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Go check out Hank Green:
00:00 - Intro
01:15 - Inventor of the 2D glasses
03:49 - CrashCourse conversation
08:01 - Pressure from John’s success
11:01 - Writing from a woman’s perspective
18:13 - Hank Green’s books are about power
26:35 - Some Good News Discussion
29:33 - Chipotle/Seatgeek David Dobrik
31:03 - I’m a Star Trek fan & I’m wealthy
40:56 - Joe Rogan Spotify Deal Discussion
46:04 - Monolith discussion
53:17 - Guys on podcasts during quarantine is just therapy
1:06:06 - Wanting vs enjoying
1:12:35 - Hank asks Phil what scares him the most
1:22:20 - Card game starts - What scares you most about the future?
1:25:32 - LA vs Montana
1:36:01 - How do you want to be remembered?
1:46:11 - SourceFed Talent discussion
1:50:48 - Vidcon was very hard to own
1:59:16 - Creator Controversies
2:02:15 - One final note, or piece of advice you’d give?
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Edited by:
Maxwell Enright

Executive Producer:
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Production & Photography:
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Production Team: Luke Manning

#HankGreen #PhilipDeFranco #AConversationWith

 (00:00) to (02:00)

P: Hey, welcome back to a conversation with my name is Philip deFranco and today, we're having a conversation with Hank Green.  Before we jump into this thinly veiled pseudotherapy session between two grown men who haven't talked to one another in a while with a monetary incentive, I want to thank one of these sponsors of this podcast,  Be sure to secure your devices, access to the internet, and shield your browsing data through encrypted tunnels at, and on top of that security and privacy for all your devices, it can also help you be entertained thanks to it unblocking content on multiple platforms that are region-blocked.  With that said, let's jump into it.  Hank, when was the last time we had like, a real conversation?  It wasn't like Twitter or--God.

H: Um, like probably, probably over a year ago, honestly.  Yeah.  It's a shame.  

P: And it's always, I feel like it's always a little hard to describe you.  You're a longtime YouTuber, creator in the space, you created and sold VidCon, your brother was a well-known author, so you were like, that sounds fun.  You--

H: I'll do that.

P: You have a really big merchandise company.  You decided, hey, we're gonna educate the youth with science and history and go educational, but the thing that I was driving into the studio this morning, the thing that will always forever stain my mind is you are the inventor of 2D glasses.  

H: Oh, good, I'm so glad that that can be--please be my legacy.

P: Yes, that is, in my head, that defines you because you saw this thing that was new and everyone is enjoying and you were like, what about the people who think this new thing sucks or can't enjoy it because, you know, their eyes, and I don't know, that--for some reason, I feel like that speaks to you as a person in a certain way.

H: That I created the ultimate fad product for the ultimate fad product.  I was like, this thing isn't gonna last, but let me create something that's gonna last even less long, and honestly, like, it worked and they invited me on Shark Tank to talk about 2D glasses.  I've never talked about this.  That I got an email from the Shark Tank people and they were like, we saw your 2D glasses, we want you to come on the show, and I was like, I've seen your show!  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

I know which one I'll be.  I won't be the one where they're all like, climbing over themselves.  They'll be like, what are you thinking, you dumb product creator, but look, I made like five figures off 2D glasses.  It's a win.  

P: (?~2:20) Yeah, no, it's probably a good thing you didn't go on, 'cause they were probably like, okay, so this is gonna be a lay-up for a (?~2:25) to just make someone cry.  Oh my God.

H: Well, for a moment, I thought that maybe I was gonna make real money off 2D glassses and that they'd like, like I'd sell them to the movie theaters, but this was always folly, but it was a very fun thing.  It was the first time I ever got a product manufactured overseas.

P: Okay.  But I think it's also something that made sense, 'cause when 3D started going mainstream outside of Avatar, it was all garbage.  It was like, Piranha 3D and oh, cause a lot of the 3D back then was like, okay, it was still like that cheesy stuff where it's like, lunging at the screen, lunging at your face rather than being depth that you're looking at.

H: Yeah.  Yeah, and it was satisfying a need, which is like, if you want to go to see the movies but you hate 3D movies, but your friends wanna all go see the movies, you're gonna pay extra twice.  You're gonna pay extra for the movie and then you're gonna pay extra for these dang glasses that Hank Green made you buy.

P: What's your favorite thing that you've created?  If you had--out of all your babies?

H: Well, I mean, like, my first thought was the 45 lb ball of human flesh that is in my house right now.   I don't know that I created him.  I was--my physical contribution was small, but yeah, I mean, he's really great and I do kind of feel like I, you know, now that he's getting a little older, like, I do kind of feel like I kinda can help create him by teaching him how to deal with the world and interact with stuff, but as far as the actual question that you're asking, I think probably CrashCourse.  

P: Yeah?

H: And you know, just because like, it helps--it really does help a lot of teachers and students and like, I get stopped about that more than anything and it's like, when people stop me to say that they like CrashCourse, they're not like, I'm such a big fan!  They're like, thank you for helping me become a nurse.  Thank you for helping me like, in my life and my job and like, in my contribution to society, which is way, way, you know, better than like, you know, the sort of like, anything.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

It's so wonderful, but the other thing is like, really, like, the thing that I like the most of all the things I've created is really just like the dumb, 15 years of videos back and forth with my brother and like, we're still doing it, and like, that, like, all the people who are still doing it from you and I's era is such a thing.  Like, it's amazing.  Like, nobody has 15 year old TV shows.  That never happens, but you know, we're still doing it.  We're still--we've still got our communities and like, of course, people come in and out and a lot of the people who are watching now haven't been--no one, very few people, have been watching the whole time, but that community is like, that's the thing that I sort of think about the most when I'm thinking about my body of work.

P: Yeah, well, 'cause, 'cause you do have a lot of those staples.  I wonder how many people, when you say like, not many have stayed with you, I wonder how many people have.  'Cause I feel like, I feel like at least a third of my audience is over a decade.

H: I don't--I don't know.  I don't think that--it might not be.

P: You don't even think that's true?

H: Well, here's the weird thing.  You would never really know, because like, any given time you ask, you're asking the people who are watching that episode and like, nobody watches every episode of anything anymore, unless your show comes out like, 10 times a year maybe, so yeah.  That--it's very hard to tell and like, if you also if you ask the people who respond are gonna be the most diehard people.  Like, we do a survey every year to see sort of like, like the state of our community, but we are very well aware that the people who answer that survey are gonna be the ones who are most engaged, who tend to watch the most stuff, et cetera.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

P: How, I know you mentioned your son.  How old is your son?

H: He is three and a half.

P: Okay, three and a half.  Yeah, I uh--

H: If you ask him, if you ask him, he will say, "I turn four at the end of October" and I'm just like, I love that so much, because I'm like, that's just so pretentious.  

P: Yeah, that's so great.  Wait, so do you just have the one? 

H: Yeah, yeah.  

P: Okay, for some reason, I thought had an older son.  I don't know why.  I just--yeah, it's a--I will say that's like the, the most interesting, well--the most uncomfortable, which is actually, I use that in a good way, because I feel like I'm very comfortable going into most anything these days.  Right before I hopped over to the studio to film this, I had my first Zoom call for my son's new kindergarten and it just, and it just like, looking at all the people that I'm like, are we gonna be friends?  Our kids are gonna be around each other for the next four years, minimum.  Also, it's such a weird time for us to go in because half the kids and us, we're all going to be interacting over Zoom, which this morning was my--I've stayed away as long as I could.  This morning was my first time on it, and I was like, I can see how this would slowly drain my soul over several months of just people like, on mute, nodding, trying to show that they're listening, ugh.

H: Yeah, yeah, and at like, it's weird because in situations like that, I often end up like, switching into performance mode.  Like, I have, you know, I do livestreams and I, like, it's very hard, like, if there's a camera pointing at me to be behaving like a normal person and not like trying to, like, control things and being like, the flow of this meeting isn't going very well.  I think I'm going to sort of step in and it's like, this is not my responsibility.  Like, this is not my company, this is not my livestream.

P: So, Hank, before we kind of talk about the two things that I remember you kind of said we need to talk about thsi Friday, even though it's gonna be like a week old by the time it goes out, but I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts.  One: when you were making your first book, right, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, did you feel that pressure because your brother is so established in the space?

H: No.  

P: Really?

 (08:00) to (10:00)

H: I felt pressure but it wasn't that pressure.  So, there's a couple reasons that like, John and I's dynamic isn't competitive at all.  One of them is that we do very different things.  One of them though, is that I've seen what that kind of success looks like and it's great but it's also not great, and so like, there's good things about it and there's like, terrible things about it, so like, having a book like The Fault in our Stars, which was like, a cultural moment and people of a certain age are likely to have read it but definitely know what it is and probably have also seen the movie, and at least are likely to have an opinion about it, and that's just a lot, man.  Like, I'd rather not have like, 100% of a certain demographic have an opinion about me, and because like, if everybody has an opinion, it's almost required that a bunch of peoples' opinions are really negative.  So there's that piece of it, but there's also the piece where it's like, that never happens, and like, in the publishing industry, everyone knows that that never happens.  Like, one, like, The Fault in our Stars was one of the top 10 books of the 2000s and, or the 2010s.  I'm not sure.  Whichever decade that was.  I think it was the 2010s.  Obviously it was.  I don't know what frickin' year it is!

P: It all blends, man.  Don't worry.  My brain's mush, too.

H: Yeah.  And that level of success for a creative work is just very unusual, so I never expected it.  He never expected it, and like, so, so no, but I do feel a lot of pressure because of my existing audience and that's very different when you read a book and you don't know anything about the author and you're not thinking about the author.  I feel like I have to write a book in a fundamentally different way where I am both like, thinking about the characters and the plot and you know, like, whatever like, the tension and the pacing and all that stuff and then I'm sort of also on this meta-level, imagining what people are imagining about me as they read the thing, and like, 'cause there's no way to get away from it, so to some extent, I play into it and like, there are pieces of it where, like, obviously I'm writing a book about a person who's getting famous on the internet. 

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Now, of course, it's also very different circumstances than I was in and she's getting way more famous than I ever was or want to be, but um, the, you know, like, I also, like, know that people are gonna be thinking about like, my own experiences and like, when April makes a vlog, like, it's gonna sound a little bit like a Hank Green vlog and like, I'm not doing--that's not like, not on purpose.  It's a little bit on purpose to let people, like, have this sort of meta-experience of uh, which is all content creation now, where we, you know, the creator is such a big part of the content now in a way that didn't use to be the case.

P: Yeah.  Well, actually, so kind of talking about the book specifically, do you, when you're writing from the point of view of a main character that's a woman, do you have to approach it in a different way?  Is there a different process than kind of if you would right for another character, 'cause I'm completely alien to that world.

H: Yeah, I mean, well that's, like, it's to some extent that is true of every character.  Like, nobody is you in your book, like, unless you're writing a memoir, and so, so there's always a lot of creation and a lot of assumption that goes into character work and I think that the best writers are able to sort of completely divorce themselves from their characters.  That's not me.  So there's like, basically all of the characters are like, versions of me with the dials turned up or down.  Like, more ambitious or less ambitious or more excited or less excited and like, but like, I don't know how to imagine a person who isn't me really, like, can any of us?  Like, that's sort of how we all imagine--I feel like, how we many of us or most of us imagine the world is like, we sort of like, start with ourselves as the base case and then like, we imagine other people are us with some variations.  

 (12:00) to (14:00)

But as far as like, you know, gender is a huge, huge difference.  It's a big difference in terms of like, it doesn't have to be a big difference in terms of like, the person's base attributes.  Like, of course, there are tendencies there, but the biggest difference is how society views them.  How they're viewed by people outside of themselves and that's the thing that I needed the most help with, because I--I can imagine what it is like to be a woman internally even more easily than I can imagine what it's like to be a woman externally, so like, how people treat you, how they see you, like, all that stuff is--I can--I only see people seeing me.  It's very hard for me to like, witness how another person is observed, especially throughout their whole lives, so the real trick there is to get lots of people to read it and tell you the things you kind of got wrong.  Like, like, the way that a woman feels in the dressing room is different than the way a man feels in the dressing room because a woman is much more used to being observed in a certain way, and so like, to know how women text each other or to, like, I just won't.  I won't know that and so I need to have people be like, Hank, this did not ring true, and it's not, it's not like those people aren't reading and they're being like, I found a thing that people are gonna, like, criticize you for or you need to like, tone this down or the woke police are gonna come and get you, it's more like, this just doesn't ring true to the experience of me, a person who has more experience of being a woman than you.

P: I was like, I was like, Hank, when was the last time the woke police went after you.  You seem like a pretty--

H: It happens to everybody.  It does not--yeah, it happens to everybody.  It probably doesn't--

P: I was like, you seem like--I was like, it feels like you, you walk a certain tightrope pretty well.  

H: Yeah, well, yeah, yeah.

P: Most of the time.

H: Well, and I think like, it's, you know, when you're, when you are like either of us, when you're in the public eye and you're making content that's being viewed really broadly, like, you have to spend a lot of time imagining how things are going to be received and--

 (14:00) to (16:00)

P: I've only really started doing that in the last three years.  I feel like, I feel like my--being a dad has made me a more empathetic person, a less inward looking, you know what I mean?

H: Yeah, I think about it a lot.  I think about--a lot about how my, not just how it's gonna be received in terms of like, the world is gonna like, criticize you for it, 'cause there's definitely people out there who are just like, looking for a reason to jump.  

P: Sure.

H: But also like, you don't want to do--like, if it's gonna--if there's ways to achieve the goal while doing less harm, then do that.  Like, and that can be, you know, something really simple, like imagining that there are people with disabilities in the world and like, how are they gonna perceive this?  There are people, you know, there are different perspectives and so like, knowing that going in is--I think that it does sort of like, scale back the speed at which you can create and it limits the number of things that you can say, not like the number of things you can, but like, it makes you more careful and so, and so the content might not hit as hard or as true or as like, exciting for 90% of the people because you're worried about the 10% of the people that your content might, like, hurt their feelings or make them feel worse that day or whatever.  

P: Do you--so you're--but do you think that that's a net good then?

H: I think it's a net good, but I think there is a point at which it's not, and like, that's the--that's the thing that every creator's trying to figure out on their own, the ones who are thinking about this anyway, so I think that like, of course I think for me, when I'm doing that, I think it's a net good, but like, there is a line at which like, you can't make everything for everyone.

P: Correct, yeah.  I agree.

H: And so, and so like, if you end up in that place where you're trying to, then you just won't makek anything for anyone.  

P: Okay, then, to just--I mean, actually, wait, no.  To go back to the book.  Goin' back to the book.  When--I'm just--I'm fascinated by the process.

H: Yeah.

P: Just 'cause when I was much younger, I would always write that I was one of those people that, after I would write two pages, I was like, well, that's enough of that.  

 (16:00) to (18:00)

H: I mean.  I was that way for a long time, too.

P: Yeah?

H: Yeah.

P: When you started making your book, did you imagine it as like, a multi-part thing?  Have you imagined what it is, where it's going to end and you're filling in the blanks, or as you're writing it, you're kind of, you're learning where that story is going?

H: Yeah, I--so, both.  So the book is two books.  Or the story is two books.  The second one comes out in July and--

P: The second one's the end?

H: The second one's the end.  

P: Okay.

H: Yeah, and so it's done, it's written, like, the audiobook is being recorded right now and it's done and the, so the first book, I had a very good idea of where the beginning was and where the end was, and I had some good ideas for like, some scenes in the middle and sort of like, bridging those gaps was a really creative process that often created stuff that was even more interesting than where I thought I was going, so some of those internal scenes that I thought were going to be there ended up not being there, but the end is still there, and the end was--what happened, you know, the fact--I thought I was writing one book, and then I sort of like, got to the end of the first book and I realized, like, well that was a really good climax and that was like, like, that feel--like, it would feel really weird to be like, alright, and now we're gonna keep going, so it was much more that where like, like, and then I like, sketched out, before I decided that that was the end of the book, I sketched out what would happen in the second book to make sure that like, there was enough stuff there for a second book, which there was and more, and the second book is longer than the first, so yeah, I knew where I was ending, and I think I feel like for me, that's important, because I wanna know sort of the overall arc of the story and like, where--what I'm trying to say both thematically and also like, how I'm going to express that through plot and character and action and stuff.

 (18:00) to (20:00)

P: What would you say with the first book and maybe a combination of both, without giving something away, was the message that you wanted to get across?

H: Both books together are about power and they are about the accumulation of attention and both from the perspective of an individual like what we do, like, we, you know, we make things that people pay attention to and we have different strategies for gathering that attention and then we have different strategies for using that attention to do things in the world, whether that's growing the things more or whether that's selling things or creating community or like, and it's all of these things, of course, it's not one or the other, or like, making people feel better about themselves or understanding the world better the way that you do, like, all that stuff, so the--like, that was like, kinda the first book, is like, this is about the reasons why people do that and also about the dehumanization that comes along with it, where you're trying to sort of strip yourself down to being like a really sort of pure version of what you are to the point where like, we have these celebrity magazines who are like, can you believe that Claire Danes goes shopping? and that, that's like the, that's the level of dehumanization that fame kind of asks for and when we say like, ah, there's all these bad things about fame, it's actually the same thing, you know?  People are either having dehumanized love for you or they're having dehumanized hate for you and either way, it's completely parasocial, it's completely inaccurate to the actual, like, lived experience of a person, like not, like, as me or as you, a person with an audience and like, the internet has done I think a better job at like, creating nuance around that stuff and we both have audiences that understand us more deeply and so when we, we can make content for our audiences that has this deep understand--like, a more deep understanding of who we are, but externally, we still are sort of well known enough that people have really simplistic views of who we are, and that's how fame always used to be, like, the Backstreet Boys were all about like, create a very simple image--

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