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Uploaded:2010-07-23
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This is our first in a series of LOTS of interviews from VidCon. Shira Lazar asks Dan about his new project, Dan 3.0, in which Dan will, for one year, be giving over control of his life to his YouTube viewers. The internet is amazing...
Shira: Hey, Shira Lazar coming to you from VidCon, with Dan Brown.  How's it going?

Dan: It's going great right now.  All the pressure's off, I just finished speaking and so, now it's like, oh, what now?  

Shira: Then you talk to us.  That's the way it goes.

Dan: Exactly, exactly. 

Shira: So you made a big announcement.

Dan: Uh-huh, yeah, I announced Dan 3.0, which is the project that I'm gonna be doing for the next year where I am putting control of my life in the hands of my YouTube viewers.

Shira: So what does that exactly mean?  

Dan: Uh, well, that's kind of the big question right now, we don't know, we don't know what's gonna happen.  I'm just as curious about that as you are, really, but hopefully, it means a lot of traveling around the world, a lot of doing big crazy things that only a big community of a couple hundred thousand people on the internet could do, and hopefully it means a lot of like, exposure and like, new audience, and I--yeah, yeah.

Shira: What's also cool is that you're--this is the first time really you're on YouTube, but you're partnering with another destination site.

Dan: Yeah, uh, we pitched this to Revision 3 a few months ago, as we were planning the project.  When I first had the idea for the project, it was literally just a light bulb moment, like, why hasn't anyone done this?  I've gotta do this!  And I began talking to people as to how we can make it happen, and it kinda snowballed.  The more people we told about the idea, the more people were excited about getting involved and we were able to have a sit-down meeting and pitch it to them and they loved it, so yeah.  I'm really excited about the institutional support they'll be able to provide us.

Shira: Alright, well, tell people though, let's back up and--how did you get all this started?

Dan: Well, I've been video blogging for 3 years now, and I've been doing, I mean, just all sorts of random, different videos, just whatever I felt like making, I'd make, and I've amassed a following of close to a quarter of a million subscribers now, but I was up late one night in bed, like I said in my speech, wearing a snuggie, half-naked, with my laptop, and I was watching this documentary called Us Now, and it was talking all about the internet and the cultural impact its already had, continues to have, and just sort of where things are going in the future, and I just thought, why hasn't anyone completely trusted an audience like this before?  Well, I mean, and the answer is because everything is so new, but I was in a position to do it, so I just thought, let's do it, let's go for it, so.

Shira: So, are you going to be continuing stuff on your own channel or--?

Dan: Well, the show itself--the f--basically, we're going to be doing a video day for 365 days, and really, that's up to the viewers.  If they miss the old stuff, they can certainly submit it in the decision engine and say, 'We think you should make vlogs like you used to' and we'll do that, and that'll be a part of it.  To begin with, no, probably not, but I mean, we'll just see, yeah, I don't know.

Shira: You're just open to it all.

Dan: Right, exactly.

Shira: Well, so what do you think it is behind your success?  What keeps people coming back?

Dan: Well, I mean, I think it's the same thing that is behind any YouTuber's success.  Basically, you gotta be just honest, you gotta be yourself, and I mean, if you're a likable person in real life, you're a likable person on the internet, and there's just a whole lot more people on the internet, so.

Shira: Do you have any mentors, like, people you look up to that have done this?

Dan: Oh, yes, like, everyone who came before me.  Hank and John, the Vlogbrothers, the people who put on VidCon, they're a huge influence on me, and obviously, you know, the people who influence them, like Ze Frank and--I--I mean, all sorts of people, all so--

Shira: Well, you just remind me of the Ze thing that he did when he was like, one year, every day's a video.

Dan: Right, yeah, and that's absolutely an inspiration.  I mean, I've been inspired, the Vlogbrothers did Brotherhood 2.0 where for a year, they only communicated through video blogs, and you know, Ze Frank did a year of video blogging and Shay Carl is sort of a lifecaster, and really, I just kind of--I wanted to take the lifecasting thing and just kick it to the next level.  It's the difference between The Truman Show and The Sims, you know?   Yeah.

Shira: So what does the future hold, after this life, where do you hope this all goes?

Dan: I hope it goes r--I--

Shira: Really?

Dan: I don't know, like, I literally, I have no idea what ideas they're gonna come up with.  They might want me to go move to Africa and do missionary work, or maybe they'll want me to try to get into space, or maybe they'll want me to--I li--lit--I have no idea, and I--I've been talking with the people at Revision 3 a lot about just sort of the strategy, how we're gonna do it, and the plan is just take it one day at a time.  The decision engine is going to be launched about a week or so before the project itself starts, so we'll have an idea then, we'll be able to watch like, what ideas are rising to the top and what, you know, what people want me to do, and so, we'll just take it from there.

Shira: Awesome, I look forward to it.  So what do you think about VidCon lastly?

Dan: It's incredible!  Like, I talked in my speech about, you know, Pogopalooza, the little small event I planned in 2004, where a URL community became an IRL community, and VidCon is that to like, the millionth degree, like, the millionth power.  All these people connected just through YouTube and now in real life, I mean, so much networking is gonna come out of this, and I think that we're gonna see like, a lot of YouTubers get a lot more views and traffic and we're gonna see the start of a lot of new collaborative YouTube channels and things, yeah.

Shira: Things like that.

Dan: Yeah.  Things like that.

Shira: Great, cool, man, well, bye.  Good--best of luck.  Bye to you.

Dan: Bye.  

Shira: Good luck in the interwebs and going--doing your adventures.

Dan: Well, thank you.  Thank you, I appreciate that.  

Shira: Bye to all of you.