#16: How MKBHD Attracted 6.5 Million Subscribers with 3 Simple Video Types

#16: How MKBHD Attracted 6.5 Million Subscribers with 3 Simple Video Types

In this episode, we break down how MKBHD (AKA Marques Brownlee) went from an unknown creator to the dominant YouTube tech review channel with 6.5 million subscribers by sticking to 3 simple video types over a stretch of 1,000 videos.

Quick Stats

  • Subscribers: 6.65M
  • Views: 992M
  • Videos Published: 1.04K

The MKBHD Origin Story

  • He didn’t start out with flashy tech
  • You can go all the way back and see his 13 year old golf swing analysis video
  • Then a review of his family’s remote control to the computer
  • Then some lackluster tutorials for camstudio and the built-in windows calculator app
  • It wasn’t until about 380 videos into the channel that the video content and style even becomes vaguely recognizable as the tech-review heavy titan it would one day become. The video after he unboxes his first DSLR camera.

Most Popular Videos

  • Generally Smartphone reviews.
  • 76 of his top 100 videos are about smartphones
  • 12 out of his top 20 all-time most popular videos are iPhone reviews.

1) OnePlus 6 Review

2) Apple iPhone X Unboxing

3) iPhone 7 Unboxing

Top Playlist Categories by Popularity

  • Reviews: 135 Videos
  • Top 5’s: 59 Videos
  • First Impressions: 54
  • Videos Explained!: 49 Videos
  • Ask MKBHD: 31 Videos
  • Dope Tech: 18 Videos

Angles He Takes

  • Unboxing = novelty
  • Shocking explainer = Teach me something
  • Review = Interpretation of research + taste + personality
  • Interview = exclusive access

The Gear

  • RED Weapon Monstro ($54,500)
  • Canon EOS C200 ($8,399)
  • Sony a7R III ($2,998)
  • About 10 assorted lenses, few wide angle, macro, sony, canon cine lenses ($19,933 total)
  • Shotgun microphone: Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone + Sanken lav ($1,350)
  • Field mixer ($3,328)
  • Slider & Tripods ($3,577)

Total Gear Cost: ~$94,000

Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

Tell us what’s up @sixstarsonly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter: https://twitter.com/matopher

Connect with Jake on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakearenot

#14: How Clear Storytelling Can Unlock Unparalleled Growth

#14: How Clear Storytelling Can Unlock Unparalleled Growth

Another book review! This time we’re unpacking the highlights from Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller and sharing why clear storytelling works as a sense-making device to grow your YouTube channel, business, or anything else.

If you have just a YouTube channel, do you need a brand? YES!
— In 2018, knowing how to clarify a brand message is more important than ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or a content creator.

Biggest Immediate takeaway from the book – “Clarity”
— Tagline is “Clarify your message so customers will listen.
— “If you confuse, you lose.”
— Sort of ties in with “1 True Thing.” Too much noise turns people off to your brand.
— We live in a time know where just being creative and different isn’t enough to set you apart from the competition.
— If you have a good product, a good channel, good videos but you’re not growing….you need to evaluate how you’re communicating to your customers/audience.

There’s an enormous competitive advantage in the marketplace if you can say very quickly what it is that you do in such a way that everybody who hears you says, “I need that!”

Steve Jobs ousted from Apple example: Steve was a tech geek and took out a 9 page ad to promote the Lisa computer. Obviously, this bombed. Spent time with John Lasseter and Pixar who taught him how to tell stories clearly. He came back with: “Think Different”

How do we solve our communication problem?
To mitigate confusion, creating a narrative “story” helps to simplify.
There are few things that are universal: good music, good food, and good stories.

7 Key Ingredients to Build a Story That Resonates

1) A Character
–Your customer is the hero, not you.

2) Has a Problem
— If you’re a YouTuber, what is your audience’s “problem?”
— They don’t know how to be a beekeeper, they want to be entertained?

3) And Meets a Guide
— Customers don’t want another hero to help them, they want guides

4) Who Gives Them a Plan
— Customers trust guides who have plans

5) And Calls Them to Action
— Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, so do customers.”
— Don’t just assume your customer will react to your content.

6) That Helps Them Avoid Failure
— Visualizing the cost of failure is equally as important as communicating what success looks like.

7) And Ends in a Success
— But… It’s absolutely critical to nail a compelling picture of the “promised land.” People need to understand how their transformed life can look after your help!

Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

Tell us what’s up @sixstarsonly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter.

Connect with Jake on Twitter.

#11: Why You Don’t Need 1 Million Subscribers. You Need 1,000 True Fans.

Have you ever wanted to make a living off of your YouTube channel?

If you’re like us, that’s the ultimate dream. Making what you want to make and getting paid for it. However, it also seems like a long shot. It may even seem impossible.

Well, it may be a lot more doable than you think.

On this week’s episode, we unpack Kevin Kelly’s amazing article, “1,000 True Fans” and discuss strategies that you can use to make that dream a reality.

The Article

“To be a successful creator, you don’t need millions….you only need thousands of true fans.”

What is a TRUE fan?

“A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce.”
(i.e. Jake with Red Letter Media, Matt with Donald Glover, etc.)
– For every single true fan, you might have two or three regular fans.

  • It’s important to try and connect with everybody, but your rabid, true fans are who you should cater to.
  • You want to focus on the super fans because the enthusiasm of true fans can increase the patronage of regular fans. True fans not only are the direct source of your income, but also your chief marketing force for the ordinary fans.

Why 1,000 True Fans?

“A thousand customers is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than a million fans.”

Aiming for a million people is daunting. 1,000 people is a lot less stressful and obtainable. Please your true fans first.

How the Math Works:

1) First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $100 profit from each true fan. 2) Second, you must have a direct relationship with your fans. That is, they must pay you directly. You get to keep all their support without having to give it away to a middleman (YouTube, music distributor, etc.)

The number 1,000 is not absolute. The actual number has to be adjusted for each person. If you are able to only earn $50 per year per true fan, then you need 2,000. (Likewise, if you can sell $200 per year, you need only 500 true fans.)

Another way to calculate the support of a true fan is to aim to get one day’s wages per year from them. Can you excite or please them sufficient to earn one day’s labor? That’s a high bar, but not impossible for 1,000 people worldwide.



  • You can sell directly, peer to peer, with your fans.
  • It’s never been more possible to connect with your fans and interact with them, cultivating them as your true fans.
  • While a direct relationship with customers was the default mode in old times, the benefits of modern retailing meant that most creators in the last century did not have direct contact with consumers.

“As far as I can tell there is nothing — no product, no idea, no desire — without a fan base on the internet. Everything made, or thought of, can interest at least one person in a million — it’s a low bar.”

“One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate.”

The point of this strategy is to say that you don’t need a hit to survive. You don’t need to a best seller or a video that gets a million views overnight.

There is a place in the middle where you can at least make a living.

That mid-way haven is called 1,000 True Fans. It is an alternate destination for an artist to aim for.

The Magic of Crowdfunding
The average number of supporters for a successful Kickstarter project is 241 funders — far less than a thousand. That means If you have 1,000 true fans you can do a crowdfunding campaign because by definition a true fan will become a Kickstarter funder.

Patreon and your own merchandise are other great options as well. Especially with the recent “Adpocalypse” on YouTube, they may even be better alternatives. Keep in mind, though, that the goal of these platforms aren’t there to necessarily make you rich, they are there as tools to help you make a living.


  • How can you interact with your fanbase?
  • How can you grow a fanbase?
  • Would you spend money on your own content? Be honest.
  • What steps can you take to make your content worthy of fandom?


“Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans.”

This is by no means a get rich quick scheme for success. As Matt says, if anything, this is a get rich slow scheme.

You still have to put forth the effort and the time. Like Jake and Matt, you may work 40 hour-a-week jobs. It’s difficult enough to make content regularly, but maybe you have kids or relatives to take care of on top of it all.

It’s exhausting.

But it’s possible.

Make sure your content is of the highest quality. If you aren’t taking the necessary steps to increase the quality of your content every day, there won’t be any fans of it, no matter how many videos you churn out.

The first step is to start making stuff.

It may be rough at first, but if you put forth the effort and commit to consistency, you will get those first few fans.

Then those fans will compound on each other and make a few more fans.

Then a few more.

Then a few more.

I think you get the idea.

Want some feedback on whatever you’re working on?

If you’re a new content creator like we are, you may want all the help and feedback you can possibly get!

That’s why we would love for you to message us for some of our feedback! Videos, blog posts, poetry, whatever you’re working on, we would love to help you out like you guys are helping us out.

Just connect with us as sixstarsonly@gmail.com or hit us up on social media!

@sixstarsonly on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter: https://twitter.com/matopher

Connect with Jake on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakearenot

And speaking of feedback…

Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

#10 Donald Glover’s Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan

#10: Donald Glover's Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan

We’re taking a deep dive into Donald Glover’s history and tracing his humble beginnings from one of the world’s first breakout YouTube stars.

We’ll unpack the stepping stones that lead from making millions of people laugh on his viral videos and culminates in Glover winning an Emmy for his hit show Atlanta, snagging a Grammy under his rapper name, Childish Gambino, and even playing smooth-talking Star Wars smuggler Lando Calrissian in a blockbuster spin-off.

Even if you’ve heard Donald Glover’s story before, we’ve uncovered a couple pieces specifically relevant to video creators who want to create meaningful work that gets noticed.

Matt and Jake also break down some of the fundamental lessons from Donald’s creative journey to fuel your own creative projects.

Continue reading “#10 Donald Glover’s Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan”

#7: The ONE Thing: Carving Our Time Every Day for Compound Results

On this week’s episode, we talk about Gary Keller’s book “The ONE Thing” and how it’s helped us be more focused and intentional with our time.

Jake talks about his life as a “reformed lazy person” and what he’s doing to build habits that yield compound results. Matt drops some truth bombs about how people sabotage their success by not valuing their commitments and. We even talk about the importance of your health to your success as a video creator.

Matt busts out the “Italian Hands” for a rant, too. You don’t want to miss this episode!

Continue reading “#7: The ONE Thing: Carving Our Time Every Day for Compound Results”

#6: Matt + Jake Origin Stories (And How We Named This Show)

We explain where our podcast’s name actually came from and how Matt and Jake started creating weird videos and ended up meeting in college.

We hop into a bunch of topics including:
– How Matt’s encounter with Drift’s CEO inspired the show’s name
– What we actually do for our day jobs and the career goals that motivate us
– The origin stories of our video creating antics (and why we keep creating)
– How Jake and Matt ended up becoming roommates in college
– Unpacking the weird videos, photo shoots, and blogs that we’ve learned from over the years

Continue reading “#6: Matt + Jake Origin Stories (And How We Named This Show)”

#5: The Life Saving 3-2-1 Outline for Quick Videos

Are you or someone you’re filming not used to being on camera? Well, in this week’s episode, we tell you the quick and easy outlining trick we use to bring laser focus to short, impactful videos.

Matt talks about how he came up with this idea and how he uses it to create simple, effective outlines that help bring focus to your videos.

Also, we share our experience of how we got used to being on camera and how to feel natural and authentic while filming

Continue reading “#5: The Life Saving 3-2-1 Outline for Quick Videos”