Dec 10, 2022 • 48 min read
When it comes to creating online content for YouTube, no one really knows how the algorithm works. You just need to make your videos â€œclickbaityâ€ without it actually being clickbait. You can have a good headline but you have to actually deliver some value with your content. Learn more about content creation with your host Evan Brandoff and his guest Jared Polin. Jared is a professional photographer and the owner of FroKnowsPhoto. He is also a YouTuber with over 1.36 million subscribers. Join in today’s episode to understand how you can gain a following on YouTube. Learn how to track the right trends and keywords. Discover more about photography and content creation today!
In this episode, we welcome Jared Polin onto the show. He is the CeFro ofÂ FroKnowsPhoto.com. He has built a massiveÂ YouTubeÂ and social following and helps over one million people improve their photography skills. Let’s get started.
Jared, thanks so much for coming to the show.
Thank you for having me.
First off, most importantly, how’s bowling season going?
My average was in the high 180s and it’s proceeded to drop down to probably 178 or 179. I was in the zone for a while. I made a tweak and a change. I was hovering around 210 for a minute. What happens is you miss spares and suck when you are not stacking strikes on strikes. I started with 6 in 1 game and then got scared. It was going well. One day I’ll build a bowling alley on a property I own but that’s a goal for the future.
What was the tweak?
The tweak was I stopped starting on the left side and I moved over the right of center. I started to throw out towards the 2nd and 3rd board. It would hug and then come back in. I was throwing cross to come back instead of just trying to throw straight and then have it hook over off the left-hand side. That tweak exploded because I was just crushing the pocket better.
Jared and I met in a bowling league a couple of years ago. You always score well but there are two things that you were consistently the top at in our league. What do you think?
Best arms in a sleeveless shirt. Are you going to say how hard I throw the ball?
How hard did you throw the ball? What style? I love it that you are consistently repping the eye shoot raw. I am psyched to have you on the show. For our readers that aren’t familiar with FroKnowsPhoto, can you give everyone a brief overview?
I make fun and informative videos to help photographers and videographers of all skill levels. The whole thing when I started years ago was to make fun and informative. Create content that’s going to help people that’s not boring, that’s the fun part and informative. It can’t just be fun. It needs to teach people. That’s the type of content I make. It’s photography-based. There are over 3,000 videos that I’ve done. It’s about helping you become a better photographer.
It’s not some not the boring stuff that you are used to sitting through in school. You watch me on photo shoots. You get to look through my camera because I record my electronic viewfinder. You see exactly what I see as I zoom, move or change my settings. I like to teach as if it was like Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross with this mix of Howard Stern in there so that it keeps it cranking.
If there was a dropdown menu where you have to choose one are out of photographer, content creator, teacher, what would you say you are? What’s your superpower?
If people ask me what I do, I’m a photographer who happens to make YouTube videos but it’s a hell of a lot more than all of that. As a creative and a business owner, you are a marketer, brander, advertiser, ad buyer, ad seller because we sell all of this stuff. It’s more of like a creative agency all wrapped up in one. I’m my own creative agency for my own brand because I get people to come along and like, â€œWould you be able to work with us on making content and doing what you do for us?â€ I’m like, â€œNo,â€ because we don’t take jobs from other people.
It’s better to have a long-term partnership because you can add more value over time.
Everything that we do is for us. When I say we, I have two employees full-time. One mainly does the editing and another is an editor or producer, a shooter, audio, video engineer. He does it all. We call them predators because they do everything. We don’t work for other people because we are working for the brand to make our content.
You have done such a great job at doing that. I’m excited to dive more into FroKnowsPhoto. I want to take a step back before we do it. To that point, if a brand has a lucrative enough offer, what is the reason that you wouldn’t entertain doing what you have done for your own brand?
Take away from my productivity. If I had three other editors sitting on the side and other shooters that I could go direct, brainstorm and have them go create, that’s a different story but if we start deviating from what makes us successful in our world then we are taking away from creating content here to just trade time for dollars. You know what they say in business when you are trading time for dollars, it’s not what I want to do. With that being said, we do have companies and brands that come to us that would like to throw big money at us to promote something.
That becomes a whole different ball game because now we are creating for our brand. We are getting paid well to do it so that it helps push us forward to be successful because you got to get paid, which a lot of people forget like, â€œThis is a business. Please don’t forget that Youtubers need to be a business.â€ I have got two employees that have to get health care and got to get paid. They have families and mortgages. That’s the stuff that weighs on my head as a business owner. I’m sure you understand that there’s an obligation from me to make sure that they are taken care of.
To that point, that’s why it could be easy to chase the money, take on an account that wants to pay you to build their brand. That focus that you are speaking to, that longer-term vision is what I think is one thing that has led to all the success that you have had in investing all the time and resources into building growing brands.
I would consult the shit out of companies if they would listen. The problem is you give them everything. You say everything that you feel and think they should do. They can’t go and execute it for the most part. They need someone to do it and then they never go all in, which is part of the reason why I started FroKnowsPhoto. Before that, in the mid-2000s,2005, 2006, 2007, I was working with low-level bands, doing social media before social media was even a thing. I was out on tour with Perry Farrell and he’s not a low-level band. My job was to help him get more spins on MySpace. You would go on, they added the music player and it would count every time there was a play.
It also would count every time you refresh the page. It wasn’t exactly perfect analytics but we took them from 300 to 3000 a day. It wasn’t from me sitting there pressing refresh. It was from uploading content to MySpace every day from the tour. The problem was I was trying to work with other bands. I was suggesting things to do and they wouldn’t listen.
I’m like, â€œYou have five members in a band. You love photography. You like food. You love music, movies and something else. One day a week, all I ask is for you to make one piece of content for me. We will post it on your website each week you do that. You only need to do one thing. That’s four pieces of content a month for each of you but that equals a lot of content, five days a week to keep people interested in coming back for more than they never listened to.â€ I did it myself. That’s what it came down to. I’m like, â€œThese guys aren’t going to listen. I’m going to figure it out and do all the things that I thought would work and try to implement it for myself.â€
Was it the problem that they didn’t listen or that they genuinely just didn’t know how to create this content? I am old enough to be formerly best friends with Tom on Myspace.
When people are like, â€œWho was in your top eight?â€ I have to think back like, â€œWhat is top eight? I totally forgot that was a thing.â€ It was a lack of motivation for them to want to do it. They had the support. We would go make the content with them. I had the camera. I could do it. I could help them. We had camp quarters at that time. It’d be like, â€œGive me an article. Write me something. Do something. Do a review.â€ It’s not hard but they never wanted to do it. I have a larger following than most bands.
Your following is massive. What is your latest following?
On YouTube, 1.35 million subscribers. It is huge. Subscriber numbers can be very misleading to people. As a business some people look at the wrong analytics or they take certain analytics and blow them out of proportion. Agencies do this all the time. Agencies that are hired to work with companies, weâ€™ll pull out metrics out of their ass that are meaningless, like impressions. There were 100 million impressions on this. It was like, â€œWhat about conversions? What action was taken?â€ They love pulling shit out to make it seem bloated and inflated that they did something. They make up these bullshit metrics and it is meaningless.
What metrics are important to you?
If you are a brand and you are a business out there looking to work with content creators because you want to spend some budget and you know you need to be there, it’s not about how many Instagram followers these people have. These so-called influencers on Instagram may have 1 million followers but if you look and they have 1,000 likes on something, you’re like, â€œThat doesn’t seem right,â€ or you look and it’s a lot of, â€œFor nude pics, follow me. Here is my OnlyFans,â€ because the bots are all over it. There’s no value there.
You can look at Reels. It tells you their numbers. There’s this girl, Amanda Cerny. I don’t like the content but she’s got like 26 million followers. I don’t know how valuable those specific followers are because thereâ€™s a lot of, â€œLet me show you my breasts,â€ but she still gets 2 million or 3 million views on a Reel. That’s a lot of eyeballs. That’s effective. When you have millions but you are getting millions of views on something, that means that it is doing something.
If you’re looking at people’s YouTube channels, they put up a video and they have got 5 million subscribers, yet they get 1,000 or 20,000 views and no interactions, you don’t want to spend your money there. You’re better off spending your money on a smaller, newer creator who has 1,000 to 5,000 or 10,000 consistent views with a smaller following because you might be able to convert them more. I’m all about long-term partnerships.
It’s better to have a long-term partnership because I can add more value over time by over-delivering and under-promising. If someone tries to put constraints on me of like, â€œWe need 4 and 5 of this,â€ I’m like, â€œLeave me alone because if you leave me alone, you’re going to get 35 of this. I’m going to do it but I don’t like one-offs.â€ It’s hard for someone to see the brand wants and be like, â€œJared said this, I need to go buy it.â€
When you are putting out new content is the goal of a certain percentage of your followers watches that content? What is the goal when you’re putting out something new?
We want people to watch our videos. The other thing is views. Views are more important than subscribers in this day and age because subscriber growth isn’t the same as it used to be. It used to be like the more subscribers, the better but now it’s views and watch time. The metrics we want to see are how many people watch the video. We aim to get 100,000 views on every video. We’ll be very happy with it. If we do 50,000, itâ€™s cool. Maybe it’s not the best ever but that’s still 50,000 people. You have got to wrap your head around that. That’s 50,000 that watch it. I used to get upset if I got 20,000 views on something. I’m like, â€œThat’s terrible,â€ but then you have to remember that’s 20,000 people that watched your content.
We go for views but also watch time. Watch time is a metric that’s super important that YouTube looks at as a very high-impact metric. If you have people click on your video but drop it off after 30 seconds because you’re not delivering any value to them then YouTube is going to be like, â€œThis is garbage. We are not going to promote it out into the universe and into the system.â€ I do Photo News Fix, which is a news show. It’s 6 to 7 minutes long. It’s three news stories. It gets 70% watched through straight across the metric.
You always get a little dip at the beginning or a down-dip because people click and then leave for whatever reason but it’s straight across. If you have a metric that is straight across for watch time, that means nobody is leaving. Anybody that starts it basically finishes watching that video. That’s an unbelievable piece of content. It averages 100,000 views. I have a plug that can be dedicated at the beginning that we can generate revenue from and it gets great watch time.
Views and watch time are more important than subscribers these days.
So I understand the algorithm correctly, does consistent watch time is what yields the algorithm, sharing your video more and therefore getting more views?
No one knows how this all works. It’s always changing. There are always tweaks to be made. That’s why people who chase hacks for algorithms are going to lose. It’s a long game. If you make quality, consistent content that people engage with, you are going to get us a leg up versus people that just chase the algorithm. I didn’t have a video with 1 million views until seven years in. It was better that I had a slow build because I’m not chasing one million every time. The important metrics are watch time and clickthrough rate.
If you have a video that’s getting clicked on a lot and people are watching it for a longer amount of time, YouTube turns around and recommends that to more people. If you have a video that people click on and then abandon quickly, YouTube goes, â€œYour clickthrough rate is dropping. We are not going to show this to anybody else because this is shit content. Maybe you need to think about doing something else.â€ They say it nicer but it still means exactly that. We don’t know if the like button has any algorithmic backing because they got rid of the dislike just for one single dislike button, which is stupid. There are people that say that the like button is not tied in with anything for giving you more value. It’s a metric that people can see but nobody knows.
I’m trying to understand why the light button wouldn’t be used in the algorithm.
I don’t know why either but it’s like why was the dislike button at the time wasn’t a part of it? It was more of a way to show people that, â€œThis video has 1,000 likes and only 14 dislikes,â€ to show someone that the video was good versus another metric. I can still see the dislikes on the backend, which is the dumbest thing. If you’re worried about the creatorâ€™s mental health in dislikes, you would have to get rid of it altogether, not just let us look at it on the backend and in the front. It will show you the likes. It doesn’t show you dislikes. I don’t worry about that stuff anymore. We know that people hate me or my videos no matter what. They’re going to dislike but they’re still going to watch. There are people that just love to dislike right off the bat.
It must take you so much time to come up with consistent content that is quality and yields a 70% watch time. How much time do you spend each week creating content?
Not as much as I used to because I used to put out a video a day. A couple of years ago, we made a conscious effort and change to do less content but better quality. We made a focus on better thumbnails and titles because before I was like, â€œThis is what the video is about. Let’s call it that.â€ That’s not clicky enough for people to engage with right away. People will call it clickbait but I will tell you it’s not clickbait if it delivers. It’s a good headline. I always come back to the Titanic. The headline in the newspaper was, â€œTitanic sinks, 1,500 dead.â€ Is that clickbait? It’s a fucking good headline. You are going to open up the newspaper to read more. If you opened it up and it’s like, â€œThe 1,500 dead were plants,â€ then you’d be like, â€œYou assholes tricked me into clicking on this.â€
In terms of your question, we try to do 2 to 3 videos a week to put out. Some of them start the process a couple of weeks. On the set behind me, I might film a script. That’s where I do a lot of scripted stuff. That will get recorded and then sit in the can until we can edit it. Photo News Fixed is edited every week. That’s a weekly show. That takes a day and a half for my editor to do. It served for him to edit. I write the script myself and then I go down to my set downstairs. I flick on all the lights and record myself. My editor comes and gets the card or I upload it. He downloads it and edits it.
My other guy is out doing other videos at the same time. The goal is to do 2 to 3 videos a week. Sometimes I can make simple, easy videos. They are not big videos. They are maybe 40,000 or 50,000 type of views that we generally would call a filler piece of content but it still has value. We call it a critique. I’ll do a rapid-fire critique of people’s ten best photos that they submitted and I’ll give some information like, â€œHere’s what I would do. Here’s how I would change my settings.â€ There’s a lot of good value there. It’s not clickbait for hundreds of thousands of people to watch. It’s just not. When 40,000 or 50,000 people watch it, it’s still good.
What comes first, the headline or the content in the video?
It depends on the video. Sometimes we’ll come up with a good title and we’ll build a video. We’ll craft a video around it. Nikon comes out with the Z9. The title is going to write itself, â€œOfficial Nikon Z9 preview. Does it suck?â€ Stuff like that writes itself. We make a conscious effort to sit there and come up with 10, 15 or 20 titles before we narrow it down to the one that we’re going to use. It helps to type these out. Steven, my other guy, my editor, we all write up titles then I’ll bounce them off of him or we’ll sit there. I write everything down that comes to mind whether it’s good, bad or indifferent because what happens is he might say something that triggers something in my brain and I’m like, â€œLet’s go with that word, change this out and then do that.â€ It works. You have to use psychology to grab people.
With that being said, you can’t just be chasing clickbait all the time because if you title something that it works, you get a lot of clicks but do you get a lot of long-term views of the video? If you don’t have keywords and tags in the video that are going to be searched out in the future then that video is dead after it gets those initial views after a couple of days. We have different types of content. Photo News Fix is not meant to live on past a week. It’s a weekly show. It’s meant to grab you fast, get you to watch it, enjoy it, get 100,000 views and then it will trickle with a couple more later.
We do something called a user guide where someone gets a new camera and I take the new basic camera. I sit and you watch me go through the menu system. I explain how I would set up this camera. If it’s a beginner camera, I’m talking to people as if they have never had a camera before because usually the people buying that don’t so I make it as simple as possible and explain it. That video may be one hour-long.
The watch time will be 15 to 20 minutes but it’s not about that. It’s about helping people set up their cameras and get introduced to my world on YouTube. They are going to find me because they’re going to search for that camera. That video is going to do badly in the first month, first 2 months or maybe 6 months. There are so many of them. What happens is those lower-end cameras is they end up at Walmart or Costco. They ended up being sold for $400. They are not super expensive. It’s an impulse buy for some. They search YouTube and find me.
Those videos over a 5, 6, 7 year period can have over one million views. It’s a long burn. We know that people enter my sphere and subscribe the most to those basic educational videos. There are different types of content that we make, which are geared towards different types of funnels for people to get into my ecosystem because the thing I tell people about YouTube is, â€œEvery video you make is an advertisement or a commercial for you. It’s free to put up but it’s an advertisement for you, which is a good thing.â€
Going off of that, what advice would you give to someone that has zero followers and they have a passion, want to tell people about their passion and teach people? Where do you start?
One, you start. That’s always the first thing. When it comes to YouTube, you might want to look for the trends and catchy keywords that are important and that are going on. Finance channels have blown up on YouTube. They may start imploding because when the market implodes, you’d see them for what they are. They have no clue. They are not financial advisors. They are just people who are sharing what they have done. When the market’s running up for twelve years, they look like geniuses.
You can’t just be like, â€œMy day at work.â€ Nobody’s going to watch your day at work. No one cares but if you are like Andre Iguodala and you bring in names if you ride a trend of something that’s hot. When Prince Harry got married and they released the photos, I did a critique of the wedding photos from the wedding because that was topical at the time. It’s like 300,000 to 400,000 views because people may not have been interested in photography but they were searching for Prince Harry, wedding photos and Meghan’s photos.
If you make quality consistent content that people engage with, you’re going to get a leg up versus people who just chase algorithm hacks.
If you can latch on to something that is topical and you have some value to give, you give it, people watch and they start to like it, it’s one thing to do at once but you need to follow it up consistently. In the photography sphere, you need to use gear cells. Gear is what people want to see. If you see a new camera come out. You take it out into the world, do photos with it, you have an opinion, share that, put that in the title and the tags then you have a better chance of gaining followers from that.
Once you gain followers then you can start branching off into the other content that may not be as click-worthy but still valuable. It’s a lot of work to do it. Don’t think that you’ll put out 1, 2, 3 videos and be super successful. There have been people that have done that but for some, it’s a slow build and it’s not a six-month thing. You got to go all-in for a while.
You have a little over 1.3 million followers on YouTube. Let’s focus on YouTube here. That’s approximately 5 chunks of 250,000 viewers to get to the 1.3 million. How would you rank the difficulty of acquiring each of those 250,000 chunks? I assume the first 250,000 is the most difficult. Is that right?
The first 1,000 are the most difficult. What I tell people is, â€œEverybody starts with zero.â€ I started with zero. MrBeast started with zero. He struggled for five years putting out videos before he had like 10,000 subscribers.
At what point do you pull the plug or do you think, â€œThis is not getting any traction.â€
If you are getting 100 views in every video and it’s never growing, if all you do is a talking head video, there’s no reason someone would watch it. If you are putting out content but it is not going anywhere, you are either not doing the right thing and you need to pivot, change to something else and try some other things or you do pull the plug. I’m not talking about pulling the plug after two videos.
You need to go at it but you need to be smart and try things. People know what they are doing wrong. They know when they have assets or they take shortcuts. The person has to know themselves enough to tell themselves they need to do a better job but it is also not super easy. There is no definitive answer because someone can start a YouTube channel now, still be super successful, get 100,000 subscribers and turn it into a business.
Do you do any advertising?
Do I spend money on ads? No. Zero. It’s all organic growth since day one. We sell a product. I sell presets. I utilize my videos to promote my own products. If it’s a review of a new camera lens, halfway through the video, it’s, â€œLet me jump in here real quick to show you this picture that I cut to my computer to show you this picture taken with this lens, edited with my FroPack3. Here’s what that looks like.â€ We take about 45 to 60 seconds in the middle, showing people how the presets work and what they do. I cut back to the camera and say, â€œIf you’d like to pick these up, they’re currently on sale or you could save even more when you get the Triple Play Bundle. Check them out.â€
It works really well. We sell a shit ton of that stuff. One thing that a lot of creators don’t do is have their own product or promote their own stuff often. The people are getting your stuff for free. They are not paying to watch my videos. They will thank me for all the free content by supporting me. If someone unsubscribes because they can’t handle seeing me do a plug to keep this business going then I don’t want them. They can go away or they can just hit the button. There’s an arrow key. I tell people, â€œIf you don’t like my plug, there’s an arrow key. Hit it three times and you are past it. Use your head and stop giving me shit.â€
When did you get into photography?
Thirteen years old. What precipitated it? I was in junior high school. I was at a basketball game watching from the bleachers and there were these yearbook photographers that were taking pictures of warmups of the players standing around. In my head, that didn’t seem right. It seemed like they were not shooting things that they should have been shooting. There’s no action going on. There’s no story there. Not that I knew what story or all that meant at the time. I borrowed my mom’s point-and-shoot camera and took it back to the next game. I sat on the baseline took pictures of basketball and the timing, even with a point-and-shoot camera was there.
I knew the moments to capture. These were action shots of players coming up to the basket and going up for layups. It clicked. It made sense to me that they were doing something wrong. Instead of telling them that they sucked and we’re doing it wrong, which is the modern way of doing things. I put my money where my mouth is and I did it myself. The same thing happened with YouTube. When I started making YouTube videos, there are multiple reasons. One reason was I saw this guy had 36,000 views on a video. I completely and utterly disagreed with everything he had to say. I thought it was complete and utter bullshit.
Instead of going to the comments and being like, â€œYou suck. I could do better,â€ I’m like, â€œI have got a camera that shoots video. I have got something to say. Why don’t I do it?â€ I did. That was a precipice for doing it. I befriended that guy who had that information so I could take his following. He was European. He was in Europe. That’s why I had a large European following at the very beginning is because I worked with him on his channel. We did some collaboration videos. I built by utilizing his followers at the beginning.
How many views did your first video get?
I have no idea. Back in the day, you would get 200 views then it would grow to like 400, 900 then you get 1,000 and you get back to 600. I thought I was hot shit with 5,000 subscribers back in the day. I didn’t know any different. I just went and did it.
You borrowed your mom’s camera. Was she a photographer?
She was the one who basically in the family would take pictures when we traveled. She had an early Betamax camcorder in the â€˜80s to film us. She had no formal training. There were a lot of snapshots of us smiling at Disney World. Occasionally there was a good photojournalistic type of shot that I have seen when I’ve dug through the archives type of stuff because I scanned everything. She was creative. She was always there with a camera. I grabbed the camera and I shot.
Were you close to your mom?
Not as close as I should have been when she died. One of the reasons why I started my channel was my mom wanted to learn more about photography and I didn’t take the time to say, â€œLet’s go out and shoot. I’ll help you learn the camera better.â€ I never took that opportunity. That’s one of the regrets. I don’t do regrets just about anything but that’s the only thing that I didn’t take the time to show her that I don’t know what I was doing other than nothing much where I couldn’t have said, â€œIt’s Saturday. Why don’t we go to the park and shoot?â€
Did you shoot that first video before or after she passed?
She died in 2008. I didn’t start FroKnowsPhoto until 2010. It was a long time coming after that. It’s one of the reasons that I look back at why I do what I do but it didn’t exactly push me at that time to figure it out. Sometimes you figure shit out. I was attempting videos in 2007, 2008 or maybe a little later than that but I didn’t have an idea of what I was doing yet. I posted some videos in trying stuff.
I had a Squarespace that I started and I could see that I was getting like 800 to 1,000 unique visitors a day as I was blogging about photography and putting up some content but I wasn’t in a place yet where I had the framework for how it would work. That took some time. I went to an internet conference. Internet conferences are a bunch of bullshit. The people that were at this conference were getting their heads blown up with this, â€œYou can be successful. You can exploit any niche. Even if you’re not into it, you could start a blog on dog-walking.â€
Every video you make in YouTube is an advertisement or a commercial for you.
My head got blown up at this event as well because I’m like, â€œI could do something. I could do this. I could do that.â€ It didn’t work. I was a photographer. I never paid to go to that thing. I offered to shoot the event because someone was like, â€œYou need to go to this thing.â€ I talked to the guy many years later and told him that everything he said at his event, I ended up doing the opposite of and becoming successful. He didn’t get upset because he was like, â€œYou are right. That stuff was garbage.â€
He admitted back then that it was bad. It wasn’t scammy. It was just bullshit. Everything at the time was continuity programs on the internet like, â€œCharge people $65 or $67 a month. Most of the time, they forget about it and you keep getting the residual payments,â€ or it was harder to cancel back then because they didn’t have as many regulations so they just slammed them into it.
Their whole thing was, â€œHow much to acquire a new customer?â€ I come along and Iâ€™m like, â€œI’m not going to charge people. I’m going to do it for free because I think that if I can reach more people, I’ll end up making more money in the long run.â€ I ended up giving free, make free content, which then has turned into a lot more money than these guys. They are long disappeared and I have continued to build. They were always blown away when they are like, â€œHow many views do you get on YouTube? If I had that many views, I would be selling this many products.â€ It’s like, â€œYou don’t because everything’s hidden behind a paywall. How’s anybody going to know that you exist?â€ I’m not angry. I’m just passionate.
From my experience starting league side, one of the hardest things as an early entrepreneur is you connect with all of these â€œexperts.â€ They all have advice for you. They have conviction in the advice they’re giving you. Sometimes it could be contracting advice. Focusing on your business, thinking about what you know about your business and not listening to those external experts is difficult.
I don’t like asking for help often. A lot of people know Gary Vee. I met him and we had some conversations at another event that I was at. He thought my hair pick as a business card was brilliant. Whether it was full of shit or not, he took an interest, cared and would drop me a line every once in a while. I ended up in hisÂ Crush It!Â book, the next one that he put out. They interviewed me for the book and ended up having the story of how I got started in there. Because of the hustle culture that was being pushed by Gary, it may not work for most people. It’s something that was bothering me over the years. I had to stop following it because I’m like, â€œHe’s traveling all over the world doing all this stuff. He’s so busy. I’m not doing all this. Why aren’t I doing the same thing?â€
It became tiresome. What I have found that has worked the best for me to block out a lot of noise is to stop following people that piss me off. I donâ€™t say piss me off like I don’t like them or anything. Prime example, Randi Zuckerberg, Mark’s sister to who I sold a picture back in the day, has become this NFT fucking evangelist because she ended up on a board for something. Now it’s only pushing NFT. Did you miss out on Bitcoin years ago? It’s at a discount now. This was before it tumbled to 30,000. Itâ€™s like, â€œYou can get it at a discount.â€ It’s pushing bullshit.
I did a lot of research into NFTs. To validate my thinking in my brain, I started to watch as many videos and read up on stuff to see if I am missing something about the whole NFT world. I’m not missing it. What I was thinking was legitimate is what’s happening. The underlying aspect of it will be successful in some situations in the future. We understand that writing things in the blockchain will happen. This bullshit of selling collectibles as NFTs is going to crash and burn. There will be some survivors.
I don’t understand, you get those pixeled monkeys you are selling, â€œThis is worth $1 million.â€ You are like, â€œReally? What value is there?â€ What you find is its scarcity. Someone is like, â€œI own this.â€ It’s like, â€œMy dick is bigger than yours.â€ That’s what they want to show. It’s very frustrating that a lot of people who can’t afford to get hurt are the ones that are going to get hurt, the same thing with the meme stocks that were running up when they ran up and would get in. Now they know what they’re doing. The stock would crash. They’d sell and lose.
What’s interesting to me about NFT is if you go on Twitter, every Fortune 500 CEO has something about NFT in their bio. There’s going to be so much invested into making this a thing but what I don’t understand is you could right-click on an NFT, hit copy and then you have the exact version.
You don’t own the one. Gary Vee is opening an NFT restaurant where to gain access, you are buying a membership but the token is the NFT. That’s the token part. You’re buying the NFT for $10,000 to gain access to eat at this bar. Then there’s like a $40,000 one, which gains access to the Omakase room.
Is it actual food or digital?
You are going to be eating actual food. That’s a membership. The wealthy are the ones that can purchase a lot of this stuff and afford to lose out if it crashes because they can. There’s value to be had. There’s absolutely a future there when it’s tied in with incentives, I get it but it’s also like raffling shit off like Gary doing hisÂ VeeFriends. I know I’m using him as a whole thing here but you’re like, â€œIt’s a drawing of a kind koala.â€ It allows you to get access to Gary’sÂ VeeConÂ and all of this other stuff or get a one-minute Zoom call with him. They are tying that. They are using these real-world tangible things to try and give value to the fake thing. I’m no NFT evangelist.
The last part of this interview is called the lightning round. I’ve got four questions. You got two minutes to answer them. Itâ€™s the first thing that comes to mind. The first question is what is your favorite youth sports memory?
I scored on a penalty shot in hockey. I didn’t know that I scored. I triple deke from The Mighty Ducks and put it through the five-hole. I couldn’t see because the goalie was so big but it went in and that was one of the goals that helped us win in a shootout. Youth memories, my dad coached some stuff. There’s always that I won a championship with a little league with my brother’s team. I was 10 and he was 12. I used to like playing sports.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was five in Montessori school, they asked me, â€œWhat do you want to be when you grow up?â€ I’m like, â€œA YouTuber.â€ They’re like, â€œWhat’s that?â€ I’m like, â€œExactly.â€ I said I wanted to dig on the internet.
When did YouTube come around?
2005 or 2006 was when it started. I was always some creative like an artist. I always drew, painted or did something. I didn’t really have much of a direction but it had something to do with being creative. When photography became a thing at thirteen, I didn’t want to do anything else. Anything that I ever tried to do, even if one time I tried to get a job with a realtor but I still wanted to be the photographer side of it. I’m like, â€œIf we did photos of your listings, you could sell houses.â€ This was before they did good photos of listings. Heâ€™s like, â€œI’m a salesperson. I could sell the shit out of anything.â€ The point I’m trying to say is every job I ever went for, I tried to incorporate my creative side into it but I couldn’t work for other people anyway.
I watched the Curb episode when Larry goes and becomes a car dealer for a day. It’s in the first season.
That show pissed me off because it was hard to watch him because you get angry. I have watched a lot of the new ones and you’re like, â€œThat’s true.â€
If you can reach more people, you’ll end up making more money in the long run despite doing it for free.
What is a brand whose marketing you admire most?
I was a big fan of Polaroid. I love Polaroidsâ€™ advertising. Edwin Land did some tremendous stuff. He used to do this product reveals. Steve Jobs learned a lot from what he did from watching Edwin Land, do these product announcements because he would have a camera covered by a cloth, stand there the whole time, talking about it then take the cloth off and take a picture. It was developed in 60 seconds. It was just a whole show. He would do these press conferences. What Polaroid did for years until they imploded it, same with Kodak, the colors, brands, the marketing that they did. I loved what Polaroid and Kodak did.
Final question. What is your go-to cause to support?
I love giving the gift of photography. The gift of photography is giving photos to people who may never have seen an awesome photo of themselves or never had a professional photographer photograph them. You can’t hire me to do jobs because I don’t like working for people. If there’s something that I want to photograph, I’ll go and do it. My gift is giving them the images. That means a lot. Giving people a photo book and a leave behind is what I enjoy. I have a thing calledÂ Fund-A-PhotographerÂ where I have got hundreds of cameras to give away to students and schools.
Giving someone a camera that they would have never been able to afford ever or a good lens to go with it to give them a jumpstart is amazing. Helping someone who might never have an opportunity like this, by being able to give them something that I never had when I was younger. Now I’m in a position where I can give this stuff to people. Kicking someone in the ass when they are young hopefully leads them in the direction of being what they want to be and being able to help someone are the causes.
Not only was this fun but you were interesting and educational. Our followers are going to get a ton out of this. Thank you so much for coming on.
You’re welcome. I’m not yelling. I’m just passionate. People take it the wrong way like, â€œHe’s yelling. Why is he angry?â€I’m not angry.
I know you’re passionate. Does it get to you that people think that you are yelling?
It doesnâ€™t bother. The people that know me understand that I’m not angry at you. I’m sharing my thoughts. That’s how my brain gets flowing. I get animated. That’s why I stop and let people know every once in a while like, â€œI’m not yelling at you. I’m just I’m yelling at you but not at you.â€
That animation is part of your personality that has built an incredible brand. Keep doing what you are doing. I’m excited to see what’s next for you. Let’s get you back on the show again sometime soon.
It sounds good to me.
Thank you for reading this episode with Jared Polin. As a recap, we discussed how to build an audience on YouTube and other social channels, the importance of consistency in producing content, the metrics that matter when measuring the following and so much more. Thank you for reading. See you next time. Play on.
Jared Polin aka the FRO from FroKnowsPhoto is a photographer who so happens to also make YouTube Videos. Jared launched his YouTube channel on June 1st 2010 with the hopes he would end up getting more photo gigs….what ended up happening is, he got a ton of questions. Every question he got, he turned into a video, “if one person is asking that question, that means someone else is going to have the same question, so I turned it into a video”. With 3000+, over 1.3 million subscribers and a quarter of a billion total views, FroKnowsPhoto is one of the most influential YouTubers in the Photography space.