YouTube- #142: Hunter Williams | Creators
Hunter Williams witnessed his mother’s diagnosis, prognosis, decline, and passing in the span of only two months and two weeks. And at the end of the summer of 2016, he suddenly found himself stranded in the middle of his life, unable to move forward in any direction. Fast forward to today and Hunter Williams is a full time YouTuber known for his sharp, well edited video essays on the business of being a content creator. From hitting millions of views on his deep-dive analysis of Mr.Beast and Mark Rober to receiving a video response from Cody Ko himself, Hunter might be on the path to creating his very own YouTube empire. Yet before he converted his garage into a home studio and embarked on this creator journey, Hunter was just a young kid with a point and shoot camera. Miles deep into the rural countryside and 20 minutes from the nearest small town, there was a time when he didn’t even know YouTube existed….
27 minutes | Jan 5, 2023
How This Dad Had 4.3M Kids- #141: Rob Kenney | Creators
As kids, a lot of us vow to never be like our parents. We want to learn from their mistakes and do things differently, and improve the formula for raising good humans. But that’s easier said than done. Coming out of a grueling job with no backup plan, Rob Kenney felt unsure about his ability to be a family man. In the back of his mind, he recalled his wish to provide a secure home environment for his kids and felt that he was miles away from this vision. Fast forward to 2022, and we can hardly believe that Rob had doubts about being a good father. Mainly because, well, he’s become the internet’s dad. Starting his YouTube channel ‘Dad, How Do I’ during the early months of the pandemic, Rob Kenney has since garnered 4 million subscribers with his straightforward tutorials and kind, instructive demeanor. Much like his videos, Rob’s mantra is simple but packed with meaning. He emphasizes the importance of sticking by your values in tough times and following through on your mission statement, not just for yourself, but for the people who depend on you. After all, he remembers what it was like to feel stranded- without friends and without a father.
41 minutes | Dec 29, 2022
From Being Blacklisted to an Emmy Nomination- #140: Flame Monroe | Comedian
Broke, blacklisted, and betrayed by other jealous comedians, Flame Monroe was left struggling to provide for herself and her family. But that was then… now, more than a decade later, Flame is back in the spotlight, appearing on HBO’s ‘Def Comedy Jam’ and the emmy-nominated Netflix comedy series ‘Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready’. As her story above hints , life as a stand up comedian was not always sunshine and roses. Breaking into the 90s comedy circuit is hard enough, but doing it as a black a trans-woman seems near impossible. But Flame’s willingness to consistently show up, be funny, and love herself unabashedly, built a bridge of compassion between her and her audience. Looking back at the comedy scene that often refused to accept her, Flame sees there is still lots of room for change in the era of cancel culture and explosive twitter threads. Yet, she has also forged an incredible path for future comedians, teaching audiences to love her as she learned to love herself at 12 years old.
30 minutes | Dec 22, 2022
How Priorities Shift When Your Child’s Life is Threatened - #139: Jeff Snyder | Inspira Marketing
After a mad dash trip to New Haven, Jeff Snyder was met with the worst news imaginable. Not only did his daughter have cancer, she also needed to go into an emergency surgery within the next 24 hours. We’ll come back to this moment and how it changed his life soon, but first a bit about Jeff. Jeff is the founder of an experiential marketing company called Inspira. It now boasts campaigns for the likes of Microsoft, Jeep, National Geographic, and with brands like that behind him, you might think that Jeff always knew his unique marketing strategy was headed for success, but it didn’t start there, it actually started with strawberries.
68 minutes | Dec 17, 2022
How to Win an Academy Award (Almost) - #139: Frank Donner | BLKBX Creative Group
You just heard about the time that Frank Donner made the painful decision to move back to Los Angeles, momentarily leaving behind his wife, his daughter, and well…me. Yes, you heard that right. Today, we are talking to my Dad: producer, actor, and family man. I’ve heard bits and pieces of his story before but now we’re taking a true deep dive. From working alongside the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Benicio del Toro at the prestigious Stella Adler conservatory, to the Academy Awards for best documentary, to running multinational companies, to starting his own marketing agency BLKBX Creative Group, Frank’s journey through Hollywood is certainly a lesson in adaptability. Like the overlapping highways of Los Angeles, Frank’s life could have gone in any direction…off any exit…to one of hundreds of vastly different neighborhoods. Yet what if only one route could bring him to the love of his life on a different continent? And what happens if, like Frank, we only have one moment in time to make the right decision? Let’s zoom in on this big picture and see Frank’s early childhood in Chicago, back when his future was as blank and unmarked as fresh winter snow…
66 minutes | Dec 8, 2022
From Posting Prank Videos on Youtube to Gaining 25k Subs Overnight- #138: Isaiah Shepard | Steezy Kane
You just heard from Isaiah Shepard as he recounted heartbreak that sent him reeling…but this moment was also the beginning of an enormous creative explosion. Now if that name doesn’t sound familiar, you might recognize a YouTube account called Steezy Kane instead. Operating under this channel name, Isaiah-or Steezy - has amassed 3.6 million followers in the past four years through his popular prank videos. But beyond the singing challenges and pick up lines with which he initially made a name for himself, there is another side to Isaiah. This Isaiah dreams of expanding the scope of his work to sharp television writing and dynamic short films. He wants to become a serious independent filmmaker, a career that would allow him full creative freedom. Though much of his current work appeals to the masses, Isaiah knows that it's time to enter a different side of the industry- navigating away from seeking virality for virality’s sake and forging a path into the creative unknown. Yet before Steezy Kane, before Youtube, before his departure from the mainstream, all Isaiah had was an interest in film and a video camera.
31 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
How a TIME's Best Invention Can Help You Get 8 Hours of Sleep- #137: Alexandra Zatarain | Eight Sleep
You just heard from Alexandra Zatarain as she recounts the few dread-filled hours that preceded her father’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Though this fundamentally changed the course of her life, Alexandra dealt with the sudden grief by asking the same question she had always asked: What can I do? This unshakable dedication to problem-solving has led up to her entrepreneurial endeavors as the co-founder of Eight Sleep, creating a temperature-regulated, health monitoring bed. Spearheading the tech industry’s exploration into sleep fitness, Alexandra’s made Forbes’ 30 under 30 and her product has been recognized two years in a row by TIME’s best inventions of the year. But she didn’t always want to be an entrepreneur…in fact, her life began far from Silicon Valley, it began bouncing between San Diego and Tijuana Mexico.
67 minutes | Nov 24, 2022
10M+ Subs in a Year & Film School for the Digital Age - #136: Zack Honarvar | Creator Now
You just heard Zack Honarvar talking about the moment he realized he needed to move on from the stagnant safety of his traditional finance company and forge his own path. Zack is now the founder of the management company One Day Entertainment, which powers the financial side of channels such as Yes Theory, Airrack, and The Cheeky Boyos. Beyond harnessing the power of multi million subscriber channels, Zack is also the co-founder of the influencer merchandise company Fan of a Fan and CEO of Creator Now, which is basically film school reimagined for the digital age. But before LA’s creator scene, Zack was learning business the old fashion way: hustling Lunchables on the playground and operating alone at home from as early as four. And even before he was born, Zack’s life was primed for practicality. Let’s take a look at the story before Zack’s story, one that paved the way for his unique balance of both steady utility and daring imagination. Subscribe to our Newsletter! https://findingfounders.co/subscribe Website: findingfounders.co Follow Sam: https://www.instagram.com/samueldonner/ Follow Finding Founders IG: https://www.instagram.com/findingfounderspodcast/
54 minutes | Nov 18, 2022
Why A Famous Comedian Still Bags Groceries - #135: Josh Johnson | Comedian
You just heard Josh Johnson recalling the moment where his worst nightmare came true: after finally stepping away from his safety net, he found himself jobless with the rug yanked out from under him. Now well known for his performances on Conan and Comedy Central, his tours with Trevor Noah, and a 2020 Emmy nomination, Josh has come a long way from his first script writing experience on the Tonight Show. Although this all seemed like a sudden rise to success there’s a lot of history behind these shining moments. Before late night talk shows and award ceremonies, there were years of non stop working. By night, he would tour the comedy circuits of Chicago and New York. And by day, he worked the early bird shifts at Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s. Believe it or not, his double life of growing comedian and grocery bagger continued well into his career. There was no ‘making it’, no easy way to fame. Instead, he remembered that for every one step forward, there was a chance at falling two steps back. This cautious approach to his career, this consistent humility, can be traced all the way back to his childhood in Louisiana…where love and danger seemed to be the only constants of his surroundings. Subscribe to our Newsletter! https://findingfounders.co/subscribe Website: findingfounders.co Follow Sam: https://www.instagram.com/samueldonner/ Follow Finding Founders IG: https://www.instagram.com/findingfounderspodcast/
53 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
The Psychedelic Explosion - #134: Ronan Levy | Field Trip Health
Ronan Levy is the founder of Field Trip Health, a rapidly expanding therapy program which combines psychotherapy and psychedelics to address treatment-resistant mental health disorders. His clinics span across Canada, the United States, and Europe, with Levy aiming to establish 75 clinics over the next four years. But to spearhead a mental health movement, Levy had to go through kidnapping, heartbreak, and the cannabis gold rush. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it might be helpful to look back into the edges of Levy’s consciousness and catch a glimpse of who he was before his career…before college…before childhood even… Subscribe to our Newsletter! https://findingfounders.co/subscribe Website: findingfounders.co Follow Sam: https://www.instagram.com/samueldonner/ Follow Finding Founders IG: https://www.instagram.com/findingfounderspodcast/